Archives for category: parenting

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Depending on the moment, down to the second, my desire to have a third child has been susceptible to change. Are both boys peacefully sleeping on me? Their dark eyelashes dusting their skin? Chests rhythmically rising and falling with a small snore escaping their perfectly tiny noses? Oh, the urge to create another perfect tiny human radiates through all my bones, sinew, and joints. Are both boys in the middle of a literal knock out fight, screaming, “THAT’S MINE!” and punching each other? My uterus curls up into a ball, holding a small knife out, yelling, “come near me and someone gets cut!” That is how easily I could switch between the idea of adding another human to our brood.

I love my boys. I don’t have a desire to have a girl specifically (people ask that a lot), but sometimes the lure of newborn scent and snuggle is tough to resist. Reflecting on baby photos of my rapidly growing boys can make me tenderly remember those hours rocking them in gliders, nursing them to sleep. Pressing down the memories of desperate desire for sleep and the battles of breastfeeding. The urge pops up every so often, while I simultaneously and loudly lament, “I am definitely DONE having babies.” The thought was there: the consideration then the dismissal. Shooing away my husband as he hugged me and said, “let’s make a third!” But the choice was ultimately mine.

Until last week. Last week that was taken away from me by my own body. Or at least, I learned about this new version of me. Without getting into the nitty gritty details of that, because I am not sure I am ready to, the bottom line is this: my ability to have more babies has become very unlikely. Writing that out sent a chill through my body. I can describe the moment I received the news. I happened to answer my doctor’s call in the middle of the park last Thursday morning. All of the children running around me in slow motion, voices distorted, my head spinning. Knowing when I hit the red end button, I had to turn around, with a smile, and ask my boys if they wanted to go grab lunch yet.

I am only thirty-two years old. I know I have two gorgeous, funny, adorable, sweet, snuggly, happy boys. I know that. I love them more than anything in this world. I live for them, if it wasn’t clear through my countless articles and posts I have written. I am thankful they’re mine. This doesn’t mean a part of me didn’t die last week, literally. It did. Even if I have already produced two amazing tiny humans. That part of my life is dead now, over. There will be no more newborn scents or wails drifting through our halls. There will be no more onesies or swaddles. There will be no more little genetic combos of my husband and myself.

Until last week, It was my choice to make or not make. That was a power piece I held. If two years from now, both boys in school full time, I missed that baby stage so much, I could have added another to our bunch. That was always a possibility. Choice. I had a choice.

I have anxiety, so of course, I have been replaying a lot in my own brain the last few days. Living in my head. Yesterday I let myself breakdown entirely. Today, I have emerged from the fog. I gave myself one day of mourning and now it is back to my usual routine. As I walked to the grocery store, headphones in, I thought about the fact that I started having babies when I was twenty-five. These days, that is considered young. I remember my OB saying to me “you are the youngest woman in my practice, except my teen moms.” This used to annoy me. Today, I am eternally grateful. What if we hadn’t decided to try for Jackson when I was that young? What if I had said no to Jason about trying to have Alex just before Jackson turned three? What if I had insisted on waiting? The thought breaks my heart.

I feel like I lost a little piece of something last week. Regardless of the fact, that at this moment in life, I didn’t want another baby, it was still my choice to make. I had more time to make that choice. Who knows where we will be in a couple years. Maybe maybe maybe. This doesn’t change our family in any literal sense at this moment, but I do feel different. I feel broken. I feel like a failure. I feel trapped in my own body. I feel like I am incapable. Of what? I am not sure. A female’s worth doesn’t revolve around baby-making, I know that. I am so much more than “just a mom.” There is more to me than that part of my life, but it is a part and a big one.

Back to that internal battle, only this time it isn’t over whether I want another baby or not. Rather, it’s that I am not broken because I can’t have another baby. It’s that in time, I will accept this new normal of my body and life. For now, I just look back at the serendipitous moments that led to me having two children before the ability to do so was prematurely snatched away from my grasp.

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My oldest son is finishing up Kindergarten next week. I have been having an internal struggle with this stage of life we are leaving behind. The idea of First Grade seems harder for me to accept than Kindergarten was. There is still something that makes them feel so little while they are in Kindergarten. It is their toe dip into the big world of education. With First Grade looming in the wings, I cannot help but feel that there is one last piece of babyhood I am quickly losing my grip on.

My son will not be having a Kindergarten graduation ceremony. It is just how things worked out at his school this year. I am a little sad about that. I have even toyed with the idea of staging my own at home. (I am only half joking) I am sure I can find a cap and gown on Amazon in a pinch. I am not above doing something silly like that!

Recently, I overheard some people talking about how they find no value in any childhood graduation ceremonies. They even went to far as to say High School graduation is unimportant. I could not disagree with them more. I find value in celebrating these kinds of events. I cherish those moments. I am not a perfect parent and I never pretend to be. We all have our moments. When it comes down to it though, I cherish these important moments of my children’s lives. I go out of my way to create happy moments together.

We try our hardest to use positive reinforcement with our boys. I said we try. Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we end up yelling. Every parent loses their patience once in a while. However, we value the concept and practice of positive reinforcement. This morning we cheered on our toddler who cleaned up a mess he created yesterday. He got high-fives and a ton of praise. Despite the fact that he was being straight up destructive when he threw my container of ear plugs around my bedroom. His face was a big cheesy grin when he heard us praise his clean up job. As a parent, you learn when to let go of the lesson and bring on the encouragement. It can be a balancing act, but you adapt. When you think about it, staging small graduation ceremonies for Preschool, Kindergarten, Middle School, and then the big one in High School, creates the ultimate method of positive reinforcement. You are creating happy and celebratory memories. You are encouraging them to work hard and follow through.

Childhood memories have value later in life. Close your eyes and think back to your happiest childhood memory. Maybe it was a family vacation, maybe a certain holiday, maybe it was a normal day that ended up being so silly and fun, maybe it was a graduation ceremony. The examples are endless. There is even a chance you had a hard time picking just one happy childhood memory. The Wall Street Journal examined the importance of childhood memories. The research determined that when children are able to recall childhood memories, they learn to cope better and have an easier time adjusting later in life. It helps them to develop their own sense of self. This allows them to reflect on their lives and see if they have stayed the same as a person or if they have changed and grown. When they recall happy memories, for example, a large happy life event that involves their family (think Kindergarten graduation ceremony), they learn to value family moments. The reason all of these internal changes occur is because children learn from their recalled memories as they mature.

There is a point in having a graduation ceremony for a child. There is lifelong value in that. Sure, it is not the only way to promote healthy, happy, and positive memories. There are so many opportunities in childhood for happiness. It is one way though. One which should not be scoffed at. How miserable are you as a person to scoff at a happy little afternoon for a child? When we value creating happy moments for our children, we are preparing them for a lifetime of living and learning.

I will do my best to make my son’s last day of Kindergarten memorable, even without a structured graduation ceremony. I always have him hold up signs on his first and last day of school. I started in pre-school. I already have my supplies to make next week’s sign. We will do something fun after I pick him up. He can choose dinner that night. I am not above having a box of goodies for him to open when he walks back through our door a First Grader. I am so proud of him for working so hard this year! Kids work hard in school. Their brains are growing, synapses firing, they create and absorb new knowledge! That is something to celebrate and encourage. What value is there in making a child feel like the work they accomplished is stupid and a waste of time? None, there is none. What will create a better world? Lifting up these tiny humans who will one day be in charge. Lifting them up high and celebrating their lives, happiness, joy, and success will only make our world a better and brighter place.

If I had my way, I would throw my children a graduation every year. I cannot wait to see how they both grow over the next school year, even if a piece of me is sad to watch my babies grow. I cannot wait to be a part of the happy childhood memories that will shape their adult selves.

I have written a few times here about how I feel about the current political climate. I have written about my Women’s March experiences. I wrote about why I marched. On my other social media outlets I have written and posted rather extensively (or annoyingly to some people, sorry definitely not sorry). It is not something I plan to end anytime soon. However, I want to touch on how this is making our children feel. Or rather my six year old in particular.

Let me rewind a bit, to last summer when I was young and naive. When I thought there was literally no way this would be where our country is. Surely, enough people could see and hear what I could see and hear. Well, they did popular vote-wise, but do not get me started about my feelings on that. My then five year old told us at our kitchen table he liked (vomits a little) Donald Trump. We both were very shocked. Neither of us had ever said anything remotely nice about that garbage fire. However, being parents who have an open door policy on discussions here, we asked him why. He said matter of factly, “I think he is funny. He is like a cartoon!” We both let out a sigh of relief, this we could work with. We explained he does look and sound funny, for sure.

Then came the Clinton campaign commercial with women reciting all of the terrible, sexist, disgusting, and misogynistic comments he has said about women. I had him watch it. After, I asked him how he felt about it. I asked him if he thought those were kind things to say about women? I am a woman, his grandmas are women, his aunts are women, his cousins are women, how would he feel if we were the women Trump was speaking of? Would he be ok with mommy being called a fat pig? Making fun of my looks. He said those things were very mean and he would not like that at all. From that moment on his view on the funny sounding orange cartoon character shifted.

Fast forward to this week. During dinner we caught maybe two minutes of a Showtime documentary about the election and Trump’s campaign in particular. During those 1-2 minutes they happened to show the violence that Trump called for at his rallies. He saw protestors. He asked what they were doing. I said they are protesting Trump, like mommy did when I went to D.C. Then he saw one of them get punched in the face by a Trump supporter. Then he saw it again as they slowed it down. He kept asking questions. I frantically urged my husband to turn something else on. This was too much. We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. We moved on to something else.

During our bedtime ritual of all reading books together, I could tell something was bugging him. He seemed a little bothered, agitated, just not paying attention to the book. I stopped reading and asked him what was wrong.

“What if Donald Trump does bad things to our country?”

I was a bit startled, as that is not what I assumed was the problem. But I immediately knew, the brief 2 minutes had been burned in his six year old brain. I calmly explained checks and balances to him. That there are other parts of our government around to prevent the president from having all the power. He cannot do whatever he wants. He has other people to answer to.

“Ok. But what if he is sneaky about it?”

I said that is a fair point, but there are a lot of people who do not like him. A lot of people watching him. To make sure that he is not sneaky. Then I said it is nothing he has to worry about. I promise nothing too sneaky will happen. All eyes are on him.

I am sorry that show came on. I really am. I wish I had gotten it turned off a few moments sooner. My husband said to me later “he has to learn about checks and balances.” I let him know I briefly explained that. We also decided we need to be far more careful with our watching of news coverage around him in particular.

Our kids are watching and listening. They always are, we know this. The thing is, we shouldn’t have to feel like our children cannot be privy to what the Commander in Chief is doing. We shouldn’t have to explain to them the leader of our nation won’t be allowed to be too sneaky because we are all watching, but in the back of our minds not even believing that whole heartedly. I was always happy to let them be around when Obama was speaking. I never felt that he was going to make them afraid. My son never felt anxious during story time over something Obama said or did. There are times, during some of the countless mass shootings, that I turned the tv off, sure. That was more to do with the evil going on and not anything to do with how it was being responded to.

I am sad that we have to have these hushed conversations about the current situation. However, I will not stop telling him that I am protesting this. I will let him know that I am being vocal. When he has questions I will answer them and I will reassure him. I will try to shelter him from the worst of it. I will try to make him feel safe. Our children are watching. The next move is ours.

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I posted a status this morning regarding this election’s results. I am going to start this post off with that and go from there.

I weep this morning because I genuinely don’t know how I’m going to look into to my almost 6 year old’s face and tell him hate, racism, misogyny, anger, intolerance, and sexual assault won. I truly don’t know how I will do this without sobbing. I am always honest with my children and today I want nothing more than to tell big fat lies. I’m just so sad on a level I’ve never been before. Jason was hugging me all night as I sobbed, reassuring me he is as terrified as I am. No answers, just supporting me as my heart broke. And we both wondered together what happens next? I’ve never had to consider that my children will now grow in a world that is a little uglier, because despite giving my heart to stopping this from day one he announced, I failed them. We failed them.

As the day has progressed I think I have experienced several stages of grief. I am not happy about last night. By no means, but I am ready to keep fighting for what I believe in.

This morning after a hazy trip to Whole Foods for milk, I stopped at Starbucks for a coffee. I was still in the stage of almost nonstop tears. I decided to pay for the car behind me. I had to do something kind. I had to spread kindness. I had to be the change I want to see in the world. It is a small gesture, but sometimes these small gestures have a chain reaction.

On Monday my husband and I decided we wanted to sponsor a 2nd child. We have been sponsoring a little girl in Lebanon for nearly a year now! I received an update from her on Monday and my heart ached to help another child. This time we are sponsoring a little boy from the US. His favorite subject is reading, so he won me over instantly. Be the good in the country, nay, in the world.

I won’t sit here and write out every donation I have ever made or every activity I have volunteered for. I will say that my heart aches to help others. To try and lift all people up when and if they need it. To give my time to causes that do good. My heart aches today because not only did Trump win, no, an ideology that is misogynistic, racist, homophobic, intolerant, and ugly won. That nearly half of our country (she won the popular vote) chose either to whole heartedly support or were not bothered enough by and voted for those thoughts.

I am a female. I have a special needs cousin. I care about people from all walks of life. I am terrified of what this ideology will lead to. I have a degree in History where I spent a lot of time studying the 1930’s and 40’s. I have read and written many times over on what this kind of ugliness results in. I do not know if that will happen to us or if it does, to what extent. I truly hope that it doesn’t. I truly hope that we move forward and the anger and divisiveness that has plagued this campaign just ends tomorrow. I am wise enough to know that is more than likely wishful and naive thinking. I have been woken up though. I truly feel a fire inside of me. A fire to stay active and participate. I will use my voice and my brain to fight for what I believe in, a country that is truly a melting pot, where we celebrate that everyone is different, as I tell my boys every day. Midterms are next. This woman, wife, mother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, cousin, friend, and neighbor feels the passion and is ready to stay awake and active.

I ask this of all people who feel as I feel this Wednesday afternoon: participate, speak out, do something kind, help someone, make a donation, vote, protest, campaign, run for office, instill kindness, love, tolerance, and generosity in your tiny humans, or just smile at a stranger. Do not let this defeat you. Do not be indifferent.

Eli Wiesel has been inspiring me since I was a young girl. I cried at his passing this year. I remember reading Night for the first time and my world being rocked. So I leave you with these words:

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I am starting to get back to my old level of training. I have really started to push myself again. It has been a long year plus since finding out I was pregnant! One of the most difficult things for me to handle was the way my strength changed. It doesn’t matter how much I worked out while pregnant, the bottom line is, your body changes and with it so does your strength.

After baby arrives you are exhausted. If your child is anything like mine, you spent the first 20 weeks waking up 2+ times a night! Alexander has just very recently started sleeping through the night. When I say recently I mean within the last week! Someone or all of us have been sick once or twice a month since Alexander was born in October. Two bouts of strep. Two strains of Influenza. 5 ear infections. Bronchitis. Several colds. A couple sinus infections. Croup. I was still training throughout all of this. However, I wasn’t pushing myself like I used to. I was just tired. Sometimes sick. But mostly just tired.

Immediately after having Alexander I discovered I could barely do a bridge on my Reformer. I was so frustrated. Bridging is a staple in my training. It is a staple in my teaching. I could bridge until I collapsed. I could have a student bridge until they collapsed. I truly love the way bridging works the entire body. Imagine my complete dismay to discover my core strength was entirely destroyed and I could barely get my tail bone off the mat, let alone keep the carriage at the stopper.

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That was then. This is now. Alexander is 20 & 1/2 weeks old. He will officially be 5 months on the 28th. I have started running farther distances. I have started to push myself while doing Pilates. I shake and drip with sweat. Planking is my best friend. I do some kind of plank every single day. My options are abundant with my mat, Reformer, WundaChair, Bosu, and Pilates ball. I could plank all day long if I wanted to.

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On Sunday I ran over 4 miles. I haven’t done that since my first trimester of pregnancy. It felt amazing. It felt amazing because I pushed myself to be where I used to be. Yesterday I did an incline program on my treadmill. It had a nice plateau of incline. I smelled like a hockey player when I was done. I have never been happier! I ran 3.2 miles entirely uphill. That is the sweet smell of my fitness returning.

20 weeks postpartum

20 weeks postpartum

I can be very hard on myself. I pride myself on being and feeling strong. So when I struggle to do exercises that I used to be able to do without blinking, I can really feel defeated. I hear a lot “you just had a baby!” I recently asked my husband “Exactly how long is that excuse applicable? How long do you get to say that? I think you get a couple weeks” He told me I was crazy. Maybe. But I also don’t see anything wrong with expecting more from myself. I don’t see anything wrong with pushing myself to be the best I can be.

Lately I have noticed my strength returning. I am able to bridge much better. I can plank rather well. I can move on my WundaChair with greater ease than right after birth. I have noticed my C-scoop improving. My biceps are looking more toned again. I feel I have a lot of work left to do. My hips. My low belly. It will take time though. I am aware of that. I do feel that as I am getting more rest and making the conscious decision to make sure my workouts really work me out, the strength I want will trickle back in.

IMG_7983It is one of the hardest things in life, growing a baby and birthing it. It really changes you emotionally, mentally, and physically. I have done it twice now. It is not easy. You have to be strong in so many ways. For me, my physical strength and fitness helps keep everything else in my life strong. It is all so intertwined it is hard to see where one thing begins and another thing ends. Feeling strong and being strong keep me happy and significantly less stressed. As I am peeking at the end of the exhaustion tunnel, I can see glimpses of my old life and strength returning. And I am positively giddy about it!

Two weeks. Today Alexander is two weeks old. I feel like it has been simultaneously the longest and shortest two weeks of my life. When I look back I cannot believe that at this time two weeks ago I was still pregnant. Starting labor. I had yet to meet this little bundle of joy. At the same time so much has been going on and some nights have been restless for him, making it seem like an incredibly long time. It is a bizarre feeling. Having two sensations of time at once. That is parenthood though. The same has happened with Jackson. Looking at him I cannot believe he is pushing 4 years old! I remember him being a little squish that I nursed round the clock. At the same time it feels like forever ago that he was tiny like Alex. Time flies. Time drags. Depending on the season or moment.

I haven’t started officially working out again. I have started going on walks with Alexander.

Our very first walk

Our very first walk

Our second walk. This time I wore him. He's my new favorite accessory!

Our second walk. This time I wore him. He’s my new favorite accessory!

We walk around our neighborhood. It is a couple miles. I am contemplating doing a post natal pilates video that is designed for post parturm starting at 0 weeks. Meaning I am two weeks into this recovery so it should be all good. We will see if I fit it in later today. I have gotten to the point where I simply cannot sit around doing nothing anymore. The walks have been so refreshing. The air is crisp and cool, so it feels very cleansing.

Happy two weeks my sunshine face. I look forward to each day, week, month, and year with you!

A happy Sunday morning!

A happy Sunday morning!

I am on day 4 of being a mom to two boys! On Sunday, September 28th, at 4:38pm Alexander was born. 7lbs 2oz and 20 inches. He is pure sweet shiny new perfection. 19-DSC_6613

I was not planning on having a baby on Sunday. I had a long to do list of things. I definitely wanted to go grocery shopping. I was going to call a spa around 10am to see if they could fit me in for a prenatal massage. My shopping list was ready to go before 8am. I decided to not workout that morning. I was feeling pretty tired and realized I could use a rest day.

The day before I walked 2 miles on the treadmill. I even threw in a couple jogs. Very short and slow jogs. Nothing crazy. I did a touch of arm work after the run and a lot of stretching. We all went to Apple Fest with my mom, sister in law, and niece. We walked around a ton there. I started having contractions. Not just tightening but enough to stop me in my tracks a few times. They got down to about 7 minutes apart. We decided to head home and see where this took us. In the car I had one last one and then they stopped. Later in the evening I had a few more, but again they stopped. I figured just more false labor. I went to sleep, not knowing in less than 12 hours I would be in active labor!

Around 8:30am I hopped in the shower and I was having even more painful contractions than the day before. They were closer this time. I ate some breakfast and got ready for the day. I was still not convinced. Around 9:30 they got even worse than they had been and were coming 2-3 minutes apart. I walked the staircase in our backyard over and over until I reached 10:30 and they had been happening for an hour. Jackson spent some time walking with me! I called my OB. She told me to head on over to the hospital. So much for that massage.

My labor walking partner

My labor walking partner

By the time I arrived to the hospital I was 5cm dilated. 6 days before I had only been 1cm! I said “I am not going home today, am I?” The answer was no. It was time. I wanted a natural birth. That was my plan. I declined the epidural and fluids. I agreed to a port during my blood draw just because it is easier to do it then instead of during an emergency. I also agreed to letting my Dr. break my water because she explained it progresses things faster and she hates to see people in pain longer than they need to be. That is when the party got started. My husband took some photos during my labor. I was initially pretty mad because I had no idea. Now, as I write this, I am a touch thankful.

This was before things got exciting. And before my parents arrived to help out with Jackson. See, I am still smiling. That changes fast.

This was before things got exciting. And before my parents arrived to help out with Jackson. See, I am still smiling. That changes fast.

As contractions are wont to do, mine progressively got worse and worse. The pain was incredible. The downtime was heaven. But then, my downtime started to disappear.

They had me on my side because his heart rate dipped. If I was gripping, things hurt.

They had me on my side because his heart rate dipped. If I was gripping, things hurt.

The contractions kept getting closer and closer together. Totally normal. Then, the downtime started to vanish. I would be on my way down from a painful contraction, never quite hitting 0, and another contraction would start. It would spike off the charts again and have to work its way down. Sometimes I was having 3 minute long contractions. The break in between those would be a minute or a minute and a half. IMG_8931

My Dr came in and asked for me to consider agreeing to a fluid IV to try to hydrate me. She thought I was dehydrated and that could be why these contractions were overlapping. She wanted to get me a break of 2-3 minutes in between each one. I agreed to the fluids. They ended up not helping much. She came back later and said I still wasn’t always getting a break and when I was that they were only maybe a minute and a half. She mentioned I still had the option for an epidural. She hated sitting out there at the desk watching the monitor knowing what I was going through. I hadn’t dilated past 7 at this point. I was frustrated but I held off.

The contractions started to exhaust me. I just wanted to sleep after each one. I felt like I was at the end of a long hard day after every single contraction. But I never got the rest time. It was boom boom boom. The pain was in my back, uterus, and would shoot down my quads into my knees. I tried all kinds of labor positions. Kneeling almost made the leg pain worse. I found nothing that worked in helping me work through it. There were contractions where I couldn’t even breathe through them. I was trying but even breathing hurt. My mom was trying to remind me to breathe. Jason was having a very hard time seeing me in such pain.  I started to get worried that I wouldn’t be able to push. I was so tired. So so so tired.

At my next check I was 8cm. At the check after that I was still 8cm. The epidural was mentioned again. I asked how long I had to decide on that. The nurse told me as long as I liked. I could get it whenever. She left the room. I had another long contraction. I told Jason to go tell her to get the anesthesiologist. I felt as if I were caving. This wasn’t my plan. I am a strong person, I should have been able to do this. I was just so tired. I know I am a great pusher. I know I have the core strength to push him out, but my energy had been depleted. I was really worried that when it came down to it, during those long contractions, I wouldn’t have the energy to push. Which could result in a C-section. I knew that was number one on my ‘I don’t want it” birth list. So my decision had been made. I weighed my options and went with the one that I thought would still result in the birth I would be most satisfied with.

After the epidural I was able to relax. It wasn’t long before my next check. My Dr said I was just about 10. Asked me to give a little push to try to get a part of my cervix to complete its disappearance. She said “oh you are a good pusher. His head is right there. I was going to have you push one more time but never mind. It is time to deliver. I am going to get ready.”

My mom left the room at 4:26. The doctor and nurses finished getting everything all ready. At 4:30 I started pushing. At 4:38, Alexander John entered this world. He entered with the cord around his neck and he was blue. My husband said that my Dr got that cord off so fast it was amazing. In one swift movement she unwrapped it from him. The cord was also wrapped around his leg, which I got a glimpse of. When they put him on my belly he was blue and not crying. My brain was racing “why isn’t he crying. He should be crying.” It was a blur. A nurse (who happened to help deliver Jackson as well!) started to fuss with him and he started crying. My life was complete in that moment. They put him on my chest and I held that sweet boy for the very first time. They took him away to get him ready for some more snuggles.

My first photo with my sunshine face

My first photo with my sunshine face

We were able to go home the next day, per our request. We wanted to get settled into our home with both of our sweethearts. We hate hospitals. Don’t most people? He is mostly healthy. Very tiny and a little jaundice. So his pediatrician is monitoring that. He has lost 8% of his birthweight. We have a follow up tomorrow to see if we packed some ounces on him. I have been nursing on demand all week. He eats close to every hour over night. If he even whines I offer him a boob! Ha! Time to chunk this little monkey up.

Jackson is over the moon for his baby brother! He is wonderful with helping. Jason and I are doing a great job being partners and making sure Jackson gets some one on one attention too. Family time and one on one time with each boy. We definitely got this. IMG_8785 IMG_8889 IMG_8957 IMG_8990

We are in love and I really do feel like my life is complete. I am so happy to have two children. I am enjoying the balancing the needs of both. I truly feel like I was born to be a mom. I do other things. I love teaching Pilates when I am working. But nothing gives me joy like being a mom first and foremost. I easily throw all of my energies into my family. I feel satisfied and content with that role. My heart is warm and overflowing with joy. Even if I haven’t slept. Even if Jackson was asking for Cheerios while I was trying not to pee my pants and make him a bowl and Alexander started crying at the same moment and I realized my husband put the old almond milk I wanted to toss back in the fridge and now I can’t tell the difference between the new and old. Which was this morning. It lasted 3 minutes and was chaotic, but it was home, it was life, it was uniquely mine and I wouldn’t trade it for a thing!

Welcome to the world sweet boy. Welcome to our family. You were made especially for us and you are perfect. 12-DSC_6563 11-DSC_6558IMG_8966 IMG_8979 IMG_8980

When you’re a parent to young children you hear time and time again “it flies by. They grow up so fast!” You hear it from family members, friends, heck even your own brain lets you know this. Not convinced that you tell yourself this? Go ahead and take a stroll down memory lane by perusing over old baby photos. You won’t believe how much things have changed without you even noticing. I did that recently. That chubby baby from 3 years ago is no more. Instead there is a near 4 year old little boy.

This week I didn’t need a stroll down photo memory lane. I had a moment at the grocery store where it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was checking out. We shop at Fresh Market and our location is small and quaint. Jackson was sitting on the bench across from my lane while I was waiting to pay for all of our food. He was playing on a phone my husband had recently restored for him. It is strictly for games and taking photos. Taking photos, his new obsession. He was clicking away and saying “Momma, I took a picture of my leg! My LEG!” Beaming with so much pride.

I just watched his little face as he concentrated on his task at hand. I lost my breath for a moment. He is a little boy. How he has changed from last fall! His legs are so long and thinned out. His body is rapidly losing that baby chub. Actually, it is all nearly gone. He still had his soccer gear on, which made him look even older.

Every day he is so engaged with life and with me. He has a million questions and things to show me. Lately I feel like every sentence starts with “momma look at this!” He doesn’t only request Disney Jr shows anymore. He has started wanting to watch shows on NickToons. Every once in a while he scolds me saying, “No I can do that myself!” Part of my heart aches a little each day as I notice how much he is growing, but part of me knows that all I can do is love and support him. I cannot stop it. I am certain I wouldn’t really want to stop it. I can’t keep him a baby forever. I have so much fun with him now. We do so many cool things together. I have always gone out of my way to do fun things with him. We started Gymboree classes at 7 weeks old. Now, though, he is very engaged in those things. Now he asks to go to certain places “Mom we haven’t been to the Children’s Museum in long weeks! This many!” He holds up a bunch of fingers.

Enjoying the fall weather yesterday

Enjoying the fall weather yesterday

Soon my world will be filled with baby moments again. I am pushing 38 weeks here. 38 weeks this Saturday! My world will actually be filled with little boy and baby moments simultaneously. The best of both worlds. Now when I go out and about and have our adventures I will have a little boy that understands our activities as well as that sweet babe discovering the world for the very first time. Only to slowly grow and change daily before my eyes. In 3 years I will be writing how I have officially left the baby world behind for good. Trudging full steam ahead into all things little boy world. But, let’s cross that bridge when we get there. For now, I am just basking in the loveliness that is being a momma to boys. To those sweet tender little men that love me with all their hearts and think I am just the bees knees, whether they are a baby or a little boy.

Sunday mornings around 7 is my usual workout time. Well, every day around 7am is my usual workout time. I am sitting here trying to figure out what to do with this lull in my routine. Sitting. I hate that word! Yesterday was so beautiful outside. All I wanted to do was go for a nice walk with my family. My husband wouldn’t have it. He thought the park we would walk to was “too far” There and back is 1.4 miles. I have previously used my running app to measure the distance.

I did a lot of tidying up yesterday. I reorganized some closets and drawers near our pantry. I decided to make room for Jackson’s Legos. They normally sit out on our very long island or kitchen table. Now he has a shelf and a drawer to at least put some of the boxes. I also made a shelf for Alexander’s diapers/wipes and other hygiene accessories we want to keep downstairs. It is a low enough shelf that Jackson will be able to reach it if I ask him to help grab something. I washed/dried several loads of laundry. Today I will get around to folding it all. These are the exciting things I am up to this weekend. 

Yesterday did bring a big day though. It marked the start of week 36. Today I am technically 36 weeks 1 day. Every day counts to me at this point. We are less than a week closer to being early full term. 

36 weeks

36 weeks

My husband rearranged our SUV a bit as well. He moved Jackson’s carseat and added Alexander’s. It is crazy to see two carseats in the backseat! 

We are reusing Jackson's baby car seat. Oh the memories!

We are reusing Jackson’s baby car seat. Oh the memories!

Today I will pack up a suitcase a bit, just in case tomorrow’s appointment brings bad news. This way we are not scrambling to grab things. Or rather, my husband isn’t making 5 trips back and forth to get everything I want. Tomorrow I will be prepared. I hope in the deepest part of my heart that it will all be for naught. I also want to put together a big brother gift basket for Jackson.

I just thought I had so much more time to finish up small things. I certainly didn’t assume I would be scrambling around during week 36 to get these kinds of things done. Life is funny that way. I should know better. Everything big in mine and my husband’s life together turns into an adventure. It is to the point that we usually are really great at going with the flow and laughing about it all. Which is a great outlook to have, I know. It would be nice though if we didn’t always have a grand story to accompany our big life events. Dating, engagement, wedding, honeymoon, Jackson being born, buying a house, major roof repairs, Alexander’s prenatal care, they all have dramatic stories. We always make it through together though. We always always always laugh about it after. We always say “It’s an adventure” Instead of “it’s a disaster” I am glad to have that outlook with him. I see this on Pinterest a lot: 

“Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.” – Bob Bitchin

That is how we see our life together. Adventure. This sweet baby boy is just keeping pace with his adventurous family. 

I am lounging on my couch as I start this post. Not necessarily because I want to be lounging around, but because I am supposed to be lounging around more. 

Wednesday I went to my weekly OB appointment and follow up ultrasound. The appointment was at 11. I expected to be home by 11:45 the latest. Instead I was sent to the hospital by my OB and immediately admitted for further tests. The reason I was having a follow up ultrasound was because they have been monitoring my amniotic fluid. Well, the results of this week were 5.8. Which is borderline immediate induction low. Below 5 and they would have induced me being 35 weeks along. 

I was tested for a break in my water bag. That came back negative. Well, all 4 tests for that came back negative. They put my on IV fluids and there I stayed. I wasn’t supposed to get up for much more than to pee. The plan was continuous IV until Thursday morning when they would give me another ultrasound. If my amniotic fluid was 8 or higher I would be released. 

I happened to have fallen the previous Saturday. I was playing soccer in my driveway with my son and husband. Nothing intense as Jackson is 3 & 1/2. Just normal kicking the ball around. I went to get the ball and my foot got stuck in between one of our brick pavers. I fell down. I landed in a lunge (yay Pilates!!) So my left knee took the brunt of the fall. My belly next to my right leg, which didn’t hit the ground. I was fine. I stopped playing and went inside, but there was nothing to worry about. I did mention it, just in case. Turns out, I should have kept my mouth shut. The labeled me a FALL risk because of it. I had awful obnoxious signs on my door and I got a lovely accessory. IMG_7749

Even my husband laughed at me for this. It was so over the top. A non pregnant person would have wiped out too. The tip of my foot was literally stuck in a hole! I probably went down better than most people because I am in such good shape. I made my opinion on this heard. That I thought it was absurd! 

My sweetheart came to visit me after school. I was so happy to see him. He really cheered up my day. I missed him terribly after he left though. I certainly would have preferred to be at home snuggling with him over sitting in a hospital bed pondering the fact that in a few hours I may have a premature baby.

My sweetheart

My sweetheart

Things were a little boring after he left. My husband stayed with me. My mom took Jackson to our home and spent the night with him. I didn’t sleep much more than an hour all night. Labor and delivery beds are NOT comfy for overnight sleep, especially if you are not in active labor about to meet your new baby. Plus, my separated pelvis was highly irritated from sitting and laying on the rock hard surface. I listened to two babies be born. I listened to my unborn baby’s heart beat on the monitor. I listened to different mediation tracks on Spotify. I worried about what the morning would bring. I had a nightmare about a garish blood draw. I finally gave up around 6:30am and got up for the day. 

My breakfast left something to be desired. I was pretty disappointed with my burnt toast. I didn’t order anything else except fruit. I ate the toast. But it tasted like it looks. 

mmm burnt toast

mmm burnt toast

We were supposed to be waiting until 11 for my next ultrasound. I kept counting the hours. How many more I had left. I finally switched to sitting in the rocking chair. Ahhh sweet relief for my pelvis. The nurse came in shortly after. It was just past 10am. My primary OB was in the hospital and changed my ultrasound to right that minute. We were thrilled. Again I was constantly sending mental vibes to my uterus, “please be at 8 or higher. Please” I laid there watching the screen and the face of the tech, trying to determine the results. I saw him type very low centimeter results in all the scans. 1 here 2 there. In the back of my brain rationalizing, they must add that all up. They must! Finally he told us “It is looking like it is 8. Yeah 8.”

I was hopeful on the ride back to my room, but ultimately it was up to my OB to decide what to do. Almost 3 bags of fluids and I was just at an 8. Not 8 point something. Flat 8. We sat in our room waiting. Finally the nurse came in and said “The gods must be with you. You’re being released!” 

That was the fantastic news. The bad news. I am not out of the woods yet. We have a follow up ultrasound and appointment on Monday. It is likely that I will be closely monitored from here on out. Also, I am not allowed to exercise anymore. I am not on bedrest, but I am supposed to take it easy in general. I can do normal every day activities. I have to watch what I lift. I am not supposed to lift Jackson unless it is absolutely necessary. 

Monday will determine what happens next. I will be just over 36 weeks, still not full term. It will help to decide how often I have to see my Dr, how often I need an ultrasound, if I need to be sent back to the hospital for more fluids, or if I need to be induced. It is a big day, that Monday.

I am not good at sitting still. I hate it too much, actually. I am pretty upset that I cannot exercise anymore. I do not know the last time I went this long without working out. 8 years? I don’t know. My husband is treating me like a porcelain doll. Another thing I hate. I am very independent. I don’t like being overly babied. I hated being pushed around in the wheelchair. You have read my feelings on the fall risk situation. I like to do things for myself. It is hard to take a break. I insisted on grocery shopping myself today. It is a normal every day activity. I didn’t lift one grocery bag in or out of my car though. I went to Old Navy for comfy yoga pants to lounge in. If I have to be lounging, I want to be able to wear something comfy. I also got a pedicure. That was the only thing I didn’t have to defend to my husband. He is fine with spa treatments, since you sit around being pampered. As I was leaving for my pedicure my husband said “you have almost used up all your allotted walking time today” He was hoping the Dr would put me on bed rest or at the least very limited activity. I have explained to him being told not to exercise is a prison sentence for me and that since I can do normal every day activity he has to give me some room here. That being said, I have been taking sitting down breaks. Compromise. 

That is where I am this Friday afternoon. Sarcastic, annoyed, and well, frankly, a little worried deep down. I don’t want him born prematurely. It is a hard balance. I want to be my normal exercising active self but I don’t want to cause harm to my little spitfire. Wish us luck on Monday. I am going to take it easy this weekend. Other than Tae Kwon Do for Jacky, we have no plans. I will be trying to not be a cranky lady who hasn’t been allowed to workout. I am trying to adjust to my new normal.