Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Finding All the Balance

It's the end of another year, and that makes this the perfect time to sit back and reflect on what we did, what we did not do, and what we want to do better in the days going forward. In the spirit of the Zeitgeist, I can honestly say 2016 was one of the hardest years our family has experienced, so we are definitely looking forward to new beginnings. Things will still be hard for a while, but we can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.

So what have we been doing to find balance during this hectic time of life?

Look forward

I never really get the post-holiday blues, and I think this is because my life so full that I always have something to which I can look forward. Having something fun in sight always keeps me motivated. Even during our darkest days of 2016, I planned family trips to Glacier and the Portland Zoo. When finances were tight, small and budget-friendly ways to fill our days were planned in advance: taking a city bus to the park, walking to story hour at the library, taking hikes, and wildlife watching excursions.

Each Friday, Jeff brought Everett (and sometimes me and the baby when I was on maternity leave) to the Waldorf school for a parent-child class. After each class they would go to a coffee shop or the Donut Parade (RIP) for quality time. Having events on a schedule removes so much daily anxiety. And you are forced to get up, get ready, get out! Our hardest parenting days are the ones we spend cooped up inside with nothing to do.

Put others first

Doing things with kids is never easy. Taking a trip to Glacier with kids is vastly different than the National Parks trips we took a few years ago (we will not be carting 60 lbs of kiddos into the Grand Canyon anytime soon), but Everett soooo appreciated the experience. Even when the wind and rain kept most tourists inside, he wanted to throw rocks into the lake or drive around looking for bears (we saw many!). On a regular basis he asks if we can go to Glacier again. The trip was hard, but it would have been even harder had we not set aside our adult expectations and let the kids have a good time.

I found myself frustrated this Christmas for many different reasons. I was cranky, irritable, and determined to show it! Then I got to thinking, do I want my kids to remember me mad on Christmas day? Do I really want to be selfish and steal away the magic of the day? I did a complete 180 with my attitude, put my family's feelings first, and we had such a great day after that. Turns out empathy feels pretty good.

Make good choices

This year Jeff and I practiced "A Week of [...]" This meant choosing one healthy activity to focus on every day for a week - i.e. monitoring our device usage, eating more servings of fresh and local produce, drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day, drinking tea instead of coffee, exercising daily, going to bed early, etc. By choosing one activity to focus on each week, we were able to create healthier lifestyles for ourselves without the drama.

It's amazing how doing something every day for as short as a week can make the activity essential to your overall health and well-being.

Be creative

Whether you keep a sketchbook, take pictures, write a poem, paint with your kiddos, or sing a song, art and creativity should be a daily part of life. Checking out an art book from the library and trying to replicate a favorite piece of art is a great way to start. Even if it does not look like the original, the process is important.

I try to practice creativity in my job as well. I ask myself, "What can I do today that is new and exciting? How can I make this process faster or easier in the future?" Take the tools you have and go! Maybe watching a YouTube video about Excel spreadsheets is all you need to streamline a mundane task! You never know until you empower yourself with knowledge and creativity, and you will never be creative and knowledgeable without trying.

Focus on the right things

When I look at my full calendar and limited number of nap time hours, I have to say "No" to many things. And guess feels good. This year I did not bake Christmas cookies. I did not plan a huge birthday bash for Everett. I did not go to Costco as often as I should have. I did not clean the shower for 2 months (calm down I did it the other day). I didn't blog...

I chose to put my limited time and energy elsewhere, and I think my kids benefited from having a balanced mother. I had the energy to get up at 5:00 in the morning to exercise, and guess what, I didn't even shower afterwards. Gasp! No one noticed. The shower was dirty anyway.

Never look back

Don't hold grudges. It's just too much weight for a human heart to bear. We are all human, we all have our own viewpoints, and things/people that are different can be scary. Just do what makes you happy and gives you the least amount of anxiety, and stop judging others for their choices if those choices are different from your own. We are more alike than we realize, and we each just have a different way of experiencing the world. Stop hating on my Flow, because I already stopped hating on yours.


So my New Year's Resolution? To keep doing all these things, but to do them exponentially better. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

We did it! We made it to Halloween!

Everybody, now is the time to buy stock in Joann's because I was there DAILY for 2 weeks straight. AND...I finally bought myself a pair of Gingher designer scissors to reward myself for my efforts. Just in time to cut out the eyes for Alice's costume. Worth the money! Use those Joann coupons!

Alice's unicorn was sewn from Simplicity pattern 1032. I admit I did not add the tail or wings for three reasons:
  1. Over it.
  2. She will be in a carrier while we are out getting candy, so what's the point?
  3. Over it.
The wings and the tail are all cut out and ready to be added...but I'm not doing that right now. Maybe next year since the costume will obviously still fit her.

My thoughts on the pattern: it is very basic, simple, and straightforward. I got most of it done in just a few hours. There are a lot of hand sewn elements, but that never bothered me - I actually welcomed the change of pace. For the eyes, I hand sewed them in place, rather than using the zigzag machine stitch suggested in the pattern.

Everett's costume was sewn from Simplicity 1765. For a while he was saying he wanted to be a lion again (Jehovah be praised!), then he changed his mind and asked if I would make him a stegosaurus (womp womp).

The pattern: super straightforward! The feet were the most challenging part. It took me a hot second to figure out how to attach them to the legs, but I managed. The instructions for the bias tape (which houses the ankle elastic) were confusing to me, but I think I was reading them at about 11pm and I'd never used bias tape before. My only #questioningface happened when the pattern instructed me to attach the little front plates with fabric glue. So far they are sticking, but if your kiddo will be wearing this more than one night I suggest stitching around the outside to secure them in place (I did this with one and was over it, but I will do this with all of them once I feel like winding another green bobbin). Also...I didn't line the hood, which is why it looks a little wonky. I know my kid, and don't see him wearing the hood for longer than a couple obligatory pictures (see first picture), so I didn't care to add more steps to the process.

You guys, as long as my kiddo asks me to make him a costume, I will make him one. I think these days are numbered, and I hope the little a-holes his age do not crush his sweet spirit when it comes to Halloween costumes. Today I watched his classmates talk about how they were dressed as bad guys, and they were talking about killing things. Right now my sweet son just wants to be a dinosaur who eats spinach. I'm just over here wondering why 3-year-olds are watching violent movies, but that's just me being judgmental.

Another good Simplicity pattern find from one of my many trips to Joann's: NEMO! Can you even imagine how cute it would be to see a Nemo at your front door? I die! (Maybe Alice will not be a unicorn again next year after all.)

Enjoy your night! Stay safe! Don't slash anyone's tires!

Monday, October 3, 2016


Every day I find myself apologizing. Apologizing to myself for not being the person I want to be. I feel hurt and shame every day. This is motherhood.

I work hard. I think about my kids all day long, and am desperate to hold them.

Then I pick up my daughter from daycare and she has not slept all day. She is shown love and acceptance from her caregivers, but she cannot seem to get her basic needs met. She cries all night until I put her to bed. I cannot even offer her dinner because she is so beside herself.

I pick up my son from daycare. He has been 1 in 20 all day long. He does not eat or sleep all day because no one notices his needs. He is wild and hangry when I pick him up, and he is beside himself until he gets to bed.

I dread every night Monday - Wednesday.

And so I apologize to myself for making another frozen pizza for dinner. For leaving a stack of laundry unfolded because I am Just. Too. Tired. For sleeping through my alarm and missing out on my only opportunity for exercise at 4:30am. For raising my voice at Everett when he pushes my buttons. For not keeping a cleaner house. For skipping showers and social gatherings. For eating too many cookies and holding onto those last 5 pounds. For being so anxiety-ridden that I find myself petrified when I finally have the time and energy for something.

There are many things I am giving my children by working full time, but I know there are also so many things they are not getting because of this decision. I hate that I have to choose, so I ask myself for forgiveness.

This is a phase and it will pass. Do you see that layer of dust? I chose to leave it there so I could spend my only free moments building a happy family. We are wanting in many ways, but we have each other.

I am sorry.

These pictures were taken on our trip to Glacier National Park this summer. This is the best photography I can manage with a wiggling baby strapped to me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Favorite Things: The Second Baby (aka Products That Are Completely Unnecessary But Somehow I Cannot Live Without)

This post is brought to you by: Moms Who Use Target As Therapy

This whole baby thing is not anything new to us. We know how to change a diaper, we know the tricks to getting a baby to sleep, and we know how to operate heavy machinery (also known as a breast pump). Despite the endless amounts of knowledge on parenting we have to offer (like how to best hold a glass of red wine and a baby without spilling on white carpet), it turns out there are many things I did not know I needed before having a second child.

1. Rock n Play: You did I ever live without this thing? It is magic. And this one rocks automatically. Whoever invented this deserves a Nobel Prize. I cannot express how many times this has saved me. Just the other night the baby woke up beside herself. I tried nursing her back to sleep, but she wasn't having it. I picked her up, gave her kisses, snuggled a blanket around her, gave her a pacifier, set her down in the Rock n Play, turned it on, and she was asleep in seconds. This scenario has not been out of the ordinary. This product is GOLD.

2. Babyganics Dish and Bottle Soap: This was something I randomly found while slowly walking the aisles of Target at 8:30pm, since you know, this is how I decompress and meditate these days. Seriously, Target saves my sanity. Dear Target, thank you for existing. Anyhow, this dish soap works wonders on bottles, nipples, pump parts, and pacifiers. Dawn always seems to leave a bit of a film, and I always felt a little uncomfortable with how much it made Everett's bottles smell. The Babyganics product just rinses a little cleaner, and it does not leave a film/smell to prove its cleanliness. Every night I soak the bottles and pump parts from the day in hot soapy water, then scrub them clean with a bottle brush. They are staying much cleaner than the first time around. And for the record, Babyganics wipes are now our go-to baby wipes. Love them!

3. Board books: Every parent needs a collection of board books for their kiddos, no matter what the age. I take that back, maybe 11 is a little old for kids to be reading board books. I digress. We discovered the Bunnies book at the library, and I got a copy of all Laura Ellen Anderson's books for Alice because she loved this one so much. She laughs aloud every time we read about bunnies going THUMP. The pictures are engaging and offer opportunities for us to interact. So much more fun than the usual, "Ball, Frog, Boat, Duck."

4. Nosefrida: I realize I am the last parent to jump on this bandwagon. Alice has had about 4 colds since she was born (thanks to an older brother who goes to daycare). The sicknesses were all pretty short-lived, since baby immune systems are miracles. However, it wasn't until her third cold that I broke down and spent the ~$15 on a Nosefrida (one night when I was slowly walking the aisles of Target to decompress after a brutally emotional day). The bulb syringe works great, but Frida is far less...violent. And as gross as the concept sounds, it's really not gross in practice. To be fair, I would 100% vomit if you made me suck the snot out of a baby who didn't belong to me, but since my kids are angelfacefairyunicorns it does not bother me.

5. Lifefactory Bottles: What insane human buys glass baby bottles? *points to self* This guy. Back to the whole conversation of baby products that smell of chemicals, I always felt uncomfortable by the fact that Everett's bottles smelled like plastic and dish soap. I'm that psycho mom who prefers her kids to put clean and green products in their mouths, so glass bottles were never that far of a stretch for me. The Lifefactory bottles are great because they have a silicone sleeve to protect them from drop damage. And I love that that product is made in France, where quality is more important than quantity. They are simple, straightforward, easy to clean, easy to assemble, and they work just fine in the bottle warmer used by the daycare. In short, I love them. I will say that we never had to worry about colic or gas, so I am not sure how these do in that department. Also, if your baby is picky about bottles, maybe don't spend $75 on this pack and try a single bottle first.

6. Inglesina Fast: I always wanted one of these high chairs for Everett. They are perfect for picnics, camping trips, kitchen islands, and sturdy tables. Alice will happily sit in her Inglesina chair and play with toys while I cook/clean/eat/wrangle a toddler. It is also super easy to wipe crusty baby mush off the fabric with a damp cloth after one of her messy meals. The back pocket is perfect for holding wipes, food, etc. for parents who are on the go. In short, this is a great investment.

That's all for now. Go forth and uselessly spend! Your sanity may thank you.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Ugh to Parenting

Guess what guys! The daycare was closed this week, and I was #blessedbeyondmeasure to be able to stay at home with 2 kids by myself all week. If you can't see the sarcasm in that last sentence, you are not a parent. Thursday afternoon I was prepping dinner, baby in Exersaucer and Everett doing...God knows...I should probably check on that...he was chasing the dog with scissors. Life is good. This was the exact moment I knew I was ready to go back to work.

The week could have been worse. We have been working on Everett's temper tantrums and they seem to be getting better. And by better I mean less frequent, but when they do happen they can be out of control. They always end with plenty of hugs and kisses, but getting there is sometimes trying. Meanwhile, the baby just laughs when he flies off the handle. I guess it can look funny when the rage isn't directed at you. I promise he's the sweetest kid out there, but he's still a toddler, and toddlers are kind of the worst.

Honestly, our biggest struggle is keeping him engaged. He gets bored very easily, and this is when he starts getting naughty. His mind is very technical, so having him channel energy into productive activities is key. Watercolors are a big hit, as is being in the backyard digging. Running around at the park can work, but it takes a lot of convincing to get him settled once that activity is over. I'm considering Legos (Duplos), but I don't know if the mess is worth it.

I have also found that giving him freedom to make more choices in his daily life has been key: he can go outside and play with his digger if he comes in for lunch after 10 minutes. And communication is so important with him, so I have to remind him that he can always play outside after a nap if he still wants. We also let him pick out all his clothes, pick out one or two toys to bring on car rides, choose one small activity for the day, give him 2 options for lunch and let him choose, and we let him pick the dinner menu once a week.

I am thinking of developing an incentive program. We have had some success with a positive reinforcement technique using the timer. We set the timer for 20 minutes. If he is a good listener and doesn't throw any fits, he can have a gummy bear when the timer goes off. Then we set the timer again for 30 minutes doing the same thing. After this, we set it for 40 minutes. He generally forgets about gummy bears and timers by this point, and he is conditioned to good behavior (like a dog with a bell). It works well, but I'm not sure bribing with candy is the best method. I wish toddlers weren't so hard!

Anyway, my 6-day weekend was good. We visited the firehouse, picked apples at Greenbluff, went to Hobby Lobby and picked out a fun crafting project together, harvested and canned lots from the garden, visited Grandma, took walks/runs, went to a birthday party, took a city bus ride, had time at the park, visited a friend's new baby, and did story time at the library. Good week, but I'm ready for a break from toddlers for a bit.

And this week's public mega-tantrum? Everett wanted everything Bob Ross from Hobby Lobby, and he wanted the whole store to know about it.

Meanwhile, this one was a complete angel all week long. Seriously, she's the best baby.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Maternity Leave

Hello! We are still alive! Things are happening and time is flying.

Can you believe that Alice is 23 weeks old already? She is chattering up a storm, rolling over when she feels like it, reading books, standing upright, grabbing whatever she can get her hands on (neck folds are not excluded), and putting everything she can into her mouth (neck folds are not excluded). Her favorite game is blowing raspberries on my shoulder while I'm holding her. She also started daycare, and that is going...let's just saying it's happening and I am keeping my options open.

She's small like her brother: 10-20th percentile in weight, 50-75th in height. She nurses 5-6 times a day, goes to bed around 6:30pm, and generally sleeps until at least 5:30am. Sometimes she wakes up for a little dream feed around 10:00pm, but you never can predict these things. She's so sweet and so cute, and sometimes it feels like my eyes are going crossed because I'm staring at her so much.

I will say that things have to be a lot more structured now that Alice is getting older. She doesn't really sleep through things anymore, so taking a trip to Hobby Lobby with a sleeping baby is no longer in the cards. That baby needs her 3-4 solid naps a day, or evenings are rough. Outings with the nap schedule are easiest when we venture out first thing in the morning during her first nap because she sleeps best during that one. For now.

All things considered, life has been good. Maternity leave was a dream, just as it was with Everett. This time around was a bit more challenging because I had a toddler ruining the baby bliss on a regular basis. He is the best big brother around, but man does he push our buttons sometimes. And I get it, parents are controlling tyrants. I remember pushing limits at that age, too. What I cannot empathize with him on is becoming an older sibling, as I am the youngest of 5. He must feel so scared and alone, and honestly his behavior began to take a turn for the better when I started making more of an effort to acknowledge him on his level - more often than not this means me getting on the floor and playing trucks with him. I've been planning activities for just the two of us, and that has been good for everyone. We leave our little one-on-one dates when he asks, "Can we go get baby sister now?" Does it get any cuter than that?

We have had many devastating things happen in the last few months, and I guess I've not written here in a while because it was just one more thing. I was saving a lot of content from when I was pregnant to post here, then I lost it ALL. Once the baby was born I had to focus on our wonderful family, and taking out a computer to write seemed like it was getting in the way of that.

But here we are now! I have many projects up my sleeve that I want to share in detail here (we will see if that happens), and there were a few I posted about on Instagram (baby bonnets, quilts, doggie bandanas, etc.). Hopefully I can muster up the energy to start sharing on this space again. Keeping all the fingers crossed!'s my life from the former side of maternity leave. Take me back to those days!

Friday, April 22, 2016

1 Month Old

So here we are, almost 2 months after Alice was born, and I'm just now posting about her first month of life. She is truly the sweetest baby, and a very dangerous baby to have around, as she is tempting me to want more sweet babies! She sleeps well, eats well, and goes with the flow.

In her first month of life she was a very sleepy newborn, almost to the point where I wondered if there was something wrong. But she is now awake and alert, cooing, smiling, and singing like the sweetest little thing. She has been a bit cranky these last 2 days, but I am blaming that on the cold she inherited from her brother. Alice, I too am cranky when I can't breathe.

But back to her first month. Our pediatrician scheduled Alice's first checkup for 2 days after she was born. At that appointment I was reminded of all the stressful things that come with breastfeeding a newborn. When we walked into the clinic, the Enfamil representative was dropping off formula samples and catered lunch. When we were escorted back to the examine room, we discovered Alice lost 9% of her birth weight. The doctor made this seem dangerous and handed us a shit-ton of formula, saying we had to supplement after every nursing session. Having been through this before, I nodded and smiled. The Enfamil rep beamed when she saw us leaving with our hands full. But now we know that supplementing AT ALL in the beginning of a baby's life is the best way to ensure your baby will not want to nurse. We immediately gave the formula away after the appointment. This happened on a Friday, and the doctor told us to come back Monday.

Over that weekend we nursed, and nursed, then nursed some more. We opened up all the blinds and sat in the sunshine. My milk came in. We snuggled. We slept.

By our checkup that Monday, she was back to her birth weight. Because nature is badass.The doctor asked how much we supplemented, and I answered, "Well, to be honest, we thought that 2 days after she was born was a little early to be concerned about my milk not coming in, so we decided to wait it out." She was a little taken aback, but someone has to stick up for breastfeeding! We love our pediatrician, but MAN they have the worst advice for breastfeeding moms.

At her 1 month checkup her stats were -

Height: 21.5 inches (75%)
Weight: 8 lbs 9 oz (50%)
Head: 36 (50%)
Nursing: about 9 times a day, every 2-3 hours during the day, and she averaged 4 hours between feedings every night, which was very doable.
Sleep: she would only sleep on my chest for the first 3 weeks, which I didn't mind because I loved cuddling with her. In fact, my body had a hard time adjusting to her being outside, so she helped regulate my temperature a bit. At night I would prop myself up with pillows and create barriers around myself so I wouldn't roll over while she snuggled on my chest.
Clothes: she fits mostly newborn and some 3 month outfits by the end of the month.

We finally got her to lay down for naps/bedtime...on her tummy. I know it's bad! She would sleep for 4 hours straight on her tummy, compared to 20 minutes on her back. Every time we put her on her back she started acting like she was drowning. I kept a close eye on her when she was on her tummy though.

She didn't cry often, but when she did her little newborn cry sounded just like a goose.

Her eyes still haven't decided what color they want to be. They are a deep emerald blue like my mom's, but they have a dark shade. I think they will end up brown, but not quite as dark as Everett's.

Speaking of Everett, he is an amazing big brother. He shows off his little sister to everyone (including the drive thru worker at Starbucks earlier today). He especially likes to show her off to his friends at school: "Come on everyone! Come see my baby sister! Come say 'Hi' to her!" I honestly think that becoming a big brother has given him more confidence. He has a great intuition, and can truly anticipate her needs.

Everett likes to snuggle with Alice before he goes to bed, and always gives her a hug and kiss when he leaves for school. Today, he wanted to sit in the shopping cart so he could hold her hand. Sometimes his love is a little inconvenient (like when he holds her hand in the shopping cart and wakes her up), but I try not to get frustrated because I don't want him to feel any negativity when he is loving toward her. When he asks if he can hold her, I always say yes, even if the timing doesn't seem right.

I pinch myself every day and wonder how I got so lucky. Seriously, what did I do in a past life to have such a wonderful one now?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Alice Violet {Birth Story}

It is hard to believe almost a month has gone by since our little girl was born. I have had plenty of time to write about our new lives, but I have been cuddling with her as much as possible during this sweet and fleeting phase.

And here she is: 

Alice Violet Wirth
Born February 24th, 2016
7 lbs 8 oz

And she is absolutely perfect.

Jeff took some time off work on my due date (February 23rd) to take care of some last minute errands. He had the snow tires removed, got our brakes fixed, went grocery shopping, and took my phone to Batteries Plus to get the screen (that they broke) fixed. He stopped by my work to pick up my phone and grab a quick cup of coffee with me, and I snapped a picture of myself in the bathroom mirror to document the bump on my due date. This was the last I saw of my phone. Unfortunately, Batteries Plus ended up simply breaking my phone, and I lost all my pictures and videos from the last year. I spiraled into a hormonal frenzy, and I just knew that I would go into labor that night. When I was leaving work I felt the baby drop, and I had a hard time walking to my car with all the pressure on my pelvis.

That night I woke up at about 3:30am with intense contractions. I grabbed Jeff's phone and started playing Angry Birds to see if the contractions would go away, as they usually do. Turns out Angry Birds is a little stressful, so I put down the phone and checked my iPad to see if iCloud had backed up my most recent photos. It did, so I put my 40 week bump from my bathroom shot the day before on Instagram, then started timing contractions.

I had been contracting every night for about a week. Those contractions were semi-regular, lasting about 1 minute, and they averaged around 5-6 minutes apart. They were strong enough to take my breath away, but not nearly as strong as the ones I was feeling now. After 30 minutes of regular 30 second contractions every 3 minutes, I got out of bed and hopped in the shower. Jeff timed the contractions for me and called the hospital when I started bleeding after about 5 minutes in the shower.

I called my dad to come watch Everett. While we waited for him to arrive I got dressed, cleaned the house a little (I was such a wreck from the phone debacle that we left the house in a mess when we went to bed), packed a few miscellaneous items, finished filling out my hospital admit forms, found free hypnobirthing mp3's on Jeff's phone so they were ready to go, and had a quick snack (Jeff made himself eggs, hashbrowns, and sausage). After my dad arrived, we hopped in the car and had a relaxing drive across town to the hospital (compared to the last time when I was screaming at every pothole we hit).

I was anxious to get into a hospital suite so I could labor in the tub, but the nurses insisted on monitoring me in triage for 30 minutes before officially checking me in. They hooked me up to contraction and fetal heart rate monitors, insisting I labor flat on my back during that time so they could make sure the baby was okay. After being on the monitor - and my back - for 45 minutes they finally came back. In that time I had progressed from 4 cm to 5.5 cm. They hinted that I wasn't really in labor, and mentioned me possibly going home, to which I responded that I was 100% certain I was in labor. They left me in the little room for another 45 minutes, and I made the most of my time there by listening to the hypnobirthing tracks, walking around, using the bathroom, reading a book. My mom finally intervened and made the nurses check me in.

I was escorted into a GIANT labor and delivery room at Holy Family Hospital, and a new nurse was assigned to me. She was required to hook me up to the monitors again, and my heart sank a little. I knew from experience that this labor would go from 0 to 60, and I at least wanted a chance to deliver standing or kneeling, not glued on my back like I was with Everett. Of course, I was open minded about the way things would turn out, but I didn't want the hospital's procedures to derail my plans again. I asked if I could sit up, stand up, lay on my side while being monitored. Anything but on my back! Her response was, "Of course! I hate it how many women labor flat on their backs." An angel was sent to me! After a few minutes I could feel the contractions becoming stronger, and I asked if I could get in the tub. My awesome nurse agreed that those 15 minutes on the monitor had been enough. She showed Jeff how to fill up the tub, and I was in!

I cannot tell you how wonderful that water felt. It was the perfect warmth, and I felt every muscle in my body relax - including my uterus. I turned on another hypnobirthing track.

Then I was banshee screaming. I have NO idea what I was yelling, but my inner voice was saying, "You need to settle down. People can hear you." I was having one contraction on top of the next, and I could slowly feel a human head coming down the birthing canal. A flurry of nurses ran into the room and told me to get out of the tub and back into the bed.


"It's okay. Just wait for the contraction to stop and we will get you out."


"Okay, let me just check you...AAAAND SHE'S CROWNING! WHERE'S THE DOCTOR? PREPARE FOR DELIVERY!" Aside to the other nurses, "I don't think the doctor is going to get here in time. We might have to do it."

The nurses drained the tub quickly, stood me up, and had me shift my body slightly to the side so they could catch her. There were people crowded in the bathroom and I could see Jeff with a shocked expression on his face stuck on the other side of a barrier of health professionals. At the last minute I heard, "Emily, it's Dr. Fine. I'm going to deliver your baby now. Give me one push."

And she was out. The umbilical cord was wrapped pretty tightly around her neck so they had to rush her off, but before they did I got to see her screaming face. She looked exactly like Everett. Only covered in goop.

Below me was a mess of blood, water, and meconium, and dangling between my legs was an umbilical cord with a pair of scissors attached to the end. The doctor asked me to climb out of the tub to deliver the placenta, and I stood there awkwardly watching the scissors tick-tock between my thighs. "Ummmm."

Being in the tub for delivery was against the official rules, but it was nice because I could rinse all the "stuff" off my legs, and all the birthing grossness just washed down the drain. No cleanup required! And because I wasn't pushing the baby out, but instead contracting her downward naturally, I had very little birth trauma and was able to (awkwardly holding up my umbilical cord and the scissors with a towel) climb out of the tub and back to the bed with very little discomfort. 

Everett came to visit us in the hospital a few hours later and it was love at first sight. Being a big brother has been an adjustment for him, but he is such a good big brother. I am so proud of him.

His observations were that she was soft and fuzzy.

It took us over 24 hours to agree on her name. Jeff was set on Alice Mae, but I was set on Violet Mae. Obviously we compromised by dropping Mae and combining the two. 

Overall, our experience with the hospital birth this time around was 100% better than with Everett. Our angel nurse was incredibly supportive and knowledgeable when it came to breastfeeding, and the hospital has adopted new practices that are better for the baby - such as delaying the baby's first bath, and letting the baby nurse/cuddle rather than introducing a pacifier during the invasive hearing and PKU tests. AND my stomach only got kneaded ONCE! (They did it every 15 minutes with Everett.) My nurse found the practice completely unnecessary, so she didn't do it. They still use pitocin to deliver the placenta, but apparently that can't be helped. Fortunately, I know better from my last experience and questioned everything the nurses did, so was only offered a few drips of pitocin.

Having birthed on my back with Everett, I highly recommend standing to anyone interested in having an easy, natural delivery. My recovery was much faster this time, and I did not destroy my muscles by pushing, as gravity helped the baby naturally move downward. What does this mean? I actually have bladder control this time around and am not peeing my pants every 30 minutes! Also, hypnobirthing. I credit my speedy deliveries to the relaxation techniques taught by this method. 

For those wondering, here is what it looks like to be in natural labor using hypnobirthing techniques:

Here is what labor looks like on pitocin without an epidural:

I could barely think straight because I was in so much pain. And that was a small dose.

I came to find out later that the nurses only officially checked me into the hospital because of my insistence. Apparently the doctor was just going to induce me around 8:00 or 9:00. They did not think I was in labor because I was so calm through my contractions, but this is because labor is much easier if you breathe deeply (thanks yoga!) and relax.

And once the drugs wore off we were in hog heaven. 

And now we are home soaking up all the sweet baby snuggles.

Because her birth was so fast and furious, she did have some bruising, as well as a popped blood vessel in her eye. That has healed now, and she is officially flawless. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

38 Weeks Pregnant

I'm sitting here timing contractions and eating yogurt.

How do I feel?
Although this pregnancy journey has not been an easy one, I still have fears over what will come in the Beyond. It feels like this baby has been sucking the life out of me for 9 months, but I am not sure if having a newborn is easier/better than 1) not being able to lift my legs higher than 3 inches, 2) peeing my pants, 3) having heartburn so severe that I have bile in my mouth on a regular basis, 4) having swollen and numb extremities, 5) so many more disgusting complaints that it would be impossible to list all of them. My body is ready to NOT BE PREGNANT, but I also know that a baby will throw our lives into complete chaos. So, the body is there but the heart is not.

Please send positive vibes my way. These ankles could use all the loving thoughts and prayers you have to offer.

Speaking of ankles, I went to the Davenport Spa and got an amazing prenatal massage from their therapist Jill. It was one of the more heavenly experiences I've had. She rubbed my cankles so hard, and the swelling temporarily went down. I could use more Jill in my life.

Also, can I just say that we have the sweetest son in the whole world? I have a lot of mom guilt that I can't give him the attention I was once able to - such as playing cars/puzzles on the floor, dancing, and taking long walks. However, he has been such a trooper. He holds my hands to help me get up, and he rubs my back when he sees I am in pain. I hope every parent is as lucky as we are, because he is such a bright light in this world.

Weight gain?
38 lbs. 

Food cravings?
Milkshakes in any flavor.

Food aversions?
The smell of alcoholic beverages makes me feel nauseous. Not a food aversion per se, but body odor is completely disgusting to me right now.

Good and bad. I was averaging 4 hours a night for a while. The other night I finally pulled out the hypnobirthing CD and got myself back into a deep slumber. Sleep has been easier since then. I needed that reminder to put myself into a meditative state when falling asleep.

I am still feeling movement, but it is not as intense. I'm thinking baby is running out of room. To compensate, my hips have gotten even wider. I did not think this was possible. My hips are basically killing me because of this.

Stretch marks?

Innie and bursting at the seams.


Pregnancy is not kind to me. I feel like I've been robbed of all the wonderful pregnancy experiences some women have. As much as I want to have more kids, Jeff and I agree that we may need to throw in the towel after this one. I'm not sure if I mentioned this or not, but the day after I found out I was pregnant I broke out into hives and my eyes were swollen shut. This was the beginning of the next 9 months. The nausea started shortly after that, followed by severe SPD. Debilitating heartburn soon followed. Thank goodness my emotions have been okay. It's hard to lose my body and everything it was once capable of, but I continue to cope and I'm excited to get back more physical pieces of myself.

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