Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Mixed Bag

It's been a mixed bag of emotions the last two weeks with both high and low moments...

Week 1

Transition from MOM TO 2 to MOM TO 3 has been more emotional than I expected.  I was warned, though.  While I'm beyond grateful and appreciative of the help I've received around the house, and more importantly, in caring for the boys and keeping them happy, busy, and occupied (ah hem, thank you, grandparents!!!), I     miss     them. It's the main reason the hormonal tears start to flow.  And then not stop.  Sorry to neighbor down the street who witnessed an out-of-the-blue meltdown recently and thank you for understanding.  Ironically enough, I'll probably WANT someone to take them in a few weeks when I can't seem to juggle all the little people in my life.  Go figure:)  

In the meantime, while I'm getting to know, caring for, and loving on this:
Tiny dancer?

I also wish I could be with them capturing this:

Fun with Oma and Opa!

And while I know not everyday has to be filled with 'enjoy every minute' moments, I'm tempted to hang this in the playroom as my own personal reminder.  That, or the sign that reads, "Keep calm and carry on."  Both are appropriate.

from Sweet Blossom Gifts
Week 2

At last week's close Gavin asked for Mommy time.  He actually requested it.  In the midst of being OBSESSED with all things Daddy, he asked for time with me.  Heart melts.  We're all missing our old normal, but also adjusting quite nicely to our new.  For my own sake, I want to remember what life looks like in these early days:

It's awesome meals dropped off by awesome friends and family.

It's realizing that my first babies all of a sudden look huge...I swear their hands and feet look bigger and their bodies grew taller and heavier in a matter of days.

It's coordinating play dates with friends who don't mind chaos, who don't mind helping my big boys across the monkey bars and putting them onto the swing while I'm still unable to lift them (thank you c-section), who don't mind eating leftovers for dinner, who don't mind lots of noise, who don't mind that I nurse uncovered in my backyard.

It's filling our days with a few less outings, slowing down, and instead doing things like walking around the neighborhood, spotting a digger truck, inspecting a dump truck, driving the power wheels Jeep, and taking advantage of a blocked-off road for some quality puddle jumping.

I couldn't resist.
It's text messages to girlfriends that read, "There is laundry, gift bags, a Boppy pillow, 2 dirty diapers, Butt Paste, boob pads, a nursing bra, a shirt, and ice packs scattered on my bed around me.  And a sleeping baby on my chest:)"

It's appreciating a sleepover at Oma and Opa's for the boys, which lead to an impromptu date night for Joe and I with a sleeping baby in tow.  Our time was leisurely, the wine was excellent, the new baby comments were sweet.

It's asking the doctor and friends a million questions about nursing, routines, sleep patterns and finding what works for us.  My newest goal is to keep Little Lady awake slightly more so we can get some sleep at night, but despite the lack of shut eye, it's appreciating newborn snuggles and one-on-one time, which is a first for me.  Spoil a newborn?  Impossible.

It's listening to the boys chatter as they dress up Mr. Potato Head and looking forward to popsicles every afternoon on the front porch.

It means more screen time than I care to admit for the boys while I feed their sister.  But hey, practicing their letters is better than some of the crap shows on TV, and we actually haven't resorted to it as much as I'd anticipated.  Yet.  I personally love it, though, that among asking for Mickey and Blues Clues, the boys also request the news and cooking shows:)

It's enjoying a much easier recovery compared to the boys' delivery, thank goodness.It's that rock start feeling after rediscovering all that I can do with just one hand while holding a baby in the other.  And the motivation that appears after 4 uninterrupted hours of sleep.

It's a photo message that looks like this and states, "Yes, that's my 11 day old laying on a changing mat on a our cement walkway while the boys dig in the dirt...mom of the year."  That sweet (unphased) baby happens to be milk drunk because when the boys play in the infamous dirt pile it means I can sit and nurse without [much] interruption.  Win, win.  And of course, after some time in the dirt pile, turning on the sprinkler is a must.  Love.  Summer.

It's nursing on the kitchen floor while eating snack with the boys.  It's keeping Sweet Baby latched during that nursing session to also break up fights, wipe a tush, find a missing truck, and answer a phone call from the pediatrician's office.  Moms should be born with more hands.

It's appreciating the friends and grandmas who have folded my laundry, picked up a few things at the store, put away groceries, helped prep dinner, held my newborn, entertained my big boys, and been my taxi the past few days.  It's also appreciating neighbors who help fill our afternoons in the backyard and a godmother who flies into town at just the right time to provide an extra set of hands.

It's learning to move as a crew of 5 to the pool, to the airport to watch planes land and take off, and to work as a team to survive each day.  The boys have started to give their sister kisses, play her music when she cries, not sleep a minute past 6am, and have become great clean up helpers in the playroom.  

It's having an awesome husband who might get to sleep all night, but lets me have a little shut eye time in the morning, and even on a Monday got the boys out of the house by 7:30am, took them to breakfast, and kept them entertained while getting the van's oil changed.  In the meantime, I got in a catnap and a shower.

So I'd say we're hanging in fine...there are moments of brilliance and moments of madness.  Either way,
just looking at this face makes my heart explode. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Welcome to the world, Baby Girl!

Photo taken by my talented friend, Renae at http://renfran.com/

She decided to arrive on her own timeline.  She's a beauty, a charmer, a cutie, a bright eyed wonderer.  Katharine Ray arrived the morning of July 11.  She was due July 20 and was scheduled to be delivered on July 15.  I had everything ready, so even though she made her debut early, everything went flawlessly thanks in part to the village that's taken care of all five of us.

Last Wednesday the boys and I spent a perfect summer day at my friend's pool.  The boys wore their new puddle jumper floaties, bravely swam with their friends, and Cherie and I actually finished more than one conversation as we joined in on the fun and even sat in lounge chairs.  Our evening was typical and bedtime was smooth.  Around 2:30am I woke up and made my usual visit to the bathroom, except before my head hit the pillow again my water broke.  I went downstairs thinking who to call first, went back upstairs completely flustered, and finally woke Joe.  Other than not being able to think straight, we were surprisingly calm, called the doctor, and then called our neighbors.  We called again and again.  Finally I phoned my parents and Joe his and we all agreed that they'd just meet us at the hospital.  While I showered Joe took then took matters into his own hands, walked across the street, and threw rocks at our neighbors' bedroom window since we couldn't reach them by phone.  Within minutes the contractions had started,  Sarah was in our den, bags were by the door, and we were on our way.  Joe pointed our that her birthday would be easy to remember: 7-11.  I pointed out that Thursday was the one day that my regular doctor didn't work.
Last belly pic on our way out the door!

By 4:30 I was settled in Labor and Delivery.  By 7:30 I was lying on a table in the same room where I'd delivered the boys, still feeling like all of this was surreal.  Not sure what gets more real than that, though!  I was numb all over but could still feel her wiggling inside.  By 8:05 she was here.  

Her little cry was strong and she came out ready to eat.  Joe cradled her while I was tended to and within minutes I was back in the recovery room with a baby at my chest.  The happy grandparents excitedly took pictures, marveled at her features, sent messages to family, and then went their separate ways to let us rest, get settled, nap, and share with the boys that their baby sister had arrived!  Later that afternoon the boys visited, my brother and his family arrived, and our postpartum room felt more like Christmas morning than a sterile hospital.  Katharine was held, I felt happy, the chatter was loud.
Party of 5!
In the days that followed I had a huge number of generous visitors that filled our days: friends with gifts, friends with food, friends with big hearts.  Most special to watch was when Pettie held Katharine.  Pettie, who is like a grandmother to Joe, recently lost her husband of 67 years and is adjusting to life in their home on her own.  She's enamored with the boys, but has always said we needed a beautiful girl.  On the heels of one life leaving our family, another one joined us.  The beat goes on.   

By Saturday afternoon I hit the' I've-been-hit-by-a-truck' wall.  Baby Girl and I enjoyed early morning and late night snuggles and appreciated any take-out brought in by friends instead of enduring anymore hospital food.

Sunday was homecoming day and back to reality.  In the week ahead the boys were off to Vacation Bible School each morning and 'the troops' (thank God for grandparents!!!) were in charge of taking care of them each day so I could take care of myself and Katharine.
Proud daddy-o!
It's now Wednesday and we're just shy of the one week mark.  Our two day honeymoon of everything going smoothly officially ended this morning with the onset of postpartum hormones and the madness of two 3 year olds clashing heads.  But I got this.  I know I do.  Monday wasn't quite the peaceful first day home I'd planned with trips to two different doctors offices and learning to nurse in public on the fly, but we survived without issues thanks to Joe being home from work and extra help from his mom to taxi me around town.  Tuesday was just what I needed with help from Mom, a little quality time with the boys, and a newborn photo shoot with a friend.  Dinners have literally appeared at our door and extra hands have stopped by to play with the boys and/or get their fill of newborn snuggles. Garrett and Gavin haven't taken much interest in their newest sibling just yet and mainly explain to me that "she looks like a boy because she doesn't have much hair" or that "her feet are little and so are her muscles."  But by Tuesday there were love pats delivered gently on her head along with sweet kisses as they left for church camp.  With their entire world having been flipped upside down in the last 6 days, it's safe to say they're taking baby steps adjusting to their new normal. 

So maybe our morning started at 5:30am today with all five of us in bed, Garrett having peed in his, Gavin wanting to go downstairs before sunrise, and Katharine fussing because she can't get a good latch on my engorged and sore chest.  Maybe I've cried for no reason at all and even though the boys can drive me mad, I actually miss spending so much time with them each day since they're all I've known for the past 3 years.  Maybe all heck broke loose last night when Joe returned from work because the boys can't contain their excitement to have him back each day...I'm just hoping he comes home tonight.  Maybe I'm moving a little faster than I should be around the house, but we're all hanging in.  Thankfully, Joe and I can smile at each other through the madness and only one of us loses it at a time.  The craziness won't last for long, I'm determined to remember these early days, and this sweet pea is sure to keep us grounded:

Monday, July 1, 2013

Closer to the beginning...

2 weeks to go and this pregnancy is done (Unless, of course, She decides to arrive early, but if she's got any of me in her she already knows five minutes late is considered 'on time').  Last time for a big ol' basketball belly.  Last time people comment on my popped-out bulls-eye belly button.  Last time for the regular stop-me-in-my-tracks shooting pains in my groin where Baby Girl must be doing handstands or throwing punches.  Last time for a very wiggly belly not in part to out of shape ab muscles.  Last couple weeks as a crew of four, which was recently captured by my talented friend Renae.  Love, love, love these!

But instead of focusing on the end (which most people assume "I'm so ready for!" when actually I've loved these past 37 weeks), we're getting ready for the beginning.  Last week I dreamed my water broke.  Pressure in my lower belly is increasing.  I'm hot all the time.  I lose my breath just walking upstairs or trying to carry on a conversation.  One moment I can't wait to snuggle a baby or tend to her while playing with the boys, and the next moment I'm wondering, "Oh $H#@, how is this going to all work?"  Her room is ready, crib is made, diapers are stocked, and her bag is packed (and by default she's already an over packer). 
Letters made by yours truly.  Precisely and tediously hung by Joe.
At 37 weeks hunger and tiredness have returned with vengeance; minor swelling is a little uncomfortable at night; counting baby movements is a regular part of my day; and a nesting surge has taken over.  Intense nesting: arranging plans for the boys, creating many many lists, freezing meals (and revisiting Dream Dinners!), tending to last minute projects, and making last ditch effort appointments (duh, for the important stuff like a hair cut and pedicure!) before we hunker down for a bit.

It was quite fitting to run into one of my bed rest nurses at the gym this morning.  Last time I saw her she came in during her regular night shift to monitor the boys' heartbeats and today she got to meet them in person.  Even better was the was music to my ears today when the doc said, "Congratulations, you're full term!"  It's a stark contrast to what she said to me at EVERY visit when pregnant with the boys: "Just stay pregnant!"  

I'm not sure where the time has gone, but July has arrived.  And July means baby month:)

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