Monday, October 03, 2011

But for today...

The kids are growing up right before my eyes. I look at my son now and see how tall he's becoming. And my baby girl is wearing jeans! :) For now I get to hold them and protect them but one by one as they continue to grow they will move away from me – toward independence, toward their interests, their friends, their dreams for this life. But for now, right now, I get to hold them. Every chance I get. So, I'll read to you your favorite book 5 times in a row, I'll say yes when you ask me to play with you, I'll listen attentively, I'll clean the bathroom several times a day cuz if I don't it smells like little boy pee; I'll sing to you more, rock you more, get down on the floor to play with you more; I'll take you back to bed over and over and over (but I still may get frustrated about that), and tuck you in each time "snug as a bug in a rug"; I'll listen to your favorite Backyardigans and Winnie the Pooh music when we're in the car together; I'll wrestle with you to get your teeth brushed; I'll get out of bed way earlier than I want to and go to bed way later than I want to, and come when you cry for me in the night, as many times as you need me. Because that's what it means to be your Mommy these days. And I am so grateful. Tomorrow I'll get to exercise more, write more, read more, sleep more, shower more, run errands alone, talk uninterrupted with loved ones, have some peace and quiet and a cleaner house. And tomorrow I will miss these sweet, busy, exhausting, messy, noisy, sacred, playful, frustrating, joyful, precious, some days, very long days.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

4 years

Happy birthday, my dear boy. You are four now, which means, your timeouts are now 4 minutes long... I say that because you can be quite naughty these days... overflowing sinks, flushing things down the toilet that are not meant for the toilet, sitting in the pantry with the door closed, eating treats, yelling to wake your sister, etc. We find you saying, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry" a lot, though I don't think you quite understand the meaning of those words. And yet, at the same time, you are still our sweet, loving, giving boy... you love your sister so much and (for the most part) are so caring and gentle with her - wanting to give her lots of hugs and kisses and wanting to hold her (for just a couple minutes, then you're done...) and help with her bath and changing her diaper. And she just adores you. She loves watching you and you can make her laugh like no one else can.

Your imagination and creativity have really taken off this year - you are always talking about your imaginary friends and acting out the books we read. Every day you are suiting up to fight fires and riding your policeman motorcycle up the stairs upon waking in the morning. And you are so funny - the things you say... You fill our home with such laughter and joy and play and NOISE and MESS! You are always singing and dancing. It's pretty much a musical in our house...

What a dear, dear boy you are to us. Our first born. You took my breath away the morning you were born and they pulled you out of my belly and you are still taking my breath away today with your humor and your laugh and your play and creativity and your NOISE and when I hear your precious voice calling for me. You are becoming more confident and assertive around kids your age and though you still complain that you don't want to go to preschool, you usually burst through the door, into our house at the end of the day, saying what a great day you had at school.

You are so loved. You don't always let me hug and kiss you these days (often you want me to "steal" a hug and a kiss) but you still love the tickle monster and love to snuggle in mommy and daddy's bed in the morning to watch cartoons. And you love being home with Mommy and Daddy and your baby sister.

I am so proud and grateful to be your Momma. You will always, always have my heart. I've said it often and will say it again, I will never, ever stop loving you, no matter what. And you always say, "never ever? no matter what?" And you've just started saying to me, "I'll never stop loving you, Momma."

You are a delight, my son. Keep singing and dancing your way through life. love, love, love you.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The power of presence

I was rocking my baby girl earlier this evening. She had been crying, overtired, having a hard time settling down. Rocking her was finally calming her. Her body was getting still and heavy against mine. I looked down, expecting to see her eyes closed, and was surprised to see them wide open! I was impatient, my mind racing with all the things I needed and wanted to do this evening - clean, conversations with my husband, check facebook, work on birth announcements, write thank you notes, eat cookies, read, etc. And yet here she was, still awake and yet so content, so relaxed just being rocked in my arms. How far away I've been from you, my little girl. When this is what matters. You are what matters. Right here and right now is the only place I need to be - want to be - for as long as you need it.

This week she is 6 weeks. Before I know it, she will be 6 months, 6 years, 16 years (Lord help me with the teenage years!) And I will long for these early weeks of rocking and holding and nursing and the warmth and closeness they provide for both of us. Looking down at my daughter again, this time her eyes were closed. But this time, I wasn't in a hurry to stop rocking her and put her to bed. What a gift to rock this warm, snuggly, relaxed little one. Another one that I have been entrusted with - with their life, their heart, their soul. I am reminded how important it is to be present with this little one, to allow her and our time together to affect me. To allow the rocking to calm me, silence my racing thoughts, and put me more in touch with the precious gift of right now. How important it is to give that to not only our children but to all of our loved ones, for as long as they need it.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

birth story

It's been a month since my daughter's birth. I am pain-free, and seemingly, recovered and healed from my 45 + hours of labor that ended in a C-section. Physically there only remains a scar from my incision. Mentally, emotionally, and psychologically, I'm just beginning to to process her birth...

I begin with gratitude. There's so much for me to be grateful for. I am grateful I got to go into labor on my own. After 41 ½ weeks, I didn't think it was EVER going to happen. It began around 3 a.m. on Sunday morning, January 16. After having weeks of braxton hicks, I knew this was the real deal. My husband and son were asleep. The house was quiet and dark. I paced around the house, rocked in the chair my dad rocked me in when I was a baby. The same one I now rock and comfort my babies in. I ate. I prayed. Labor had begun and it was just baby and me in the wee hours of the morning. It was a peaceful time of anticipation. A beautiful way to begin.

Contractions continued to get more powerful and closer together. My inlaws came to get my son around 9 a.m. and we headed to a dear friend's house who had opened her home to us to labor in until I was ready to go to the hospital. Being about 45 minutes from the hospital, I didn't want to be so far away and have to take a long car ride in the throes of intense labor. We headed to her house, about 10 minutes from the hospital, arriving around 10:30 a.m. I labored there all day.

We headed to the hospital around 11 p.m. I was 90 % effaced and 2 centimeters dilated. Only 2 centimeters! But I was happy to be almost fully effaced. All those hours were not for naught. I was progressing.

I am so grateful for my husband and my doula's presence while I was laboring at the hospital. Nurses came and went, checking the fetal monitor strapped to my stomach for baby's heartbeat and my contractions. I was able to wear a unit that allowed me to be up and around so I was grateful for that but it kept falling off and nurses kept coming in to reposition, fussing with me even during contractions. But it was my husband and my doula that got me through the pain – their hands, their words, their constant presence. I was afraid of being alone with the pain but the entire 45 hours, one or both of them were always with me.

By that evening, I was fully effaced and 5 centimeters dilated. But then I stopped progressing. Perhaps due to exhaustion? Perhaps due to baby's position? I guess I will never know for sure. Baby was doing fine, I was doing fine (getting 2nd 3rd 4th 5th winds) so my doctor would make suggestions (break waters, pitocin, c-section, etc) but he let me decide each next step I wanted to take. Mostly I wanted to wait and see. After a couple more hours of not only no progress but my contractions getting further apart, I decided to get pitocin to speed up the contractions and an epidural for some pain relief. I was looking forward to maybe a couple hours of rest. But despite the interventions, I was still not progressing. The doctor broke my waters and still no progress. Baby's head was not moving down further into the birth canal. Thinking back on it now, I wish I had thought to ask "why?" It never went further than the fact, well, you aren't progressing. I didn't think to ask, well, why and is there anything we can do about it. Was it the baby's position? Was it because her head was not dropping? So, around 1 a.m. I opted for the recommended C-section and I was at peace. After 45 hours of labor, it was time to meet my baby and hold her in my arms. Once I made the decision there was no turning back and I was excited to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I felt a tremendous amount of pressure as they pulled her out of my tummy. Then my husband said, "It's a girl!" She let out a wail and I was overjoyed that she was here and our laboring onto birth was finally finished. Although now, our laboring onto life has just begun...

Now, a month later, I'm still at peace with the c-section but as the fog of recovery and sleep deprivation is lifting there is sadness. Perhaps I needed to first physically recover from the birth before I could deal with recovering emotionally. My questions remain but not in a haunting way. I'm not dwelling on it but I allow myself some time to wonder and grieve and question... why did I labor so long? Why did I stop progressing? Was there anything else I could have done? Knowing there probably aren't any answers. Knowing how the length of labor at that point was affecting all of us. So I ended where I began – so grateful. Grateful to have a beautiful, healthy daughter, in my arms as I write this. That's probably how every great story is lived out – with a mixture of excitement, anticipation, hope, trial and labor, tears and blood, disappointment, peace, wonder, questioning, sadness, gratitude, beauty, joy, and new life.

Welcome to our family, baby girl! Mommy, daddy and big brother are delighted you are FINALLY here!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Today marks 6 days beyond my due date. I am grateful to friends and family who have shared with me their birth stories of perfectly healthy late arrivals, despite my doctor saying I have now entered into “non-standard care” because I am late and not having a C-section.

It feels unreal that this is ever going to happen. Hospital bag is packed. My son's bag is packed to stay with his grandparents. And realistically I know that baby won't stay in my belly forever. At some point here, very soon, I will no longer be pregnant and perhaps this will be my last pregnancy. While I'm eager to meet our son or daughter, I am content to still be pregnant. I am grateful that I am feeling so well, even to the end here. Sure, I'm not sleeping very well and am feeling uncomfortable, but all in all, I am doing well. So it is fear that causes me to worry as each day passes beyond my due date and baby has not come yet. Fear that my body is failing me and I'll end up having to have a C-section. Fear that I will lose the baby the longer he/she is in my belly. Fear that I have to consciously not allow to get out of control. Fear that I am fighting with peace and trust. I know that this is a precious time right now that I won't ever have back and I don't want to miss out because I am eager to get on to what's next. So I remind myself to trust – trust that my baby knows when he/she is ready to be born. Trust that the birth process can be a gradual one and that I've already entered into it by having these stop and start contractions for a week now. Trust that despite my doctor saying there's nothing going on because I don't have any dilation yet, and the baby's head should be in the birth canal by now, in actuality, my body has been doing a tremendous amount of preparing this past week. Trust that my body knows what to do and in fact, is already doing it and will continue to until my baby is born. Trust that my baby will be fine and while it's good to continue to monitor the baby to ensure that my womb continues to be a good environment for baby, I don't need to be frightened by my doctor's scare tactics.

So I wait and rest and enjoy my family today for I don't know what tomorrow brings. Today I am grateful to be pregnant... to be "still pregnant"

What I will miss about pregnancy husband putting on my socks and shoes (and our son trying to help)
2.feeling the baby move
3.not worrying about my weight for 9 months
4.sleeping with four pillows while my husband gets one.
5.After pregnancy, it won't be so cute for my son to tell me that I have a big belly...
6.wearing a t-shirt in the winter (great time of year to be pregnant!)
7.cute comfortable maternity clothes
8.Not feeling guilty about resting
9.freaking miracle that a human is growing inside of me!!!!
10.the gallons and gallons of milk I go through (my husband will not miss this). I drank so much milk when pregnant with my son as well.
11.Feeling my body preparing for birth (didn't experience any labor with first as he was a scheduled C-section a week before his due date)
12.this precious time of peace, stillness, anticipation and putting the world on hold for a bit