Twinges

Four months old is a very magical age for babies. They start showing a lot of personality and playfulness, which is, quite frankly, so fun. Plus things are (starting) to get a bit easier (for some moms/babies). You begin to maybe, kind of sort of have a little bit of a routine going, you might even be feeling like you’ve had a night or two of something that resembles sleep lately. You feel like breastfeeding is almost easy now, and you’re looking forward to starting solids in a couple of months. Which means your baby is practically grown up, right?

(Trust me, two years later when you’re wondering if your toddler will EVER learn to use the potty, you’ll know you were wrong.)

So here’s the thing. My very lovely midwife took a much needed vacation and got the month of December off. She is one seriously incredible woman and after spending lots of time with her over the past three years, I’ve grown to love her and her work immensely.

But now vacation is over. And all of the sudden my Facebook feed is being flooded with delightful pictures and baby announcements and oh-my-holy-crap what is this I’m feeling?? It can only be described as Twinges.

We are very VERY much done having babies. It is known. But that also means my time with Rhoda is really and truly done, unless sometime in the future I get into some form of birth work. (Not at all beyond possibility, just definitely not a ‘right now’ thing.)

So I get these Twinges. Sadness? Jealousy? Longing? Joy? Reminiscing? Probably all of these things. I can see why people get a little crazy and start thinking, “maybe just one more.”

But, no. Twinges they may be, but they are just little sweet pieces of my memories flooding in with fondness. They cannot override the part of me that says OH HELL NO when I remember that my mental mantra through Oliver’s birth was Never Again. Beautiful, yes?

And as my husband said, if all else fails, “You may just have to un-friend her for a while.”

January

Things that are happening this year:

I’m on a super wonky diet because Oliver has been diagnosed with a plethora of food sensitivities. This first month is the most restrictive (I’ll spare you the gory details), but for 6+ months I will be dairy, soy, chicken, zucchini, apple, sweet potato, scallion, sorgum and brewers yeast-free. Also gluten free for the duration of our time breastfeeding, and Oliver will likely be GF his whole life. We haven’t started solids with him yet, but considering the mess his gut is in already, we’ll probably be delaying beyond 6 months old.

We’ve started assembling a home gym. This has actually been in the works for a while, but January brings out all the good sales for New Year’s Resolution-ers. So, so, SO excited to get my lift on again!

Other assorted non-resolution goals. Brandon got me a sweet gift pack of classes at our local yoga studio, plus I’ve committed myself to 100 practices in 2015. (I’m being realistic though, even a 10 minute practice before bed is great.) Also I’m attempting to do pushups every day. They’re great for upper body and core strength, which are both sorely lacking since being pregnant. Finally I’m still working on a reading list for the year, spending less time on my computer, getting Nora potty trained (heh, we’ll see), and some spending less/saving more financial goals.

I’m sure this all sounds very humdrum but I’m super stoked to get things started on a positive note. Self improvement is kind of a big deal for me, and now that our little family feels complete, it’s time to invest back in myself!

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Oliver’s Story

Labor Day weekend is filled with bad jokes about pregnant women. The joke was on them though when I woke up Sunday morning and my water broke. But let me back up a couple of steps.

Saturday was rough. We had one real thing to do and that was go to the grocery store. Our fridge was basically empty and I was supposed to make beef stew that evening, so we needed some carrots and potatoes. But I dread the store. The stares, the comments, and worst of all, random people touching me. I get it, I’m huge. But leave me alone.
As we walked through the store, I remember sending my sister some texts about how awful the whole thing was, but at least when we were done, I’d be ready to go into labor. (Ha!) After that we came home and I relaxed for far too long, got dinner in the crock pot far too late, and eventually we scavenged up something for dinner while the stew went in the fridge for “later.” We settled in for the night and all was well.
Sunday morning Nora came into our room and woke us up, and Brandon took her downstairs to play while I dozed for a bit longer. Later when they were getting ready to make the usual pancakes and eggs, they came back up to wake me. As I finally rolled out of bed around 8:30, I felt that trickle of a high rupture and my water breaking.
I texted my midwife and doula to let them know, and then my mom to come over as soon as she could. But we kept doing our normal thing, making breakfast as a family. I had a few contractions, but they were far enough apart, I brushed them off as “random and unorganized.” When we finally sat down to eat, I took the opportunity to start timing them, and of course they weren’t random at all. So we ate, planned to get our dog to the kennel, and started getting ready for a big day.

My mom arrived, and I went to shower. The hustle of arrivals and departures had gotten my contractions off rhythm, so after I was clean (about 10:30), I decided to head up to bed with some music to just relax. We were all in the zone: Brandon got the pool set up, Nora played with her grandma, I put on my headphones and started the Live, Birds of Prey album. It was kind of perfect.
I lay there resting, feeling the contractions washing over me. They were definitely getting stronger, and about 45 minutes later I texted my midwife and doula to head over. I hid out for a little bit longer and then decided I wanted to go see how Nora was doing with my mom.
When I came downstairs, suddenly my contractions got very intense, and I was having to vocalize loudly just to get through them. So when Nora came inside from playing and one of these contractions hit, I could tell it was time for her to leave. She was a little scared and worried about me, but I wasn’t in a position to reassure her. Luckily we planned for just this, so Brandon packed the last couple things in her bag and got the car seat moved, just as everyone was showing up for me. (I heard a rumor that he also accidentally tried to send one of the doula’s bags with my mom, but somehow it was returned before anyone missed it.)
Kat, my doula arrived first, and I was kneeling by the stairs. She sat with me doing her thing, and we hung on until Rhoda, our midwife, and her team arrived shortly after. As everyone was getting set up, Kat casually mentioned that unless I wanted to be checked to see how far I was, I could just get in the birth pool for some relief.
‘OKAY!’ I remember thinking. Or maybe, ‘thank f*#%ing goodness.’ Either way, I stripped down to my bra and climbed in. It was pretty wonderful. Rhoda checked us with the Doppler and we got down to business.
Relief was relatively short lived and I kept thinking about a technique we learned in our birth class, where the instructor, also a doula, would give laboring mothers a couple of combs to squeeze. Somehow the little pain was able to take the edge off the contractions. So we tried that (instead of crushing Brandon’s and Kat’s fingers), and suddenly I realized I was starting to feel sick. I told Kat, and I already knew what it meant and what she would say, but I needed to hear it to believe we were there already. She said, “Sometimes you throw up to throw down.” In other words, it was probably time to start pushing.
Last time I remember I was a little scared of pushing so I fought it (as much as a laboring woman can), and I did end up throwing up. This time, I was ready. This hurts and the only way to be done is to get this baby out. So I pushed and pushed and Rhoda was magically right there to coach and encourage me. It was painfully intense and beautifully surreal. And then he was born, just before 1pm, my son, Oliver Bernard Kelley.
The next few hours are a blur as we snuggled and nursed, relaxed in the herbal bath, I was checked for tearing (just a little, no stitches needed!) and Oliver was weighed, measured, and examined. Kat asked me what I wanted to eat, and I laughed and remembered all the beef stew that was sitting in the fridge. It was perfect!

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A thousand thousand moments

I’m still not writing nearly enough but sleep, oh precious sleep, has become far more important. It’s been an absolutely astounding month (six weeks?). Nora has weaned, and became a much better sleeper. For a few nights anyway. Then we got her own bed set up, and my goodness, she continues to amaze me. She even slept a solid 9 hours of sleep once! Just once though and every week or so she’s up two or three times until I join her in her tiny bed, or she finds her way into our room and snuggles with us. It’s working though.

Every day with her is magical. Toddlerhood is so full of wonder, and often frustration, and we work through all those moments and knit them all together into a day, a week, a month, a whole life. It’s exhausting, and just perfect. Part of me wonders how we’ll manage to find the time and energy and room in our hearts for a new baby, but everyone pretty much agrees that no matter how much you can’t imagine it, it always happens. I’m pretty inclined to believe them.

2014-04-30 22.37.46 We just found out that Nora is going to be the big sister to a little brother, and we’re planning on naming him Oliver Bernard when he makes his appearance and proves the ultrasound tech right. We’ve begun to purge our house of baby girl things (except those with some special memories) and assemble things of a less pink and purple hue. The only really big deal thing we need to figure out is cloth diapers. We know that’s the route we want to take this time around, but we need to start stocking up and figuring ‘all that stuff’ out. Nora doesn’t seem particularly inclined to potty train any time soon, so no real plans to switch her over. But all of this is still very much up in the air and could change tomorrow.

Everything else seems like we’ve got it covered from the first time around, although I’m just waiting to be proven wrong. But even if I am wrong, I’ve gained a sense of myself as a mother and a whole lot of confidence that I can make decent choices and manage not to screw things up too terribly either way. And Nora, my gosh. I know this whole big sister thing is a totally obscure concept for a two year old, but from all the pictures and stories and other examples she’s seen, she seems to be gleaning the idea that a tiny person is coming and will need lots of love and comfort from all of us. Really, what else could I hope for?

Tomorrow we’ll all be going down to Indianapolis for her (hopefully) very last visit to the orthopedic specialist to confirm she has indeed completely recovered from her hip dysplasia and we can move past that whole chapter in our lives. I think that one trial of motherhood has made me acutely aware of all the things I will not be able to control over the coming years, both with her and her brother. I wish I could say that it has also taught me how to handle them with grace, but that remains to be seen. Until then we just love and give and hope and relish each and every moment.

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Ketchup

I’m sorry. I know I fell off the earth. Again. I just couldn’t write what I wanted to write when I thought we might be pregnant, and then once it was official, I was so lost in the symptoms of exhaustion and nausea, I could barely keep my life going forward and be a parent, let alone write about it. So here we go with everything that has happened in the mean time. I’ll try to do a few updates in the next few days with all the highlights, but the major bullet points are:
-We’re having a baby. In September.
-Nora is TWO FRIGGIN YEARS OLD. How did that happen?
-We really need to sell our old house.
-We had a semi major catastrophe at our new house that STILL isn’t all the way fixed.

I’m sure there’s lots of other cool stuff I’m skipping over. But… pregnancy brain. Can’t help it. More later, loves!

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The B12 Dilemma

There is this thing I keep tripping over on my way to fully veg: the necessity to supplement B12, and a couple other vitamins minerals depending on how diligently you diversify your diet. It’s one thing for me to take a couple of pills every day (I’ve been doing it for years anyway) but it’s quite another to get Nora to take some pretty yucky supplements regularly. And plus also aren’t we supposed to be getting our nutrients from whole foods?

Side note: this is one of the most glaring contradictions in The China Study. Dr. Campbell berates the supplement industry as opportunistic and ineffective at best and dangerous at worst. And a few pages later makes an ever so casual mention that vegan diets require a little help from this same said industry.

So I’ve been digging deep and trying to find some appropriate sources for Nora to get her B12. Shellfish, low-mercury fish, and yes even liver are all on our list to find a local, ethically grown and slaughtered supply.

Which brings me to my next sticky spot. What counts as ‘ethically slaughtered’? I know I said before that I wasn’t interested in veganism for the animal rights issues, but since I wasn’t eating them anyway, I started reading about what the situation with factory farms really is. Ug. It’s bad, folks. Granted it’s not entirely black and white down on the farm either. And there are family farms practically in our back yard where we can see for ourselves how the animals live and die. There are just some things you can’t un-see.

I guess it all boils down to the fact that I’m not quite sure what we’re going to do. I literally lay awake most of the night trying to come to any half decision at all. And when exhaustion finally took over my brain and body, I drifted off to sleep with visions of Native Americans living as peaceful hunters, taking only what they need and thanking the beast for its sacrifice. (Yeah, I was pretty freaking tired. I don’t even know if that’s factual or just a stereotype.)
Regardless, that may be the solution for now. And as Nora gets old enough to weigh in on the conversation, we will try to help her decide for herself. Just like everything else, I suppose, for this is parenthood.

The Next Baby

Everyone seems to be preoccupied with babies lately. I’m sure it’s just my age group, but we had scarcely given birth before the assaults of “when are you going to have another?” began. Perhaps it’s because my own mother had the three of us kids in less than three years, or because my sister has also managed two kids in less than a year and a half (!!), but at first I thought this would be our game plan as well.

And then I actually had a baby.

Now I absolutely adore this kid with every fiber of my being. But parenting is no joke. And since we more or less subscribe to the attachment parenting style, it’s been very demanding both physically and emotionally. I have lost maybe 10 lbs of baby weight and 5 of that can come back after one particularly stressful week of sleepless nights and comfort food. I’ve made a few attempts at scheduling some kind of exercise routine into my day, but quite frankly, it’s just not going to cut it. Thankfully at almost one year old, Nora has gotten pretty much to the point where I can leave the house for a few hours with minimal risk (as long as I’ve properly factored nap times and someone to hang with her that she’s comfortable with. Freaking separation anxiety is no joke either.)

So I’ve made a deal with my dear husband to get my squishy ass to the gym twice a week. Which is bare minimum but we have to start somewhere. Our membership expires in May and has gone unused for over a year now. (Surprise, surprise.) We’ve also decided not to renew it, but instead take the saved money and actually buy some home gym equipment. Craigslist should be flooded with failed resolution goodies by June, right? And been though we don’t really have space for more than a treadmill in the garage now, fingers crossed we’ll be nearly ready to move by then!

So anyway, back to my point, I still have a lot of work to do before even considering the idea of getting pregnant again. And there are still many days that Brandon and I look at each other and wonder of we really do want to start all over with another child. So there’s another reason to wait, yes?

Officially though, for the record, I’m still mostly on team 2-kids. Just not any time soon, folks.

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