Thursday, June 20, 2013


I am overwhelmed.

There.  I said it.  I. Am. Overwhelmed.

My mind is an absolute heap.  A jibble jabble jumble of thoughts, appreciations, to dos, aspirations, adorations, love, flat out failures.

This new pace of life is too quick for my liking.  There are not enough minutes, hours, seconds.  Not enough time for all the stuff.  The cleaning, the tidying, the folding, the planning, the feeding, the errands.  The musts.

Not enough time, even after the stuff, for the fun.  The playing, the laughing, the games and the books, the aimless run amuk giggle chorus romps.

I am pooped.

And I don't even do much.  I've pared back to the most basic of basics.  10 hours a day with my children, wide open and free and clear.  It should be enough.  But it is not.  IT IS NOT!  I am slipping, floundering, falling, sad.

But soon we leave for a trip.  Our annual, my annual, Minnesota cities families northwoods birthdays fourth of july extravaganza.  This year our biggest boy joins us for half.  He will get up to the cabin (finally!) and by goodness we will have fun.

We will ski and swim, toast and play, run and sun, laugh and love.  We will forget for a bit how hard and long our days have become and focus again on our family.  On our three little people who don't care so much about all that stuff.  Oh how I'm looking forward to learning lots from them, always, again.

Because right now they have it right, not me.  They don't get my urgencies, my desperations.  All they get, all they want, is some good summer fun, a few lingering lap snuggles, a silly mama who teases and plays and jokes.

I find that woman a few times a day and boy do I miss her.  But I hold to her tight and even when she slips for a bit I find her again.  I look at the three beautiful people that Ian and I have made and this friendly old crackling house and I am reminded that it's beautiful and blessed but damn, it's a lot.
So I'll take overwhelmed.  The good and the bad of it.

And that nice funny even keeled lady we've all been missing so?  Why, I have a hunch she'll show up again here soon.  And then?  I believe she'll stick around a bit longer.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Father's Day

We all love a reason to celebrate around here and father's day was no exception.

starting the celebrations early on Saturday evening, "cockytails" for all!

I tend to go a bit overboard with plans and gifts for special occasions,  It's in my blood.  This year though, now that the girls are both so big and independent and Ian is THEIR dad after all, I wanted to leave the bulk of the planning up to them.  Oh man, we had fun.

I barely had the words "what do you want to do for daddy for father's day?" out of my mouth before the girls EXPLODED with excitement and ideas.  A goody bag! Cake! Indian food! Downtown!  

I was blown away by how well they know their daddy.  How between the two of them they truly covered most of his favorite things. (Louise even knew she wanted to cook him something with gravy in it!)  Oh man, they love their dad.

So Friday I took Ainsley to Walgreens to fulfill her desire to make Ian a goody bag for Father's Day (can you tell she's been to lots of birthday parties this year?!) I was amazed at how well she did picking out his truly favorite "goodies".  Lindt chocolates, reeses pb cups, gum, chapstick, a light up lazer pointer pen, corn holders, a postcard of wrigley field, and of course a blue blue bag decorated with Toy Story stickers to house all the goodies.  It was so adorable and thoughtful and such a special gift for her daddy.

And Louise?  well she was ALL over that dinner menu.  The previous weekend the girls and I snuggled down to watch the Pioneer Woman while I nursed Felix.  Louise immediately latched on to the peanut butter oreo pie as something daddy would LOVE to eat.  So we went to the store to buy ingredients, where she was also reminded of that yummy meat she made with gravy and daddy LOVES gravy.  So we bought stuff for salisbury steaks and fettucine too.

And my gift?  Well, a little libation for my boy.  I feel any parent of three children needs some good-ish scotch in the cabinet.

Then Sunday?  Ian requested a beach morning.  I had thought he wanted to go to the botanic gardens and  while last minute revamps are not my forte we made it in one piece and it was, admittedly, kind of a perfect morning.

IT was sunny, breezy and not nearly as crowded as I had thought for a gorgeous father's day morning.  

Some highlights?  Louise REFUSING to pee in the lake, then, when she got desperate enough, shouting "I'M PEEING!!!!!" Over and OVER again at the TOP of her lungs.  Ainsley testing how far she could venture out into the deep on her own over and over, and filling the in betweens with sand castle making, rolling in the sand, splashing and running.  Felix snoozing the whole time snuggled up in the shade of the sling, so content in the breeze.  Ian sitting with his toes in the water staring off at the cityscape. Me snuggling my baby, watching my family play and laugh and enjoy a beautiful morning.

I think a summer of lake Michigan beach exploration may be in our future.

And then?  Well Indian buffet for lunch of course, afternoon coffee and a pool visit for Ian and the girls.    Rich, delicious pioneer woman food for dinner and decadent oreo pie for dessert.  It was a great day and such a fun excuse to spoil our biggest boy a bit.  

Happy Father's Day Ian!  We love you so much.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Homebirth (in review).

a little painting for Hilary

I know I already posted about Felix's birth, so you already know the logistics.  But the story, my story, still feels a bit unfinished. So here I am.

I have received so many comments about having a homebirth.  Most are/were supportive, encouraging, perhaps tinged with a bit of "you must be crazy!" but mostly kind words.  Then some are completely unexpected for me.  The ones inquiring if I had proper prenatal care, implying I may as well be living in the the dark ages.  So I'm here, feeling the need to say a bit more, explain more thoroughly, and lets be honest, gush a bit.

My baby journey started at a run of the mill OB.  Like most, when I found out I was pregnant for the first time, we called insurance, found out where we were covered and where the closest office was.  I went to my first appointment.  8 weeks along I got an ultrasound to find the baby's (Ainsley's!) heartbeat.  We waited for over an hour past our appointment time in the lobby.  Once we were seen the doctor was kind enough, but one of EIGHT that may or may not have been present at the birth of our child.  The whole thing just felt so bizarre, so clinical, so WRONG and unfitting when compared to the joy and elation that I felt with being pregnant and bringing our baby into the world.

So we revamped.  I called the local midwife group and made and appointment.  After my first visit I was hooked.  Midwives advocating for the medical free birth that I wanted in a safe hospital environment, waterbirth possible...sign me up!

Then of course the whole ordeal with Louise happened and well, it took me two good years to get over it enough to face another pregnancy with any sort of optimism.  Once I became pregnant for the third time I was ready for something different, something better.

Part of what made the decision to switch to a homebirth so easy was that one of the midwives from the practice that I had first used left to do homebirths.  I called, made an appointment with Ian to talk it out and after a mere 20 minutes with Hilary we both knew this was the route for us.  Ian was worried about the logistics, the what ifs.  Hilary reassured him without a doubt that we would get the help we needed, should we need it.

So we (I!) charged ahead.  I went to my monthly checkups, just like normal.  Always had my blood pressure checked and my urine sampled for protein and high glucose.  I did the gestational diabetes test and got the 20 week ultrasound.  My prenatal care was totally standard, save for the simple calm environment of the "office" where I never had to wait more than 5 minutes and when I was waiting it was on a plush couch with filtered water or tea and a luna bar in hand.  It was rather glorious.

And then? the birth.  I could not have imagined it going better.  This being my third and the girls having been born relatively quickly the midwives hurried on over as soon as I knew I was in labor.

I am a person who gets very nervous when I'm the center of attention.  The thing I hate most about labor is that all eyes are on me.  I feel like I'm performing, like I'm being tested.  I absolutely hate it.

But the midwives? they got it.  Hilary actually said to me a few times "you're not on display here, you're not a watched pot."  They allowed me to do whatever I needed.  In my case, walk around the neighborhood a million times.  They'd just remind me to come back every half hour so they could check the baby's heart rate and my blood pressure. At one point I actually remember picking up the basement in between contractions (my sorry attempt to tidy a bit before my mom was coming to stay there for 2+ weeks).  Annie, the nurse midwife in training just silent walked up to me, lifted my shirt to hear to baby, gave me a silent smile and headed on back up.  They could tell I needed some space and they gave it to me.

oh my goodness what a horrible photo...Ian insisted on taking one of me, mid walk, mid contraction...does my smile look pained? because it sure is.

Then it was tub time. My water hadn't broken yet so I was still in a very manageable pain stage.  I got in the tub and after Hilary broke my water we were still in jovial conversation mode.  Then transition hit and the mood instantly changed.  I shut my eyes and after that didn't hear one peep from anyone except for calm encouraging words during the contractions.  They let me have my brief rests in absolute silence. Ian later told me of the motions Hilary made to him, things I never knew about because she, they all, were so careful to keep the room a peaceful place.

I didn't realize until that moment, ok, right after Felix was born, how THAT right there, was the biggest, and best, thing about homebirth.  They were all there for me and that baby, not on a shift, not on a timetable, no one running in and out of the room, coming and going.  I truly felt like I had this team behind me.  At the moment of his birth, everyone was touching me.  Ian's hand in mine, my head on his arm, Hilary's on Felix, Rachel at one knee, Annie at my left shoulder. Perhaps for the fist time, I never felt panic or worry because I knew they were all there and if I lacked confidence in myself I knew they all had it in me.

So he was born, and it was glorious. And then?  I get lots of questions about what happens next.  Well, I got up and in the bed.  They checked me and the baby (while I'm holding my baby of course).  I nursed my baby, they wait for me to give the go ahead for the newborn check (I decided about an hour and a half after my sweet boy was born was good).  They do all the clean up while I'm loving on my baby.  The tub makes clean up SO much easier.  They drain it, they throw away the liner.  There's a big old black garbage bag in the room for anything else.  Easy peasy (well, for me!).  After I was up and about I found a sitz bath all brewed and waiting for me in the fridge and extra ice packs in the freezer.  It was like having 3 extra moms around for a day.  Amazing.  They all left when they knew the baby and I were stable, about 3 hours after his birth. Two days after his birth the nurse midwives came back to give Felix his heel prick and to check on us both.  Two weeks later Annie came back for my two week postpartum check, yes that's right, TO MY HOUSE.  At 6 weeks I go back for my last office visit.  When I go I'm bringing Hilary a bead (she collects one for each baby she's helped birth, she has thousands) and the painting you see above and below.  She commented many times on my "beautiful artwork" in our home.  I was inspired for the first time in a long while to pull out the water colors and brush up a bit.  It felt like such an appropriate but small token, considering all they gave me.

Because yes I've had two baby's before, but still, felt a bit inept, like I hadn't done it quite right, like I'd done something wrong.  In my case? It was the system that was letting me down, the "high risk" labels and the extra worry and tests.  From start to finish I knew what I needed for this baby and they trusted me and didn't read into any of the small stuff.  I cannot put into words what it means to me to have had this experience.  For a person who has spent the better part of their life suffering from crazy anxiety and worry and self doubt,  they helped to give me an experience that will empower me for the rest of my life.

Perhaps the biggest testament to how wonderful this homebirth was for us, is the gushing that Ian's done.  He's the first to tell anyone how great it was.  So wonderful to get to be in our own environment, in control of so much.  How especially great to be here right after.  Let the girls meets their new sibling in their own comfortable home.  I won't say I told you so Ian, but, well, you know.

I told Ian shortly after the birth that we may be in trouble.  We plan on Felix being the last addition to our family, but I was banking on another tough pregnancy and birth to seal the deal.  Now he may have to convince me in a few years that we are indeed done, because my goodness, I can't imagine a more perfect way to bring a baby into the world.  I almost want to do it all over again.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Last Week

Yet again I'm struggling with how to start a post.  Perhaps it's because I wait too long in between these days and have WAY too much to day.  Yes yes, I do believe that's it.  So I'll just apologize in advance for the disjointed thought bubbles to come and move right along.

Ah this week.  It was a good one really, most four day weeks are.  We had so much fun last weekend, despite the too cold for opening pool weekend weather.  We saw old friends and too far apart between visits family, went the the farmers market for the first time this season, got lots done around the house and yard, ate very well (mmmm strawberry rhubarb pie), and in general just enjoyed the extra time together.

Tuesday I took the kids grocery shopping and then to the park.  Wednesday we played with friends at home all morning and enjoyed the library in the afternoon.  Thursday I braved Costco for the first time with all three (huge success even with forgetting a few things on my list), let the girls splash in the backyard pool instead of nap while I mowed and weeded, and after a big 4pm cup of coffee got more knocked off the to do list than I can still believe. Ah, good stuff.

But today we're tired.  We got out this morning on a nice walk/bike to the bakery and grocery store.  Made it home in one piece even after Ainsley wiped out crossing the busiest street we had to cross and scraping up her knee (thank goodness! I saw visions of me giving her a piggy back all the way home).  I spent the rest of the morning doing nothing more than knitting with Felix propped up on my thighs, listening to my girls play "moving" for about an hour and a half (they literally "moved" half of their room downstairs took "naps" in their new beds, then hauled it all back up).  They've also enjoyed lots of doctor playing this week (new gardening gloves became surgical gloves, and Ainsley fashioned face masks for us all out of tape and kleenex).  Now all three are napping soundlessly and I'm sipping on some sparkling water, enjoying the quiet.

Right now I feel amazing, exhausted, but amazing.  I'm getting enough sleep that I can function pretty normally, am so starved for normalcy that even the 12 loads of laundry a week and endless chores haven't lost their novelty (yet!).  It helps too that I've finally found a system that seems to work for me. (separating laundry into grown ups, kids, and baby stuff...5 minute pick ups before naps and bedtimes).  Yes!

Physically I'm feeling better than I could have ever hoped for.  It took me nearly 4 months to feel this good after I had Louise, but now? I have to hold myself back on my walks not to take those first running steps.  (I'm 6 weeks postpartum next Wednesday, I've got my shuffle all loaded and ready).

Yet, for as good as I feel I have my moments of despair.  I am sick of yoga pants and workout capris, but only two of my normal pants fit and even those are snug around the middle.  NONE of my normal shirts fit well thanks to the largest nursing bosoms I've ever had.  I'm particularly bummed this time around because I worked hard to get myself back to a comfortable place last spring (thanks Ragnar!).  I was down to my pre Ainsley weight and in the best shape I'd been in in years.  Now here I am again, feeling back at square one.  It's hard because even though I know all of my pants and shirts will fit again at some point and of course it's all worth it for our beautiful baby boy, I'm impatient and annoyed and just want my old body back NOW please.  On top of it all I'm dealing with that lovely nursing struggle.  Needing to provide for my big growing baby makes it nearly impossible to diet in any way.  While I'm eating very well the quantity that I need to keep up with him is astounding.  And it'd be nice if I wasn't covered in vomit every time Ian walks in the door from work.  Yes, that might help my morale a bit too.

But really, all my girls see is Mommy, all my baby sees is snuggles and love and FOOD! and all my boy sees is his girl, a bit tired and soft, but his girl nonetheless.  I'm pretty thankful for all that.

Really i'm thankful for it all.  For this life right now that surely is very hard and A LOT, but mostly wonderful.  That I'm deep enough into this mom thing to be able to let the little things (mostly) slide and soak up my growing little people even in the midst of frustration and exhaustion.