Friday, June 13, 2014

Birth story

Charlotte Eden's arrival into this world was both everything and nothing that I expected it to be.

When I was over halfway through my pregnancy, we found out Chuck was going to be deployed for the birth. I had already hired a doula, but I still couldn't imagine giving birth without my main support person there. I immediately hired a birth photographer and set about psyching myself up for a "solo" birth and being a mom to three with my husband on the other side of the world.

The rest of the pregnancy was kind of... weird. Preparing for the deployment and life on my own was the priority and pregnancy became something that was in the back of my brain. When I was pregnant with Jade, I read all the books, the articles, the blogs... everything. With Piper, I figured I remember everything because it was so recent. With Charlotte, I barely had time to think about being pregnant. I prayed for peace of mind and the baby and waited anxiously for his/her arrival, but I never focused and prepared for delivery like I did with the others. I felt guilty about this, but also knew that my body and mind were capable and it's not like I was being lazy, I was simply human and busy.

By 35 weeks I was ready for the kid to get here. Both Jade and Piper arrived at 38 weeks so while I was trying hard not to assume this baby would too... I certainly thought she would. But 38 weeks came. And went. I was having braxton hicks, but nothing like the pre-labor I had with Piper and I began to think I was going to be pregnant forever. When I made it to 39 weeks, I was truly baffled. I know many moms go past their due date, but I had started to think that my body just baked babies faster and that this kid missed the memo.

At my 39 week appt, I was 5 cms dilated and had my midwife sweep my membranes. She told me that generally people went into labor within a couple days of having that done so to be ready. My response? Bring it on. I had been ready for weeks.

That afternoon, I started having random contractions. They felt nothing like the contractions I had when I was in labor with Jade or Piper so I couldn't really decide if they were real or if it was simply cramping from having my membranes swept. We went to Target and to dinner and I was contracting throughout but nothing too serious. They hurt worse than the Braxton Hicks had, but I still wasn't positive I was even in labor- not exactly a problem I expected to have with my third kid. When we got home, I had my mom put the girls in bed and I decided to take a bath, knowing that would slow things down if I wasn't in labor. I called my midwife before I got in and told her I wasn't really sure what was going on but that I might be in labor and I would let her know what was going on after I got out of the tub. And she told me she was at a birth 3 hours away. Uh. Not what I wanted to hear. She called her backup midwife and let me know that she could be there in about half an hour and just to let her know when I wanted to make that call. So I climbed into the tub, both hoping I was and was not in labor.

The contractions continued while I was in the tub and after I got out, so I called Dawn back and let her know. She told me Yvonne (her backup) and Taryn (assistant) would be on their way soon. Then I called my doula. No answer. And the birth photographer. No answer. Um. Backup midwife, no husband, no doula? Not my plan. I told my parents that I was definitely in labor and to start filling up the tub. They were great and pitched in immediately. And then I remembered that I had a tub liner (borrowed tub). So they had to empty the tub pot by pot. Oops.

While they were doing this, I went to my bedroom and called Chuck. He was super groggy (it was 5 am his time) but it was so good to hear his voice and he seemed happy to finally be getting "the call". I told him that I felt alone and he said "well, yeah, I think that's understandable with everything going on".  We talked for a while and then I told him that I needed to go. He said he wouldn't go back to sleep and to let him know when I was ready to FaceTime. I came back into the family room and shortly after, Taryn and Yvonne got here. Yvonne apologized about 30 times in the first 5 minutes she was here that she wasn't Dawn. I kept assuring her it was ok and then I just kind of zoned out for a bit. Taryn gave me my antibiotic shot for Group B strep and they told me they would get ahold of Heather (Doula) and I talked to Tavia (Photographer) during this time.

I turned on Gilmore Girls and sat on the exercise ball and watched TV for a while. I still wasn't in active labor and I was starting to freak out that I had called everyone too soon and they were gonna be at my house for 3 days. I knew that when active labor kicked in, I would move pretty quickly, but I was beginning to lose faith active labor was ever gonna come. Sometime during my second episode of Gilmore, Heather got here looking very sheepish and apologetic for not answering the phone. She turned the lights off in the family room and we chatted a little bit. I told her I was starting to feel like the stupid first time mom that shows up at the hospital at 2 cms and she assured me that wasn't the case and things had probably stalled because nothing was going as planned.

When the second episode ended, I got up to go to the bathroom and realized my calves were killing me from the way I had been sitting on the ball. I told Heather I definitely needed to change positions and she suggested that I call Chuck. So I went into the bedroom and closed the door and called him on the iPad. We talked for about 15-20 minutes I think and I just told him I was so frustrated and I was never gonna have the baby and everyone was gonna be there for 3 days and they were all gonna hate me and blah blah blah. You might say I was feeling a bit emotional ;) He assured me that they all chose the profession they were in and they were there for me and no one hated me and I was going to have the baby soon. While we were talking, I realized my contractions were coming much more frequently and I was having to stop to breathe through them. I didn't wanna jinx myself, so I didn't say anything but when I came back out to the kitchen, Taryn obviously noticed a difference and told me she was gonna call Tavia to come on over. I was thrilled because apparently things were actually going to progress forward. Heather informed me that it was the oxytocin from talking to Chuck.

At that point I kind of just walked around the kitchen talking to everyone and stopped and leaned on the island for the contractions. Chuck had gotten in the shower when we got off the iPad and he called back at some point. Or I called him. I truly don't remember. Either way, this is when everything really got started. Things were getting pretty intense and I decided to get in the tub. It took about 10 minutes to get the iPad set up where Chuck could see me. I think we wound up using a kitchen chair, one of the girl's booster seats, Yvonne's iPad case and a couple DVDs to get it to the right level where he could see me. Tavia got there sometime after I got in the tub and started snapping pictures.

This is where I lose all concept of time. I would guess I was in the tub for about an hour. The contractions were intense but the water really does an amazing job of taking the edge off. At some point, I started thinking that I probably needed to get out and change positions. I decided to ignore that urge because I knew it would hurt to get out. Unfortunately (ok, not really, but ya know), Yvonne has done this before and suggested a change of position. She told me I didn't have to get out but that if I stayed where I was, baby was gonna stay where they were.

I had been squatting for an hour and when I tried to move my legs completely gave out. I became all sorts of whiny and told them I couldn't move because my legs were shot. So they grabbed a rebozo, wrapped it around me and hauled me into another position like I was a whale. I had a couple contractions like that and I think we all kind of knew at that point that I needed to get out. So then they really picked me up like I was a whale because there was no freaking way I was gonna get out by myself. Yvonne mentioned that it had been a while since I went to the bathroom and I needed to try to empty my bladder.

I made it from the tub (which was in my kitchen) to my bedroom before another contraction hit. I leaned on the side of the changing table and realized I was actually having an urge to push with contractions. I think I was in the tub but this is the first one that I was like "ok, it's definitely there". After the contraction ended, Yvonne said, "ok, go sit on the toilet". When I was in labor with Jade I sat on the toilet for a good 10 minutes needing to pee and not being able to, so when she suggested sitting backwards I thought "huh, ok, maybe that'll work". Of course, it was also incredibly painful. But I was also actually able to go and then I had a contraction on the toilet which made me feel like punching the wall. The second it ended, they helped me get up and I shuffled my way back into my bedroom. They asked if I wanted to get on the bed and I think I kind of laughed and said no. I leaned on the side of the bed and they scrambled to put towels and stuff underneath me to protect the floor.

Someone set Chuck up on the bed so that he could see me and I could see him. I remember crying a few times that I needed him and really didn't want to start pushing because I hate pushing and he reminded me that if I didn't push I wasn't gonna get a baby so I should probably change my stance on that. At some point during all this, I looked over and noticed mom had slipped into the room. Apparently I was being loud and had woken her up. Go figure ;) I quickly re-focused on what I was doing and kind of forgot anyone was there other than Chuck. Everyone else was talking to me and encouraging me, but all of their voices kind of became one and I really just focused on him.

I feel like I pushed forever, but I'm pretty sure it was about 20 minutes. My water still hadn't broken and I remember everyone talking about how I might have a baby born in the caul. I said "hey, I've always thought that was super cool" and they said "you might get it!" then on the next contraction my water broke everywhere. Dang. The feeling of my water breaking was TONS of pressure and I had so been hoping it was the baby so when instead I just got a loud POP and water going everywhere I was a bit upset.

One or two contractions later, the baby was crowning. They kept telling me to pant and not to push and I was like "I can't!" I knew I was probably going to tear but I truly felt like this baby was gonna keep coming down whether or not I was actively pushing or not. SO different from Piper who hung out in the birth canal forEVER.

After the baby crowned, it took two more pushes to get the rest of the body out. I was so excited to reach down and pull her up but apparently my body produces really short umbilical cords so I was all hunched over trying to hold a baby at my stomach. Because the cord was so short and thick, I couldn't tell if it was a boy or a girl and couldn't hold her up to show Chuck. Apparently the midwife spilled the beans pretty quickly but I was kind of out of it and didn't notice. We didn't want to cut the cord until it quit pulsing and it felt like it pulsed FOREVER just because I was in such an awkward position and really wanted to be able to really look at and hold my baby.

Finally, the cord quit pulsing and my mom cut it. Then I could hold my baby up and I told Chuck that she was another girl! I was surprised- since she had baked so much longer than my girls had, I had started to assume it was a little boy.

After that, things are kind of a blur. Charlie was screaming her head off for a while, I tried to go to the bathroom again, took a very quick shower, we discovered Charlie liked being swaddled and tried to start nursing. She wasn't a big fan to begin with but has improved since then so I won't complain. Everyone chipped in and cleaned up and Charlie and I snuggled for a while until the big girls woke up and came in to meet their big sister. All in all, it was the perfect birth and if I happen to have another kid, I will definitely have a home birth again. And maybe Chuck can actually be there!

She was 8 lbs 9 ozs and 20 inches long.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Piper grows up, 2 years

Piper girl,

When your sister turned two, I could barely believe it. You? I believe it. I thought your sister was stubborn and independent but you have taught me a thing or two about what that really means. You are everything I want you to be and a few things I don't want. You are strong, smart, affectionate and happy. You are also headstrong, moody, and independent to a fault. I love everything about you, but certainly get frustrated with your insistence that you do something yourself that you are completely incapable of doing.

Moving on. I remember being pregnant with you and being scared… scared that you would feel that you weren't loved like Jade was or scared that Jade would feel like her baby/toddlerhood was cut short by your arrival. And certainly, y'all being 18-months apart makes giving you each undivided attention hard. But ya know what? I think you're both gonna be the better for it. My fears have been completely squelched because not only did my heart grow so much when you were born, but you have your sister to love you too. So you get mama love AND big sister love and that's pretty awesome.

Speaking of your sister… I'm not sure how much you're gonna want to read this when you're older, but at this current age, you look up to her so much. Everything she does, you want to do. She jumps on one leg? You jump (and fall) on one leg. She pretends to sneeze and then giggles? You pretend to sneeze and then giggle. She runs and says she's gonna get her blanky from her bedroom? You follow and grab your own. Truly, you could not be more different and I certainly see myself shuttling to many different activities in my future because y'all are not gonna be doing the same ones, but you are also so similar.

You are still relatively fearless. I say relatively because I have certainly seen more daring kids, but compared to your sister you might as well be jumping off buildings. You climb up all the scary stuff at the playground, go down the huge slides and then do it all over again. You try to climb up our bookcases (don't worry folks, they're strapped to the wall!), get on the kitchen table, try to jump over the back of the couch, and frequently try to jump off of whatever you're on even though you can't quite do that yet so you kind of just fall. I swore you would be my first ER visit but I was proven wrong just 2 days after your birthday when I was sitting there with Jade. I won't say it was your fault… but um, I don't think the incident would have occurred without your presence.

You love your daddy and get super excited when he gets home from work. You love going to Mothers' Day Out and know all of your classmates names which really impressed me. You are started to be able to count, as opposed to saying "1, 3, 1, 3" when you pretend to count. You love to eat… you're picky, but not nearly as much as your sister so I'll take it. You're not quite talking in complete sentences, but you talk all.the.time and I can understand most of what you say. You're taking an interest in the potty but that's about it. You give great hugs and kisses as long as they're on your terms :) You love having tea parties and pushing your dolls in your stroller. You sing constantly… mostly in the car. "Jesus Loves Me," "You Are My Sunshine," and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" are your favorites. You also made up a song that goes "donut donut donut donut" on your birthday after your special breakfast that you really enjoyed.

Every now and then, you still let mama wear you. You're still nursing about 4 times a day and mama is starting to work on weaning now. You are far more attached to nursing than Jade ever was and I'm trying to make sure I do this gently. You're sleeping in a toddler bed and do well with it, for the most part.

I love you more than words can say and am so excited to watch you grow up.

Hugs and kisses,

and the pictures of Piper girl from our family photos a few weeks ago

Thursday, August 15, 2013

All the things

this post is all over the place. i would apologize, but really i'm just proud of myself for posting, so i won't.

The past two weeks, I have felt like a glorified cattle prodder and taxicab. We have rushed from one thing to another to another, and I can't remember the last time we were at home that my kids were awake that we weren't eating (this might be slightly exaggerated, because my memory is horrible- but suffice it to say, we've been busy). The sad thing is, I don't even know exactly what we've been doing. But somehow swim lessons 3x a week and the normal grocery shopping and Target trips have been combined with errands and attempts to socialize to become 3 very burnt out and grumpy girls in this house.

It's taking more and more work to get the girls out of the house. "But mama, I'm playing." And then when we come home and I need to cook dinner and need them to play "mama, I want you to hug me." Hugs are good, but at the end of a day where I barely sat down, I need my body to belong to me so that I can cook something.

So today? We're not going anywhere. We're not getting out of pajamas. We're cleaning the playroom so that we can walk in there again and we're going to play. And chill. And probably watch too much TV. I struggle with days like this. I try to pick one day a week that we don't go anywhere and while that sounds relaxing and wonderful, it actually stresses me out. Jade and Piper don't play very well together if they're not supervised. My days spent at home are spent breaking up fights, kissing boo boos from being pushed and bit, trying to find activities to keep them both busy and wanting to curl up into a ball and hide from my children. But I'm actually excited for today. We all need this. The girls are tired. I'm tired. And sometimes you just need to wear PJs.

Being excited for a day at home has me praying and searching and asking God if I'm doing too much. I feel like I shouldn't be this burnt out. There are constantly 5,000 things running through my mind. If I sit on the couch during nap time, I think about all the things I should be doing and feel incredibly guilty, making my supposed relaxing time anything but.

The floors need to be mopped.
The bathroom has dirty clothes all over the floor.
There's a load of clothes in the dryer that need to be folded.
The couch is covered in dog hair.
I need to move the highchair to the attic.
I really should walk the dogs more.
I need to clean the window on the back door.
Do we have enough money to buy flowers? We need flowers. Ours died.
Clutter is piling in the kitchen again.
Why haven't I hung curtains? This looks like a frat house.
I need to get rid of some toys. Too many toys.
I need to take Jade to the dentist.
Where is Piper's birthday party going to be?

Ok I'm done. But I could go on all day. My brain never stops. At some point, I make a point to turn it off, but generally I just go to bed then. So am I striving for too much? Do I need to lower my housecleaning standards, again? Do I need to give up on ever owning a home that's nicely decorated since my talents seem to lie elsewhere (don't ask me where my talents are, I just know they don't involve decorating). Or do I just need to rely on Him more fully. Let things slide sometimes and reign them in at other times.

So I stop. And breathe. And tell myself this is only a season. And play another round of Candy Land on my floor covered in dog hair and remind myself Candy Land is more important. One day at a time. I pray for guidance with the little things. The day to day. God cares about everything, but He doesn't want me to do everything. So I set boundaries. I protect our "stay at home day" fiercely. I remind myself that I am only one person.

Monday, July 15, 2013

When I need to write the most

One day last week, this was my facebook status:

I really do try not to complain much on here. I am blessed and I know it. But this morning, friends, I could use some prayers. I feel overwhelmed, ill-equipped and exhausted.

Honestly? Lately, that's how I've felt most days. Short on patience. Feeling like a failure. Guilty. Overwhelmed. The list goes on.

I really don't know when it all started. What I do know is that when I started to recognize it, instead of hitting it head on like I needed to, I hid. Hid from myself. Hid my problems from my friends.

When I needed to write the most, I went quiet. Avoided my quiet time. Started dealing with jealousy. And pride. And just went downhill.

I'm not "better" right now. But I'm done avoiding. Done acting like I'm ok when I'm not. Done feeling guilty for parts of myself I have no control over. Done thinking that my kids would be better off with someone else. Done acting defeated instead of fighting back. 

I'm not an idiot, I know this isn't the last time I'll deal with this. It seems to be something I'm gonna be dealing with for a long time. But I can make more of an effort to take care of myself and not curl into a ball the second I start to feel depressed again. I can stop relying on myself for things I was never intended to do, and instead rely on the One who loves to carry me through these times. 

And this is simply me putting this out there so I can't go back on my word immediately...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The top 10 signs you move too much (in no particular order)

1. You can never remember your zip code.

2. You find yourself driving to stores that are not in the city you currently reside in.

3. You never know what to say when people ask where you're from.

4. Your phone number isn't the right area code.

5. Your driver's license and license plate are the wrong state. And are a different state than your phone number...

6. When something about your current state of residence bothers you (hypothetically speaking {cough cough} tornadoes), you say "well I'm not from here" like you could control it if you were.

7. You own two homes that you do not live in, one that you have not seen in 5 years.

8. You think a 6-hour drive is a short road trip.

9. You have an attic full of clothes and recreational equipment for the wrong climate.

10. You can't remember if you saw that cookie sheet (drill, set of sheets, extra shower curtain...) in this house or your last one.

(and I wouldn't have it any other way)

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Tuesday, Piper girl started gymnastics. Seriously guys, I never would've been one of those moms that signed up my 18-month old. But keeping her entertained for 50 minutes while watching Jade is nearly impossible and Jade no longer has to be in a mommy and me class so we can go during the day and I can go in with Piper.

With that said, Piper LOVED it. Loved. She did things Tuesday that in 4 sessions we never got Jade to do. And Jade started a dance/gym combo class and was SO excited. Since I'm busy with Piper, I didn't get to see her dance at all, but her teacher said she did really well and followed all the instructions and Jade told me that she had "lots of fun" so I'll call it successful. I think she'll like dance a whole lot more than gymnastics so this might be the last round of gymnastics- or maybe we'll stick with the combo? Not sure, but I'm not paying for two separate classes, that's for sure.

This post is mainly about pictures though. The lighting in my house is horrible, so just bear with me.

Wouldn't stand up...

Wouldn't look at me...

Looked at me. But Jade didn't!


Yes, she held onto this all by herself. And signed "again" the second she hit the mat.

Staring at the people on the trapeze-jealous.

"Ok, fine, I'll climb"

I have a feeling this place will continue to get my money for some time to come.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

What needs to change?

saying that my thoughts are jumbled tonight is an understatement, so i apologize ahead of time 

Tonight I find myself asking this question. Realizing that something has to change because I'm headed down the wrong path again.

This month, I was reading through Nehemiah with SheReadsTruth. And just like a lot of other places in the Old Testament, we see the Israelites fail and recommit and then fail again. It would be so easy to point fingers. To act like I don't understand. To pretend like that is an Old Testament problem and not something I'm very much struggling with today in the here and now.

But that's not true. Although I'm not breaking covenant law with God and I have the grace of Jesus, there are certain things God has revealed to me about myself throughout the course of my life that I am downright ignoring. Because of that, I am finding myself burnt out, snippy and tired. I always try to just sleep more when I get like this, but the fact is the physical tiredness isn't the problem. I feel another kind of tiredness from the busyness and pressure I put on myself to do all the things.

I've never tried to make it a secret that I struggle with depression. It's hard to even type that without feeling like a failure, but if I don't face it and name it and speak power over it, it begins to take over. And if I ignore the things God has taught me, it doesn't matter how hard I think I'm fighting the depression, I lose.

So sometimes I have to take a step back. Re-examine things and see where my choices are taking me. Ask myself what someone looking at me from the outside thinks about my priorities. Ask myself what my kids think about the choices I'm making. Ask myself if I make my husband feel important or like an afterthought.