I need to not be needed

The last few days have been really rough for me and my little family. Stella had some sort of stomach virus that lasted for almost 2 full weeks. She didn’t feel bad, she just had explosive… well, just explosive everything. And she needed me. Not all the time. Sometimes Sean would suffice. But when she felt really bad, she needed me. When she was tired or thirsty or hungry, she needed me.

That’s fine really. I’m used to being needed. It kind of comes with the “mom” territory.

What I’m not used to is being needed by two people. Marci needs me too and since she’s still in the fourth trimester, I’m really the only one that meets her needs. With Marci touching me for what feels like 24 hours a day and Stella needing comfort those same 24 hours a day (not to mention the dogs needing food, etc), I just need a break from being needed.

For me, easily the hardest part of transitioning from 1 child to 2 children is that they both need me so much. I know, I know. That sounds horrible. But hear me out. I have 2 kids under the age of 3. Both of them need me and one of them needs me pretty much 24/7. I have to make some choices that I didn’t have to make when Stella was a newborn. I have to prioritize the needs of each child and I don’t like that.

It’s hard, this parenting thing. No one says it’s easy, but no one can really tell you how hard it is to be needed all.the.time. Parenting is one of those things that legitimately cannot accurately be described. Being needed so much is just exhausting. Mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. Even though all the neediness is exhausting me right now, I’m overjoyed. That word is really inadequate to describe how it feels to know that you made such awesome little people, but it’s the best I can do in my exhausted state. That’s what being a parent really is: a mixture of being overwhelmed by the needs of your offspring and being overwhelmed by the joy your offspring bring you by just being themselves. And maybe a dash of just wanting to finish your hot beverage while it’s still hot. 

 

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April Fool’s Day

Over the last month I’ve spent a LOT of time reading. Like a lot a lot. Most of the books I’ve been reading are about medieval Europe. I’m not sure why; that’s just how it worked out. Anyway. One of the things I’ve learned from one of these books is that April Fool’s Day came about when the Gregorian Calendar was accepted and changed New Year’s Day from April 1 to January 1. As it turns out, that’s not actually true–probably. The timing of the acceptance of the Gregorian Calendar doesn’t jive with early mentions of April Fool’s Day (Chaucer mentions it in the Canterbury Tales, but the calendar wasn’t accepted in England until the mid-18th century). Regardless, April Fool’s Day is probably tied to early celebrations of the arrival of spring, which always included pranks and mentions of fools.

I’ll stop boring you with my history nerd knowledge, but all of that did have a point and it was this: I hate pranks and practical jokes. Always have. Some are admittedly funny, but generally I think they’re just mean. At least, I think they’re mean when they’re personal. I tend to really enjoy the less personal prank news stories and such. For example, Kindle Author or Burger King’s New Fragrance.  So, you can imagine how amused I was when I popped over to Amazon this morning to order some diapers really cool new product and saw Amazon’s new Dash Button.*

Am I the only one who hates April Fool’s Day pranks? Based on my own research, yes.

But this doesn’t mean that I hate April Fool’s Day. In fact, I really like like it because it’s the anniversary of the day I met Sean. Meeting on April Fool’s Day was, thankfully, not a forecast of how our relationship would turn out. This year is the 9th (!!!) anniversary of our meeting and I still get that fluttery feeling in my stomach when I see him.

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Ah. Young-ish love.

*Apparently, the Dash Button is actually a Thing. I think it’s really neat and have now signed up to hopefully get one. 

Hello, Morning!

Remember earlier in the week when I blogged about how I had a terrible cold and was super worried that the newborn would also catch a terrible cold? Good news! I survived the cold (which is still hanging on, btw) and the newborn didn’t catch it (at least not yet. Breastfeeding ftw!).

Since it appears that I’m not going to die (immediately anyway), I wanted to let you know about some steps I’ve taken over the last few weeks to do something that’s always been out of my reach.

I’m going to become a morning person.

If you see me on a daily basis, you probably know I’m categorically NOT a morning person. That’s not to say I don’t like mornings. I actually love mornings. I love waking up, having a hot beverage, reading a bit, and eating breakfast all preferably while sitting outside or near a window. What I don’t love is doing things in the morning. I hate being forced to get up and rush to get ready for the day and rush to be somewhere. I like having time in the morning. I like mornings that prepare me for the day. Alas, mornings like that rarely happen to me.

Instead my mornings generally go like this–I wake up about 15 minutes late (yes, no matter what time I set my alarm for I wake up 15 minutes later than I need to), I rush to the shower, rush through the shower, toss on some makeup, hurriedly do my hair, toss on some clothes (which will hopefully be easier with my ongoing closet reorganization), make my breakfast smoothie, grab lunch, grab my bag, and head out the door. And that’s just the me stuff. You also have to add in the helping Stella get ready stuff. Sean and I divide this up, so it’s never the same but always had 15-20 mins to the morning routine. Now that Marci is here and I add nursing her and getting her stuff together to the routine, we’ll be looking at another 15-20 minutes to all of that. So we’re looking at probably a 2 hour-ish morning routine before I even make it out the door.

And that’s why I need to become a morning person. Mornings like I described above (i.e. every morning I’m not on maternity leave) cause a lot of unnecessary stress and leave me feeling frazzled for the rest of the day. Much like the closet reorganization, I’ve got a plan. This one is less complicated, but will undoubtedly be much harder to implement.

Basically, the plan is to incorporate the things I love about mornings into my everyday morning routine. Obviously all of those things can’t happen every morning unless I want to wake up for the day at 3 a.m. Since I definitely don’t want that to happen, I’m working on altering those things to fit my schedule. I’ll be incorporating habits to give me more focus, make me more alert, and give me more energy throughout the day. My goals are to give up caffeine (check!), drinking lemon/honey water, incorporating 15-20 minutes of yoga and/or meditation, and, this is the big one, not pick up my phone or hit the snooze button before I’m ready to walk out the door.

Since the hardest part about this plan is going to be, you know, actually doing it, I’m starting it now. That gives be about 8 weeks or so before I have to actually use it to get out the door at a specific time. So far, I’ve given up caffeine (remarkably easy with a newborn) and have started drinking lemon/honey water (surprisingly refreshing and soothing). I’m working on the not picking up the phone part of the plan, but that’s not going well. At some point in the coming weeks, I’ll start doing some yoga after I wake up and, eventually, I’ll start setting an alarm again and not snoozing it.

I can’t say I’m a morning person yet. At least not in the sense that I enjoy doing things in the morning, but I think I’ll get there. And, hey, we’re one step closer. If you’ll notice, I’m actually writing this post in the morning! Woohoo!

Baby steps, my friends, baby steps.

Naming it is the hardest part.

I’ve got several blog posts mapped out just waiting to be written. This post  isn’t one of them. I’ve succumbed to Stella’s most recent daycare cold and, even though I feel the need to write, I just don’t want to give short shrift to any of the posts I’ve mapped out.

So, here we are.

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My sick station

 

I’m sitting on my couch with some terrible sinus pressure, a runny nose, sore throat and a newborn. A newborn who also has a runny nose. I know this is just a cold, but Stella didn’t get her first cold until she was almost 3 months old. A three week old with a potential cold really freaks me out. I’m waking up every time she makes a noise, I’m sleeping with my hand on her chest or with her on my chest, I”m nursing her as often as possible and hoping that she’s getting antibodies from me.

I’m sitting on my couch, feeling pretty terrible myself, and feeling anxious that my newborn also feels terrible. This feeling–the feeling that you’re more worried about someone else than yourself–really only has one name.

Motherhood.

I’ve felt it before. Of course I have. I have a two year old. It’s new and different now though. Feeling it for someone other than Stella is new and different.

Motherhood is old and new all at once.

Spring cleaning

The suspiciously un-blizzardy weather (I can see the grass!) we’ve been having the last few days has me thinking about spring cleaning.  I want to clean and organize ALL THE THINGS, but since I’m only 10 days postpartum I’ve decided to baby steps (Ha! See what I did there? Baby steps…) and do small tasks for now instead of taking on the BIG ONE (the garage) immediately. I’m going to be reorganizing/cleaning/clearing most areas in my house over the next few months as part of a move to a more minimalist lifestyle, so you’ll probably be reading quite a bit about my “spring” cleaning.

First task is my closet. Why is the closet first? Two reasons. First, I’ve gotten much too comfortable wearing leggings as pants. Don’t misunderstand. I LOVE leggings. Especially when pregnant and postpartum. But I can’t in good conscience keep wearing leggings as pants like 3 times a week.

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Exhibit A: My outfit today.

Non-legging related reason to start with the closet: Right now I have  3 different wardrobes and that’s 2 too many. I have a regular wardrobe for spring, summer, fall, and winter, a maternity wardrobe for fall and winter, and a postpartum wardrobe for spring/summer. To make matters worse, portions of each are all currently in my closet. It’s a mess.

So, how is this closet spring cleaning going to work? Slowly and in baby steps. First, the maternity wardrobe goes into storage. I’m not sure that I’m finished with it  and 10 days postpartum is too soon to make final decision. Next, I’m taking a good look at the postpartum wardrobe. Obvs this is the wardrobe I’m wearing now and if my experience with Stella is any indication, I’ll be wearing this wardrobe for several months (probably into the early fall or even winter) and will need to add a few pieces. After that, I’ll be going through my regular wardrobe. Even though I won’t be wearing it for a while, I know what I wore and what I really didn’t and can go ahead and pare it down before I actually start wearing it again. Finally, I’m going to edit my accessories. Shoes, jewelry, bags, etc. I have tons of accessories because I’ve always had the mentality that more options are better than fewer options. Now it’s time to face facts: at this point in my life, more options overwhelm me and I can’t decide which pair of red shoes I should wear and just end up wearing black instead.

The end goal of all of this is a capsule wardrobe. I’m really drawn to the idea of a capsule wardrobe because, as I mentioned with the accessories, I don’t really have the time or energy to have a lot of clothing options right now. I want to be able to reach into my closet and know that whatever I pull out is going to go together.  I’m doing this with the stylebook app and my Breastfeeding Friendly Closet pinterest board (because for the next 2 years or so my wardrobe also has to be breastfeeding friendly).

Things got rolling today when I started gathering up maternity clothes (minus my favorite Old Navy tanks which have made the leap from maternity to full-time wardrobe) for storage. Tomorrow I’m planning to pull the postpartum wardrobe from storage and begin the process of adding it to stylebook and evaluating what I need to add to it. Of course, all of this is contingent on a newborn so things may or may not go according to plan. This is going to be a long process (probably), but I’ll provide updates to let you know how/if its working out along the way.

Pregnancy Update: The I’m not pregnant anymore edition

Welcome to the world, Marcella Novelle!

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Baby Marci joined us at 6:54 am on March 1st. Full birth story to come later. For now, enjoy some cute baby pics!

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And one of Stella and Marci. Stella loves her so much that she actually can’t stop touching her. I love it and am so freaked out by it at the same time.

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Stella’s Birth Story

Now that Baby 2 is just weeks (or even days!) from making her appearance, it seems like a good idea to finally finish writing and post Stella’s birth story. I started writing this in March of 2013 when Stella was just a couple of months old. I haven’t finished it because I’m having trouble editing. I want to include everything, but if I did that this post would be roughly 10 pages long. So I’m left with trying to include only the most important parts, which is impossible because it’s all the most important part.

What I really want to say is this: Stella’s birth was the most amazing experience of my life. It was hard and, at times, not the most comfortable thing that’s ever happened tome. But it was worth it. And not just because I got the best baby ever at the end. It was worth it because it taught me that I’m a strong person, mentally and emotionally, and showed me what my body is capable of. 

Here’s the rest of the story… 


 

I’ve been writing this post in my head since Stella was born, but haven’t been able to put in down on paper (or, more accurately, computer screen) until now. It still seems a little unbelievable to me that she’s is really here and that her arrival went even better than I had imagined it would. Well. That’s not quite true. Part of me thought I might have an hour long labor like my mother did with me. That part of me was off by about 10 hours or so… But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I woke on January 23, 2013, Stella’s due date, with a cold. Sore thought, stuffy nose, headache, body aches, but no I’m-going-into-labor-today feeling. That morning I felt bad; I was tired of being pregnant, I was sick and I just wanted to stay in bed. But I knew that I was  going to have a baby sometime within two weeks of that day and I needed to do a couple of things at work before that happened. So I went to work. A few hours and an entire box of Kleenex later (not to mention completing the very last project I needed to complete),  I threw in the towel and decided to go home for the day.

When I got home, I treated my cold with tomato soup and grilled cheese, then decided to take a nap. As I was arranging my pillow nest and settling in for what was going to be the best nap in the history of naps, I felt… something. I froze for a minute, then realized my water had broken. As luck would have it, Sean had just texted me  to see if I was feeling laborey. I told him the situation and he excitedly (anxiously?) called to say he was on his way home.

Needless to say, I was too excited to finish my nap and spent the time until Sean got home excitedly pacing. Once he got home, we went to my midwife’s office, just to be sure that everything was a go for spending lots of time laboring at home. It was and we headed back home to hang out for a few hours. I should add here that being in a car while in labor isn’t super fun. At all.

To speed things up here, let’s just say I spent the next few hours doing things and stuff. Mainly walking, yoga-ing, watching TV, and bouncing on my yoga/birth ball. Around 7 p.m., Sean couldn’t take it anymore and suggested (forcefully) that we go to the hospital. So, we gave our parents and our doula a call, learned the doula had the flu and would have to call in her backup, and we headed to the hospital. Our new doula (who turned out to be awesome!) met us there and my parents showed up about an hour later (despite us telling them not to come yet)…. just in time for us to leave again. Because we were there too early. Which is something I told Sean before we even left the house.

Anyway.

We drove back home. And I cannot stress enough here how uncomfortable it is to be buckled into a moving car unable to move when you’re in labor. So. Uncomfortable.  Ladies, do not, I repeat do not, let your nervous husband talk you into going to the hospital when you know its not time.

Once we got home, I went upstairs to do some hypnobabies in bed and took a bath. Sean kept trying to feed. Pro tip: Your in labor wife isn’t going to eat the leftover tomato soup and grilled cheese she had for lunch. To be honest, though, I wasn’t really that hungry. In the end, I let him feed me a banana and some saltines.

While I was upstairs, relaxing and hanging out, Sean was downstairs convincing my parents to go home. My dad did go home after a bit, but my mom stayed around, cleaned the house, did some laundry, and started reading a book. BEST IN LABOR PRESENT EVER.

After a few hours of this (maybe around 1 a.m.-ish? I don’t know. My sense of time is really skewed here.), I started feeling panicky and nauseated. When I got off the bed to go vomit in the toilet (childbirth is a beautiful and magical time), my water broke. For real. Not just a little leak  like earlier in the day, but like I was suddenly standing in a puddle broke. Of course I took that opportunity to vomit. In the hall. It was fantastic.

And that, ladies and gents, is when you know its time to go to the hospital.

Again, in the interest of speeding things up, Mom and Sean did necessary cleanup, I changed clothes, dogs got walked, doula got called, Mom drove us to the hospital (again, car rides in labor are excruciating), I declined a wheelchair, requested a room with a tub, spent 20 terrible minutes confined to the bed on a fetal monitor, made it to the tub, and decided to never leave the tub. ever. again. Seriously, I was ready to call in a decorator and make that tub my home. I won’t bore you guys with details and honestly, I don’t remember that much of the next several hours (thank you, oxytocin and other birthing hormone cocktail), but around 5:45-ish, Sean and our doula convinced me to get out of the tub to go on the fetal monitor again.

While I was on the monitor, transition happened. This was easily the most difficult part of birth. It happened so suddenly I didn’t have time to prepare and this was the only time during birth that I was convinced I couldn’t do it. I remember thinking “Oh. This is why people schedule c-sections.” I couldn’t focus on my breath. I asked for an epidural and meant it. And then our doula said “It’s too late for an epidural. You’re at 9 cm.” Just as suddenly as I was convinced I couldn’t do it, I knew I could do it. I was almost there.

About an hour later, at 7:00 a.m. exactly, I pulled my daughter onto my chest. Unfortunately, there aren’t any safe for the internet pictures of that, so here’s one taken a  couple of hours later.