Everything AND the Kitchen Sink!

It’s been a rough month for my little family, so I am a bit behind on any lifestyle changes I have been hoping to implement this year. But I have a pretty darn good excuse…

I had foot surgery on December 18th :/ 

foot 1
December 19th. Day after surgery

Two years ago I tore I ligament in my foot playing soccer. At first they said it would heal on it’s own and had me wear a boot for 8 weeks. Then I started physical therapy, but it wasn’t healed. Then they told me to stay off of it again and give it longer to heal, so I did. But it didn’t heal. Then I got pregnant and ignored it for a long time. I could still walk and run on it without pain, but later in the evening I would get pain and swelling. I also could not go up on my toes at all, the torn ligament was the lateral collateral ligament in the side of my foot by my big toe.

Capture

 

So I was able to live with it, but not able to be as active as I’d like (planks were a no, as was yoga, calf raises, push ups…turns out you flex your toes back for a lot of things).

foot 2
January 14th. Healing underway

 

The surgery was the week before Christmas. I was completely non-weight bearing for the first week and then was able to hobble around putting light pressure on my heel, being sure to avoid pressure on the front of my foot.

Did I mention Baby Doll is crawling???

And pulling herself up to standing?!?!

esme standing
This was taken December 10th

So that has been mighty tricky. Baby Doll started crawling a couple of weeks before the surgery. I knew it was going to be hard, but I wanted to get this over with before she gets even more mobile.

After I scheduled my surgery, my dad was cleared to fly. He is in poor health and was having foot issues related to diabetes. So he, too, had to have foot surgery last year and wasn’t allowed to fly until recently. So he also hadn’t met baby yet and was anxious to come visit. So he came over Christmas and helped out (kind of). He was good at cooking me meals and somewhat watching baby. But he wasn’t great at watching baby because he cannot get up and down off the floor with her. He was also not great at cleaning up after himself in the kitchen – BUT I cannot complain because I didn’t have to cook myself anything (or pay for any of the groceries) while he was in town.

Esme and papa bu.jpg
She’s super interested in faces right now

THEN, On Christmas Evening, the shut-off valve under our kitchen sink broke! On Christmas. The shutoff valve! So water was leaking everywhere and we couldn’t shut it off to that one sink, so we had to shut off all the water to the entire house! On Christmas!

So no plumbers were available. No hardware stores were open. And none of us could shower, or flush a toilet, until we got it fixed… 

Luckily my dad is also pretty handy with plumbing. The next morning he and Beau took a trip to Ace Hardware and had it fixed in no time.

kitchen sink
Dad on the floor. Notice his foot is still in a boot from his surgery.

But beware! If you have one of those faucets that detaches with a hose and lets you spray water around the sink, the loop that hangs down under the sink can snag on the shut-off valves. Yank too hard to pull the faucet out and over time it will wear it down and eventually snap off. On Christmas.

But that’s not the end of it… Boy oh boy…

By the end of the week, Dolly had come down with Roseola. At first we just thought she was teething because she was feverish and fussy but otherwise seemed fine. But by Friday she was breaking out in a rash and so Saturday it was a trip to the pediatrician to see what was going on. Luckily it is self limiting and you just have to let it run its course, medicating with tylenol, ibuprofen or other fever reducers that are safe for babies.

So through that she started sleeping terribly again. Like up every two to three hours screaming and not wanting to be put back in her crib. It was exhausting.

So of course the next week Beau gets pink eye, because we’re whipped and sleep deprived and immunity is low… He finally goes to a doctor last Thursday because it still wasn’t totally cleared but the doc said it was pretty much through so not to worry.

Then that night he starts feeling worse and having G.I. issues. By the next day it’s chills, body aches and fever… Yup. He got the FLU! I know. This is getting to be ridiculous. So he goes to the urgent care clinic and gets on Tamiflu but doctor says he is still contagious for three days. So I had a nice long weekend (MLK Jr. Day) with Beau quarantined to the upstairs and me on full-time baby duty.

Good thing he was no longer contagious by Monday night. Because I thought I was going to die from lack of sleep and just general exhaustion.

Let’s not forget that I am still limited with my foot. And it’s my driving foot so I can’t drive. And I can’t carry a baby down our porch steps even if I could drive. So I didn’t leave my house from Friday after work until Tuesday morning. Rough.

Get your flu shots. Even if they are only 30% effective. 

I got mine. Dolly got hers. Both of us avoided flu. Beau did not get his shot this year and we all suffered because of it.

So you can see why I haven’t attempted to take on anything else in my life right now.

Sorry this turned into such a long post! How was your holiday? Hopefully better than mine…

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Colic and Acid Reflux

So Baby Dolly turned out to be a little bit tricky.

crying esme

(Beau trying to soothe Dolly bouncing on a fitness ball with her)

She wasn’t sleeping well and definitely did not like being put down on her back to go to sleep. She slept well on my chest held upright in my arms. Which was amazing, but also I needed to sleep sometime. 

Oh, and nobody warns you that newborn babies make weird breathing noises in their sleep. They grunt and gurgle and it can be soooo exhausting if you are a light sleeper like me. 

But aside from those normal grunting noises she was definitely having trouble being put down. So after discussing her symptoms with the pediatrician we were sent home with a diagnosis of acid reflux and a prescription for Ranitidine.

Her improvement was night and day! SO so glad we started the Ranitidine. She almost immediately had a easier time being put down to sleep without arching her back and crying. I even noticed a reduction in the amount of grunting noises she made in her sleep. It was a miracle drug.

BUT – she was still a bit of a fussy-butt every evening. Most nights she’d have a crying spell that was only quelled by bouncing on a pilates fitness ball while singing to her for upwards of 45 minutes to an hour.

Beau and I would take turns trying to coax her to sleep but regardless of what we did she had a crying spell most nights. Beau refuses to admit, even now, that she had colic. I, however, admit it fully (I also believe this is why we’re still having a bit of trouble sleeping at 8 months Confused Face on Samsung Experience 8.5 (Galaxy Note S8)).

Sure, I’ve heard of others who had WAY WORSE cases of colic. I thank my lucky stars it wasn’t worse than it was. Still, it was NO FUN and definitely made “Healthy Sleep Habits” hard to form.

I think the only way I survived this phase was with Beau’s help. We made the decision to introduce a bottle when she was around 2 weeks old. She took to it like a champ and still took my breast. No nipple confusion!

This did mean that I had to find some time each day to pump enough for one bottle to be given each night. But this was a small price to pay for 4 straight hours of sleep! 

She was still waking every two hours to eat so I’d feed her and then head to bed super early (like 7pm, no kidding). Then Beau would take the first shift and give her the bottle around 9. Then he’d hang out with her until she woke again around 11 and then he’d come get me and I’d take the rest of the night. Those four hours were essential to my sanity, and Beau still got enough sleep to function at work the next day.

We are lucky enough to have a spare room so one of us could sleep with Dolly in our bedroom (she slept in a bassinet of course) and the other would sleep in the spare room upstairs so as not to be woken by the cries. I realize this is a luxury not everyone has.

In all though, she did eventually grow out of both things. So if you are dealing with either of these issues. I feel for you. Hang in there, it does get better!

SO…Motherhood is no joke y’all

Wow… sorry I have been MIA for the last 8 months. I don’t know how I thought I could be a full time mom with a full time job and keep up with a blog. I apologize to anyone who was reading my blog and worried about me at any point in the last eight months. I am doing great – mostly. There’s a lot to catch you up on and I will backtrack and post some more detailed entries of what has happened and what I learned over the last 8 months. Here’s some highlights:

Esme newborn

4/26/2017: My sweet baby girl came on her due date! I know that never happens, but it did for me. Relatively few complications but man it was still rough. Details to come.

May-June: Many trials and errors with a colicky baby with a sensitive stomach. Not a lot of sleep. Luckily I have the sweetest husband ever who helped with night shifts so I didn’t go crazy.

July: Back too work much, much too fast and trying to figure out the whole pumping at work thing.

September: Changing daycare – I love the one she is at now. Plus learning to roll over

October: Supplementing with formula – my milk supply couldn’t keep up with pumping at work 😦

November: Solid foods, crawling and hand, foot and mouth disease

December: Merry Christmas to me, I need foot surgery and my baby can crawl and pull herself up to standing! Plus meeting Grandpa for the first time.

Now: Recovering from foot surgery, still not sleeping through the night. Baby has Roseola and husband has pink eye!!!

This shit is crazy

 

But I love it

 

Now excuse me while I try to get caught up on some of your posts out there to see what else I’ve missed these last 8 months…

Full Term! 37 weeks 2 days

So we’ve reached FULL TERM! Hooray!

I keep going back and forth, depending on the day, feeling like she could come any minute and we still have some time to wait. But every day I think I feel just a little more ready.

I haven’t “dropped” yet. I am feeling more pressure in my lower abdomen, but I don’t look like I am carrying any lower. This is a bit discouraging as what I am reading on line is that this happens ‘a couple of weeks’ before going into labor. I really don’t want to go past my due date (who does??) so I am hoping this isn’t something that is always true.

I also haven’t had any bursts of energy where I want to scrub my floors at 2am. Apparently this is another sign that things are getting “close” and they say it is part of “nesting.” I have been feeling pretty motivated to get everything checked off the to-do list, but I wouldn’t say that this has come with any extra energy, unfortunately.

Last night Beau and I went to the baby store to buy the rest of the “necessities” off the registry and use up the gift cards we accumulated from the baby showers. Which, of course, turned into buying just about everything that was left on the registry even though much of it we don’t need, or at least won’t need right away. Oh well, we are overly prepared now I think! But boy was that exhausting… so glad to have it done.

It seems like we have a task on our to-do list every day. Tonight we are packing the hospital bag. I am nervous about this task becoming a monster too. The more lists I look at the longer my list becomes… and it’s starting to feel a bit daunting. And then I think, am I even going to open the bag once I am at the hospital? I am sure there’s about 2 things I will end up using. Better to be over-prepared than under-prepared, right?

 

Mom’s out there:  Did you “drop”?  Did you get a sudden burst of energy and clean your whole house? How long from getting these ‘signs’ until labor started? 

Baby Shower! 35 weeks 6 days

OMG. Tomorrow I will be 36 weeks! One more week until “Full-Term” and 4 more weeks until due date. I can’t believe it’s coming up so quick!

This last weekend my friend and neighbor threw me an adorable baby shower. I felt so much love from my friends and family who helped me celebrate. I really felt spoiled by all the stuff I received.

Here’s a picture with some of my family members who attended the shower:

baby shower

As I get closer I feel less ready for the labor! I am sure all mom’s to be go through this… I thought I was ready – and I AM ready in a lot of ways. But goodness, the thoughts of labor can be overwhelming. I am taking a birthing class, that has been labeled as a Hypnobirthing class, but when I read descriptions of what Hypnobirthing is, I don’t think this class 100% fits the bill. I am under no delusions that I will be able to hypnotize myself into a trance during my labor that will allow me to not feel pain or experience my birth. I have only been to one class so far, but this class was really great. I love the instructor.

A few take aways from that class:

  • She does not like the term “natural” to describe an un-medicated birth. It implies that if medicine is used, it somehow becomes an un-natural birth. So instead she chooses to just call it an un-medicated birth.
  • She rejects the “birthing without fear” methods because she thinks it’s okay to acknowledge our fear and birth through it, not try to deny it is there.
  • Women should follow their birthing instincts and not feel inhibited from using movement, vocalizations, etc… as they labor.

I still can’t help but wonder how I will handle it. You never really know how your labor/birth experience is going to be. I hope I can handle it without the medications, I am trying to have confidence in my abilities…but doubts are creeping in.

Any advice out there from mom’s? However you chose to birth (medicated or un-medicated) I am open to any assuring words you can offer me! 

Doulas

Sorry I suck at blogging right now! I have so much to share I just haven’t had time to sit down and share it. Growing a baby is a lot of work! Today I am 31 weeks and 6 days! 

We interviewed our third Doula a couple weeks ago and I think we’ve found our winner! She seems really open and calming, just exactly what you’d want in a Doula, but almost just as important is that she is midwife certified and has attended around 300 births! She still charges less than the first Doula option we interviewed because she doesn’t offer any of the little extras. For instance, the first Doula takes notes about your birth during the process and writes you a birth story and also gives you some kind of trinket or charm after you’ve delivered. I am totally fine with passing up those little extras, in return for a more educated Doula who can come to my house and is certified to check my blood pressure, baby’s heart rate and my cervix for dilation while I am in labor, thus giving me a better opportunity to labor at home longer and knowing when I need to go to the hospital. I can’t tell you how reassuring this is.

I have had many friends give birth in their homes. Somehow it is more common in my area of the west than the general population. I assume this is something to do with the culture of frontierism and libertarianism. People around here are a little more suspicious of government and somehow that bleeds into modern medicine and doctors. Even some of my friends who I would consider to be more liberal on most issues (as opposed to libertarian) have chosen to give birth at home with midwives rather than at a hospital. However, I am not one who feels totally comfortable giving birth in my home without trained doctors and medical equipment on the ready should an emergency arise. 

I fall somewhere in the middle of showing up to the hospital and just doing whatever the doctor says, and not wanting the doctor involved at all. This is where the Doula/Midwife comes in. I think it is the best of both worlds to have a birth advocate who can keep me comfortable in my home for as long as possible, and help me to achieve an epidural-free hospital birth, which is my goal. 

I have a few reasons for wanting to try and epidural-free birth. The most important being that I have low blood pressure. Epidurals can cause your blood pressure to drop further, and if that happened to me and it tanked my blood pressure to be “too low” I would end up with an emergency c-section. That is the last thing I want. So that is the biggest reason, in addition to not wanting to be considered a “fall risk” and then restricted to the bed for the entirety of my laboring. Being able to move around and try different birth positions (squatting, all-fours, etc…) seems to be the key in finding the most effective way for an individual to give birth with the least amount of complications (delayed labor, tearing, etc…).

At the same time I am trying to keep an open mind and be gentle on  myself. If I end up in stalled labor without the epidural and the contractions are getting to be more than I can handle, I will allow myself to give into the epidural. I will not see this as a failure if it happens. As long as I bring a healthy baby girl into the world at the end of it all, it will be a successful birth. I truly believe that there are no wrong decisions to be made when it comes to giving birth, we all do what we feel is best for ourselves and our babies.

I have, unfortunately, encountered some people who have stronger opinions on the matter. I don’t bring up my birth plan in conversation with anyone, but if someone asks I am open to letting them know what my intentions are. I have been disappointed in a friend who recently gave birth, who I thought would be more sympathetic to the plight of pregnant women and the judgement we all receive, only to be met with comments like “women who want to have an un-medicated birth are trying be martyrs so they can brag about it” and “our ancestors who didn’t have pain medication in birth would think we were stupid to decline them.”

None of her comments have made me question my choices. It’s just sad that we as women place so much judgement on each other! I never once told her that choosing and epidural for her birth was bad in any way. It was the right choice for her. She had an easy, uncomplicated birth with no tearing. I am happy for her. It’s just that I want to try something different. We need to practice more acceptance of each other as women and not be so quick to compare ourselves to others or judge them for the choices they make.

On a positive note: Weekend before last I had a friend (a different friend) take some maternity photos of me! And then this last weekend Beau and I took a short babymoon to Las Vegas to enjoy some warmer weather and a some relaxation before this baby arrives! Expect updates on both soon! (if I can get my shit together and actually blog haha)

Finding Balance

So I will be 28 weeks along tomorrow! I am officially in my third trimester – home stretch!

third-trimester

It’s becoming clearer to me by the day (by the minute!) that I need to take care of myself first and foremost. Because right now, caring for myself and my baby are one in the same.

But there are so many things happening so quickly in the world around us. It is hard not to want to simultaneously get outraged at ALL of it, and bury my head in the sand and ignore it all. I see friends on both extremes. The ones posting constant Facebook updates of what has is happening and how terrible it all is. It’s all happening so fast that there’s a new article, meme, or breaking news livestream at least every thirty minutes. It’s exhausting.

And then there’s the friends who are are asking when we can all go back to just posting cat videos and pictures of our food. Not wanting to address any of it.

I believe in  balance. I know I cannot get outraged about every issue – there are just too many of them. I am happy to show my support in many ways to many issues, but I cannot show up to every march and every rally.

So here are the things I am doing:

  • Calling or Emailing my Senators
    • it only takes five minutes to let your opinion be known
    • The staffers taking calls are usually polite and they have to pass your views onto the senators (even if it’s just tallying yays and nays on an issue)
    • I feel like I can speak up about a lot more issues if I restrict myself to doing just this one thing for most of the issues I am hearing about.
  • Re-posting information I find helpful and thorough on social media
    • I know this isn’t always helpful, I have said before that I am mostly preaching to the choir. Though I do have some friends with different views so perhaps I am reaching them in a small way
    • I discriminate which things I will share. Only things from trusted sources, nothing click-bait-y or extreme.
  • Commenting with Caution
    • If I feel someone genuinely wants to engage in a discussion, I am willing to oblige.
    • But only on topics I feel knowledgeable about! (this is key, don’t get into something unless you really know what you are talking about!)
    • If it turns petty I tune out. No reason to keep arguing with someone for the sake of arguing. That only drives a further wedge.
  • Get Educated
    • You cannot be an expert on all things, and that’s okay! If you feel strongly about an issue that is happening, learn more about that issue!
      • This goes in hand with the above, if you care about something and want to engage in conversation about it – learn all you can!
    • Focus on one or two issues that really hit home for you and try to learn as much as you can about them and how people are affected.
    • Do not feel guilty that you do not care about the same issues as other people. Do not let other people make you feel guilty for not latching onto their issues, and don’t get mad at others for having their own concerns. 
      • Change can take a really long time. You will burn out, we will all burn out, if we all try to take on every issue that comes across our Facebook feed. Let some of them go. Have faith that good, hard working people will stand up.
  • Marches and Rallies
    • Certain subjects do strike a chord with me more than others. For those issues I truly connect with, I think showing up in numbers does make a great impact. If I tried to go to them all, I would probably be burying my head in the sand already with exhaustion. Pick your battles. There’s going to be a lot, and you’re going to need to rested and prepared!

REMEMBER WE ARE ALL HUMANS. I am seeing friends post things on Facebook like: “Okay friends who supported Trump, is this really what you wanted? How can you keep supporting him after ‘X’ (chose anything he’s done in the last two weeks).” It is tempting to call people out and hold them accountable. The problem is, people who voted for Trump did so for a wide range of reasons. They may not agree with what he has been doing, but cognitive dissonance is a real thing. They may be struggling with their feelings about some of the things that are happening and if we call them out and ask them to defend Trump’s executive orders and tweets and press conferences before they’ve had a chance to REALLY think about it, you can bet that they will justify his actions. They will find some reason why what he is doing is okay, because we are all human, and we all defend the choices we make when we are pushed up against a wall.

I think the best strategy is to approach them with compassion. This is hard. But give them the space and the safety to come to their own conclusions about what is happening. Some will continue to defend everything he is doing, they will refuse to admit that anything he is doing is wrong and they will insist that liberals are overreacting. However, there will be others who say ‘this isn’t what I wanted’ and will slowly come around to understanding the potential damage of the way he is conducting business. But we cannot be tempted to force this view. We must stop ourselves from “I told you so’s!” Shaming and blaming are not how we move forward with progress.

If we get enraged by every issue. If we pick a fight with everyone with a differing view from our own. If we try to re-post every article and meme and purport to be experts on all topics. If we attend every rally and march. We will burn out. We will not be effective catalysts of change.

Everyone has different thresholds. Find your own balance.

What are some of the ways you find balance in your lives?