Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Things Change and We Continue to Evolve

Loooong ago when I wrote my last post, we had just returned to VA from a visit to the West Coast. We were in love with the air, the water, the everything that we found in the Great Pacific Northwest.

I could go on and on about the transitions and changes we have been through, but that's all boring and moot now. I am writing this from our apartment in Seattle, WA. Our family relocated here in September and we are starting to settle into our life. Drew had a new job and we are living IN a city for the first time. All the kids are exploring and learning about a different state, city, culture, and geography. We explore the sea life, the geology, and the history that is all new to us.

And I am also going through changes as I incubate our 4th and final child.  We planned to add a final member to our family and learned of his/her existence on a trip out here to apartment hunt at the end of August. Aptly, we now refer to our baby as Pike. We expect his/her arrival in early-mid May since my kids tend to take their sweet time coming Earthside.

I'm hoping to write more. I feel like my "blogging" got off track and I tried to be too structured. I want this space to be about our family - for not only our family, but yours. This space isn't about controversy or getting more page views. For me, its about reaching out and maybe helping a mom sitting somewhere struggling with something in her life or just looking to see that she's not alone.

I'm evolving, too, after all. I don't get it all right all the time. I just do the best that I can for my family.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

There's Something In the Air Out There...

I've been silent for a while. I have a million reasons, really, why there had been radio silence over here. My son isn't a newborn anymore and requires more attention. Our 60 pound puppy fills in the gap where Bubba leaves a little space. And, of course, I have my two gorgeous daughters to fill my days and my heart.

I also did a hard reboot of sorts. With one part adventure and 2 parts curiosity, our  little family of 5 took a trip to the West Coast. Drew has always been drawn to that area of the country and I have always wanted to see the temperate rain forests. So, we decided to just do it - (see what I did there, Oregonians?)

I also decided that I was going to step even further away from my phone. I had already deleted Facebook from it weeks prior so that I had no distractions from my kiddos. But I decided that I wouldn't be on Instagram, wouldn't go to Facebook through the web, wouldn't get on Ravelry. I was going to use my phone for necessary communication and that was it.

We spent one of the best weeks of our lives on the the West Coast. We began our journey in Portland and headed through the rain forests...
 And keep going until we hit the Pacific....

We crossed the Columbia and stood on the beach where Lewis and Clark led their expedition.

We visited Zoos, Islands, Ferries, and a Giant Space Needle.

We also took a day hike into Olympic National Forest. I don't know which of us had the most fun, but it was truly a transforming experience for each of us.

We climbed the "giant Space Needle", visited REI, waterfalls, and trains. And after what seemed like the shortest week on record, we boarded a plane and returned home.

My girls have never liked windows down in a car. They probably get that from me because I generally don't enjoy the sensation. However, every chance we had during our trip we had the windows down. Maybe it was the extra oxygen, maybe it was the newness of the place- I'm not sure. But I DO know that upon our return home, Moo asked us to roll down the windows. As we turned out of the airport and came to speed on the highway she said meekly "Mommy? Can you close the windows? It just doesn't smell the same."

And she was right. The Pacific Northwest seems to have crept into our blood. There's just something in the air out there.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The New Normal* - a.k.a. How to Pee in Public with 3 Kids in Tow

Baby Boy- called Bubba by his sisters- is now over 9 months old. He's crawling everywhere and "talking" a ton. His sisters are in love with him, especially Miss Moo. Weekly the girls have gymnastics on Mondays, Moo had dance on Tuesdays, and the rest of the week is filled with errands.

I'm getting the hang of the rotation and magic involved in outings with three children. The grocery store, Target, and the Library all involve a series of routines as to who gets out of the can first, who hold what door handle, and who gets first dibs on the cart, books, etc.

But the HARDEST of tasks has always been going to the bathroom. It seems simple enough- especially when you have one of more children in a stroller and a Family Restroom. But, suppose you are wearing one who now CRAWLS, have a toddler that still wears diapers buy is too long for a changing table, and you have a 4 year old that is afraid of self-flushing toilets (SFT) in an oversized stall? Ahhhh....yes. Hello, NORMAL.

So, this is what we do:
1. Miss Moo goes potty first while I change Bubba's diaper on the changing table and strap him down to it.
2. Moo runs towards me to get away from the toilet as it flushes and is now tasked with "body blocking" Bubba just in case the strap on the table fails for some reason.
(Why can't I put him down? He crawls. In a public potty? EEEW. )

(And, yes,  I COULD put him back on, but, have you ever tried to pee wearing a 20 pound baby who now smells you and needs a refill? It's a bit, distracting, to say the least.)

3. I go to use the potty and Miss Roo stands in front of me. If she's just wet, I change her diaper standing up. (If she isn't, well, that's gonna be a rodeo for a whole new day!)

4. Roo and I both run from the SFT and she stands beside Moo. I strap Bubba back on and we make our way to the sinks.

5. Moo pretty much can get the water and soap without help. I help set up towels for her before I was  my hands.

6. Wearing Bubba, I lift Roo up to gather soap on both of our hands. She "washes" mine and I wash hers them she towels off while I wash my hands.

7. The girls link up and then the inside girl takes my hand.

8. Off we go.

I am very thankful for the concept of Family Restrooms because that gives us a little more space to work with for our task. But mostly, I'm thankful for the small amount of time we have this rhythm worked out. Our new normal is always in flux.

*I'm fairly certain there will be a lot of posts about the New Normal.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Is it seriously DECEMBER?

Each time I have a child, time seems to gain momentum. Weeks seem like minutes in the scope of a year now. I just had my son. Seriously. How is he almost 8 months old?

 My daughters are growing at warp speed, as well. 

Miss Moo turned 4 in October and we celebrated by taking a family vacation to the Outer Banks.

Miss Roo has crossed the half way point of her second year and is developing into a fantastic little GIRL. 

My house is a mess, our schedule still isn't normal, and our lives are chaotic. But we are blessed beyond words with these children as our own.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I'm Here...

I swear I am. I'm just absorbed in nursing, summertime, and schedules that aren't driven by me at the moment ;) I'm trying to get some computer time today and Thursday- so hopefully I have something for you :)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

And Then There Were Three: Baby Boy's Birth Story - Part 3

I cannot adequately express in words how amazing getting into the birth pool felt. I’m not going to pretend that the pain magically disappeared or that I wasn’t nervous about the impending birth portion of my labor. But, in those early seconds, as the water surrounded and hugged my still swollen belly, I felt grounded, earthy, and at peace.

The next contraction began and as it built my body tried to push again. At first I fought the sensation, because in my head I kept hearing G say “6-7” and I thought it wasn’t possibly time to actively push. I didn’t want to exhaust myself. I didn’t want to make my labor longer than it needed to be. I tried to blow away the pushes without much luck. After a few more contractions, I gave into the sensation and gave a decent push as the wave washed over me.

I felt and heard a huge POP. “What was THAT?!?!” I screeched as I turned to Drew, still dutifully beside me.
“THAT was you water!!” he half spoke and half laughed.
“Yes, really.” G chimed in. “And it’s clear with some vernix. Everything looks great.”

At this point, I noticed that G had fully entered the room and was sitting on the toilet lid looking into the pool. With another contraction I gave another push. I heard G ask M for a flashlight. I steered her towards ours while M located theirs. Another contraction started and I pushed. Drew asked her if she needed to check me again. I looked up for her answer.

“Oh, no. I see his head every time she pushes.”

Something in my core changed. “Really?!?!?!”

“Really. He’s right there.”

A contraction began to build as she finished her sentance. I filled with determination. It was time to do this last bit of work with my son. So, I pushed. I mean I really pushed. Suddenly a head began to emerge. I blew away some of the burning and took a breath. I pushed again and I could see part of his face. “He has hair!” I said. I pushed again and his head was out.

G looked at me. “Malissa- reach down and catch your baby.”

“Now??! “ I said in shock.

“Now, “ she replied.

I sat up a little and leaned forward towards my son. Without pushing, his shoulders and body were born, right into my hands and forever into my heart. I lifted my son to my chest. We had done it.

At 6:26 am, less than 3 and a half hours after calling G, and with 16 minutes of pushing, I had three children and an overflowing heart.

Welcome to the world Baby Boy. We've been waiting on you!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

And Then There Were Three: Baby Boy's Birth Story - Part 2

The acupuncturist was amazing. She explained what the purpose of the needles were for and why she placed them as she did. I laid, relaxing in the quiet, dim room, and felt contractions come. The weren’t as strong as the were that morning, but they were there and they seemed regular.

After an hour, we removed the needles and I headed home to grab some food and “rest” before my midwives arrived. We ate as a family and I tried to rest, but I had been out of the house for 5 hours and the girls needed Mama’s attention. Drew attempted bedtime and my midwives and doula arrived. We did accupressure. We talked about herbs. I went for a walk with Drew and Lady Lou. At around 10 they gave me red raspberry leaf tea and we discussed my options. We all agreed that I needed rest since I had been out all afternoon and we’d meet back in the morning at 10 for - CASTOR OIL.

I really didn’t want castor oil. REALLY didn’t want it. After everyone left, I settled in to watch the last episode of The Tudors on Netflix and try to relax my mind so I could sleep. I noticed that my contractions were a little more intense and a little more painful, but I assumed that was from the tea. At around 12:30, Drew tucked me in and I was able to drift off amidst the slow waves of pain.

At 2:45, I woke up. Why was I awake? A contraction hit and I tried to lay through it. I squirmed. I sighed. I gripped the pillow. Well that was, unpleasant. I rolled to the other side and got as comfortable as I could. I felt the twinge and then the wave again. I glanced at my phone 2:49. Interesting. I sat up to decide if I should move or just wait. Twinge and wave - 2:52 am. I got up and headed to the bathroom and had several more contractions sitting on the toilet. Each more intense. Each 3 minutes apart.

Drew heard me lingering in the bathroom and came in to see if I was okay. I looked at him and asked “Am I in labor?” He grabbed his contraction timer and we sat together through several contractions. “I think maybe, yes?” he finally replied. I now had to breathe through the contractions. He coached me through and timed them all. On average, they were over a minute long and about 3 minutes apart. At 3:30 I went to stand to change positions and lost my mucus plug. I called my midwife.

She told me to monitor the contractions for 30 minutes and keep her updated. I shifted to the floor and took the next few contractions on hands and knees. 15 minutes later she called me back and told me she was heading over to my house. I grabbed a towel to make the tiles a little more comfortable and hung out in the bathroom.  Drew made himself a cup of coffee because he hadn’t been to bed yet. At this point, I began to realize that this might be it.

When my midwife arrived a few minutes after 4, G told me to keep doing what I was doing. Her assistant was en route and she wanted to see how I labored. Contractions kept coming and she checked the baby’s heart rate. He was doing great. After a few more contractions, I moved to our bedroom so I could kneel and lean on the side of the bed. The contractions got a little closer and more intense.  

At 4:45, M arrived and we checked the baby’s heart rate again. At this point, they went downstairs to let Drew and I have some privacy. It was time for me "to do my work" as she presented it. I asked about the pool and she said she wanted to wait until I would be at the “get me meds” point at a hospital. They shut our door and Drew knelt beside me. As the contractions came, I had a harder time just breathing through them. Soon, I was moaning on the exhale to try to focus on something else. Drew stayed by my side: holding my hand, reminding me to breathe, and that the contraction was almost over. At a few minutes after 5, I looked at him and said “I need something, NOW.” He went downstairs to give my message to G and M. They entered the bedroom and G said- "I’m going to check you now." I laid on the side of the bed and she did a quick check - 6-7 cm and very stretchy. At the time all I heard was 6-7, not the stretchy part. I asked if I could have the tub and she said she thought it was time.

It is at this point in my birth story that some aspects get hazy. I know that Drew and M went to the laundry room to get water going. I know that G stayed with me to keep me calm, relaxed, and hold my hand during contractions. I also remember asking to go to the bathroom because there was so much pressure I had to pee AGAIN. I remember going down the hall because the pool in our bathroom was still filling and I didn't want to trip in the hoses.
When I made it to the bathroom and say down, another contraction started to form. About 1/2 way through, my body tried to push on it's own. I freaked and told Andrew to get G. "I don't want to have my baby on the toilet!!" G came to listen to my next contraction and told me this was all a good sign. M had finished up with the tub and it was ready and waiting for me.

I walked slowly back down the hall, into our bathroom, and sunk into the heavenly water of the birth pool.