Not a baby mom, not quite a big kid mom. Are you in this transitional stage of motherhood, too?Read More
In the past, E has gone to a summer program at school and I've worked full time. I'll be honest, I'm both underwhelmed and overwhelmed at all the options. Some days it seems like there's lots to do, but some days it seems like there's nothing to do. So how do I keep myself and two young kids busy this summer?
Explore Austin We live in this new cool city full of hiking trails, splash pads, and so much good food. We haven't been checking out the city at all, but I think we're ready to start now.
Get our library cards Dave and I loved the library as kids and we both hope the boys will be bibliophiles like us. It has an unusually rainy summer, so this would be a great place to go for story time and activities.
Eat out, not take out Up to this point, going to dinner with a preschooler and an infant has been nothing more than breastfeed, entertain the big kid, order, breastfeed, entertain the big kid, eat, breastfeed, walk the big kid around, get the check, leave before the baby freaks out. It becomes stressful and isn't fun or relaxing. Since the baby does well with table food and the big kid can sit for just a little bit longer, going out to eat has been more fun. We've even got an incident-free Sunday brunch under our belt!
Swim Our house is in a community with fantastic pools. We need to make use of them. We could also get a kiddie pool for the backyard for immediate splashing.
Build more pillow forts to watch movies on rainy days. Because Ethan will only be 4.5 years old once, he adores them, and we won't always want to go to the library.
Take Ethan to his first movie A local movie theater offers a "Baby Day," where infants are welcome: movies are slightly turned down and lights are slightly turned up. Bonus points if we can get Daddy to take the day off to join us.
More messy arts and crafts This is the perfect time to let E go wild with paint. I can take him outside to clean him up or he can paint outside.
Make use of our memberships We have memberships to a couple of neat and kid friendly places. While I'm sure they will be packed all summer long, I can't think of a better time to go and explore.
What's on your summer bucket list?
A year ago today, I breathed you into the water and into my arms. Your high risk pregnancy made it hard for me to feel close to you in the womb. As you grew bigger and stronger, I found it hard not to melt a little as you rolled, kicked, and hiccuped. You were my constant companion, responding to my voice, pokes, and rubs. By the end of your residency in my belly, I loved you so fiercely and knew I would always fight this hard for you.
Your arrival was quick. The contractions came one on top of the other and I felt like I was riding a freight train. All I could do was hang on and surrender to my body, to you making your grand entrance. Three contractions in the tub and you were here. I will never forget the moment I met you, I said, "hello baby" and you just stared up at me without making a sound. You were connecting with my voice just as I was connecting to your 10 perfect fingers and toes. I was so excited to finally hold you that I announced you were a boy, even though Daddy was supposed to do that!
Breastfeeding you has been such a joy. The first several weeks threw all kinds of hurdles in our way, but we overcame them together. Whether it was my difficult postpartum recovery or your lip and tongue ties, we worked through them together. Without the support of your daddy, my IBCLC friends, and dear mama friends, we wouldn't have made it through. You loved my milk so much that you didn't eat or drink anything else until you were 9 months old!
Even at 12 months, you'd rather have mama's milk than solid food, and I'm still your favorite person on Earth. My voice, smell, and warmth give you more comfort and peace than anything else I can think of. I adore you in so many ways. You have been the sole bright spot through the months of depression and anxiety. I need you just as much as you need me, my darling.
Know that I love you regardless of who you marry, what you do with your life, and where you end up. I am your mother, and I will be your biggest advocate until my last breath. I cannot wait to see who you become.
All my love always,
"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine."I would sing this to him while he was in my belly, before I knew he was a he. Rocking and rolling, hiccuping and kicking. The months of bed rest when it would just be he and I, all day long. Again and again, I would sing to him. In whispers, through tears, a wide range of emotions, but always rubbing my belly. Feeling his jabs while rubbed some unseen part of him. I still sing it now and he calms down instantly. Does he remember?
"You make me happy when skies are gray. You'll never know, dear, how much I love you."The last year has been difficult. I felt a lot of anger and resentment towards nearly everyone in my life. Except for him. He was the bright spot in a seemingly bleak existence. My constant companion, he goes with me almost everywhere. A part of me was thrilled that he didn't take to solids until nearly 9 months old. It was the perfect reason to have my littlest love with me. I was his sole source of nutrition. I am his primary source of comfort. In my arms, strapped to my chest in a carrier, on my hip. A continuation of the closeness we had during the pregnancy. Someone to love me unconditionally when I felt unlovable. Innocent and pure, without conditions.
"Please don't take my sunshine away."I still feel a certain level of anxiety when someone else is watching him, even if it's his dad. No one can take care of him like I take care of him. I've said that out loud more than once. My hesitance to hire a babysitter is because of my anxiety. I don't want anything to happen to him. I worked so hard to stay pregnant that I'm scared of him getting hurt now that he's earth side. I feel like I'm sacrificing my sanity and my cup runs empty because of these worries. But I'm working on it. I'm trusting others more. I'm leaving the house for a few hours at a time, by myself. I'm taking time out for self care. I've been seeing a therapist. It will get better, I'll have less anxiety and intruding thoughts. But you, my little love. You will always be my sunshine.
|Rohan and I in early February 2015. This is how we nurse.|
I love his chubby little hand holding on to mine.
Photo by Valerie Cannon Photography
- Each baby is different. Ethan used pacifiers and took bottles very easily. Rohan spits out pacis and grudgingly takes a bottle from his dad. I could go on and on about their differences. Sometimes it's hard to believe they're brothers!
- It's hard not to let the negatives of the first experience bleed over into the second. My main issue with Ethan was a very slow weight gain. I didn't do a great job keeping track of his diapers the first few days of life and that got us into a bit of trouble. After Rohan was born, I fed him every 2-3 hours and never went more than 4 hours without a feed for the first several weeks of life. I watched those diapers like crazy. While I could have relaxed more than I did, all of my hyper vigilance paid off: Rohan was a half pound OVER birth weight at 2 weeks!
- Thank goodness I know what I know. Studying to become an IBCLC has helped greatly during the last 9 months. I know what what to expect, and how to handle things when they don't go as expected. I noticed R's lip and tongue ties while we were still in the hospital and was able to nurse accordingly. I contacted an IBCLC once we got home for confirmation and to make sure things were going well.
- Older siblings may be curious. Ethan was very curious about the baby drinking mommy milk. So curious that he asked to nurse. I believe his exact words were, "No, I don't want it from a cup. I want to drink it from your boob!" I was curious, too - I wanted to see what he would do! I let him climb up, but he didn't want to latch. He's been asking all kinds of questions about my pump and how long Rohan nurses. He also asks me to tell him about when he used to drink mommy milk.
- Baby knows best. Just as with Ethan, we've been taking all of our cues from Rohan: when it's time for a nap, when it's time to eat, everything. That includes when to start solid foods. At six months, R never seemed interested in solids. He didn't watch us eat, try to grab food, or make chewing motions with his mouth. He started showing an interest around 7.5 months. After a puking incident with a piece of avocado, we decided to wait a little longer.
- The overnight feeds aren't the worst. The 3am feedings haven't been too bad this time around. I don't know whether it's the fact that I won't be breastfeeding ever again, or being able to stay at home with the boys. I don't mind them as much this time around. When we breastfeed during the day, I'm often distracted by big brother, or silently willing him to finish so I can move on to the next thing. At night, I get to breathe him in, kiss his hands in my face, watch his eyes grow heavy with sleep, and know he's done when he lets out the contented sigh.
- I still need support the second time around. I lost my breastfeeding group when we moved from DFW to Austin. While things have been going really well for us, I miss being around other breastfeeding women. Sure, there's a lot of online support, which is wonderful. However, there's something about women feeding their babies together that creates camaraderie and support. No one quite understands like another breastfeeding mom.
- Nursing rooms are not evil. E was awesome at nursing in public. He'd latch, get what he needed, and that was it. He was efficient and focused. Rohan is a very distracted nurser. He wants to see the world around him, flash me a smile and giggle, talk a little, and then get back to eating. Nursing covers and scarves turn into a game, so they're not an option for us. I've taken to nursing him in the car or utilizing nursing rooms when they're available. They're also great for corralling E while I nurse the baby. I'm a firm believer in a mom and baby nursing where and how they're most comfortable. At this point, nursing rooms work best for us.
- I love breastfeeding, but I don't always like it. Rohan has just started to show an interest in solids. We've got 9 months of being exclusively breastfed, without formula, water, or foods. Have I mentioned that he prefers to drink from the tap rather than take a bottle? That's a lot of touching. There have been times where I am just done. I'm done being his pacifier, done being his primary source of comfort, done being his all you can eat restaurant. There are nights where the thought of anyone touching me is more than I can bear. The last few feedings of the day are done through gritted teeth or I hand him off to Dad once I notice he's getting sleepy. Luckily the feelings go away after a few hours.
- Each baby is different. It's so important to remember that I had to mention it twice! We've been doing things so differently this time around. Sometimes I feel like a first time mom. It has truly taught me to forget my expectations.
We've already started a few of our own nursing rituals. The initial letdown brings a contented sigh and his chubby little hands rise to hold my fingers that are holding my breast. I can't help but wonder if this will continue throughout the months and years to come. The little details have become especially precious to me. The sights, smells, and sounds are what I will lovingly recall years after he is too big to sit on my lap.
|Baby belly. Swoon!|
|Those arms and hands.|
|Nursing feet and flexing toes|
My little man is now a month old and we're starting to fall into a little bit of a rhythm, growth spurts notwithstanding. Breastfeeding has not been a walk in the park. I expected issues as this is a new baby I'm breastfeeding, but I know so much more about the early days, book learning and from experience with E. However, all of the knowledge that I repeat to other moms flies out of my head when it comes to me. I found myself worrying about all of the same things any mom would - supply, diapers, growth spurts, you name it. Here's what I thought would happen with breastfeeding the second time around and what actually happened.
What I thought: milk supply would increase like crazy between days 2-5 post partum and I would leak like crazy.
What happened: my milk supply did increase between days 2-5 post partum, but my milk "came in" with a whimper rather than a bang. I didn't have the rock hard, lumpy breasts that I had with E. Instead, my breasts felt full, but not hot, throbbing, or rock hard. I've leaked a little bit, but most days I do not wear nursing pads. It was the opposite with Ethan - I would soak through my nursing tank and t-shirt if I sniffed his head.
What I thought: it'd be smooth sailing with supply since it was my second baby and I had encapsulated my placenta this time around.
What happened: it was smooth sailing with supply for the first few days. Unfortunately, due to some complications with my post partum recovery, I had to take a medication that was known to reduce prolactin levels as a side effect. My milk supply did drop due to the medication. In addition to starting fenugreek, I asked a two trusted friends to pump some extra milk for me. I did have to use their donor milk on a few occasions when Rohan didn't seem satisfied. One of those times was during a growth spurt at 7 days - you can bet I was thankful for those friends! These were the times where I felt like I was drying up. I finally feel like my supply has caught up with his demand, but it took a while.
What I thought: if there's a tongue tie or a lip tie, we'll get it taken care of quickly and move on with our breastfeeding journey.
What happened: I noticed Rohan's lip tie in post partum the night he was born, but I wasn't able to get a good look under his tongue. His lip tie is a class 3 (out of 4); it was so bad that even the on-call pediatrician at the hospital pointed it out to me. After an IBCLC friend came over to help the day after we got home, she pointed out his tongue tie as well. Although, I could've confirmed it thanks to my sore and bloody nipples. Yowch. I made an appointment to get them corrected with a popular and reputable dentist in the area, but there's quite a wait. Our appointment is not for another few weeks. Things have improved, but I'm often sore after a feeding. If I'm not careful with how wide he opens his mouth, I can easily undo all of the healing with one bad latch. I'm making it through thanks to alternating Earth Mama Angel Baby's Nipple Butter and Motherlove Herbal's Nipple Cream, and ibuprofen.
|A quick snack in the car while waiting to pick up Big Brother|
|In some serious shock about how pregnant I am...|
How far along: 39 weeks. 39 WEEKS. I have never been this pregnant before. I don't know what to expect anymore! I'm officially full term by ACOG's recently revised standards!
Total weight gain: Probably about 8-10 pounds.
Maternity clothes: They barely fit. I usually wear yoga pants and a t-shirt that barely covers my belly.
Sleep: It is so interrupted at night! Heartburn, prodromal labor, and getting up to pee every few hours makes it very hard.
Miss anything: Sleep, being able to wear sandals without assistance, shaving my legs without getting winded.
Movement: Yes, but it's a different type than before - still pretty powerful, but not so many jabs. More like moving around trying to get comfortable with what little room is left.
Food cravings: Those soft pretzel appetizer things from Chili's, milk & Oreos, watermelon, apples, avocado, mangoes.
Anything making you queasy or sick: certain smells. I'm not sure of which ones until I smell them.
Have you started to show yet: There's no hiding it, that's for sure!
Baby's Sex: Still unknown. We will find out when Baby makes his/her debut!
Labor signs: Consistently inconsistent contractions, I've spotted a little of my mucous plug in the toilet, was told of some cervical changes as of 3 weeks ago when I got my stitches out.
Belly button in or out: Still in, but maybe it will pop! Now I know why they're referred to as a navel orange.
Wedding rings on or off: On.
Happy or moody most of the time: Happy, but I can go from happy to weepy in seconds.
Looking forward to: Maternity leave starting on Monday, whether Baby is here or not. My water birth (fingers crossed), learning whether this little one is a boy or girl, a baby in my arms! Breastfeeding, being a mom of two, Ethan meeting his little brother or sister. Newborn noises and gulps and smiles and smells.
Lets see if I make it to pumpkin, shall we?
Well, about an hour ago, the same doctor that put the stitches in took them out. My baby has grown stronger by the day. I am an incompetent cervix success story, an emergent transvaginal cerclage success story, proof that bed rest (while incredibly difficult) does help. This has by far been the hardest thing I've ever done.
|Photo by Valerie Cannon Photography|
it has been worth it. Every twinge, ache, worry, and tear has been worth the rolls, kicks, punches, and hiccups that I feel. I can finally exhale and stop worrying about having a preemie. I can focus on labor, breastfeeding, and life with two kids. I cannot wait to meet you, Baby. I can't wait to introduce you to the people who already love you so much.
|Click to enlarge so you can actually read it!|
How far along: 30 weeks - 10 weeks from EDD, 6 weeks(!) from stitch removal, and 2 weeks from even greater viability.
Total weight gain: Within 10 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight.
Maternity clothes: I got to wear something other than yoga pants this week! The lovely moms from the mom-to-mom breastfeeding group I helped facilitate prior to bed rest threw me a sprinkle this week. I got to wear a maternity dress I bought months ago, blow dried & flat ironed my hair for the first time since January, and put on my going out makeup. It felt so nice to feel normal.
Sleep: I can't get enough. The baby starts its calisthenics at about 1am every day. I'm usually up, thanks to pregnancy insomnia. I nap a lot during the day.
Miss anything: Social interaction, though the sprinkle helped a lot.
Movement: So much movement! The nightly exercise includes rolls, kicks, and punches. Sometimes I feel like the baby's going to break through my pelvic floor!
Food cravings: guacamole, chocolate, grilled cheese, and funnel cake.
Anything making you queasy or sick: certain smells. I'm not sure of which ones until I smell them.
Have you started to show yet: Yes, I love my big belly.
Labor signs: Braxton Hicks continue, but usually go away if I empty my bladder or drink water. Hoping not to see labor signs for another 6+ weeks.
Belly button in or out: Still in. I don't think it's going to pop.
Wedding rings on or off: On and they are kind of loose.
Happy or moody most of the time: Very moody. Regular pregnancy hormones + extra progesterone + dealing with bed rest = moody.
Looking forward to: 32 weeks, seeing the baby at my perinatologist appointment this week, getting baby stuff, stitch removal!
One of my favorite parts of pregnancy is the change my body goes through. The hips widening, the curve at the small of my back becoming more defined, the basketball I seem to be smuggling under my shirt, even the new stretch marks appearing because Baby enjoys hanging out on my left side. Yes, I am that weirdo lady that doesn't mind stretch marks. Pregnancy is a time when I feel womanly and truly beautiful, especially when I'm in full bloom during the third trimester.
|My most recent IG belly shot|
My iPhone camera and Instagram feed is filled with bathroom selfies. When I was pregnant with E, I went into labor the night before my maternity pics were to be taken. I don't have any professionally shot maternity pics, but my husband took weekly bump pics for me (every Monday, after prenatal yoga). He hasn't been taking weekly bump pics this time around and I'm not sure if the restrictions will be lifted long enough for me to have professional photos taken, so the phone bathroom selfies may just be it. Unless I can talk Dave into helping me with a belly cast in a few weeks...
|The last trimester of my last pregnancy. Very bittersweet feeling.|
Total weight gain: I weigh 12 pounds less than my pre-pregnancy weight. At my last midwife appointment, I learned that while I may be gaining weight, the bed rest is likely causing me to lose muscle tone :(
Maternity clothes: If by maternity clothes, you mean yoga pants and t-shirts, then yes.
Sleep: So tired, and it's just going to get worse from here on out.
Miss anything: Lots of social events, pedicures, hair cuts, wearing makeup every day (although I will wear it around the house when I have visitors), going outside, and Guinness.
Movement: Tons of it! Each kick, roll, hiccup, and punch is getting stronger by the day. Sometimes the kicks take my breath away.
Food cravings: avocados, Coke (don't judge, I don't give in very often), oranges, apples
Anything making you queasy or sick: the smell of cauliflower when it's cooking.
Have you started to show yet: Yes, for weeks now. I am feeling large and in charge.
Gender: still a surprise. When my sister was here, we did some old wives tales to see if we could figure it out. Check out this video to see what we determined.
Labor signs: just Braxton Hicks. While it's not a labor sign, my linea nigra is starting to come through.
Belly button in or out: Still in.
Wedding rings on or off: On and they are kind of loose.
Happy or moody most of the time: Moody. Still very moody.
Looking forward to: A refresher birth class this weekend, making it to 32 weeks.
I am missing out on several fun pregnancy things that I was looking forward to, silly things like dressing the bump, getting my belly painted and/or henna'd, maternity pics, and even a baby shower/sprinkle/blessingway. I hate that I can't do these things because gravity is not my friend. I just want a cervix that works. I hate that I feel really let down by certain friends because they've about fallen off the face of the earth for the past 6 weeks. Bed rest really makes a girl realize who is there for her and who isn't (and cue the text messages asking how I'm doing from people I haven't heard from in ages). I hate that I am missing out on events I've been looking forward to since before this baby was conceived. I hate that I feel like I have let people down. At least in reality everyone understands and has been supportive, so I'm really not letting anyone down.
|Sorry Mrs. Gaskin, I respectfully disagree. Pretty sure mine is a lemon.|
My body feels broken and I am not sure I trust it anymore. It's making me apprehensive about labor. It's making me even more apprehensive about breastfeeding. I don't feel very connected to this baby or pregnancy. While I care very much about the growing life inside of me, I certainly don't feel about it the way I felt with E. I'm almost a little grateful that this is the last pregnancy I will have. Almost. Then I get sad again about all of the things I won't get to enjoy.
While this post is some sort of verbal (written?) diarrhea about feeling all the feels, I am trying very hard to keep a positive attitude. I'm so thankful for the friends who've come through in this tough time and have helped me take care of my family when I can't. I'm thankful that I've made it this far. I'm thankful that there seems to be an end in sight. I'm thankful for every kick, punch, roll, and hiccup that grows stronger every day. I'm thankful for having fantastic health insurance. I'm thankful that E is old enough to understand that Mommy has a big ouch and needs to lay down a lot.
I'm looking forward to getting this damn stitch out and going into labor on my own. I'm looking forward to having my baby in water, even though it will be in a hospital setting and not at home. I'm looking forward to breastfeeding again, and all the newborn things (the desperation, the gulps, the sighs, the sleepiness, the warmth, the smell, the love) that come with it. I'm looking forward to getting to know a tiny person and watching him or her develop and learn. A tiny part of me is even looking forward to the newborn stage filled with no sleep, no showers, and no schedule.
There you have it. The roller coaster of emotion that has been my pregnancy. This post has been brought to you by pregnancy hormones and underwritten by 17P progesterone shots.