Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013!

Every year I make Christmas cards and send them out. Every year except this year :) It just felt like too much and I decided to take a break. I am posting our 'card' here with pictures at the bottom from our family photo shoot a month ago done by my friend Nicole of Inspired Joy Films and Photography.

Jacob attended Crosspoint Academy for 7th grade where he achieved Merit Roll and received a Christian Character Award for Integrity. He joined band at Crosspoint and seemed to really have a knack for percussion.

(camping in July and hanging out with one of his best friends)
He volunteered at Gateway Fellowship's VBS and played very well on his first year of Babe Ruth baseball. He plays the outfield a lot and sometimes infield. He improved tremendously from the previous year and really amazed all of us, including his coach, that it was only his second year of baseball. He is a natural and we're remiss he didn't start earlier. 
We hope he will continue to play! 
Jacob was very involved in youth group at church and enjoyed sleepovers and spending time with several great friends. He went to Chicago in July to visit his mom and let us know in August he would be staying there for now. It has been a huge adjustment for us and especially the girls. We pray for him every day and want God's very best for him. He will be 14 in January. The years have flown!

Eliana turned 5 in October and is a tall and beautiful girl. 

She is very creative and loves to draw stories, tell stories, create stories....that girl can weave a tale! She has really begun to enjoy friendships this year and spending time with other kids at play dates, Play Cafe at church, and several super fun birthday parties she was thrilled to go to. She's a social girl! She lives in princess-land 24/7 and prefers dresses and dress up clothes to 'real' clothes. She loves Jesus with all her heart and humbles us as her parents with her genuine love for God and sincere questions. She is stubborn and funny and very sweet. She home schools Pre-K with mommy and attends speech therapy at Poulsbo Elementary with the amazing, Mr. Morgan!

Evangeline turned 3 just three weeks ago. 

She is one of the most funny kids we've ever met. She seriously cracks us up daily. She loves to color and is a very focused child. She'll sit and 'read' a Reader's Digest for 30 minutes, carefully looking at it page by page. She has a furrowed brow and look that can kill and is not afraid to say NO, but yet is the first kid to say, "Thank you, mommy, that was very kind of you!" She melts our hearts. She loves to boogie and we see her bobbing her head to music or shaking her buns when she thinks no one is looking.

Our newest addition, Solomon Pierce, joined the family August 12th! 
(a few hours after his birth)
He was 1 1/2 weeks after his 'due date' and 9lb 4 1/2oz and 21". He had literal fat rolls and crazy long finger nails. His birth was at home in water, attended by our midwife, Peggy, her assistant and my mom. He was born in the middle of the night so the girls were asleep and got to meet him in the morning. Solomon has struggled with colic and it's been a very tiring go for this mommy. He just turned 4 months and is outgrowing the colic as well as seeing a Pediatric Chiropractor. Solomon is full of giggles and as long as he is with mama, he is smiles and joy. His hair is growing in very blond and his eyes are so far still blue. He's affectionately become "Solly" (rhymes with Holly). He played baby Jesus in the church nativity a couple weeks ago. We just adore him!

This past year has at times been a blur for Craig and me. There have been huge challenges, such as my dad passing away and Jacob relocating. Yet huge blessings; our son being born and us seeing God work to bring peace to our family and our parenting.

Craig continues to work for TRC and is blessed with great bosses and coworkers and the ability to keep learning new things. He also managed to win me a free iPad through a sweepstakes he found out about at work (offered by a different company) guess who got an iPad??? THIS GIRL :)
The girls call him Papa or Papa Bear and seriously adore him. He took over the bedtime routine once Solomon came and I am grateful for that!

I am still a stay at home mom and incredibly blessed to be. My Etsy shop is still running (although a bit slow these days as a newborn has taken all of my time)- I've been just sort of 'breathing' since having Solomon. The colic has really kicked my butt. Prior to living in new baby land again, I was singing on worship team at church and really enjoying being in the Christmas and Easter programs. I also started playing piano at The 5, the evening gathering at church. I have been trying to remember to sit and play piano while the kids are awake and create memories singing and playing with them. Things come and go and life gets crazy, yet my soul always seems to find it's groove when I am singing.

We pray hope and blessings on you this holiday season. Whether you are in joy or sorrow, to find yourself in the arms of Jesus. Merry Christmas from the Frazier Family!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Amazing Children

Welp, it's been almost 2 months since I posted on here. Lots of crickets. I never wanted to be a blogger that abandoned her page, but I sort of did.

I think mostly I just felt the need to follow this motto, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." As you can tell by my last post, it's been a rough go with my little man. I didn't want to post 8 blogs of me complaining about raising toddlers while also coping with a colicky baby, so I just posted nothing. But, I am still alive, still kicking! Still raising toddlers and coping with a colicky baby :) I miss blogging, though. I miss the transfer of thoughts from my brain to the keyboard. It's therapeutic for me. I have loved writing since as long as I can remember. And specifically, typing. I took keyboarding for 2 years in high school and can type at about 89 words per minute. My fingers can almost keep up with my brain, so writing long blogs goes fairly smoothly. I can definitely type faster than I can hand write!

Part of the reason for my absence has been me dealing with post partum 'something'. I have not been depressed, but I've been anxious, angry, stressed, and mean. It's been a strange time and I've been getting help. I fully plan to write more about it all, but it's still a work in progress right now as I get sorted out.

My dear baby boy is almost 4 months old. He's probably nearing 20lbs by now. We have good days and we have bad days. It's unpredictable. He is starting to allow to me put him down for 2 minutes here and there but still will only sleep on or with me (day and night). He's currently asleep on my lap as I type, which is how my night is every single night. The screaming sessions seem to overall be decreasing, but then we'll end up having a day of non stop screaming just out of nowhere. It's a weird journey. My girls both just had birthdays, they are 5 and 3 now and totally precious. Eliana, 5, is witty, smart, funny, sassy, and lives in princess land 24/7. She loves to dance, hug, sing, play pretend, and talk to her baby brother. She says to him, "Who is the sweetest baby in the world???!," over and over in a sing-song voice until he smiles at her. He adores her. Like sort of idolizes her. He looks at her with admiration and love. Pretty darn cute. Evangeline, 3, is a seriously hilarious kid. The other day Craig said to her, after she'd been flipping lights on and off a million times, "Evie, leave the lights alone, stop messing with them!!!" and she turns around to him and says totally genuinely, "You're the best daddy in the whole wide word, thank you for turning the lights off!" Oh man, we cracked up! Last week she was sick in the middle of the night and we all woke up to quite a mess in her bed. She commented, "I had a throat in my mouth and it went all over my bed." I'm not sure that a single day goes by without her saying something funny. The girls are truly a joy. Parenting is messy, frustrating, EXHAUSTING, but also beyond incredible. Even as young children, they are so individual, so unique, so forgiving, so open minded and creative. They are beautiful souls. Eliana loves Jesus so much. She loves to pray and learn Bible stories. Tonight I caught her crouched on the floor with her hands folded and she informed me she was praying to God and telling Him she loves Him. She's a pretty rad kid. Her perspective on life is always refreshing and helps me see things in a new way.

Kids are so good at dealing with the tough issues. While decorating our Christmas tree a few days ago I came across an ornament I bought in remembrance of the baby I miscarried in July, 2012.
It's me holding my little baby. I purchased it from Garden Birdie on Etsy.

As I unwrapped the tissue paper from the ornament I looked at Craig and then at Eliana, wondering if it would be ok to let her know what that ornament represents. Up to that point I'd never mentioned the miscarriage to the children. I decided to briefly mention it to Eliana and I said, "Elly, before Solomon was in my tummy, there was another little baby that lived in there. It went to heaven and lives with Jesus now." She asked what it's name was and what it looked like. I responded, "We never got to meet the baby or name it, but someday we'll get to meet it, when we go to heaven." She accepted it all so innocently, with no baggage or burden. She believes in heaven and she knows that's where Uncle Jim, Grandma Linda, Grandpa Truman, and our dog Max live. To her it makes perfect sense that our little baby would be there with family. She nodded in understanding, smiled,  and went back to decorating the tree. I felt validated to be able to speak out loud about my baby, as more than just a miscarriage, and for another person to so totally accept the whole situation. 
Today my mom was over and Eliana showed her the ornament and said, "this is mom and the baby that she used to have. We didn't get to see it or name it, it lives in heaven." So simple and accepting. Children are amazing.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Big Surprise, More Colic

I feel like I'm hitting some sort of breaking point today. Solomon is 9 weeks exactly.

I want to yell into a pillow and yet also am on the verge of tears. So. Much. Screaming. It's just a constant with him. The constancy of the screaming is killing my joy, my sanity, and completely fraying my nerves. He's happy for one or two minutes and it's like, "take a picture quick, he's not screaming!(as in the above photo)" He is otherwise an unhappy baby. I feel like I am being held captive by him. He wants to be held every second of every day. I put him in the swing for a minute to stir hot food or go pee or just stand without holding an extra 16lbs and within approx 45 seconds he is screaming bloody murder. He doesn't like the floor, the carseat, the bouncer,  the couch, the bed, the crib, the changing table....anything and even anyone that isn't ME. It's suffocating. It's not possible, nor do I have the desire, to hold a baby all of the time. I'm sick of peeing holding a baby because I'm even more sick of hearing the screaming! I'm tired of finally getting him asleep, putting him in the swing and then 18 minutes later (if I'm lucky) he is screaming his head off. It's hard to put a 2 year old down for nap when 1) her baby brother is loudly screaming or 2) I am holding him on my chest and also her on my hip. It sucks. He is so high needs I feel like I'm drowning in the ocean of his screaming. It's like someone is putting a pillow over my face and I can't breathe. Nine freaking weeks of this. And yes, as a matter of fact he is screaming right now. Despite being in the Ergo. Night or day, he's not picky, it's all fair game for screaming.

This morning I found myself saying, "Why God? WHY? Why do you give me babies like this?"
I haven't heard an answer yet.
I have NEVER, not once, had an easy baby. Evangeline was 'easier' but only compared to the other two, not at all easy compared to most babies. I very clearly remember her first week and all she did was scream from 7pm til 5am. And even after that, she wouldn't fall asleep anywhere but on me til she was close to a year old.

I was doing well losing weight and trying to eat well for my I find myself scrambling for food in the seconds between screams, and it's never healthy food. I can see my weight climbing back up and that makes me so angry. It makes me angry that I can't even have 20 minutes to put on a workout video in my living room...let alone leave him for 45 minutes to go to a class or go for a walk. Craig is gone about 12 hours a day for work. When he gets home I often see if he can have Solomon for 20-30 minutes so I can scramble and get food on the table for everyone. It's so stressful. I do everything with a ticking time bomb.

I know screaming won't kill him. I try to tell myself that it's OK and there's only so much I can do. He's fed, dry, not too warm, not too cold, and yet even with me holding him...he still screams. The screaming is just 10x worse when I put him down. In public he's often OK. Lots of lights and noise and he either looks around or passes out in the Ergo. And honestly, I'm holding him the entire time- exactly what he wants. Of course he's happy in public!

Saturday I made chicken fettuccine afredo for 8 people and the entire time he screamed because I wasn't holding him. He slept a total of 35 minutes the entire day on Saturday. The rest was spent screaming and a little bit of nursing. It used to feel like his tummy hurt or it was something physical bothering him. Now it seems like he's just extremely high maintenance and it has nothing to do with his tummy and 100% to do with him wanting me and only me. I am exhausted and frustrated. I'm short tempered with the girls and not sure how to do all of the normal daily tasks when the Little Tyrant is never happy.

Say what you will about this being a short phase and "this too shall pass" and "you'll miss this someday." You know what? I won't freaking miss this. I don't miss Eliana's colic or Evangeline's screaming and I certainly won't miss Solomon's screaming either. I miss the sleepy, easily portable newborn stage. You know why? Because I've NEVER experienced it, with any of my children. I find myself wishing away the days because they are so horrid to get through. Only to find myself in a dark night that is just as difficult. I hoped by the third baby I'd maybe be blessed with some ease, some peace, some calm. Not so.

I can't win. And it certainly feels like I'm losing.

He is adorable, I'll give him that.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Learning to Thrive

I've been thinking lately about whether we are just surviving life or thriving in it and what that looks like and means for our family.

Last week a good friend stopped by to visit and we were chatting about how much has gone on in my life in the last 1 1/2 years and she said, "Wow, Diana, you know that's really a lot of big stuff...none of it's little." It got me thinking. Geez, she's right. My MIL passed away, a month later I miscarried and we found out about a large ovarian tumor and then a month after that I had ovarian surgery. Within 2 months of that I conceived Solomon totally naturally and very surprisingly. During all of that I lost nearly 40lbs and we put my stepson into a pricey private school. In the spring my dad died very unexpectedly. This past summer my stepson decided he didn't want to live here anymore and then I had a baby. We've had deaths, births, surgery, baby loss, major weight loss, the loss of an older child....geez.

Life has been challenging in the 8 years Craig and I have been married. There's been so many valleys we've almost gotten used to them. But we've sort of gotten used to the valleys by just surviving. It's a "if we can just get through this...." mentality. So yeah, we're getting through it. Sometimes that's absolute necessity and the only thing you can do. But what if it becomes habit? Here's what I've been pondering: how do we go from just getting through it, to actually being able to enjoy our day to day life? Most recently it's been difficult with my stepson gone. The girls are mourning the loss of him and so are we. I have a 4 year old who cries about it a lot and doesn't understand. She said a couple days ago, in the grocery store of all places, "why doesn't he love us anymore?" She can't comprehend how he was here one day and gone the next. The loss of a child so suddenly has definitely impacted our family.

Then we add a new baby into things, and one with colic that wants to be held 24/7....yeah, we're sort of just surviving yet again. Everyone has their advice or tips about how to 'fix' the colic. 99.9% of those people have never had a baby with true colic. I've had two. Colic is isolating. Few people truly know what it's like to live on 1-2 hours of sleep at night or feel like a prisoner in your own home with a little tyrant that won't stop screaming. A little tyrant you love so much. Then there's a cycle of guilt...feeling angry and exhausted and just wanting sleep and then feeling guilty for having any level of anger at a helpless newborn. Then the guilt that you must be causing it and ruining your baby because 1)you eat dairy, 2) you eat gluten, 3)you had garlic 2 weeks ago, 4) you had caffeine while pregnant, 5)you had broccoli or eggs or tomatoes or onions.....and on and on it goes. So you cut out dairy and other foods for weeks and notice zero difference. You want to yell at those people, "OK, I did it, he's still screaming, now what!!!" But you know they were just trying to be helpful and don't get at all what your life looks like right now. And then you feel guilty for being sort of angry at the 'helpful' people for all their non-helpful suggestions. See? It's isolating. There's often no solution. 3 or 4 months comes along and your baby stops screaming and you move on with life. But you might have PTSD from the months of screaming. Seriously.

However hard or easy life is or feels, the days keep flying by. There's no pause button. I often wish I had a remote like on the movie Click and I could just pause everyone so I could sleep for a large chunk of time or go away with my husband. But no pause button exists. The days continue and the years even faster. My firstborn will be 5 years old in 4 days. That is hard to even grasp for me. It's bittersweet. She's beautiful and smart and funny. But she's not little anymore. The years have gone by like sand through my fingers. A lot of it was totally outside my control, but it still happened and those hardships kept me just surviving through the days and years of her life. I think to myself, "does she realize how much has gone on? Has she felt pushed aside while mommy and daddy survive the tidal waves? Has she felt hushed, hurried, and unimportant?" Probably yes at times. That sucks. I don't want to just survive her childhood. Or my marriage. Or my life.

How does a person thrive and enjoy life when they are emotionally and physically exhausted? That's what I'm not sure about. I know the Christian answer is to just pray about it and "the joy of the Lord is your strength". Honestly, Jesus and hard work is how we have survived at all. But the real, nitty gritty question of how to get through each day with crying and whining toddlers when your colicky baby kept you up at night and you haven't had a real intimate moment or conversation with your hubby in months can't be answered by someone quoting Nehemiah 8:10. I know I am also still grieving the loss of my dad. It's been 8 months and having his grandson now makes the pain fresh as I think of the moments my dad is missing and the little man he never got to meet, but always hoped for.

What I am trying to do is slow down when I can. I want to try to say "hurry up" less. Try to hurry myself less. Look my kids in the eye when they talk to me. Even when it's about the 20th made up story of the hour.
The fact that my baby will only sleep on or with me bothers me the very most when I compare him to other babies who happily sleep in their cribs all night long. So, not comparing my life to other people's lives seems kind of huge. I want to feel close to my husband. That means real and genuine conversations need to happen and quality time. I want to build new memories with my family.

I know I am so totally and completely blessed. I have a husband who works very hard outside of the home so I don't have to and yet he comes home and also works his tail off in the yard and in the home and as a daddy. I have a precious 4 year old who is funny, inquisitive, and very strong willed. I have an adorable 2 year old whose little voice and view of the world really cracks me up. Her chocolate eyes melt me. I have an 8 week old little boy who I think literally took a piece of my heart when he was born. His smile is contagious and his giggle makes me tear up. I am blessed. I just also happen to be tired. That might be a lot of us, right? Acknowledging that we're worn and maybe a little torn, too, doesn't negate our blessings. It makes us human. That's been a purpose of my blog, I think. To say the stuff I believe other people are thinking, too. Because there's somehow a collective sigh of relief when someone verbalizes whatever we're also thinking. It's salve on a heart to realize someone else's life is hard or their marriage isn't perfect or they get mad at their kids. It helps us adjust our expectations to hear that others struggle. Pinterest is the new Pleasantville (remember that movie?). Well, my life isn't Pinterest Perfect, folks :)

I hope to endeavor this fall to find tangible ways to enjoy day to day life and be actively participating in it. I know I can't shove the sadness or grief under a rug, I have to go right through it. I can't pretend my baby isn't screaming and I can't pretend I get a lot of sleep. But I can give hugs and kisses to my family. I can put down the iPad and look my girls in the eye. I can wrangle a baby in the baby carrier and let my girls make a mess cutting endless sheets of paper or making cookies.

The years go by far too fast.

"Cleaning and scrubbing can wait til tomorrow...
for babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep,
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep."

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

One Month Update!

My sweet boy is 5 weeks old! He's adorable and despite the colic, we love him so much. He was 12.3lbs at 4 weeks old, so he is growing fast and furious. The baby acne is finally clearing up, too. I have to admit it made me a bit self conscious FOR him. Dumb, I know! Also interesting to note (and will embarrass him in 10 years) is the fact that he came out lactating. All three of my babies have done so. I figured it was pretty common, but the pediatrician had never seen it! This is a little info on it- Apparently 5% of babies lactate and my kids have fallen in that category 100% of the time, ha! The baby acne and lactating are both from my hormones in his body and it takes several weeks for them to dissipate.

Solomon's personality is showing in pieces. When he is awake he wants eye contact and chats. If you try to get him to sleep or take a paci when he wants to chat, he gets really mad until you hear him out. He hates to be if a diaper soaks through his onesie (this kid can pee!) he is quite the drama queen about it. He absolutely adores his sisters. Eliana's voice really captivates him. He always looks her direction and smiles when she talks to him. He also loves the boobies. Often in the evenings he'll pass out nursing but as soon as I try to put it away, BAM he's awake. The boobs are his best friends.

The screaming sessions have overall decreased in the last week. Fri, Sat, and Sun night we managed to get through the entire night with no horrendous screaming sessions....the first break I'd had in an entire month. Last night was rough from 4am-5am, but that's still an improvement from 2-3 hours of middle of the night screaming. He wakes to eat every 2ish hours at night. I really wish he'd give me longer chunks of sleep, but if he wakes, eats, and goes back to sleep without screaming that feels like an accomplishment at this point. We cosleep, so often I wake up to position him on the boob and then fall back to sleep. I try to put the feeders away when he's done, though, otherwise there's a good chance we'll all wake up soaking wet 2 hours later. I've tried to put him in the crib so I can have a little space (or maybe actually get to spoon with the hubs!), but he lasts about 12 minutes before he's screaming again. So, for now he's my little bed buddy. He sleeps in the crook of my arm, almost face to face with me. So chubby and cuddly! I'm really glad I figured out how to nurse laying down. I tried with the girls but couldn't figure it out well enough. They would always choke or latch weird. Not having to sit up in bed every 2 hours definitely makes life easier this time.

Last blog post I wrote that I believed eliminating red sauces/tomatoes from my diet was helping the colic. Well, I think maybe that was just a big fat coincidence. He seems to have good days and horrible days with zero consistency. Dairy, tomatoes, grains, broccoli, chocolate, etc. Like last weekend, the three good nights? I ate ice cream, chocolate, and red sauce over the weekend and then he slept great. Go figure, right? It seems to me that whatever my little guy is struggling with is not related to my diet. My theories? I have milk ejection reflex/overactive letdown and oversupply. He will suck for 3 seconds and then it's as if a Crossfit buff dude put both hands on the boob and squeezed with every ounce of muscle- the milk comes out THAT fast. There's no suck-suck-suck-swallow pattern....poor Solomon is just gulp-gulp-gulp-choke-gulp. I can hear it spraying and the weird noise of it hitting his gut after he swallows. Often I have to pull him off and spray into the burp cloth because it's just too fast for him. The fast flow means it's hard for him to get a deep latch so I think he's taking in air initially and then taking in too much milk too fast. That all happening can cause colic like symptoms in babies. His tummy DOES hurt, it's just not caused by me eating ice cream. It's the freaking firehose he feeds from. The firehose is the reason I don't pump. I haven't pumped once since he was born. The very last thing I need is to tell my boobs to make more.

We are still doing Gerber Sooth Colic Drops (probiotics) and Levsin Drops (Hyosyne). I feel like the Levsin Drops are making the most difference for him. I did try Zantac after a week of screaming so bad I was really desperate. The Zantac made him scream worse, I kid you not. I didn't even know that was possible! I gave it a couple days and then said forget it. We went back to the ped and she said, yeah, stop the Zantac, keep doing the Levsin Drops, and basically hang in there til he outgrows this. He also caught a bug of some sort that caused a raspy cough- worrisome in a one month old. It's in his lungs, so it's called bronchiolitis and we're treating it to prevent pneumonia or other worse bugs that are particularly dangerous for a newborn.

Through all of this I am trying to remember that he is having a hard time, he is not trying to give me a hard time. I know that sounds like a serious DUH since he is so little, but when you haven't slept longer than an hour in a month, you are frayed on every edge. Thinking rationally is very hard to do when you are SO exhausted. Eliana's colic was at least twice this bad, but I didn't have a 4 and 2 year old to raise also. I could sleep during the morning and day when she was calm. I don't have that option now, so it's interesting working to juggle my puzzle pieces so everyone is fed, healthy, and feeling loved. It's been a huge adjustment. Even just the 'dumb' stuff....I miss my cute dresses. I miss doing my hair and putting on makeup. Yeah I can do those things a little, but usually there's a baby in a bouncer screaming while I do it and then I end up having to throw on an outfit that's breastfeeding friendly or won't be ruined when milk sprays all over it. And my cute jeans don't quite fit right yet. Ya know? Just part of life with little kids, but it's a piece of me as a woman that likes fashion and looking pulled together that gets sacrificed in babyland...along with sleep, cuddling next to hubs in bed, having nights out with friends, etc. I'm not saying this as "poor me" in ANY way. I love my little Solomon and the life that comes with having him. I'm saying all of this because I'm not the only mom thinking it and sometimes reading that another mom misses her dresses and heels and lipgloss makes us not feel so awful that we miss it, too. We can realize that it's OK to miss those things. You feeling me?

I also want to/need to get back to eating Paleo. I want to lose the last few lbs of baby weight and lose the other 20-30 I was on my way to losing when I got pregnant. Paleo takes time and thought, though. It's not as simple as feeling hungry and grabbing some Wheat Things from the cupboard. It's proteins and veggies and no processed crap. I need to eat that way, but it honestly feels a little overwhelming taking that on with a colicky newborn and toddlers. It's my future though, I think about it every day. I do NOT want to gain back all the weight I lost. I also know that eating Paleo does wonders for my PCOS.

So anyway, I keep trekking on in Babyland. I sleep when I can, in the pieces he allows me. I'm doing Pre-K schoolwork with Eliana and trying to give the girls attention and validation throughout the day. We haven't quite hit our stride with new baby, but things are typically better each week than the one prior.

He screamed this ENTIRE day. I kid you not. It was enormously frustrating.

All except the three minutes he napped. Yes, 3 minutes....Good thing he is so adorable, right?
I don't have a nice camera...or even a decent camera ($99 Kodak, anyone?) so I took these on the iPad, totally unedited. Not horrible, right? I want an iPhone SO bad for the nice camera!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Colic; different baby, same screams

My sweet Solomon is 3 1/2 weeks old now. He's over 11 1/2lbs and a great eater. Seriously, the easiest time I've had nursing out of all three babies. However, the screams....oh the screams! The first few days of life my little man was so chill and peaceful. He slept, ate, pooped, and went back to sleep. I thought I had a 'normal' baby, woohoo!!!! Then something happened a couple days later. He became miserable. He would eat, scream, poop, scream, sleep, wake up screaming, and on and on and on that went day and night. No one else could hold him or he'd just scream worse. At night he'd be up to nursing every 1 1/2-2 hours and then stay up another 1-3 hours afterwards, screaming again. That was our all night routine. And yes, the girls still get up around 6 something every day. I mean, really, this was not a sustainable pattern for me. Never sleeping and always screaming with 2 other children to raise? Lord, help me!!!! So we started trying some things.

Gripe Water: Basically just ginger and fennel.
Works sometimes to calm him, other times it's like I didn't even give it. Not a cure by any means. Mostly just helps when he gets hiccups.

Gas Drops: Simethicone.
Seemed to help the first day, but then after that seemed to actually make it worse. There are some studies* out there saying Simethicone only has a placebo effect and sometimes actually truly does make gas worse in babies :( So yeah, we pretty much don't use these anymore.

Gerber Soothe Colic Drops: Probiotic Supplement with L. reuteri.
These are supposed to help normalize the gut flora and help baby be able to digest and handle things better in the gut. There is newish research* showing probiotics to be helpful for colicky babies. I noticed he was gassier but more chill within a day. We've been on them a week now and overall the screaming is less and he seems more peaceful, although this has not by any means been a cure either.

Levsin Drops: Hyosine Drops (rX)
These are a 40 year old rX for colicky babies that work to slow down the gut just a bit so baby is having less painful belly flare ups. The rX is for 4 drops 4 times a day, literally just 'drops', it's a super tiny dose. It does to seem to help some as well, but we still have some unpredictable screaming sessions.

Also tried/trying: Sound machine, swaddling, not swaddling, car seat, bouncer, swing, baby wearing.......and on and on it goes.

It's been a journey trying to figure out how to help him. He doesn't really spit up at all, although does seem to have stuff come up in his mouth that he has to re-swallow and makes a face that says, "that tasted nasty". He may have silent reflux and we have an rX for Zantac but are waiting to see if the Levsin Drops will be helpful enough. Zantac reduces the stomach acid which is needed for fighting bacteria.

At times I feel rather resentful of my lot; the fact that I've gotten two babies with colic when others can have 7 children and never have 1 like this. I've blogged about this before, but I'll say it again; I think as mothers we have to fight internally between our expectations and what is our reality. My expectation was that life would not give me two colicky babies. Well? Life is pooping all over my expectations. When the baby is screaming his head off and I've had a cumulative 2 hours of sleep the night before and nothing will calm him, it's hard just to put on clothes, let alone play with my other children, make sure they are eating nutritious foods, laundry is caught up, the house is livable, and there is food to eat for dinner. My focus and attention, 100% of it, goes to the screaming newborn in my arms. It's rough. It's hard seeing your baby so miserable, knowing he's not comfortable or happy, and nothing you are trying is working. I cried in Costco a few days ago. Like actual tears and my face turning red. It was awful and embarrassing. I was so exhausted and frustrated and I cried. In public. Ugh.

Solomon's colic also looks differently than Eliana's did. She screamed every single day at 5pm and didn't stop til 2am at the soonest, often much longer. It was a hellish nightmare. Solomon will have a semi good day and then a horrible day and it's just really unpredictable. Eliana was predictable down to the minute. Luckily Solomon does love the Ergo so when we go to the store, birthday parties, etc I just wear him and then we're mostly ok. I wear him a lot at home, too, but it's not practical for every second of the day or for my back. With Eliana I only had a Bjorn....I think if I'd known more about baby wearing and had some other carriers that could've helped us a bit.

With Elly's colic I cut out all dairy for a couple months and didn't drink milk or eat ice cream for a year I was so paranoid, but it seriously made ZERO difference. I just kept hoping it would. So after all of that hassle I really didn't want to have to cut it out yet again for no reason, especially because we have no history of any dairy allergies. and the ped both assured me that with colic, cutting out dairy won't be a magic cure. I knew that (as evidenced with Eliana), but it was good to hear it again. I had been avoiding milk, ice cream, and yogurt out of fear. The ped did say that colicky babies tend to be sensitive to caffeine and tomatoes/tomato sauces. Oy. I've only had caffeine maybe 2 times in 3 weeks but I've had a crapload of tomato stuff! Then I started to think back to the worst days and nights and yup, sure seems like those were the days I had pizza, manicotti, more pizza, sloppy joes.....Oops! So, for now I'm avoiding caffeine and tomato-y stuff. Usually babies outgrow those sensitivities around 3 months when their gut can handle it better, so I'm not writing off pizza forever, but will be going light on the red stuff for a little while. I might test it out in a couple weeks and see what happens. It's also strange that my girls HATE tomatoes. They eat almost anything, but both of them can't stand tomatoes. Even the tiny sweet ones fresh off grandma's tomato plant. Craig and I also hate tomatoes. Weird, right?

*I'm not a fan of people not citing sources. For reals. But here I am really sleep deprived and barely finding time to blog, let alone dig up the sources I found at 3am last week. So, no sources today :(

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Solomon's Birth: Worth the Wait, a TMI post

My body likes to be pregnant and my babies like staying put! I really wanted my body to go into labor on it's own. I didn't want to rush the process or rob myself of the experience. Yet 41 weeks came and went and the midwife said we'd need to do a non stress test and another liver panel if he didn't arrive by Monday (41w3d).
41 Weeks
I figured I'd give it the weekend and see what happened. I was also uncomfortable and growing restless to meet my baby! And in a strange way, the more time that went by the less I wanted to experience a birth again....all the days past 40 just gave my brain too much time to think about the what if's and I was starting to pysch myself out. Baby just needed to come, plain and simple.

On Monday (40w3d) my chiropractor did an adjustment and acupressure. On Saturday (41w1d) my midwife did an internal check (2cm and still high) and stripped my membranes, which irritates the cervix and causes a release of prostaglandins. Saturday night hubs and I gave it the old fashioned try (another way to get prostaglandins). Sunday morning I woke up to a blob of my mucous plug. But it was totally clear so I figured it was a good sign, but didn't mean a whole lot since it wasn't bloody. We took the girls to church and I had contractions during the service, but only very mild and mostly not painful, but yet stronger than Braxton Hicks. It seemed things were very slowly brewing. At 12:40pm on Sunday I drank an almond butter/apricot nectar/2 Tbsp castor oil shake in hopes of getting contractions to pick up more so labor would start. An hour later I was having very crampy contractions. I bounced on my exercise ball and timed them for hours, they were puttering along slowly, about every 5-7 minutes. I snapped a picture at this point, hoping it would be the last of me pregnant-

I emailed my mom and told her it wouldn't be a bad idea for her and my dad to head on over to help with the kids. Craig had been chasing them and trying to keep them busy and out of my hair all day.
My midwife came to set up her stuff and check me at 5:30pm. I was 3cm, very soft, and definitely changed from the day before- but still a ways to go. After that I had Craig grill me a hamburger and then got out my Lansinoh double breast pump and pumped for 1 hour and 20 minutes to try and amp the contractions up. Basically you pump until a contraction starts, then stop during the contraction and then resume. I knew I needed to do it at least 30 min and me being the over achiever I am just kept going. My boobs hurts and the contractions hurt, but I wanted the baby out! Contractions were regular while I pumped, but got pretty sporadic after I stopped. So then Craig and I went for an hour walk and the contractions were very regular, every 2-3 min, and intense the whole time. I walked through them without stopping because I just wanted things to really crank up. We headed home as it was getting dark and I got back on the exercise ball at home. My every 2 1/2 min contractions then spaced out to 5 and even 7 minutes :( I was so mad! I told my mom she could go home if she wanted....I was really pissed to still be pregnant and not in intense labor yet. I told my mom and Craig I was going to lay down since nothing was happening. My mom stayed, thankfully. Around 10:30 I went to bed and then woke up shortly after with very intense contractions. I stayed in bed and talked myself through them (in my head), "I am open, my cervix is opening, I will meet my baby boy soon, etc". I wanted labor to happen so bad and I was trying to stay positive at this point and wish labor into really roaring. By 11pm I thought, "ok, I think we're doing this!" I asked Craig to fill the birthing tub and told him to call the midwife. I got in the tub shortly after that.

Once in the tub the contractions stayed consistent and were very intense. Within 10 minutes I had to vocalize through them, just like I did in Evie's birth. Low moaning sounds- like a cow in labor, I presume. The midwife arrived shortly and checked my blood pressure, temperature, and listened to baby's heart tones. Everything was perfect. My bp was actually 130/60, which was weird....she said I was very relaxed during contractions and that was great. I could still chat and talk with everyone in between contractions at this point, too.
 Pandora was on on my iPad, the lights were off. I was in the zone. The midwife asked if she could check me about 30 minutes after arriving, I think based on my vocalizing she was thinking the birth assistant might not make it in time if she didn't call quick. She checked and I was 8cm! I thought, "wow, I'm in transition? Sweet, he'll be here in like 10 minutes!" Based on his sister's births I figured he'd be out quick. Not so much. The contractions kept coming and got more intense. I could feel the bag of waters bulging and it was driving me crazy. It just would not pop! I could feel it, it was very thick and strong. I tried poking it with a finger nail, but it was Teflon, that puppy was not gonna give! It was a horrible feeling, I hated the bulge. I also figured once it was broken, he'd arrive shortly. This whole time I was basically sitting in the tub but leaning back.
The midwife suggested getting in a squatting position in the tub to see if my water would break. I changed positions and oh man it hurt way worse. All of the sudden I could feel the contractions in my back and it didn't feel very manageable anymore. I think I cried. I tried poking the bag of waters again...nothing. It was very thick. I  pushed during a contraction and felt a small POP...finally it broke! The team eased me back into the sitting/partly reclining position to birth him. The contractions never let up, but I did get at least 45 seconds in between to rest. I wasn't laughing or chatting in between by now, though. Another contraction came and I started pushing. It was hard, intense, and nothing like Evangeline's birth (she flew out with no pushing). By this time I'd been in transition for nearly 2 hours....I was so ready to be done. It took a few more contractions and me screaming like a cave woman- which I have never ever done in labor before- to get him out. His head crowned and then he went back in and totally rotated his body! He had been on my right side, but rotated to my left side. Then another contraction and I pushed his head out. There wasn't much burn, it just felt like a big head and I wanted it out. Then a weird thing, for me, happened. I rested in between contractions while his head was out. Normally once the head is out my babies just plop right out, no big deal. This guy required more pushing and much more effort than I'd had to do before.Craig told me later he was worried because he'd never seen that happen in labor before- a minute rest with the baby's head already birthed in the tub. It's totally normal for probably most women, I'd just never birthed that way before. A final contraction and his body was born at 2:18am on Monday morning at 41weeks3days gestation. I saw him in the water and pulled him up onto my chest. I immediately felt total and absolute love for him. He was perfect. Covered in vernix, dragon lady long finger and toe nails, dark hair matted with vernix, and the yummiest fat rolls. He was moving around on me and lifting his head up and holding it up, something he's done since. He is so strong! He didn't want to breathe at first, so we rubbed him and moved him around and he gurgled a bit and then finally cried.  His cord was long and very thick. It only pulsed a few minutes and then was done and Craig cut it. The placenta came out easily a couple minutes later.

The cocktail of hormones that occurs in a natural, unmedicated birth is absolutely amazing. I've experienced birth both ways and there is a huge difference, for me anyhow, in how I feel about myself and the baby immediately after the baby is born. The body's own oxytocin, the love hormone, is a really special thing. Synthetic versions can actually shut the body down from making it's own.

We were all a little surprised at how chubby he was. The midwife guessed 10lbs, I had no idea, but thought closer to 9. He was 9lb 4 1/2oz, 21" long, with a 36 1/2cm head (his head was a little smaller than both of the girls), 38cm chest. The midwife did his newborn exam and worked on me a bit. I kept bleeding a bit more than we wanted to see so she gave me a shot of Pitocin and massaged my uterus to get it clamp down (ow!). I took a shower while Craig held the baby and then I sat on our bed and nursed him. He latched so well and nursed right away. He was pink and obviously so healthy.
Little chubster only a couple hours old!

He was still nameless, but we were tired and decided we'd sleep and figure it out later in the day. I laid down with him in bed around 6am to sleep for a little bit and Craig slept on the couch so he'd be there when the girls woke up. Around 9am I got up with the baby to nurse him and then went out to the living room so he could meet his sisters. Eliana saw me and went right back to cartoons, she thought I was holding a doll! :) The girls loved him and both held him and said how cute he is.

Craig and I talked through names during the day and kept coming back to the one that had come to mind a week ago. It wasn't on our birth lists and it wasn't one we liked or talked about during the pregnancy. But in my last week of pregnancy I just really liked it. We wanted his middle name to reflect strength. We went back and forth between 3 names, but really felt like only one fit him. Around noon we decided his name: Solomon Pierce Frazier. Solomon means "peace" and Pierce means "rock" or "as strong as a rock".
He is perfect and we love him so much.

Friday, August 9, 2013

41 Weeks

Another week crawled by without a baby being born. I'm 41 weeks today and no sign of labor yet. I'm really tired today so pretty irritated that I'm still pregnant, to be honest. Yesterday was a better day and I hope tomorrow is as well. 
My weight gain is the same, still up 34lbs. I don't really have any swelling and my bp is still good.





Monday, August 5, 2013


So, yesterday I might've sat on the floor in the baby's room and cried just a little. Baby clothes, a decorated nursery, diapers, a co-sleeper, new baby carriers, and even nursing dresses....I have it this time but yet still no baby. Intellectually I know that babies come when they are ready and I should just chill out and enjoy this time with my girls. But to be honest, I just feel frustrated. Every afternoon by about 3pm my house is nearly 80 degrees. The girls still aren't sleeping well at all and my long days start by 6am every single day. The house has been cleaned and scrubbed, laundry is caught up, and here I am realizing I'm going have to do it all over again top to bottom because this baby is taking so long. Craig is finishing a big job at work and has probably a week left on the project. I do feel some sort of pressure to not screw things up and make life harder for him by making him miss the last week of it (the pressure is not from him). And if I do go into labor, will he have 12 calls a day from people trying to figure out how to do stuff without him? Will he have to take off randomly to go lock or unlock things and help sub-contractors figure stuff out? That doesn't sound like a fun way to spend the very few days I'll have with him home after baby comes.

I have been feeling pleased with myself for being really healthy this pregnancy. Other than days I really over do it (like shampooing the entire house worth of carpets) or have way too much stress, my blood pressure has been great. My urine tests have always been perfect and I'm up 34lbs total still. I have hardly any swelling and can easily still wear my wedding ring at 40w3d. So, it caught me off guard a bit last night when my midwife called and said she thinks we should do a liver panel based on my slightly elevated bp readings last Tuesday (they were like 132/78). I can bet money on why they were stepson has been making some hurtful choices and it's been difficult for Craig and me. Also on that day the midwife called and said, "I thought you had an appointment at 4." I said, "it's on Wednesday this week just like last week." Who knows who was 'right', but it meant rearranging my afternoon and bolting out the door as soon as Craig got home. Not ideal. 

I'm now waiting on the chiropractor, who canceled on me Friday to head to a birth, as I'm really hoping I can get in today and then have to call my midwife to figure out where/when to get labs done. All because of one day of high bp readings and zero other symptoms.Sounds a bit like my first birth experience, right?  Doesn't exactly seem like the midwifery model of care to me but I'm not sure how to deal with it. Between still being pregnant, being physically very tired daily because of my children, feeling frustrated/angry/rejected by my stepson's choices, Craig having stuff at work that in my mind feels more important to everyone (not just him, but others) than me having a baby, and now my midwife wanting to check for an issue that seems to not exist at all.....I just feel like why bother saying no or fighting for myself right now. I told Craig last night I just want to have this baby alone. Not call anyone when I'm in labor and just be by myself. I feel like I'm the only one in my immediate circle who is excited to meet this baby and I'm the only one who thinks my body is doing well and can have this baby no problem. That's messed up.

It's hard to trust your body when your care provider seems not to. I have been told more times than I care to try and count just how much 'padding' I have on my belly....makes it "hard to measure or know where baby is." Really? Does this look like extra padding? My belly is stretched so tight my skin is sore and my belly button, now an outty, actually hurts. But yet, I feel like I'm a huge nasty ogre based on the comments I hear every single week at my care provider. Then you add the liver panel for no reason and I can't help but think she's suggesting it based on my 'size'. Yeah, I don't weight 130lbs....I NEVER will. And honestly, I was 40lbs heavier with Evie at this point and my then-midwife never had a single problem finding all her little body parts and never made rude comments about my size.

(37 weeks, 5 days)

I feel down about stuff, all things combined. Doesn't feel like a great way to go into labor or to experience labor. Which is why I have the crazy thoughts about just doing it all alone. I don't need negativity at my birth.
Some days I do really well about putting all the crap aside and thinking good thoughts and praying about stuff and I feel like I'm able to overcome. I'm not feeling that way right now. I'll be fine. Eventually this baby will come out. Just right now is a frustrating time for me.
(Followup: my liver panel came back completely normal)

Friday, August 2, 2013

40 Weeks

I am officially 40 weeks today! Wondering if this will be my last pregnant blog post....I hope so :)

39w3d, dyed the ends of my hair cobalt blue.



40 weeks. My old stretch marks are feeling the pressure, if baby doesn't come soon I'll have new ones!


Little girls anxious to meet their brother!

40 weeks: 
I'm still up 34lbs, and I'm ok with that. More than the 20 I had planned, but I'm STILL below my pre-pregnancy weight with both of the girls. 
I feel pretty good and then other times like total crap. Hormones and exhaustion are a bad combo. Two nights in a row I've gotten to sleep around midnight, up every hour or two to pee and then my lovely girls are up at 5:50am. Last night I had good contractions for 3 hours, but like usual they fizzled out. Just means I'm tired today; 6 hours of possible sleep and half of it was spent contracting and walking back and forth to the toilet to pee. 
I have no idea when labor will start. I was 1.5cm dilated on Tuesday....which really doesn't mean much. Today I see my chiropractor and then my midwife again on Tuesday.
Really hoping I can nap today. Didn't get any rest yesterday because Eliana wouldn't nap or stop chatting my ear off. I was wishing last night that Craig had several weeks of vaca and could just take today off with us. He's got one week available til January when it resets, so we have to be careful about him using the hours.

Well, maybe a baby this weekend, we'll see!

Friday, July 26, 2013

39 Weeks!

Amazing how time has flown...little man will literally be here any day. He might also take his sweet time and not come for a couple weeks. That fact was really bothering me a week ago, but I'm coming to terms with going 'over' again (40-42 weeks is not technically post dates, by the way). I'm trying to just enjoy my girls as best as I can with the lack of sleep and 80 degree house. It's a little tough because in my brain I think, "we should go to the zoo or the beach or the drive-in movies..." but then actually doing those sorts of things feels really overwhelming by myself with this belly, the contractions, and the heat. We've had limited time all together with Craig without things that we really can't get out of. Strangely the day that Eliana was born was my step-dad's father's memorial service and tomorrow is his mom's memorial service. And another grandparent of mine just passed away 2 days ago. Very weird. Five years ago I had six living grandparents...I now have only two living.
If there's no baby yet, Craig and I get a date night tomorrow after the memorial service, so that will be very nice! Maybe a movie and dinner :)

This might be my last pregnancy update, so here's the details:

39 Weeks
Baby: my guess is around 9lbs already
Mommy: Up 34lbs
My bp has been perfect, it was 118/68 at my midwife appointment on Wednesday. Baby's heart rate has tended to range in the 130's and 140's the last few months and he's incredibly active. My guess on his weight has to do with how large he feels. When he moves it's like, Whoa that's not a little baby! My midwife agreed on Wednesday, saying, "I thought maybe there was extra fluid but I'm just feeling a lot of baby." Him being big doesn't worry me, I just can't wait to hold him and snuggle him. I'm guessing his head will be about 15" and he'll weigh between 9 and 10lbs. If he comes out only 8lbs I'll be quite surprised. And I definitely don't have gestational diabetes. My blood sugars were only 100 when I did the 1 hour GD test and every appointment my sugars have been perfect on the pee test. It's amazing, I am really the healthiest in this pregnancy that I've ever been. I am also still less than my pre-pregnancy weight with either of the girls. Coincidence? Probably not :) AND, I also don't have Group B Strep this pregnancy (a common over colonization of vaginal bacteria in case you were wondering...and if you weren't, well sorry). I had it with both of my other pregnancies but have taken FemDophilus this time, a probiotic specific for women. It's nice to have one less thing to think about since I won't need antibiotics during labor.

My belly button is an outie now. That has NEVER happened to me before, despite being about 40lbs heavier when I gave birth to Evie. Somehow it seems like a chubbier belly should be more maxed out and that a belly button would push out more, but it's the opposite. The less belly chub you have the more likely you'll get an outie. My belly button is actually sore, the skin is stretched so tight and thin.

I've opted to have zero internal checks thus far. An internal check is to see what the cervix is doing and let you know how things are moving along. For me, I don't think they are really an indication of when labor is going to happen. If you are dilated to a 6 then yes, I would say there will be a baby quite soon...however getting a check every week at the Dr just seems pointless to me when you're only 36 weeks or even 38. At some point we just have to trust our bodies. That they know how to have the baby they are so beautifully growing. All centimeters are not created equal. It's very possible to be 'high and tight' (not dilated at all) and still have a baby 24 hours I did with my Evie. I may ask for an internal next week since I'll be 40 weeks and it might be helpful to know if my body is likely to need a gentle push again (castor oil). But for now, I'm trying to trust the process and be patient. It's also just a fact that a lot of moms don't get to carry full term and they struggle through NICU stays and all sorts of stuff. I'm very thankful to be SO healthy this time around.

Alright, photo updates:
Last weekend, 38w1d. SO hot out. Reading my beloved Ina May and actually contracting during this photo- see the high and tight belly?


39 weeks

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A post on miscarriage, 9 months after I wrote it

I wrote the following post mid October, 2012. I felt very raw when I wrote it and it was never posted or read by anyone. This morning, in the shower, this post suddenly came to mind and I feel the need to share it. I believe it was God that reminded me of this post, which means someone needs to read it. Here goes:

There is a question that is so commonplace in our society that I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone who hasn't asked it (me included): "You gonna have a kid/more kids?"

When you get married you realize that is the logical next step in a relationship, right? So people start asking...."when are you going to start a family?" Because just a husband and wife can't possibly be a family, right??? Ohhh, but it is. That's the thing. When you get married, you do become a family with your spouse. Where they go, so do you. Hopefully they are your dearest, closest friend. They see you cry and scream with mascara running down your face and they don't care that you look crazy. They love you more than anyone else. They are your family.

If you are fertility-challenged, then that's all you have. Somedays it feels like plenty and the world is your oyster and you dance off happily to explore it with your spouse. Other days you feel totally consumed and miserable with:

why am I not pregnant?
can I ever get pregnant?
this is cycle day 21....I should've just ovulated, right?
is it too soon to test?
maybe I ovulated late.....should we baby dance tonight just in case?
what if I didn't ovulate at all!???

OH CRAP. My period is here. I'm not pregnant. Or maybe even body is doing absolutely NOTHING.

This is when the question, "you gonna have a kid?", as totally harmless and kind as it's meant....can make your whole day feel bad. When you are living in Trying to Have a Baby Land, it takes real effort to not think about it. Everywhere you go it's like the pregnant women are following you and newborn babies are staring at you. Family members try to understand, but often even they get pregnant 'without trying'. It can feel immensely alone. It's hard to count how many people I personally know in an agonizing fight to try and have a baby.

This was SO me when trying to get pregnant with our dear Eliana. It consumed me. Then I had her and I could somewhat push the fertility struggle and agony out of my mind as I moved into life with a real live baby. Then we were able to conceive Evangeline in only 2 months of fertility meds. I thought we'd found the magical combo of drugs that worked for my body and I'd be able to have as many babies as we desired.

Spring of 2012 came around and I decided to go in my for annual and at the same time ask for more baby making drugs. I didn't tell Craig...I wanted to surprise him. I thought that if maybe I didn't chart my temp every day and we didn't map out exactly when to have sex, that maybe we could make it less stressful and I could actually do something fun to surprise him with a pregnancy! So I did a round of provera, metformin, and 100mg Clomid. A big fat nothing. My body felt crazy and I thought it was just because I was older and we were under stress with my MIL's health failing. But I couldn't keep it secret more than a I told Craig I was on meds and we were actively trying to have a baby. There went my surprise! I just knew I couldn't hide the drugs, my clomid moods, and what days we needed to baby dance. We had to be a team. So we started in on the 2nd month of drugs. "It was rough" is an understatement. I had a cyst rupture one night and the whole rest of the month was non-stop spotting, I was moody, angry, and pretty much just felt AWFUL. Add to it my MIL also passed away that month. I felt like I'd gone down the rabbit hole to Crazy Town and didn't know how to get back out. Then the month was over and I had to go get a new month's prescription. I decided to take a pregnancy test since my Ob said I could still conceive even though I'd had a cyst rupture. It seemed unlikely but I desperately wanted a baby and something hopeful and happy in our life following 9 months of horrible-ness.

Whaddya know.....the stinkin' test was positive. And the one I took right after that. And the blood test I went and had done at my Ob's office. I was definitely, for sure, pregnant and about 4 weeks along. I didn't tell Craig and wanted to surprise him on our 7th anniversary, July 16, 2012. That week one of my dearest friends was getting married at our house and I was dying to tell everyone, but I held my tongue. I didn't even tell my mom. I was exhausted and passing out on the couch every boobs hurt, and as is the usual, I was constipated. My sure-fire pregnancy symptoms were in effect. Then something happened.....I started bleeding. Dark red, fresh blood. It was a Saturday and there was no way to go see my Ob and I knew if I went to the ER they'd run tests, tell me to followup with my Ob and charge me $800. No thanks! So I waited til Monday, our anniversary, and went in that morning for bloodwork and an ultrasound. Because I hadn't had my hormone levels checked earlier in the pregnancy, there was no starting point, so the bloodwork was totally inconclusive. The levels suggested I was still pregnant but maybe not staying pregnant. I was told to come back in 2 days to check the levels and again and they needed to have doubled by then. Bad enough I waited all I had to wait again! The ultrasound showed a big open, totally empty, uterus. The tech said that would be normal if I was about 4 or 5 weeks. The ultrasound also showed an ovarian tumor and tons of ovarian cysts. It was like bad news after bad news. I couldn't help but cry when I saw my empty uterus and packed-full-of-horribleness-ovaries. It just didn't seem fair. We lost my brother in law and mother in law in the space of 7 months. I needed and wanted something joyful for our family to cling to. Instead I got a miscarriage and a tumor.

After my appointment I drove to Craig's worksite and told him I was pregnant but probably not for long. I felt like I needed to be sorry, like I'd done something wrong. Maybe because it's my body with all the issues. Because I'm the stupid woman whose body doesn't know how to behave like a woman.
We went out for dinner that night for our anniversary and we clung to what the nurse said, "the doctor thinks it's all'll be fine. Just come back in two days to retest." I later found out that my Ob knew I was miscarrying and what the nurse said came across as major false hope (SO not helpful). So I prayed I would stop bleeding and the baby would soldier on. I'd even had a special pregnancy announcement made on Etsy for Craig....figures the first time I get to surprise him it's with "Surprise! I'm pregnant....for now."

The lab work 2 days later was conclusive. It didn't 'stick'. I was officially not pregnant anymore. I was given a follow up appointment for a month later and sent off to bleed quietly. And so I did. For 2 whole flipping weeks. Prior to miscarrying, I had no idea that women bleed that long. Or that heavy. Every time you see the blood it's a reminder that your body failed you in keeping the pregnancy going. It's a reminder that you're not pregnant anymore.

And then baby shower invites come in the mail or on Facebook. Someone posts their creative "we're pregnant!" announcement on Facebook (or in my case 3 different people did). And yes, they all have roughly the same due date I would've. And it sucks. It's been nearly 3 months and it still sucks for me. I had surgery and am now tumor free. But I'm also still baby free.

And now I'm right back where I was 5 years ago. "You gonna have any kids?"
The thing is, for many of us it's not that simple. I can't just get off the pill, or take out an IUD and wind up pregnant after one night of fun. I haven't been on birth control for 5 years. I've conceived 3 times, all three with provera, metformin, and clomid. Before the miscarriage I at least felt like my body knew how to stay pregnant. It somehow missed the memo to ovulate, but it knew how to carry a baby. Then I miscarried and the innocence of how much it hurts physically and emotionally to lose a baby was robbed from me. Now I wonder if I'll always fear a miscarriage. If God allows me to be pregnant again...will I get to enjoy the pregnancy? Will I be afraid and checking for blood every single time I pee?

These are the things that women who miscarry don't say. Are afraid to say. Are shameful to say. Now, it's a fine balance to accept my loss and move forward while also being joyful and happy for my friends that are having babies. My loss doesn't mean they aren't allowed to be happy. I get that and I AM happy for them, truly. But yet I'm still bummed for me. See how this is a weird cycle? As my own health improves, I'm better able to separate my misfortune from someone else's blessing. I can truly celebrate with friends.

There have been times that it's hard to be in a doctor's office and listen to the 19 year olds next to me going on about how easily they get pregnant and how "they didn't even want to be pregnant." I honestly wanted to go over there and smack them. I think of women who eat whatever they want, smoke, drink, are morbidly obese, etc. and can STILL easily get pregnant. It just doesn't feel fair.  That's the thing about likely never feels fair. I didn't do anything to cause it and there was nothing I could do to stop it. But I'm more sensitive now. I find things people say offensive when the Diana of 4 months ago would not have. Miscarriage changes us. Changes how we view our world and getting pregnant. I couldn't understand that until it happened to me.

I have debated so much about posting about my loss. I've gone back and forth on it this whole time. But I think for me I've realized that I did lose a baby, and it matters. My feelings matter. Remembering my baby matters. Helping others understand what someone miscarrying is going through, matters. My dear friend Rachel has been so courageous in sharing her journey of loss on her blog The Lewis Note, and that has encouraged me also. Did you know 1 in 4 women will experience a baby loss at some point? I don't say that to be fear mongering...but rather, why is it not talked about? Why is it hush hush? Women need to feel understood, validated, encouraged, and given the freedom to be all over the place in their hormones, to not return calls, to be late to play dates.....while the world moves on, many woman are experiencing a miscarriage, alone.

So this is my journey, a very personal one. I might be high functioning....I come from a long line of over achievers and people who press in through the pain. So I cook, and create, and sing, and clean, and so on and so on. Often it's a tight rope walk to keep sane and to stay in the joy of my Saviour and not wallow in the grief or sadness too long. But the downside to people like me is that everyone thinks we're fine. That we're super mom and  have it all together. Even my mom and husband often don't know how hurt I am on the inside. It's takes vulnerability to show my hurt and I think sometimes I'm afraid I'll be judged for showing my hurt or people will have their 'fixes' (I was told once to just pray about it and that fertility meds are unGodly), or that somehow accepting my pain will make me flounder in it. The reality is that often healing comes through vulnerability. By letting people see our hurt and what we might perceive as 'weakness', also allows them to help us and love us.

So here I am. Moving forward and taking care of me and my family and working to trust God and have faith that He is Faithful. Tackling life as a mom and the mundane everyday things as best I can to give my 3 children stability and security that the last year has achingly lacked. If you are experiencing a loss, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry you're entering into this club that none of us want to be a part of. You are not alone.

Early miscarriages can be tricky also, because when you don't get to see a heartbeat or know the gender or feel a flutter I think your mind starts to tell you it wasn't real and it doesn't matter and your feelings are dumb. I was 5 weeks when I miscarried. It was still a baby regardless of me not ever feeling it move.

That's where my post ended. I didn't know how to finish it and it never got 'published'. I conceived our little boy just days after this post was written. What an amazing God we serve. I never would have guessed my Rainbow Baby was on his way and how differently my life would look not even a year later. When my lost baby's due date, March 15th, came around I thought about the baby and I was sad, but also having a new baby growing made it so much easier. I know many women don't get that sort of consolation on their lost baby's due dates. Even though I'm over 38 weeks with my little boy, I do remember what the pain felt like and I pray this post helps someone in their pain and feelings.
~ Diana

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Nearly 38 weeks and lots of nesting

I have been a cleaning machine this week! I am sore and stiff and exhausted, but this ticker list keeps scrolling through my brain....shampoo carpets, clean bathrooms, mop floors, do laundry (never ending), finish the baby room, return x to so and so, get x from so and so, buy more bread for freezer, make more freezer meals, clean the white couch, etc. 
The details drive me nuts...clutter on the counter that has to go somewhere, things that need to be returned....all the little to-do's. I just want them DONE. I might be annoying Craig, I'm sort of annoying myself. But I can't help it. I feel a mix of, "maybe if I get it all done then my brain will chill out and labor will start" and also "Ohemgee I will have 4 kids all by myself (Craig is gone nearly 12 hours a day) if I don't do things now they'll never get done!"

It's also sort of weird anticipating a home birth because I know that once labor starts there will be at least 3 other people here, probably more. So yesterday I vacuumed and shampooed the entire downstairs. Which is a lot since this house is 90% carpet. After the girls went to bed I shampooed a couple random stairs, the top of my Lane hope chest that has a cushion and also an entire couch. This morning I did the upstairs carpets, probably 60% of them and mostly the girl's room and the hallway where I know toddlers have had accidents over the last couple years. Then I cleaned and mopped the upstairs bathroom and the two bathrooms downstairs. I've also done about 7 loads of laundry during all of this and mopped the kitchen.

I think I'd like to dust a bit, but mostly now I just want to work on freezer meals as I only have 6 in the freezer so far. The bummer is that it's been really hot and the thought of standing in the kitchen and cooking sounds rather nasty. Maybe tomorrow.

This last week I've definitely felt changes with my body. Monday night I had 30 minutes of real contractions. My first thought was, "oh wow, I forgot how much these hurt." And then I realized he'd be born on our 8th anniversary if things continued! After 30 minutes they puttered out and I went to sleep. I also feel a ton of pressure in the nether regions, strange pin pricks at times, and even weird pressure at the top of my thighs. My midwife says it's all just part of things loosening up and getting ready. Today at the chiropractor his hands were up by his head, so let's hope he knocks that off when the time comes! I imagine he'll have about a 15" head like his sisters so I don't need the added width of hands in there :)

I'll be 38 weeks tomorrow which is pretty strange. By this time Eliana was already 4 days old and Evangeline was still 3 1/2 weeks away from being born. It's anyone's guess what this baby will do. In the beginning I assumed I'd go a week or two past my EDD, but then I never imagined how very pregnant I'd feel and the intensity and frequency of braxton hicks. My chiropractor says the BH serve to help push baby down, so that's a good thing. He tends to ride high, but I do feel like he's gotten lower. And as I type this, there's a good contraction!

It's weird and cool feeling a baby move at this gestation. He's obviously good sized and sometimes I can tell specific body parts like a knee or ankle or foot or spine. He's busy and active.

Sunday night a dear and extremely talented friend did a maternity photo shoot for me and also some family photos and some of Craig and me. First time out of all the kids that I've done maternity photos. I think she captured some beautiful and fun shots and I can't wait to see them! She was awesome with the girls and really has such an eye for what makes a great photo. The top photo on my blog is from the shoot, just a quickie shot from the very end and even it is amazing! I'll share contact info for her once I have photos to share :)

This photo took bravery from's a bare belly. It's very pale because I don't show it to anyone, even the sun and it's shiny thanks to Sensaria Body Butter (what will I do when it finally runs out????).

Friday, July 12, 2013

37w Photos

14 Cali when my dad died
Same shirt at 37 weeks.

37 weeks
My belly is so tight. By the end of the day my belly button is an outie- never happened with my other pregnancies!