Friday, July 24, 2015

I tried - taking babies to the beach

Day two

Our children had late [really late] bedtimes.  I mean our 3 year old was up till almost 2.A.M.!   He couldn't go to sleep; too excited for the beach!! 

I mean, who doesn't get excited about the beach?  Sun, water, fun!  

Our poor child was so mad when he woke up and he had to wait some more for the beach. 

We had to have naps. Very important tradition in our home.   

Thankfully we took naps, IT RAINED ~ but luckily after snacks there was a break between the showers/storms. So we quickly loaded up for the beach.  

Here's my top tips for this trip; just like yesterday's post about flying, these tips are similar. 

1.   Sunscreen first - before you leave, sunscreen.  It saves time once you release the goons on the sand. Saves messes (sand sticks to everything) and makes sure it dries well before those ocean waves.   DONT FORGET TO SHADE BABIES AND REAPPLY SUNSCREEN IF OUT FOR LONG PERIOD.    ****drink lots of water too****

2.   Be flexible - some kids will not want to get in the water. Don't force them. If you aren't flexible; someone is bound to get upset. 

3.   Pack extra diapers/clothes in car - this would be the time a kid has a blowout.  Sure enough, our child who we call squirt, doesn't have many blowouts...but he did on the beach.  We changed him twice in 1.5 hours on the beach. 

(This IS his beach body) he was enjoying the cool 80* temp!  And clouds.  

4.  Take turns parenting - if you have the luxury of having more adults, take turns parenting or being with kids.  My sister and I were able to have a nice 30 minute walk - just us. 

5.    Smile - laugh, chuckle, belly jiggle, smile. You Are On A Beach!  Why aren't you smiling.  Your kid pooped, smile you are on a beach changing his diaper.   Your kid cries, most kids cry - but hey, you are on a beach.  What's not to smile about?  One of Gods greatest creations. 
What are some of your beach memories or tips. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

I tried - flying with little ones

So, I am in the car writing this. Let me paint you a picture. My legs are laying over a pack and play - no feet room; little snores are coming from my boys (finally) and it's our first day on "vacation".  

I apologize for typos. In a car, it's late, and I am on my phone.  Let's be honest, I can't spell either. 

I wanted to write down my plane tips before I forget!  

A few months back I got an invitation to a dear friends wedding.  Haven't seen Heather in 3 years!  And before that, the last time was when she came to my husband and I's wedding.   We always said we would make the trip through several states to her wedding.   

So, we started planning. My due date was barely 3 weeks before her wedding date. 

I started to panick.  

Big fancy wedding - toddler and new born. 


That's right, I asked my mom to come to babysit.  Her offer to help watch the boys turned into a full blown family vacation. 

Here's the plan: 

My husband and brother in law drove our parents van through five states, over night, in one day to meet myself, my two boys, sister, her two boys, and our parents at the airport.    

Yup - four adults and four boys three and under on a plane. 

Here's the fun part - I just had a c-section a month ago. My mom had surgery on her wrist three weeks ago.  My dad has a bad hip from an old army injury. And My sister ..... Well thank goodness she can chase a kid. 

We made it in one piece. 

We had to drive two hours to the airport. No big deal - all of our kiddos are good travelers.   

BUT .... IT WAS.... NAP TIME.  

{Don't travel if possible at nap time.}

We got to the airport. 
     Melt down one - 10 yards from our parked vehicles, Gideon (3.4 years old) didn't want to get on the carriage/golf cart but wanted to be carried the quarter of a mile. 
    Melt down two - inside the entrance of the airport. Seth (2.4 years old)  was sad and having a tough time. 
     Melt down three - at security. Gideon refused to go through the line.  Like where your boarding pass is checked. You could tell who had kids and who was irritated.   
     Melt down four - Gideon didn't want to go through melt detector.  Finally I had a small little talk with him and we figured out that crying was not helping the situation. 
    Melt down five - Aunt Amanda was trying to carry a stroller and two boys. Ok she didn't melt down but WE WERE ALL FRAZZLED.   

We were all tired. To say the least, naps are important. 

{pack light}

We did not (thankfully) have any checked luggage ...the reason the daddies drove red-eyed.  We did have several small personal bags. So six backpacks!  

We didn't need it.  I had enough formula for like two days.   NOT NECESSARY!   

The security staff will want all prepackaged and powder formula out to check.   Like, all of it. Seriously.  I was digging and rearranging to make sure we were good. And they still pulled me aside to swipe my hands. 

The older boys mainly were interested in their refurbished parent phones to play on.  I honestly, if packed smarter, could have carried my wallet and the boys supplies in one bag. 

HOWEVER, I only have one child in diapers while my sister has two boys (but she is breastfeeding so didn't have the formula/bottle dilemma). My mom also packed more snacks than we did. 

{drop the schedule - be flexible}

I love. Really love. I thrive on schedules. Flexible is not a descriptive word for me, in any way.  I am a bit controlling.  But I had to not worry so much about the clock. I always want to make sure my kids are fed and happy. But i was feeding Soren in two hour intervals instead of three or four so he was nice and full.   I fed him about two hours before our departure thinking he might need to eat again with take off and then again at landing.  He slept through take off and a little into the flight, was getting fussy, so he ate and used his pacifier and slept through the landing.  Not my plan at all. But it worked.  

{prep and plan a little}

Obviously I just said drop the schedule but doesn't mean you can't plan.   My mom had easy snacks for the older boys.  I made a bottle for take off and landing so I could easily grab it and not have to worry about combing ingredients/spilling everything. If you slow down and think and try to anticipate your families needs it will hopefully help. 


No matter what. Smile. Enjoy yourself.   Enjoy the dirty looks from those watching your toddler scream through security.  Enjoy the "eww baby" comments (I counted, that I can remember, 12 people comment on how little Soren is).  Enjoy the "you have a wild man" comments.  Enjoy the excitement from flying with little ones. Enjoy the blessing that you get to spend time with friends and family together.  So smile! 

Well that's it.   

Waiting!! We took the older boys for a walk. 


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I tried - Breastfeeding

So, the title of my blog is... a mom who tries.

There are thousands of books out there to tell you how to parent.  But there are very few books to help you go through the emotions of parenting.  

I tried breastfeeding.... twice actually.  And I destroyed God's greatest design ---> the bond - mothers and babes.

First time I tried was with Gideon.  He was our first sweet little itty bitty baby.  He came with the whole deal - good smells, little diapers, cute outfits, and lots of cries for food.   Even though it was challenging --> INCREDIBLY CHALLENGING <-- I was able to breastfeed him for three weeks.

I tried, I really did.   However, at 3 weeks he contracted RSV.  It was one of my many mommy fails.  I know exactly where the virus came from.  It was 100% my fault - and I made my baby sick.  

The last time I nursed Gideon he stopped breathing.   In tears I woke my husband up and told him what happened.   Prior to this we knew G wasn't feeling well... he just looked..... sick.   We went to the ER early that morning.   G vomited all over the bed we were on as we waited.  They almost sent us home, but a nurse then came and told us he had RSV and needed to be admitted.    That same day when doctors were making their rounds Dr. Dickerson made the suggestion to move us to another bigger hospital so he could be monitored.  So away we went in ambulance.   At this other hospital, an hour away,  G was not allowed to eat for 12 hours....

I TRIED PUMPING.    you know how difficult it is to nurse.  you know how difficult it is to pump.  you know how difficult it is to produce milk when you are more worried about your baby.   I tried.  But without fail I dried up faster than you could buy the formula.  The hospital was nice enough and were able to supplement with formula.

The first time I tried breastfeeding I wasn't as upset about having to use formula.  At the time it wasn't this big "mommy war" going on.  At the time I really only new people who were all using formula, except for two dear friends who were nursing rock-stars.  I thought it was the norm.   I remember thinking while all these friends used formula that I WAS THE STRANGE ONE for breastfeeding.

I felt alone.    I breastfeed in secret and modesty.  I didn't know or stand up for my rights.  People would come over to see G, and instead of seeing them I would take him to his room and close the door so he could eat.  I cried tears for being in pain (we talked to people).  I cried because I just had a baby.  I cried because I felt alone.  incredibly alone. I felt like a milking cow.    So when we went to formula, it was the norm.  I wasn't alone any more.  I was okay with it.

Fast forward 3 years and just recently we had our second son.  Soren.

Times have changed.  Mommy wars were up in arms (battles over everything).   I was "fighting" on the side for breastfeeding - knowing my past I still could relate to those using formula and knew that it was okay.  But, breast is best.    I was eager and looking forward to having Soren so I could do it "right" this time.    I was making plans going back to teaching in 6 weeks when August hits.  Trying to figure out how to pump in a building full of awkward children (I teach Jr. High) I was going to try this time and not fail.  

I failed.  

I failed me.  I failed my baby.  I failed the mommy wars.  but most importantly - I failed God.  

We went 5.5 days breastfeeding.  It was just all wrong.  I had to have a c-section with Soren for he was breech, big and placenta was in the way.  So things just weren't "normal" from the get go.    Breastfeeding at the hospital was great.  I heard praise from the nurses that he had a good latch.  It didn't hurt.  I was so excited - telling my mom and sister that I can't believe how much I enjoyed it this time around.  

We got home - breastfeeding became more difficult.  The first thing that started causing trouble was my hand/arm.  More so the right one than the left.  But it would go numb, tingle, hurt, swell, ache, and couldn't hold or do much of anything (I couldn't use a pen or cut up fruit with a knife... it was bad and scary).   I was having trouble with getting S to latch - it is difficult when you have one working hand.  I even had J try to help S latch and hold him while I pried open his lips (fish lips, not old man!).    It got harder.  Later I found out that C-section patients a lot of time have carpal like symptoms from the excess fluid.

I started to dread the next feeding.  I started finding reasons not to be around my baby.  A little postpartum depression, yes.  I started to find excuses to give Soren the pacifier just to buy me a little extra time.  

I was bleeding.  I was crying.  I was in pain from my swollen feet, surgery incision (19 staples), carpal tunnel like hand, bleeding breast.    Mentally - I couldn't take it.  Honestly, I don't know if my milk ever came in.

As a result Soren didn't have a dirty/wet diaper in 8 hours.  He didn't poop for a day (you know 3 wet, 3 dirty every day for the first week.... not him).  I was starving him without even really knowing it.  I wasn't feeding on demand.  I was demanding it stopped hurting before I fed.  

Finally my husband said maybe we should do formula (I had suggested it the day before, but stuck nursing out... again).

Tears flooded as we gave Soren his first bottle.  I am about to cry as I think about it now.  Again, I dried up without struggle. 

I tried... but in the end... I failed... God.  

I failed God's greatest design.  He designed this entire amazing universe without flaw.  He designed mommies to take care of babies inside of the womb for 9 months and then gave them the ability to nourish their babies after that.  Seriously, how cool is it that babies only need their mommies after life.  That's it... they need mommy.    

And even though through these mommy wars I was fighting for breasts.... I was becoming a secret alliance with formula mommas.  

I was a trator 

As we fed Soren the first bottle I couldn't help but repeat "I am sorry"  I let so many people down.  I broke God's great design and accidentally hurt our baby (God's other amazing creation).   Thankfully my husband is very helpful and supportive.   He told me every time I said sorry that I had nothing to be sorry for.  He thought it was best for our entire family.    

The next day we went to Soren's first dr. appointment.   He asked how things were going and after realizing that S wasn't back up to his birth weight and the story of my tragedy he confirmed and affirmed that we made the right decision switching to formula.     

I am a good mom..... I am feeding my baby formula

Last night I was talking to a little bit older mom (I think she is in her 40's).  She asked how I was doing and all the typical questions about how baby was doing.   Finally she asked "how do you feel about not being able to nurse?"  

It was nice to be asked straight up the tough question.   I almost cried (again) telling her that it hurt thinking I let everyone down but I am okay with it now.

We are doing ok.  Soren is eating and in a few days we find out how healthy he is.  I no longer want to avoid my baby.  My breast don't scream in agony.   My kid is eating!  And I know that God still loves me.  

So from a mom who tries.

I tried breast feeding... and I failed.   

Am I for breastfeeding - yes!  Am I for pumping - yes!  Am I for formula - yes!  

But please, next time you innocently judge another mom - remember that we shouldn't be at battle or war with each other.  We don't deserve to feel like failures by other people standards.  We are all doing our best.  

If you are a mom reading this.... believe me... YOU TOO, ARE A GREAT MOM!

And for fun here is big brother trying to feed little brother (under a watchful eye).  

Leave me a comment.  What is your story?

Friday, July 3, 2015

I tried - a not natural birth - Soren's c-section story.

It has been a while since I've last written.   Remember, I can tell a long story... and I haven't written in a while, so more words to share. Honestly, I have been too sick and too tired (pregnant and teaching and raising a toddler and married to a working husband who also is going to school full time... and... and...)  but seriously, I have been too tired to write.  

We found out in October that we were expecting (as planned/trying) our second child.   We found out that baby's due date would be the very end of June.  Almost a bit too late for a teacher who is returning come August, but still good timing.  God is good.

As we progress we find out that our baby is going to be a boy!  Another boy.   I was slightly disappointed, thought it would be fun to have a girl, yet at the same time filled with joy.... I get boys.  I understand the dirt.  I understand the busy body.  I understand the tough.  So raising another boy, I can try that again!  Soren Paul will be little brother to Gideon Xavier.  With glee we praise; God is good.

I continue to get bigger.  Now, everyone tries to be nice to pregnant people.

Let's get real.

Some people are beautiful pregnant.

And some.... well.... become a house.

I am not a small person to start with.  But I grow.... grow.....grow some more.  I watch what I eat. Never really had any strange cravings.  But I grow, and I'm sick, and I grow.   I become as round as I am tall.  I am not even trying to be funny.  Picture a 5 food 2 inch girl, huge tushie, and just as big pump in the front.  I had all the shapes.  And all the shapes were round.  But we still have baby Soren - God is good.  

My midwife starts to joke about how Soren must be pushing out at every appointment, or that he's in a funny positions when she continues month to month and week to week measure him big.  I mean, I am measuring 4-6 weeks ahead of schedule.     But he's still here, so we praise -  He is great!

Finally after another detailed ultrasound it is confirmed, Soren is frank breech (has both feet up by his head).    Unless he turns we will be more than likely having a c-section.    But it was affirmation that he was healthy - thank you God.

We try different techniques to turn the little booger.   I knew in my heart of hearts he wasn't going to turn.  I still tried.  I am a mom who tries.    But every visit he is still breeched.   Finally we met with Dr. Chandler to discuss the possibilities of an eversion to turn Mr. Soren.    He decided that we were not good candidates - baby is big, not much room to move, and the placenta was in the way.


Those were not the words this momma wanted to hear.  But he is healthy, and we continue to sing praise.

June 24th.... is not the date of our son Soren.   But to my relief, he did pick his own birthday.    Monday the 22nd I started to have contractions 10 minutes apart.  My parents whisk the oldest away and my husband and I go to the hospital.  I am indeed in early labor.  My contractions were visible but not making super progress in other areas.   So I get to go home  (I ate oreos and chick-fi-la as my last meal before midnight).   I was told to come back the next day at 6 am for a c-section (it was not the scheduled day!).  Come to find out my midwife, who was at the hospital that night, and the nurse thought I would be back in... but we made it to the early 6 am.

I had a wonderful nurse to help prep me.  We waited.  We monitored.  We answered questions.  We prayed silently.  We waited.  We made phone calls.   You get the point.

Finally around 10:00 I was moved to the operating room.  Yes, it looks like the movies.  Bright white lights, super sterile, everyone in masks hiding their identities.   I  get the special meds that make your legs go heavy and loose all feeling, but yet I was awake.  This whole time, I am thinking, Soren will be here soon... God is soooo Good.

I am sliced open on the table like a fish in the summer sun.   Every roll of fat.  Every freckle.  Every stretch mark.  Every scar and burn.  Every imperfection that I've ever tried to hide....

Viewed - by strangers - in masks.

It doesn't take long at all.  And out comes this beautiful crying noise.  My husband leaves my side to attend to Soren (as I requested) - my midwife talked to me and helped take pictures of my boys.  I am stapled up; yes STAPLED.... 19 metal staples.   I am ALIVE, Soren is ALIVE..... God blesses.

I am carted back to the recovery room.  I can't do anything.  I tried.  I am told several times of what will happen the next 12 hours.  Nurses will help me move at a good rate.   Nurses will bring me pain meds (ALWAYS TAKE THE PILLS).  Nurses will empty my catheter bag... I mean how else was I going to go the restroom if I can't walk for 12ish hours (it was more like 16).

Soren Paul was born on June 23, 2015.  He was 8.5 pounds, 20.5 inches long, and BEAUTIFUL!!

We had so many wonderful visitors while in the hospital, and at times I just wanted to sleep... and at times I did.  They came to see the baby.  They didn't need to see my smug face.  =]  People came and went.  Nurses came and went.  Eventually I started walking more and more the next day.  Slowly.

I am healing.  Soren is healthy.  We thank God for our handsome wonderful boy.  We are blessed by so many people bringing us food, holding and loving on Soren, entertaining and wrestling the big brother.  All is good.


And as Paul Harvey would say "that's the rest of the story"

More blogs to come:
Tips and thoughts about c-sections
My biggest mommy fail - ruining God's perfect creation.  The emotions of a mom who tried to breastfeed.