Friday, June 1, 2018

Maternity Leave

I started this post like 9 weeks ago and then I got so busy I haven't even opened my blog until now. I've since gone back to work and the sun has come out and I'm feeling much better, but nonetheless, I want to remember these feelings for the next time around.

March 27:

Newborns are no joke, I kind of forgot how needy they are. I find myself talking to Sydney the same way I talk to Sloane, telling her to calm down, and to just be patient, and that she needs to sleep. I catch myself expecting way too much from this tiny infant, but I can't help myself sometimes. The hardest thing has been going from having tons quiet and somewhat alone time at work to being 100% in the trenches with a non-napping toddler and a needy newborn. It's been pretty rough. I find myself being very short and angry with Sloane when she won't listen to me or when she throws a fit. I know that I am expecting way too much from her and have to remind myself that she is still a tiny child. I have also had to apologize to her on the daily. Motherhood is insane. I try so hard to be patient and kind with Sloane and after so long, I'm all out of patience and then I get upset and then I feel bad so I apologize and then the whole thing starts over again. The days are long. I am trying my best to enjoy my time with these girls before I have to go back to work or before they grow up, but it is so hard sometimes. Everyone tells me to "enjoy every minute" but that's not going to happen, is it alright if I just enjoy some minutes, please?

The other part of this that makes it particularly difficult is that I grew wanting to be a stay at home mom, that's all I wanted. I still think that's all I want to do, I yearn to be at home when I'm at work, but yet when I am home, I feel like a failing. It's a lot worse when I realize that I'm not only failing, but I'm failing at like my only dream. And I know, I know, "You're doing better than you think, You're not failing blah blah blah". I don't actually think I'm failing, I know I'm doing the best I can, but it's so easy to get discouraged. It's also very hard to try and cope and not being able to exercise the way I like to. I am only 5 weeks PP and I can't start really exercising hard for a while. That is my favorite way to cope with stress and frustration and I'm a pretty big brat when I don't work out. Also, the sun won't come. This time of year is super hard on me mentally, and add to it the sleep-deprivation, the moody toddler and the needy newborn and you got a recipe for a super ornery momwifelady.

June 1:

After another week or so of the that misery, I finally started to get a handle on the motherhood thing. I started doing tricky things like going for a long drive at about 2:00 and I tricked Sloane into 3 or 4 naps and then she figured it out and started chatting or singing really loud to keep herself awake (yes, she's a sleepless psychopath). We started getting into a good groove. We went to the mommy and me dance class every week, and the library story time and somedays I felt like I was the best mom ever! There were still days when none of us would leave the house or get out of pajamas, but for the most part things were really good. I had to learn which battles to fight, make sure Sloane didn't get hungry (she gets more hangry than me) and get Sydney some good long naps and then life was great! Here's some of my favorite moments from those couple months of misery/bliss.

This was the Sunday after Sydney was born. Every Sunday we pop popcorn and watch a movie. This was one of the first times that I was starting to feel like someday I might be normal again. I think it was about Day 5. We watched Coco and it was seriously one of the happiest moments having my whole family of 4 all cuddled up on the couch together. And I love Coco so much. The first two times we watched we both so special. The first time was when we took Sloane to her first movie and she loved it. She had her own popcorn and drink and watching sitting by herself and being so pleased with her set up was the best thing. 

Sydney was such a sleepy and cuddly baby those first few weeks. 

Dr. Sloane! 

My mom came up to help during her birthday, so Nate made her a real good dinner and birthday cake and Sloane was so excited. Sloane is obsessed with birthdays. 

Cuddling with my girls. 

I couldn't cook, so Sloane took over. 
JK. But Nate really did and he did not disappoint. Every meal was like 4 courses and the most delicious thing ever. I just wish I had a bigger appetite. So much wasted deliciousness. 

March 7: My first real walk around the neighborhood. I wore that jacket for like 4 months straight and now seeing it makes me cringe just a little. 

I took Sloane and Sydney out by myself for the first time to an Easter Egg hunt at the local preschool. She loved it. It was a blizzard and trying to get Sydney all wrapped up in the baby wrap without getting whitewashed was the biggest struggle of my life. 

Sloane wanted to and still wants to help with EVERYTHING. Sometimes she is actually really helpful and other times...

I took Sloane to the park and she had so much fun. It was cold (note the snow on the ground) but we didn't care because the glorious sun was finally out! 

It took 2 weeks for to finally get around to dying eggs. It was only one day after Easter, so I'm counting it as a success. I was overly confident and didn't read the instructions on how you dissolve the color tablets so I ruined every single cup of color, but luckily I bought another kit that you could just paint on. We had fun. Sloane dumped the blue cup of dye all over the table on the only spot that wasn't covered with towels. Magic. It was a fun activity and Sloane was beaming with pride after they were all done. I never want to forget her little face showing off her eggs she made. 

I was feeling very confident one day and took the girls to baby animal days. It was actually a really good day. It rained a little but not enough to ruin everything. Sloane was an angel all day and waited in line so patiently to see the animals and Sydney slept most the time. Much to my dismay, Sloane was dying to ride the train, so we waited in the super long line and it was so worth it. She loved it so much and her face during the ride was pure joy. I love how such simple things can make her 100% happy. 

Holding the baby turtle. Sloane was a little nervous to hold it, but I told her she was a brave girl and she did it. 

Seeing the cherry blossoms at the capital. Both the kids were sleeping peacefully, I apologized to Nate and said that unfortunately I didn't care that they were sleeping and that we were going to stop anyway and wake them up. It may have been a mistake, Sydney cried the whole time, but I don't regret it. It was so beautiful and it made me so happy to see the earth coming back to life again!

Coming down the stairs after Dance Class. 

Bonnie and Wes took Sloane every day for the first couple weeks so I could rest and figure Sydney out. I do not know what I would have done without them. Sloane got really sick a couple days and I had to keep her home and it was so hard to take care of her when I couldn't even really walk myself. I would go over and pick her up in the afternoon and almost every time I went to get her, they were having tons of fun and she didn't want to leave. We are so lucky to have these people in our lives. 

Picnic at the Rugby game. Sloane only wants to play picnic every single day of her life, so I thought she would lose her mind if we went on actual picnic...turns out she like pretend picnics better. 

I accidentally shaved Nate's hair all off. He asked me to cut the back and I thought the guard was still on, and it was not. Oops. I felt so bad and so dumb. But Nate was so nice about it all. We took this picture right before church. When we got to church people were literally laughing out loud at Nate's head. He has never gotten so much attention. Now everyone thinks he is the most extreme person in the world. 

Little moments like this is what I really miss when I'm working. 

We went to my work party and got to go bowling and roller skating, it was a good night. 

Sloane begged to go over to Bonnie and Wes's house almost every day. Somedays I would let her but most days I told her no. Towards the end of my maternity leave Flint wanted to play with her so bad that he and Wes would come and knock on the door and ask for her to come play. They wouldn't let me pay them for any of that time so I felt bad having her over for too long. I'm so glad she has such a happy place to be while I'm at work, it makes it a little easier knowing that she is playing outside in the dirt and roasting mallows all day. 

Sloane LOVED dance class. She would ask every day if we were going to dance class. She also wanted to play dance class regularly. It was really fun to have some good quality time to play with her and also be with my dance friends who bring their kiddos. 

Those cheeks guys. 

Logan was a little late to the blossom party. 

For my birthday we went to dinner and movie. I worked up all the courage I could and we went and saw the Quiet Place. It was so good and so fun. It stressed me out so bad, having a newborn baby and thinking about trying to keep her quiet. 

I got to go to an awesome hip hop class last month. The guy that taught is a deaf, but can feel the beat of the music through his feet. He had so much personality and was so funny even though he never said a word. I went with some of my dance homies and we all had so much fun trying to be thugs. 

This set up happened every single. We maybe missed one or two days, but every other day we had to have a picnic. 

Blessed sunshine and strategic shade placement for the baby. 

Towards the end of my maternity leave I took the girls down to Highland to surprise my mom and take her to the Tulip Festival with my sister and her kids. It was a stressful drive, with Sloane saying she was carsick and threatening barf with the scariest noises and Sydney crying for a lot of it. But we had a fun time and I'm glad we were able to make it work. 

Sloane and Lola are the cutest little cousins. 

Me just trying to recreate photos from years past and Sloane's not having it. 

Buying these kids ice cream was one of the best investments of my life. They all sat quietly and ate them while me and Linz feed the babies. 

I cannot emphasize the amount of difficulty in trying to take a selfie while simultaneously trying to support a newborn. 

It's really hard. 

Park day with Flint. Sloane had so much fun with her best bud with her. 

Library story time and more blossoms. 

I'm not one for matching outfits, but Bonnie bought the girls these outfits and so I put them in them and accidentally thought they were adorable matching it up. 

And that's a wrap. I can't promise more, but I sure hope there will be more to come soon. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

She's here!

My c-section was scheduled for 7:30 AM, which meant that I had to be there at 6:00 AM for prep. We woke up early, and took Sloane over to her babysitters wrapped up in a big blanket. I was so nervous that I didn't sleep much that night, so I was tired and nervous and very jittery. It was strange leaving Sloane, as we walked away from their house, I choked back some tears because it felt like we were officially closing the chapter of our family of three. I don't know why but that was one of the hardest things and I was all kinds of sentimental about it. I took so many "last" pictures, our last dinner as a family of three, our last movie night, etc, etc. As it turns out, we're all still here and all still having dinner and movie nights together, so I don't know why I was so panicked and crazy about soaking in that time.

Anyway...We got to the hospital and went to labor and delivery, I didn't really know what to say to the front desk lady, I think I said, "Hi, I'm here to have a baby". They got me in my room and started hooking me up to all the things. The nurse couldn't get my IV the first time so she had to try again in a different spot and that wasn't that fun. I had a hard time getting comfortable and I was already getting shakey. The baby must have known something was up, because she was really letting me have it. It took forever to get everything all prepped and to get all my fluids in. Finally an hour and half later, I was being taken back to the OR. The anesthesiologist came and gave me a super good run down of everything that was going to happen and explained that the "spinal" can make people's blood pressure drop quickly which will make you feel super nauseous and pretty terrible, he told me to tell him everything I was feeling.

Once we got in the OR, I started getting really nervous, I was shaking like crazy and the nurse said I had tons of adrenaline running through my body and I would keep shaking until the spinal took effect. I sat on the edge of the table and hunched over as far as I could while the nurses told us all these horror stories about husbands passing out (hitting their head and dying) watching their wives get the spinal, Nate was like, "should I sit down then?" and they were all, "no, you'll be fine". Luckily, they were right. It took probably 30 seconds before I started feeling (or not feeling) the meds take over, they laid me out on the table and started asking me if I could feel this, or this or this? I kept saying no, and the Dr. said they were poking me with a sharp needle. Cool. I guess they started right after that because all of sudden I got so nauseous and started dry heaving and I felt like I was going to die. It was seriously one of the worst feelings, I wanted to get the H out of there, but I couldn't move. They gave me a puke cup and the anesthesiologist pumped something in to help, it took a couple minutes, but finally I felt okay again. I felt a lot of pressure and could tell they were pulling things around inside me, but I wasn't sure, I didn't even know if they had cut me open yet.  Two minutes later Nate was said that she was out. And then I heard another doctor say that she was a BIG baby. And I was shocked on both accounts. She was a week and half earlier than Sloane and I had gained less weight this time, so I was 100% that she would be even smaller than Sloane. They got her on the scale and she came in at a whopping 8lbs 15 oz. Nate said one of the doctors guessed her weight when she came out and he was only 1 oz off.

Hearing her cry made me cry. I was so happy she was here and that she was healthy enough to be crying and I was also still in shock that it was already over. I watched as they cleaned her up, weighed her and was so anxious to get my hands on her. Finally they brought her over and I could not believe how big she was. Her little face was so chubby, she couldn't even get her eyes open. I kissed her cheeks and kept a constant stream of tears coming. In the background I kept hearing the nurse count and then the doctor count back to her. They were counting pretty high, 24 and then 36 and I asked Nate, "what are they counting down there?" And he said, "your stitches, inside and out" That gave me the willies. I'm so thankful for modern medicine and that I didn't have to feel a single thing they were doing down there. After that they made a hilarious joke about how they needed me to climb over onto the rollaway bed next to me, but I didn't know it was a joke and I was like, "Umm, I'll try..." As 3 nurses and doctor rolled my limp body onto the rollaway, I looked at where I had been and it was drenched in blood. It's such a strange thing to see your own blood all over. Freaked me out. We were taken back to the recovery room and hung out there for a couple hours. The baby latched right on and breastfed really well the first day. I was so excited that maybe breastfeeding was going to be all easy and natural this time. But the next couple days I was so sore and cracked and starting to bleed, I just about threw in the towel. It was so painful, I seriously cried every single time I fed. But I gave myself a little break and we fed her bottles and I was able to slowly heal and get back into the swing of things after that initial shock.

After we were sufficiently "recovered" we were moved up to "Mom and Baby". When we got there, almost all the rooms were empty, and by the time we left, they were almost all full. It's so weird how many babies are born every day in just one hospital. Anyway, once we were in M&B I was super anxious for Sloane to come and meet her baby sister, so Nate left to go pick her up. I had asked Mckay to come up and take pictures of Sloane meeting her sister and the first few moments of our new little family. She got there at the perfect time and was all set when Sloane came in. I can honestly say that 20-30 minutes were some of the happiest minutes of my life. Seeing Sloane made me so happy and seeing her meet the baby was the best thing I've ever seen. She was so sweet and gentle and asking so many funny questions. She asked where her eyebrows were and if she had a porhead (forehead). She tried tickling her and was a little disappointed that the baby didn't laugh. I could tell she was a little nervous about the whole thing, but she was being so adorable and I just felt so much love, I thought my heart might burst. Maybe it's because I thought and acted like I was never going to see Sloane again, and I was just really excited that I was seeing her again? Sloane stayed for a little while and then decided she was ready to go back to Bonnie's house. Nate took her back and while I was alone I just cuddled that sweet baby sent off some video messages to the families and a couple friends.

I was feeling so good, the meds were still in full effect and emotionally, I was doing about 5X better than last time. I thought this was going to be so much easier! The nurses came in to check and on me and told me they wanted me to take a walk in an hour and I was thought, wow that's really quick, but I can totally do it! As soon as the numbness was worn off, I was getting out of bed and then I got a reality check. I could barely move, I took probably 3 minutes to get to a sitting position with my legs on the ground. Then another 2 minutes trying to get up the guts to stand up, then standing took forever. The nurses were clutching me and telling me to lock my knees as I walked. They must have a lot of women fall over. I felt sick, but I was pretty sure my legs had me. I only walked to the bathroom and wanted to die. I started getting horrible flashbacks from the first time and started getting super discouraged and hopeless. It really does feel like you will never be normal again, it's so terrible.

The next couple of days were rough, but they were better than the first time. The first night is torture. You are exhausted but can't get comfortable and it seems like it lasts forever. Meanwhile, Nate and the baby are sleeping the night away and I just lay there watching the clock and wishing I was one of them. The next day Sloane and Kay (Nate's mom) came to visit. Sloane brought pictures for me and dad and baby sister. It was time for me to go for a walk in the hall and Sloane wanted to come, so she came out and walked with for about 3 steps, she looked at me going SO slow and said, "come on mom!" and started running down the hall. I told her that was as fast as I could go and she said, "just hurry. faster mom." I wanted to go faster so bad. She ran down the hall turned the corner and was out of sight. I hoped she would be alright and find her way back because there was no way I could ever get to her. A minute later she came up behind me, she lapped me a couple more times and was yelling the whole time. I kept trying to tell her to be quiet because there were babies sleeping, but she didn't care. I figured she was running fast enough that everyone was only getting a couple seconds of yelling. At one point she had turned the corner but never come back up behind me, I hadn't seen her for a while and she had either stopped yelling or was far enough away that I couldn't hear her. I hoped a nice nurse would find her. And a few minutes later I heard her, she was holding the hand of a very nice nurse and when she saw me, she said, "MOM!" and came running to me. It was quite the visit. After about an hour, she Nate and Grandma and Sloane went to lunch and then home for a while. I was so grateful that Kay could come up and take care of Sloane, it made it so much easier knowing that she was at home and happy with Grandma.

The second day we still didn't have a name for the baby. We decided we would just name her Quinn, because that's the name I liked and I wasn't really budging. I called her Quinn all day and it just felt really weird and wrong. I was really hesitant to tell Nate, but I finally told him and he agreed. I told him that we could try calling her his name, Sydney, tomorrow and see if it felt better. Well much to my disappointment, it felt a lot better. I was annoyed that I didn't like MY name for her, but knew that we had to name her Sydney. I decided we could just use my name as the middle name and Nate said that was fine, so her name became Sydney Quinn.

The next day (Day 3) we were so ready to go home. I was sick of being woken up every hour and wanted to be home with Sloane. And Kay was ready to go home too. We got everything ready to go, and made our way out to the car. It's been the most mild winter and has snowed twice, until it was time to go home. It was freezing outside, snowing and the wind was blowing. Nate brought the car around and got Sydney in, I got in but couldn't close my door, so Nate got out of the car and closed it for me. When we pulled in to our house, Sloane was watching us from the window and I could hear her yell, "MOM!!" and she had the biggest smile on her face. Seeing her how happy she was to see us made me cry, just a little bit. She yelled, "you bring baby sister??!" and I nodded my head and she took off running towards the door. It was so good to be home. But a little scary sometimes-toddlers are so unpredictable and I felt like I was on guard the whole time trying to protect my incision. Nate took such good care of all of us and even took Sydney for a full night so I could just sleep, it was a dream. He made us big breakfasts, lunches, dinner and dessert every day, cleaned up, kept Sloane happy, and kept telling me how great I was doing. I don't know how anyone has a baby without a Nate around.

The next couple of days were super rough, breastfeeding wise. I wasn't making enough and I was so sore, I thought I was going to die. I fantasized about quitting and just doing formula. I decided I would take long breaks and if we could get the hang of the things after the breaks, then I would keep going and if not, we would be done and I wouldn't even feel bad, I secretly hoped that I would just dry up and I could be done, but the breaks worked and we were able to get things figured out. Now I just gotta figure out a way to triple my milk supply because this girl loves to eat. Like all day. And all night. We are still supplementing with formula every other feeding and some days every feeding because she gets ticked if she is not 100% full. She will literally wail if she is at 97%, we give her like 3 more swallows and then she is satisfied. What the what, baby girl.

That's the best I can do for now. I have a lot more thoughts on this whole motherhood thing that hopefully I can get out soon. It's been a tough transition to go from working mom of one to a SAHM of two. Let's just say I've got a lot to figure out!