Thursday, May 23, 2013
I like being a stay at home mom much more than I thought I would. I like the simple routines and loose schedule that provide structure and shape to each day. The other day B and I went to the library, as we do nearly every week.
When I told him we were heading to the library he surprised me by gathering his library books and bringing them to me. I was planning on keeping them one more week before selecting new ones, but when I asked him, "Are you ready to take these back?" he said, "Yes," so I put them in our library bag.
We were not there on a toddler story time day, but the discovery room was open so B played in there for a while, then we picked out a few books for him. We went to the store to buy one item for dinner, then headed home. After lunch we read his new library books then I rocked him down for his nap.
I curled up on the couch and immersed myself in an infuriating book with excellent character development (Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I need someone else to read it so I can discuss my thoughts and feelings.) It was cold and rainy. Isabel curled up on the rug by my feet and slept. It was so quiet I could hear Bennett's white noise whooshing faintly in the background.
It was perfect. It feels wrong to write that because I always feel like I need to add: well, as perfect as life can be without Charlotte here. But this sweetly quiet life isn't all about Charlotte, or her absence is it? It's mostly about the child who came after, who needs me now, who requires parenting and nurturing day after day.
And there just is something perfect about a quiet house on a cold, rainy spring day with a little boy in comfy clothes snuggled in his bed. In the spacious cavern of grief Charlotte left behind sweet contentment has slowly built a shelter around my heart. And I can't honestly tell you how, or when, that happened. We lose people - and things - that mean the world to us, but somehow we go on. Somehow we continue to breathe, and as the days spool out with consistent rhythm we build a new life in the space left behind because that is the option left to us.
I've had twenty months with just Bennett. When the next babe comes along I'll have two solid years with him behind me. I've just begun to realize that my solo time with Bennett is coming to a close. And it's making me super sad. I dropped him off for child watch at the gym yesterday then couldn't wait to pick him up, even though only a mere hour had gone by.
I'm just beginning to realize how much I needed this time with Bennett. The past twenty months have healed my heart and stitched over some of the raw wounds I thought may never close. The (sometimes monotonous) day to day activities that come with new life have helped me weave my life into something beautiful I cherish, instead of something I have to get through because, really, what other choice do I have?
Bennett may never know how much I needed him. Not any old rainbow baby, HIM. His brightness, his joy, his crazy energy and zest for life has restored some of the mother confidence I so desperately lacked after Charlotte died, and has made me realize how worth it all of this is. Even though it hurts, even though there is remarkable potential for pain, growing and birthing these little humans is so worth it.
And I think, just maybe, I'm finally starting to connect to this third baby. Because I want to see how he or she shapes me. Because I want to learn what he or she has to teach me. Because I want to look back a year from now and say, "Ah, yes, this is even better."
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
You know you're the mom of a kid with food allergies when a new EpiPen makes you super excited. (I'm not getting paid for this post. The makers of the product don't know me from Adam). Just watch the video. If you have allergies, or a little one with allergies, you'll understand why I'm excited.
More information about the new Auvi-Q EpiPen can be found here.
Monday, May 20, 2013
We are on night four of Operation Bennett Sleep Through the Night for the Love of All That is Holy Please. There is a plan, provided by our naturopath before we decided to take a break from that doctor, but the plan does not seem to be working.
The basics: night one we spent two minutes in the room with B using comforting words, then stepped out for three minutes, then put him down as we normally do (sitting next to his bed). On night two we went in for two, out for three, in for two, out for three, then settled him as we normally do. Bet you can guess what we did the following night.
Every time B wakes up during the night we do the same routine. Our doctor said, "it works because kids get bored." Well, B is far from bored. He's mad, and maybe even a little anxious, but he is not bored. As soon as we step out of the room he flies out of his bed and beats feet to the door where he wails until we come back in. And at the end of the in and out time it takes us FOREVER to settle him down (I'm talking 45 minutes to 1.5 HOURS).
After three nights of 3-5 hours sleep broken into chunks I'm feeling a little crazy. Pregnancy fatigue is not helping, of course. J has been stepping in as much as he can, but I try to preserve his sleep since he works every day. Also, naps are super hard to come by so I don't get to rest during the day. We're going to try this for a week, but by the time we reach that goal I might be certifiable.
And if this doesn't work we don't know what to try next.
Sleep has always been a major issue for us. I think some of it can be chalked up to B's allergies (he was itchy for a good chunk of his early months, which meant a lot of interrupted sleep). Another bit of it can be blamed on me, I think. I've always believed that if B needs me he should have me, which means if he wakes at night he expects to come in to our bed. And there have been times when I need him; when I need to know he is alive and breathing through the night. He's never attached to a toy or blanket. He's never learned how to self soothe. And all of our attempts to teach him have failed miserably.
I feel like I've completely failed in this area of parenting. B is 20 months old and I can count on one hand the number of times he has slept through the night. I really hope this plan kicks in and works in the next couple days. I have no idea what to do if it doesn't. Pin It
Sunday, May 19, 2013
B and I went on a fun play date with my mom and nephew while J was at work today. There is a train park 45 minutes from here where kids can ride little trains. It was a blast. B is really into trains right now. We rode 5 times before my mom and I called it in. The trains are great for little ones, but not so friendly for mamas and grandmas. Especially pregnant mamas. My back, hips and pelvis are quite sore this afternoon, but B had so much fun I don't mind. He is currently sleeping in my arms, which makes me dread bedtime this evening as it is already 4:00 here.
There are two types of trains. This type you sit on the bench while your little one sits below you. I liked this one, but B couldn't see as well. Older kids can sit on their own, of course. The other type is a very narrow bench which you straddle. B loved those trains because he could see really well, but it was very, very uncomfortable.
Molalla train park is open 12-5, Sundays only, May through October. Admission is free, but a donation is suggested. Parking is very, very limited. I recommend getting there a few minutes before the gates open. There is a great picnic area and room for kids to run around. There is a small cafe with a few items. The bathrooms are clean and nice, though there isn't a diaper changing station. I highly recommend this activity if you live in the Portland/Salem area. No one paid me for this post. We just had a super fun morning and I want to share the park information with local parents.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
This morning we stopped at J's work before doing the grocery shopping. J thought it would be fun to take a look at the baby, see if we could guess the gender. I was reluctant because we did the same thing with Charlotte and I'm wary of repeating anything I did while pregnant with Charlotte. I was also terrified of seeing a still baby with no heartbeat, but I heard the baby yesterday and felt the baby today so I knew things were most likely okay.
Having J do a quick scan is a fun way for him to be involved in the pregnancy. He doesn't come to appointments - though he will be there for the anatomy scan this time - because of his work schedule so he doesn't have nearly as much interaction with the baby.
B enjoyed seeing the baby and helping J scan. It was difficult to tell what the gender was because baby was curled up in a ball. And J brings home the bacon by scanning hearts and veins., not babies. He's only scanned a couple baby bellies so he doesn't have a lot of skill in that area. He's 80% sure we figured it out correctly. I'm 85-90% sure.
What is it B????
Brother or sister?
Look at that sweet hand! Hard to tell, but this is the tummy and there's a knee in there somewhere too.
We're not telling.
We'll share after the official ultrasound.
What do you think?
Boy or girl?
Friday, May 17, 2013
First of all: how in the world am I 16 weeks already??
I finally heard baby's heartbeat via doppler today. I have no idea why my babies like to hide from the doppler until 16 weeks (it's not placenta placement) but goodness is it nerve wracking. I was feeling a little worried today when it took the midwife a while to locate the heartbeat, but I felt the baby moving around quite a bit last night (first really strong movements!!) so I knew things were most likely fine.
Our anatomy scan will be here before too long, and the week after that will be the halfway mark. Unless this little one comes early like its siblings. Then I'll hit the halfway mark in a couple weeks!
I feel completely calm about this pregnancy and the baby's arrival until I think about B turning 2 in four months. A month or so after he turns 2 we'll be bringing another baby home! (fingers and toes crossed, of course). Thinking about it that way makes me want to start planning and organizing.
This pregnancy is so different from my first two. I don't have the words to explain it at the moment, but it is very, very different.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
I went out for pedicures and "dinner" with friends tonight. I say "dinner" because we hit up Taco Bell after our pedicure appointment. Hey, all together we're two pregnant mamas and one nursing mama: we needed tacos.
After "dinner" I meandered home instead of taking the quickest route. I had a lot on my mind. I just wanted to drive, listen to music, think a while. When I woke up this morning I felt calm and renewed. It's like everything that happened last week is gone. And, finally, I don't care what people think about the choices we made for our daughter (I know this could swing back the other way, but today this is where I am). Truth is, there is some information I haven't shared. There are things we know that I don't feel the need to share. I blog a lot, yes, but some of what happened is still private.
I feel like I compacted that first year of grief into one week. I had to cycle through all of the emotions - from guilt to accepting the unknowns to assimilation. Maybe my new year doesn't start on January 1st. Maybe it starts now, May 15th, the day after. I always feel a lot better after her birthday passes. Especially when it passes and all my loved ones are still breathing. It feels risky to be pregnant on May 14th. It feels risky to let B or J out of my sight.
This evening as I drove I listened to a play list I put together last year. It starts with songs that remind me of Charlotte, followed by songs that remind me of B and ends with songs of praise and worship. The last song that was on before I pulled into the driveway is called "Beautiful Things." I feel like the Lord used the beautiful mess that was Charlotte's death to create something in me. To change me. To shape who I am and how I interact with the world as a mother, friend, spouse, daughter, sibling ...
When I was younger I would drive around listening to music and think, "It gets better than this. It has to." And life does get better, but it gets harder too. Everyone has their crisis. Every person has the worst moment of their life. Some haven't encountered it yet, but I hope my worst is losing Charlotte.
It's not okay that we spent yesterday remembering Charlotte instead of celebrating her. I'll never be done grieving and missing her. But I can honestly say where I've ended up is okay. It's good even. And I feel like I'm right where I'm supposed to be.