Wednesday, January 26, 2011

That "Rock and a Hard Place" Birth.

I'm pondering the moment I became a mother, twice.

I labored with my firstborn, I was scared. I didn't feel safe. Some thing was off. I wasn't connecting with the people who were supposed to be helping me. My labor stalled. I came to that Rock and a Hard place with my firstborn, but it wasn't during her birth. Her birth? I remember snippets. I remember feeling exposed. Scared and panicky. I remember my neck was throbbing so badly (in a horrid spasm). I couldn't move my arms to relieve the spasm because they were strapped down to a table. I remember the clock on the wall to my right. I remember feeling like I couldn't breath, like I was sure my baby was going to suffocate me. I remember my husband coming in, pale and anxious. I remember him stroking my hair and talking me through. I remember tugging and the official announcement "It's a girl" I think they lifted her naked body over the curtain for a moment. I couldn't reach out to touch her. I remember them bringing this bundled little squinched up and unhappy baby near my face for a moment to snap a picture and then she left me. I remember falling asleep and having a hard time waking up for the next 2 days.

I remember the first time I held her the nurse "scolded" me for bending my arm and setting the blood pressure cuff reading off. I remember how pretty her eyes were, how sweet she looked. I could feel how happy she was to see me. She nursed readily and hungrily. In my memory I can remember the Roo-ness of her, isms and quircks I know so well now.

Those early months were the most painful and stretching I have ever experienced. Her birth was not what I had wanted. But it was what I needed. My birth as a mother did not come with stretching of my skin and the opening of my pelvis in the way I had expected. It did not come with a moment of exultation, the "I did it! Look at my baby!" cry was not on my lips. My birth as her mother was much longer. It came with many tears, and yes, some blood. It came through my giving myself to another human being in a way I had never experienced in my life. Through my breasts. Nursing did not come easily to us, I had some other health complications that made the whole newborn stage a hellish daze. I feel sad when I remember it. When my newborn was asleep at night, I was often up vomiting. Vomiting on my surgery site, ow. There isn't even a word for the level of sleep deprivation I was experiencing. I remember wondering "Can I do this? How have mothers done this? Will I ever feel normal again?" It all came to a giant climax when she was 10 weeks old when I landed myself in the hospital for a week. That week back (at the same) hospital changed everything. We got it that week, I got it. I started to advocate for my baby, for our nursing relationship, for that bond I had fought week after week to continue on with. It was probably one of the hardest, sickest weeks of my life. But we did it. I learned to fight for myself, fight for my baby. I learned, it's okay to be a Mama bear every once in a while. I realized I HAD DONE IT. When we left the hospital that Sunday evening I had saved some thing I was so scared I would lose: our breastfeeding relationship. My body wasn't broken.

And then 10 months later, I found myself pregnant with my surprise, Friendly girl. I had learned a lot about doing things my way. That my way was going to look different, and that's okay.

I chose to give birth at home, where I felt connected and safe with the people helping me. I knew they'd help me. I struggled my whole pregnancy. It sounds awful, but I didn't really want this baby. But boy, I can't say how much I needed her. She changed me. I wouldn't trade her for a million "planned" babies. But facing it all, I wasn't ready to face birth again. I wasn't ready.

That Rock and a Hard place? Well I faced it in labor. A lot of women do. That point where you realize you're stuck. You really have to go through with this. You are almost sure you can't do it, but you have no choice: you have to.

I remember that moment so clearly in Friendly's birth. I was in the birth tub floating, and then I was on my hands and knees holding on to the soft side of the tub. I couldn't do it. I just wanted to beg J to get a vacuum extractor and pull her out (not really an option with a HB) , I couldn't do what I was facing.

I could feel my heavy belly in the water beneath me, my skin stretched to the max. I felt my baby squirm, an elbow or knee shift, a foot press on some thing deep inside me. I remember the unbelievable pressure of my her body pressing on my hips, in my hips.

I remember the sheer despair that this would NEVER end. I was sure it wouldn't. And then the rational voice some where in there would pipe up, "Maybe only 15 minutes, you could be holding your baby an hour from now...You've waited so long. This WILL end."

Birth can be painful. It's not a bad "this is terrible, I'm in danger" pain...It is, overwhelmingly NEW. The sensations can be felt as just "pain". But when you can calm yourself down and be really in the moment...I felt them. My hips opening in a way they'd never ever opened before. The pressure of my 8lb baby passing through. I remember very clearly at one point when I was pushing, I felt my whole body curl around my baby. I met her in that moment, I knew it was a she, and I even felt like I got a peek at her some how. I knew we were working together, her determined little charge (she came out nuchal hand and asynclintic). I swear I could see her. I had moments of clarity when I knew where the sensations were coming from: The pain from my tired uterus contracting, that muscle had been working long and hard. The aching of my pelvis flexing and stinging of my flesh stretching. Birth.

Birth can be painful. The fear of what lies ahead, will I be able to handle this new person? Will we bond and mesh? Will I disappoint? Will I do this okay? Will we be able to hack it? Will we mess this child up? The What Ifs? The newness, the insecurities, the work you are facing. And yes, the joy....And yet, that is scary too. Or maybe I'm the only one that felt that way? I was after all becoming a mother...for the second time. I had held and cherished, and breastfed my firstborn for almost the whole of the 19mos before I arrived there. Facing birth, giving birth. I changed that day.

Birth can be painful. It always brings a lot of change, things can tear or are opened that will take time to heal. It can change the way you see things. Suddenly your standing on the other side of the experience, your point of view is not what it once was. And you have a new life with some one else. Your life will never be the same as long as you live.

How you feel about your birth changes every thing.

Friendly wasn't born 15 minutes after I hit that point, it wasn't an hour...But a few hours later, I was holding my baby.

I held her to my skin. It wasn't the birth I was expecting either, I didn't meet the woman I thought I would. There was no cry of exultation on my lips. But one of utter relief. I had done it. I had DONE IT! I want other women to know that moment, it changed me.

Friendly is almost 18 months old. And lately I've been facing another kind of birth, a labor of sorts. Change. Life is stressful, things are changing. I have never felt so overwhelmed in my entire life. I feel sad. Frustrated. Discouraged. Anxious. And just so ready to get this show on the road! I have been thinking back to those moments where I cried and I was sure I couldn't go on, and I did.

And I will.

I remember how God held me and sustained me in those hours and I know He's holding me now. Every one comes to a rock and a hard place now and again...And the wonderful part? It always brings NEW LIFE.

Hold on through the stretching, it hurts but you'll come to the other side a new person...With a new point of view. And maybe even a new mission. Because of my daughters births, because of the people they are, I am forever changed.

And I'll make it through the next few weeks.

One of my defining moments of victory:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Happiest Toddler On the Block- a review, of sorts! Part One

Nursling...nursing, so 'scuse the typos!

I have bouts of introspection and then droughts of it. I can't go there, takes too much energy.

So I wait. Wait for the next round of- whatever- to break through...To process.

I'm currently reading Happiest Toddler On the Block. I have had it recommended to me SO many times. I have thought about getting it at the library SO many times.

Can I just say, it is so timely! I needed to read his wise, kind, and helpful words this week. I am only about half way through- so I can't speak for the whole book. What he says I've read in so many other parenting books. Really. But I think he simplifies it even more. He takes a lot of the concepts I loved about Screamfree Parenting, and Families Where Grace Is In Place and boils it down to a "Raising a Toddler for Dummies", or pretty close. Every thing suddenly feels a little more doable. Easy? no. But oh so practical. Some thing is clicking.

I'm sooo glad I read this book last! I really think I'm getting so much out of it because of the things that the other two books taught me.

Dr. Karp is so kind, so understanding about how difficult parenting toddlers is. He writes in such a way that I don't feel judged for being so overwhelmed and exhausted by my two toddlers.

I wish I had time to write as much as I'd like to, I have a lot to proccess! But here are the basics of what the book covers.

Part One: Toddler/Parent Basics. Dr. Karp pretty much breaks down why toddlers behave the way they do. He talks about how they aren't miniature children, they are maturing babies. He talks about how they are very similar to cavemen ages 1-4. The biggest thing that impacted me was that, as adults we think of our normal environment as our home. We're inside, we do our best to keep it tidy and safe. He points out that that is NOT what our toddlers think of as "normal". On the basic level, normal for them is being outside! They were meant to be playing in the dirt, feeling the wind and the sunshine. Not in a room with flat walls, toys that make lots of noise, TV input, radio, unnatural colors...etc.

Sounds basic, of course little children like to be outside! But I'd never thought about it quite like that.

Part Two: Toddler Communication Basics: Dr. Karp teaches two very basic and simple skills to communicate with your kids. I think it will really hone in my communication skills quite a bit.

Part Three: Behavior Basics: I haven't read this part but Karp gives ideas for lessening "red light" behavior, encouraging "green light" behavior, lessening "yellow light" (annoying) behavior.

Part Four: How Do I Handle This One?: Dr. Karp pretty much goes through the things he's already taught and how to apply the communication and discipline skill she taught in earlier parts.

I'm really excited to finish this one! I feel like I will be better able to handle situations that have really be overwhelming me. I love that Dr. Karp is focused on helping your toddler navigate toddlerhood intact. He encourages parents not to think of your parenting job description as "boss" but as "ambassador". I loved that! As a good ambassador to Toddler Land I need to learn the language (I'm probably using too many words). I need to learn some communication skills so my children don't feel bull dozed (which increases tantrum responses). As an ambassador it's my job to hold the boundaries "my country will not stand for that!" and tow the line. And to remember that today's enemy, is tomorrows friend. Not that Dr. Karp encourages that "us vs. them" mindset, but it's true...When we're locked in a conflict with our toddler, it's not about winning or losing...It's about maintaining relationship and I feel that Dr. Karps does a very good job of giving parents tools to do that.

I also really appreciated suggestions he gave to parents who are struggling. He points out that we really weren't meant to raise toddlers alone. We were meant to have community around us helping us...friends, family etc. lightening our load. Today's parents don't have that. Dr. Karp points out that the autonomous family is a dangerous thing. He says to look out into the community and find ways to help. But I think that whole subject deserves a post of its own.

Ways to be an Attachment Family with out being autonomous. Or perhaps: meeting your children in the middle: balance.

More soon!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sigh of Relief

I have 8 minute left of my morning time before The Cat In The Hat is over and I need to start the day, for real. My tea is done, it's been lovely.

Today my goal is to be IN THE MOMENT. So I'll be logging off the computer, diving in to life with my girlies.

DH was gone yesterday from 9:30-3:20 and I think it really refreshed him...He walked in the door and I walked out. :0) I went over to a local whole foods store that has a cafe and sat and drank chai and ate a little food...Then went and wandered around Target and found some snow boots on clearance: so I can now go out and play in the snow with my girlies! Excitement, no snow in my socks.

I'm feeling a little shaken about some other things, but I feel so much peace about what this hard and exhausting weekend has brought us. A learning experience.


balance baby.

I need to run Friendly is nursing and I just can't concentrate, we're working on nursing manners.

Oh and she had an AMAZING night last night wooooohoooooo!!!!!!!!!! I moved our bed a bit and she's right near me now, she likes it.

Okay gotta run.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A little update...

It really helped me process..still processing but DH and I had a LONG talk last night (really more of a great big ugly argument - seriously we've never argued like that before. ), just about every thing.

And we came to a conclusion. New goal as a couple: alone time..Not as a couple, but on our own. We're both burning the candle at both ends, and it's just not working.

We're going to pray about it for a few days...But I think the goal will be I have off Tuesday evenings to do a Zumba class and hang out with old non-Mom friends. He gets off Thursday evenings and I get a few hours on the weekend or another evening ...or go to the evening LLL meeting. I'll also be doing some Mamaswapping this winter, big time!

Until all this hit the fan we hadn't realized how burnt out we truely were, neither one of us have ever felt that way.

I am going to take some time off church, a few weeks to clear my head and for DH and I to pray about what we're supposed to do. I'm done. We felt like God gave us this vision for the pre-readers class. But maybe we dove in prematurely...Maybe it isn't the right time. Maybe we were just supposed to get the ball rolling...It's a VERY new vision, we've never seen a church with a preschoolish program like ours, and it's exciting.

Maybe we belong some where else. I don't know. All I know is that I have never clicked with any one at the church, I never felt like I choose the church, or more that God called me there (does that make sense?). While I appreciated the "rolling commentary" and verse by verse preaching, I've never liked the pastors personal style, at all.
In all honesty, some thing has always bugged me about the pastoring team. I don't know why, but I've learned not to ignore things like that. Bottom line, I just haven't clicked.

I want to take some time away, get my heart right and decide WITH my husband if this is where we are honestly so supposed to be. Or if some humbling is in order and a change is necessary.

I've been trying and trying to make all this work. And it just isn't going to right now, and I need to step back and re-evaluate.

So that's what we're going to do

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Conclusions of Not About Grace

As I was saying in my post about Sarah I wanted to talk about what I learned from her cautionary tale.

And some of the things, as I've been mulling over it, surprised me.

I could be Sarah in 20 years.


I got married young. Right from the get go it was disaster after disaster. Our honeymoon was an exercise in disaster. A few weeks after our wedding lost my Dad which was a huge blow. We moved to save money and the neighbor across the hall was a nightmare...Kept us up night after night blasting music, men in and out of her apartment...Drunken phone calls outside our bedroom window. It was hurtful, scary, and made our home feel yucky and like a black cloud was hanging over it. We mis-managed money and then got pregnant, which meant we had to move in with family...We have been here 4 years in July and ...WOW! What change, growth and maturity these 4 years have brought. We've learned valuable lessons about money management, parenting, and a lot about ourselves as people. But it's been a hard hard soooo hard 5 years in so many ways...And at this point in time: in our current living situation, with all the changes and stresses and ever ything going on: I am completley overwhelmed.

Just being honest here, I'm still just playing the game. And I'm done.

I could continue down this road, I could continue playing: continue trying to make things work, for my kids. No I'm not talking about leaving my husband, or abandoning my kids...Not talking about my family at all, not really. I am talking about egh, I hate how it sounds but: being true to myself. More, being true to Jesus.

Families Where Grace Is In Place (by Jeff VanVonderan) has a lot of great stuff in it. But one thing that stood out to me was this thought (and this is the jist of it): God isn't honored when a couple just stays together, going through the motions, living as room mates year after year because, "God hates divorce". That isn't marriage. Marriage is friendship, marriage is companionship. Marriage is intamacy.

I am the bride of Christ...And right now, I'm going through the motions. I resent my "side of the deal" and every thing it entails at this point. I am stressed out and feel so much pressure not to disappoint. That isn't relationship! I am more worried about what the people at my church think (in a way) ...but mainly my (amazing) hubby and family. I want to be a good example to my kids, I want them to grow up and be in fellowship...SO I go. Yes, it's a little easier since we started our class. But I am not at peace. Some thing is wrong. Relationship is missing. And I'm tired of trying to find it in church, it's not happening. All I feel is pressure...Pressure to be involved in the women's ministries, to go to the Mom's IN Touch Prayer meetings, to BE some thing I'm not. I'm jsut not at this point. The Christiany things make my skin crawl (a little). The platitudes the "this is what it looks like to be a good Christian wife and mother"isms. Yes, sure the Bible does lay out some things, it talks about the virtuous woman. But I just want to be me. Let hte fruits of the spirit ooze out of me becuase I've been with God!

But that isn't doing it right, I'm not doing it right: or at least that's the message I hear, church after church.

So I quit.

I'm not playing the game any more.

People aren't going to like it, but I am not going to attend church anymore...At least not right now. I need space, I need to plug back into what's important: relationship with my friend, Jesus. I haven't had that in a really long time.

He doesn't want to be my room mate, he wants to be my lover.

So, it's going to upset some people. Some may judge me. But I want to be in church because I just love being around those people. Right now I feel awkward, I dont' click with ANY ONE, I feel dull and lifeless and icky. I've never LOVED our church, it's been okay...But it was kind of hubby's call, and I ...Well let's just say: it's time I take responsability for myself, I have a voice and I have a choice (not to sound all femenisty, I respect my husband...Buuut that's not really at issue here).
I have a feeling my husband is really not going to like it. Though I hope he'll support me...I don't know what will happen with our pre-readers class. If any thing it's given the church a vision, and I don't know... It's going to be a hard pill to swallow. But I need some space. No, I'm not kidding...I need some SPACE. I'd like to meet and fellowship with my friends who are In Christ, read and pray together, share: build real relationships. People who God sent my way, not people I feel obligated to spend time with (but do not click with) because we attend the same congregation (just being blunt). I want to ...eventually read and study with my husband. He can do what he feels is right as far as church goes, he's accountable to God for himself (and our family)...And with him holding me accountable and loving on me...I can't go off the deep end now can I?

Is this an easy decision? no. I'm sure it will look really negative to some people.

But I need to do this. Or I will end up like Sarah...I will grow in resentment, not relationship...I will spend the next who knows how many years of my life NOT where I'm supposed to be "for the sake of my family" and it will not benefit any one.

So what have I learned? My generation is different. In some ways our "open mindedness" has lead to us believing some twisted and wrong things about the world and about God.

But in other ways, it's helped us see the importance of Truth, the importance of the simplicity of the Word of God (The Bible). The importance of realtionship: no matter how that makes us look.

"Sarah" friended me on FB recently (or I friended her? she recently got an account!)... I haven't said any thing to her, but I think it was a reminder from God: follow me, not mans rules and structures.

So with that... I have a lot of praying to do...But apart from my fear of what certain people will think of this, I think I have a peace...I definitely feel relief.

Supporting This Worthy Cause

If you could take a little trip over to Kelle Hampton's blog, Enjoying The Small Things and read this post and consider donating to support the National Down Syndrome Society...That would be awesome!

I don't have a huge readership here. But this blog has touched me so much and this cause is definitely special...I figure every little bit helps. So this is my "bit" (well at least as far as "foot work" goes).

Now off to nurse the goob trying to get in my lap and yelling "mek" into my ear...

Have a great weekend all!

Friday, January 7, 2011


No not me... But you can check it out HERE

It's for a really pretty nursing necklace, I'm in! Friendly is in the most fidgety stage (I think it's some new teeth coming in hurting her), and if I don't win this one, I'm going to rig some thing up like it because I think she needs some thing to distract her...We're really working on her nursing manners, but it takes time.

Now I must run...friendly just dumped water down her shirt and is crying "I want my Mommie!" she says it 92834039480 times a day, and yet I can't quite get sick of...Too cute!

Winter Snowy Days...

Okay, I admit it...There are some things I love about winter. Yeah, I could do with out the claustrophobic, cranky, and crazed house bound children (to be clear: not the children, just mostly the crazed part). I could definitely do with out the dry and itchy skin that plagues me from November to April no matter how much water I drink, how I humidify, or moisturize.

But I love fresh fallen snow. I love (yeah sometimes I do!) being stuck at home, some how the snow makes me want to accomplish things. This is what we did this morning:

It's either a chicken or a dinosaur! Mad e out of one of hubby's old socks.

This one is a monster.

A flutterby...butterfly sock puppet.

We named her Daisey, she is a Southern Bell with a sapranoy southern bell voice, she really does!
I am so enjoying "3" so far. Don't get me wrong, some of the new independence stance and frustration is ...frustrating (draining, exhausting, horrendously hard, and sometimes depressing [because I am not handling it the way I should]). But the new skills, the new interests, the new little conversations, the new daily joys...Makes my heart want to bust!

We also pulled this out of the basement: The intent was to make it into a "sock puppet thader", but it turned into a ginger bread house (the beads were Christmas decorations we were taking down), and a sled, and a cage. I love large card board boxes, now home with small children should be with out it...It was hours of exciting fun this morning!
Note to self: I need some tempera paint, badly. It would be so fun to paint on that box.
Can you tell I have a new camera? ;0)
So now I need to stop typing and go bundle up 2 small goobs and take them OUT in the snow...Roo has been asking all day.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


So I don't really do New Years Resolutions...But I did set Three goals for myself this year. So yeah, they're new years resolutions.
1) I am going to take time for myself every day. Even if it's just closing my kids out of the bathroom for 5 minutes to use the bathroom (and okay, get a little reading done ;0) ALONE.
This is really almost the same as #1

2)I am going to take time EVERY day to exercise...I actually don't struggle with exercising (generally) I love to exercise, I love feeling my body get stronger. So, even if it's just 15minutes wild crazy dancing with lots of squats and jumping and high low movements along with the girls...I'll take it! I sleep and feel so much better when I am challenging my body. I also want to stay in shape so that I can run 2 or 3 more 5k races (or even a 10k) this year...We'll have to see how the year pans out.

And my biggest challenge:

3) I am going to get our family on a more set and consistent routine. We have little rituals around certain parts of the day...We always wake up. ;0) We almost always watch TV for a bit in the morning while I nurse Friendly and drink some tea. We always eat a bite of lunch before we go take naps. And we have a whole elaborate bedtime routine and have for almost 3 years.

And with that goal in mind I made this:

All the pictures and words are Velcro'd on except for "Wake Up" and "Bed Time" I'm not done, I need to pick up more velcro to finish it up...But I'm super excited. I think Roo will get really into deciding what special things (Story Time, Library Day, Grocery Shopping Day [usually Thurs], Craft Time etc) we are going to put where each day... The basics (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, bath, bed) will all stay in the same spot for the most part. I am also hoping that this structure will help just general naughtiness/misbehavior's that could totally be avoided if we were on task with some thing. Morning TV time is also "Mommie drinks her tea and does as she pleases [aka wakes up] time"

Here's hoping this will be a good change. ? Here's to the New Year!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Years...

I'm feeling unsettled tonight. For once Friendly is sleeping well (slept 5.5 hours straight, whoa!!!) and I am up at 3:30 a.m. feeling...unsettled.
This New Year in particular I am just feeling it keenly. With 2 weeks of straight celebrating maybe I'm just coming down off the high. But it's not that I feel blue. I just feel... What, ready?
Hubby registered for his online classes for Bible college today. A huge step in this well, now 5 year journey to where we're at. We were in a holding pattern for so long. Than last January God broke some thing, and it exploded. I wish I could explain all the things he's been doing in our family. I thought I'd take my sleeplessness and put it to use...A look at the past year. What a hard, stretching, beautiful year!

Roo's first snow- ever! Well...First snow to play in!
Friendly's 6month Birthday...I was laughing because they were both freaking out, and all I wanted was a picture!

Last winter, such a LONG winter!


April trips to the Fish Hatchery- a favorite!

Mornings at T park, we love that place!

Roo's first tree...SHe wanted to climb it so bad. (at the rose garden)

Visiting my best friend in VA

Florida Trip! The Beach!

Florida Trip the relaxation??

The Fort we built on the front porch in June

My first 5k race in July (pictured with my Mom)

Friendly's Birthday August 2010... Coloring together

The sprinkler August 2010

Trip to Valley Forge, September 2010

New friends this year... What a blessing!

A date out...Good friends wedding October 16, 2010

Saturday (or in this case Sunday) family dates to Wegman's for "donut breakfasts"

Decorating their pumpkins
December 2010

Walks in the freezing cold...

Christmas Eve Morning...

Christmas morning...Reading the Christmas story...
I am definitely anxious to see what this year brings...And with that thought I will close this post!