Tuesday, September 16, 2014

4 days until my due date

There are only 4 days left until my due date. I was fine waiting for the baby's arrival until yesterday. With plenty of school work to do I wasn't trying to rush labor. Yesterday changed my mind completely.
Yesterday, all of a sudden I started having horribly painful contractions. For about an hour I locked myself in the bathroom wondering if I was in labor or getting sick. Rocking back and forth in pain I tried to stay calm. My oldest was at preschool and my youngest was in the hallway playing with our dog. The pain was so intense that I threw up. Quickly I texted my neighbor friend to please pick my son up from school because I was in a lot of pain and knew I wouldn't be able to drive. Then I ran to unlock the front door so that she could get in. The pain intensified and I jumped in the bathtub to run warm water over my stomach, anything for a little bit of relief. Soon my friend came in, got my kids in the car and rushed us all to the hospital. On the drive there we got caught behind a slow moving semi truck, which spiked my anxiety. She stopped at the front of the emergency room so that I could hop out while she parked the car with the kids. I hobbled uncomfortably inside. As soon as the ladies at the desk saw my face they jumped up. I mustered out, "I think I'm having a baby."
I was taken immediately to Labor and Delivery, changed into a gown and hooked up to monitors to watch my contractions and the baby's heartbeat. When they checked for dilation I was only at 1 cm. A little while later the pain was better so they allowed me to walk the halls. My parents came to help with the kids and a couple hours in they checked me again. I was disappointed to learn that I was still at 1 cm. My contractions were still coming, 3 about every 15 minutes so they allowed me to stay another 2 hours to see if my body was progressing. Unfortunately the final time the nurse checked for dilation I was still at only 1 cm. Still in pain and still contracting they sent me home but gave me a mild muscle relaxer to help me sleep through the night.
The medicine helped a little, but regardless I was awoken about every 30 minutes with pain. This morning I woke up in pain so I ran a warm bath. Throughout the day I was still contracting. I tried to nap, got some homework done and made some burritos to store in the freezer for after baby comes. I'm about to go to sleep now and the contractions are painless. I'm not going to lie. I'm frustrated and scared. Frustrated because I had all that pain and didn't dilate and scared for it all to happen again.
I guess I just have to keep my eye on the prize, my baby girl, and get some sleep. I never know what tomorrow brings, maybe tomorrow will be her birthday!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

39 weeks and 1 day

Today has been the most confusing, painful, emotional day of this pregnancy so far. I spent over an hour in the bathroom having painful contractions, thinking that this was it, that I was going into labor. I quickly texted my neighbor asking that if it was time could she take the kids. I told the kids to pack overnight bags and my husband packed his bags. Then all my pain went away leaving me confused, exhausted and emotional. I fell asleep for a few hours, woke up to more pain that went away as well.
So now I'm sitting here writing this, while working on homework, waiting. This is going to be the longest week of my life.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9 Days Until My Due Date

There are only 9 days left until my due date and I'm freaking out a little bit. Both my kids were born a week early, which means that labor could happen at anytime. Every little pain makes me think, "Is this it?!". The last week has been full of sleepless nights and semi painful contractions. Every time I think I'm going to fall asleep I feel an almost electric shock jolt through my groin and legs. 
I'm about a week ahead on all my school work so I'm not too worried about that. Everyday I try to get a little more ahead on my reading and assignments. I don't want to have to do too much related to school while in the hospital. A few days ago my husband packed pretty much everything I'll need at the hospital into the car. I still have to wrap the "Big Sister" gift we got for our daughter, paint my toenails pink and do some laundry. Then we will be ready, or as ready as we will ever be. I keep finding things to add to my to do list. I cannot believe how fast this pregnancy has gone. Before I know it I'll be holding my little baby. :)

Talking to My 4 Year Old About Skin Color and Weight

A few months ago we took the kids to the park. There was a man there with a rather large belly. Before this day I would have thought nothing of it. However, our 4 year old decided to loudly point out, "Look Mom! That guy is fat!" Mortified, and almost positive the man heard my son I tried to calmly walk over to the other side of the park to have a quiet discussion. I asked my son to be quiet for a moment and follow me, to which he replied in the same loud voice, "But mom, he is fat! He's just fat. He has a really big belly." The man ended up leaving, and I felt horrible. My son wasn't trying to be vicious or mean, he was simply making an observation out loud. I sat down with him and let him know that yes the man did have a big belly but that sometimes we need to keep comments like that to ourselves. "Why?" he asked.  I went on to explain that saying things like that could hurt someone's feelings if they heard him. Going even further we talked about how everyone is different and that's ok. Some people have big bellies, some people have small bellies, some people are super tall and others are short. I told him that just because someone looks or sounds different doesn't mean that they aren't nice people.
Over the following months he has made similar observatory comments about people who look different then himself. "Mommy, that boy has black hair like Daddy." "I met a new friend. He was different, his skin was a different color. His skin was black." Instead of saying anything I decided to let him tell me more about what he was thinking and discovered that his comments and observations are just part of his development as a child. The differences didn't bother him, he was just letting me know. My job is to listen and make sure that he understands that we are all different and that's ok. He's simply coming to a point in his childhood where he is noticing differences, patterns and similarities. Instead of getting upset and shocked I realized I need to acknowledge what he is telling me and talk him through his discoveries so that differences like skin color and weight don't bother him. If I choose to make a big deal over everything he says then it could potientally become a problem in the future. As parents we need to be careful of how we talk about other peoples differences as well. Our children look up to us and our comments about others shape how their train of thoughts about others will be. If we speak negitively about others on a regular basis in front of our children, so will they.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Being A Stay At Home Mom & College Student

Being a stay at home mom is not for everyone. Having worked full-time previously and now experiencing being at home all the time, I am struggling with balancing adult and child time. A few years ago when I worked full-time outside of the home I had plenty of adult interaction in the workplace.  Now seeing as I am a stay at home mom there is no daily reason for me to leave the house to socialize with other adults. Socializing takes an extra effort now, and quite honestly sometimes I'm just too worn out. 
Being slightly introverted means that I have to be careful not to completely isolate myself from the real world because to be honest it doesn't bother me to not leave the house everyday. Social media and texting keep me connected to friends and family on a daily basis. Sometimes that's enough for me. 
Add college courses, pregnancy, puppy and you have one stressed out momma at times.  My days consist of taking care of the needs of a 4 year old boy, 2.5 year old girl, 8 month old puppy, my husband and myself. I'm not going to lie, everyday isn't easy. Juggling it all lately has been difficult because I'm exhausted and in pain from pregnancy. 

When my college courses are in full swing I spend my mornings parked at the dining room table surrounded by my laptop and textbooks. I make the kids breakfast and let them watch cartoons while I read my textbooks. Then throughout the day I trade off between playing with the kids, reading/studying, cooking meals, cleaning up after meals, laundry, running errands, dropping off/picking up 4 year old from school, doctor appointments, sports, playing with dog, more homework, getting snacks/drinks, breaking up fights and more. 
My goal is to be the best mom I can be to my kids and to get great grades in all my college courses. Once I'm finished with my bachelors degree in a couple years I'll rejoin the workforce. By then my oldest two will be in school all day and only one will need daycare. Sometimes I really miss going to work 5 days a week and being around adults all day. Then I remember how much I missed my son while I was at work and how now I'm doing what is best for family and myself. Raising my children and furthering my education is what is important right now. As stressful as it can be I honestly couldn't imagine my life any different right now. In 50 years I will be able to look back and remember all the moments that I got to witness first hand with my kids. Those future memories I wouldn't trade for the best career in the world. 

Although this pic describes me perfectly when I do get the opportunity to leave the house kid-free: 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Co-Sleeping: Our Family Bed

Co-sleeping is one of the most controversial topics that I've come across in my almost 5 years of being a mom. It's a subject that sometimes I don't even want to bring up around certain groups of people because I don't feel like I should have to defend myself. When we tell the majority of people that our kids share our bed we often get negative reactions. I've been told that I need to get them to sleep in their own beds and that they are never going to leave our bed. The most heard phrase has been, "You'll be sorry!".  Immediately after learning that we bed share people assume that we want advice on how to stop or on how to get our kids out of the family bed and into their own beds. I don't think it even crosses their minds that it is ok with us. Or that we don't mind it. It's just one of those subjects that, in my opinion, is to each their own. It works for some families and doesn't for others. It just so happens to work for our family.

Our co-sleeping journey started almost immediately after our son was born. When we brought him home from the hospital he was put into a bassinet in a separate room to sleep at night. Only he didn't sleep. He would fall asleep in my arms after feedings only to wake up minutes after I lay him down. I was given advice to let him cry it out and told that I would only be spoiling him by picking him up and that he needed to be trained to sleep on his own. Which to me was absurd. How could I not respond to my newborn's cries? It took a few sleepless nights for me to realize that all he wanted was his momma, he needed me. It was like a wake up call. After spending 9 months carrying him inside of me and then being put in a room to sleep two days later where he couldn't see/feel/touch/smell me had to be terrifying for him. My mommy instincts kicked in and I trusted them wholeheartedly. We both weren't getting any sleep so I did what I thought was best....I moved into the room with him at night and guess what? Everyone got sleep. It was wonderful. Some nights he slept in his bassinet with my hand draped in and other nights I brought him in bed with me, while my husband slept peacefully in our room. As our son got older he would often times sleep in his crib in his own room for days at a time with no problem. Then before his first birthday he started having night terrors and we moved him in a pack n play next to our bed. Over the last four and a half years we let him determine on his own how comfortable he was sleeping alone. If he felt comfortable sleeping in a different room then we let him. We never turned him away when he came crawling into our bed halfway through the night.

When our 2nd child was born I didn't even attempt to separate her from myself at night. She was breastfed so we shared a bed, just the two of us, until she was bigger and slept through the night. At around 9 months she slept in her own room for a while, but we continued breast feeding until she was a little over 2 years of age. Now at just about 3 year old she is sleeping in our bed full-time.

I honestly wouldn't have it any other way right now. Most nights I end up sleeping at the end of our king sized bed with the kids sprawled out wherever they fall asleep. Whenever they have a bad dream or wake up scared they find either me or my husband to cuddle with and fall right back to sleep. Sometimes all it takes is for them to reach over and touch one of us to feel safe again. Some nights I wake up with a kick in the face or with both my kids fighting over who gets to share mommy's pillow.  Regardless, I wouldn't change our sleeping situation for anything. I feel so blessed to have that extra cuddle time with them every night and morning. There's just something special about being over to reach over in the middle of the night and feel that both my kids are sleeping and safe.

As for having clingy, dependent children (like the myth of co-sleeping talks about)....I feel like I have the opposite. Both my kids are relatively shy with people they don't know well, but so are my husband and myself. Once they know and trust someone their personalities shine through. They are both very independent and adventurous children. During the day my kids go off and play independently for pretty much the entire day. The only time they come to us is when they need help with something, want us to play a game with them, want to show us something they figured out, are hungry/thirsty, have to tell us a story about something that just happened, or if they are tired and want to lay down. I've been blessed with children who are very good at entertaining themselves, and never once have I heard them say that they are bored. Our oldest had no problem going off to preschool. There was no separation anxiety what so ever. In fact the first day I dropped him off he told me to leave. Our daughter had a little bit of a problem being dropped off at Sunday School, but after she realized that we always came back for her she ran to be dropped off.

Co-sleeping obviously isn't for everyone, but it works for us. It has built a trust between our children and ourselves. They know that they can come to us with whatever is bothering them and we will respond to them no matter what time of day/night. That trust is something that I hope will continue and grow even after they leave our room.

Thinking about Co-sleeping? Don't take my word for it. One of my favorite articles on co-sleeping by Dr. Sears: http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/sleep-problems/co-sleeping-yes-no-sometimes

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Love Letters to Your Kids

A couple years ago I bought a simple notebook and started writing little love notes to my kids. Every once in a while I'll  pick it up and write a couple pages about things they are learning, how old they are, what they mean to me and silly things that they have been doing. Sometimes I go months or a year without writing to them because life gets so hectic, but my goal is to fill it up before they all reach 18 years old. It's just something that takes a few minutes here and there that I can leave my kids in the future. If something ever happens to me I want there to be something left behind with in my handwriting. Something they can physically hold. Something they can read that will tell them just how much they mean to me.