The End of Breastfeeding!

Finally getting around to posting something again! Sorry for all the blog radio silence. It’s because kids are overwhelming, and I’ve spent my time doing other things (like dishes and laundry and grocery shopping…lame stuff like that). But I’ve missed it and hope to get back to doing it regularly again, someday:)

Anyway, I wanted share my story of breastfeeding now that that particular chapter has closed. This is not a “breast is best” post. Seriously. I don’t care what you feed your child. All 3 of my kids have had formula at some point in their 1st year of life. And I feel no shame about that, and you shouldn’t either. I just want to share my story, cause it’s my own…and it’s what happened. It’s not implying anything negative about someone else’s story. (Because people love to get offended on the internet these days I feel like I have to say that).

Before I had my first kid, the majority of what I heard about breastfeeding is that “it’s so easy and natural and totally what’s best for your child.” That was it. No mention of clogged ducts or mastitis or any other difficulties that could come along with it. But I’m glad I dug a little deeper into my research and got a more realistic idea of what it’s like so I wasn’t too surprised going into it. Because…it was NOT easy. And I think being mentally prepared for that is half the battle. So, more than anything, my goal is to share a real-life nursing experience with you (to get more realistic stories out there), and to reflect for my own personal memories 🙂

It’s lengthy…sorry.

We’ll start with kid #1, Gwen. Right off the bat, before we even left the hospital, I was sore. Ya’ll…it hurt. And I had a night nurse who was a bit too aggressive with the breastfeeding thing in the middle of the night, basically shoving Gwen’s face into my boob. I cried. It hurt and I just wanted to sleep. My milk hadn’t even come in yet for goodness sake. So that already put a damper on the experience for me.

Then we went home. Still sore (everyyyyyywhere). But especially the boobs, because, ya know, they weren’t used to having a little piranha-like hungry baby attached to them. It was so bad one day, I stood there crying in the bathroom not wanting to wear a bra or shirt because anything touching them was too painful. I wanted to quit already. That’s where my support person came in- my husband. I think having a support person to encourage you during those first few weeks is CRUCIAL. He reminded me that the pain would go away, that I was strong and could do this and that I was already doing an amazing job. Then he went to Target and bought me a super soft, comfortable nightgown and “soothies” for my boobs lol. And he was right. After awhile (seemed like forever at the time), it did get better. The pain and soreness eventually went away and things got easier.

Then I got a clogged duct. I didn’t know that was a thing. But it was also painful and annoying. Gwen favored one side over the other, so the neglected boob was the problem side at first. I would try to pump on that side to make sure it was getting fully drained, and I felt like a cow being milked by a machine (I hate the pump). Eventually the clogged duct cleared and all was well again.

Fast forward (just a bit) to when Gwen was about 6 months old. Things started to go downhill. It seemed like my supply was dropping and she was pretty frustrated and fussy at the boob. She also wasn’t gaining weight as fast as she had been. Turns out…SURPRISE….I was pregnant (WHAT?!)….yes. I had a 6 month old, and was pregnant again. Ok then.

My OB basically told me to wean Gwen right away. Because I had a previous miscarriage, she said it was just better that I stop. I had read that some people breastfeed while pregnant with no issues, but since it wasn’t going well anyway at the time and because I was terrified of miscarrying again, we stopped and switched to formula after just a few more breastfeeding sessions. Fortunately, she took to formula in a bottle right away, and that’s what we did for the remainder of her 1st year. I was definitely sad at first and I struggled with the fact that my plan of breastfeeding her for an entire year was cut short. But seeing her eat well and start growing at a good pace again made me feel much better.

Kid #2, Ivor Baby. The first weeks were a little easier this time around. Still some soreness, but not nearly as bad. I was also at a new hospital this time with nurses who just let me do my thing and didn’t aggressively shove a baby on me (thank you Good Samaritan Hospital!) I experienced a few clogged ducts again in the first few months, 1 of them turned into mastitis (breast infection that causes fever, general crappy feeling, super painful boob, etc.). No fun. I took antibiotics and worked hard to clear it. It eventually cleared and all went smoothly again.

Until around the 10-month mark. My supply tanked, and he started losing weight (!) because he’s stubborn and resistant to change and would. not. accept. ANYTHING other than the boob. I tried everything. Formula in a bottle. Formula in a sippy cup (tried every single sippy cup on God’s green earth). I tried what little I had left of breastmilk in a cup.  He wasn’t having any of it. Our pediatrician referred us to a GI doctor (who scared the crap out of me with talk of a feeding tube to get his weight back up, and just generally had horrible bedside manner) . She recommended PediSure. PediaSure is basically a milkshake. It’s insanely sweet and I did not like giving it to him, but we were desperate…and it worked after the first few tries. He drank it out of a sippy cup and started gaining weight again. I slowly weaned him off that and onto cow’s milk by his 1st birthday, which he had JUST started accepting when we found out he was allergic to it. But that’s another story lol. He started drinking almond milk after that and now he’s a happy, healthy, growing boy! (Still stubborn and resistant to change though…lol)

Finally, kid #3…miss Fiona. My most successful breastfeeding experience of all 3. That’s not to say it was totally without struggle. At this point I knew I was prone to clogged ducts and although I tried hard to prevent them, I failed. I didn’t get a lot of them,  but 1 in particular developed QUICKLY into mastitis and I went to urgent care because we couldn’t get my fever down. I just needed to drink more water because I was dehydrated, which was making everything worse. Eventually of course, I got better and all was well again. After that, I felt so comfortable and natural breastfeeding her …to the point where it really was totally “easy and natural” (but it took me 3 kids to get there lol). I also abandoned that dang nursing cover by kid #3 too. #freedom

Around the 10-month mark (again) I feared that my supply might be dropping. She wasn’t losing any weight, but also wasn’t gaining much. Because I was terrified of the same thing happening to her that happened to Ivor Baby, I started to supplement with formula. She refused at first, but eventually took it. I never stopped breastfeeding and continued to try that first, and offer formula second. Closer to her 1st birthday I tried cow’s milk in a sippy cup, which took her awhile to accept so I kept breastfeeding, but gradually weaned down to twice a day. Then once a day.

And we officially ended our breastfeeding “chapter” just a few weeks ago, around 14.5 months. I’m pretty sure my supply was gone and it was more of a comfort thing for her in the last month (and let’s be honest…for me too). Because she’s my last baby, it took me a little longer to “let go” of that stage. Because now, it’s just done. It’s over. And it makes me a little sad 🙁

My husband asked me (after her 1st birthday) when I planned to stop. And I didn’t have a great answer. I knew I would just “know.” So I said “I don’t know….when it’s time.” The original plan was just for the 1st year, but again…this is my last baby. I wanted to hang on just a little longer and continuing past her 1st birthday just felt right.

So what made it the right time for us? A little bit of her getting frustrated and lacking interest and a little bit of inexplicable mom-instinct. We were both just ready. I don’t know. It’s hard to explain.

And that’s my story.

Here are the things I will NOT miss about breastfeeding:

Sore nipples
Clogged ducts
Mastitis
Being the only one in the middle of the night to feed my child when I just wanted to sleep
Supply issues
Pumping

Here’s what I WILL miss about breastfeeding:

Being able to sustain my child’s life for the first 6 months of their life using ONLY my body (seriously mind-blowing how cool that is)

But most of all….this….

 

That little hand.

Such a sweet, precious time with my babies.  The good times really did outweigh the bad. And it’s over before you know it! For 4.5 years, breastfeeding was a big part of my mom-life. And now it’s just over. I have a 4.5 year old, 3.5 year old, and  15 month old, who no longer needs mommy in that way.

Ok. I’m gonna go cry now.

The End.

 

Fiona Joy is One <3

My sweet 3rd baby… 2nd daughter…rainbow after a big, big storm…miss Fiona Joy, is ONE YEAR OLD. Just like that. Her presence in our family has brought joy and hope…and a little chaos. She went from the best of the newborn sleepers (out of my 3) to the worst of them all. Bringing me to the brink of sleep-deprived madness as I sat with her at 3am, in tears, on Amazon prime, stress-eating chocolate….on more than 1 occasion. But praise be to Jesus, we’ve been sleeping through the night for a few months now ( ::insert raised hands emoji:: )

I have many feelings about the fact that my last baby is about to be promoted to toddler-status and that I’ll no longer have a BABY, but I’ll just save that for another sappier post and stick to the basics for now 😀

Fiona- you are fierce. Just like your big sister. A slightly more “determined to prove herself” type of fierce (#3rdkidprobs). You don’t care that you’re the smallest/youngest in the family, you’re going to do what you want, especially when you’re told “no” or that you “can’t” do something. Your determination to keep up with your siblings has meant reaching most baby milestones earlier than they did, which has certainly kept me on my toes! I love your determination (most of the time) and I hope you always have that. You’ve always been able to “hold your own” with Gwen and Ivor and even playfully “fight back” which is amazing/adorable. The sibling bond the 3 of you already have just melts my heart. You were definitely the missing piece that completed our little family.

So, here are your 1-year “stats”:

*You are sooooo close to walking. You took your first steps in Tahoe (the magical place that it is). And you’ve been taking more steps every day. One of these days, very soon, you’re just going to take off and not look back!

*You have 4 teeth

*You wear 12-mos clothing

*You babble a lot. “No” is your new favorite word. But you say phrases too, out of nowhere, that are pretty dang clear..like, “want milk’ , “want down” are the big ones. YOU’RE 1, HOW ARE YOU TALKING ALREADY?! I blame your sister.

*Your favorite food is bananas. You throw tantrums until you see the banana.

*Speaking of tantrums…you’ve already reached “toddler-status” in this category with throwing yourself face-down on the floor in a dramatic manner. Fun times.

*You’re starting to accept the sippy cup as more than a chew toy and even drank actual milk out of it recently, signaling the very near end of our nursing journey (also another post for another sappy day….)

*But speaking of, we made it a whole year nursing! Officially the longest, most-successful breastfeeding experience I’ve had (not that it was always smooth-sailing in the beginning….remember the mastitis?…the urgent care?…ugh). But, we made it. Cheers, baby girl!

*You love going for walks and hikes, being outside and just feeling the wind on your face. A girl after my own heart.

*Your favorite show is “Little Baby Bum” on Netflix. Anything with music, really.

*You’re rarely content to just “chill”. You need to be active and in on all the action that’s happening around you. “Places to go, people to see, Mom!”

*You love to clap your hands and dance to music (you’ll immediately stop what you’re doing when the music comes on to do so)

*Most of all, you love love love your family. And we love YOU.

Happy 1st birthday baby girl!

 

 

Ok, need to stop with the photos (for now) 🙂

 

 

 

Ivor Baby Turns 3

My Dear Ivor Baby-

You are about to turn 3 and I have some feelings about this (mostly denial). Because you came into this world so soon after your big sister, and you’re already a big brother, the past 3 years of your life have been kind of a blur of craziness (and wonderfulness, all wrapped up into 1). So I want to take this time to talk all about you, my sweet middle child and only son, to reflect on all the things I love about you. But first- a quick reminder of how your story begins.

You were our planned, but unexpected in timing, 2nd child. Your big sister was just 6 months old, sleeping in her bouncy seat, when I first found out about you. I told your daddy about you through tears of happiness but also quite a bit of “HOW IN THE WORLD AM I GOING TO HANDLE THIS, WHAT HAVE WE DONE??” kind of emotions.

And in a similar manner, you entered the world. FAST.  You were ready to arrive before I had a chance to get an epidural or ANY pain meds whatsoever. So I felt every bit of you entering this world. Don’t you ever forget that 😛 Mama doesn’t usually have a potty mouth, but in the moments leading up to your birth, there were some words lol.

But from the moment you were out, you stole mama’s heart. You were so sweet and so snuggly. And you still are. I mean…look at you!!!

Which brings me to my list 🙂

*I love that you still cuddle with us and give the BEST HUGS EVER. It can melt the hardest of hearts on the worst of days.

*I love your dimple and those big brown eyes. You make it really hard to discipline you sometimes 😛

*I love that you got mama’s skin tone (and eyes). I also have 2 siblings with fair skin and light eyes, so I always stood out next to them. Likewise, your sisters are fair skinned with blue eyes. Seems silly…but I like that we have that in common.

*I LOVE how friendly, outgoing and social you are. Whether it’s a playground, Gwen’s classroom, church, or neighbors walking by, you say “hi” to everyone and make friends wherever you go. “Hi guys!!!!” -you, walking into any space where people are.

*I love that you also have an “I do what I want” attitude (except of course when it’s ME telling you what to do lol). But that one time on the playground when those older boys tried to tell you that you weren’t “allowed” on “their” play structure, you stayed and played anyway. And eventually even they could not resist being your friend and playing with  you. I hope you always stand your ground and don’t allow yourself to be pushed around.

*I love watching you embrace your big brother role with Fiona. You give her hugs and kisses, watch out for her and play with her. It took some time, but you’re there now 🙂 Sometimes I get sad that you don’t have a brother to “rough-house” with (though Gwen is certainly always happy to do so lol), but you have plenty of wonderful men in your life and having sisters will give you lots of practice with how to treat women. My prayer for you is that you’ll be gentle, kind, and respectful to all women. That you’ll treat a girl the way you’d want someone to treat your sisters, and if someone ever MIStreats them, that you’ll stand up for them (not because they can’t stand up for themselves, but because it’s just the right thing to do). Anyway…I digress.

*I love how you mispronounce certain words. “Doy” (door) “Stoy” (store)”Ryyyye” (roar), dinnay (dinner), backyeeaahd (backyard), etc etc.

*I love how much you love water (any body of water- ocean, lakes, rivers, etc., the bath tub, pools, sprinklers, etc.) Which makes swim lessons a big priority this summer!

Oh, there’s more I could say but I’m running out of time to write this! Just know that you you bring us so much joy and laughter (and gray hairs :-P). We love you so much Ivor Baby. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

 

 

 

Griffiths On The Move!

If you haven’t heard the news yet, we’re moving! Sorry PA friends and family…we’ll still be in CA. About 2 miles from our current place haha. But we’re pretty darn excited about it for several reasons. As with everything in life, there are pros AND cons to the new place of course.  But in the spirit of learning to be grateful and content I’m going to focus on the positive and list every possible thing I can think of to be happy about regarding this move (there are way more pros than cons, and the pros are HUGE for me).

Here you go:

new house

*House hunting in the Bay Area (especially for a large family) is extremely stressful unless you’re loaded. And loaded we are not. Though if you looked at the numbers (of our total income) and we lived just about anywhere else in the country, you could easily put us in the “loaded” category. No joke…we could possibly live in a legit mansion anywhere else. But alas, this is where God has us. And we’ve embraced it (aside from the housing market, it is a really great place to live and we’re happy here). But I digress. Whether buying OR renting, it can be stressful. It’s competitive. We had competition for this place. With another family. And that other family had a pregnant woman in it. I was sure we were going to lose it to that family. But our future landlord “had a good feeling” about us (we may have brought our cute baby along with us to the house showing for sympathy points…#noshame #dowhatyagottado). But praise be to God, we were chosen! Thank you cute baby and “good feelings.” So pro #1 is just the fact that we got it at all lol.

*We’re FINALLY going to be living in a detached, single family house. For the first time since being married. No more shared walls. No more rules and regulations or limited parking for our friends who visit. . We’ll have a driveway plus street parking- with no time limit!

*We’re going to have a back yard. Having 3 kids, this makes me so very happy. I can say daily, “for the love of God, please go outside and play!” while I stay inside and only semi-supervise them. Yes, that’s right, I said SEMI-supervise. I used to play in the back woods and in junk yards when I was a kid, with little to no supervision okay?  Don’t you dare go calling CPS on me for letting my kids play in their own fenced-in back yard. I WILL check in on them, I promise 😛

*Said back yard also has a really nice-sized patio area for outdoor dining. When the weather isn’t in its current state (bye bye drought), it’s really nice to sit outside and eat a meal. Also we love grilling. So you can expect lots of BBQs at The Griffiths house this summer.

*Natural light. Lots of natural light. I may be extra sensitive to this because I’m a photographer, but it’s really important to me. It makes me happy (darkness = gloom and despair, light = happiness). And my indoor photos of the kids will be SO much better. The kitchen in particular has a lot of natural light- basically an entire wall is windows and the sliding glass door to the back yard. So I can do dishes/cook while keeping an eye on the kids outside (see, I told you I’d keep an eye on them).

*Hardwood floors in the entire place. No more carpet. Again, having 3 smalls kids and a cat- this makes me happy. Speaking of the cat- finding a rental that accepts pets is also really difficult. So we’re very thankful.

*A HUGE bedroom for the kids. Like, actual space to put things other than just their beds.

*An office/recording/creative space WITH A LOCKED DOOR that my kids will no longer have access to. This also allows my husband to be able to work from home more easily- which is really important to us.

*The upstairs bathroom, which will be the kids bathroom, has 2 sinks. So Gwen and Ivor Baby can brush their teeth at the same time without fighting over who goes first. This is huge. You have no idea how much this will help the dreaded “bedtime routine.”

*It’s a cute house from the outside (see above picture). It’s blue with a red door. White fence with yellow flowers. Both the front and back yard is well manicured (Gardening is included). Great curb appeal!

*Location, location, location. Close to the shopping center we like.  Close to freeway access. Still close to Gwen’s preschool. Friends within walking distance. And from what I hear, the street we’re living on has other families with kids. And it’s safe (I always check crimereports.com because I’m paranoid).

*Master suite on the first floor is a decent size with a nice bathroom (the whole house was renovated/updated just a few years ago).

*Now that we don’t have to park in the garage, we have more space for our home gym! I’m not sure if it’s a California thing because of the weather, but no one here parks vehicles in their garage if they have a driveway. It’s basically considered an additional room in the house. So that’s a lot more usable space for us.

*I’m happy that the laundry area is NOT in the garage, like a lot of places we’ve seen. It is right inside the garage door, inside the house, but still. It’s own area lol. With shelves and a good spot for the cat litter box (a little thing, but important).

*Landlord is letting us bring our own washer/dryer. While it is an added expense, we can swing it and I’m just really excited to pick out my own washer and dryer (the one he was going to put in for us is way too small. I have 3 kids and a king sized bed..I need a big washing machine. This matters. So I’m happy he’s cool with it.

*Speaking of- the landord and his wife seem really cool. They also have kids. Their adorable son, around Gwen’s age, picked a flower for me the day we signed the lease. I melted <3

*A fresh start in a new place is just good for the soul. I look forward to decorating and putting personal touches around the house. Arranging furniture, picking out curtains and area rugs. Oh goodness, I am about to turn 32 aren’t I???

 

If you’re curious about the cons, here they are:

*Not a ton of closet space. Our current place has a lot more. That said, it will force us to live more simply and de-clutter and NOT use closets as storage spaces for crap.

*The ideal home for our family is a 4 bedroom (this is a 3 bedroom). But while the kids are still little, sharing a room is not a big deal at all. They don’t need their privacy just yet and they love playing together. We can make do.

*No central AC. Kind of a bummer because contrary to what people  say- it does get REALLY hot here in the summer. And running portable floor unit ACs makes the electric bill insanely high. BUT the landlord did say he’d consider putting it in for us. So this con could be moot. We shall see.

 

Anyway, T-Minus 4 days until the move! I have no idea when I’ll post again- probably not until we’re somewhat settled in the new place. But when I do, I’ll share some pictures- beautifully lit pictures 😉

Gwen, Ivor & Fiona

Gosh, its been awhile since I’ve blogged. I’ve wanted to a bunch of times. But, life. There are so many different things I could write about, but I’m going to focus on my biggest reason for NOT blogging much anymore: my beautiful babies 🙂

These updates aren’t just for far away family members, they’re for me too. In lieu of a physical baby book or journal, I have this. It’s helpful to remember milestones, sure. But it also causes me to actually pause and reflect on their little personalities and what I love about them.

Gwendolyn (3 years old):

gwencollage

Miss Gwen continues to love preschool. She is really thriving there and from what I hear from her teachers, she is very much a leader. She loves to pretend to be the teacher, which doesn’t surprise me at all. She informs others when they’re doing something they shouldn’t be doing. While I don’t want to her to be the class “tattle-tale” or teacher’s pet, I am hopeful that this personality trait means that she will not be so easily influenced by her peers and will always stick to what she knows is right. Having a strong-willed child is really difficult at times, but if parented and guided correctly (God help me), I think those leadership qualities will serve her well someday 🙂

She’s a great big sister and oldest child. Much like in the classroom, she’s definitely the leader of the siblings at home too. She takes great care of Fiona and bounces her when she’s fussy, tries to talk to her and tell her “it’ll be okay”, etc. She can butt heads with Ivor Baby quite a bit, but they are best buddies and she’s learning to deal with him a little better (nicer…gentler lol). She loves to learn, loves to be a big helper, loves to be independent. She retains so much information it scares me. She still loves to sing and play instruments and she’s actually quite good at singing. But dangit if she didn’t get my stage fright :-/ I hope she grows out of it. Both at preschool and church I’ve been told that she rarely participates in group musical activities/singing. She only does it on her terms lol. If you TELL her to sing and put her on the spot…it won’t happen. But will you find her in her own little world singing at all other times of the day? Yes you will. Sigh…she is me. (In that regard).

Other fun things: She would wear tutus every single day if she could. She even wears them to bed. I don’t fight it anymore. She loves to put bows in her hair and brush her hair while looking in the mirror. She loves to wear my shoes and try on my clothes and dance around in the living room.

Ivor Baby (2 years old):

ivorcollage

Oh my little middle-child and only son. He is growing so much (dude is solid and well-built lol). And he’s learning so much every day. He’s talking a lot more now which I looooove because of how he pronounces things. My favorite are words that end in “er”. He pronounces it “ehh” instead. Like crackers…”cwackehhs…want cwackehhs mommy”. And dark is “doyk”. I love this stage. Soon enough he’ll be using proper English, which is boring. He is still hands-down THE best cuddler ever. I’ve been coming to realize that touch is so important to him. He is very tactile and loves to just touch stuff and feel it in his hands. A bunch of crayons rolling underneath his hands, applesauce smearing on the table- finger paint style, water play tables that he can splash in, sand running through his fingers, etc. Not sure what that could mean for his future career…something where he can work with his hands, and build stuff probably. He loves to build things. We’ve been quite impresses with his block towers.

He is still a wild, crazy, mischievous, fearless and reckless little guy whose screams can make your ears bleed, but he can also be the SWEETEST boy ever with those big brown eyes, saying “yuh you daddy, goobye!” (which happened as Daddy left for work this morning). Ugh. Can’t stand it (in the best way). He’s also obsessed with waffles. He’d eat them for every meal if I’d let him. Daddy made chicken and waffles (homemade from scratch) one day, and he asked for it for breakfast for at least a week after. Can you blame him though?

Fiona (4 months old, almost):

fionacollage

Miss Fiona is also growing like a weed. She’s now in mostly 6 mos. clothing. She has chubby little cheeks and thighs and I just love it. Her hair is still pure awesomeness. I’m so glad she hasn’t lost it all. It sticks straight up in the front 🙂 She is super social and loves to interact with people. When she smiles, her entire face smiles. She even lets out a giggle or two if you catch her in the right mood. She has discovered her voice and loves to use it. She had me cracking up last night as I was trying to get her down for bedtime. I was singing Christmas carols to her (yes, I’m one of those pre-Thanksgiving Christmas celebrators and I am not ashamed). Anyway. I was singing to her and she joined in. Loudly. And then eventually passed out. She is back to sleeping well through the night, but giving me a hard time during the day. She’s been pretty fussy and clingy, needing to be held or entertained constantly until she falls asleep, which has been a struggle during the day. This is a new development. She chews on everything- fingers are her favorite. Super drooley. Starting to get more distracted while nursing. Fun times ahead lol. I look forward to watching her personality blossom and change as she gets bigger. I suspect she’ll be hitting certain milestones a little sooner. From what I’ve heard (though I’m sure there are always exceptions), 3rd babies do everything sooner because they want to keep up with their siblings. Ya know, climbing stairs by 8 months old, stuff like that. We shall see!

Until next time, friends!

 

 

Life Update

Gwen is in school. The other 2 kids are napping at the same time (!) House is (mostly) in order. So I’m taking a few minutes to blog (which I miss dearly).

It occurred to me that I never did a 1-month update on Fiona. I wrote monthly updates for the first year of both Gwen’s and Ivor Baby’s life. Oops. Already dropping the ball with baby #3. Sorry, Fiona.

I’ll start with her:

 

FIONA JOY:

*She’s growing quickly. Already in 3mos clothing (and has been for awhile). I packed up all the newborn clothes and they’ll be out of the house tomorrow. Waaa 🙁

*She’s nursing well (see above) and aside from the clogged ducts and mastitis in the early days, I’ve really been enjoying our nursing relationship. Especially now that she’s more alert during the day. She looks up at me with wide eyes and sometimes even gives a little smirk. Then goes right back to eating.

*Speaking of, we’ve been getting lots of smiles from her in the last week or so! It’s so cool to see her look at me like “Hey…I know you! You’re my mama.” and then give a great big smile. UGH. Melt my heart why don’t you. And then occasionally she smiles right after spitting-up all over me. So there’s that.

*She really loves baths, and being held/snuggled/bounced/swung.

*She really hates her car seat when it’s not in motion.

*She’s still sleeping very well at night. But my next goal is to get her to bed a bit earlier and establish a good bedtime routine. Right now she’s still hanging with us most of the evening (sometimes sleeping, sometimes not) until we all go upstairs together.

 

As for “Thing 1 and Thing 2″…

 

GWENDOLYN JANE:

*Someone needs to stop this girl from growing up. Even her preschool teachers commented on how mature she is (they could tell she was the older child of the family lol). And she is LOVING preschool so much. She talks all about what she learns and who she plays with, what snacks she eats, the projects she works on, etc. She is so happy on school days. It makes my heart happy. I’m constantly amazed by how much she can absorb and remember. Still struggling with disobedience/defiance/stubbornness/etc. She is very much a “threenager” sometimes. But we’re learning and growing together.

 

IVOR ALAN:

*His vocabulary is really exploding at the moment and it’s getting much easier to communicate to each other. I’ve really been enjoying my time spent with him lately. Yes, he is still a whirlwind ball of energy and craziness sometimes. But he is also RIDICULOUSLY adorable and sweet and snuggly. I was chatting with our friend this morning about how he will be the BEST boyfriend and husband ever and will make some girl very happy one day with all that love and affection. Unless of course he finds a girl who hates affection. But I have yet to meet such a female 😛 Anyway, I think I may have mentioned this in my last post, but it seems like he changed overnight once Gwen started school. He actually plays with things now, instead of just throwing them around and destroying things. He is so much fun and I love him to pieces. And he pronounces the word “bananas” as “ba-neee-nas.” I can’t.

 

That’s all for now. Here are snapshots of recent days…

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3rd Time Around

There are no shortage of posts out there about what it’s like having a 3rd kid. The common theme in all of them is that basically “anything goes” by the time you’re on kid #3. And 5 weeks in…I can say that’s accurate for the most part lol. Here are some things that are different/new now that our #3 has arrived.

*Breastfeeding. With the first kid I was all about sticking to “THE SCHEDULE!”…every 2-3 hours baby must eat (at least in the very beginning). And be on each boob  for a minimum of 15 mins, per  the advice I received from the hospital. Also each nursing session must begin on the boob you didn’t start with last time. I also covered up using a nursing cover anytime people other than my husband were in my presence. Note: I never had, nor do I currently have a problem with breastfeeding in public with or without a cover. I just always chose to do it for my own personal comfort/modesty. This time around…I DESPISE the dang nursing cover. It is such a pain and it’s really stinking hot for both me and baby (since I had a summer baby). Fiona hates it. I hate it. I’m just over it. It’s not like I just leave my boob hanging out for a long period of time for the world to see. And while baby is latched, there isn’t much to see anyway. Once she latches on I can throw shirt or something over any exposed skin, but I’m not completely covering my entire baby in a huge piece of fabric anymore. I just can’t do it. As far as “the schedule”, I dropped that with baby #2. We nurse on-demand. When she’s hungry, she eats. For as little or long as she wants. And while it is definitely a good idea to switch up which boob you start with each session, my mom brain just can’t remember most of the time. So I no longer care.

*Sleep. We are SO lucky that Fiona is a great sleeper. My first 2 kids were not, at this stage anyway. And since this is our last baby, I am soaking in all the bedtime snuggles I can get. Normally at this point I would not want to nurse her or snuggle her until she falls asleep. I’d want to put her down while she’s still awake, but drowsy so she can learn to fall asleep on her own at night. And at some point I probably will switch to that again. But right now, while she’s still so tiny, with her soft newborn skin and smell and little noises, I happily nurse her until she falls asleep and then take a few extra mins to snuggle her on my chest. I just love how she buries her face in my chest and tucks her little head snug underneath my chin. Sigh…

*Daytime Schedule/Routine: Before having any kids, I always said “our world will not revolve around baby” thinking we wouldn’t need to schedule our day around naps, feedings, etc. And then of course we had a kid and we realized how important routine and naps were for the health, happiness and sanity of EVERYONE. However, now that we’re on baby #3 and we already have 2 older kids, 1 of which is in preschool, and we have other scheduled activities etc….baby 3 kind of has to learn to go with the flow. Otherwise, we would never leave the house…EVER. One thing we will remain strict with, however, is bedtime. We believe in an early bedtime for our kids and plan to stick with it. But as for our days, anything goes 🙂 Thankfully Fiona seems to be pretty easy-going and can nap on-the-go, especially if I’m wearing her. Which brings me to…

*Baby-wearing: I didn’t do this much with my first 2 kids. I never quite got the hang of the Moby wrap and it’s mile-long fabric. Again, I wanted to wear them during the summer and wrapping myself and baby in a crap-ton of sweat-inducing fabric just did not appeal to me. I did use our Ergo-carrier when they got bigger but only while we were out and about. And even then, with 2 kids so close in age, they were in the double stroller most of the time. So baby-wearing wasn’t a common occurrence. This time around, however, it’s pretty much a necessity. I need to be hands-free to wrangle my 2 older kids. I found a great carrier from a company called Nesting Days. I won’t get into a full review right now (because it’s coming) but I will just say that it’s amazing and perfect and exactly what I was looking for.  And again, because this is my last baby, I’m really enjoying the whole baby-wearing experience and keeping her close for as long as possible.

That’s all I have for now. I’m sure I’ll add more to this list as time goes on 🙂

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Fiona’s Birth Story!

Ok. Took me a little while to sit down to write this because…holy crap I have 3 kids now (still adjusting to even saying that). Any “free” time I’ve had up until now I just wanted to spend doing absolutely nothing, if not napping. Or trying to be somewhat productive around the house because that actually makes me feel more like a normal human (and not JUST a milk-dispensing, diaper-changing, baby-snuggling machine…though I am a big fan of the last one!) Sitting down to write a blog post usually takes quite a bit of time and thought. I go back and re-read, re-write things, etc. before posting. So it’s somewhat time-consuming and I just haven’t had much of a chance until now (or a willingness to use my brain more than necessary lol). And even now, before finishing this first paragraph I’ve been interrupted at least 5 times. But I will press on! Anyway, I’ll get more into what life at home has been like in my next post. For now, this one’s all about the arrival of BG3- miss Fiona Joy!

Things actually began on July 21st. In God’s crazy timing, that’s exactly 1 year to the day since Ivor’s accident and the miscarriage of our twins. Now, you’ll have to forgive me because I’m about to get all sentimental and spiritual up in here. From the day I found out I was pregnant and realized what my due date was, I couldn’t help but marvel at God’s goodness and be overwhelmed with gratitude for the blessing of this little “rainbow baby”.  A tangible reminder for our family of the beauty and joy that can come after pain and suffering. I think it’s a really beautiful and powerful parallel actually to physical childbirth. There is a great pain involved, but it’s productive pain. And the end result is LIFE…a living, breathing child entering the world. Instead of fighting against the pain, you embrace it and let it move through you because you know what’s coming at the end. Doesn’t make it any easier at the time and you may ask for some meds to help you through it. But it’s always worth it. I think we can view grief and suffering in the same way. It sucks and it might be a really long road, but God can and will redeem it. It’s never in vain. He can bring something beautiful out of it if you let him. I don’t believe God causes the suffering, but he allows it and redeems it and uses it. I’ve seen it happen.

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5)

I’ve included a music video at the end of this post that means a lot to me. I heard this song after my first miscarriage and the tears just immediately started to flow because I could relate to the lyrics so much. I’m sure Paramore didn’t write it about a miscarriage, but it’s generic enough that it could apply to many different situations. For me, it’s about how I felt after my miscarriages and that transition from fighting against the pain to embracing it and just “letting it happen”. It was also going through my head during every contraction while in labor.

So now, back to July 21st, 2016.

My braxton hicks contractions felt different this day. They weren’t more painful, but instead of an all-over tightening feeling in my abdomen, there was pressure much lower and it radiated around my lower back. So that made me take notice of them and start tracking them. I did this for a few hours that evening while we were watching Netflix. They were pretty consistent and not going away. But not getting any stronger either. So we went to bed. Of course right before falling asleep I finally told Ivor that I thought I *might* be in early labor, but that he should try to get some sleep anyway. Apparently that was a mistake and he couldn’t fall asleep after that lol. I did though 🙂

Until about 3:15 ish-am (now July 22nd) when I woke up to a contraction and my water breaking! But this was much different from when my water broke with Gwen. This time, there was quite a bit of blood involved and it freaked me the heck out. So we left for the hospital in somewhat of a panic. Thankfully I felt her move around in the car on the way there so that was reassuring. We checked into the hospital shortly after 4am. The nurse assured me that the bleeding thing was totally normal. I had just never experienced that until after being in labor for quite awhile and in the hospital AFTER my water had already broken, not at the same time (in my previous pregnancies).

She checked me and I was 5, almost 6 cm dilated and 80% effaced. She confirmed that my water did indeed break. So I thought “hooray! this will go quickly!”

Until it didn’t. Things were not progressing quickly at all. We started pitocin. Still…no progress. We increased the dose of pitocin and still…not much progress. Contractions were still frequent and started to get more painful. So much so that I did end up getting an epidural (more on that later), but not enough to dilate more and move things along. So the nurses determined that it was likely a sort of “partial” water breakage that happened in the middle of the night. Or, it broke, but then baby was in the way of full drainage. If that makes any sense to you. So the plan was for my doctor to come in and break it the rest of the way because that would likely get things moving big time (especially with my history- once they broke my water with Ivor Baby, he basically popped out 5 mins later).

But the on-call doctor was apparently super busy with patients all day and took forever to show up. I still don’t understand why another doctor couldn’t have just come in and taken care of it, but whatever. So to recap- we got to the hospital around 4am and the doctor didn’t arrive to see me until 6pm. SIX PM. This baby could’ve been born so much earlier in the day. Anyway. Once my doctor finally arrived and broke my water, sure enough, things got crazy fast. My epidural basically stopped working and I started feeling the contractions again, and mostly on just one side. Even after having them “top off” my dosage. All that did was increase the numbing on one side of my body and do absolutely nothing to the other side. I apparently have bad luck with epidurals. That’s what I get for trying to fight against the pain and keep some control ;-P

I then got really hot and sweaty and faint. I know this feeling well- this is what happens right before I’m ready to push. The doctor came back in shortly thereafter and checked me and asked if I was ready. Yes. Yes I was. I gave my first push with the next contraction and then the doctor got dressed and everyone else prepped for delivery. Then 3-4 more pushes later, she was here! At 6:34pm. 8lbs 0oz, 20 in. long.

After confirming that she was really a girl (I’m always paranoid that the ultrasound tech is wrong), one of the first things I said was “omg look at all her hair!!’ And that’s basically what everyone says when they see it haha. I love it. And I love her. I love our new family of 5.

We are so thankful to have her in our lives. Our 3rd rainbow baby (since my very first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, I consider all 3 of my kids little rainbows).

Thank you all for the well wishes on her arrival <3 She’s so sweet and snuggly and soft. Despite the sleep deprivation, I’m enjoying this “simple” newborn stage (eat, sleep, poop) before she starts talking back and throwing tantrums and peeing on the floor 🙂

Coming Soon…..”Life with 3 Kids, Ages 3, 2, and brand new!”

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Dear Ivor Baby

I wrote one of these for your sister when she turned 2, so it’s only fair I do the same for you 🙂 You’re about to turn 2 next week and I can hardly believe how fast those 2 years have gone by. Everyone always says that, but it’s true. Coming so soon after your big sister was born just added to the speed I think. You came into this world quickly and intensely, leaving everyone in the room wondering what just happened. But it was the best way to start a Monday morning! And even though having you so quickly was unexpected, we couldn’t imagine life without you or having done it any differently.

Much like the day you were born, you continue to brighten everyone’s day with your lively, energetic, jolly self. You always have a glimmer in your eye and a smile on your face. Your dimple has been melting mommy’s heart since day 1 which makes it really difficult to discipline you when you’re in trouble…because you’re so dang cute and you know just what face to make to either make me laugh or wanna give you a great big bear hug. Speaking of hugs, you are the BEST snuggler a mama could ever ask for. Not just with me, you like to snuggle with others too…and that’s cool. I can share.

I have a feeling you will be a “class clown”, as you’ve already started to enjoy making faces and being a goofball to make other’s laugh…and you feed off of the laughs.

Like your big sister,  you can be passionate and loud and very impatient when it comes to food. I know Gwen went through that phase too, but man…you’re not going to starve kid, I promise you. Oatmeal IS coming.

You are a daredevil. You climb, you jump, you dive. You have no fear. You are the reason we can’t have nice things 😉 I mean, your sister is too…but you take it to another level. You get into stuff Gwen never had any interest in. When we visit other people’s homes, we’ve discovered that even if they’re toddler-proofed…they are rarely ever “Ivor-proofed”. But you’re just in that stage of life filled with curiosity and exploration…you’ll learn that there are boundaries. And you’ll get better at listening and understanding consequences as you get older. Right? Right.

You enjoy playing with your big sister and you’re getting better at standing your ground and not letting yourself be pushed around by her (we’re working with her on this, but she will always be your big sister and I’m sure she’ll remind you of that for the rest of your lives) 🙂 I suppose it will get better when you’re old enough to play properly with things, instead of just destroying them. That’s what makes her mad right now.

Your vocabulary is growing slowly but surely every day. You’re not nearly the talker Gwen was at this age, but that’s totally fine by me! Not sure I could handle that lol. Though the screaming really does need to stop 😛 Here are some things you can say:

“Mommy”- or “MOMM-AY” when you’re whining

“Daddy”

“Gwen”- used to be “Gway” but you’re now pronouncing the “n”

“Mootin” (Milton, the cat)

“Guys”

“Hey”

“Hi”

“Are you?” (where are you)

“bank you” (thank you)

“peas” (please)

“c’mon”

“no”

“owside” (outside)

“books”

“yay”

“wet it go” (let it go)

“elsa”

“anna”

“olaf”

“nemo”

notice a pattern?

And you have a very interesting and unique way of asking for more food. It goes something like this “amama-dayee?” ….sounds like “mommy daddy” but it’s not. And it’s only when you’re in your high chair, wanting more food. I’m sure there are other words you can say now that I’m not remembering, but those are the most common ones.

You know a few numbers and letters. You still LOVE bath time, and being in or near the water. Finding Nemo is still your favorite movie and a surefire way to calm you down in just about any circumstance. We love you so much and can’t wait to watch you learn and grow and become a big brother very soon 🙂

Happy 2nd birthday little man!

Love,

Mommy, Daddy, Gwen, and Fiona

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BG3 (Fiona) Pregnancy Update!

Just now as I sat down to write this I realized I’m nearing the end of my 2nd trimester already (in about 2 weeks). The 1st trimester dragged on, this trimester flew by. I wonder how the 3rd will feel (I’m hoping for another fly-by). We shall see 🙂

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Due Date: July 23, 2016 (nothing’s changed here)

How Far Along: 26 Weeks

Next Appointment: April 28th

Gender: GIRL!

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Close to 20lbs now….It must be the lifting, right? Yes, all muscle and baby (that’s what I’ll keep telling myself…as I stuff my face with chocolate)

Exercise: Still lifting but nearing the end sadly…doctor says no more than 20lbs once I hit 32 weeks (which means I wouldn’t be able to lift my own children soooo, we’ll see :)….)

Stretch Marks: No

Swelling: No

Maternity Clothes: Yep, all the maternity clothes.

Belly Button: About to pop

Sleep: Not terrible, could be better

Food Cravings: Lately, sweets. And still with the Indian food.

Food Aversions: Nothing anymore really.

Symptoms: Lower back aches, leg cramps….meh.

Movement: Yes! I feel her move quite a lot now. Loving it 🙂

Labor Signs: The occasional braxton hick. When I’m dehydrated and really active…but I’ve got it under control now for the most part.

What I Miss: The ability to sneeze without peeing myself a little. And apparently coughing too hard may also cause the peeing….sigh.

What I’m Loving: Feeling the her move and seeing her little kicks and jabs from the outside too.

What I’m Looking Forward To: Same as before- meeting her for the first time! Can’t wait to kiss her little cheeks 🙂

Best Moment This Week: I ate a lot of Indian food…that made me happy.

Words of Wisdom: Pregnancy hormones are not to be trusted.

Until next time, here’s another picture from her ultrasound back in February (cause I like looking at her pictures):

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