Motherhood & Why I’m Done Having Kids

I always find it odd/annoying how people give their opinions on 1. Whether or not you should have kids 2. When you should have them 3. How many you should have, and 4. How many years is appropriate between each of them.

To be blunt, ain’t nobody’s business but your own and your husband’s. BUT…I do enjoy hearing other people’s stories and their own reasons for those things, particularly when they decide to be done. So I’m going to share my own haha ūüėõ

From 2012 to 2016, I was pregnant 5 times. I had a miscarriage (2012). I had Gwen (2013). Surprise! I had Ivor Baby (2014). I had another miscarriage (twins- 2015). Then I had Fiona (2016).

Friends, I am done.

The last 5 years have been insane. Amazing. Beautiful. Lonely. Devastating. Joyful.

Pregnant. Nursing. Pushing out babies and feeling every bit of it because my body rejects epidurals apparently (yeah…).

Sleepless nights. Tears. Laughter. Isolation. Connection.

Discovering how wretched I can be when little people push my buttons. Discovering the depths of a love I never knew possible (3 times over).

I remember a fleeting thought once (most likely during a very rough night with Ivor Baby), where I thought maybe¬†we could be done. I had the “perfect” family. 1 girl and 1 boy. Though lots of people probably wouldn’t think having them 14 months apart is “perfect”. But after a little while I realized that “nope…someone’s missing.” So we eventually started trying again. And then miscarriage #2 happened. At that point I REALLY thought “maybe we should be done”…but only because I was terrified of going through the pain of another loss …AGAIN. But no….our family still felt incomplete. In fact, that loss confirmed even more how badly I wanted just 1 more.

A friend said something recently about having a 3rd baby (but really it could apply to lots of things)…

“If you don’t do it, you’ll always wonder. If you do, you’ll never regret it.”

That’s exactly how I felt before Fiona. Was I risking the pain of another miscarriage? Yes. But was she worth it? Um, absolutely! Without her, I’d always wonder what it would be like to have 3 kids. And now¬†that I have her, I would¬†never ever regret¬†it. Even though 3 kids, ages 4 and under, is a circus most days ūüėõ

But now I have contentment in my heart. It feels complete. I don’t have that same wonder about 4 kids as I did about 3 kids. And quite honestly, I’m just done with the highs/lows of pregnancy and those early baby days. The crazy hormones. The weepies. And I really don’t want to go through the anxiety of pregnancy again, wondering “will it stick?…will I lose this one too?” I’m just done with the season of having¬†babies, and now I’m ready for the season of¬†raising them.

Don’t get me wrong, God COULD have other plans and miraculously gives us another child, even though it’s not our plan. And I might freak out. And have a nervous breakdown. But I’d certainly love that child as much as the first 3 and never ever regret him/her either. But as far as MY plan goes…we are done lol.

I guess it might seem like an odd subject for a Mother’s Day post (“Why I’m done having kids”) lol…I don’t mean it to be negative in any way. Just a reflection on my journey into motherhood (becoming a mother), and embracing the NEXT¬†season of motherhood ūüôā

So to all the mamas out there with their own unique and beautiful stories, from my circus to yours- HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!

Motherhood & Why I'm Done Having Kids

 

 

Team Griffiths- Working With Your Spouse

A few weeks ago Ivor and I attended his office New Years party. It was held at an old Theater, built in 1929. As such, the “theme” of the party was the Roaring 20’s (so fun!) What I loved most about it though was that Ivor’s band got to play and I got to photograph it. We did get to mingle, and eat/drink at the beginning of the party like everyone else. But then he got on stage, and I got behind my camera. I love that we get that opportunity every once in awhile- to express our individual creative passions at the same time.

For those of you unaware, who may only read my fashion-related posts and don’t actually know me very well- I love photography ūüôā At some point, when motherhood calms down a bit and my kids are no longer 3, 2 ¬†and brand new, I will pursue it more. For now, it’s a passion mostly “at rest” ¬†(as my friend and MOPS mentor mom once¬†said). I ¬†could really write an entirely separate post just about that- but the short version is this: sometimes in early motherhood, we may feel as though our whole identity revolves around being “mommy.” Any dreams or passions we have outside of motherhood feel as though they have died. But they haven’t. They’re still there. We are not JUST moms. We have other skills and talents you know. ¬†But the reality for some of us is that for the time being, with very small children at home who are so dependent on us, we may need to temporarily let those dreams rest, just for a season. And that is OKAY. Anyway- I’ll stop there before I start rambling (I’ll save that for a longer post on another day).¬†Back to Team Griffiths- working with your spouse!

In general, in our marriage we try not to have any part of our lives totally separate from each other. We are married, and 2 separate individuals have now become 1 unit. 1 team. Team Griffiths (or Team “Krivor” as our wedding party dubbed us….they made t-shirts). That doesn’t mean that we never do things apart from each other. My goodness, no. Every couple needs *some* time apart- we’d go crazy. I have my girl time. He has guy time. He may play video games or jam on his guitar while I veg in front of the TV watching This Is Us (because it’s way too “touchy feely” for his taste). But I mean when it comes to something he’s passionate about, something that’s important to him and is a big part of his life (like music) he brings me into it and makes me a part of it. I support him and help him where I can. Give him my very honest opinions, etc. And¬†he does the same for me. ¬†He’s not super into photography or writing/blogging. ¬†But he supports me and helps me. He’s my photographer when I need to “model” my Stitch Fix or Trunk Club clothes, and HE models for me occasionally (and you know that’s love because he’s really not comfortable having his picture taken unless he’s on stage performing with a guitar in his hands, totally candid). And like I ¬†mentioned earlier, it just so happens that both of our biggest interests/passions can work really well together.

One day we hope to take over the world with our multimedia empire.¬†We have big plans. But I digress ūüôā

Marriage is hard. We’re in the thick of year 7, with 3 kids, 3 and under. Nothing about that is easy. So anything we can do to foster unity and togetherness in our marriage, we’ve made a priority. Sharing our creative outlets with each other is just one of them. And we’ve found it to be beneficial in a few ways:

  1. Simply put, it’s more time spent together, instead of ¬†apart. We could (and sometimes do out of necessity) work on those things separately from each other. But it’s always better when we’re together. And yes, I believe I did just quote a Jack Johnson song, not at all on purpose.
  2. We inspire each other to be better at whatever it is we’re doing. ¬†Yes, through some constructive criticism of each other’s work, but also just through the support we receive from one another. We’ve both, at times, shown lack of interest in each other’s work/passions because we were too caught up in our own thing and as a result, those things suffered. ¬†I’m a better photographer and writer when I feel fully supported by my husband. And likewise, he’s a better musician/entrepreneur when he knows¬†he has my support. There is so much power in showing genuine interest and taking part in those things together.
  3. Piggybacking off of #2, we benefit from each other’s skills. ¬†He understands the business aspect of what I do creatively. He’s a business guy, tech guy, legal guy, ad-words guy, etc. I let him worry about those things, and I just create. Likewise, I help him administratively with the band, promoting him¬†with killer photos and sharing on social media, responding to email inquiries from prospective clients, being the keeper of the calendar, etc… and he does¬†the making-music part, because, well, he’s the musician ūüôā It makes us a really great team.

The creative passions and talents God has given us are meant to be shared. And you should be excited to share it with your spouse, don’t you think? Whenever Ivor starts writing a new song, he says “Hey, come check this out! What do you think?” Or when I’m really excited about a photo I took, I say something similar to him. When we’re excited about something, we can’t wait to share it with each other. ¬†We’re not always great at this, but we always see the benefits in our marriage (and our business) when we make the effort to go “check it out” and on the flip-side, we feel the repercussions of the lack thereof.

What might this look like in your marriage? Is there anything you’re passionate about that you’d love your spouse to be part of too? Is there something you can show more interest in that he/she really loves? Do you¬†each have skills/talents that can be beneficial to each other? It’s something worth exploring ūüôā

Team Griffiths- Working With Your Spouse Team Griffiths- Working With Your Spouse Team Griffiths- Working With Your Spouse Team Griffiths- Working With Your Spouse

And for a totally shameless plug of his band, here are some videos! Let me know if you’d like to book them for a party ūüėČ

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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā 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 ūüôĀ

*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 ūüėõ 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…

img_20160914_203145 img_20160911_153041 img_20160911_152200 img_20160911_134003 img_20160911_133915 4251060077657482859-account_id1 img_20160910_064428

 

 

 

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 ūüôā 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 ūüôā

IMG_20160819_115303 36cf82e67ce5c16f0c1e7d0d2bfd343fresNetFinal_final0 IMG_20160828_215419

 

 

3, 2, and Brand New!

If you missed it, we have 3 kids now. Fiona Joy graced us with her arrival on July 22nd. She’s 3 weeks old now and as expected, things have been a bit of a blur. This post is my attempt to sum up what¬†life has been like since her arrival, while it’s still fresh. I’ve decided to break it up into categories to keep my brain organized. Because “pregnancy brain” turns into “mom brain” and it just gets worse the more kids you have. So my brain is basically mush at¬†this point.

Here we go.

EMOTIONS

The first 2-3 days home from the hospital were the worst. Baby blues hit as expected. This time it¬†wasn’t centered around any one thing¬†specifically. Just an overall sad/depressed feeling. And it hit around the same time each day, about 4-5pm. A wave a sadness hits and the tears come. Thoughts of feeling overwhelmed flood your brain. I¬†wanted¬†to fast-forward time to when Fiona sleeps through the night, is bigger and can play with her siblings, etc. I just wanted to skip over the whole newborn stage¬†and jump to when we have life figured out. Wondering how the heck I was going to manage 3 kids on my own was terrifying. It’s a crazy thing, those hormones. You don’t feel like yourself at all. Thankfully, it was short-lived. Don’t get me wrong- feeling overwhelmed still happens and will continue to happen, but that feeling of walking around with a rain-cloud over my head has passed. Also during this time I get really clingy/needy with my husband. Not sure what it is…it’s like everything else in the world has changed and he’s my only constant. And I just need cuddles. #NotAshamed

SLEEP

I hesitate to even talk about this, because I don’t want to jinx myself. But….it could be worse. She may be the best sleeper out of all 3 kids. The first few nights at home were rough. My¬†milk hadn’t¬†fully come in yet so she was just never satisfied. I’d nurse her until she appeared to be asleep, but a few minutes after I put her down, she’d start fussing and crying and would only calm down if I put her back on the boob, or just held her. So there wasn’t much sleep happening at all. Once my milk came in though, she started sleeping in 3-4 hour stretches. We have occasional “bad” nights when she wakes up 3-4 times. But most of the time it’s¬†1-2 times. Keeping in mind this is with an 11-11:30pm “bedtime”. Gwen and Ivor Baby still go to bed around 7-7:30pm. But Fiona stays downstairs with us until OUR¬†bedtime. I feed her a few times while we’re watching TV. Then one last time upstairs in our room right before we all go to bed. So the waking up 1-2 times is from that point on. All of that said, I know things can easily change…with growth spurts, teething, and other random reasons etc. So I won’t get my hopes up. I’d rather prepare for the worst and then be pleasantly surprised if it stays this way. But for now, I am so thankful to get a solid stretch of sleep at night so that I can function the next day.

SIBLINGS

So Gwen is 3 and Ivor Baby is 2. They each come with their own challenges. Gwen can be emotionally exhausting and challenging. Ivor Baby is more physically exhausting/challenging. And having a newborn who nurses-on-demand can make things a little crazy, trying to make sure everyone’s needs are met and get the attention they’re demanding. We’re still working that out…especially now that I’m on my own with them during the day. But so far there have only been a few times where crap hit the fan and all 3 were¬†screaming or needing something at the same time. Let me tell you, the first time that happened, it really did feel like this:

3 kids

And I just wanted to go run and hide in the closet.

As far as sibling interaction: Gwen is doing great with Fiona. She’s like a little mommy and loves to help. She loves touching her hair (who doesn’t?!) and giving her kisses. Ivor Baby kind of ignored her¬†most of the time in the beginning, but he’s starting to take a little more interest in her now and he even gives her kisses too. He still needs to be more careful around her. ¬†He’s a bit like a tornado when he’s playing, destroying everything in his path, and doesn’t pay attention to his surroundings. Like I said, it is physically exhausting trying to keep him from hurting himself and others. But…he is a 2-year old boy.

BREASTFEEDING

Not much to report here other than the stupid infection I got (mastitis). I’m prone to clogged ducts and have had mastitis once before (which makes it even more likely to happen again), so I wasn’t all that surprised that it happened. Except that I didn’t even realize I had a clogged duct. Usually you have a clogged duct first, and then if you don’t unclog it within a few days it can turn into mastitis. In my case this time, it all seemed to happen in one day. I started the day off just fine, then around lunch time I felt some pain in my boob and thought “crap…clogged duct”. But then within just a few hours it progressed quickly, I came down with a high fever/chills and was in urgent care by dinner time (it wasn’t that bad the first time I got it, with Ivor Baby). Thankfully with antibiotics, a breast pump, warm compresses and Fiona spending more time on the boob, the issue was resolved in a few days. We’ve been doing great since.

PHYSICAL RECOVERY

Aside from the bout of mastitis, I’ve really felt great physically compared to my previous experiences.¬†I had a smooth, vaginal delivery and didn’t require any stitches this time (despite pushing out my biggest baby!) The fact that it was my 3rd time probably had a lot to do with that. So I am very thankful. Don’t get me wrong, there has still been recovery involved. To paraphrase¬†Ryan Reynolds, a human being did indeed exit my body and that’s no trivial ordeal.

I’ve started to ease back into working out again ¬†by lifting weights. I’m basically starting from scratch again and rebuilding muscle. My core is really weak right now…I can¬†barely do a sit-up. I mean..my core/midsection has housed, sustained and grown 3 human beings, 3 separate times in the last 4 years, so it’s kind of to be expected that my core strength isn’t what it used to be (especially only 3 weeks postpartum right now). ¬†And¬†I’m totally okay with that. I’m starting light and going slow. I feel no pressure to “get my body back” in any particular time-frame. But there’s no denying the benefits of working out…I feel better mentally and physically when I do it. Results will come eventually.

SUPPORT

Last, but¬†not at all least, I’ve been blessed with help/support in these first few weeks! My mother-in-law was here at first and was a huge help, occupying my older kids, cleaning, etc. My awesome friends brought over meals. And my husband has been a complete rockstar. He also occupied the kids, took over potty-training with Gwen (she had a regression just before Fiona was born and it was causing me major stress). He went grocery shopping, He cooked meals and fed me (and poured the wine!) He did dishes. He did whatever he had to do so that all I had to worry about was nursing and resting. He also made sure we got out of the house, especially during my “baby blues” phase. Today is his first day back to work and we miss him already ūüôĀ

The fun is just beginning! Gwen starts preschool next week, MOPS will start back up again next month and I’m looking forward to settling into a new routine.

Here are some snapshots from the first few weeks…

 

 

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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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

6607083167630656037-account_id=1 546180213619354523-account_id=1 IMAG1996 IMAG1948

 

 

BG3 (Fiona) Pregnancy Update- probably the last one!

Due Date: July 23, 2016

How Far Along: 38 weeks (39 weeks on Saturday)

Next Appointment: July 19th

Gender: GIRL!

Total Weight Gain/Loss:¬†+¬†35lbs or so….I have an ice cream sandwich problem right now. And I’m not ashamed.

Exercise: Any movement feels like exercise at this point lol

Stretch Marks: No

Swelling:¬†Yes- comes and goes. Usually at the end of the day, particularly when it’s hot.

Maternity Clothes:¬†Yes but not for long! I’m so over it. I want my old wardrobe back!!

Belly Button: Popped.

Sleep: Waking up at least once every night to pee- sometimes 2-3 times. And getting out of bed right now is the WORST.

Food Cravings: Ice cream sandwiches

Food Aversions: Nada

Symptoms: All the pain and discomfort.

Movement: Still nice and active in there.

Labor Signs: Braxton hicks, 2cm dilated, 50% effaced. Just waiting for real contractions to begin at this point.

What I Miss: My non-maternity wardrobe. And being comfortable.

What I’m Loving:¬†Getting closer to her due date!

What I’m Looking Forward To:¬†See above. I am SO excited to meet her and can’t believe how close it is now ūüôā

Best Moment This Week:¬†Always love hearing her heartbeat on the doppler at my doctor’s appointments. Since I’m so close to my due date I’ve been having weekly appointments, so I get to hear it often!

Words of Wisdom:¬†Listen to your body- ask for help- rest when you can and don’t feel guilty! That’s been the theme for me recently. If I want to nap and eat an ice cream sandwich, that’s just what I’m gonna do ūüôā Because life’s about to get a whole lot crazier, very soon!

IMG_20160713_124718

The Baby Blues

Because it’s not often talked about, I want to talk about it. In the event that you come visit me in the days following the birth of our 3rd child and you see me looking sad or crying on the couch after such a joyous occasion, here’s why.

There’s a period of time shortly after you give birth that is commonly referred to as the “baby blues”, or the “weepies” as I like to call them. This is a much less severe kind of postpartum depression (PPD). PPD is very real and more serious and lasts much longer. The weepies are usually pretty mild and temporary. The cause is¬†likely the crazy hormone changes that happen during and after pregnancy. In any case, I’ve had the weepies both times and fully expect to have them again this time. For me, it usually centers around the sudden realization that life has dramatically and irrevocably changed and there’s nothing I can do about it.

After Gwen was born, I realized that it will never ever just be “the two of us” again¬†(referring to me and my husband). That season of life- childless newlyweds- was over. Forever. And I mourned the ending of that time. Don’t get me wrong, we were THRILLED to have Gwen in our lives and she brought so much joy and happiness, but I was still sad about the ending of a very sweet chapter in our lives. Those feelings coexisted. Also, breastfeeding in the beginning is hard¬†and my nipples hurt a lot, so I was also crying over that.

After Ivor Baby was born, I mourned the ending of life with just 1 baby. Gwen was my baby, and we very quickly had another one all of a sudden. I was sad that it wasn’t just me and her anymore. And I cried the first time she cried while I was nursing and I couldn’t tend to her right away. And those who were home to help me weren’t responding quickly enough (for my liking), because with just 1 kid it’s much easier to drop everything and go to them right away, which is what I always did. Again, while unexpected, the birth of Ivor Baby was just as happy and joyous an occasion and I can’t imagine life without that little guy and looking back I wouldn’t change a thing about the timing. But for a brief period of time (during the weepies) I felt so sad for Gwen. Turns out, she was just fine, and it was ME who had the hardest time adjusting to her having a new sibling.

THIS¬†time around I think it might center around Ivor Baby and making him a middle child. Will I have ruined his life forever?! Not only will he be the middle child, but the only boy, surrounded by sisters. And he won’t be my baby anymore ūüôĀ And we’re also going to be outnumbered, my husband and I. I will no longer be able to say “you take Gwen, I’ll take Ivor”. One of us will always have at least 2 at one time. Or 1 will be ignored/put on hold. Ahhh! Putting one of my babies on hold…I want to cry already.

The good news is, like I mentioned earlier, those feelings of sadness are temporary. You adjust and life goes on. That doesn’t mean you don’t still experience difficulties or ever have sad moments again- sleep deprivation definitely fuels that fire. But that brief period of time where you’re just sort of overcome with sadness and cry for no reason (or for specific reasons like I did), will come to an end. And again like I said before, postpartum depression is a lot more serious and not as temporary. I haven’t experienced that so I can’t tell you exactly what it’s¬†like. I’ve only heard 2nd-hand from moms who have gone through it. All I would say there is to find someone to talk to, including your doctor,¬†and get help. There’s no shame there and it’s a lot more common than you might think it is. You’re not alone!

So if you come across a mom who just had a new baby and she seems a little sad, don’t be shocked- have some compassion, patience and understanding. Get her some¬†coffee or a donut and a hug. Between actual hormonal changes going on inside¬†our bodies and the huge life transition that is bringing a new life into this¬†world, it can take its toll. But our¬†beautiful families are so worth it.

Andrea Nyberg Photography

Andrea Nyberg Photography

 

 

 

BG3 (Fiona) Pregnancy Update- getting closer

34 weeks

1 day shy of 34 weeks

Due Date: July 23, 2016

How Far Along: 34 Weeks (tomorrow)

Next Appointment: June 20th

Gender: GIRL!

Total Weight Gain/Loss:¬†+ ….a lot. I always put on the majority of the weight in the 3rd trimester. Because I eat all the food I see at this point and I’m too uncomfortable to be any more active than I have to be.

Exercise: Sadly, going up and down stairs and chasing after my 2 kids is all I can muster. I’m super uncomfortable these days…

Stretch Marks: No

Swelling: A bit..mostly during the heat wave though

Maternity Clothes: Yep, all the maternity clothes.

Belly Button: Popped.

Sleep: Not great

Food Cravings:¬†If it’s edible, I’ll eat it.

Food Aversions: Nothing anymore really.

Symptoms: All the pain and discomfort.

Movement:¬†Lots! She’s an active girl in there…and getting to the point where certain movements actually kind of hurt. Like she’s trying to push/kick her way out of my stomach or up through my ribs. Wrong direction, baby girl.

Labor Signs:¬†Not really…braxton hicks have actually lessened a bit, or maybe I’m not noticing them for whatever reason

What I Miss: My non-maternity wardrobe. And being comfortable.

What I’m Loving:¬†Getting closer to her due date!

What I’m Looking Forward To:¬†See above

Best Moment This Week: The one productive day I had when I went through ALL the old baby clothes that were in trash bags, piled in my closet. Kept the good stuff for Fiona and donated all the rest. Be gone with you, clutter!

Words of Wisdom:¬†I’ve been complaining a lot recently about this pregnancy. Unless I’m forgetting what it was really like with the other 2, this pregnancy seems to be taking a much bigger toll on my body physically. My husband agrees that I’ve definitely complained a lot more with this one. I don’t know if she’s bigger, or if it’s just that this is the 3rd time I’ve gone though it and it’s normal to¬†get¬†worse each time or what. But my whole mid-section area just hurts. It’s the worst after I’ve been sitting or laying down and I go to stand and walk a few steps. Those first few steps are killer. Anyway. The wisdom part. I’ve struggled with feeling guilty¬†a bit for complaining (both internally and out loud) so much. Because I’ve experienced loss, I do not take any of this for granted. I know how blessed we are. I am still SO thankful for the reason for my pain and discomfort: the little life growing inside me. In general, I’d love to not complain so much of course. But I think you can still be grateful and thankful AND acknowledge the difficulty too. Like when people say about motherhood “embrace every moment, you’re going to miss this”, ….well, sure…but some moments¬†still really suck at the time. And I think that’s okay. Those ideas don’t have to be mutually exclusive. And to be frank, I have not loved EVERY moment of being a mom…and I don’t miss everything. Like the sleep-deprivation and the monster it turns me into ūüôā Don’t miss that one bit (and won’t miss it after I go through it one more time). ¬†So yes, I do love being pregnant most of the time, but some days just really suck and as beautiful as pregnancy is/can be, I’m much more looking forward to having a baby¬†in my arms, rather than in my belly.