18 February, 2014

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

So last week, I had this nice post planned. Where I talked about how crazy difficult it's been since Joe has been TDY. Complete with stories of screaming babies and toddlers, and attempts to get out of the house. To sum that up: we're surviving. It's been tough, but we're doing just fine. Hallelujah!

But just about the time I finished that post, this happened:

Let me give you the only-slighty detailed version.

Monday was pretty dull, actually. Just some rain and we stayed home. 

Tuesday, I had a friend from church come over to watch the girls while I ran out to get my ID card scanned for this fancy gate system they've started on post (Anyone else's duty station starting this? Seems kinda dumb to me...), and then I went for some last minute (pre-apocalyptic) groceries. By the time I was heading home, it was already starting to sleet. I suppose that should have been a sign.

Wednesday we woke up to a little bit of ice and snow. I had assumed the worst would have happened overnight, and that if we'd made it that far things would be hunky-dory. Oh, was I ever wrong. It continued to sleet and snow throughout the day. Around noon the power started flickering. Over and over again. Sometimes a couple times in an hour; sometimes it would flicker and then not again for a couple hours. Before I put Charlotte to bed, I tossed her in the bath and put her in warm PJs. Not 30 minutes after I put her to bed the power flickered about 5 times before finally going out. Cue panic attack. I called and texted several people to see if maybe we could stay the night with them, but none who were close had power, either. And there I was. Alone. In a powerless, heatless house, in freezing weather, with a toddler and a newborn. GREAT. I put an extra blanket on Charlotte before I went to bed. Thankfully the house was still fairly warm at that point. I bundled Millie up as much as I could without freaking myself out. I even attempted to put her in bed with me, but she wouldn't sleep. (Of course. The ONE TIME I'm okay with bed-sharing.... SIGH.) 

Thursday came around and, while we survived the night, the house was cold. Too cold for my babies, for sure. Basically I spent the morning trying to keep Charlotte under blankets, and Millie from being cold. And I made calls and texts to see who we could stay with until our power came back. But the problem was that someone would have to come get me... Our driveway is far to steep...and even if the ice hadn't been there, a tree was blocking my car. UGH. So around noon, a friend's husband came to get me, the girls, and all our crap. (By the way I packed you'd think we were leaving for a week. Why do kids need so much stuff?!) I found it funny (ironically so) that this man who I'd met maybe once was walking into my incredibly disastrous house, loading my stuff, and my kids in his car for us to stay at his house. Not even that, but HE had offered to his wife (my friend) to come get us. Needless to say I'm a fan. ;-) Oh, and he even calmed down Millie while I finished packing. I mean, seriously. Anyway. We were at their house until around dinner, when another friend who lives less than 5 minutes away told me her power was back and we could stay with her and her kids. So, we packed up again. :P 

Friday rolls around...still no power at my house. The local news was reporting that the power company I use was estimating Saturday at midnight for everyone in the area to have power again. And when I heard that, I pretty much gave up all hope for going home. Meanwhile, her husband comes home from a TDY...with flowers. Oh, right. Valentine's Day. GREAT. Poor Charlotte ran to the door with their kids, because, you know...daddy's home. My poor sweet girl misses her daddy so much. So basically, my heart hurts for her - we're not home, daddy's not home, her little world is so wrong. Thankfully she's a true military kid and rolls with the punches. She had a pretty good time playing with their boys, and all of their toys. Haha:) After lunch I had her husband drop me off at my house so I could check the power, and get my car since all the ice and snow was gone by this point. (And the tree was no longer leaning over my driveway.) Still. No. Power. I had to get some gripe water for Millie, so I also got a cute little stuffed puppy for Charlotte and some chocolate for myself. Gotta survive the day somehow, right?! Finally, around 6, we got our power back. We had dinner at her house, and then I packed up the kids and headed home. WOO! Oh, but the day wasn't over yet... 

I got to talk to Joe one last time before he had to turn his phone in for a couple weeks. It was nice, but definitely not long enough. I changed into PJs, sat down on the bed to plug in my phone....and I heard a loud rumble. Not totally unusual since I live pretty close to railroad tracks. So, I assumed it was a slow, heavy train coming through. But then I didn't hear a horn. And then I felt it under my feet. And then my walls and windows were shaking, and I found myself terrified to move. You know, because the ground under me was shaking.  (Link to the local news story about it, just in case you think I made it up.)

So let's run this down real quick. In less than one week, I experienced: an ice storm (first one since I was a teenager), a 2 day power outage in which I stayed in other people's homes, loss of all the food in my fridge and freezer, the frying of my computer's hard drive thanks to the power outage, and a freaking earthquake. 

Just about the time I thought Murphy was finished with us, Charlotte woke up with a cold on Monday. At this point, I don't think any mishap will surprise me. I am SO DONE with Joe being gone. And I'm even more ticked at the Army for this. (Because, YES. It is their fault. He was NOT supposed to go to NTC this round.)

Is it March yet?!?!?!

28 January, 2014

Leave it to the Army...

Just when I thought things might be getting better/slightly easier around here, the Army steps in and screws everything up. Isn't that the way it always goes, though?

Move to Hawaii - husband deploys.

9 months pregnant - husband in WLC until the weekend before induction.

Adjusting to life with a newborn - husband works crazy hours.

Buy a house - husband in the field the week of closing.

7 months pregnant (and TIRED) - husband in the field all week, again.

And the most recent:

1 month old colicky baby - husband TDY for 5 weeks.

Oh, and it gets better: he wasn't even supposed to be on this mission. The guy he's replacing basically went to his doctor to get a note stating he couldn't go. (To be fair, he is having a procedure done, but it wasn't scheduled to take place until after the mission.) So all this time we've been thinking Joe would be on mock rear-d (you know, because it's not a deployment), instead of on this mission with a sub-par NCOIC. So he's going to be across the country, in the field, and miserable. Meanwhile, I'm here. With the kids - a colicky baby, and a tantrum-throwing, hunger-striking toddler. 


Not only was he not even supposed to go, we found out less than a week ago. So I haven't even had the time to mentally or emotionally prepare for him being gone. Let's face it - I'm one month postpartum, and those hormones are still slightly screwy. Toss in some sleep deprivation and a baby who wants to do nothing more than scream or nurse, and yeah.... I haven't handled this very well.

I'm mad. Mostly at the guy who copped out of going, partially at the "powers that be" since there is no one else to fill this guy's spot. And if I'm being honest...I'm kind of mad that God would let this happen. I've had a difficult enough time handling Millie and Charlotte by myself during the day. Knowing that I'll have help after 5 or 6pm is all that gets me through some days. Now? Nada. All mama, all the time.

This sight alone just makes me mad and overwhelmed.

Listen, I know it's only 5 weeks and in the grand scheme of things, 5 weeks is nothing. But really? I just don't know if I can handle it. Unless you've had a colicky baby, I'm not sure you can understand my worries. It's different - completely different. It wears on you like nothing else ever could. I only thought I had a tough time with Charlotte when Joe went back to work. Looking back now, that was a cake-walk. Of course, having a toddler only compounds the frustration when your colicky baby is screaming in your ear. So that makes a big difference too. 

I love my girls, but it's been tough. Joe has been an amazing help since Millie was born (not that he's ever been less than helpful), and I'm just worried. Worried that I'll lose it. Worried that either one of the girls won't get all the attention they need. (More worried about Charlotte in that regard, because 1) she's a daddy's girl, and 2) she feels things - like the lack of attention - so intensely.) Worried about the lack of sleep, and help in the middle of the night. 

I foresee lots of this happening, just to make the crying stop.
Because it's gonna happen.

I just don't know, guys. Joe's grandparents have graciously offered to let us stay with them in NC for a while, and I am seriously considering it. I know it will be almost equally difficult to be in someone else's house, but I'm not sure I can go the whole 5 weeks without any help.

So, if you think about it, say some prayers for the 4 of us. We're gonna need all we can get.

23 January, 2014

Let's Chat

Warning: This post is slightly rambly. But please stick around, because I wanna chat with you!

I'm pretty sure that my last post was Millie's birth story. She was born one month ago now. 

First of all - that's craziness. It's easy to forget in the middle of a hard day that the days are long, but the weeks go by quickly. Second...adjusting to having this baby girl has been difficult. Some of the hardest days and nights have been had since she's been born. I thought that adjusting to having Charlotte was difficult, but I was oh-so wrong.

Just adjusting to having 2 kids has been hard enough, but we also get "help" in the difficult department from the dreaded colic. If you follow me on Twitter, you've seen my "up all night and crying all day" tweets. It's been really hard, you guys. So much harder than I ever thought it would be. Colic basically means I have a cranky baby more hours of the day than not. Not only is she cranky, but holding her doesn't guarantee that she will stop crying. Most of the time, she ends up screaming in my face. To be honest, there's only so much of that I can handle. It sucks.

I know it's not her fault. I know that. It doesn't make it any easier, though. I wish it did! 

Part of me feels incredibly guilty for complaining about her being up all night or not sleeping during the day. I mean...I wanted this baby, right? For crying out loud, she's my rainbow baby! The one I should be extra thankful to have after having a miscarriage last year. Right?

Yeah...about that. I read something posted by Diana Stone a few weeks ago, about parenting after the loss of a child. It was dead-on how I feel. (You should really go read that before you continue here.) Just because I lost a baby doesn't make parenting the babies I have any easier. Maybe I should be thankful for my girls - trust me, I am. But loss doesn't make me thankful for sleepless nights, though countless others would welcome them. Loss doesn't make me thankful for toddler meltdowns while I'm nursing the baby. Loss makes me appreciate life more, for sure. And in reality, I should be thankful for all I've got anyway, because that's what God wants from me. 

I also know, though, that God knows where I'm at right now. After all, He did give this to me - this baby, this situation. He knows what's going on. I think it's okay for me to not be thankful for the OMG-I-want-to-pull-my-hair-out moments. I think it's okay to not be thankful for colic; but to be thankful for the baby that has the colic. And yeah, she is pretty cute - when she's sleeping. ;-)

Sorry for rambling. This is just what has been rolling around in my head recently. 

So, let's chat: Did/do you have a baby with colic? How did you survive? If you have more than one kiddo, what was the hardest adjustment: 0-1, 1-2, 2-+? I'm curious! 

31 December, 2013

The {Birth} Story of Millie

On Saturday morning (the 21st), I woke up with some contractions. I was all set to go to the hospital and then.... They faded - completely. So instead of heading to the hospital, I headed to town for groceries. Afterward, I unknowingly snapped my very last pregnant picture. =)

I spent the rest of the afternoon frustrated, eating pineapple, and attempting to bounce on my exercise ball. Kinda hard to do with a toddler around!! Nothing was happening, so I made dinner, we gave Charlotte a bath and put her to bed. 

The contractions came back after that, and I seriously considered going to the hospital again. I even texted our babysitter and my MIL to let them know the situation. Once again, nothing happened. The contractions slowed down and then stopped by the time I got ready for bed. 

Then around midnight I started having contractions about every 20 minutes or so. They weren't too bad, but they were kind of annoying since I was trying to get some rest and all. Around 3am I decided just to get up and move to the living room. I didn't want to wake Joe if the contractions were just going to go away again, and I thought the exercise ball might help with the pain. (Which it did.) I spent the next 2 hours doing random stuff around the house, bouncing on the ball, and leaning on the kitchen counters during contractions. A little after 5, I was so tired and out of things to do, so I headed back to bed. The contractions slowed down a bit so I could get some rest, but they were getting fairly strong. I think I ended up waking Joe around 7, and then Charlotte woke up so we all got up and had breakfast. Or attempted to...

Halfway through breakfast I felt like I might vomit. It was at that point I decided we really should go to the hospital. We texted the babysitter and called my MIL. It took the babysitter (which was actually a couple from our small group at church and their 2.5 yr old son) about 20 minutes to get here, so we got ready while we waited. Surprisingly, I was still able to move around and do stuff. Charlotte kept asking me if I was okay during contractions - "Okay, mommy?" It was seriously the cutest thing ever. She is such a sweetie. =) She almost had a meltdown as we left for the hospital, but thankfully she's easily distracted.

I had one strong contraction on the way to the hospital, and another as soon as I got out of the car to walk in. (Yes. I walked in. Because I'm stubborn and was determined to walk that baby out!) Once we got in L&D and into a room, the nurse asked me about a gazillion questions, and finally checked my cervix. 

I walked into the hospital dilated to 7cm.

Joe was shocked. LOL! I'm pretty sure my nurse was shocked, but she hid it pretty well. I had a feeling I was at least 5cm, but you just never know. So, obviously, I got admitted and we got prepped to have a baby!

After being in early-ish labor for about a day, I was totally ready to have this baby!

I don't think Daddy was quite as prepared as I was. ;-)

I'm assuming that they set up our room so quickly since I was already at 7cm. 

My nurse and the baby's nurse felt pretty certain I'd have her by lunch time. But babies come when they come, and Millie was in no hurry to make her entrance. Yet.

Unfortunately, my OB was not on call this weekend. Her call started the next day...so I was seen by her "partner". He seemed nice enough, but I was kind of upset that my fantastic OB was going to miss this. But, my nurse, Carman, was pretty awesome so that helped make up for it. She made sure I was able to do as many things on my birth plan as possible. A lot of women go there for natural births (since they're the most "baby-friendly" hospital in the area), so that was really nice.

Once I dilated a bit more, I was able to sit on their labor ball. I was on that thing for most of the afternoon. I bounced and rocked back and forth, and side to side. Between that and having Joe put counter-pressure on my back during contractions, I'm not sure I would have made it. Not only does the rocking help with contractions, bouncing (and just sitting on it) helps the baby's head get into the right place. 

After an hour or two on the ball, I started to get really uncomfortable. My nurse helped me change positions - or just stand up, leaning on Joe - several times. Not long before Millie was born, I ended up leaning over the back of the bed, squatting into each contraction. No lie - it was hard work. But it really did help with the pain. There's also something to be said for controlled breathing. It hurt so much worse when I wasn't taking deep breaths.

I also had Joe pray for me/us several times while we were there. Not just for the pain aspect, but also that her birth would be expedient. I was getting tired, and I was really ready to meet her and just be done

At some point between getting off the ball and back on the bed, my nurse checked me. I hadn't dilated much, but I had started to feel lots of pressure. We considered going ahead and telling the on-call doctor to come in, but I'm not sure if we ever reached a decision. What I do remember is this:

I got back in bed, laying on my side. The contractions got way more intense and closer together. So much so, that I could hardly think. At some point, I started feeling the "ring of fire." I mentioned it to my nurse (who hadn't left my side in a while) and I'm pretty sure she left the room to call the doctor at that point. Everything is hazy because I was completely in "labor land." 

Soon after, my nurse started telling me not to push and to try and breathe through the contractions differently. I completely understand why she didn't want me to push yet (no doctor!), but telling a woman who feels the urge to push to not push should be considered torture. At that point, I got a little cranky. I distinctly remember telling her to stop pressing on the monitor on my belly because it hurt so much. I think I asked her to stop several times. Joe was in the bed with me, putting counter-pressure on my back still, and reminding me to breathe. I can't tell you how many times I told both of them that I couldn't not push. It hurt to not push. And really, my body was doing 95% of the work. I wasn't voluntarily doing it, it was just happening - kind of like instinct, I guess.

Eventually, I think my nurse got the gist that this baby was coming whether the doctor was here or not. I remember her all but running to the door, and yelling at the nurses' station, "Someone make sure Dr. Charity is on his way!" I really wanted to laugh, but, you know...contractions, baby in the birth canal and all. Next thing I know (as my body is still doing most of the pushing), I'm surrounded by nurses, and 2 of them are trying to flip me to my back. This hurt like crazy, first of all. I think I may have yelled at them, but I don't remember what I said. LOL! I remember my nurse telling me to push 3 times. Twice for her head, once for her little body. And there she was. I felt her little arms and legs flop onto my legs, because they didn't even have time to break down the bed for her arrival. 3 pushes, you guys. My body did all the work before that. Amazing. And seriously, what relief I felt after she was born! All the other natural/drug-free birth stories I've read talk about this high you get...I was totally there. =)

I had wanted a mirror to see her birth, but obviously things happened to quickly for that. I also had wanted to delay clamping/cutting her cord, but we weren't able to for two reasons: 1) A nurse delivered her instead of a doctor, so they followed 'protocol.' 2) Her cord was wrapped around her neck twice, so they wanted to make sure she was okay. After that, the doctor walked in. Then the baby nurse (who was fantastic, by the way) handed me my vernix-covered little girl for some skin-to-skin time.

Yes, I made Joe snap a shot of our first feeding.
I look like a hot mess, but that's what happens when you birth a baby. ;-)

I can't remember how long we got to hang out like that, but after just a few minutes she started bobbing her head and making her way to the breast for her first feeding! This moment was second only to pushing her out. It felt so great to be able to have that time, and for her to feed all on her own.

The only downside of her fast, non-medicated birth is that I did end up tearing this time, and so needed stitches. I can honestly say I have never disliked a doctor more in that period of time than I did this guy. He was not very gentle (unlike the OB that I hand-picked), and apparently he didn't realize that most redheads need more medicine to actually get numb that other people do. I had to tell him repeatedly that I could feel what he was doing. 

Overall, I feel great about her birth. I feel great about myself - knowing that my body can do this without any help. I also feel so much better physically than I did after Charlotte's birth. The recovery has been different because of the tear, but I feel so much more myself this time - and not in a haze from all the drugs.

Daddy and Millie =)

Thanks to my doctor, who stopped by the next morning, we were able to go home after only 24 hours in the hospital. That, my friends, is another upside to having a non-medicated birth! 

Took my rainbow baby home in her rainbow blanket from Auntie Anna!

Things have been great and also difficult since being home... We had help for the first week, but now we're on our own! I know we'll get the hang of having two littles eventually, but right now it's a roller coaster. So, we'd appreciate your prayers! 

We are so thankful to have this little rainbow baby of ours...and also for her big sister, who has been very sweet to her. Perfect way to end the year. =)

20 December, 2013

Finally Ready!

It should seem obvious by now that I'm more than ready to have this little girl who's been growing in my belly for almost 39 weeks. Her lovely little room, however, hasn't been ready until this week. It's been a serious work-in-progress. While I took my time with Charlotte's nursery, it was finished a couple weeks before she was born. I've been burning the midnight oil around here lately, trying to get everything done before Millie arrives! I know it could be another week, but I've felt all along that she'll be early. How early isn't exactly up to me, though!

Her room was more work than Charlotte's was mainly because I was already pregnant when we moved into this house. Not only was I pregnant, I was still in the first trimester and feeling sick most of the time. Oh, and I had another baby to take care of! So, pregnant, sicky, and mama to big sister....kind of throws a kink in things! Because we obviously wouldn't need her room to be ready for a while, it became the catch-all room. Which basically means if I didn't want to deal with certain boxes or pieces of furniture, that's where they ended up. So when it came right down to it, we had a lot of boxes to go through and furniture to move or get rid of. 

Just to give you an idea...
There was a lot more in here  (top pic) when we started clearing things out!

Pretty sure it took 2 months for this kind of progress. LOL

And then I had to actually make her bedding. I really procrastinated on this one way too long. I didn't order fabric until November. I had honestly planned on doing it earlier, but money has seriously been tight around here lately. I don't really even know what happened... It was just like all of a sudden - no extra moneys! Anyway, ordering fabric took forever. Then it took me a while to work up the nerve to start. Cutting fabric is seriously nerve-racking because once you cut, you can't take it back!

Bumper fabric

Quilt fabric (this was pre-cut for me! ;))

Also, I've never made crib bedding before. I've done a few quilts and other small projects, but nothing like this. Suffice it to say I was really nervous about it. Thankfully, I have a seamstress for a best friend and she walked me through it. Pretty sure there were a few times she wanted to come through the phone and smack me. ;-) I freaked out a lot and bugged her with a ton of questions. My brain doesn't work the way hers does, first of all. Second, I'm pregnant and my brain just does not work the way it used to! 

Long story, short: I have an awesome best friend who sent me instructions, texted more instructions, and Skyped/FaceTimed for even more instructions. Oh, and she also let me borrow a foot for the sewing machine that ruffles things. If not for her....well, I might have thrown in the towel before I even got started.

And now, after weeks of hard work and late nights, here is the final product! I did the quilt first, because I had fabric for it first. =) Though not perfect, I'm really happy with the way it turned out. 

The bumpers took the most time to cut out, but were probably the easiest part to sew. I wish I'd known that going in, because I probably wouldn't have put it off for so long!

And finally.... The crib skirt!! Putting this thing together was a huge pain. Cutting it, and even hemming it, wasn't so bad. But getting it just the right way onto the fabric that goes under the mattress? Ridiculous. 

I have to say that, even with help, I'm pretty darn proud of myself. ;-) It's definitely not perfect, and there are some things I would love to change, but I did it. It's done. 

                        I'm ready to see her in this bed!