What Happened to Me?

I have been feeling the itch to write –  but I haven’t quite figured out what I’m itching to write.  I do know this; I don’t know what the heck happened to me.  Visiting my blog has become such a depressing event because I don’t know who this person is that has left so many pieces of herself and her family in this space over the last 9 years.

I mean, I kind of remember her.  She liked to take pictures, and to run.  She crafted and sewed and created experiences for her daughters.  Everything was pretty good for her.

Life got complicated.  Mostly good complicated.  Instead of having insightful thoughts to share about the good life, I find myself torn between not wanting to recount the mundane in paragraph form, and not wanting to share the not great things.  I don’t know how to get back where I was, or if I want to be there, but I am feeling the new year itch.  There are some things I know I want to get back.  My health, my fitness, my sanity.  They all tend to be bundled up together, and so when life gets busy, they all tend to go down in flames together. Busy isn’t bad, but the plummeting endorphins is bad.

Parenting has gotten to be a lot less fun and games, but a lot more though provoking and complex, in a way that I think I would like to write about it, except that it no longer feels like my experience to write about.  Potty training is one thing to blog about, but the struggles and joys of raising a tween don’t seem like appropriate fodder for the internet when it comes to your own very real, very complex child.

In fairness to Eliot, I should be writing about his ever adorable milestones, like how he will now say “cheese” for a picture, and he recognizes when the “fight, fight, fight!” is about to come up in the Iowa Fight song and he waves his hand and screeches along for the “go Hawks!”  Raising my third baby is already so different.  I am different, our lives are a lot different now, and I just hope that he understands why even the digital baby book that is this blog wasn’t appropriately filled out for him.

One thing that he will hopefully always know, is how loved he is.  This child has a couple of extra little momma’s who always want to steal his hugs and to dry his tears. His main Momma wants those things too.  I love to snuggle my big guy and tell him much I love him, I just don’t do it in text like I have in past years.

When Thea was a baby I was so sad for her growth and worried that it was “the last time.”  With Eliot, I am not holding on to the distant memories as I thought I would, KNOWING that this really is the last time.  I consider it both a blessing and a curse that most milestones are met with a sigh of, “thank goodness we are getting to the easier part.”  Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying this baby and his sweet soft baby skin, but I am also finally at that point that I always wondered if I would reach, where I am satisfied and happy to move forward.  I have so much to look forward to with this sweet family of mine, and I am thankful to not look back longing to do any of this over again.  I have regrets, but they don’t make me want to turn back time or make another baby.  I am complete, satisfied, and more than sufficiently challenged.  2016 is going be the real year after “the baby year.” I am taking time for myself, and for my marriage.  I am looking for opportunities to bring professional fulfillment without the loss of my sanity.  I am going to frantically search for the time I need to take care of myself, how ever that care needs to be taken from one day to the next.

I just don’t know what to put out there anymore. Maybe it’s time to let go of the URL and move on.

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On and On

I have a notes app on my phone that I sometimes record references to possible future blog posts, thoughts that I have run through my mind when I can’t keep the course of whatever it is I am supposed to be focused on.  There is always something, and its rarely something I chose for myself, but that isn’t really the truth.  Every bit of my situation is a result of a choice I made.

The past year has been the most challenging of my working career, and the year of post Eliot employment has just closed out and I have reason to be reflective and consider the future apart from the past.  The current state of my mind is focused on taking back what I can of my time and my energy while trying to maintain the level of focus I need to do the job I have.  It’s one of those moments that builds the lump in my chest, one where I feel I am at a crossroads.  I can take my bad feelings and push them away and evaluate my life and my values and how to best maintain them and move forward, or I can gnash my teeth and furrow my brow in indignation over the injustice of it all.

If you know me, you know that I will stew and analyze all while maintaining a positive attitude while I work on my plan B.

The only time I get really upset, is when I think about all that I have given of the first year of Eliot’s life.  I have spent a disgraceful amount of time in a state of stress and distraction  that has kept me from truly enjoying my last baby.

I have missed an entire year of blogging.  A good portion of a year of sleeping.  At least half of the year of exercising.  Now I just need to decide what I need to focus on bringing back.

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And Just Like That…It’s Over

Yesterday morning I pulled up to daycare and handed over my precious son to his caregivers. I walked away with tears in my eyes and the feeling that I was leaving a piece of myself behind. We joke around in our house about how Eliot and I are BFF’s, but the emptiness I feel when I know I won’t be seeing him all day is no joke. the 11 weeks I spent at home with Eliot went by in a flash, but it was also excruciatingly slow. It seemed like it too forever for him to feel solid and secure in my arms instead of the skinny little rag doll I brought home from the hospital. I spent my days staring down at his little face just willing him to smile at me. I rocked and bounced and nursed him to get him to happily nap. I struggled with balancing time spent holding my baby that I knew would be grown and uninterested in my snuggles before I am ready, with the need to pick up my house and take advantage of time off work to organize closets.

I could go on a long rant about our culture not taking care of new moms and not valuing the importance of babies being fully bonded into a family before leave balances are expired but it seems so worthless, as nobody really cares about those things, at least no one that can make a difference. I will try to focus on what I did get, and try to get past the bad feelings I have about what I am not getting. Just like I tell my children, you can’t have everything you want. I just wish I didn’t feel like I wasn’t getting what I need. And people wonder why postpartum depression is such a huge problem.

I can’t even get into all of the reasons that yesterday was such a horrible day for me, suffice it to say that handing over my sweet baby that I know isn’t going to take well to days without to me, was not the worst part of my morning. We have some real issues in our family that I don’t think it is fair to blog about, because it isn’t all my story to tell. I love my children, all of them, but sometimes I have to remind myself of that fact. It hurts to not always like the ones we love, and I am hurting badly.

So there. It’s not rosy and it’s my reality right now. Maybe I can follow up with a happier more grateful post later, but right now I am choking back the bitter taste of anger and sadness.

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I read an article yesterday that was about the nursing relationship between a mother and her baby. Any mom who has nursed a baby can tell yup that there is a very strong and unique bond. He tells my body what he needs and I provide for him. It is a beautiful thing, but it’s also hard. A lot of pressure on an exhausted, still recovering and stressed out mom.  I adore my baby, just as I did, and still do adore my big kids, but I am ready for this bond to start stretching a bit. I could really use a haircut and coloring. I would like to have the energy and time to put into healthier eating instead of making food choices bases on what I can eat with one hand.  I would like my body to finish up recovering so I can run.  I am trying hard to live in this moment, but I keep looking around my dirty house thinking about what I should be doing while I hold my baby and try to stay awake.  

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One More

Back in September I was in the best shape of my life and I when I found out that Cory and I would be welcoming one more little Coobs baby into our family.  I very smugly assumed that I would continue to work out and eat healthy throughout my pregnancy, which would be easy of course, based on my past two easy pregnancies.  As September came to a close, so did my career in Crossfit, as I hurt my back doing kettlebell swings.  No big deal, I would still have running to keep me on track.  As October rolled on, I did complete a relay run, but that was about that for me and running.  Every attempt to go for a run resulted in an evening of sore hips and pelvis.  By November, I gave up.  In many ways.  I was getting fat anyway, I couldn’t work out anyway, and so the downward spiral of my health set in.  I was lucky that the real problems didn’t start until after our family trip to Disney, at which point I found that I could no longer lift my legs independently, and so the act of putting on and taking off pants became the chore that swinging weights and running laps had once been.

Here I am, June 6th, the day that I had been scheduled for an induction had little Eliot not decided to come on his own. Bless his heart for ending my misery before the 42 week mark.  For that I will try to forget the last couple weeks of pregnancy where every night I went to bed wondering if these contractions were going to do the trick of sending me into real labor, or if they were just going to keep me awake and make going to work the next day a miserable experience.

On the night before Eliot was born I was feeling pretty desperate to have my baby.  I had cried to my doctor that day at my appointment, basically begging for an induction and I went home defeated.  I put on my running shoes, that had been neglected for months and decided to put the pain my pelvis aside and go for a long walk in the miserable afternoon heat.  This was a last effort on my part to force this baby out.  My walk was followed by a long bath and then a sudden shift in the pressure in my pelvis.  Something was going on, and I wasn’t sure what that something was.  I had told myself early on that I would not go to the hospital until I was in so much pain that I couldn’t stand it, but times were desperate and if i could just get to a point where they would keep me and start pumping in the pitocin, I was going to see the end to this miserable pregnancy and the beginning of getting to know my baby and starting to work on getting myself back to myself.  I made a call to Labor and Delivery and when Cory came home from work we headed in to get checked out.  at about 7:00 the on call doctor checked my progress that showed that I had progressed from a 2-3 cm status at noon that day to a good 4 cm and that the baby had dropped down, which explained the shift in pressure that I had felt.  I was told to walk the halls for an hour and come back to see if any progress had been made, or if the results of the test indicating whether or not my water had broken had come back positive.  If either of those things were the case, I would earn my ticket to labor and delivery admission.

After an hour or so of walking I told Cory that I didn’t hold out much hope and we might as well go back and learn my fate.  To my surprise, I had progressed from 4 to a 5-6 cm and was told we were staying!

We got checked into our room at about 10:30 at night.  I told Cory that he should get some rest while he could and I decided to try to keep the progress moving by pacing the room.  At about 1:00 I decided to labor in the whirlpool tub. This had been the key to a comfortable drug free labor with Thea and I was sure that given my last labor, I could handle it again.  Again my smug certainty based on past experience proved me wrong.  Lets just skip ahead to 5:00 AM when my contractions had basically stopped and I had given up on the tub, as it was likely a bit too relaxing to keep my already lazy labor moving.  I had figured that by 5 I would have a baby, but as it turns out, 5:00 was the time that the doctor decided to break my water to get things moving again.  I was given a short deadline to make some progress or the pitocin would be started.  Pitocin is often the end of a natural labor so I was once again walking the halls to try to move things along.  In my broken water there was meconium detected, which was a small worry for all of us.  It meant extra doctors in the room for delivery in case the baby had adverse effects from the meconium.   After more walking and then some laboring in bed with the stronger contractions post water breakage I was fully effaced and 7-8 cm at 7 AM.  The next 4 and a half hours were the most miserable of my life.  I had natural childbirth with Thea, but my labor was half the time and I did not lose an entire nights sleep.  By about 10 AM I was crying and wondering if I would be able to survive.  11:30, it was finally time to push and I had never felt such relief as I did at that moment.  Eliot was born at 11:48 after a fast trip down the  birth canal.  I wasted no time getting him out of my body and as a result, he didn’t really get the squeeze to clear out the amniotic fluids that I new baby needs.  When my girls were born they were both plopped right onto my chest.  With Eliot, Cory was able to cut the chord and the Doctor passed him in front of my face so I could catch a glimpse of him, but he was wisked away and checked over before I got my hands on him.  After a quick trip down the hall to the Transitions nursery in the NICU Eliot began to cry like a newborn should and was brought back to me for my first opportunity to hold my baby BOY.  Cory and I were both a bit overwhelmed by the moment…and I had tears in my eyes as I inspected his sweet little face that resembled his Daddy so much, or his little hands…the exact miniatures of Cory’s large hands.  All of the miserable memories of pregnancy and the long and uncomfortable labor melted away as I looked down at my boy.  My last trip through labor and delivery was a fruitful one, and our family is completed with a sweet little prince.

For a week now I have woken up to his beautiful brown eyes looking over at me.  I know newborns don’t smile, but there is undoubtedly a feeling of love and happiness in his eyes as he peers at me and waits for his morning nursing session.  I could not be more in love with my one last baby, and my completed family.  As we begin the journey of the last first time, I am drinking in every moment.  Memorizing the way he smells, the sweet little baby faces he makes for me, the adorable way that he stretches his little body.  I am spending my days in the recliner, holding my sweet boy and cuddling him every moment that he will allow it.  One last time I have the honor of nursing a newborn baby from a tiny helpless being into a strong and chubby baby and I am enjoying every minute of it.

 

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I should know better

If you go to Google on my computer currently and type in “signs” the search field will automatically add in “of labor” as the most logical search.  It knows me too well.  

By the 3rd time you would think I would know better than to even bother asking the all knowing internet what my fate might be.  I have seen so many message board posts and yahoo questions discussions about what this or that may mean, as far as the impending labor is concerned.  The fact is, its all worthless.  I read to make myself feel better.  Looking for the mom who posts about how she felt *exactly* the way that I am feeling right now and hours later her labor started.  

I am over analyzing every pull and tug that I feel from my rib cage to my you-know-what.  Or wait, maybe this headache behind my eye is a sign that the end is near? It could be, right? 

How about the endless advice about the many things that *might* have worked to put someone else into labor.  After having tried EVERYTHING at least twice now, I should know better.  But I don’t.  Anyone have any ideas for me?

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I am not blessed

It has been a long time since I gave any credence to the saying that “everything happens for a reason.”  The first time something happens around you that is senseless and wrong the mind begs, “Why?  Why me? Why them? Why now? Why not?”  My momma also told me, no one ever said that life would be fair. I hate to give the impression that I am complaining about my own life.  I can’t think of a single legitimate complaint.  It’s when I see the suffering of my friends that I have to ask, “Why am I the lucky one?” Why was I blessed, and not them.   I am struggling with guilt.  And until recently, I would have told you that I am blessed beyond what I deserve.  And it’s killing me to accept it. The truth is, that I am not blessed.  God doesn’t love me extra, and he certainly doesn’t favor me over any other human. Like my own father, he wants the best for all of his children, and some of them are luckier than others when the chips fall to the ground. To finally accept that God knows just as well as I know that I do not deserve any better is to make peace with my own good fortune and to show gratefulness in the face of injustice to others.

I turn my heart to God and I want an answer.  I am angry.  If I clung to the “everything happens for a reason” argument, I would have turned away from God long ago.  For some things, there is no reason.  If God has a plan, a plan for each of us to prosper and to have hope, then what the hell do you call this world, where children are given a death sentence before they are given a birthdate?

I will never know why, and honestly, I don’t think there is a reason.  The world is a place full of ugliness and overflowing with both hate and compassion to those that are forced to face that ugliness, but I am not blessed by God to have felt the mercy of a safe home, of healthy children, of healthy parents, of loving relationships.  I am fortunate.  I am lucky.  I am aware that God does not bless in the way of big bonuses or even happy lives.  He blesses us all with the ability to come to him with our sorrows.

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.

I am not blessed.  I am grateful, I am humbled and I am angry and I am heartbroken.  How could I not be?

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How are you feeling?

Yesterday at my monthly OB appointment I told my doctor that I didn’t really know why I was gaining so much weight, I was really trying to cut out the sugar.  Today I ate a double decker oatmeal creme pie, and only then did I look at the package to see the 480 calorie load I had added to my day.  And I didn’t even feel bad.

After work I picked Thea up from daycare and drove on snowy slippery surfaces to the stoplight where two lanes of traffic turn onto a major Coralville street.  And then I totally cut off an angry man in a minivan just like mine as I merged onto 1st Ave.  I did feel bad about that one.  

 

I am feeling fat, flighty and tired.

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Starting Over

When I started announcing my pregnancy one of my less tactful friends responded with, “Wow.  You guys are starting over!”  I guess that is one way of looking at it.  It doesn’t happen to be the perspective that I am approaching this development with.  The way I see it, I am holding on to something that has brought me 8 years of happiness so far in my life.  Being a mom is the most important job that I have. And I like to think that my day job is pretty important too. Cory and I didn’t approach this decision lightly.  We talked extensively about life, and about what we wanted our lives to look like 20, 30, 40 years from now.  Babies are a lot of work.  I don’t think anyone can deny that.  But as one of five children, I also know that family is the most important thing in life.  I won’t ever regret pulling back from the biggest projects at work in order to birth and nurse a third child, because this baby, just like my other two babies, is a vital part of my family, and my family is my life. So here is to starting over, and to growing the most fulfilling parts of our lives in 2014. 

Maybe I will start posting on my blog too, as long as I am hitting restart. 

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Inies and Outies

I love to read the Huffington Post and this article was on that I enjoyed because it validated many of my own quirks.  Of course I have known that I am introverted from the time I knew what an introvert was.  I was one of very few kids that I knew who actually enjoyed quiet reading time over recess.  Some might say that is because I was/am overweight and lazy, but I will go with the introversion theory.

As a parent I am finding that the differences between introverts and extroverts effects me more than ever before.  Cory is a pure extrovert, but luckily he is also independent and it rarely causes any conflict because I can always hang out at home with my blog and my books while he socializes with friends and neighbors.  

Leila is such an interesting kid.  She challenges me, she impresses me and she schools me from time to time.  If you have ever read any of those first chapter books for kids that focus on a little girl main character, such as: Ramona, Junie B. Jones, Clementine, then you have a taste of my Leila.  She is the character that authors love to write about, Leila loves to read about and teachers don’t know what to do with.  She is her Daddy’s girl, and a true extrovert.

The problem is, I can’t send my 7 year old daughter with an impulse control problem out on her own.  So now, I am learning to take care of my extrovert.  

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And really, I hate to brag, but my daughter has been the star of every little girls book series know to modern kids.  So she is a pretty big deal.

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