Spencer Turns 5!

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Spencer’s 5th birthday was at Urban Jungle.  The kids had a blast jumping on the trampolines, running through the mazes, and racing down the slides.  Pizza and cake topped off the day.

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6 months and many lessons

6 months.

Yesterday marked 6 months since Spencer’s birth.

6 months since my vagina was intact.  Yes, we are talking about it again.  Vagina, Vagina, Vagina.

I have been forced to alter my life to accommodate my new physical limitations.  I had to suspend my Stroller Strides membership because I couldn’t walk without major pain, let alone run.  I could no longer stand for extended periods of time.  I couldn’t sit cross-legged, on uneven or hard surfaces any longer.  Wearing tight fitting clothes was out, and let’s face it now that I have had 2 kids–all my clothes are tight fitting…

The first doctor visit was 10 or so days post delivery.  I felt like something wasn’t healing right.  She said I was rushing it and to take it easy.

The second visit was for my 6 week follow up.  Again, I noted the pain and discomfort.  The GYN said take it easy.  Sometimes healing takes a while.  The pain was likely a result of the prolapse.  Come back in 4-6 months for a follow up.

During the last few months I have made adjustments.  I have been in almost constant discomfort in one way or another.  I have lost sleep over not being able to have anymore kids because of the pain.  I have contemplated surgery even though I wouldn’t be able to pick up my kids for 6 weeks or more.  I have cried.  But, mostly I have been silent.  I shared on this blog and with a few people.  But, mostly I have been silent about it since that is what you are supposed to do.

You aren’t supposed to talk about your vagina.

Yesterday, I went to a specialist whose emphasis is in pelvic floor disorders.  He took one look at me and was shocked.  He couldn’t believe that I hadn’t been diagnosed before.  He was shocked that I went so long without treatment.  He said that most of my discomfort could be eliminated with a procedure he could do right now.  He couldn’t guarantee that one treatment would eliminate the problem but he was certain that it would make me feel better than I felt.

He said my prolapse was normal.  He said I could have 10 more kids if I wanted.

I started to cry.  My legs in stirrups – spreadeagled and I was crying.  The nurse put her hand on my leg and brought me the box of tissues.  I was that girl.

I felt so relieved.  A painless application of silver nitrate and I was good to go.  If I wasn’t healed in 2 weeks to make another appointment.

I also felt stupid.  And angry.  And silly.  I endured 6 months of pain and silent embarrassment when all I needed was some silver nitrate and a competent doctor.

Exuberant granulation tissue.

All of this isn’t to say that I am 100% healed.  I still have a minor prolapse.  And I may still need an office visit to surgically remove the extra tissue.  But, I already feel better today both knowing the true cause of my pain and knowing that it can be treated.

Lessons learned-  Trust my body.  Trust my instincts.  Trust myself.   Don’t blindly trust doctors.  Don’t be ashamed of my body–broken or not.

34 weeks and a Potty training update




34 week appointment this past Wednesday. It seems that all of a sudden all of the pregnancy symptoms have kicked into high gear. Backache-check. Exhaustion-check. Pelvic pressure-check. Hemorrhoids-check. Constipation(continued)- check. Heart Burn (so bad I cant sleep)-check. Restless Legs-check. Leg cramps-check. I do feel grateful that I have managed to keep these aches and pains at bay for so long. And they are only intermittent, and all things considered I really feel very good.  

After my Midwife appt. I actually felt relieved having voiced all of my concerns. It was as if what I really needed was for someone to hear my complaints. She offered some helpful suggestions–take Calcium/Magnesium for the RLS and take it easy for everything else.  

The baby was head down when she checked, and wants to wait until my 36 week appointment to confirm positioning. In spite of the evidence that he isn’t supposed to have much room in my uterus–he can still move around plenty and not without notice. Thursday he was hiccupping under my rib cage again. We spoke again about options since it is getting closer to my due date and Elliott came at 38.5 weeks.  

The options presented if he is still breech at 36/37 weeks are to schedule and perform a version (ECV) where they hook me up to an IV, and attempt to manually move him into head down position. I say attempt because occasionally babies don’t move. They can then place a support band around my tummy to ‘hold’ him in place until I deliver. Neither the ECV nor the band ensure he will not move again. If he moves again, they can perform the procedure again. Or I can wait.  I am most likely going to wait until I go into labor. If I present to L&D and he is still breech I will be having a C-section and if not, I will attempt a VBAC. The midwife seemed fine with this decision as she confirmed that babies can and do move from breech to head down up until labor. 

The potty training is hit or miss. Some days are great with few accidents and dry underwear for most of the day.  Other days (yesterday, for example) are accident after accident, fighting to get him on the potty, and frustration by all parties involved.  The successes are he will use public restrooms, isn’t afraid of the toilet flushing, and his aim is getting better.  He can also hold most of his pee all night long (8pm-6am).  The not so good parts are he is always wet after nap time, wont poop in the potty, and isn’t telling me all that often that he has to go pee. The other positive is that somehow potty training has improved our relationship in an awesome way.  I suspect the amount of one on one time we are spending together is having a positive influence on us both.  Plus, me being down on his level so much more, and all of the extra hugs and kisses and words of praise and encouragement.  Whatever it is—I am grateful for it.  

I do my worst parenting when pregnant

I have heard from several Mom’s who have multiple children (that is more than one child, not twins) that they did their worst parenting while they were pregnant.  And then I heard that the Duggar’s are expecting their 19th child as well as their 1st grandchild. 

I wonder sometimes why I can’t do it all, why I feel so overwhelmed.  And then I feel guilty because I can’t seem to hold it together.  I lose my temper so easily.  And then that leads me into wondering if I am trying hard enough to be a good person (insert wife, mom, friend as needed).  Am I weak?  Am I a slacker, a cop-out?  I become riddled with guilt if I allow my son to watch a video because I am just to exhausted to explain to him (over and over until a meltdown ensues) about why we limit TV time.  I spend the entire day beating myself up for being short with my hubby.  I curse my lack of self control when I eat yet another cookie instead of an apple.  It reminds me why I don’t ask for help more often.  I suck at being vulnerable. 

And in the next breath, I am happy again with myself.  I am forgiven.  I feel like in any given day I do accomplish a lot.  I am a good parent.  I remind myself that my son is joyful, polite, clean, and kind.  I am a good wife and caring friend.  My house is clean and organized.  Our bills are paid.  Everyone’s doctor and dental visits are scheduled and attended.  Baby #2 is growing, kicking like a pro-soccer player and healthy.  I forgive myself for allowing my raging hormones to get the best the of me.  I visit my due date calculator as affirmation that this emotional struggle won’t last forever, there is an end in sight.

And then something else happens to set the roller coaster in motion again.  Wee, off we go again.

Let’s practice letting go, shall well?

Weakness and vulnerability have never been easy for me. I have often been called fiercely independent. This has worked in my favor for most of life; having left home when I was 14 years old, a girl needs to be strong. When I met my husband we clicked partly because we are both extremely independent and strong willed.

The down side of being uber independent is that any perceived weakness feels like I am open to vulnerability and I get protective over that space. Being vulnerable for me has always been a perceived weakness. Can you see where this is going…? Upon meeting the hubby though, he convinced me that allowing yourself to be emotionally vulnerable opened you up to people. These here blog entries have allowed me to be emotionally vulnerable without feeling weak or defensive. They have also allowed me to become more in touch with my feelings and have an easier time identifying them and sharing them.

What I wasn’t prepared for however, was my third trimester of pregnancy. I am actually only 24 weeks along and technically at the tail end of my second trimester, but I feel huge and my mobility and energy is becoming more limited. This decrease is physical abilities is tough for me. I don’t remember feeling this way the first time around, perhaps because I was working, and not chasing after a 25 month old. We had both a housekeeper and a gardener and our financial resources we far superior to now so we were eating out with frequency.

Whatever the reason, I am very touchy and sensitive about ‘keeping it together’ and ‘getting everything done’. Basically, I need to still be able to ‘do it all’ or I start to feel weak. And the cascade of emotions that occur if I feel like I am slipping or anyone critiques (perceived or real) my abilities…well, it is all over.

So, in preparation for baby#2 I am going to again practice letting go. Letting go of control, letting go of my obsessive need for order and balance, and letting go of my wretched need to ‘do it all’. Like all things that involve me and control—the best of luck.

Budgeting for #2

I am a planner, I like to be prepared and I like to know what to expect.  All of this is sometimes to my detriment and the tragic loss of spontaneity and the sudden joy it can bring.

So, since discovering I was pregnant last Saturday (yippee!!!), I have been running through the list of things that will be changing with the arrival of a second child.  I have also been thinking about our budget and how we can survive with 2 children on one income.  Not to mention the challenges of 4 people in our 1000 square foot house, with 2 bedroom and 1 bathroom.  
I have been collecting unemployment since I lost my job in November.  I have been looking for a job, but suspect that my resume must be tainted or marked with a scarlet letter.  Since I graduated from college, I have only worked with mortgage banks, both large and small.  My last position was with a Mortgage Banking Software company and while not a bank or lender, I suspect prospective employers don’t see the difference.  And for the record–not a single call back on my resume to date.  
My point is that I have only a few months of unemployment remaining, and then we are limited to one income.  I have posted many times about the long term cuts we have been making to household expenses.  But, we are going to have to make many more cuts in the near future or I would need to get a job.  
Our household expenses are pretty bare bones–mortgage, utilities, groceries, insurance, gas. But, there are still some areas that could use some trimming.  There are the (too) occasional family dinners out (usually at about $40-60 each).   There is my husbands love of IPA that can not be stopped ($10 per 6 pack!!!).   I occasionally meet former co-workers or friends for lunch ($10). Hubby and I usually go to our local coffee house on the weekends for a fancy latte and a pastry, and a milk for the tot ($10 each morning).  That is just to name a few of the monthly incidentals. that we feel we somehow have earned.  
So, my question to you Internet is–how do you wean yourself off of these luxuries without feeling deprived and somehow like you deserve these things, even though you don’t have the long term budget for them?  It feels like I am on a diet all over again.  You know the feeling–as soon as you start a diet, you start feeling like you are missing out.  You are hungry even after you have finished your meal.  Will these things just naturally take care of themselves, as we add another member to our household?
And moreover, for those with more than one child–what should I expect as far as expenses? Diapers and Co-payments I know.  But, what else?  

2 tests confirmed it.

*Hyper Emotional
*Heartburn
*Terrible taste in my mouth
*Fatigue
*Restless Leg Syndrome
*No PMS or sweet cravings around when my period was due
*Constipation (yes, already)

Yup, I am 4 weeks pregnant.  2 positive tests confirmed it.  
Yippee!!!  Due date is 11-29-09