Dec 30, 2013

Ho Ho Hum

Another Christmas come and gone. This is my favorite time of year. Even here in southern AZ, without a snow covered ground, there is still a crisp bite to the air that lets me know it's winter. Time to bundle up, which here means a hoodie and occasional hat:) Time to set out twinkling lights. Time to gather with friends and family. Time for traditions, cookie baking, Christmas music, hot cocoa, holiday movies, wandering the neighborhood checking out decorations. And Santa.

Ever since Lilly was born, we talked about this Santa dude. Were we going to play along, even mention him? Have him be a big part of the Christmas traditions, or merely a minute piece to the puzzle. Last year Lilly was still too young to even realize what was going on. Sure, she was delighted by the lights and wrapping paper but that was about it. This year, as she's nearing 3, was a completely different story. She joined me in watching some of my favorite movies: old school Grinch, The Santa Clause, Christmas Vacation (though SHE wasn't really watching this one). We read The Night Before Christmas. She learned the words to Jingle Bells. We decorated a gingerbread house. And from the movies and stories, she recognized the fat man. Good ole Santa Claus. To her, just another character in her make-believe world, just like Mickey Mouse, her bear, fairies, superheroes, Captain Hook, and whatever character she conjures up as her little imagination runs wild.

We didn't want Santa to be the one to get all the gift giving glory, while mom& dad gave the obligatory xmas pjs. Hell no! We want the girls to know that mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, & anyone else, gave gifts and that we're hard workers and that this gift exchange doesn't mean you can ask for tons of shit ad nauseam & expect a magical old man to deliver. It's about getting AND giving. Giving is my favorite part.

We plan on having zero part in threatening for good behavior in exchange for gifts from Santa. We want our kids to be kind and loving and trustworthy because it's the right thing to do. Because it's what we want. Not just this time of year. And not because Santa wants it!

We also didn't want to force the kids to have a visit with Santa. It was a tradition with us as kids, as it is many of our family and friends. But somewhere deep inside, I have serious issues with placing a screaming child onto a stranger's lap. I'm not forcing them to sit in a strange dude's lap when I'm trying to teach them not to talk to strangers! Or at least, not to go randomly sit on their laps. If, one day, we happen upon a Santa& either of the girls request a little chat with him, then we'll obligingly visit. Until then, it's not being forced. Or even mentioned.

What about the magic of Christmas? Without the Santa charade, this is still an exciting time of year. I don't remember when I stopped believing in Santa (maybe 2nd grade?) but I do remember still pretending in the 4th grade so my mom wouldn't be disappointed and to still play along for my little brother. Once I knew Santa was really my mom, it became even more magical. We would go to my dad's family xmas eve, do a big dinner, gift exchange and when we came home late that night, my mom would be in her pjs, listening to music, hint of JD on her breath (guess it helps for gift wrapping). The only lights on in the house were emitting from the glow of the Christmas tree. The tree. It looked like it puked up a plethora of shiny, colorfully wrapped gifts that spilled from beneath the green branches. My mom was always, and still is, good at making it seem like there are so, so many more gifts than there are. We got to open 1 gift and then my brother and I would share a room for the night so we could whisper in delight about all the gifts under the tree. And for one night, we actually got along. Now THAT'S magic!

So this year, Santa gave one big gift and the stockings. She was just as excited for those gifts as she was from the stuff from everyone else. And now, hopefully, Santa is on par with unicorns in her mind. Nothing more, nothing less.

Feb 25, 2013

Baby Makes 4

Sweet little Violet Jude has entered our lives and our hearts.  And in quite a dramatic manner. It was love before first sight. There was no doubt in my mind about that. But my heart definitely melted a little bit more when I saw her beautiful, perfect face.

My due date was January 18.  I would have bet money that I wouldn't have made it to my due date this time around. It's not that I wanted to have the baby early, it's just a feeling that I had. As early as January 8 (jeff's bday) I started having contractions and bloody show. 
None of the contractions were "real", as I was able to move and talk through them. But the days came and went and no baby. Good thing I didn't bet anyone or I'd be broke. I had been drinking red raspberry tea, chamomile tea, taking Evening Primrose Oil, doing nipple stimulation, walking, no avail.
with help from Jeff & my mom
Lilly having much needed Daddy time

using a Rebozo during contractions

My due date: It came. It went. The afternoon of January 22 I had the midwife do a membrane sweep in hopes of moving things along. I was dilated to 3 but not effaced, so we were really hoping this would do the trick.  Later that night I woke around 345am, went to the bathroom and tried to go back to sleep. But the contractions were kicking my ass!  Finally! :)  I walked around the house and waited about 30 minutes to see if they were going to ease up, as they had in the past. When I realized this was the real deal, I woke up Jeff and told him it was baby time. We waited maybe an hour/hour & half before calling the Birth Center where we were given the OK to come in. We live about an hour away & didn't want to wait too long to go in. Then we called everyone who was planning on being at the Birth Center with us; my mom, Launie (who took pics), Rochelle & Natalie (who helped out with Lilly).

big sister Lilly, Rochelle & Natalie checking out Violet
 It was very important to us that Lilly be a part of the birth.  We weren't sure how she was going to react to seeing me in pain and bleeding but we hoped for the best. She was her normal, rambunctious self. She was great and randomly came into the room to give me sweet kisses, to hang out with Daddy and to investigate what was going on. She mimicked my breathing and when it was time for me to push, she was very curious and watched intently for a portion of it. She wasn't in the room when Violet made her grand entrance, but she was there with us, as one big family and we were happy that she was. Thanks so much to my mom and our friends Natalie and Rochelle for helping out with her, keeping her occupied and calm. It meant the world to us that Lilly was able to be a part of this experience. Also, a huge thanks to Launie for taking all of the lovely photos so that we can share and remember the day.

such a sweet photo! Lilly & Grandma (&us in the background). She was mimicking my breathing.

We made it to the birth center sometime after 7am. I was 6cm. We got settled in to the room which happened to be the same room we used when we had Lilly. There to assist was RN Judy and CNM Judy--the same midwife that delivered Lilly. How cool!!  We were very excited about this. All of the midwives at the birth center are absolutely wonderful but it was so meaningful that Judy was by our side with both of our babies, offering her calming, kind words and gentle touch. 


letting me hang & my back stretch

getting some Lilly kisses between contractions
We turned on the music playlist, which consisted of Jack Johnson (again) and Norah Jones. I was having wicked back labor and changed positions constantly.  We went from the birthing tub to the edge of the bed, to the birthing ball, to wandering the halls, to the shower, to laying on my side in bed to rest my swollen and puffy legs and feet. The positions that seemed to help most though, were leaning on the foot end of the bed while standing (gave me something to grip while contracting) and standing in the shower while Jeff sprayed me with the hot water.

CNM Judy talking to me about the option of breaking my water.
Jeffrey stayed by my side. My rock. He was there rubbing my head, pushing on my lower back, squeezing my hips together, letting me lean against him, holding my heavy body up and encouraging me the whole way. I couldn't have done it without him.

Seconds turned into minutes. Minutes turned into hours.  There was constant rotation of loving hands rubbing my head, legs, belly; placing a cold rag on my neck when I got hot, placing a blanket over my chilled body when I fluctuated between hot and cold. Everyone--Jeffrey, my mom, Judy (& I think even Launie at one point) was there to make me as comfortable as possible. I think it was sometime after 2pm and Judy asked if I would like her to break my water. I thought about it for a while and after more contractions I decided to let her.  It was a pretty intense gush, but nothing in comparison to last time. I then decided to go into the shower again. The instance the water touched my skin I felt the urge to push.  My body said "let's do this" but my head was thinking "wait a second!  What if your cervix isn't ready. It wasn't ready a minute ago! What if you damage something by pushing too soon?!" Silly brain. Jeff ran to get the midwife and tell her I was feeling the urge.  She joined us in the bathroom and said if I want to push then I can and I can have this baby in the bathroom if I needed to! I had a few more contractions and then decided to waddle back to our room so I could NOT have the baby in the bathroom. LOL.

curiosity. Lilly's close up view as I pushed.
In the weeks prior to Violet's birth, when I went in for my checkups, we knew that she was head down but that she was posterior facing (facing forward)--not the desired position. She was starting to turn in the week prior and I was doing a few movements to try to get her to turn, but as I was in labor we knew she wasn't turned, hence the back labor.  Judy let us know that I could labor in the birthing tub, but she did not want me to push in the tub because there was some manuevering that was going to have to take place. Once I was 100% sure that I wanted and needed to push I just went with it.  I was on the bed, kneeling over a birthing ball.  It was nice because I had something to hug onto and could rock into it, plus the gravity pulled the weight of my belly off of my aching back. I pushed for around 30 minutes. I heard Jeff say he could see the baby's head.  Then I heard Judy urgently tell Jeff to MOVE!  I felt him fly off the bed, heard another midwife (Fran) at my side. I was told to turn onto my side and in one swift move they quickly moved me, threw my legs up in the air and told me to push with all my might as Fran pushed on my stomach and Jeff and RN Judy pushed up on my knees and CNM Judy pulled on the baby.
This all happened VERY quickly (2minutes and 20 seconds to be exact). But after watching the video I can see that for those watching, it may have seemed like an eternity.  The reason for the urgency was that Violet's head was out, but her shoulders got stuck. And she was turning more and more purple by the nanosecond. Never once did anyone lose their cool. All were nothing but professional. Judy never once took her hands off Violet's head, even when they rotated my body. But you could see the look of seriousness in Judy's face when she motioned for Fran's assistance. You can hear the despair in my mom's voice as she encouraged me to push while simultaneously recorded the birth, choked back tears and tried not to completely freak out!
I had my eyes closed for practically the whole day. It helped me to focus and move through the pain. I wasn't aware of the situation when I was pushing Violet out. And I'm happy for my lack of knowledge. I was able to remain calm and do what I was supposed to do while the professionals did what they had to do. After one final push, at 407pm, 12 hours after my labor started, I was holding our sweetie pie little baby--all 9 lbs 13 ounces and 22 inches! 10 perfect fingers. 10 perfect toes. Time seemed to hault for a moment. As Launie mentioned to me later, the whole day I seemed to be in a different world. I was. As soon as Violet was born, I opened my eyes and I was "me" again.  Present.

Violet & Launie (beloved friend & photog of the day:)

Everyone let out a sigh of relief, tears of joy flowed and smiles drew over everyone's faces. Midwife Fran comforted my mom with a warming hug--which meant the world to me! Now we needed to come up with a name for this sweet bundle of joy! We weren't sure of a name yet, as we didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl.  We had a few names picked out, but nothing was 100% sure. As soon as she was born we knew we were going with Violet as a first name. She was a beautiful little flower (and also purple in color so it was VERY fitting). But we were still up in arms about the middle name.
our new family :)

Later that evening, Jeff suggested Jude.  It was perfect! Both the nurse and midwife were named Judy, he had heard them call eachother "Jude", the midwife was the same that welcomed Lilly into our world, plus my mom has an obsession with the Beatles that has trickled over into my life.  It just seemed right. Violet became Violet Jude.


Violet on Daddy as I got a couple stitches

After much thought, I decided not to share the "scary" part of the video. It was just too intense and ultra personal.  Everything turned out perfectly and I want to remember it that way. Here is the edited version, though there are still parts of me that those close to me may have never invisioned seeing. Consider yourself warned;)

Feb 6, 2013

Happy and Sad

The past 2 Weeks have been a whirlwind of emotion. Elation & deep sadness have filled my heart. I've shed tears of joy and tears of grief and tears somewhere in between. 2 weeks ago our sweet little Violet was born (a blog soon to come!). My heart has somehow become bigger & made space for this beautiful, little person. I wondered how I could love my second child as I did the first. But now, when I hold both of my girls in my arms, I realize it could be no other way.  It's amazing how much you can truly love, not just one person, but two; unconditionally & with every fiber of my being.

A couple days after we brought Violet home, I had a cry fest. I picked up Lilly from her bed and suddenly realized she is no longer my baby girl. She seemed like a giant in my arms when a mere 2 days prior, she still seemed itty bitty. Tears poured down my face and my not so itty bitty girl held onto me tight as we shared a moment. Perhaps she felt the same way? This wasn't a reaction I had ever expected. She'll always have a special place in my heart. A spot that's reserved just for her. I've been trying my hardest these past 2 Weeks to juggle time between nursing & snuggling Violet and playing/reading/singing/snuggling with Lilly. She's been great with her baby sis so far. I just don't want her to think she isn't as important to us anymore just because she is no longer getting 100% of our attention and energy. Because she is still my everything and I love her so, SO much!

A couple days ago I found out a dear friend of mine lost her unborn child, right before her due date. And she still had to deliver her. My heart shattered into a million pieces. I could do nothing but cry all day and night. I've been holding the girls extra tight. I can't imagine what she's going through right now & how she will be strong enough to make it through this tough time. But it saddens me to the bone. It hurts when I think about 2 short Weeks ago what it would have been like to go home without Violet. I'm grateful not to know what personal anguish she is going through. But my heart & thoughts have been with her constantly. My biggest fear is losing my children. Before I had kids, I did some stupid (but fun!) shit & lived freely without thinking too much of consequences. Now, it's no longer all about me and I would do anything to protect my babies. And i'm thankful that my babies are here for me to protect.

Jan 10, 2013


I hit 39 weeks tomorrow. Earlier this week I was contracting a lot and would've sworn that things were going to progress and we'd be holding a baby in our arms instead of still in my uterus. Alas, this baby is comfy and cozy and NOT gracing us with its presence anytime soon.  Or not too early, at least. Instead of "nesting" (which I think is a crock of shit), I have been trying to keep Lilly as busy as possible with new projects and fun things to do.  You know, before the baby comes and we spend the next month trying to sleep, yet still spend time with her.  I see a lot of Sesame Street and Dora in our near future.  OMG thank you Dora!  There is just something about that girl that Lilly adores and is mesmerized by. 

She loves to color/scribble/draw. But I wanted to liven things up a bit and find some new ideas and activities for her. Where else would I turn, but to Pinterest! Earlier this week I made her some sensory bags, an idea I got here.  I filled a ziplock bag with shaving cream and put blue food coloring on one side and yellow on the other side so that once she squished it around she'd end up with green.  Jeff ended up enjoying this activity more than she.  Go figure.  The second bag I filled had clear shower gel (from hotel samples) and starry glitter.  Once she squished it around it became bubbly and the glitter and stars floated around.  She really liked that one! didn't last long in holding a nearly 2 year old's attention and an hour of it was enough and I knew she wouldn't want to see these same bags again another day.

Ok, now what?!

Back to Pinterest. I had pinned this awesomeness.  Fun things to do with glow sticks! Why hadn't I thought of putting them into the bathtub?  Grandma gave her a tube of them for Christmas this year and tonight was the perfect time to bust them out! The tub came to life and glowed so magically that the next time I take a bath, I want glowsticks in it too!  Sooooo much fun!  To avoid a meltdown from the fun ending, we let her take the glowsticks out of the tub and continue with the entertainment.  She had a blast playing her drum with the glowsticks and just running around in the dark room.  We HAVE to buy more of the sticks.  It'll be the best $1 investment ever!

Jan 8, 2013

You're a Pain!

This pregnancy has most definitely been different from the last. I would venture to say that I believe pregnancy to be easy & mostly enjoyable, but maybe i'm slightly a masochist. I mean, I've had countless bouts of heartburn-enough fire flaring up my esophagus any dragon would be envious. I had copious amounts of morning/day/anytime sickness in my 1st trimester, none of which amounted to actual vomit leaving my body. But damn did I wish it had sometimes so I would feel a relief. My ankles have once again done a magical disappearing act and have become one with my calves (kankles anyone?). Don't even get me started on the hemorrhoids (worse than last time). Yes, plural! And now, here I lay wide awake at 3am, awoken by our dog who was startled by mother nature & barked at the winter storm that is now pelting rain drops on our windows. As I listen to the desert rain-a sound I always love and despite the early hour, am happy to be hearing-I feel as though a hot knife is poking into the front of my pubic bone. Damn! It's gonna be one of those nights again:/
I've been banished from the bedroom and have been forced to set up a new makeshift bed on the couch, amidst a mountain of pillows. I hate it. Loathe. But I can no longer sleep in bed. I can't wince through the excruciating pain of laying on my side, no matter how many pillows I have propped, squeezed & squished in to support me. There is just too much pelvic pain. So here I lay, on my back, in some variation of an almost sitting/reclined position. Did I mention I hate this?
I felt this pain last pregnancy but never mentioned it because I thought it was the norm. Thankfully, it wasn't very frequent last time. But this time!? This time I felt it again and again. It hurt to put on undies & pants. Great. Then it hurt to get out of the car, bed, couch. Ugh. But when the incessant ache radiating from my pelvis started waking me up night after night I knew something was wrong. I needn't even move to have the pain. It was there with me laying motionless. Fantastic! So, off to the midwife I went to find out what the hell was going on.
And as I suspected (because I did some searching of the infinite knowledge on the interwebs before seeing the midwife), I am suffering from SPD; better known as Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction or what I like to call Slow Painful Death. The ligament that normally stabilizes my pelvic bones is too damn loosey goosey and instead of doing its job, it's not. Instead, when I walk, move my legs in a lateral motion, or just freakin LAY STILL, my joints are all slip sliding around and causing me great pain and discomfort. Which is why I'm now temporarily bound to the couch for the next month (it should go away after the baby is born). I also started wearing this most sexy of accessories better known as a hip girdle. It's been helping to kind of hold things in place. I've also been rubbing Arnica Oil over the area, become more aware of my movements, apply heat, take Tylenol before bed & overall have been trying to take it easy. As easy as I can whilst still chasing around & playing with a toddler. Jeff has been amazingly supportive too in his efforts to help me feel more comfortable. I've been extra bitchy/whiney come bed time. Err, couch time? But he is there, steadfast and true, ready to prop me up with pillows, warm up the heat pack, bring me Tylenol & even rub my head or feet to relax me into sleep mode. I couldn't do this without him.
Despite these few "problems" I still love being pregnant. The baby must know what I'm thinking because he/she is dancing around as I type this. Hey kid! You're giving me a wee bit of a hard time! I hope this is not a premonition. Maybe I can start a new trend of saying "pain in the pelvis" instead of "pain in the ass".

Total conspiracy

This past summer we hit a wall. A no-more-napping-for-the-kiddo-omFg-mom-is-gonna-lose-her-mind kind of a wall. I would rock her, sing to her, dance with her--nothing seemed to work anymore. Except for her falling asleep on me, while I was seated:/ Though it was nice to have the snuggle, after a half hour my ass would start to cramp. And with my ever growing pregnant belly, it was getting more & more uncomfortable. That's when a friend told me about the 90 minute sleep cycle.
What is it? Basically we all go through 90 minute sleep cycles or an increment of 90 (3 hours, 4 1/2 hours, 6 hours, etc).
I googled it and thought it might be a little ridiculous, but tried anyway. I originally was trying to put her down around noon-a time I thought sounded like a great nap time. Now I tried 3 or 4 1/2 hours AFTER Lilly woke in the morning to put her down for a nap. It didn't matter if it was only 10am. And holy shit! She was out like a light! No fighting Mr. Sandman, no crying, no crampy mom arms. I felt as though I'd found a miracle. Or some magic trick. Why hadn't anyone mentioned this before?! I started spreading the word to any of my friends with little ones that would listen to me.
It worked splendidly. Until this past month:(
5 days out of 7, she will not go to sleep. For me, at least. It's a conspiracy against me, I do believe. I have come to this conclusion because if Jeff puts her down for a nap, she cooperates! But for me? She'll lay down, but I hear her wrestling around for 10, 20, 40 minutes. Talking to her animals, kicking her feet, making noises-NOT sleeping. And when I go in there to see what the hell is going on, she usually has a present from me. That's right! I swear she can take a dump on command. Because it doesn't matter if she pooed RIGHT before I laid her down for the nap. She will save a little turd just for me so we start the whole nap process over again. But when her Daddy has her, there's no mid nap poop surprise.
What a little stinker!

Ants in the Pants, Part 2

Hey baby!

What are you up to in there? Just floating around, discovering your fingers, kicking the shit out of me, lovingly:)  Soon, you will be laying in my arms and I can hardly wait. It is the middle of the night and I can't sleep.  I've been having contractions, but it doesn't mean that you will be seeing daylight today. Or even tomorrow. But soon! You go ahead and stay warm and cozy as long as you want. But not too long;)  You've got a 2 week window before receiving an eviction notice;) Perhaps I can't seem to fall back asleep because I'm anxious.  To begin this journey. To know if you're a boy or a girl.  To hold you.  To see your sweet little face. It seems as though only yesterday we found out you were a part of me--growing and existing--something that always fascinates me and completely blows my mind.  And here we are, 38 weeks and counting.  Time has flown by!  I only hope the next years of our lives together go in slow motion.

The Mom