Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The questions of sleep

I feel like so much of my life right now is questioning every decision I attempt to make.


SHOULD I put her to bed now? Is it too early? Should I wake her up and try to stick to a normal waking morning hour? Or (yes PLEASE!!) just let her sleep and enjoy it? Am I scheduling her sleep during the day correctly? If she WON'T cluster feed before bedtime, should I just give it up? Is white noise during naps a bad decision? Am I a terrible mother for not changing her 40 lb wet diaper in the middle of the night since she's sleeping?

Actually, I feel like so much of my life right now involves questioning sleep (or the lack thereof) decisions.

Sleep. Unbroken, unadulterated sleep. It's like this heavenly, yet foggy memory of the past. I won't lie, the little booger is a terrific sleeper compared to many many horrifying stories I've heard. But by terrific sleeper I mean her nights have become this: 5-6 hour stretch, then a 3 hour stretch, then a 2 hour stretch. In between each stretch is a "please stay awake long enough to really fill that little belly, oh my word, now you're done eating and WIDE awake please go back to sleep and please please please don't poop because then I HAVE to change your diaper and then you'll really be wide awake" struggle. Sometimes I look at my husband, eyes closed, blissfully unaware of the happenings around him and my jealously runneth over. Don't think he doesn't help. I TOLD him that because he has to get up and go to work and that, if able, I will be taking naps, that I would handle the night goings on. And I meant it. I mean it still. But the other night, at 2:30, when Naomi was all OH MY WORD THAT WAS THE BEST MILK EVER I FEEL LIKE I COULD POOP A MARATHON AND THEN DO TEN WHOLE MINUTES OF TUMMY TIME... I could have sat on his sleeping head.

And we have no idea what happened to our evenings of "just" doing anything. Read? Sure! Movie? Okay! Game? Absolutely! 
Now a 1.5 hour movie becomes a three-hour endeavor. Naomi takes one look at us starting to settle on the couch and she's like, "No way, dudes! No FREAKING WAY!" 
I looked at the clock the other night and it was 7:30. "Oh my word! It's gotten late! I haven't even started her bedtime routine!" Late? What kind of old farts have we become? And why do I feel so guilty about a bedtime routine? And sleep schedules? I know that when they really work they are amazing, but did my parents and grandparents jump through these hoops of scheduling and routines?

To quote Jerry Seinfeld: The bedtime routine for my kids is like this royal coronation jubilee centennial of rinsing and plaque and dental appliances and the stuffed animal semi-circle of emotional support and I gotta read eight different moron books. You know what my bedtime story was as a kid? Darkness! My parents would yell, "Go to bed!"

And that's what I'm beginning to realize. Chill out. She will sleep. She will eat. And she's probably going to get sick one of these days. But guess what? She's gaining weight. She's cooing and smiling and soiling at least 6-8 diapers a day... so everything's looking okay. God's got this. I'm just so glad He's giving me a chance to enjoy the ride.

And nap time just officially ended. I think her pupils are dilated. Good gravy, she's adorable.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Milestone alert!

We've been rather busy lately. So I'm sorry to all of my adoring, rarely-commenting friends (seriously. comments make me happy. don't you want me to be happy?!). But for once, I have a good excuse.

Enter Naomi Jeane. To be more specific, she entered at 7:26 am on January 8th. The little booger weighed 6lbs and 15 oz. The doctors were saying she was 42 weeks. We were saying 41 weeks. Being so small of a babe, I'm going to assume that we were correct. And yes, that is what your belly looks like AFTER the human has come out. I refused to step on the scales.

Birthing a baby has opened my eyes to this truth: You owe your mom a lot. I know it's a common joke: "I can't believe you're acting like this! Do you know what I went through to get you into this world?!"
Yeah, Mom, whatever.

Well, no more! Good gravy! 

We had taken the Birthing class and the Newborn class offered by the hospital. We felt ready to hold, feed, swaddle, change, shush, and bathe a baby. We knew the stages of labor and had an idea of what to expect. Jim was ready to coach. I was ready to breathe and try to freaking relax. 

Relax. Ha. I couldn't relax whenever I thought about it. Every woman, when asked how badly something hurt, compares it to labor. It's like THE pain of all. And I was going to start experiencing it any day now. 

So, at  2 am, on January 6th, they started coming in regular waves. I had been having them throughout the previous evening, but they weren't "regular." My appointment to induce (because I was "42 weeks") was that morning at nine. We walked in and the induction was canceled because God had decided to start my labor, not, thank goodness, Pitocin. So the day tick-tocked by. Imagine someone trying to blow up a balloon made of iron inside of you. I hissed air in and out like a snake, squeezing Jim's hands until they were white. 

To make a very long story short, my body stopped at 9 cm. You have to be 10 cm to push. The worst part is that you feel like you absolutely MUST push at 9 cm... but you can't. But, I was so close! It wouldn't take long to get that last centimeter!!

Four hours later it's 5 am on Wednesday morning... 9 cm. I was begging to push, crying as the balloon was huge and hard inside of me and only deflating for 30 second intervals. My doctor, knowing I had opted to not have an epidural, advised me to get one. "You haven't slept in over 30 hours. Your body is refusing to relax. The epidural will let you sleep for a few hours and hopefully when you wake up, we will be ready to push." The anesthesiologist was there in about 20 minutes... although it seemed hours. I tried not to think about a needle being inserted into my spine. Or that he really needed me to be completely still even though I couldn't control my shaking body. Praise God he got it in correctly and I had almost immediate relief.

But little Naomi was still going through labor. And she was tired too. Thirty minutes after my epidural, her heart rate dropped from 130 to the mid 50s. For the next thirty minutes, we struggled to get it to stay up. Nope. She was spent. Thus... C-section. Initially, when I realized they were really and truly prepping me for the OR, I was extremely disappointed. A C-section was the LAST thing I wanted. If I had wanted our baby to be cut out, we would have opted out of 27 hours of labor. But every time we thought about asking the doctor if we HAD to do this right now, our daughter's heart rate would plummet. Forget this. Get her out! Please! I was fighting tears and I saw my husband was too. It was terrifying.

But, thank you God!! She was pulled out safe and sound. Jim said he refused to look over the blue curtain because the doctors were yanking so hard in his peripheral vision.  The worst of it for me was my sleep deprivation. I had just been medicated so I could sleep. And now, any minute, I was going to see Naomi for the first time and I could barely keep my eyes open. You don't really realize how powerful the need for sleep is until you're fighting it tooth and nail and still losing. Thankfully, her cries saved me from drifting off. A few minutes later, Jim walked over, his eyes red and tired, his face a little pale from worry... but beaming. I love him so. Despite the attention I received for all of my effort through the labor, I couldn't have done it without him. He never slept and never left my side. I am honored that he asked me to be his wife.

And no, this is when she was a couple of days old. They didn't dress her up right out of the womb.


We didn't leave the hospital until Saturday. Jim's parents stayed at our house all week and came twice a day to visit. We had a "please bring" list for them pretty much every time they came, bless their hearts. And because my mother-in-law is awesome, she cooked many meals and put them in my freezer!



And so... we left home as two and came home as three. It was a fantastic feeling. A feeling that can only be described by a quick, Nehemiah-like prayer up to God of "Help! We don't know what to do now!"

And so far, we are all still alive. A little sleep-deprived...but our baby bathing skills improve daily, diaper changing speed has quickened, we are learning the preferred jostlings, and she's getting chubby.

Just look at those wittle wips.


We call this milk drunk.
And she just outgrew this outfit. I cried.



Her first doctor's appointment. She wants to be a boy scout. 


She's cooing right now. And I'd rather hold her than type. I will try very hard to log the trials and errors of this new stage of our lives. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Acadia

During the month of September, Alisa and Jeff flew up to New England and we drove to Acadia National Park. Actually, we headed towards the Freeman house to spend the night first, Jim's truck broke down, made some changes in our plans, got to their house and ate lobster, went to church with them the next day, then they came to the park with us and helped us set up their camper that they were letting us borrow, along with lending us Ted's brand-spanking-new pickup. Unknown to us, they were already planning on lending us the truck (the camper was already in the plan). Unselfish people are great to know, you know?


But "we drove to Acadia" is a lot easier to say so that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

It. Was. Too. Much. Fun.

Family vacations where the family members actually gee and haw are great. Actually... looking back... I've had very few family vacations that didn't gee and haw.

We know Amy. Your life has been rainbows and blue skies. We get it.

Sorry.

Man.

Anyway.

Jeff and Alisa, when it comes to vacation, are like us. We're on vacation. Let's kind of plan on maybe going on a bike ride tomorrow. Sounds good. We'll pack a lunch? Sure. And tonight, let's just eat out. Okay! We were thinking hot dogs for dinner? Sweetness. And do y'all want to hike sometime this week? If y'all do, sure! Let's sit by the fire for two hours first. I'm way ahead of you.

We go home relaxed after these type of vacations.

We camped at Bass Harbor Lights which is on the island of Acadia, but not in the park. Which was fine. It was a great site. And they had great bathrooms. And there was hardly anyone there. Which makes for an even greater experience. This is why you don't see us heading to Universal Studios for vacation. TOO MANY PEOPLE.


On the way up, we had stopped at THE L.L. Bean store in Maine to buy two more pie irons. And while we were camping, we learned the beauty of these contraptions. Grilled cheeses. Breakfast sandwiches. Pizzas. Maybe even possibly a better smore experience! It's hard to do when it's dark because you really have to see your food to know if it's at that state of perfected grilledness. But, oh when it is... Burned tongues and fingers don't matter!


She's such a cutie patootie. And I don't care what Jeff says. I like your pajama pants.

Acadia's trails are incredibly beautiful. If you ever get the chance to go, do it!





To get all of our bikes in the truck, this was the process. Tires had to come off and then (obviously) get put back on. Jim would have to be in the truck to pull them in... and then worm his way out. Alisa gets the all time cycling award because her wheel was put on wrong and she pedaled the whole 8 miles (many of them uphill) without a complaint. She could barely even coast! We all felt pretty bad when we realized what was wrong

Jim hoped that if he stood there long enough, he would get painted into the picture.

This is Jim again... forgetting that not only does he have a wife who needs him, but that he has a wife with child.

This is my best friend. And what I thought (at the time) was an obvious belly bump.

 I know I will not be able to express what I'm about to type adequately. Jeff and Alisa, the sweetness y'all gave us during this trip was overwhelming. I don't know why God decided to put y'all through the trial of infertility. I don't know why He allowed us to conceive so quickly. I beg and plead to Him daily, sometimes fighting anger, to give you a baby. I don't understand. And it grieves me that He has decided to continue the wait for you. Yet... through all of this wretched disappointment, your resilience, your trust in Christ, the quick drying of tears, the quiet hearts and attitudes have blown Jim and I away. We ache with you. And we grow closer to God because of you. Not to say that your trial was for our sanctification. But... God has used it for us as well. We love y'all so very very much and continue to lift up your desires to Him every single day. And I'm praying specifically for twins.


 This is for Alisa because she thinks toes are gross... and she really hates it when people give "two toes way way up!"




Jeff talking about the first time he saw Alisa... and Alisa talking about when she finally realized that it was Jeff all along. They are so cute.


And so, we spent several days there and loved it. We even bought matching t-shirts. I'm dead serious.
The End.

P.S. I'm sorry. This post is seriously lacking in memories. But that's what happens when you blog 4 months AFTER an event.