Monday, December 31, 2012

My Single Word for 2012.

Don't get me wrong.  There was lots to be joyful and thankful for in 2012.  Having a healthy full term baby was a dream come true after 4 months on bed rest.  We are all lucky to have our health and no real unexpected drama this year.  We both still have our jobs, a roof over our head, and some money in the bank account.

In the big picture it was an excellent year.  Still, even with everything I have to be appreciative for the word  that I just can't get out of my head though when I think of the last year...


I try as I might, and am thankful for everything but still come back to that word to describe 2012.

I feel bad that is what I think of 2012.  I feel guilty that I am feeling sorry for myself or that I am being lazy.  I don't even know why I am so exhausted or have been for the majority of the year.

True sleep was low on the list in 2012.  I started the year in the last two months of bed rest and very pregnant.  Anyone who has been very pregnant knows that you are not getting good sleep.  Between going to the bathroom every several hours, sleeping with twenty pillows, and then you are blessed with strange hormonal insomnia.

Well then we had a newborn, and a toddler that went through major sleep regression.  Even when I got one child to sleep the other one was awake and visa versa.  It was a real shocker with the second child that you couldn't nap when the baby napped because there is the other child to take care of.   I would say that since T's birth that I haven't gotten more than 5 hours of sleep in a row (in almost a year).

Still I didn't sleep that much when I was in school, or doing my emergency shifts.  I sure didn't sleep when K was in the NICU or for months after she got home.  Thus I don't think this year has been that sleep deprived in the grand scheme of all my sleep deprived years.  I have wondered if it was just the accumulation of years upon years of not sleeping very well, or what I could handle when I was younger just seems to take its toll harder now.

I have worked hard, pumped, and tried to work out as much as possible.  I try to be a good mom, a good wife, daughter, sister, and friend.  I am very far from perfect, but I did try.  But my level of trying I still am not sure why the utter exhaustion.  These are not new things for me, the exhaustion is.  And nutritionally I am pretty reasonable, I drink a ton of liquids (mostly water, gatorade, and tea), I have little to no caffeine.  I take a multivitamin, b-vitamins, omega 3, vitamin D.  I eat a good variety and almost all home-made food.  I still need to eat more fruits and veggies and less sugar (but come on who doesn't).

Of course I have thought of medical reasons, maybe my thyroid is out of whack.  Maybe I am depressed.  Maybe there is a hormonal reason.  Maybe there is something else wrong that I don't know about.  Being that I am not my own doctor, I don't know.  Sadly I have felt that I don't have any time to go to the doctor, and that my general practitioner will blow me off for coming in and saying that I am overly exhausted.

There is its, I have no solid reason for it.  But last year I was exhausted.  This makes my goal 2013 easy, "Be Less Exhausted."  Said out loud it sounds a little pitiful, but I like to think realistic.  I am not so optimistic that I think I should not be exhausted at all, but less so than this year.  Maybe do a few more things to investigate this whole thing.

Happy New Year and here is a toast to energy in the new year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Caption this...

 Watching from a perch while I wrap presents... pretty sure she finds me absolutely stupid, and knows that she will destroy my packages as soon as I put them under the tree.
Mostly I wonder what Taylor is thinking of her sister in this one.  Maybe she has something to say to the whole crew of crazy cousins and family.  Maybe she is just a little bit tired for a long day of Holiday fun.

Hopefully you and yours have had a wonderful Christmas and holiday down time.  We sure have!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A weekend for Family and Hugs.

 Like a lot of people, the recent tragedy is just too much.  How do you wrap your head around  horrible violence against such innocent individuals?  I just don't think you can.  For this weekend, we just hugged each other a little extra.
 We played a little more on the floor.  Listened and danced to Christmas songs in our pj's and tried to just enjoy ourselves in a little safe cocoon of our home.  Because sometimes you just can't put into words your disappointment and despair in the events of our world.  And when your children are this young, and don't even know what a gun is.  I just try to keep them that way, innocent and protected for as long as I can.
No words can be said.  My sympathy to the parents who lost their children, are just that words.  My chance to keep my children loved, protected as well as try to be a positive force in this world  is all I can do.  One day at a time.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Making a List, Checking it twice.

Christmas with two kids is like life with two kids, a little bit harder than I expected.  Little T is going everywhere and putting everything in her mouth.  She is one fast moving hazard.  Gone are the days of letting her sit in the living room with a pile of toys while I do the dishes or some other small to-do.  Meanwhile, K is often telling me that T is grabbing this from her, or grabbing her or needing one of the 100 other things she needs at any given moment (snack, bathroom, her CD player isn't working, lets color, lets dance, lets...).  I knew this was all coming but I wasn't prepared for how it just took the level of chaos up a notch.

Yesterday when I finally got to work, which for any working mother you have to admit just getting to work is a huge victory.  To get out the door with 3 people fed and dressed by a set time in the morning, as well as in my case pumped and breast fed.  Then the bags packed, lunches ready, preschool stuff together.  It just really can be a christmas miracle.  And yesterday was that, a miracle.  Both girls woke up with a huge case of the crabby-pants, going to whine and cry for mom every time she leaves the room.

Anyhow, I got to work.  Looked at my messages, saw what was waiting for me for the day.  Looked at my schedule for the next day.  Got pestered about not having signed the work Christmas cards. Then closed the door to my office (which I share with 3 other doctors and is the size of  closet),  and had myself a little cry.  It just had to happen.  I hate crying at work, and I really think nobody noticed or at least they looked the other way if I looked splotchy later.  Sometimes though, it just has to come out or come to a stop for a bit.

You can only do so much and only be so much for so many people.  It is a simple life equation.  At some point the math just doesn't add up.  You insert Christmas and all the to-do's with it, a new childcare situation, and some unexpected work changes and well the equation goes to hell.  I won't lie either, after my cry I still didn't feel all that better.  I dragged through my work day, came home and the girls were still in a bad mood and I was still feeling behind.

After I got them to bed though, I put on my running shoes and did my nightly run (the streak is still alive!!).  Came home and made a list of what I need to get done for Christmas.  And then worked on removing things from that list for a bit, and actually got a lot crossed off the list.  There is hope, if nothing else that glorious list makes it all seem a bit more manageable.  I also delegated some much needed tasks to my husband.  I also remembered that the best thing at my girls ages is time together, and small things.  K asked for toothpaste in her stocking, and I know T will be thrilled with boxes and wrap (that she will try to suffocate herself with).  Their expectations are low, and mine need to get readjusted at times.

Today I hope this finds you making a holiday list and checking it twice, but hopefully not in your office having a little cry!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


This time of year makes me introspective and a bit nastalgic all rolled into one.  You have the holidays that bring you back with lots of memories, from childhood and years gone past.  Then with the New Year coming I always start to think of what I have accomplished and what I hope to accomplish.  The combination makes my mind a bit of a jumble (with the addition of sugar cookies, wrapping paper and long to do list as well.).

Last week though was little T's 9 month well check.  I was amused with how relaxed I am with her appointments.  I don't have any questions really, and just kind of breeze in and out.  Some of it is because of the type of baby she is (easy going, loves to eat, hitting all her milestones) and some of it just who I am now as a mother (more experienced, too busy to worry too much, and enjoying the baby phase).  Ironically though, we think of little T as a big baby.  We joke about how much she eats (the girl loves her food!), and seems to be growing out of everything so quickly.

The reality is she is exactly the same size as K was.  I wrote everything done and still do for their measurements.  When K was a year old or 9 months adjusted she was the exact same weight as her sister.  The big difference is I constantly worried and focused on it with K(and still do).  The reality is that maybe I just have small girls.  I am rather small myself, but my husband is a pretty big guy so we assumed that maybe the kids would be a mix of both or take after Dad.  At this point I would say probably not.

Now K really kind of dropped onto a low or small growth after a year.  I swear the child survives on air at this point.  She is such a pain to get to eat (unless of course it is junk).  Little T eats everything, but I am prepared for the day when that all stops and she starts to demand goldfish crackers at every meal (while I try to sneak in protein and veggies everywhere).  Only time will tell though.

There are other things that I feel a bit sheepish about now, though they have kept me up worrying on and off for the last several years.  For example, K has always been impossible to get shoes on.  She rolls her foot into a ball (even now).  Trying to cram a round foot into a little flat or straight shoe is impossible, and frustrates me to no end.  So I asked the specialist and the doctors about this several times.  They explained to me that it is because she has poor tone due to her premature birth (and we did see a few other symptoms of this in her).  K also has always spent a lot of time up on her tip-toes.  You will often hear me saying 'Flat feet please",  or "walk flat K".    Again this was explained as a problem with her tone and something we have to work on.

Guess what?  Her sister is identical.  I couldn't believe it.  I struggle and struggle to get shoes on her now.  She has her feet rolled up so tight.  She also seems to have the same extremely tiny feet, the only thing that she isn't growing out of at all is shoes.  And even though she is only pulling to stand she already seems to love to be on her tip toes rather and flat feet.

All that worry and analyzing, seems to have not really been worth it.  Because now I have another daughter who has no reason and has the exact same issues.  Motherhood is so funny that way.  Humbling all the time. I know that because of who I am I will probably continue to worry and push for the best for both girls but maybe I won't let it keep me up quite so much (no guarantees though).

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Daily Sprinkles

In the mix of all the daily battles of life, K has had an explosion of verbal skills and more personality (sometimes I am not sure if we can handle all this personality).  Here is just a what I am now consider the daily sprinkles that brighten my days.

Every where we drive, it gleefully announced from the back seat "That house is celebrating Christmas!"  "That house is not celebrating yet!"  "That house is celebrating, but that one is not!"  Celebrating means they have decoration up or on.  This will go on and on and on.

We have become somewhat obsessed with baby Jesus this year.  Random times during the day I hear "WHERE IS BABY JESUS?"  at a crazy volume used to announce a house fire.  Then there is a crazy conversation that will go on, that usually has to do something with the shepherds, and a donkey followed by another, where is baby Jesus?!?.

We are in Micheals doing some shopping for holiday crafts.  She is down the aisle looking at various things.  "Mom, I just love gems and things that sparkle."  Older woman standing next to me, chuckles and says "Spoken like a true woman."

She has taken to giving me loud commentary about what is going on around us.  We were in the locker room this weekend getting ready to go swimming.  Loud enough for everyone to hear her, probably out in the parking lot she states,  "That Momma is trying to get into her swimsuit, looks like it is kind of hard for her."  "Those ladies are talking about going on vacation, that sounds fun."  As well this goes on and on and on.

Then there are moments that are a bit rude, but still make me laugh.  She is going the bathroom in the morning, I am standing there helping her.  "What day is it?"  "Thursday."  "Thursday go to school day."  "Yep, go to school day."  "Then what will we do?"  "Not sure."  "Mom is old."  "What?"  "Mom is older lady."  "I guess."  "Mom is short."  "Okay, you are starting to go too far."  "Mom is a older shorter woman."  "Kate lest get going to fix your breakfast.".

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Running Streak...

We had a great Thanksgiving.  It was a great mix of work, play, rest and repeat.  Little T is crawling and after everything, while K was busy running, dancing and being crazy with her cousins.  I feel so blessed to not be on bedrest this year, that I just want to do everything too.

I have a race that I signed up for in January, a 25 K trail race that is pretty challenging.  I am not prepared at all. To help with my training and motivation, as well as to keep the holiday pounds off I have decided to try and run everyday until the New Year.  Runners are weird.  I can say this because I have been one for the last 20 years now.  Combine a runner with a type A personality, and you'll get some really out there goals.  Most people would think a running streak is just plain stupid, but to me it is motivating little goal.  I only have to run a mile for it to count.  I am 5 days in, and loving it.  We will see how I feel about it some 5 weeks from now.

This year, I am so very thankful for my health and my families health.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Prematurity Awareness Day: Remembering those that don't make it home.

Our daughter a week after birth

Everyday somebody will lose their baby due to complications from premature labor.

In fact one baby every 30 seconds will die, from complications from premature labor and delivery worldwide.

Those are the babies that will never come home with their family.  Babies whose mothers will only hold them on this planet for a short time, but morn their passing for a lifetime.

15 million babies died last year.

I am one of the lucky one's.  My daughter though born one of the smallest of miracles at 25 weeks weighing 1 lb 14 oz has not only survived but has thrived.  Our family struggled and suffered through trauma, and many scary nights in the NICU but that is nothing compared to those families that never get to take their babies home.

Even I forget how lucky I am sometimes.  It is easy to get busy in normal everyday life.  It is actually easy to take your miracle for granted, when she is climbing all over you and stealing toys from her little sister.  I just happened to be in the right situation at the right time, and my 25 week baby got the best medical attention possible.  Millions of babies don't.

I am passionate about premature labor, not only because I experienced it but it is a situation that CAN be prevented and improved.  Prenatal and antepartum care is of utmost importance, and can dramatically decrease the amount of premature births.  Measuring the cervical length of all mothers with an ultrasound at 20 weeks, could have a huge impact on decreasing the amount of deaths each year.  This is something that has such a minimal cost but such a huge impact.

Before I was transported on the medical-emergency helicopter the doctor in the small town emergency room made sure I had my first steroid shot.  A simple steroid shot.  Something that cost PENNIES was given to me, and then repeat in 24 hours.  He knew the importance of that shot.  He knew to give it to me right away, not to wait until I got transported, but to give it right then.  He knew that even though I was only 23 weeks pregnant that shot could mean the difference between life and death of our unborn daughter.

Our baby, though her eyes were still fused shut and her skin so transparent we would not hold her for a month after her birth was born breathing on her own.  She never once needed the ventilator even though she had four months still before she was supposed to be born.  That was a miracle, but a miracle because somebody knew the right medication to give me at the right time.  That was a miracle that cost pennies to give.

Prior to 25 weeks in many hospitals your antepartum care may be fairly minimal.  The ability to sustain a  life outside the womb is extremely difficult and dangerous at that point.  Because of increased education, and medical advancements there are babies born before 25 weeks that survive. Medical research, antepartum interventions, and prevention can help not only high risk mothers but all mother to reach 25 weeks and beyond.

My second pregnancy was as monitored as a pregnancy could be.  One could say that I was graced again with a miracle this time a miracle that was born at 40 weeks.   This was a miracle that was maintained by intense medical management, weekly injections of progesterone, weekly cervical length checks, fetal fibronectin test, specialist consultations, anti-contraction medications and 17 weeks of bedrest.  This was no simple miracle, this was a miracle that combined knowledge, skill, and determination.  My second daughter was born at 7 lbs 7 oz which was 4 times bigger than her sister.  She came home with me straight from the hospital, a day that I am forever grateful and humbled by.

We most not forgot those babies that don't get to come home.  We have to remember to fight for those that don't have a voice, and for those mothers who are silenced by their own grief.

There is one day late in our daughters NICU stay that I will always remember. She was just learning how to eat and grow.  This is a frustrating but somewhat easy part of a mirco-preemie's time in the NICU.  You work every couple of hours on them drinking a bottle, you change their diapers, and they may have one or two pieces of monitoring equipment on.  We had been there for several months, so I was pretty set in my routine with her.

In our NICU the monitors had the ability to flash another patient (baby) name and information if there was an abnormal reading.  That way a nurse could leave one baby and go to the aid of another baby, especially if the baby was having a severe abnormality on the monitor (decelerated heart rate, etc).  As well, in the NICU there were codes.  In a true emergency code was called, doctors, nurses, respiratory therapist, and every member of the crash team would fly into action.  People and machines would come out of everywhere, and the air was filled with tension, and monitors and loud alarms.

One morning during a normal growing day for our daughter, a crash code was called.  Another babies information was flashed across my daughter boring monitor.  The alarms where sounding.  People were running.  This was not a false alarm, there was a baby in trouble.

I don't know how long this situation went on for, because when you are there it seems not only like it lasted a lifetime but also that it all took place in a second.    What I do remember were the screams.  The screams of a mother yelling, and sobbing over and over and over. The cries of a mother who has lost her child.

I selfishly wish I hadn't heard her sobs, because I can still hear them when I close my eyes.  I can still see her laying crumpled outside the NICU some hours later.  I can see her face as I tried to look away. The face of a mother whose baby had passed away, the look of somebody who appears to be just a hollow shell of themselves 

You see there are plenty of babies that don't come home.  My babies survived, but I still remember the ones that didn't.  I still hear their mothers cries.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sisterly love.

I wouldn't call it love so much as increased interest.  Sister at least isn't a vegatable anymore and doesn't require all of moms attention.   K does think that little T is very fun to push around in things (thank god for a strong baby gate on the stairs).  She of course thinks everything that Taylor has is instantly what she needs.  I feel this an absolute universal feeling amongst siblings.  I must have they have even if I am very content. 

From time to time, there is some interest like feeding T and helping scrub her in the tub.  But no unsolicited affection or attention. 

We don't have any fight yet either, so I know that will come.   Little T can't move well, so K can get away but that will change

For now I will take what we get at 8 1/2 months.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Challenging or Hard Anniversary Dates.

I don't know if it is my type A personality, or my obnoxious memory which serves me well as a doctor but haunts me as a individual or a combination of all of the above but I typically remember every date and aniversary as the come across the day planner.

Sometimes these things are good.  The day I met my husband some 18 years ago, followed by the day he proposed, the day we married.  I remember the day we drove home from the NICU, granted it was a 6 plus hour drive.  My first day at a new job, and so on.  With the good also comes the not so good.

I thought with my second pregnancy that I wouldn't have any of the bad anniversary dates.  I really thought it would just be good, good and more good.  After all the memories, and dare I say trauma of the first I thought that besides being challenged it would be smooth sailing. Of course it was not as smooth as I had hoped.

I then find myself disappointed in myself, because in the big picture everything has worked out great.  My girls are healthy and thriving.  I am healthy and doing great.  So why let a simple day haunt you?  Why not celebrate the next good memory and move on.

One part of bad anniversaries or hard experiences is they tend to have a harsh contrast to them.  The experience is sandwiched right next to normal, and so they stick out so crystal clear.  As well, they are usually a  new experiences or one-and-only experiences.   I also think that for me, I often can process all of an experience when it happens.  I often go into 'worker' mode, where I just buckle down and get done what needs to get done and move on.  I get through the crisis and then how knows when the time will come that I deal with it a bit more.

Everyday is a challenge to live in the present moment, and something I am always working towards.  Spending too much time looking back or looking forward does drain today of it happiness.  I do believe that every experience I have in life, I am supposed to have and it is meant to be.  That said though I am only human, and the pain and sadness felt in an experience leave me scared for when the next shoe may drop.

Last year, I walked in happily after work to my doctors appointment and looked over at that ultrasound and knew what we had to do.  Surgery was later that week, and then I spent the next four months on bedrest.  Those days were some of the hardest I had, and I don't think I even breathed for most of Novemember.  I really had a very long hard winter last year.

Last year with one in the oven and the lady bug

This year, a flower and a bee.
Today is just another day moving away from those memories and on to new ones.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Don't Give Up!

I have been having this silly image and saying running through my head.  The image is not the one above, but a circa 1980 something poster with a kitten hanging from a branch, insert caption "Don't give up!".  Completely stupid, really but yet it keeps running through my head.

I have been very blessed to have the same person watching K since we came home from the hospital.  Then we moved on and T was watched as well.  Our caretaker is having a baby and is due in January.  I have to find new childcare.  I have been looking.  I have been asking.  Nothing is turning up.  

I don't have a ton of free time, and it is feeling like mission impossible.  But, I can't give up!  Hang on to that branch, we will turn something up.  Even worse, I have to act around K that none of this bothers me.  I know it is going to be a big transition for her, and I need to be brave and act like it is going to be great.  In honesty I just want to go hide in bed.  But, even that wouldn't help because I can't sleep lately because I am up worrying about not having childcare.

Change is hard.  In fact at times it just sucks.  I really want a period of time where we all just coast for awhile.  Insert, long heavy sigh...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Apparently they are a normal part of childhood development.  And I am sure I could even find some blogs from mothers of seven children, that are home schooled, eating organic food, and sewing their own clothes that tell me exactly how I can prevent and treat a tantrums quickly and efficiently.

This tantrum was brought on by trying to take a walk, and I was taking a few pictures (not of her) while on the walk.  She did not want pictures taken.  I told her to keep walking.  She decided she would not walk.  I kept walking.  Tantrum ensued.  Of course there is usually an underlying cause or fuel for the tantrum, which in this case turned out that she was hungry.  I later realized this when she had calmed down and I fed her some lunch which she devoured.

Lately if I say black, she says white.  Lucky me it is not with everyone but mostly just her mother, sometimes her father.  If I ask her to be quiet, she says won't and gets louder.  And on we go.  Of course I have been consistent and calm, which I do about 80% of the time and then sometimes I laugh and sadly sometimes I lose my cool.

We have a reward chart.  This works pretty good, though last week she told me she wanted frowny faces for it instead of stars.  Again, lets just see how oppositional one toddler can be.  I should have known given my strong will and her fathers stubbornness that we would combine to have one super independent thinker.

It is very daily this behavior and manners work.  Never stops really.  I pray that the tantrums will end, at least if I ask her to be quiet in public she may just respond.  I realize though, that eye rolling and arm crossing while glaring at me will be here before I know it.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

First Family Trip Episode 1: The drive.

We (insert mom the master planner) decided that this family of four needed to go on our first solo trip.  We've done a little trip here or there with family but I decided that we should hit the open road alone.  Knowing our limits a little bit, I choose a beautiful place not too far from our home.  Mazma, WA.  This is over the North Cascade Highway, and is a gorgeous wooded area.  A little cabin for the family on a fall weekend, perfect.

Well, lets hold off on that perfect for a moment.  We needed to get there first.  In my fantasy of cabin living, with the children giggling by the fire and I drinking something warm curled up on the couch with my husband I forgot about all the stuff that needs to be hauled with you even if just for a few days.  And ironically probably the same amount of stuff that needs to be hauled with you if we were going for a week.  My word it takes an army to go anywhere.  Granted I brought a crockpot to roast a chicken, I brought board games to play with K, and the basic of electronics, and I will admit that I hate to not have something that the baby is used to.  Still the new larger car was packed to the gills, and of course this had to be done late at night and first thing in the morning.

The day of departure could have gone a bit smoother.  I had to work, of course my surgeries didn't go as quickly and easily as the could have.  Of course I didn't bring or eat anything until 1 o'clock in the afternoon, and I got home later than I expect with a large dehydration headache.  K had preschool, and in general her day was typical.  T decided this would be the day that naps were completely optional.  And after 60+ days of not raining, today was the day that the rain would start.

No worries, we were off.  Now this were is starts to get very comical, and I know that in a few years I will be sitting in the front seat trying to get the girls to put down their electronics and listen to me tell the story of our first family trip here and what happened.   At the time, nobody was laughing.  The drive is not too long a few hours at most.  It is very scenic, which also means very narrow mountain road with limited areas to pass and lots of turns.  Enter the slowest driver ever in front of us.  Obviously enjoying the scenic drive in the rain, at an incredibly slow pace.  Anytime we would try to speed up to pass, so would he.  Only to then slow down again.

I wasn't driving but, all the same this was driving me crazy.  I also didn't like how close we were getting and then having to back away.  K was happy eating A-B-C cheese crackers.  Taylor had been crying since the moment we left the house, where I also in a moment of mothering greatness had pinched her chest in the car seat (ouch).  Of course the dvd player was requested out after 20 minutes or so of driving, so now we had a Goofy cartoon making noise in the back ground.  Oh, and did I mention that new car had these windshield wipers that sounds like nails on a chalk board every-time they went.  The headache that was mild before we left was picking up speed.

The hope that baby T was going to pass out, was dwindling fast.  Nope she was planning on screaming the majority of the trip.  K was doing her best to ignore her loud sister, but I was not doing very well with it.  I decided it would be best if I hopped in back seat to sit between the two of them.  Why?  I really have no good reason now in hind sight.  I think sometimes as a mother I think that I can fix things, I have very busy-body or almost a compulsion to fix things.  This was not going to be fixed, so putting myself between the two of them was certifiably stupid.  I also hadn't thought about how much K had been eating on this not so long car trip, until I saw the look on her face.

"My belly doesn't feel good.", these are not the words you want to hear as you join a very tight bench seat with your children.  Husband being the king of logic, but not the king of preparedness asked if I had a' just in case bag'.  Of course not, but as always I had a breast milk bag at the ready.  By this point Taylor had entered the final stages of meltdown which include epic screaming and full throttle tears as well as kicking my arm if it was close to the car seat.  Yes, I joined the backseat with them.  There was a case of beer on the floor boards that I did come very close to taking one, but continued to just try and massage my pounding temples.

The truck continued to be slow in front of us.  I rolled down the window for K.  I did everything (and I really mean everything) to try and get T to sleep.  Then I just leaned into K's car seat and closed my eyes.  I remembered that this was a short trip.  We would all survive. The utter chaos of the car continued, no vomiting just a toddler looking very green staring out the window though. Then finally the slow truck pulled off the road and we were able to drive alone.

Typical screaming T style she passed out within 10 minutes of our destination.  We unloaded, and K started instantly collecting pine-cones and opening and closing every door in the house.  I know this story will be humorous one day, and our car will be so quiet as well.  Thank god nobody was video taping that one as we I know we broke a few laws and were all a bit insane.  I only hope the ride home is better.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Where have I been?

There is no picture to go with this post.  If there was one it might be an image of my feet under a pile of laundry or my face would be obscured with pet hair as I lay on our filthy floor.  Have you ever had a friend that just kind of dropped off the radar and you wondered, what happened with them?

I have now become that friend.  I have dropped off the radar.  Nothing bad or sinister or complicated has occurred.  A whole lot of daily living has occurred.  I most say even now at almost 8 months out, I have not figured this two kid thing out.

Somebody once told me this saying, having one child is life changing and now you have one.  Having another child is not like having one more though it is like having 20.  I guess I would not agree completely, but as far as my time management goes two children is still leaving me somewhere between chronically late and completely behind.  Sometimes, not even arriving at all.

We started preschool.  Still don't sleep through the night (insert evil laugh here, we aren't even remotely close to this...).  Purchased a larger vehicle (used).  Trying to sell old vehicle.  There is lunch box day, bike day, field trips.  There have been Halloween decorations to put up.  Birthday present to purchase.  Items to return to the store.  Working while a staff continues to be quitting.  And laundry, groceries, dinners to cook... and so on.  Trying to enjoy the small things, while not getting swallowed up by the daily things.

I need to write more often, it centers me.  There is a lot of things I need to do more of but simply don't have the time lately.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Reflections by the pool.

 We had a really quiet Labor day weekend, and I have to say it was very needed.  I have had a serious case of mental blah. I can't think of a better way to describe it other than a case of the blahs.  Something that I just can't put my finger on exactly, so I sat out with the girls in the front lawn and reflected on this  (and all the other craziness that runs through my head... did I move the laundry to the dryer, what do we need at costco, whose birthday is next, preschool orientation is when) by our sparkling spacious pool.
 Baby T did her best to try and get to the bottom of things.  We both pondered that it might just be hormonal, and it might be lack of sleep.  She promised to work on the sleep thing, though I have heard those promises before.  I promised to work on the hormones, though really I don't have much control over that.  We agreed that we were both doing the best that we could with what we had for right now.

We have come to that tricky part of a baby mom relationship where, we are having to grow a little bit.  The newborn days are long behind us and with that she won't sleep anywhere and everywhere.  As well, so too are the nursing anytime and everywhere days.  She has things that are more interesting to do now, such as staring at her hand or the dog.  She can move all over the place too.  Before long she will be crawling, and it is going to get even harder to get her to settle down, or nurse.

We have been doing this up and downstairs dance at night with nursing, and it was really starting to show on me.  There is such a fine line between depression and sleep deprivation, and it was starting to get a bit blurred.  Furthermore, because she was getting all her calories at night she wasn't nursing much during the day.  This is not only frustrating for me, but also for other who take care of her.

I decided that I needed to do some sleep training.  "Sleep-Training" if you don't know can be a pretty dirty word among parents.  As with much of parenting, there are heated debates about what is the 'right' thing to do.  To me, I always think that the 'right' thing typically is what works best for the individual child and the parent.  My method might not work for each of my children, and further more then might not work for you.  Also I have learned that parenting sometimes, like life, is about trying something or doing the best you can and then changing it from there.

I thought worst case, she is going to cry hard for an hour and best case she will start sleeping better.  Result, after exactly 1 hour of crying (with checks and pats every 5 minutes then 10 minutes) she fell sound asleep.  Our day routine was off for a bit, and we had another little bit of crying at 4 am the other morning.  But, for the first time in 2 weeks she has been nursing good all day and went down for naps without crying.  I wouldn't say we are done, but it feels good.

I think that it feels good as a parent sometimes to take control of a situation, and help lead or teach your child how to do things.  So much of parenting is just a crazy ride, that it is nice to know that you can drive the boat sometime and succeed for the betterment of your family.  For me, I wanted to keep nursing but I was just getting too worn down.  I needed to do something different, and she has been showing me signs too that she might be out growing our old system.

All the same, I think its pretty hard for any mom to listen to their little one cry for very long.  Ten minutes can seem like the longest amount of time ever, and the next day when they look tired and you feel just as tired the whole thing seems cruel.  Luckily we've stuck with it awhile and it is all still a work in progress.

 Big Sis, didn't really want to ponder or reflect much.  That is not the style of a 3 year old, and this might also add to the blahs.  Three is a tough age, and the ice cube tray is much more interesting than what mom has to say.  I guess that I was in parenting overdrive (hmm... maybe why I have the blahs) last week because I started a reward chart for her which she gets a star for completing different parts of her routine.  And the big one is showing respect to others.  I have to say that this has worked really well too.  I have actually has a few days, where I wondered who this absolutely wonderful child was because we didn't have one little aspect of the 3 year old attitude.  Preschool starts next week though so we will see how that change throws her for a loop.

The picture on the right comes with a funny/scary story.  Baby T was sitting in the pool, and she had been sitting there for a good 30 minutes playing with no help.  I raised the camera to take Big Sis picture, when I am snapping away Kate looks at me and says, "Baby sister is doing a back float."  Calmly just as if she is pointing to a pretty picture.  Oh, my gosh.  I dropped the camera and grabbed Taylor who was not under water, though very startled to be laying in a kiddie pool with water all around.  Thank goodness, big sis was looking out for us that day.

There in a nut shell are my reflections from the kiddie pool.  I hope you all had a nice peaceful weekend too!

Monday, September 3, 2012

6 months

So much has happened from ....
 Being in my belly, I just can't believe I made it to full term and how big that belly was the day before...
 And after pushing and pushing and getting you stuck we dragged you out the other way...
 Those first sleepless weeks, were such a blur of joy and discomfort...
 And even after a month we were still all a little big confused...
 I wouldn't say we had mellowed out by month two, but mom went back to work and on we go...
 Finally those smiles came just when we needed them the most and then....
 the giggles and coos and squeals came as well which helped since we still weren't sleeping...
 I can see it in your face that you are just ready to try and be more like big sis...
But for now we are just enjoying you the way you are!  And looking forward to the next 6 months!

Friday, August 24, 2012

The 2nd child or chance...

 I have been thinking about this a lot lately.  I am just so happy that I got a second chance to experience things with another child.  With Taylor being our second child and also not being a premature child, we are much more relaxed.  Poor Kate, had two parents that were wound so tight the poor child couldn't cry without us both on top of her in two seconds.

I was so worried about her for that whole first year (okay, and I still worry about her plenty) and we had so many follow up appointments and checks I don't think that until she was a year adjusted that I stopped knowing exactly what she consumed in a day.  Taylor on the other hand, I rarely look at what she has taken in during a day.  She is fed on demand when with me, and of course I would notice if she didn't eat all day but otherwise its a pretty natural relaxed system.

With Kate, I worried and fretted. We had to try every spoon, and even just work up to having her allow something up by her face.  With Taylor I actually enjoy feeding her.  I really don't think about it much except for choking and the possible allergy worry.  Taylor in response enjoys every last minute of it all, she eats with gusto, loves the spoon and nearly explodes with excitement for the mesh feeder with fresh fruit in it.
I am glad we went through and continue to go through the challenges with Kate and her eating.  It has prepared me (a little) for dealing with bigger problems in my children lives, if and when they come along.  I also can be extremely persistent and stubborn now if I need my children to do something.

But, it sure is nice especially when you are exhausted at the end of a work day after 6 months of not sleeping a ton and dealing with a bossy 3 year old to just relax and watch a pudgy little baby enjoy her peas and watermelon.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

One last trip to the berry stand.

Summer is slowly starting to fade.  All that is left at the berry stand is blueberries now, well and yumy icecream.  Girls had fun all the same.  Baby sister was allowed in car for picture purposes only.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Girls Rule.

I have had a really busy week so even though I have better blogs to write and update, like how fun vacation was or the joys of battling chronic constipation in you child I really just want to write this quick one and get it off my chest.

You know what 'Girls ROCK!'.  I just can't even tell you how many times I will tell people I have two girls and they say they are sorry.  Boy, that is going to be really hard in the future.  And the last ten pregnancies I have been indirectly associated (either friends or friends of a friend), everyone has made sure to let me know that they really didn't want a girl.  No a boy is what they really wanted.  Even some, whom have had a girl still tell me they were disappointed.  While I was pregnant I even had people tell me that too bad I wasn't having a boy, because boys are so much fun.  And now that I am done, I constantly get asked if we are going to try for the boy and have one more.

I am not sure where all this comes from, and furthermore why you would tell somebody who has two girls.  Last I checked women and girls were doing and being amazing things in this world.  As well, though we are not treated equal (as this post even proves) my daughters and myself have had more opportunities then any other group of women in the world.    Come on people didn't you watch the Olympics?  Women are absolutely doing it all with style, grace and strength.  Women last year also earned more higher degrees then men.

As for the future and the drama my girls will bring, I am also pretty sure that I am not there yet so I shouldn't worry about it.  Not every teenager is a living nightmare, and plenty of them are boys too.  The teen and preteen years are going to a rocky road for most parents.  I have a feeling my daughters will do it with a little drama, but a whole lot of love and family too.

So for all those out there that want to wish for boys, I wish you luck but I know that I am pretty lucky to have two gorgeous little girls to raise!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Things said to and about baby sister.

I am going to hit baby sister with this stick.
Baby sister is very mad, put her to nap.
I would like baby sister to wipe out.

Baby sister should stay home.
Baby sister should stay in car seat.
Baby sister should not come.

I do not love baby sister.
I will not kiss baby sister.
That toy (or insert any object that baby sister has) is not baby sisters.

Oh feel the love, baby sister.  Ironically baby sister adores big sister and wants to be close to her all the time.  And occassionally there is the rare nice moment from big sis.  And when I came home from work today she told me she was entertaining baby sister (playing with her in the bouncy toy).  One day maybe there will be some real affection, but I am not holding my breath.

Monday, August 6, 2012


 I wish I never had to get angry as a mother.  I wish that it could all be fun arts and crafts, singing and dancing with cupcakes (with sprinkles).  I know that I have to give you both roots and wings, but at times I didn't know how hard it would be.  I realize that I am only at the beginning of this long journey too, but the hurt and trials of discipline.  I watch as your temper bubbles and churns to the surface, and then feel ashamed when mine erupts like a volcano.  We will get through the challenges, and then we can eat cupcakes (with sprinkles).

Looking alike or different?

Babies you want them to stay babies forever, but you can't help but be curious to what they will look like as they get older.  I wonder if you will look like your older sister or not.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I could have written this... feeding a preemie toddler.

My mom passed this on to me, because she knew how true it was for our house too.  So I have to share it with you all.  It is a funny little post from another micro-preemie who like my micropreemie toddler, hates to eat and keeps food in his cheek.

I have found things in Kate's mouth that I did not know could stay in a mouth that long without dissolving.  Her favorite stock pile is usually fruit peices.  Apple has a very long staying power.  I make her show me empty mouth for a lot of things (a dramatic AWW! by her).  I envision we will be doing it when I drop her off at college.

I am always just glad to hear and read about these things so that I know my evening, morning (heck all the time) battles are not really alone.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What the heck happened in July?

I am not really sure.  I guess between trying to pump enough to feed a small nation, working full time client load in part-time hours and getting back into working out... I ran out of steam.  I stopped blogging for a bit.  Fell off the old cyberspace wagon.

I have to say the post-partum period of time for me is hell.  I wouldn't call it real depression but I have to say the further I get away from the newborn period of time, the better I feel.  I won't say that I am going to be blogging intently and publishing a book of my thoughts anytime soon but I can say that I have already now done more blog post then I did all last month.

Keep Calm and Carry On.

Breast Milk Donating: Turning Lemons into Milk!

If you have read my blog for awhile there is one aspect about mothering that I have become pretty passionate about is breast milk. With my preemie, we both had a lot of issues and couldn't make breast feeding successful.  I pumped for 15 months, and she was on breast milk exclusively until she reached a year adjusted.  With our second child, I have been breast feeding her exclusively since birth and we are just at 5 months now.

I was pretty devastated when I couldn't breast feed my first.  Having a lot of 'mommy guilt' for her premature birth already, it just compounded making the whole first experience feel like I was a failure.  And take it a bit further that my body was the failure.  I was also extremely worried about illness with her, so I felt the extra immunity from breast milk was important.  So, I pumped and I pumped.  Every 3 hours for months and months.  And when I say every 3 hours, I mean every 3 hours... midnight, 3 am, 6 am and so on.  I did that routine at least until April (so about 10 months).

With all that compulsive pumping, I have to say I got really good at it.  Mastered it while doing about everything from driving to fixing my hair.  I continued to feel really bad about it all, and even going into this pregnancy saw it as a failure of my last pregnancy.  Little did I know...

You see sometimes when something horrible happens, maybe it really happens so that you can help others out.  I never dreamed I would be able to do what I have been able to do this time around.  Luckily even though breast feeding has been challenging and time consuming, I still have been able to pump and had to pump when apart from baby.  And I pump like somebody who spent 15 months training their body to the machine.

I pumped mostly when I am away, and not knowing if we would have enough while I was at work or if I wanted to quit breast feeding.  I just didn't really expect my body to respond so well to the pump and the situation though.  Naturally the milk started to pile up and pile up and pile up.

That is when I realized that I should donate my milk.  I actually heard a radio story on how a nearby hospital with a NICU was starting a milk depot and they didn't have many donors.  I then had a phone interview, still need to have blood test, and lots of little details later.  I am very proud to say though I have sent out over 1000 oz of breast milk to be used in NICU's in the Western United States.

All those times I thought I had failed.  Or I thought that I was less of a mother because of the whole situation.  I would have never guessed that I would be able to help feed so many other preemies  and hopefully take a little stress off their mothers.  I would have never dreamed, that I could send a little bit of myself and hopefully well being to NICU's all over.

From those sour, pitiful days to these glorious sharing days.  I really am blessed.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Adjusted Age.

One confusing part about having a preemie is the 'adjusted age'.  Really it is straight forward, your child has their biological age or true age (the age from their birth) and your child has their adjusted age which is their biological/true age minus number of weeks they were born premature.  An example would be when Kate was six months old or 24 weeks old, I would subtract 15 weeks for her prematurity (born at 25 weeks which is 15 weeks from 40 weeks) and thus her adjusted age would have been 19 weeks.  I guess it is a little confusing but, you get really used to it.

The main reason to have an adjusted age is to allow the child a window for adjustment for their prematurity.  So development wise it evens the playing field a bit so that a child isn't expected to do things just because they were forced out a bit early.  Some people don't adjust their child's age, though I think the more premature your child is the more the adjustment is needed.

The other parts though confuse other people and maybe don't have the most straight forward answers.  Like,  when do you stop adjusting?  Do all premature children need to have their age adjusted?  What birthday do you celebrate (I think that one is stupid, she only has one birthday).  I personally think that any baby born before 37 weeks should be adjusted.  I think that the majority of children won't need to be adjusted for longer than 2 years, but that some might need adjustment until much later.  I feel that even though many children may not need adjustment past 2 years, there probably is a subset that does.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately because being the 'worry wart' mother I have my eyes on both of my children.  I really watched Kate's milestones, as have a squad of doctors and follow up clinics.  Now I have a child that really doesn't have anyone watching her milestone (unless she really drops off the normal range).  I am also trying hard not to compare the two but, its downright impossible.

Kate hit most of her milestone at an appropriate adjusted age range.  There were things that I knew were a little different, but since she was my only child I didn't really know any different.  Now I have this full term baby, who is doing great.  She has been growing very well.  She reaches for toys, babbles, follows people around the room, sits with assistance.  But, I am still waiting and watching.  She seems to have absolutely no interest in motion.  She just seems to want to lay there squawking.

With Kate, the milestones have gotten more confusing.  Because of her sister, I realize how different she is in certain situations. Especially when it comes to food.  I don't know if this is because of her premature birth or is it just her personality.   Because that is what I see with her sister.  I don't think her sister isn't rolling because of a premature issue or a developmental problem.  I think that she isn't rolling because she isn't that into it, she really likes to yell, babble and squeal.  Who can roll when they can't stop talking long enough.

I know I haven't done a great job with this topic, but its because it is complicated.  Simple to make their age adjusted or not.  Much more complicated to get through it all as a parent of two different sisters.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

3 year old Sweetness.

 Being 3 most be tough, because they sure do have a lot of emotional and ups and downs.  They are learning and changing so fast, that it must leave their little minds and bodies a bit crazed.  Furthermore, who likes to be told what to do every two minutes but unfortunately as a parent I am left telling her what to do on a pretty regular basis.

I love this crazy 3 year old though.  I love that while we were taking these pretty picture of her playing dress up, she had an entire chocolate chip cookie in her cheek.  So that even in gorgeous afternoon light, all in pink she looks like a funny loop sided chipmunk.  My funny loop sided chipmunk.
 I love that she ran to me today when I got home from the gym, and didn't complain that I had gone but instead said, "Lets hug and kiss."  That after bath, and every night before bed she insists that mom cuddles with her.  And as I lay there exhausted she talks about all the things of the day and all the things of tomorrow but also insists that I make bear sounds before I leave.

I love that when company left today, she said, "Good Bye, thanks for having a garage sale."  We hadn't had a garage sale or even talked about a garage sale.  I love that she will also randomly say things like, "Anything for the job.", "I love you and sealions too.", and "I am JOGGING, like momma."
I love that on a busy stressful weekend, she told her dad to get me a new kitchen at Lowes today. With his understandable refusal to get me a new kitchen, she instead picked me out a pretty purple flower pot. And at the end of the night she told me how much she loved me.

The days are long and grinding with a toddler but, boy the laughs and love just can't be beat.  I know that there will be days when she is a teenager, that I just wish she would say some of these wonderful things so for now I just savor them.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Toddler verses Baby.

 I told Ed the other night, that I think they make toddlers so terrible so that you fall in love with your baby.  I mean when you are pregnant with your second child, I think it is a natural feeling to think it is impossible to love another child as much as you love your first.  Well, you just don't know what your first is going to put you through.
This is the face I had on my day off before 9 am in the morning.  One only knows what I had asked her to do.  Something super evil, like lets go upstairs.  Or maybe I was being down right horrible and not letting her play with the large stick next to her sisters head or Dad's expensive camera.

Now don't get me wrong.  There are some benefits to the toddler, she is amazingly wickedly funny and though somewhat confused, whiny and manipulative at the same time.   Our 3 year old can be crazy loving as well, unfortunately sometimes that loving comes with a horrible case of the 'I don't want to share any aspect of you'.  She has a constant wonder in everything, and can run to you with pure excitement over a small weed in the yard.  And the verbal skills are insane, changing every day at the speed of light.

The baby on the other hand really can only smile at the sight or even smell of mom.  The baby screams and can not come close to telling you what they need.  Luckily they only need a handful of things.  I do also enjoy the milk only diet for the baby, because our toddler (all 25 lbs of her) is still a major pain in the a-- when it comes to eating.   The toddler though, does have a sleep schedule and doesn't require a midnight (3am, 5 am, 8 am, and so on)  feeding provided only by mom.
These two crazy girls are keeping me so busy and confused.  They really sometimes look like the two headed monster above.  One seems to need me nonstop and the other seems to want to push me away and then drag me back constantly.  Though lil sis is in total awe of big sis, the feeling is still not reciprocated.  And the schedule for daily life, well that is just a joke still.  Growing up is hard, and I have to say neither baby or toddler wins the award for being really easy.

I still keep holding out hope that we are going to move into some easier (and sunnier) days.  Regardless, I know that these two are going to keep it interesting.