Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Having it "all"

Somebody bugged me a couple of months ago when Sadie was a few weeks old (ahem.. you know who you are) about blogging more.. and specifically asked for a blog post about life balance, parenthood, marriage, etc..

I didn't respond, of course, because I was busy nursing this tiny human who wouldn't gain weight nor sleep by herself and even the thought of blogging boggled my mind. But now that I'm back at work and Sadie is not only gaining weight but also sleeping through the night, I can take a moment to think about my life.

Women often get asked the question, "How can you have it all?" Aka.. a family, job/career, and good/happy marriage. It's a little sexist that women get this question, but men don't.. but whatever. Here are my thoughts on the subject, and how I try to balance some of the biggest priorities in my life.

My job:
I picked a career in Dietetics years ago when I looked at BYU's list of majors in alphabetical order my freshman year in college. I was in the Nutrition GE course that semester and I thought to myself--"hey I can do that!" And I switched my major yet another time that year.. and the rest is history as they say. As I got further into my education, I discovered the opportunities to work full-time and part-time in the field, which was my major concern. As a girl growing up, I had no idea what I wanted to be or do (although I used to think I wanted to be an architect or interior designer), but whatever it was, I wanted to do it part-time so I could be home with my kids part-time. I had never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom full-time ever.. I'm not naturally a motherly type. Anyways, although I like my job and career, it isn't a huge passion. You might take a look at my resume and think differently (I have a Master's degree and two specialty certifications), but it's all been a means to an end.. a career that could be part-time. My job and career and not my life.. just a way for me to feel normal and get outside of my home. I don't take my work home with me.. ever. I guess I did study at home for my two exams, but that was it. I don't worry about work. I just show up and do my best. That's how I keep my work life balanced. No secret tricks there..

My family:
Like I said, I always wanted to work part-time and stay home part-time. I'm not like a kids person, and I need my adult time to feel normal. But, I always wanted a family, and we wanted four kids.. then three.. now just two. And we're done. It was quite the adjustment for me after Carter was born. I had never taken care of a newborn before, and the demands of motherhood were exhausting. I didn't enjoy going back to work at 10 weeks, but I didn't hate it. After 13 weeks home with Carter and Sadie this year,  I wanted to stay home.. for the first time ever in my life. I bawled like a baby the night before I went back to work. Since she's our last baby, I wanted to be home and be with her to witness all of her "firsts" firsthand. But, me not working full-time isn't an option for us right now. So, I bucked up and drove myself to work with tears in my eyes Monday morning. I vowed to myself to relish every moment of Sadie's baby life, even the nights of no sleep, so I can always remember this time. Carter's first year was kind of a blur. When I get home each afternoon, I devote time to each of my children, whether it's games with Carter, or snuggles with Sadie.. My alone time is at night after the two kids have gone to bed. I don't need many breaks from my kids when I only have 4.5 hours of them awake in the evening and I work during the day. I try to make quick to prepare meals, freezer meals, or InstantPot meals to decrease the amount of time cooking. And, I pray nightly for my children and for me to be a good mom. I'm not saying I'm a saint by any means.. I have my nights and moments where I just wish for quiet or time alone.. But if I only have 4 hours at night.. I can pull myself together for my kids during those hours. Again, no secret tricks.

My marriage:
Here's where it gets complicated because each relationship is different. Graham and I have an interesting relationship. Neither of us are super romantic and we're pretty jokey with each other, so what works for us probably wouldn't work for others. In fact, I had to go to the doctor's a few weeks ago when I was really sick, and Graham and I were bantering with each other back and forth in front of the doctor. The doctor didn't understand us or our relationship and told us to go home, have sex, and to orgasm (no seriously--she said that). Yeah, she definitely didn't get us at all. One of the biggest strengths in our marriage is the fact that we not only love each other, but we really like each other too. We enjoy each other's company a lot, and we often have conversations about social events, parenting, work, etc.. We also are both grateful for each other's help and often express our gratitude. I am extremely lucky to have a man who helps clean the house, does dishes, and gets up in the middle of the night with the children. He thinks he's lucky because I cook good things....? Hmm, you'd have to ask him the rest. We both consider each other lucky to have found the other person.

Even though marriage has been hard and definitely work at times, it's been the most worthwhile thing to maintain. We are in it for the long haul, even though we've both had our "moments". A bump in the road doesn't have to halt us completely. Sometimes we both get super frustrated at each other. Graham left our house keys in the rental car in San Diego. I got super paranoid and crazy during pregnancy (you don't even know). Even though we both have major flaws and have both made big mistakes, we love each other all of the time and express that love and appreciation. An imperfect diamond is still a diamond, right?  But, if you keep telling the other person every way that they've disappointed you, the other person eventually may just give up. Of course, communication is still key in relationships, but constantly voicing your displeasure doesn't make anyone happy, not even yourself. We also love each other more than our children. Graham's dad told them as kids, "I love you, but I love your mom more." It's important of us as parents to prioritize our relationship to provide a stable foundation for our kids.

One thing we both do, coincidentally, is to keep a running list of happy memories and good times in our mind. That way, if your spouse frustrates and angers, you have happy moments to keep you going. The cheesy thing is, Graham introduced me to this song and told me it made him think of us and our life together. Mind you, Graham composes music and could basically write a movie soundtrack. Ok, maybe that's an exaggeration, but Graham is very musical and talented. He has written a songs for me, Carter, and Sadie based on his feelings for us, and the songs are all very different. He played this song for me, and I thought about how Graham kisses me on the forehead when I'm tired or not feeling well, mine and Carter's last mommy-son date before Sadie was born, crying with Sadie in my arms before going to work, and our bittersweet moments together (when Graham and I separated and he left to get on the ferry to live with his parents for 8 months, and I told him "I will love you forever").. And now, it's the soundtrack to our lives, and this song, as well as Graham's personalized songs, will always remind me to love my spouse and to cherish our time together,



Anyways, no secrets to having it all here.. This is just how I keep myself together while being pulled in a million directions.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Baby Number 2

Well, everyone.. I am still alive.. and I am now a mother of two.

Oh what, you wanted to hear the birth story? Oh, well.. ok. I didn't plan on writing about it..

Yeah, I love birth stories, so I'm going to write about it. Plus, I want my kids to hear the stories about the day they were born.


Here's a photo of the newborn Sadie to keep you interested.. No offense Sadie, but newborn you wasn't particularly photogenic..

Anyways, here we go..

My pregnancy was pretty smooth this time around. No morning sickness, just general malaise during the first trimester. I worked daily out until I was 33 weeks. No gestational diabetes (YAY!). My measurements were right on track. My blood pressure was fine (except for one isolated incident when I was 33 weeks and my BP was high when I checked it, but perfect when I went to the hospital to get checked out.. story of my life). Sadie moved a lot, I had no cramping, no vision problems, headaches, etc.

When I was 33 weeks along, I found out my OB/GYN would be out of the country (South Africa) for the last few weeks of my pregnancy, until I would be ~39 weeks along. My sister (aka Carter's babysitter) would also be gone during the same time frame (AND in the same country as my doctor--believe it or not), so I hoped to keep the baby in until at least 39 weeks. I was convinced that this would be the case, as Carter was born at 39 weeks 1 day, and I didn't have any serious complications so far with Sadie's pregnancy So, I expected to deliver the last week of May or later. I hoped to go until at least June 2nd (my due date was May 31st or so).

On my 37th week appointment, my doctor was not there, as planned.. so I had to see one of her partners. I remarked to my co-workers as I left for my 9:45 AM appointment that I had been bringing all my stuff home every time I went to appointments "just in case". I got to my appointment, and they were running late, as usual. So when they checked my blood pressure and it was 160/100, I figured it was because I was angry about waiting an hour to see a doctor I was unfamiliar with. I got re-checked after resting for 10 minutes, and again, it was high. The doctor came in and was very concerned about my blood pressure. She told me I wasn't returning to work (so I was like ok, I'll just go home to rest).. but then she told me I should go to the hospital today to be induced if my BP was still high when I got there.

Um, NO! I was supposed to have the baby no sooner than 2 weeks from that day! I was in shock, like, ok.. but what about everything else in my life?? I'm not ready for this! So, I had to text my co-workers, ask my very pregnant friend to babysit Carter for two nights, and get a hold of Graham at home (who luckily was not sleeping off a night shift that day). As it always happens, I could not get a hold of Graham. I knew he was going to be mowing the lawn, and we have really poor cell reception at our house, so I told him to take the house phone outside with him. I called his cell phone and home phone a million times, and then I got the bright idea to call someone from church who lived down the street. A very nice man from church went and found Graham outside and told him to call his wife who was about to have a baby! After what felt like hours, Graham finally got a hold of me and we got our plan figured out.

So, I was admitted to the hospital around 11:30 AM for a possible induction. At the doctor's office, my cervical check revealed I was at 1.5 cm, 50% effaced, and -2 station. So, I was considered favorable for induction. They almost didn't let me drive myself to half-mile to the hospital from my doctor's office due to seizure risk, but there was no way I was getting into an ambulance for a 2 minute drive! I got all set up in the room for BP monitoring and to get the induction under way. My BP was still pretty high, so I was there for good to get the baby out. Luckily, my BP wasn't super high to start out, I had no symptoms of pre-eclampsia, and I didn't have protein in my urine (another symptom of pre-eclampsia), so I didn't have to get started on magnesium sulfate right away. I had to be on it last time, and it was awful. It made me sick and I couldn't get out of bed to help speed labor along. So, I was very excited I wouldn't have to be on mag for this delivery.

I got started in pitocin around 1:45 PM. Didn't feel a thing for a while. I turned on HGTV for a "Flip or Flop" marathon. Then, the hospital OB (not even one from the practice where I was followed) came in 2:30 PM to tell me my urine results came back for a high protein-creatinine ratio, an indicator for pre-eclampsia. On went the magnesium sulfate drip--and it burned as it went through the IV. Lovely. For the next couple of hours, I only had inconsistent contractions.. so the doctor broke my water around 5 PM. After 15 minutes, I was finally feeling the contractions. I have extremely painful back labor--I did not feel contractions up front at all. So, I laid on my side while Graham put counter pressure on my back to help with the pain. Every 5-15 minutes the blood pressure cuff would sound an alarm as it checked my blood pressure (always over 160/90). At 5:45 PM, I asked for the epidural, knowing the anesthesiologist would probably take a long time to get there.

I was right. He was not able to get there until 6:30 PM or so. It was awful waiting for him, but the worst part was actually sitting up during the epidural placement. I was in so much pain and my nausea was the worst! I kept saying, I'm going to throw up, I'm going to throw up! Luckily, I didn't (my first time was not so lucky--I puked many many times during Carter's delivery), and by 7 PM, he was done placing the epidural.. thank the Lord. By 7:15, my pain had decreased significantly. My nurse did a cervical check at 7:30, and somehow I was only at 3 cm. Graham and I already thought the baby wouldn't be born until probably the next day based on the length of my first labor, so I wasn't too surprised at the minimal progress.

Around 7:45 PM, my nurse told me to tell her if I started to feel any pressure. She was busy preparing the room for the birth because she had a feeling I "was going to go fast". Around 7:50, I thought I felt pressure. At 8, I thought I felt more pressure. So, I finally said something to the nurse. She checked me, and told me to NOT push because the baby was right there! Around 8:15, my room was full of RN's, Respiratory Therapists, and the hospital OB/GYN. By 8:30 PM, Sadie was born and the doctor announced her birth by saying, "Oh. she's just a little tiny peanut!" My first thought was "Seriously--I gained all this weight for this tiny baby?!?" Graham and I bet on the baby's birth weight--I guessed 6 lbs even, and Graham guessed 5 lbs 10 oz.

She was 5 lbs 13 oz (somehow the average of mine and Graham's guesses), and 18 inches short. Brown hair, blue eyes. She had great APGARs and cry after birth. The hospital did delayed cord clamping, had Sadie lay on my chest with skin to skin contact, and let us relax for an hour before weighing her and doing any procedures. It was totally surreal because of how fast things went. From start to finish, my induction lasted a little less than seven hours! I went into work that morning and ended up with a baby 12 hours later. I kept saying to Graham, "Is this for real? Is she really here? Are we dreaming?". Anyways, my recovery was fairly smooth and wayyy better than the first time around, except my blood pressure. It was high enough to stay on mag sulfate for another 24 hours post delivery, and was high enough to leave the hospital on a blood pressure medication. Super fun. Even with my complications, this was a way easier delivery and recovery!

Anyways, I'll post about life some other time when I have a moment. I'm trying to enjoy every moment and age of Sadie's life because she is our last baby! Here are some photos to enjoy. Luckily, I was wearing makeup this time, so I was ok with taking pictures. (When Carter was born, I didn't allow photos of myself until the next morning after I'd showered and put makeup on.)


Slimy snuggles


Skin to skin


Finally a big brother!


The realest photo of them all--me on the phone answering a million texts and notifications.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Pregnancy Life

Well ladies and gentlemen,

I have not completely abandoned my blog here. I thought about it, sure, but I kind of want to keep this thing going 10+ years (just 6-7 more months to go until I hit my 10-year anniversary!). I also like to occasionally publicly journal my life, activities, and feelings, just to get them out there and make me feel better. I don't really keep a journal anymore..

Anyways, I just wanted to kind of get some things out that I've been thinking a lot about lately. Obviously, I've been pregnant for the past seven months... and it hasn't been easy. It's weird. We planned to try for our second child when Graham got back from Virginia, and BOOM, we were pregnant within the month. Almost too easy, right? I wasn't as crazy about taking home pregnancy tests as I was the first time around (I only took three tests this time, as opposed to like seven or more the first time), but it was like suspiciously easy. I'm not used to things going like I planned.

Then, Graham went through training for his job. To put it plainly, he works for the government and military, and had to do lots of on-site training. He had to work day shift, swing shift, and graveyard, for various weeks at a time. This sucked as I had planned on commuting with him daily. I'd drop him off, drop Carter off, and go to work, and then repeat on the way home. Plus, it meant I was alone in the mornings/evenings/nights, depending on the shift he was working. Then, he passed his qualification exam for work with flying colors (yay!) in November.. and he started working overtime immediately (10-12 hour days, 5-7 days per week). So again, back to doing things myself while pregnant.

In December, Graham signed up for the opportunity to work in San Diego in January. So, off he went for originally a four-week trip, which turned into almost six weeks of 12 hour nights, 6-7 nights per week. I think he had one or two days off during the six weeks?? While the money was a big blessing, again, I had to be on my own. Luckily we were able to schedule our anatomy scan the day before he left so Graham could be there when we found out we were having a girl--oh yeah, we're having a baby girl! January was rough because I was not prepared at all. I had no freezer meals, so Carter and I dined out a lot more than normal. Carter: "You mean we're going out to eat on a Wednesday??"

Not to mention in December, we went through a rough patch because Graham got off schedule due to his crazy work hours, and stopped taking his anxiety pills for several days, leading to a panic attack, irrational behavior, and withdrawal from meds. So scary and heartbreaking. It made me a little paranoid and crazy for a while after things got back on track. This happening during pregnancy only made things worse because of my hormones. I mean seriously, I'm not moody.. I'm just a little LOT more anxious while pregnant. Hearing what other pregnant women have gone through, though, has helped me a lot to know I'm not the only one. I've cried because I thought I was going to have go on meds. One good thing that has happened through all this time is that Graham and I have paid off all of our consumer debt in January (except for our cars--oh yeah, my XTerra died in February and we had to buy a new car AFTER putting $1100 of repairs into the XTerra--UGGHGHHGHGH).

On to February.. Graham went back to 12 hour days.. then was notified that starting at the end of the month, he'd be on graveyard shift for 120 days.. basically, until the baby is born. So, 9 PM to 5:30 AM wouldn't have been so bad, as we'd see him in the morning before work, see him for dinner and bedtime.. But now, he's one of the most senior employees in his shift, and he'll be working 12-hour nights (5:30 PM to 6 AM), 6-7 days a week for the next six weeks until baby arrives (due date May 30th). We see him for about 45 minutes per day. It sucks so much. Carter is a total daddy's boy, so he's super clingy with Graham whenever he sees him. Luckily, Graham is a great father and husband, so he helps around the house and has put together the nursery when Carter and I have been out of the house.

Oh, and Carter and I got rear-ended on the last day of March! Our car has been in the shop for over two weeks now, we had to get a new carseat, and I've been seeing a chiropractor that specializes in pregnancy adjustments. Again, luckily, we weren't seriously hurt, but it's been a massive inconvenience and source of stress. Then, this last week, I had a massive headache, and my blood pressure went up significantly. I'm not a hypochondriac, and I hate getting checked out when there's nothing wrong with me, but my doctor's office told me to go into Labor & Delivery to be checked out. So, I left work early, went into L&D, woke Graham up after only two hours of sleep, and got hooked up to blood pressure monitors to rule out pre-eclampsia. NOPE--nothing wrong. No protein in my urine, and my blood pressure wasn't even mildly elevated while lying down. So, the doctor there prescribed a couple days of rest from work.. And here I am today--with normal blood pressure but still feeling like crap. Pregnancy insomnia is the WORST.

So yeah, this is a total whiny post. Yes, there are unemployed people out there, or people who are salaried and don't get paid for overtime, so I shouldn't complain.. except I'm pregnant. And basically, I've been going through it alone. Props to single moms and women out there. I'm not cut out for this. There is light at the end of the tunnel--maternity leave. It's not a vacation, but hey.. I'll take it. 12 weeks of it. Ah yeah.

The good, the bad, and the ugly..

One thing Graham and I always ask each other on our conversations.. what do you want to hear first: the good news or the bad news? We almo...