Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Our Potty Training Adventure: 3 Day Method

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The day I was scheduled to be induced to have Mo, LW decided to strip naked throughout the day and streak through the house yelling "POTTY! POTTY! MAMA! POTTY!" This caught me completely off-guard and was entirely unprovoked. My goal was to potty train him sometime this fall. Or maybe Christmas. Or never. The thought exhausted me and imagining doing it with a newborn in tow sounded ab.so.lutely. horrible.

BUT, guess what? Our children choose their own timelines and I've heard that when kids are ready to potty train, you have to just go with it and follow their lead. So, 39 weeks pregnant, I waddled through Babies R Us to buy some toddler potty chairs. (Note: Don't waste your money on the character chairs. Learned that the hard way. The simpler, the better and go for a 3-in-1 style potty)

Fast forward to two weeks later; this week. Once after a nap and then again the following morning we went into LW's room to find him having stripped naked and pooped on the floor. The second instance he also smeared it all. over. his. carpet. That was it. The final straw had been drawn. THAT DAY we started potty training with the "3 Day Method". 

The thing about potty training is, I'd never researched it before. I'd never thought about it and I really had no idea how it worked. I figured this "3 Day Method" that I had always heard about meant your kid starts day 1 pantsless and by the end of day3 they magically can go to the potty alone and know their body's cues and understand what it means to need to use the bathroom. Including nighttime and naps.

......HA!! Joke's on me, amiright?! 

Turns out, potty training is kind of a shit show. Literally.

Day 1: Father's Day. Hubs wanted to spend the day in the yard, so the boys and I joined him. LW was bottomless to start and played in his inflatable pool. Soon he was completely naked. He had several accidents but we got the swing of things pretty quickly. In the evening I went upstairs to change Mo's diaper and came back downstairs to LW on the big potty alone, going #2. YOU GO, BUD! We were nailing this.

I thought, "He's been so good all day! I'm just going to sit down and eat this bite of dinner really quickly. Plus, he just pooped." as he ran laps through the house. Suddenly, I realized he had stopped running. I tossed down my fork and book it into the living room....to find one of his toys completely covered in crap. And then drug across the floor. *Awesome. More carpet to scrub crap out of* I'm not even exaggerating when I tell you this happened in a matter of three bites of my dinner.

Day 2: A pretty uneventful day, considering how the first day went. We had our "outing" accident free. The outing which was me driving us to Starbucks for a drive-thru caramel frap to save my sanity. I was feeling very frustrated from Day 1 so it was a nice little happy mama break for me to get a sip of Heaven.

This day he would not go #2 on the potty. Uh oh....

Day 3: Hubs got the morning diaper and it was almost overflowing with what did not come out in Day 2. Eesh. After that, we had a GREAT morning! He had started dancing around a bit when he needed to go and I got more in-tune with his body language and cues. By this point I was pretty sick of staring at his parts so again I sat down to just have a bite of food and it got quiet. Low and behold, he piddled in front of the TV. I race him to the bathroom to finish the job. I go back to my lunch and it gets quiet again...and there he was behind me in the kitchen. Piddling and there was a little poop on the floor. SERIOUSLY!?

When we got home from our first outing of the day, I stripped him naked to play outside. As we played, I saw a pregnant neighbor I hadn't met yet walking by. I enthusiastically waved, shouted hello and started walking towards her while pushing LW in one of his toy cars....she gave me an interesting look, said hi and continued walking. I was so ready to be friends with her and share our pregnancy stories until I realized my child was completely naked. What, doesn't everyone let their 2 year old play in the yard buck naked at 10am on a Tuesday? No? Shoot.

Following outing two, I completely forgot to tell him it was time to potty when we got home. The second I realized it, I stood to run and get him and he called out "MAMA! MAMA! OH NO!" and he had already gone. BUT, I call that a win still because the lightbulb went on.

Today was Day 4. He had such a great day. Until...again...I forgot to bring him to the potty. We met some new friends at the park. I forgot to set my timer after he used the porta-potty at the park and got busy gabbing with New Mom Friend. Then, from across the playground I saw it. The "stance". I tried not to sound too desperate when I said "LW! It's time to go potty!" and he said "NO!!!" I jogged toward him and saw it. Too late, Mom. Again.

I had been giving him prunes and fiber bars in addition to loads of salty snacks to encourage lots of water consumption and you know, to move things along. Well, it worked and moved things right along. Right onto the playground mulch. And down his leg. And in his shoes.

Thankfully, he realized the severity of the situation and didn't move a muscle. New Mom Friend jumped into action and brought me some extra wipes because I was about three short to clean up this catastrophe. He also didn't appear to be embarrassed at all and was absolutely no worse for wear.

As if this wasn't embarrassing enough to me in front of New Mom Friend, our dog took care of the "accident" by eating it while I had been cleaning up LW. Oh for the love of....

When I started this potty training journey I planned on using simple high-fives as his reward. LW is a pretty understated kid so even that was a little too much celebration for his taste sometimes and he would shut down. By day 4 I started bribing potty successes with jelly beans and it works fabulously. Judge all you want, but since he never gets any candy the kid will just about sell his soul for a jelly bean.

I've learned that potty training is just like any other aspect of parenting, just messier. You go into it blindly, know absolutely nothing, learn a lot as you go and somewhere along the way change course in a state of desperation to do whatever it takes to increase your success rate.

Apparently the naps and nighttime thing doesn't work for a while, but if he's only wearing two diapers a day I'll take it! My advise to those who think their kids may be ready: go with it. Dedicate yourself to the three days and don't look back.

Also, I have no flipping clue how I will persuade LW to wear clothes full time again.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Round 2 Postpartum Favorites

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My first time around postpartum I thought I knew what was good. I thought I knew what I was doing. This time every single experience has been different.

When you're a first time mom, you get time to heal and cherish the snuggles and relax and nap and "get back on your feet".

When you're experiencing postpartum recovery with a toddler, it's kind of eat or be eaten. There is almost no time to nap, or sit still or heal. You just have to do it.

Because of that, I am grateful for a few fabulous products that helped push me along the way and heal much more quickly than I imagined I would.

1) Earth Angel Mama Baby: Mama Bottom Balm
Please excuse my language, but this sh*t is bananas. It's no secret that late pregnancy and delivery can cause hemorrhoids and this is the ONLY stuff I have found that actually heals them. As in, gone. Relief the moment you apply it and then POOF! Hemorrhoids away. I mean, they come back depending on your "schedule" or "regularity" but another dab of this stuff and you don't even notice. You just feel relief. Thank you, Meg for teaching me about this wonderful product.

2) Peri bottle in every bathroom

Having a toddler and a newborn, you have to keep an eye on both all the time because toddlers love to try and "help". My toddler wanted to "help" a few days in by climbing into the Rock N Play and snuggling the newborn when I was microwaving his lunch for THIRTY SECONDS. That's how long it took. Thirty seconds. You can't take your eyes off either for even that long (which is exhausting). That said, you can't just have all of your postpartum healing items in one bathroom either because if you did, you'd have to bring the whole family into the bathroom with you every time. It's best to have every bathroom set up with your postpartum necessities so wherever you are, you can stop, drop (your pants) and roll with the urge to do your business and tidy up your underthings. That means a peri bottle in every bathroom - DO NOT FORGET THE PERI BOTTLE! It is essential because you can't wipe. You must spray.

You can ask for extras in the hospital or order a multipack like this from Amazon. The choice is yours, but don't leave home without one either. While you're at it - ask for like a hundred extra mesh undies too. Those are the bomb. NO LAUNDRY!

3) Kotex Overnight Maxi Pads
Do you know what is worse than having stitches in your hoo-hoo? Having stitches that catch, drag and pull on your maxi pad on your hoo-hoo. Always brand maxi pads are the most irritating material and tugged on my stitches. Hello, that is absolutely horrendously painful. I just found Kotex this week and I am a convert. I will never go back to Always. Kotex is much softer, more absorbent and does NOT catch on my stitches. Total win. 

4) Handheld snacks 
This can be left for your own interpretation but I bought granola bars, NutriGrain bars and 100 calorie packs of almonds before I delivered and they've been amazing. I don't always have a chance to sit down and eat "real" food or meals because I am always chasing one or nursing the other. Individually wrapped snacks are helping me keep my calorie intake up as well as my energy. I load my diaper bag with them too so I always have something to eat on the go. 

5) All Purpose Nipple Ointment (APNO) 
This is something you need a Rx for and it isn't cheap...and not all pharmacies make it. While you are still in the hospital, ask your OB or midwife to send a prescription in for it - your lactation consultant will know the correct way to write the prescription if your OB doesn't so have the two of them chat it out. This ointment is a Godsend because it prevents infection from the open sores you may get from early nursing days. 

I nursed LW for a year and went through the ringer, but that doesn't mean that Mo came out and I immediately remembered how to properly latch a newborn to my breast. Quite the opposite, actually! He nursed well and willingly from the start but I didn't realize I allowed him to have a lazy latch so I was blistering by hour 23 of his life. Having the APNO to apply after every nursing session while my open sores heal gives me the confidence to know I am as protected as can be from infection. 

6) A good support system
Nothing can *really* prepare you for childbirth. Whether it's your first or your seventh, having a strong support system in place will help you tremendously. 

Something not many people know about me is that with LW, I suffered from PPD. I denied it until he was about 6 months old, at which point acceptance was all I needed. Once I accepted that I had a problem and something was not right, things clicked and started to steer back towards normal. 

I specifically remember driving to the hospital for my first visit to breastfeeding support group and listening to LW scream in the back seat. He was ten days old. I was crying all the time. He was crying all the time. We didn't know how to do right by one another and every second seemed to be a never-ending loop of frustration to me. He didn't sleep the way I expected. He didn't nurse the way I expected...and instead of realizing it's okay to be different I got frustrated with what I thought was expected. I remember driving on the highway that day and crying. I cried and told him if he didn't behave I would leave him at the hospital for some mom who wanted him. 

If you feel this way about your baby, you need help. Don't deny it. Don't hide it (like I did) and don't be ashamed of it (guilty, again). Hormones are big and powerful things, especially after experiencing something as grand as childbirth. 

I am thankful to report that this time around I have no symptoms of PPD. I am completely obsessed and in love with Mo in every possible way and I can hardly stand to leave the room when he is in it. I like to think I just have it together this time, but the truth is, I have an incredible support system. I have more group text threads than I can count of other moms simply asking, "Hey! How is it going today?" and checking in on me every day. Talk about feeling loved!

They say raising children takes a village. While you may not *see* a village around me, there is one tucked neatly in my iPhone and they are the reason my head is on straight this go around. I wouldn't be the mom I am without the love and support from my peers. I love you, ladies!!! You know who you are <3 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Mo's Birth Story

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I know several of you have been waiting.... and I am finally here to tell you Mo's birth story! I've been really busy cuddling him, so I apologize for the delay.
I'll jump right in and start at the beginning: 

My induction was scheduled for 8pm. Hubs and I dropped off LW early enough at Gma's that we could have a date night dinner before going to the hospital. I had been hungry for my favorite pasta dish from Pinstripes so we went there and enjoyed every minute. 

The afternoon prior I had been having some pretty real-feeling contractions so I was excited that tonight was the night. I was going to go into real labor. 

We got to the hospital early after a lovely dinner and the nurses were totally ready for me. I was able to request the same room I delivered LW in (my midwife claims the room as good "juju" so I wanted the same room again). 

My nurse checked me and I was still a lousy 2cm. She started Cervidil in me at 9:15pm which helped me start contracting. They weren't really painful, but I felt them. 

I slept intermittently all night long and when the 12 hours of Cervidil were up my midwife came and checked me again....I was a lousy 3cm. She stretched me to 4cm and my contractions kicked into gear on their own. I had been contracting every 7-8 min at 3cm and once I was stretched to 4 I started going every 2-4 minutes. 

Around 10:30 they started pitocin and shortly after I got my epidural. I thought for a few minutes I would wait it out and see how I handled labor on my own, and then decided, "Why try to be a hero??" so the epidural was ordered and administered almost immediately. My nurse (K) was the same one I had for Billy - a close family friend. She suggested I get the epidural since pitocin would be kicking in any time now and I am soooo glad I listened to her. 

You know what the best thing about an epidural is? The catheter. After months and months of constantly needing to pee, suddenly you just don't need to anymore! Heaven. 

Around 12:30 I was a lousy 5cm and my midwife broke my bag. I had SO MUCH amniotic fluid that it filled her glove and flooded my bed (sorry, D!). My stomach instantly deflated and I felt a big relief from pressure that had been paining me for months. At that point we thought, "Maybe Mo is a lot smaller than we've been thinking..." which made me suddenly think, "Maybe I should have waited this out....what if he's not big enough?!" 

At 3pm I was almost 7cm and I was REALLLLLLLLY bored. Suddenly, the room started spinning. I couldn't describe what I was feeling, even though my mom and K kept asking me to describe it. At that point, each minute seemed longer and more uncomfortable than the one before. 

They asked, "Is it pain? Is it pressure?" and I couldn't put it into words. I just kept saying, "The room is spinning. It feels horrible. I just feel horrible." 

Close to 4pm I started sobbing. I had been whimpering in discomfort (pain isn't the right word...because I did have a great epidural) from probably 3:30 and then I just had to sob.  

K checked me, confirmed I was complete and ready to push and asked me to practice one push. 

I sobbed and yelled for my midwife. I begged for her. "PLEASE CALL D. PLEASE JUST CALL D" I did one push and K said, "Okay! We are calling her right now". 

My mom and K had my legs up in stirrups and knees wide in prep for D but I couldn't hold it in. I needed to push and I was sobbing for D while I did it. We had been through this whole  pregnancy together. I would be damned if she missed the birth of this baby when I knew she was just down the hall in the office. 

As I pushed, she came bounding into the room like a savior and someone helped her with her gown while I gasped in gratitude that she made it. I gave one good push and she started to coach me. I could tell there was suddenly a sense of urgency in the room but D was so cool and collected I just followed her lead. I would push hard, then gently and could tell there was a lot of maneuvering happening. She did her best to prevent me from tearing, but babies are babies and some are more stubborn in positioning than others. 

I had K on one knee, Mom and another nurse at another, Hubs behind me holding me up while I bent in half to curl around Mo and urge him out. In five minutes, the little wonder was out. I was so focused on pushing I didn't hear D when she said it the first time, so she repeated, "Reach down and pull out your baby!" and so I did. WOW!!!!! 

Lots of babies are born with their cords around their necks and Mo was no exception. He also had a bit of a wild ride on his way down so he needed some extra attention when he was "out". Within a few minutes he was on me skin to skin and for the entire first hour of his life he nursed. 

He was born at 4:15PM weighing 8lb 8oz. Had I waited another week+ for the induction or for natural labor to start I feel the outcome would not have been nearly as successful for me. I tore quite seriously as it is, so I'm thankful I just have these stitches to heal from. Had I waited, I am certain I would be recovering from surgery.  
So far, he is an absolute joy all the time. He nurses well, he sleeps well, he pees and poops well. What more could you ask for from a tiny baby?! I'm absolutely smitten with him and I've already shared a ridiculous number of selfies with him asleep on my chest. I simply cannot snuggle him enough. He is a tremendous blessing, joy, and light in our lives already. 

Thank you to my birth team for doing what you did to help me deliver him safely and swiftly. Your efforts will be remembered and cherished always. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Pregnancy: 39 Week Update

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How far along?: 39 Weeks – Wow! Never thought I'd get here.
Size of baby: Big enough to be born tomorrow night/Monday sometime.

Weight gain: Don't know. Don't care...and it's better this way. Staying in my happy place. I feel great. I feel better about my body at the end this time than I did last time and my wedding rings are still on. I'm winning in my book. Soon I will feel great about my post-baby body.

Movement: As I type he feels like he's doing the worm. I just ate an ice cream cone so he's all kinds of happy at the moment :)

Symptoms: Lots of early labor symptoms lately. Google it, and you'll see what I'm talking about. I have just about every one you'll find.

Yesterday and today I've been having some pretty real contractions - trackable ones - for a few hours at a time. They haven't amounted to anything, but induction is scheduled for tomorrow evening so I wouldn't be shocked if they sped up a good clip and I went into labor on my own. That'd be nice, and I heard it happens often. If not, that is okay too.

I was experiencing extreme, overwhelming, bring-me-to-tears pelvic pain for the last few weeks (hence why my posts were so negative) and this week I did a little research to try and help induce myself because I was so miserable and uncomfortable, I couldn't imagine even making it until Sunday for the induction.. While those methods didn't work for induction, one video did help me understand the stem of my pain, why it was happening and how to correct it. 35 seconds of a yoga move (inversion off a couch) and pelvic tilts and my pain was GONE!!!! Learn what I'm talking about:



Now I've been feeling great since I corrected Mo's position and ready to take on every remaining day as a prego. Just figures that the induction is already scheduled (yes, we could cancel it, but I'm not going to).

Cravings: Ice cream, still. And doughnuts bc it was Nat'l Doughnut Day on Friday, in case you missed it. A neighbor delivered a box of fresh, bakery doughnuts to me this morning to help me get through my final weekend of being pregnant. Absolutely amazing!!!

Looking forward to: Induction. If I don't go into labor on my own before tomorrow evening, I'm really looking forward to the induction. I've done a lot of research and asked a ton of moms how their Cervidil inductions went and I feel really positive going into it. Especially with all of the early labor symptoms I've been having, I feel like my body is totally ready and is going to respond to it really well. I'm very much looking forward to my experience with it.

Things I can't stop thinking about: How long the induction will take. How my delivery will be. What Mo will look like. What color hair he will have. If he'll look just like LW or like his own little person....Nursing him. Snuggling him. Having his first photo shoot at the hospital with his fluffy little diaper on. Putting all of his adorable, tiny clothes on him. Swaddling him. So many things. I can't believe we're under 24 hours away from induction. I can't wait.

Prayers for a fast labor and speedy delivery are appreciated!!! Next post: Birth story :) (AHH!!)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Pregnancy: 38 Week Update

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How far along?: 38 Weeks
Size of baby: We're guessing in the 8lb range. Total guess.

Weight gain: Does it really matter? I'm going to say no.

Movement: A lot of times it feels like Aunt Bethany's cat is in my belly. You know, from Christmas Vacation?

When he isn't spazzing the H out, it feels like he's a yogi.
Symptoms: They've become quite unpleasant. As in, I'm wearing padsicles now....because there are "things" going on "down there" that are just plain unpleasant. Thankful I had two bags of padsicles made already. Because I am really darn uncomfortable.

I sleep alright from about 10pm-3am (with potty breaks) and then I toss and turn for a while. I get up and stretch at 4am on my ball. Many mornings I can't fall back asleep. Luckily, I've been able to catch some great, long naps lately while LW takes his naps. Lots of time outside with him is helping me stay busy and active and helps him need long naps :) Win/win.

Cravings: Ice cream. A lot of it.

Looking forward to: We've scheduled induction for the evening of 6/7. So if he doesn't come before then, there is a good possibility his birthday will be 6/8. I am really really looking forward to meeting him.

So many people have said, "Enjoy this time with LW!" and "Enjoy these last days of pregnancy!" and "Life with just one child is so much easier!!! Enjoy it while you can!!" And with all due respect, I'd like to say something:

When I got pregnant, it was on purpose. The purpose was to have another child. So, can I just be excited to meet him? Can I look forward to nursing him? Can I be happy that our family is about to grow? I'm not a dipstick. I know it's going to come with challenges....but, eh....I signed up for that. 

Can I be honest and just say I'm sick of being pregnant? Pregnancy is beautiful and wonderful for a lot of people. For me, it is from about week 13 through week 32. And that's all. I gain wait like a farm animal and feel worse than a canned ham. My body at the end of pregnancy feels like the worst. I've had my fun. Fun is over. Fork lift me out of here and into the delivery room, please.

Generally speaking, I am a very positive person. I try to live in the moment. "Enjoy the journey." Whatever. I'm ready for the next road in this journey. The one that ends in a baby on my breast.

Things I can't stop thinking about: Seeing LW as a big brother <3 My heart swells just thinking about it. I think he's going to love Mo so much. He's going to be the best brother ever.

Oh, and I can't stop thinking about the fact that by a week from today, I will have another baby. Hopefully sooner than a week from today. Hopefully like, tomorrow.

Side note on induction: I was undecided about the induction because LW was born at 38w5d but when he was born we realized he was "older" than we had calculated. I felt guilty thinking we were "forcing" Mo out before he's ready, but the other side of me knows that my physical and mental strength is only getting worse the longer I am pregnant.

My midwife was willing to let me go beyond 40 weeks with Mo to see if he'd come on his own, but we opted to split the difference. He will cook for 39w3d before we induce which gives me mental relief knowing there is an end date. Physical relief from carrying him and still giving him a shot to "cook" for an appropriate amount of time. She says she is confident the induction will lead to a successful vaginal delivery, which is another important thing to me. I feel like this is a great compromise all-around. However, we all would love for Mo to come on his own before we need to take that step on Sunday evening.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Pregnancy: 37 Week Update

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How far along?: 37 Weeks

Size of baby: 6 1/3 pounds and measures a bit over 19 inches, head to heel (about the size of a bunch of Swiss chard) -- SOURCE

Weight gain: About 35lb for the pregnancy. I'm very pleased with that number :) My wedding rings still fit!!!

Movement: He gets hiccups every night. He has much less room now - I feel like he got huge in the last week so his movement has decreased. His movements are mostly up or down vs. side to side and all around. And of course the hiccups.

Symptoms: Cranky. Lightning crotch. Sore back. Contractions. Other unmentionable things that happen in early labor/late pregnancy that no one wants to read about. Message me and I'll tell you ;)

Cravings: To get this baby out of me.

Looking forward to: Having this baby.

Things I can't stop thinking about: Getting. This. Baby. OUT. of me.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Pregnancy: 36 Week Update

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How far along?: 36 weeks! 
Size of baby: "He now weighs almost 6 pounds and is more than 18 1/2 inches long (about the size of a head of romaine lettuce)" via BabyCenter

Weight gain: I go in tomorrow but I don't think I'm going to look. I just don't even want to know anymore. Who cares.

Movement: Lots of hiccups lately!!! And rolling around. He runs his foot from my hip to my ribs all in one single swoop and it makes me jump! It hits right in my ticklish area - such a riot. I'll miss all these kicks and twirls!

Symptoms: Little swelling here and there if I haven't had enough to drink. More so this weekend because we were traveling and I was off my regular diet.

Tired. Holy cow can I sleep. I have been telling friends that I feel like I am the newborn or a puppy or something. I snack. Then I nap. Then I wake up and think, "I could go for a snack." and then fall asleep again. I take multiple naps throughout the day. THANK GOODNESS LW is a trooper and will snuggle and snack alongside of me while I go through my lazy end of pregnancy days. He is a champ. Also: we watch a lot of Mickey Mouse. No shame here. Do what you gotta do, am I right!?

Cravings: I craved herbal tea this weekend, but I think that's more a vacation thing than a pregnancy thing. Something about being on vacation makes me want a really delectable cup of tea in the morning, like a special treat. We were in Detroit this past weekend and found the coolest market to visit. A tea and coffee shop there had an Ayurvedic tea blend that completely hit the spot. It had mint, ginger, lemongrass and other happy things in it. Delightful!

I ate a sick amount of snack foods since we had about 12 hours of driving over the few days we were gone. Again, I think more a traveling thing than a pregnancy thing.

Looking forward to: The last few weeks of pregnancy. I was feeling crummy weeks 33, 34 and into 35 but 36 is being really good to me so far. I'm hoping I have more good days than bad these final weeks!  Wishful thinking as that may seem.

Things I can't stop thinking about: My last pregnant friend who was due before me had her baby a few days ago....so I just can't stop thinking, "Oh my gosh, I'm next." I'm next.