Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Penelope is 1 week old today. The past week has been a blur of endless feedings, lots of diaper changes, total exhaustion, and complete and utter love. This baby girl is the sweetest, most precious addition to our family. She is perfect for us and we are all completely smitten with her. And exhausted. We are pretty darn exhausted.

We are basically operating in survival mode. JD gets the most sleep and takes the day shift since Beatrice needs the most rested parent to watch after her. I get the night shift and take lots of rests and naps during the day so I don't topple over in sheer exhaustion. So far, no one has fallen asleep at the dinner table or lost track of a child so I think we are doing pretty awesome as parents of 2 under 2. For the first week, anyway.

Late nights with this girl are okay in my book. She's almost too precious for words.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ho Ho Ho, Penelope Is Here

Guess what I'm doing right now. It involves an uncomfortable hospital room recliner, sore boob-parts, and a teeny baby. Give up? It's pretty special really. I'm nursing our new baby girl, Penelope Leigh.

I had our baby last night! Say hello.

I went into labor early Tuesday morning. Contractions started coming regularly around 6am. I labored at home all morning while JD ran last minute errands and my sister in law watched Beatrice. Since I was 2 days past my due date, I had an ultrasound scheduled for noon to check on the baby's size, fluid levels, and overall well-being inside my uterus. The contractions were stronger, but not increasing in intervals so I kept my appointment. Baby was measuring right on track at 40 weeks and doing great, thank God.

My family has a history of huge babies - 12 pounders - so my OB was not thrilled with leaving this baby in for much longer. Because of my strong desire to labor and deliver naturally and med-free, I spent the greater portion of the past week praying fervently to go into labor on my own. Induction scared me and JD and I had decided that as long as the baby was not in danger, we would not agree to it. Thankfully, God decided that Tuesday was an excellent day to have a baby. So we did!

At my appointment, I was dilated to 3 cms when my doctor checked me. She said that by the way I was breathing through the contractions and able to talk immediately after them, I was not ready to go to the hospital and have the baby until later that night. That was the weird thing about this labor: I managed the contractions so differently than I did with Beatrice. I breathed and groaned through them instead of tensing up my body and holding my breathe. It really helped. I felt great after each grueling labor pain. I found that breathing and focusing on what was happening to my body was surprisingly helpful and made the contractions so much more manageable. I handled the pain completely differently and had a really great recovery period in between the contractions. To everyone that witnessed my first childbirth experience, this time probably seemed like false labor.

After the ultrasound appointment, JD and I headed home to eat. I had some toast and ice water. The contractions started picking up so we packed the last of our bags and headed to the hospital around 3:30. I was admitted and dilated to 5 cms. I was so tired and really wanted to sleep, but with contractions coming every 2 minutes or so, that wasn't possible. I really started wondering why natural childbirth was so important to me. Sleep seemed like the better option at that point. But my wonderful husband and nurse encouraged me to keep going according to my birth plan. Stupid birth plan. So I did.

I quickly progressed. From 4 o'clock to 6, I advanced from 5 cms to 8. The OB on call came in to talk about breaking my water. I agreed and that's when the party started. The sucky, terrible pain party that take you to a place of no turning back. Contractions come at you every 30 seconds or so and birth is imminent. There is no relief from the pain and you better get your head in the game if it's not already because it's almost time to expel a human from your loins. Don't go to that party if you can help it.  

Within an hour I was ready to push. Throughout the entire labor, I groaned and made a ho ho ho sound. Every couple of ho ho hos, JD would chime in with a "Merry Christmas." He's funny, that guy. As soon as I felt the urge to push, all ho ho hoing ceased and I became a savage animal-woman. I raged from deep within my belly to GET THE BABY OUT. I was not kind about it, I did not wait to be told to push, I decided that I had had enough of laboring this baby and it was time to GET HER OUT. And that would have been fine with everyone except the bed wasn't ready. While the nurses scrambled to prepare the bed and the biohazard bags, I began pushing out the baby on my side with nothing but everyone's shoes under my now disassembled bed. I regret to announce that no one's shoes made it, not even mine. They all got slimed. With uterine guts, blood, and poop. Let's just leave it at that...

I somehow managed to get on my back and after 7 minutes of pushing, Penelope Leigh's tiny little body came out of me. Pushing her was hard and painful. I remember feeling lots of pressure with Beatrice's exit from my body, but this time I felt stinging, burning pain. Like I was ripping from the front to back. Thankfully, it only felt like that. I didn't rip anything. Thank you Lord Jesus. I like my loins the way they are, intact and not mangled by people coming out of them.

She came out and I shouted, "Thank you Jesus, it's over!!!!" I promise you, that is probably the best gift of natural childbirth: the second that baby emerges, the pain stops. Instantly. It is awesome. And of course, there is the baby!

Penelope got to stay in our room for over an hour before the nursery folks took her for measurements and a bath. I nursed her right away and spent the next moments kissing her tiny face and introducing myself to her. JD and I were the only ones in the delivery room and it was such a special time for us. We loved having the time afterwards to ooh and ahh over our newest baby girl, just the 2 of us. Soon everyone arrived and took turns holding her and congratulating us. We are blessed.

It has been a whirlwind few days. JD has been staying at home with Beatrice at night while I stay at the hospital alone with Penelope. They come during the day and stay with us, but I am so ready to be home with my big girl, the new big sister.

Penelope is my petite baby weighing in at 8 lbs 4 oz. She is 20 3/4" long. She is tiny and precious and wonderfully made.

Once again, recovery has been a breeze. I am pretty sore in the pelvic bone region, but my doctor says that is normal for second pregnancies. I had a lot of pain in my pelvic bone during the last 20 weeks of pregnancy so the pain is no real surprise, just unwanted. Otherwise, I feel great and happy and blessed. I love my babies.

Everyone keeps asking me if this birth was better or worse than my first. I can't really say. It was definitely quicker and I handled the pain so much better this time, but I didn't feel the same sense of accomplishment as I did after having Beatrice med-free. This time felt like less of a personal thing and more of a necessary process. Also, with Beatrice I relied so much on my faith and God's strength to get me through. I relied on Him in a different way with Penelope's birth. There was more faith in the fact that He would bring Penelope naturally without an induction than His ability to not let me die like I thought I would with Beatrice. I knew I would live this time, and thankfully, I did. And tomorrow I get to go home and live with 2 beautiful little girls and their wonderful daddy. Life is good and God is really, really great. Now if you'll excuse me, an itty bitty girl needs her milk for the bazillionth time tonight.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

40 Weeks

Today is my due date. Today is a great day to have a baby. Sadly though, today there is no sign of any babies being born out of my uterus. Sigh. I am trying really hard to not be discouraged because she’s not going to stay in there forever obviously, but I am so anxious to meet her I could scream. Every night I go to bed with the expectation to wake up to the painful contractions that bring on labor and every morning I get up with the disappointment that nothing more than a bunch of pee breaks took place overnight. All I want is a sign that she’s on her way, and soon!
Weight gain: Only half a pound since last week. It’s still a lot though.
Stretch marks: Yes, and they are multiplying.
Movement: More than ever it seems. 
Cravings: Honestly, none really. I love ice and could live off of it at this point. 
Sleep: Some nights it is good and some nights it doesn’t exist. I slept great last night but by 10 am, I was ready for a nap. I stay tired no matter what. 
Best moment this week: I suppose it is reaching my due date, but with no sign of labor I gotta say it’s kind of bittersweet. 
Gender: Stubborn girl. 
Labor signs: This question is taunting me. 
What I miss: Not looking forward to anything all day everyday. Honestly, being this excited/anxious/impatient for something is not fun. 
Weekly wisdom: Labor is out of my hands. Penelope will come when God is good and ready to bring her out. And patience is hard. 
Milestones: Due date reached and quite possibly passed by without a baby born.

A photo of a woman who is not happy about still being pregnant on her due date. That look on her face? Not a look of happiness, calm, or patience. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Operation Old Wives Tales

I am officially the most pregnant I have ever been. I had Beatrice 5 days early and by the way this pregnancy has gone with regular contractions since about 24 weeks, I am shocked that Penelope is still in my belly. Shocked and sad and nervous and scared and anxious and a whole bunch of other adjectives. I want to be unpregnant, but more than that, I just want to meet my baby. So I have enacted Operation Old Wives Tales. All week I have been doing the rarely effective but oldest recommended ways to naturally induce labor. I discussed these methods beforehand with my OB. She was skeptical, but okay with me going ahead with my mission. Here’s what I’ve been up to:
-Semen produces prostaglandins which can help soften the cervix, possibly leading to contractions. Sexytime at this stage in the game is awkward and uncomfortable (and for me, ineffective at starting labor), but we are troopers and will do whatever it takes to get this baby on her way out. Hi mom!
Spicy eh Meatballs (say it with a cheesy Italian accent, it’s fun)
-Spicy foods are supposed to wake up the digestive track, causing the uterus to contract as well. I love spicy foods with a passion and they usually love me. So far, they are only making me poop though, something that makes the above a little less appealing for everyone involved...
-Walking makes your hips sway and helps position the baby in the birth canal while gravity causes everything to drop. So far, I have been walking up a storm. All it’s done is make me need an extra shower everyday.
-Not sure why this is supposed to induce labor, but people swear by it so I have been eating it. 

-There is an enzyme that is supposed to soften the connective tissue of the cervix found in fresh pineapple. I am buying a pineapple tonight. 
-This is not proven to induce labor, but pretty toes make me feel better.     

Snuggling Hairless Cats

-Seth and Jenny have 2 hairless cats. They are excellent snugglers and if you've had a recent pedicure, I hear snuggling them is twice as effective.   
So far, I can get contractions going but they stop as soon as I rest. Ultimately, I have failed at inducing my own labor. But I’m not giving up. Penelope must come out and if means doing the maritals with JD while full of spicy eggplant and pineapple after a long walk with hairless cats and pretty toes, so be it. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Not Quite As Ready As I Thought

The last couple of weeks have been very hectic for us. We packed up our old place and made approximately 823 visits to the 2 storage units containing everything we own to rearrange, load up, and rearrange our belongings again. We moved in with my brother and sister in law. We had a yard sale and sold a bunch of our unneeded stuff. We made more visits to the 2 storage units containing our stuff to add more stuff. We set up toddler beds, Pack N Plays, swings, and baby gates. Phew. After all that, it feels good to say that we are finally settled in and are ready to have another baby. 

It's a good feeling to have nothing left to do but have a baby. But that's not the feeling I have right now. The feeling I have is more reminiscent of barfing. That's because I spend a good deal of time trying to figure out how we're going to do the thing we haven't done yet: learn how to care for and raise 2 kids at once. Simultaneously. At the same time. Without hurting anyone. Or worse, neglecting them. 

To be honest, before we got pregnant it seemed like something that worked itself out. We knew plenty of folks with 2 or more kids and they managed to keep them fed, clothed, and alive. Surely we could do it too. But now, with only 5 days left before my due date, I am totally convinced that we may not be as capable as our friends. At least I don't think I am. All I can think about is how I'm going to be everything to 2 different people at the same time. Will I be able to care for my newborn and play with my toddler? Will I be able to maintain the laundry for 2 in cloth diapers? Will I be able to go anywhere without help again? Will I ever shower before breakfast again? Will I be able to spend one on one time with my firstborn once my second born is here? Will I be able to keep both safe? Will I be able to make each one feel special and loved and important? Is 1 of me enough to care for, love, and protect 2 little people? 

The bottom line is, I don't have a clue how I'm going to manage 2 little ones at once. I have high hopes that this is one of those things that happens naturally once baby #2 is born. Like maybe while my heart is being multiplied with love for 2 babies, I'll grow more eyes, arms, and hands too. But invisible ones, so I won't look weird and creep people out. That is what happens, right? I might be totally screwed if not because of all the things I feel confident in, raising 2 kids at once is not high on the list. Lord help us all. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

39 Weeks

So, I am still pregnant. Very, very pregnant. So pregnant, that my maternity clothes are too small. My belly pokes out of the bottom of every shirt and the seams in my pants are struggling to contain my enormous legs and bum. I still have responsibilities that require venturing out in public every couple of days so staying in my pajamas all day is not an option. Not a very classy one anyway.

Being this pregnant is both exciting and nerve wracking. I'm excited to be a week away from my due date and potentially days away from meeting my little Penelope, but nervous that I could go past my due date and all of the discomforts, fears, and inconveniences that come with that. I have been diligently praying that Penelope comes before her due date like her sister. This mama is tired and ready. Not to mention running out of suitable clothes to wear. Will you pray too?


Weight gain: A lot. Within 5 lbs of what I gained with Beatrice. I'm trying not to think about it.
Stretch marks: Yes. I'm also trying not to think about those.
Movement: Yes.
Cravings: Still ice. Much to JD's dismay, it is just so satisfying to crunch on a giant cup of partially melted ice. All. Day. Long.
Sleep: Actually really good the past few nights. I keep hoping that it is a sign that I'm about to have her. Could God be giving me awesome rest now since I won't be sleeping again for the next few weeks??? I'm really hoping so.
Best moment this week: Getting an iPhone and internet connection, woot woot!! Hello 21st century. You are awesome.
Gender: Girl. I hope. Everyone keeps telling me my belly looks like a boy belly. I even noticed that I am way more narrow this time around.
Labor signs: What I think are contractions are actually gas pains. What I think is my water breaking is actually pee. I'm beginning to think I'm never gonna have this baby girl.
What I miss: Clothes that fit, bladder control, going about my days without analyzing every bodily function in hopes that labor has begun. The usual.
What I'm looking forward to: Do I really need to answer this??
Weekly wisdom: You can't predict when a baby will come so it's probably best to just relax and enjoy the last week of pregnancy without trying to convince the baby to come out already. Although it is not above me to try every old wives tale known to induce labor...
Milestones: Hopefully 7 days or less until we meet our 2nd precious daughter.

A family photo this week. Maybe the last as a family of 3.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Moose, the Fish, and the Turk

My brother is an outdoorsman. He likes to hunt, fish, and kill. He has a few taxidermied animals mounted on the wall in his man room/our temporary living room. Beatrice is obsessed with them. First thing every morning she begs to tell Moose, Fish, and Turk good morning. She doesn't stop talking about them until we go in and see them. She squeals. She talks to them. She loves them. The same thing happens after nap time and whenever we return to the house from being gone longer than 5 minutes. She loves these poor dead animals.

The Moose

The Fish

And the Turk

Oh, and the Alligator

The Moose is actually a deer (or a buck?). The Fish were caught by my dad and brother many, many years ago. And the Turk is turkey tail feathers. Beatrice thinks they're awesome, although she will not touch them. She will however, place sunglasses and hats on them. Anything to be fashionable.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

We're Not Getting A Divorce, But We May Be Sleeping In Separate Beds

Before I got married, I had a lot of preconceived notions about what should take place in the marriage bed. And I'm not talking about hanky panky, because hello, that's a given. Would a TV in the room be the end of intimacy? Should we keep our disagreements and fights in other rooms or should we drag it out in the bedroom since that's where making up usually takes place? Queen bed versus King bed? Go to bed angry or stay up all night working it out? And never, ever sleep in separate beds. There were a lot of things that seemingly could have been the end of our marital intimacy, but alas, trial and error and a lot of nights of drag out fights then making up (brown chicken brown cow), we have found our way. And I learned that while some things should never make it to our bed (like other people, hello), most everything else is fair game and will still sustain a good marriage.

Except a major size decrease in the mattress.

We temporarily live with my brother and sister in law now. Our awesome King size bed is in storage so we're sleeping on their guest bed. It's a double (or a full, whatever floats your boat). We were very apprehensive about the whole thing since we have been known to wage war with one another in the middle of the night about the lack of space in our King bed. We are both major bed hogs. The thought of sharing a double was pretty unthinkable.

The first couple of nights in the tiny bed were fine. We respected the lack of space we each had and stayed on our respective sides. Rolling over proved to be difficult as elbows often landed on the other's face or side, but a quick "sorry babe" was all that was needed to maintain matrimonial harmony. Then something happened. JD lost all awareness about my condition as a giant pregnant woman and I quit trying to not be the most disgusting person to share a bed with. Open mouth face breathing started happening, snoring, passing gas on each other's backs, hogging sheets, lying on top of one another, and lots of other horrible things occurred. We wake up tired, angry, and bitter if the other person acts remotely rested from the hellacious night's sleep endured. To date, we hate each other. Not really, but we are close to it.

I always thought that couples who slept in separate beds were doomed for divorce. There have been a handful of nights in our marriage that ended up with one of us on the couch due to a fight. It only lasted a few hours though because we seriously consider sleeping solo as the worst thing that could happen in a marriage. But here we are, tired, crabby, and cramped in a tiny bed. We are thinking of splitting up for the next 2 months. Don't worry, just at bedtime. There is another double bed in the room Beatrice sleeps in and every night, we tempt each other with taking it. We never do, of course. I guess we feel like we have something to prove, like if we can make it through 2 months of punching and kneeing each other in the shins all night, we can make it through anything.

As it stands, we have made it through 5 nights of MMA style sleep. JD says I'm the most disgusting person to sleep with due to the pregnancy and I can't understand why he insists on touching me at all during the night since it is only 1000 degrees up there. I say if we make it a full week in that bed, we'll be on the right track to being married forever. Sharing a tiny bed may not be the best thing for marriages. At least not this one.

Monday, August 8, 2011

38 Weeks

I’m really surprised I haven’t had this baby yet. After all of the moving and yard sale-ing and unpacking I’ve been doing, my uterus has been working in overdrive. Not to mention, I just feel childbirthy. I feel like I could give birth at any moment. Hopefully, there will be somewhat of a small warning before that happens. 

Weight gain: I’m back to not telling you this portion of my pregnancy progress. Let’s just say there’s a good chance I will be gaining 10 lbs in 2 weeks. Or more. Eating donuts and pizza all weekend will do that to you. 
Stretch marks: Yes. And I hate them. 
Movement: Yes. Most of them hurt since she is a big girl fetus now, but I’m trying to savor the last few weeks of feeling my baby from the inside while I can. 
Cravings: Salad, water, fruit. No more starchy carbs for a long time. 
Sleep: This is going to be a blog topic for the duration of our stay at my brother’s. JD and I are sharing a double bed. We came from a King. 2 tall, lanky people, 1 great with child, sharing a tiny bed makes for terrible sleep. That’s all I have to say about that. For now. 
Best moment this week: Getting moved and settled. Now we’re ready to have a baby!
Gender: Girl. 
Labor signs: Yes, yes, yes. Lots of labor signs. I’m thinking I will have her by the weekend. We shall see....
What I miss: Internet service. This is harder than I thought it would be. 
What I’m looking forward to: Late night feedings, swirly tops of baby heads, tiny toes, gowns, and all of the things that come along with newborns. 
Weekly wisdom: Internet service is vital to life. I will be purchasing a wireless card this week. 
Milestones: We’re ready and waiting. Come on Penelope!

I'm huge. This is what happens to me in late pregnancy. Take heed and stay away from cake, fellow pregnant mamas. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Few Things

1. Not having internet access is harder than I imagined.
2. Yard sales are my calling.
3. Sharing a full sized bed with my husband means a lot of snoring in each other's face.
4. Living with adult siblings and their spouses is like having a slumber party that never ends.
5. Blogging from a smart phone is not fun.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Internet

I remember when we first got the internet. I was in middle school and before the invention of AOL, the most use our family computer got was for games of solitaire and the random school paper. We had dial up service that took approximately 10 minutes to connect to the highly censored world wide web that my parents allowed us to surf under strict supervision. It was beyond amazeballs. I could research things for school without weighing my backpack down with 20 library books. I could find long lost cousins and instant message them about forbidden boyfriends without the awareness that my mom could track my conversations and ground me for an entire summer because of my indiscretions. True story. The internet was pretty much the best thing that ever happened to me.

Then the internet (and our connection to it) got better. I could shop at stores I only dreamed of. I could book a senior trip for 4 of my closest friends to Panama City Beach. I could schedule my entire college class schedule, all without leaving the comforts of my house. But the internet didn't stop there. It soon allowed me to link up and stay connected to friends via Facebook and MySpace. I could stalk ex-boyfriends, current boyfriends, and soon-to-be boyfriends. Now, the internet all but blows my mind. I manage our bank accounts online. I have access to every book in every language on the planet. I look up delicious recipes, taught myself to crochet and sew, and write and maintain the most important blog in history, all because the internet exists and I have access to it 24 hours a day. Can I get an amen on the blog thing? Anyone? 

Needless to say, the internet rocks my socks off and is a very important part of my everyday life. Besides the convenience of information and goods available at the click of a button, the internet is so important to me because it is how I stay connected to people. When Beatrice was a newborn and JD was out of state for several months on job training, online message boards and Skype kept me feeling like I was apart of the world instead of the secluded new mother that I was. I could log on day or night and feel like I was still apart of the big world out there without leaving the house for weeks. Newborns, public breast feeding, and wintry weather don't mix in my book. I really relied on the connection that the internet allowed me to have with other new moms and my husband. And the shopping. Lots of internet shopping occurred during those lonely months. I don't think I could have made it through without that.

My brother and sister in law do not have internet connection at their house. I'll give everyone a moment to compose themselves after that tidbit of unthinkable information.....Still can't believe it? Me either. I assure you they are normal. They drive cars instead of horse and buggies. They have indoor plumbing. They have master's degrees and doctorates. They have cable, BUT THEY DON'T HAVE THE INTERNET! I can't even comprehend it. It's lunacy!

We are moving in with them tomorrow. Honestly, I don't know what I'm going to do. I need the internet. I want the internet. I love the internet. I have a smart phone with internet capabilities, but that's not even close to the awesomeness that is sitting down with my MacBook in my lap, tapping out witty blog posts and clever Facebook statuses while the glow from the screen lights my way. I have planned out daily trips to Starbucks to write blog posts and if I'm desperate enough, I may load Beatrice and my Mac in the car and drive close to other people's houses in hopes of jumping on their connections. I'm not even kidding. I don't kid about the internet. Ever. My need for it is intense and serious. And in less than 12 hours, I am quitting it cold turkey. I may not survive, y'all. The only way I see me coming out on the other side of this thing is with shopping. Real life, old school, drive-to-the-actual-store-and-buy-things shopping. Except I will have a newborn in 2 weeks and there is the whole public breast feeding thing and the extreme heat. Sigh. It is highly probable I will not survive 2 months without the internet.

Goodbye cruel, unfair world. I will check in when I can. If I survive.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Place of Our Own

We are down to 2 days before we move in with my brother and sister in law. We are also down a hundred million boxes, 2000 miles of bubble wrap, and 50 bajillion pieces of newspaper. Moving sucks. And it's not just the packing and wrapping and boxing that is so terrible, it's the whole leaving-the-comforts-of-home thing that is really hard for me. I don't like moving. At all.

I freak a little every time I move. The week before our wedding, JD and I were busy packing my things to bring to his place. He was in another room doing something and I was unpacking my clothes when I had a complete emotional meltdown. It hit me that my place was gone and now I had nowhere to feel at home. I knew that eventually his place would feel like home and be my home, but during the time that it didn't, it was going to be hard. There would be no sense of ah-it's-good-to-be-home that you get when you walk in the door after a long day. No comfortable morning routine of coffee and news and cereal bowls left in the sink. Things are different when you first move somewhere new, and that's always hard for me.

This move is especially hard because we are leaving the home we fell in love in. The back patio where JD proposed to me surrounded by hundreds of twinkling tea lights and scattered rose petals. The house where we made our babies and brought the first one home to. We fought here, laughed here, cried here, prayed together for the first time here, were disappointed at plans that didn't pan out here, and celebrated when dreams came true here. This place has been more than a place to live, it's been our home.

And now we're leaving it all behind to live in someone else's home. I know that after a week or 2, Seth and Jenny's house will start to feel like home. Especially after Penelope arrives. But I dread the feeling of not belonging anywhere and not having the comforts of my home at my fingertips. I guess I need to warn everyone about the complete emotional meltdown that's headed their way. I am looking forward to us being so close and having 4 extra arms to hold and love on my babies for 2 months. And my sister in law's cooking. And as long as I can leave a dish or 2 in the sink every morning, I think I will be okay.