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Struggle Bus

Confession time.

I’ve been riding the struggle bus. Like, if I was driving the bus it would be crashing. So, I’m in the farthest back seat. Hiding, with my knees to my chest. My throat is tight. The lump is suffocating me. I don’t want Zara to see me cry right now.

I’m having a really rough time with her needing glasses. But I don’t want her to be insecure about them so I just say how beautiful she looks. “Aren’t they so cool? You have glasses just like me and papa do!” But she still says she doesn’t like them and takes them off 209 times a day.

I’m attempting to clean the house. Deep cleaning. Moving the furniture. Arranging the blu rays alphabetically. And it doesn’t matter. Here’s the thing. I don’t mine having a messy house. It’s gonna happen with 3 kids and I get that. But my house isn’t messy. It’s a disgusting pile of filth pig sty. Zara is big enough to reach everything and strong/smart enough to move chairs over to what she can’t. And as much as I try my eyes aren’t on her 24/7. Because I have TWO OTHER INFANTS.

I think the boys going through a growth spurt or something because they’ve been eating 10 times a day. I feel like I’m nursing a newborn with the amount of time I’ve been glued to the couch while they eat.

We’ve just been given the go ahead to give Wesley 2oz by mouth every feeding. That’s great news, right? Except, one: I’m a nervous wreck that he’s always aspirating. I didn’t know he was aspirating last time..I won’t know this time either. Two: ever since he’s gotten that go ahead he won’t take his binky. Which in the long run is fine but in its place he wants a bottle. And even when he gets his bottle he is having a hard time keeping the latch. He’s wearing himself out from crying. It’s overwhelming and heartbreaking.

None of the kids have had a nap today. Zara, because, I’m just not going to fight it. I’m starting to put her to bed at 7.30 anyway. The boys, because, every time they’ve fallen asleep Zara has screamed…or sneezed…(they’re such light sleepers 🤦🏻‍♀️🙄), or STEPPED ON THEM.

Zara is acting out. Rightfully so, in my opinion. She is begging for my attention and I haven’t been able to give it to her. I feel like the boys know, even asleep, and just start crying. So I have to tend to them. I want to take her out somewhere. Just me and her. But that hasn’t worked out yet.

The boys are also 6.5 months now…5 months adjusted. They have become aware that I leave the room and start screaming.

I’ve said it before. I’m gonna say it again. And I don’t say it for pity or sympathy. But I just really don’t think I was cut from the ‘mom cloth.’ I don’t think I have the patience or emotional maturity it takes. That doesn’t mean I don’t love them. Of course, I do. They’re amazing kids. But I can love surfing while knowing I don’t have the skill for it.

Oh, and I haven’t eaten anything today.

I’m doing a good job.

Recently, David texted me asking how my day was. He usually does this when he is working. He works 3-11/Friday through Monday. My immediate response was this,

“If there was ever a day that I failed, it was today.”

The reason I felt like I had failed was because my house was such s big mess/wreck. I, maybe, got half the living room clean and Zara had already messed it up again. But after I hit send I looked down. This was my view. And it hit me.

First: how sweet is this?

Second: maybe my house is a mess…but these little babies needed my love and cuddles and support today.

Third: change my perspective. The important thing is not the condition of my house. Of course, having a clean house is nice and, I think, helps things stay calm and centered. But the condition of my kids’ hearts is so infinitely more important. They needed me and I was there for them.

Momming is hard.

Give yourself grace.

You’re doing a good job.

Zara has started grabbing my hand and locking her fingers in mine.

This boy took a deep breath and moved his hand to my chest. It was like he just needed to know I was there. 🖤

Primary Parent Exhaustion, anyone?

Here’s a little something for all you primary parents.

Does anybody else wish for just one day that they could be the non primary parent.

That your partner would be the one to get them up, dressed, and fed.

That your partner would be the one with children wanting to sit on their lap while trying to go potty.

That they knew where your daughters favorite cup was…

they would be the one to cut open an orange, banana, and apple before your kid decides that what they actually want is just some string cheese.

That they would be the one reading the same book/singing the same song/watching the same episode of paw patrol 17 million times.

They would be the one kissing every ouchie, changing every diaper, brushing hair and teeth,

making sure they do a learning activity, outside time, and bathing.

Getting appointment confirmation calls and driving them to the pediatrician and dentist.

Making sure they go down for nap time at exactly 11.30 otherwise all hell will break loose and your child won’t sleep until 10 that night.

That they knew what eating a cold dinner….or not eating dinner until after 11 was like.

They cut all the finger and toe nails so so carefully.

That they knew what it was like to have a 168 hour a week job (or a 208 hour a week job for those primary parents with full time jobs) and it not be socially acceptable to complain about it.

Because apparently society doesn’t realize that this is a job…we don’t get paid for it. Chef, chauffeur, mediator, nurse, maid/servant, stylist, CEO, singer, etc etc.

While you can just sleep in…or get ready for work by yourself…or shower…or eat…

in peace. 🤷🏻‍♀️

(And this is coming from someone who has a pretty involved partner.)

#touchedout

One Year Ago

One year ago I called my midwife, Faith. I was pregnant but something was wrong. I knew something was wrong from the moment I saw two pink lines. I knew it in my bones. She told me to go to the E.R.

One year ago I called the E.R. In my little town and they told me to come in. When I got there, though, they told me I just had to go home and wait it out. No ultrasound. No blood work. They could do nothing since they didn’t have an actual OB in house. WHY DID YOU TELL ME TO COME IN THEN?

One year ago, David dropped me off at my sister-in-law, Veronica’s house. He didn’t want me to be alone and he had to go to work. We sat in silence in her living room. It was what I needed. We sat in silence, until I went to the bathroom. I broke the silence by screaming. Yelling NO! Sobbing.

One year ago I left Zara in her care without even asking. I needed David. There were 4 or 5 customers in line when I opened the door to his newly opened coffee shop. I didn’t see him, so with a tear streaked face and strangers staring at me, I told his brother, Stuart, that I needed David.

One year ago, I apologized profusely to David. Over and over again outside in the parking lot of his coffee shop.

One year ago we drove in silence for 45 minutes to a real OB. Praying our own Separate prayers.

One year ago…I was ready to hear the words ‘It’s a sub chorionic hematoma,’ or ‘you’re losing one twin.’ The second was less preferable but anything….ANYTHING would have been better than, ‘there is no baby. Your uterus is empty. No sign of pregnancy at all.’

One year ago, we drove home. Not in silence this time. There was nothing to pray about anymore. We both cried.

One year ago I passed Emerson with little webbed unformed hands and feet.

One year ago I passed Judah with black eye dots and a mouth in the shape of a smile. He let me know they were all right now. To not be sad.

One year ago, things changed. They got hard. I got scarred. Scars on the inside and out.

This year I wore my special dress. I bought tulips and I cried. But I also had a birthday party to host. So, that is what I did.

This year I hold two new babies that need me and love me.

This year I watch Elsa and listen to Taylor Swift on repeat.

This year I run two small businesses selling beautiful clothes and jewelry out of my home. (Agnes and Dora and Paparazzi.)

This year I have determination to become a midwife.

This year I learned. What I can handle. What I can’t. What I can overcome. What I’m still working on. What I will always work on. What kind of wife I am. What kind of husband he is. What kind of mom I am. What kind of mom I want to be.

This year I don’t know if I would recognize the girl I was last year. And, yet, I’m still loved beyond measure.

This year I want to help other moms. Change birth and miscarriage and postpartum mood disorder culture.

And that’s me today. As I sit and write this. On a Sunday morning, a year later, with three kids in my lap. And sleep in my eyes.

Zara’s bedtime routine when she was 3 months old.

  1. Change diaper
  2. Put on jammies
  3. Make bottle
  4. Bam! Bed.

The boys bedtime routine.

  1. Change Wesley’s diaper: put on resinol for the everlovin’ diaper rash. Aren’t these supposed to be more common in girls? Zara didn’t have a significant one until like 9 months??
  2. Change Helmle’s diaper. Make sure his Snuza go is securely attached to his diaper. That way you can be a little more relaxed because it will loudly beep if he stops breathing.
  3. Rub baby vicks on both babies chests.
  4. Put on the Jim jams. Make sure Helmle’s baby snuza is still securely attached.
  5. Give them their dose of Zantac. Wait for several minutes to see if they’d going to spit it all up. Hopefully they don’t legit throw it up and you have to wash your sheets, change your clothes and change their jammies.
  6. Suction their nose…again. Because no matter how much you suction there is still snot to suction.
  7. Give them their milk. Wait for several minutes again to make sure they’re not going to blow chunks and burp them.
  8. If they do lose their second dinner decide whether or not you REALLY need to wash your sheets. It’s so late and you just want to sleep.
  9. Lay them down. Make sure there is nothing they can suffocate on.
  10. Make sure Helmle’s snuza is still securely attached.
  11. Lay down and eat so You can stay awake for just a little bit longer to make sure they keep breathing.
  12. Check to make sure there is still nothing they can suffocate on.
  13. Check Helmle’s snuza again.
  14. Feel Wesley’s chest just to be sure.
  15. Check one last time for suffocation hazards.
  16. Really lay down now.’
  17. Admit that you have no idea. You’re like a first time mom.

Is it a myth that you’re more laid back when the second one rolls around? Because that is the opposite of what happened for me.

Is Breastfeeding really worth this?

I want to preface this blog with this:

First: Breastfeeding is great. If it works for you. I’m all for normalizing breastfeeding and protecting mothers right to breastfeeding wherever their baby happens to get hungry.

Second: WIC is a great program that is very much helping our family right now.

Now, on to the blog.

I just want to share something I experienced that I considered shaming in regards to how I feed my children. In order to obtain your wic benefits you have to complete ‘classes.’ They’re never very long and provide, in my opinion, basic knowledge. The last one I completed though, has made me want to cry daily since Monday. The class I had to take was, of course, related to breastfeeding. I wish this topic wasn’t so stressful/upsetting/triggering for me. Maybe one day. So, here’s what happened.

I log in to the class.

They ask if I’m interested in breastfeeding.

I say no.

👆🏻this screen popped up. Do you see the look on her face? At this point I just laughed at the fact that they’re trying too hard. Since I wasn’t interested in learning more I just clicked on ‘continue.’ When this screen pops up. 👇🏻

I roll my eyes. Ok, fine. I’ll read an article. Afterwards they ask again if I’m interested in learning more about breastfeeding. Just look how hopeful she is at this point.

I, again, say no. So, this is my second time saying no. At this point, in my opinion, it should be done. They should leave it alone. Right? But NO. And look at her face this time. She looks like a scolding grandmother. Also, the headline is so misleading. You’re not bonded to your baby because of how you feed them. A woman could have a baby brought to her, breastfeed that baby, and have him/her taken away immediately. Guess who is not going to be bonded. That woman and baby. But a woman who uses formula *gasp* and rocks that baby, and cuddles them, and talks to them, and holds them? That pair is going to be bonded. And breastfeeding certainly didn’t bond me to Zara. Unless you consider ‘bonding,’ wanting nothing to with her/resenting her and myself/wanting to leave her with David and never be seen again.

So let’s talk about the options as to why you’re not interested. The reason I’m not interested isn’t on there. I’m certain the reason millions of other women aren’t breastfeeding isn’t on there. I’m not interested because of my mental health. Other moms have other medical issues that prohibits this. But, most importantly, WHY DOES IT MATTER? Anyhow, I pushed other and had to give an answer. Here it is.

“I’m not interested in breastfeeding. I’m perfectly happy using formula as it’s the right choice for my family. Mom and babies are happy and healthy with this choice. Why are you trying to shove breastfeeding down my throat? All it is doing is making me resent it more. I had a traumatic experience with my first and I don’t want that this time around.”

The screen following this asked several questions about whether or not this or that factor is important to me in making the decision to breastfeed. I answered, ‘this doesn’t apply to me’ to all of them. I’ll add that picture later because I think one of the questions is funny and I want to end this on a funny note.

But before then a few things of importance.

1. At the end of this class I wasn’t successful in completing the class. I’m ‘still working on it.’ I took another class about understanding my babies cues, which I do, and luckily was successful in that one. Now, I may be sensitive on this issue (I totally am) but that to me says that you’re only successful if you’re breastfeeding. Which ISN’T TRUE.

2. There is so much talk about breastfeeding shaming because you might get looked at funny in public. And you know what? That really sucks. But, Who cares if somebody else is uncomfortable? You’re not responsible for their feelings. (The exception is if you know someone is uncomfortable and you’re only breastfeeding to make a point. Let’s all be adults.) Come back and we’ll talk when these things happen:

You’re called lazy.

You’re called a shitty mom.

You’re told to get on Zoloft, get over yourself and do what we all know is best.

You’re called selfish.

When you’re asked “Do you even care about your child?”

When you’re told that your child won’t be as smart or healthy as breastfed kids.

When a stranger asks, ‘well, have you tried formula feeding?’ When you go to the store to buy a breast pump after a week of hell, becoming suicidal, becoming homicidal, being told that it’s breastmilk or a hospital for fluids, when all you wanted was to use formula because all you’ve ever heard is how fantastic formula is. And you just couldn’t take it and failed.

When, TWO YEARS LATER, you still question if you daughter would be smarter or healthier if you had formula fed. When you know very well that she is so so so intelligent. Eager to learn. When you’re told to stop worrying because, “she just walked up with an A and said, ‘A.’ My almost 4 year old doesn’t know that yet.” And she knows almost all of her letters, animals and their sounds, is learning her numbers/how to count, and has started showing interest in learning colors. WHY AM I INSECURE ABOUT THAT?

When you cry on the inside every time someone pulls out a bottle and formula because you failed at that. When you die a little bit inside.(this isn’t me saying that I would ever ask someone to go into another room. It’s really lovely for them to breastfeed. It doesn’t take away the feeling of intense failure on my part.)

Do you know how easy it would be to just have someone look at me funny? Tell me, which would you rather?

3. I posted this in my fearless formula feeders group. The one place I can vent about propaganda such as this. And several commenters said that they’re just trying to save money because they are government funded. I get it. We all get it. But there is an appropriate way to do that. And this isn’t it. And the reason this riled me up so much is for the mom I was with Zara. And for the hundreds…thousands…millions? Of moms who are in that place right now. Or will be in that place. Moms who wanted so badly to breastfeed. Who never thought they’d feed their baby formula. Who is struggling and feels like something is wrong, but told that everything is normal and not to worry, and listens to that instead of her instincts. Who feels trapped by doing something she hates because it would be too shameful to use formula. For moms whose depression is driven into the ground because breastfeeding isn’t what she thought it would be. For the moms who tells herself over and over that her babies deserve a mom who likes breastfeeding because formula is just that bad.

I’ll be honest, guys. If you couldn’t tell, breastfeeding is pretty triggering for me. Not because I am against it. But because that is what I thought was going to make me a good mom. And I couldn’t. How can I be a good mom if I don’t breastfeed? But, does how you feed your baby make you a good or bad mom? Or does loving your baby with all you have make you a good mom? Listening to your kids, holding them when they cry, going on adventures, and making memories. Because, let’s all be real moms here and admit that breast or formula fed, they’re still eating off the car floor when they are 2 years old. If you went in to a kindergarten class would you be able to tell who was breastfed or formula fed by how they look? How well they write? How high they can count? I don’t think so.

And this is the funny part to me. The last question. They make it sound like formula feeding is just such exhausting work. It’s actually pretty simple.

If you read the whole thing you’re a champ. And thank you.

End formula shaming.

End mom wars.

Brave, Strong, Beautiful

http://www.scarymommy.com/truths-about-c-section-mamas/

1. It really was scary being without David as they prepped me for surgery. The OR is so cold and bright. I️ don’t have any issues with needles or being stuck but this was one of the biggest sources of anxiety for me if I️ needed a c section…and I️ had a student anesthesiologist and a nurse I’d met that day.

They pulled Helmle out and took him straight to the next room without me seeing him. They did the same with Wesley. It seemed like hours before they brought Helmle in for me to see for a brief second before they whisked both babies off to the NICU. I️ didn’t even get to see Wesley for hours. He wasn’t coping well in the outside world. And when I️ did see them both again they were hooked up to feeding and oxygen tubes and beeping monitors that were so loud. I️ so badly didn’t want them to have a NICU stay. My other great source of anxiety. As much as I️ knew they needed these tubes and monitors to survive I️ also wanted to take my sweet babies and run. How could I️ leave them with these strange nurses? They didn’t know or love my boys like I️ did. But I️ could barely move my legs. You can’t run away with fragile newborns with useless legs. So I️ had to leave them with these women while I was wheeled back up to recovery. What if they forgot me?

2 I️ had about 16 hours to prepare..and that time was spent laboring, sick and stuck in bed on a magnesium drip, missing Zara, thinking about all the ways we tried to stop labor that didn’t work. Maybe 2 hours of sleep. But I️ don’t think you can ever really prepare for your first c section. There are so many unknown things even if you have an amazing birth team who explains everything to you.

I️ waited 9 hours to hold Wesley and Helmle. And I️ got 30 minutes with each boy and then they had to be put back in their bed. While I️ was in the hospital I️ could get them out of their bed every 3 hours for 30 minutes. When I️ was discharged I️ could only go once a day.

These boys need the same love and care that their home water/med free birthed sister needed. It doesn’t matter to them that they came out of an incision in my lower abdomen rather than my vaginal canal.

3. My scar is something I️ avoid looking at. So is my stomach in general. They are both just reminders that I️ had the opposite of everything I️ wanted in a birth. I’m only a month out so I have a long way to go in my mental and physical healing. I️t will come one day. One day I️ will be proud of my scar. I️ will be proud of Wesley and Helmle’s birth story just like I’m proud of Zara’s birth story. And maybe I’ll be able to be an encouragement and a help to another Mom who will go through the same thing.

When the boys were in the NICU I️ sang them this song every time I️ was able to visit. I️ thought it a good idea to give them something that was the exact same so they would know it was me. Now it’s something I️ sing to them at least every night before bed. It’s kind of their song to me now.

https://youtu.be/W9I_-ShgVBE

Thoughts about my C-Section

After having Zara I️ admired c section moms even more. Having to go through this major surgery to bring their sweet babies into the world made them so incredibly strong. Not saying moms who give birth vaginally aren’t rockstars. Birthing a baby in any way is such a hard, empowering, life changing, incredible experience.

So, why after having my c section, do I️ feel like this huge failure. Could have I️ done something different? Did I️ not stand up for myself? I️ can say I️ did. The boys were coming, despite all of our efforts. My doctor tells me that I️ did great getting to 34.5 weeks with twins. They were laying transverse right on top of each other. Are those excuses I️ tell myself to not feel guilty? Why does it matter so much how babies come into the world?

When I️ tell people Zara’s birth story they congratulate me like I️ graduated valedictorian at Harvard. Will they do the same with these boys? Or will I️ get a sympathetic, “oh, I’m sorry.” Like it’s something they should be apologetic for.

Before I️ had my c section I️ was able to watch c section videos because I️ could distance myself. I️ was going to have a vaginal birth so these videos didn’t really apply to me. Now I️ can’t watch one without crying. Knowing that it was what happened to my body. Major surgery. My abdomen was deeply cut into…

I️ don’t understand the idea that this is the easy way out. Is it because there is a misconception that we don’t labor? That is not true. I️ labored. I️ labored for 27 hours. I️ know other moms that have labored. Not all c sections are planned in advance. I️ reckon more often than not c sections aren’t pre planned. They can be scary, traumatic experiences. They can be the total opposite of what a laboring mother’s expectations are. They can happen to first time moms or moms who have given birth vaginally before. Either way, the feeling of failure can overcome you. Is my body broken?

Not one person has said anything that implied I️ somehow failed in this birth. Quite the opposite, in fact. I’ve been celebrated for carrying twins for so long and going through such rough surgery. If everyone around me believes that why don’t I️?

I️t hurts to hold my daughter. It hurts to cough and sneeze and laugh. I️ can’t clean one room in my house without taking breaks. Simple tasks are exhausting and I’m 3 weeks out already. I’m underestimating the healing time.

I️ have a scar I️’m disgusted by. I️ have a body I️ can’t look at. But I️ have babies who just want to be held. Who calm when I️ song to them and who have the sweetest smiles.

Then after writing this whole thing, I️ realize that I’m part of the problem. I’m having a hard time with having had a c section. I’m making myself feel less. I️ would never make another mom feel that way. Why is it acceptable, then, that I️ make myself feel that way?

My husband had wise words last night as he held me while I️ cried. He said, “as soon as you realize that it doesn’t matter how they came into the world you’ll stop feeling likeyou failed.” Thank God for him.

October

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

8d4fa4f9381e823a19ddf291bb5ddbbe--miscarriage-awareness-sids-awareness

I went to the fair yesterday with my family. They have a Made In Oklahoma building where local vendors of various goods can display those goods. I was walking by one when a picture of an ultrasound caught my eye. My husband got distracted by a shoe cleaning booth so I stayed behind to look at the models of fetus’ they had on their table. They had a six week, 12 week, 18 week and 22 week model. It’s incredible how tiny they all were. It’s incredible how real they look.

They also had these little rubber babies, that before I had a miscarriage, I would have thought were creepy. Now they just make me cry. Yep. You read that right. I started crying right in the middle of the Made in Oklahoma building at the State Fair. The biggest models they had were 22 weeks which I held up to my tummy even though I’m farther along than that now. It’s amazing how big they seem but they’re still so small. Helpless.

I’m 24 weeks now..which means I’ve hit my first big goal. Viability Week. That means, if I go into preterm labor now they will try to save my babies. That’s comforting. Making it this far is a wee bit relieving. But there is still a fear. My next big goal is to hit 32 weeks. And then 35. And then the birth.

Since April I’ve had some mean things said to me. Of course, they were said online, but they hurt nonetheless.

“Maybe you should have been taking birth control.”

“How about you be grateful that you’re able to get pregnant.”

“Quit whining.”

Like, I’m not allowed to be sad because I am having more kids. Like, I’m not allowed to miss them. But I am sad. And I do miss them. My unofficial due date was November 27. 22510ffa624b959fab9c43b826165a91

But missing them and being sad doesn’t mean I’m ungrateful. It doesn’t mean I don’t love these babies. Yes, I’ve had a hard time connecting emotionally. But that doesn’t have anything to do with the babies. It has to do with the fear of losing them. Of connecting with them and then them just being gone. Feeling them kick and punch and watching them on ultrasound has made connecting easier. They already love each other so much. I always get a picture of them cuddling or sitting/laying in the exact same position. Just as much as I always get a picture of them kicking each other in the face or having their butts in the others face. And, they’re obviously adorable!Image_4 (1)

Baby A has a little Zara smirk going on here. But I don’t think they look anything like she did from her 3D ultrasound. He’s pretty chill.

Image_11

Baby B has his legs in the air like he just don’t care. Definitely has Zara’s feet. He is the more active one. The attention hog on ultrasound. Always trying to get in the picture with his brother.

But this blog really isn’t about them. I just got off track. This blog is about bringing awareness to the month of October. So I am going to end it with this image. 22 things to know about miscarriage.infant-loss

 

-Regina

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