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Postpartum Progress: Strong Start Day 2011

Today is important. I want to ask you for your help and support for a newly founded non-profit organization and a very worthy cause.

Their mission: Postpartum Progress Inc. (PPI) is improving the health and wellbeing of women and children by increasing access to and quality of support for women with postpartum depression and other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth.

Many of you are aware that I suffered with depression while pregnant with Brigham. Due to the support of my wonderful OB who recognized that I needed help and did not dismiss my feelings I was able to be safely medicated and heal quickly. But there are many women out there that do not receive the same support and treatment before and after birth. This is because women who are suffering from a perinatal mood disorder either don’t understand why they feel the way they do. Or even worse, they don’t tell anyone for fear of what people might think. Both are dangerous.

I love the awareness that PPI creates within the social media community. From the first time I found their website and “met” their founder Katherine Stone, I knew I had found a woman who truly cared about the well-being of women who are suffering in silence. More than her, there is an entire community of love and support for women who don’t know where to turn.

I could write all day about this organization. I don’t have the time to tell you about the hour I spent with Katherine at BlogHer. She is so wise and genuine. Just know, she is good people. She wants to help. And so do I.

So today I’m asking you to open your heart and possibly your debit card and donate to Postpartum Progress. There is so much they want to do but funding is necessary to do this amazing work. I feel strongly that this organization is moving women forward. Whether you’ve been affected by a perinatal mood disorder or not. This is people helping people. Simply.

Please donate. Not for me. But for all those who suffer today and who will suffer tomorrow.

DonateNow

Every little bit helps.

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four chambers

I’m done having babies. At least for now I am. I had an IUD placed a couple weeks ago.

Truthfully, I don’t know how I feel about it.

Naaman and I have talked a lot about having a third child. Correction: I have talked a lot about it to him. I am confused at the feeling of wanting another child. No really, it leaves me quite baffled. I never thought I would want one child let alone three! But here I am with two beautiful sons feeling like someone is missing from the room. It is so strange. I want to take it as a sign.

Then Naaman pipes up with all his realist tendencies . . . Daycare for three? Are you crazy? Sleepless nights again? Are you crazy? Minivan? Nope, I refuse. Dollar signs. Dollar signs. Dollar signs. Cha-ching!!! Also sleep. sleep. I NEED SLEEP, woman!

But everywhere I look I see sets of three boys. Down the street live three little boys all a few inches taller than the next. It makes me smile and I’m suddenly longing. For what I don’t know. In the church pews ahead of me, three boys, one a newborn not more than a month old. A family of five. Heaven help me.

It wasn’t our plan to have a second child so soon. I was on birth control pills and still conceived (hence the IUD, people). I wanted to start trying for baby #2 in January of 2011.

But we veered off course and in May 2010 God’s plan showed up. A very cute plan.

I had accepted that Brigham would be my last child. We spent a good amount of money on maternity photos because I wanted to remember my pregnant belly. I truly thought I would feel done. But it was shortly after birth I started feeling this way. Maybe I could get over this. Maybe I just need a little more time to mourn the childbearing stage of my life.

People might say – oh, it’s because you want to try for a girl, right?

On the contrary. In my dreams and hopes and fears (yep, sometimes fears) I see three boys. Again, heaven help me.

It’s just a feeling. Three boys. There are four chambers to my heart. One for Naaman. One for Landon. One for Brigham. But there’s still an empty one. Question is, who or what will fill it? Maybe the fourth chamber is reserved for me.

People might worry that I can’t handle it. But I’m here to tell you that I most certainly can. I dealt with an entire year of no sleep while working full-time (no really, God’s plan wouldn’t sleep). Yes, my brain is now nowhere to be found. But I am repairing it.

I am well aware of all the stress that would come from adding a third child. But oh, the anticipation. The falling in love with your baby before you’ve even met them. And then the birth day. The overtaking amazement of new life in your arms. That love never lets go. It wraps around you like a never-ending hug.

We’re trying to decide what’s best for our family. We’re going to be smart about this. Think things over. Make sure. But I know now is not the time to decide. That’s the point of the IUD. I figure we’ll wait at least a year before we lay it on the table as an option. I have to be well and stay well. My mood must be stable to even think about harboring a life inside this body.

I turn 33 in December. tick tock tick tock tick tock. My poor heart is so restless.

At least we’ve bought some time. It’s actually been a relief. No more over-thinking it for now. Time off from this question of two or three? And maybe when I stop over thinking it the answer will become clear.

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I am a part of the Mother’s Day Rally

I am so honored to have been asked to be a part of the Mother’s Day Rally for Mom’s Mental Health on Postpartum Progress. This is the third year this has taken place. Today, on mother’s day, a letter to new moms will be posted each hour for 24 hours.

I was asked to write a letter to a new mom about my experience with depression during pregnancy. This whole blogging gig is exciting to me for many reasons. But first and foremost on the list is the opportunity to help someone else. Another mother who might be depressed. Another mother who feels alone.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I wrote this letter almost a year to the day of Brigham’s birth. When I read it all those memories come flooding back. The bad and the good. I’m just so glad that on this mother’s day I can stand here and write that I love my life. I love my boys. I am happy. If you are suffering from antenatal or postpartum depression – please know, you are not alone.

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Dear new mom:

I remember seeing the blue plus sign on the pregnancy test. It was positive. I waited for the happiness. It didn’t come.  Instead of happy tears I had a panic attack right there in the bathroom. The sting from the guilt that I felt in that moment has never really gone away.

My first son had just turned one. I had just quit my job two days before. I was on birth control! We wanted another child but the timing. Oh, the timing. Why couldn’t it have happened later when things were more settled? When we were ready? When we could celebrate it and not be riddled with worry about our finances and future?

Head on over to read the rest of my letter and other letters here.

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They told me to open my eyes

A year ago at this exact moment I realized I was in labor. I was 38 weeks & 2 days pregnant. There was no indication the night before that led me to believe you would be on your way the next morning. I didn’t feel any different or do anything different. You just decided it was your time to come. This makes so much sense to me now. Because I know your personality and I know for a fact you’re decisive.

I sat on the couch, eating my cereal, watching your big brother play.

I was unusually calm while timing contractions with my iphone.

I tried to doubt the signs. But I knew from the very first contraction I had that morning that I would meet you soon.

Contractions came every four to five minutes. A dull ache that grew in intensity and then subsided, just like a wave.

I was nervous, of course. But ready. And excited. And hopeful.

The world knew you only as “Baby B” up to this point. Daddy and I knew what the “B” stood for all along. At least, we knew your name. And had seen black and white photos of you nestled inside my womb. To think we knew and loved you then. The belly stops growing eventually. But the love never does.

Of course, now we know there was so much more to you than just your name.

Last year at this time, I had no idea what I was in for with your labor.

in labor - ready to hop in the car to head to the hospital

I would be in labor for 22 hours. The beginning was honestly not that painful.

on the yoga ball - trying to make progress & move the baby down

The middle and end were beyond anything I would have ever thought one could live through.

Then there was a break in the torture.

A break.

A burn.

A pop.

A release.

They told me to open my eyes . . . so I did.

And you were born.

immediate skin-to-skin contact after birth - just what I wanted

Tomorrow is your first birthday. I can hardly believe I just typed that.

You’ve come a long way, baby. I’m so glad your journey is with us.

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Your Three Words

 

This was me. One year ago. I was 36 weeks pregnant with Baby B (anyone remember that, lol?). Looking at this photo is so surreal. I cannot fathom that my second son was in there. At this point I assumed I would be pregnant for at least another month. But Brigham had other plans. Two short weeks later he would decide he was ready to make his grand entrance.

Looking at this photo floods my brain with amazing memories of the beauty of pregnancy. And with Brigham’s first birthday quickly approaching I find myself really missing this stage of life. The anticipation of giving birth is like nothing else. Nothing could compare to that special little combination of excitement and fear of the unknown.

On one hand I cannot believe it has already been a year. It went by lightening fast. But on the other hand it feels like it has been ages since I’ve felt a full-sized baby roll around in my belly. Please forgive me as I write this. But I miss it. I miss being pregnant. Don’t get all excited. No baby plans on the horizon at all. I didn’t expect to feel this way considering we’re supposed to be done. D-O-N-E . . . DONE. But I’m always honest on my blog. To say I’m not mourning that part of my life being over would be a lie.

So there it is. One of my last belly photos.

Wow.

Your Three Words

redwagon

We celebrated Landon’s second Christmas in December 2009. At that point I was at the half-way point in my pregnancy with Brigham. I remember going to Toys R Us right before Christmas and scouring the aisles of toys looking for just the right gift for our 16-month-old toddler.

Suddenly, Naaman and I found ourselves in the bike aisle and right in front of us were the radio flyer wagons! I knew right then it was the perfect gift not only for Landon but also for our unborn son who would soon join us in the world. A double-seater it was!

In the back of my mind, I was still terrified that there might be something wrong with the baby swimming around inside my belly. The level II ultrasound with the specialist was supposed to provide me with peace of mind. But a big “what if” still hung in the air. Everyone told me he would be fine. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong.

Just as we suspected, Landon LOVED the wagon. He gravitated to it immediately on Christmas morning in 2009.

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I remember rubbing my belly at that very moment and imagining both of my boys, my sons, sitting in the wagon together. I hoped and prayed that Brigham would be born healthy just like the doctor said he would. I wanted to see both of them playing and having fun together with that wagon.

And 15 months later, it looks like I finally got that chance . . .

My big boy and my little boy. My sons and the little red wagon.

Link up with Your Three Words at Jenni’s Blog.

Scarred

You know that question, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Well, here’s my question. “If something you don’t want to happen is taking place and you don’t blog about it, is it really happening?”

I thought if I didn’t blog about this and kept it a secret then I could save myself the agony of actually admitting that it is.

But I can’t not blog about it.

It’s my story and it’s important to me. So here it goes.

My breastfeeding journey has unexpectedly come to an end. I am devastated. Heartbroken. All those words that describe anguish? This is where I would place all of them if I had the time or space or energy.

I’ve known this day was coming. Fretted over it. Worried. Nervously paced back and forth trying to figure out a way that I could make it work for longer. But I have finally come to a point where I know there is no other choice but to stop.

I went off my medicine for depression in early August. It was the same medicine I had taken for depression while pregnant with Brigham. I took it for seven months and it was successful in keeping me stable during and after pregnancy. But over the summer I became increasingly anxious with the prospect of renting our house and buying a new one. I jumped head first into this exciting conquest. When it didn’t work out it upset me and I didn’t handle it well. To me, I lost another game. And I hate losing.

I spoke with my therapist about how I started to go downhill within about a week of coming off the medicine. I told her that my body reacts very quickly to meds whether I’m coming off or going on. It was hard to believe that coming off medicine could affect my mood so fast but since I’ve done this quite a few times already I knew where this was headed. And it wasn’t good. But I kept it to myself anyway.

My therapist is smarter than that though. She sent me to new psychiatrist. I was nervous to see anyone or go on anything. She knew that I was still breastfeeding and that my goal was to continue for at least six months. But she told me that at the very least I needed to have an action plan for when we knew it was absolutely necessary to go back on my meds.

So I went to visit a new doctor. He was every bit the mood disorder expert my therapist claimed he was. He actually listened to me. Took notes. It was obvious that he truly cared about my health. If you’ve ever been to a psychiatrist you know that is most definitely not the norm. For any psychiatrist worth seeing, it can take weeks if not months to get an appointment. But due to a cancellation and shamelessly name-dropping my therapist, I got in within a week.

He was unlike any doctor I’ve ever seen. Not too quick to over-medicate. As a full-time working mom of two little ones the last thing I need is to be more tired than I already am. Together we came up with a good plan of action. I left his office with prescriptions in hand. And told him that as soon as I felt the need I would use them.

After Labor Day, Brigham came down with his second ear infection and decided that the whole sleeping-through-the-night thing was a terrible idea. He would wake up screaming two or three times a night. He could not be consoled. I can handle the no-sleep thing for maybe a week. But a month? Not so much. Add to it that I had pneumonia in both lungs and the downhill slide became steeper.

At first when Brigham cried I felt compassion. But throughout the month of September the sound of his screams morphed into the sound of nails on a chalkboard.. Many a night I would throw up my hands in desperation screaming that I couldn’t do this anymore. Let me just say there is a reason why they use lack of sleep as a form of torture during war. A month of no sleep and a baby screaming is enough to drive anyone insane.

I felt myself becoming less patient with Landon. I was snapping at Naaman. I couldn’t concentrate at work. All I wanted to do was drive away from my life. Hop in the car, gun it to 85 and make way for Mexico. All the while I felt incredibly guilty for feeling these feelings. I knew I wasn’t supposed to feel like this. It wasn’t normal.

I remembered back to when Brigham was born. I was so happy. In a state of bliss. I remember people asking to hold him and I didn’t let them because I didn’t want to put him down. I was in love with my baby boy. But by the end of September it was all I could do to pick him up when he cried. The constant screaming was just too much. When he would start crying I would too. I was way more emotional than usual. Lack of sleep is my biggest trigger for falling back into a depressive episode.

My mom recognized I was not myself and stepped in to help. She took the boys for a night so Naaman and I could get at least one night of sleep. When Naaman got home from work we went to bed early. But before we fell asleep I broke down in tears. He put his warm hand over my cheek as I lay sobbing.

I sobbed thinking of the countless times depression has robbed me of simple joys throughout the past seventeen years. Each time I have miraculously survived. Even when I thought I’d never last. Even when I didn’t want to. I stood up to him. And if I couldn’t someone stood up on my behalf. But here he is again. Knocking at my door. Threatening my life and my happiness. Even though he knows full-well that he is unwelcome. Even though he knows that I have slammed the door in his face before. He returns anyway. Once again, the battle to reclaim my life begins.

Naaman told me that we’re just going through a rough patch and it’s going to get better. And deep inside I know that. Deep inside I know that Brigham won’t always cry and I won’t always be sad. And then he said the words I needed to hear the most.

“I’m worried about you, Molly.”

That’s all it took. Because Naaman knows me better than any other person on this earth. If he is worried about me then I know it’s true. He is my mirror. I can look at him and see far more than any sliver of glass could show. We both knew that I was at the beginning stages of postpartum depression. But I decided I am not going to let it happen. Depression has already stolen too many precious years of my life. I refuse to hand over more. Especially not the first year of my baby’s life. No, my boys are too important.

The next morning I found the crumpled prescriptions at the bottom of my purse. I dropped them at the pharmacy to be filled and picked them up after work. I stared at the warnings on the bottle for quite some time: Do not use while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Damn it. DAMN IT! I was less than 30 days from my goal of six months. I didn’t make it. DAMN this depression for ruining yet another part of my life.

I wish I could describe how I felt when I took that pill. I’ve taken it before but it never meant the end of something so important. The end of one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The end of breastfeeding.

I thought about the last time I breastfed. It was Sunday, October 3rd. We had tried to feed Brigham a bottle at a birthday party but he didn’t like the formula. So I went out to my mom’s car. It’s amazing to me that I really didn’t care who walked by and saw. All I really cared about was getting my baby fed so he didn’t cry at the party.

The whole process was effortless. I pulled up my shirt, he latched and my milk flowed. Just like it’s supposed to work. Just what I had wanted. It was a beautiful moment between mother and son.

I wish I had known that that would be the last time I would breastfeed my son. I wouldn’t have been in such a rush.

The next day, when I got home from work my breasts were full and aching. Nature had come to an abrupt stop and it’s clear my body didn’t get the memo. Even though I thought I wanted to drive away from it all, truthfully I missed my baby when he was gone. I swooped him up in my arms and kissed his forehead. I sat down on the couch and started to pull up my shirt. The urge to nurse was instant and strong. Funny how it only felt like a duty in the beginning. But now, now it was mother’s instinct in its purest form.

Then reality smacked me in the face . . .

Molly, you can’t anymore. The medicine is already coursing through your body. But it can’t be in his.

That night before I placed him in his bassinet I held him. I gently rocked him to sleep. Tears dripped from my cheeks. A consolation prize for what should have been my milk. But I could no longer offer Brigham my milk. What I could offer him, however, were my words. I began to whisper . . .

I’m sorry, Brigham. I’m so sorry that mommy can’t feed you anymore. I know when you’re rooting at my chest wondering why I won’t let you nurse, you won’t understand. But I hope someday you will understand why I had to stop.

I hope you know how much I love you. If mommy didn’t need medicine to make her better I would have nursed you as long as you wanted. Please know that I’m sorry. Mommy tried her best. I want to thank you for giving me the chance to breastfeed. It was a dream come true.

He was fast asleep when I finished. Naaman walked in as I was wiping the tears away and asked why I was crying. I told him that I didn’t want to stop nursing yet. He said, “It’s okay, honey. You did great.”

I did, didn’t I? My journey to breastfeed my sons was not at all an easy one. While trying to breastfeed Landon, every single thing that could have gone wrong did. I was unable to nurse him for many different reasons. And even though Brigham was a latching champ, I had other breastfeeding roadblocks that I never imagined I would encounter. I still cannot believe I kept nursing after I had two huge MRSA-filled abscesses drained. And a case of thrush. And a new job started at eight weeks postpartum. And pumped in cars and bathrooms and supply closets. I kept nursing. For my son. For five months. For 150 days. I did not fail. I am scarred to prove it. Physically and emotionally scarred. And both my boys were worth it.

I have to get better. I have to stay well so I can take care of my family and myself. It’s just another part of my journey. I must accept.

I will miss breastfeeding. But depression cannot break the bond between mother and child. I won’t let it.

Answers to Questions: Part 4

Okay, I really didn’t think it was going to take this long to finish answering these questions but ya know, that’s life. I’ve got pneumonia and am still not 100%. Brigham is working on his second ear infection and has decided that sleep is not on the schedule. Like ever. Sigh. The life of a mom with two babes.

1. Did you have another baby shower when pregnant with Brigham? Do you think you would have if he would have been a girl?

No, I didn’t really have what I would consider a real baby shower when I was pregnant with Brigham. I specifically told my mom and sisters that I DID NOT WANT a big baby shower. Honestly, I thought people would think I was greedy because I had just been pregnant and had three huge baby showers. What, like five minutes ago? I didn’t really think it would be fair to ask all my family and friends to give again.

I remember one conversation where my mom said something to the effect of, “Gosh, Molly, you’ll have all these photos of Landon’s baby showers and Baby B won’t have any!” And I get it. I really do. Even though Brigham was unexpected and happened along much quicker than we had ever planned he was important too. My pregnancy with him was just as important as my pregnancy with Landon. It was all about my comfort level. I understand others feel differently and if you want to have big showers for all your babies go right ahead! Invite me! I can ooooh and awwww with the best of ’em and buy a nice gift off of your registry!

You also have to take into account that I was suffering from antepartum depression in my first and second trimester. So I wasn’t feeling like a social butterfly at the time planning would have commenced.

Leave it to my mom and sisters to plan something anyway. I was worried that it would be over-the-top but like all things in my life I never should have worried. They threw me a sort-of surprise “sprinkle” with my favorite ladies. It consisted of a spa day (um, yes please) at a really fancy spa in town. We had European baths and had a special little lunch and then we all got pedicures. It was divine. Then I opened gifts. Not too many. Not too few. It was just right! The day was perfect.

Brigham has baby shower photos now. All is right with the world, Mom.

(p.s. I don’t know if I would have wanted a large shower if it had been a girl. I think I still would have wanted something smaller because of the timing of the pregnancy and where I was emotionally when my family started asking me about showers)

If you could instantly change one thing in your life right now, what would it be?

I close my eyes, tap my heels together three times and SHAZAM! Our house has miraculously sold and we’re closing on a new house that actually fits our family. Wait, what? That didn’t work? Crap.

Your boys have such great, unique names. Did you have a hard time picking them?

You know? It was actually a breeze. When I was pregnant with Landon we both had a strong feeling that it would be a boy. My husband is one of four boys and everyone on his side of the family has boys. So, naturally, we stuck to boy names. When I was only 8-weeks-pregnant we were driving around town and I mentioned the name Landon. I told Naaman that it was the main character’s name in one my favorite books, A Walk to Remember. I couldn’t believe how agreeable he was. He basically said, “Yes, that’s it. That will be our son’s name!” So when we finally confirmed that the baby was a boy we started calling him Landon right away. No other names were even discussed.

When I got pregnant with baby #2, I had some names in mind. Most of them were boy names and Naaman vetoed every single one. I did have some girl names on reserve. Only because my sister-in-law Anna miraculously pulled the golden ticket from the Wonka bar and had a girl {I’m still perplexed}. It threw me for a loop and suddenly I was thinking up random girl names. I blame you, Anna :)

Naaman wouldn’t even comment on my girl names except to say, “I don’t know why you’re coming up with girl names when the baby is a boy.” That was enraging. I was all . . . but but but, it actually could be a girl. And he was all . . . no it’s not. Men.

Before we knew the sex of the baby I was thumbing through apps on my iphone when I came across a baby name app. I downloaded it and started from the beginning with boy names. I went through the letter A. Didn’t find anything. Then I started going through the letter B. You could hit the star button and it would save the name as one of your favorites. By the end of the day I had one favorite that stuck out. Brigham. I knew about the university. I looked it up and saw that Brigham Young was the founder of the Morman religion {it’s a religion, right?}. Didn’t bother me enough to delete it. I wanted something that sounded strong and was unique but not so unique that no one could pronounce it! When Naaman got home that night I mentioned it and he said, “I’ll have to think about it.”

After the big ultrasound we were in the car driving to lunch. We were both pretty quiet because we were in shock from the news that there might be something wrong with our baby. But then Naaman started talking and referred to the baby as Brigham. I quickly glanced over at him confused and asked, “What did you say?” And he said our baby’s name would be Brigham. Of course, like the hormonal pregnant chick I was, I started bawling. Happy tears. Because we had just named our baby boy.

I will remember those two special moments for the rest of my life.

Just for fun I can disclose my favorite girl name since I will most likely never get to use it. It’s Piper. And yes, I know a lot of people hate that name. Guess what? I don’t care. I love it. I think it is a beautiful and unique name for a little girl. I can just picture this blonde little beauty skipping and hopping with pony tails bouncing. Her middle name would have been the same as mine. Rebecca. So yes, our my girl name is Piper Rebecca.

I told Naaman that I will be forced to buy another female pug so we can use the name.

Baby "B" Has Arrived!!!

With much pride and joy, Naaman and I welcomed our second beautiful son, Brigham Douglas, to our family.  Brigham was born on Sunday, May 2nd at 2:22 a.m. weighing 7 lbs, 3 oz and 20 inches long. He is just as perfect and precious as can be. We are truly blessed.

Minutes after birth . . .
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Happy Daddy . . .
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10 hours old . . . looking just like his cool big brother!
Brigham Douglas

Landon meeting baby brother Brigham for the very first time . . .
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 He was a little timid at first but definitely warming up to the idea now that we’re home. And we have the best photos to prove it ;)

We came home yesterday afternoon and have been trying to get settled in with our two boys. Landon already adores his little brother and I cannot wait to upload all the photos we have of them sharing their first special moments together! I can’t stop crying thinking about it. Hello there, postpartum hormones. Nice to see you again ;)

My birth story is one that I just can’t wait to share with you all. We had a wonderful experience at our new hospital. The nurses were beyond amazing. Even though there was a lot of pain involved and a few minor glitches during labor I couldn’t have asked for a better birth overall. And the fact that Brigham came out pink and crying, well, that is ALL I could have asked for. I got that special moment. The wonderful moment right after birth where I know our baby is healthy and he is laid on my chest for the first time without any complications. I just thank God for giving me this. What a gift!

I hope to write up the entire birth story and post it by this weekend but I have no idea if I’ll have the time! I’m sure you all can understand!

Here are a few details to tide you over . . .

I went into labor on my own at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 1st. I began having contractions that were about 10 minutes apart and by 9:00 I knew that something was happening because I had to breathe through them. I called Naaman at work and let him know that I thought it was time but would time the contractions and call him back.  Sure enough they went to six minutes apart and I called him back to let him know that I was probably in labor. I called the OB office and the on-call doctor told me to come to the hospital to be checked out.

Naaman came home to get Landon and I and we were off to the hospital with the hope that this was not a false alarm. When I got to the hospital they put me on the monitor and I was indeed having contractions. But when they checked me I was still the same as I was on Thursday (3 cm and 75% effaced). I got upset and embarrassed thinking that I had wasted everyone’s time. The nurse said not to give up hope yet and she told me to walk the halls for an hour. As I walked around with Naaman the contractions definitely picked up in strength. I was stopping in the hallway and breathing through pretty painful contractions.

After about an hour I went back to the room and the nurse came in and checked me. I expected to hear that I was going home. But instead I had progressed to “almost” 4 cm and 80% effaced! She said that my cervix was changing so I was staying put! THIS WAS IT!!!  I was in active labor and I was being admitted.

We couldn’t believe it. We thought we had more time as I was only 38 weeks, 2 days. But obviously, Brigham just couldn’t wait to meet his mommy, daddy and big brother.

More details to come soon. And of course, a ton more photos to follow this announcement :)

38 Weeks Pregnant – Progress

The bump:

I don’t really think my belly is changing much at this point. I read that sometimes with second pregnancies you don’t fully “drop” until you are in active labor. But I can tell that B has officially run out of room in there. He is lopsided most of the time with his feet pushing the right side of my belly as far as it will stretch. Looks freaky!

Just a quick update today to keep everyone in the loop. I came down with a bad head cold this week and I have been miserable. Itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and runny nose and now it’s moving down to my throat and chest. Can I just say that sneezing and coughing while 38 weeks pregnant does not mix. I’m sure you can figure out what I mean!

So instead of hoping to meet Baby B sooner than later I’ve been crossing my legs and praying he stays put until this yucky sickness goes away. I want to be well and have more energy for when labor begins!

I had my weekly appointment today and progress has definitely been made. I was last checked at 35 weeks due to stress and contractions and was 1.5 cm dilated and 50% effaced. I am now 3 cm dilated and 75% effaced. Baby’s head has moved down a lot more than last time. Again, I know I could still be pregnant for two more weeks. I’m okay with that. I’m not very comfortable at all but as long as the doctor doesn’t recommend being induced like last time I’m just going to try to let things happen on their own.

So that’s it for this week! I promise I’ll try to let everyone know when “it’s time!” Can’t wait to say those two little words!!!

I fell down and other random updates

I fell down hard on the hardwood floor last night. At first it was a shock. A jolt to my entire body. I tripped and landed hard on my side but used my arm to block my belly. I just laid there for a couple of minutes. It really hurt! Landon was sitting in his booster seat at the dinner table. When I finally looked up at him he was staring down at me with a very concerned look on his face. Then he said, “Mama . . . boo boo!” Yes, buddy, mama got a big boo boo!

It’s our new thing. When he falls or gets a scratch, he says “boo boo” and then comes to me so I can kiss it and make it better. I hate when he gets hurt but I love that he stops crying whenever I kiss him. It’s a special little bond between us. That I can make the hurt magically disappear with my awesome mama kisses.

I woke up this morning to a very sore, very stiff body. Funny how just yesterday I said I was still feeling good. Now I feel like an old lady.

Baby B was moving around within an hour of me falling and is still rolling around today. I probably should have taken it easy but today I have had a strong and sudden urge to nest. I have been cleaning and reorganizing our basement tonight. I found the bottle warmer, baby sling, bottles, two tubs of clothing that were hidden under other tubs of random crap. I realize in my stiffness that I should have done this a lot earlier in my pregnancy. But I’ve got to use whatever motivation I have left to get things done.

Oh, and I also cleaned and vaccummed my car after probably a year of letting it be, well, gross. I wonder if this little burst of energy is a sign of impending labor?

My mom told me that the next full moon is April 28th so we shall see . . .

37 Weeks Pregnant – Full Term Baby!

The bump:

Ta dah! I did it! I made it to full term. Now picture me doing a little tap dance for your viewing enjoyment! I can’t believe I’m here. In a good place. Ready to welcome our new little boy into this world any day. As you all know it wasn’t easy getting here. Physically, this pregnancy deserves a golden award of some sort. Emotionally, it has been a bit more difficult.

This is a quote from a blog post I wrote on January 2, 2010 . . .

It’s a New Year.  2010.  There is so much to look forward to this year.  A new little miracle will enter my life and I want so much to be ready to welcome him into the arms of a happy, more centered mama.  I want to feel the unspeakable joy that I felt the day we brought Landon home.  I don’t think I’ve ever smiled a bigger smile in my life than on the day when we came home and put him in his crib for the first time.  I want that with B and I’m trying to remain hopeful that I’ll get that chance.

Guess what . . . I am definitely going to get that chance!!! If anyone had told me that I would be in this good of shape physically or emotionally when 2009 changed over to 2010, I would have laughed in their face. And then probably bawled because that’s how emotionally vulnerable I was at the time. Who knew that staying in therapy during my pregnancy and taking a tiny green pill was the answer? I never would have believed it. But I’m so glad I hung in there and did the work! I feel good. I feel great. I feel wonderful {That’s a What About Bob quote, there, for anyone who doesn’t recognize it}.

I am eagerly awaiting meeting our son. I cry at the thought of that first moment. Happy tears, of course, instead of tears of worry, fear and anxiety. Yuck. I hated those feelings.

Packing the hospital bag was fun! That’s right, I said it. It was pure joy. I was packing B some clothing yesterday, which included some preemie onesies that Landon had to wear because he lost so much weight in the beginning. I was smiling and giggling to myself. I want to see those tiny feet and skinny long legs. I want to see those gummy newborn yawns and strange facial expressions while he sleeps.

I honestly feel like God has given me another precious gift in a time that is so uncertain for our family. Will we live in this house? Will I find a job? What does our future hold? But I know those questions don’t really matter at all. What is certain is that this baby will be loved. Oh, how he will be loved. By me, by his daddy, by his brother. Love is all that matters.

And for anyone wondering, my appointment was yesterday. She didn’t do an internal and I’m quite alright with that. I know I was 1.5 cm dilated and 50% effaced a couple of weeks ago. Who knows what I am now but she said she definitely wants to check me next week. Baby’s heart rate was great, my blood pressure is normal and I have minimal contractions and/or swelling. So I guess we’ll all just have to stay tuned . . .  baby B is running this show!

Baby B’s Day at the Spa!

As I said in my previous post, my sister and mom hosted a mini baby shower for me at Spa Tuscano this past Saturday. It was relaxing and perfect! Exactly what I needed before labor and delivery, which is fast approaching!

Here are some photos from baby B’s special day. Special thanks to my awesome sister Kelli who planned this little “sprinkle” for me and B.

Angela, Molly B., Me and my sis Kelli in the European Bath Ritual Room. This part was amazing. They had three hot tubs each with a different temperature so I still got to get in the warm pool and enjoy the jets on my aching back.


Next we went upstairs to enjoy a fancy little lunch. Here we all are in our comfy robes.

 Cute little cupcakes from a shop called Sugar Mammas Bakery. . . so tasty!

The gift table even though I requested no gifts (sneaky people!)
 
 
And then we all got pedicures or manicures! It was heavenly!

Then we all ate the delicious cupcakes and opened presents.

Aren’t these overalls super adorable? My mom got these in honor of my late grandpa. Before he passed away he told me that he wanted to buy Landon a pair of overalls. My grandpa wore them all the time. Unfortunately he never got the chance to buy them because he passed two months before Landon was born. But Baby B will have some! And I might just have to get another matching pair for Landon. Yes, matching outfits for brothers {gasp!}

One of the gifts I was most surprised by {and giddy over} was this . . .

A brand new Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag! I’ve never owned a designer baby bag and so it’s amazing to be able to put this around my shoulder! It’s perfect and thanks to my lovely sisters I have one of my very own! I love it!

Many thanks to Kelli, Angela, Molly B., my mom and my aunt for sharing the day with me! And to my sisters Jenn and Cindi. I know you would have been there if you could have and you were both missed!

36 Weeks Pregnant

The bump @36 weeks, 1 day:

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Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy . . . we’re getting close people! And I’m getting excited. Excited to welcome our baby boy into this world and into our family. Excited to see what he will look like and act like. Excited for Naaman to meet his second son and for Landon to meet his little brother. It’s an exciting time here in our household.

I am still having contractions, some more painful at times, but it’s nothing that could be considered regular or time-able. And truthfully, I usually don’t have time to stop what I’m doing in order to let it pass. I’m much too busy chasing after our energetic toddler. Seriously, unless he is sleeping he does.not.stop.moving! Another thing that I am excited about for the new baby. Lots of chest to chest cuddles without him squirming out of my arms ; ) Oh, how I miss those newborn baby snuggles.

My back is crazy painful but I kind of expected that. I meant to post this update earlier today but we had an unexpected showing for the house and let me tell you . . . cleaning is just so difficult these days. You know it’s going to be a long day when your back is killing you by 10 a.m.! But it’s all worth it and I just keep telling myself . . .  not much longer, Molly, and look at the miracle you get at the end.

Naaman and I visited the new hospital where I will deliver this time. I think it’s safe to say that we will have an awesome experience here. I feel like we’re in very good hands. I talked to the maternity care coordinator concerning some things that bothered me about the hospital where I delivered Landon and she was quite baffled at some of the things I said. Long story short, she said that those things will not happen at this hospital. And I feel very confident that they won’t.

Since it’s the same hospital where Naaman works we swung by to meet his coworkers. They were all so nice especially his bosses. I suppose I better bring a nice housecoat as they’ll all probably show up to visit us on their breaks!

We also had our breastfeeding class. Out of about 20 women I was the only second-time mom, which made me feel a bit strange. But man I feel so much better about breastfeeding this time. I just didn’t know some of the things I know now . . . not saying this guarantees me an easy ride by any means. But at least this time I am armed with experience and knowledge. I truly hope with all my heart that it works but if it doesn’t it will not be for lack of trying!

Not much going on around the house to get ready. At this time we are still in our 2 bedroom home and therefore there is no nursery to decorate. Although I am still a bit bummed about it I know this is for the best. We will be putting a separate changing table in our master bedroom and it has plenty of room for some canvas bins to store all of baby B’s newborn goodies. He will sleep in the mini cosleeper that will attach to our bed. But we won’t be bringing that upstairs until May 1st, when our house temporarily goes off the market.

My mom came over and we went through the tubs of newborn clothing that I saved from Landon’s infancy. Oh my goodness, the memories just came flooding back! It’s amazing how with every little outfit I picked up I remembered a moment in time when Landon wore it. I thought I would cry but instead I found myself sporting an ear to ear grin. I guess it’s starting to feel more real. Yes, I know, I’m 36 weeks pregnant and it still has yet to fully sink in that in less that 30 days we’ll be bringing baby B home.

And one last note . . . I am super excited for tomorrow. My sister and my mom planned a little girls day for me at a local salon and spa. All throughout this pregnancy I have told them that I do not want any type of shower. It just felt inappropriate to me seeing as how I just had three amazing showers for Landon like, um, five minutes ago, haha! I’m not saying it’s bad if others want to have a shower for their second baby but for me it’s just not something that I wanted.

But . . . this is actually perfect. It will be two of my best friends, my mom and sister and my aunt. We’ll just hang out, have lunch and get pretty together! It sounds so relaxing right now and I need a pedicure in the worst way. So I’ll let you know how it goes.

And now I must go attempt to shave my legs in order to shimmy into my maternity swimsuit . . . it could get dangerous since I can’t see below my belly. If I don’t blog again someone please alert the cops ;)

35 Weeks Pregnant

The bump @35 weeks, 1 day:

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Just for comparison’s sake . . . my 36-week bump with Landon . . .

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What do you think? Bigger or smaller . . . lower or higher? Kind of fun to compare the two pregnancies! Personally, I think my belly with Landon was smaller and lower!

I had to skip week 34 due to the recent tragedy in our family. Things have been busy and difficult, to say the least. The visitation for my cousin was on Wednesday and the funeral was yesterday. There are no other words to say than . . . it sucked. Bad. I have cried a lot of tears and lost a lot of sleep over the past week and I know the stress is not good on me or the baby. But I still felt it necessary to go to both.

I’ve never seen anything more sad than a little boy who is smiling and laughing at his mother’s own funeral because he has no idea what is going on. Maybe it’s better that way, I don’t know. All I know is that it made me think about my time here on earth and how lucky I have been to have all of this time with my precious boy. I have soaked up every last hug and kiss from Landon and Naaman this week.

My out-of-town sisters came back for the funeral so we are all four spending some time together. It feels good to have my entire family together at a time like this.

Unfortunately, I think the stress has done a number on my pregnant body. I already wasn’t sleeping that great. This unexpected loss has only added to the insomnia. I wake up and look at the clock. It’s 3:00 a.m. and I’m wide awake . . . just thinking and sometimes weeping silently. Of course what comes next is contractions and tossing and turning to try to find a comfy spot to fall back asleep. It hasn’t worked and I wake up tired and in a zombie-like trance for the rest of the day.

I had an OB appointment on Wednesday afternoon right before the visitation. I told her about the recent stress and the contractions. Told her they were painful and I have been very crampy all night long. She wanted to do an internal. I am 1 1/2 cm dilated and 50% effaced. If I were a first-time mom I might take this to be a good sign. But since this is exactly how things went with Landon I’m not hopeful for an early debut. In fact, I’m guessing he’ll be right on time at somewhere around 40 weeks. Doctor thinks that he might be just a tad bit larger than Landon (who was an average 6 lbs, 14 oz at 39 weeks) but not by much. And even though I’m really uncomfortable at this point I’m okay with waiting. These last 5 weeks (or less) will fly by, I’m sure.

I had many internals with Landon and none of them ever hurt. But this one was different. It hurt like a mother trucker!!! I bled afterward, which I know is normal. But I’m pretty sure I am now losing parts of my mucous plug with every bathroom break. It’s not that alarming to me. The same thing happened very early with Landon and I still ended up being induced so only time will tell . . .

I have dropped a little but not enough to help me out in the breathing department. I dropped very early with Landon and never felt this kind of feeling. The feeling that someone is standing on your lungs and you can’t take a deep breath! I had a coughing attack the other night and really could not get enough air. And there is no position that brings relief. So I’m just waiting for baby B to drop a bit lower so I can take a nice deep breath. At this time I wheeze like an 80-year-old man with asthma after walking up a small flight of stairs!

We have our hospital tour (since I’ll be giving birth at a new hospital this time) and breastfeeding class next Wednesday. Lately I’ve been feeling pretty okay about breastfeeding not working out. This is a far cry from how I felt awhile back when I wrote this post. I guess I’m just not that worried about it. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But I refuse to spend weeks or months feeling guilty this time. I guess I’m just more realistic about it because I know what a challenge it was for both Landon and I. We’ll just gather all the good info we can and I’ll try my best when the time comes. I think what has helped me let go is that Landon is a beautiful, healthy and smart child and he was formula fed. I’m just so over feeling bad about it!

Well, that’s the pregnancy round up folks. We’re really in the home stretch now. I am anxiously awaiting baby B’s arrival with 34 days left or less! Gotta get that hospital bag packed!

33 Weeks Pregnant – and a few pics

Our photog sent me a few “teaser” pics through email. So instead of showing you my usual boring bump photo I thought I would show you the photos she sent to tide us over. I think they’re kinda awesome. I don’t know why I was worried! Can’t wait to see the rest . . .

My pretty little family 
Hugging his little brother
Belly pride :)

Mama’s blue-eyed angel

I had another appointment with our new OB yesterday and it went very well. Naaman was able to come and meet her and we both had a good feeling about her this time around. She sat down and answered some questions for us and made me feel better about some things.

It was all a good report . . . normal blood pressure, strong heartbeat, belly measuring perfectly. And we were even able to confirm that baby B is HEAD DOWN! I kinda figured that already because he got the hiccups the other night and I felt them way down below! He is actually in the same position that Landon stayed in for most of the third trimester. Butt is up by my belly button and feet pushing out to the right side of my belly. It looks quite strange, actually. But I’m glad he is preparing for his big reveal.

I start my two week OB appointments now. I have four weeks left and I’m considered full-term. I’m going to pick a weekend and go through the tubs of baby clothes that I saved and wash everything used and new. Naaman and I started to discuss action plans for when I go into labor. We are signed up for our pre-registration at the hospital. New insurance is figured out and ready to go (did I mention that everything with this baby is 100% paid, including OB appointments!!! OH HAPPY DAY!).

So there you have it! Inching closer and closer to two under two and getting pretty freaking excited about it on our way there!

32 Weeks Pregnant

The bump:

I’m 32 weeks pregnant, folks. 32 Weeks!!! I can’t believe that this journey will be over soon. Right now I am trying my best to enjoy it.  ALL of it. The good, the bad and the ugly. After all, all three of those happen during pregnancy. Unfortunately, I’ve experienced the ugly more times than I want this past week. On Sunday I had a bad headache, which is pretty unusual for me as I rarely get headaches. On Monday I figured out why . . . I came down with a nasty cold and of course couldn’t take anything worth a darn to get rid of the congestion.

On Monday night I noticed that my neck was getting stiff. This is never a good sign. It was five years ago this month that I was involved in a car accident and sustained severe whiplash. I suffered a soft tissue injury to my neck. Subsequently the discs in my C4 and C5 vertebrae sometimes bulge out if I do too much. We had showings last Saturday and Sunday so I was cleaning for two days straight prior to the weekend. I guess that did it! I have been in excruciating pain ever since Monday night. I was laid up in bed on Tuesday with the heating pad. There wasn’t much else I could do. Usually I would take a muscle relaxer or anti-inflammatory. But those are both a no no during pregnancy. So as my OB said, try to grin and bear it. Seriously? Grin? I don’t think so. Oh, how ironic that saying would turn out to be. Because yesterday was our maternity photo shoot!

The weather was perfect. Sunny and 64 degrees. Not a cloud in the sky. And since I knew snow was in the forecast I decided not to reschedule and “grin and bear it” just as the doctor had suggested. In hindsight it was probably a bad idea to go ahead with it. I was in so much pain yesterday that I almost threw up. It effects my entire right neck and shoulder with pain shooting down my arm and into my fingers. But we all got dressed and ready and went out on the shoot anyway. Honestly, I don’t know how good the photos will turn out. The photographer tried her best and she was so nice but Landon just did not want anything to do with having his picture taken yesterday. Naaman and I didn’t get as many shots together as I wanted because he was having to chase Landon all over the park! The photog told me she would let me know if she got enough good ones and if not we can do a mini shoot to make up for yesterday.

I wanted it to be fun but what with Landon’s meltdown and my pain level I’m not sure they’ll turn out that great. The sneak peek should be up in a week or two and I will share it here (if it’s good). We’ve never used this photographer but the photos on her blog are wonderful so maybe she will surprise us! She did say our son looks like the actor Macaulay Culkin when he was a child star and super cute. Bonus points for her. Yeah, he’s pretty darn cute whether he smiles or not ;)

My neck and arm feel a bit better this morning. Hopefully the worst is over and I can finally get back to normal again.

Birth "Wishes"

“If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans” . . .

I have been thinking a lot about what I would like our birth experience to be like this time around. It is difficult to envision it just because no one ever really knows what is going to happen. Having given birth once already I know firsthand how quickly plans can change. Things can go array and get scary pretty darn quickly.

I never wrote out a birth plan for Landon’s birth. I asked Naaman about it since he’s a nurse and he looked at me like I was off my rocker. I guess he already understands that things rarely go as planned so he didn’t see the need. I also asked my sister Kelli who gives epidurals to women in labor all day long and she has seen every possible scenario play out when it comes to labor. So I chose not to write one. I did, however, answer questions about what I wanted and didn’t want at our hospital pre-registration.

I don’t think that there is anything wrong with writing out a birth plan. If that helps you to prepare and to believe in what you want your experience to be then more power to you! It’s just not the right thing for me.

But I do have what I would call some birth “wishes” for baby B’s birthday. If it happens then hooray for us! If it doesn’t everything will work out in the end anyway.

Here it goes . . .

#1. Go into labor on my own

#2. Get the epidural as soon as they will allow (hey, at least I know my limits)

#3. Have a vaginal birth

#4. Breastfeed as soon as possible (we didn’t get the chance last time due to emergency circumstances)

#5. Have at least 30 minutes of “alone time” with the baby before family/friends come into the room

Yeah, that’s pretty much it. I just want our baby to be born healthy and not have to be taken away to the NICU. If they have to take him then of course we will understand. They’re just doing their jobs and they know a lot more than I do! But I think anyone can appreciate that I just want the chance to have my baby laid upon my chest all gooey and screaming. That is my ultimate wish : )

31 Weeks Pregnant

The bump:

Yesterday was like deja vu. I went grocery shopping with Landon because I hadn’t been in oh, a month, and we had a lot of things to pick up. We were there for an hour and a half. Admittedly, I was bending over, standing on my tippy toes, lifting my annoyed, 25-lb son in and out of the cart . . . doing too much I think.

I had the first contraction in the ice cream aisle. How fitting, right? At first I thought it was just a muscle cramp. But no, I would recognize those suckers from a mile away after having gone through it once already. These were painful and about a minute apart. I was thinking to myself, they’ll stop. You’re only 31 weeks along. And you’ve got to finish your list, Molly. Your super cool list neatly organized on your iphone grocery app. Get the cheese, Molly. Don’t forget the shredded cheese!!!

So I continued through each aisle, stopping along the way. I felt kind of clammy and sick to my stomach. In retrospect, I know I should have left but I didn’t listen to my body (or baby for that matter).

I told myself that when I got home I would quickly put the groceries away, put Landon down for an afternoon nap and then drink a ton of water and try to take a nap myself. Silly me. Do you know how hard it is to put groceries away when you have a toddler pulling everything out of the sacks? It took me 30 minutes and the contractions continued through the entire process.

As I was changing Landon’s diaper there was a knock on the door. It was our real estate agent dropping off more flyers and wanting to discuss our open house strategy. Ugh, that took another 30 minutes. I finally got Landon down for a nap at 4:00 p.m. I sat down on the sofa and chugged two glasses of ice water. I had called Naaman and told him that if the contractions hadn’t gone away that I would be calling the doctor. Luckily they subsided just in time to get Landon up and make dinner.

After the day had calmed down I started thinking about my pregnancy with Landon. I remember that I started progressing very early with him and wondered what week it was that I started dilating. So I hop on my nifty blog and look back. Yep, it was about the same time that I was dilated to 1 cm and 50% effaced. That’s when I realized . . . holy crap! This is really really happening. I know I’m already 31 weeks but it sincerely hit me just last night. I’m going through this again. My body is gearing up for the miracle of birth! The wheels are starting to turn, so to speak.

I’m excited to see how my body reacts this time around. After yesterday’s experience it seems like it might be quite similar to what happened with Landon. The painful contractions started two months ahead of time!

It is my hope to go into labor on my own and let baby B pick his own birthday. Pretty sure Landon was close to picking his own birthday as I was already 4.5 cm dilated and 100% effaced when I got to the hospital for the induction. I’m nervous, excited, thrilled to go through this again. It was the most exhilarating, out-of-this-world experience I’ve ever been through.

There are a few different things that have happened with this pregnancy that have been a shock.

#1. I am able to hold my pee a bit better (didn’t you all want to know that?). I still have to go a lot but I do think B is in a different position than Landon. He still kicks low but at least he is not torturing my bladder!

#2. My breasts started leaking colostrum at 26 weeks. Yeah, um, I don’t know what to think about this. It happens every single night and it’s not a ton of milk but there is definitely boob leakage. I am actually taking this as a good sign! I truly want breastfeeding to work this go round. I recently signed up for a breastfeeding class at our hospital (we skipped it last time). I hope that it helps us prepare for the big job ahead. I know it won’t be easy but I’m hoping that my body cooperates this time and that I can avoid some of the early mistakes I made that interfered with the nursing process.

#3. I am sad to report that I have officially joined the stretch mark club :( At first I just thought that it was dry skin but no, they are the nightmare is real. There are small marks on my left side and I’m disappointed. I was somehow lucky enough to avoid them completely last time but no such luck this time. They are barely noticeable and I hope they stay that way. Let’s all chant together . . . no more stretch marks, no more stretch marks!!!