Day in the Life // One Month + Three Kids

>> Monday, November 26, 2018

Happy one month to Eden Rhys! I'm over four weeks in and still have very little idea how to manage everything. Instead, I feel like I've been along for the ride.



Here's a loose schedule of what my days are looking like lately.

7 AM -- Ada and Eloise wake up. Stephen heats up some instant oatmeal for them

7:15 AM -- Stephen leaves for work and I rush around getting any last-minute stuff for school (Ada) and preschool (Tuesdays/Thursdays for Eloise)

7:45 AM -- I tend to get Eden up for the day at this time unless she's already awake herself. Gives me time to change and nurse her before Ada gets on the bus. Also gives me time to get her ready if we're driving to preschool.

8 AM -- Ada's off to school

8:30 AM -- We're either home and I'm picking up the living room and kitchen or we're off to preschool and I'm running errands. This is where I sometimes and regretful that I signed Eloise up for anything. On one hand, it gives her something special to do when it would otherwise be difficult for me to take her places with the baby. On the other hand, it messes with the schedule and I don't really get much time out of it for myself. Oh, if we are home, I've been trying to prep dinner during this time. And by prep dinner, I mean toss a bunch of stuff in the crock pot.

9 AM -- Eden is taking her longest nap of the day. Hopefully. She naps really well for Stephen and not so much for me. But if all is good, she'll sleep 2 hours in her nursery in the MamaRoo while I check in on the video monitor. Eloise and I retreat to the basement to play.

11 AM -- Nurse Eden while Eloise watches TV. We hang out in the living room and I make Eloise a quick lunch. Usually a sandwich (PBJ or grilled cheese) and something quick for myself.

(((On preschool days, we leave the house around 11:15 to pick up Eloise.)))

12 PM -- Noon or so when it's about time for Eden to go down for another nap. Sometimes -- depending on the day -- this is later, more like 12:30. I love when this happens because I MIGHT have the opportunity for the girls to take simultaneous naps.

1 PM -- I take Eloise upstairs, we read a couple books and sing a couple songs. Then I cross my fingers that she'll nap. She's been OK about it lately, but we did hit a pretty bad patch in the last couple weeks where the nap was maybe 45 minutes to an hour at most. With a new nightlight, she'll tend to stay upstairs closer to two hours.

By the way: If I got the girls taking naps at the same time . . . I do absolutely nothing productive. I celebrate the small wins, right?

2-2:30 PM -- Eden wakes up somewhere in here and I nurse her. Then we hang out and wait for Eloise to wake.

3 PM -- Yay! Cross country season is over! Stephen can actually get home as early as 3 PM. Sometimes he'll stay and do his run after school. Other times, he'll come home right away and let me pass off the baby so I can get in a run. I've been sticking to just 3 miles until I have my 6-week appointment next week. It feels great to get out even in the cold weather.

4 PM -- Ada gets home from school. If I had gone running, Stephen will go out and get in his sweat session. I go through Ada's blue folder and school bag. I pack her lunch for the next day at this time. Eden may be sleeping around now. And Eloise is usually happy to play with Play Doh or paint.

5 PM -- Dinner for the girls. And lately for us. Generally, Stephen and I actually prefer to give the girls dinner earlier than we eat ourselves, but you'll see how our night shakes out and why this isn't necessarily working.

6 PM -- Family time. We've been enjoying fires in the fireplace. And generally hanging together. I'll be fully honest and say that this is the most chaotic time of the day. Ada and Eloise may be fighting. We may be trying to parent and having it not work very well. The baby is typically very cranky during this time. There's sometimes cluster feeding in here. I hate when that happens and may be crying a bit. There are baths in there some nights, too. Basically 6-7 is really hard right now.

7 PM -- Head to bed. We go upstairs with Ada and Eloise. Brush teeth. Read books (Stephen does Eloise, I do Ada with the baby, who is usually screaming). The goal is bedtime by around 7:30.

7:45 PM -- Usually feed Eden YET AGAIN. It drives me absolutely batty. But I know this period is relatively short, so I'm trying to stay cool about it. Right now we're having Eden sleep the first portion of the night in her MamaRoo in the living room while Stephen hangs/sleeps nearby. She had been doing a patter of four hours of sleep, three hours, and then another 2-3 hours. A couple nights ago she did a six-hour stretch! And then a seven-hour stretch the next night! Last night . . . it was a three-hour stretch. Sigh.

8 PM -- I go to bed upstairs. I have trouble sleeping with the baby in our room because of the constant noise. So, I head upstairs and try to get in as much sleep as I can. This is when Stephen and I used to eat dinner and talk. We haven't really had much time for that lately. Hopefully getting into a better nighttime routine within the next month that involves Eden sleeping upstairs in her nursery.

Feeding has generally been around midnight and then 4AM

So, that's the craziness that is life right now over here. Like I said, I crave routine and patterns . . . so the newborn days are hard for me. I'm looking forward to getting more and more into a schedule soon. Do any of you follow anything that works generally well for you? I know it's controversial, but a loose Babywise schedule actually did work well for us with Eloise. It was mostly the Eat, Play, Sleep pattern of it.

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How Things Are Going . . .

>> Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Another question I've been getting from people in my real life + people online is how transitioning to life with three kids is going. Well, it's actually quite perfect. I've got everything so under control. So much so, that as I write this very blog post, I just successfully put down Eloise and Eden for simultaneous naps!

Super mom, right?

Wrong.



I have no clue what I'm doing. Of course, we're just two weeks in, so it's not fair for me to call myself a failure yet. I'll say that Stephen's two weeks off haven't been necessarily as dreamy as they sounded on paper. He's had to continue coaching, including meets, and doing grading and other responsibilities. So, I've been sort of trial-by-fire thrown into solo parenting three kids a few times already. And it's scary, guys. I mean, I feel completely out of my element.

It's not that I wasn't expecting a transition. Even a major transition. I expected it. But I suppose I thought maybe I'd magically have a bit more figured out with the newborn stuff fresher in my mind this time around. But that's the thing. I think what's more difficult than having three kids is having a newborn and a spirited toddler. Ada's at school much of the day, so figuring out how to tend to a toddler's needs (diapers, naps, meltdowns, etc.) and a newborn's needs (constant nursing, diapers, fussy times, naps, etc.) . . . it's just --

(((Baby started screaming from her swing nap)))

Ok. Where was I?

Everyone has needs.

And I'm not yet good at meeting them all at once. The best tip you guys shared with me for parenting three kids is to use my baby carrier, like, all the time. I have four baby carriers! A Moby Wrap, Ergo 360, Maya wrap, and Woven wrap. So far, Eden sort of only likes the Ergo with the infant insert if I'm constantly moving (constantly!). But getting her to fall asleep is impossible, so she basically just cries and fusses while I attempt to do things like cook, clean, change diapers, help with homework (not super easy with a carrier IMO).

(((Screaming again -- I give up on the nap despite all the frantic yawning I'm seeing)))

Yeah. So, getting used to a toddler and a newborn is kicking my butt. I am hoping time will help. I am hoping I'll learn some stuff as I go along. I am hoping that she'll start liking the baby carrier. I'm hoping that we can get this naps-in-the-nursery thing down even if she has to sleep in a swing until she's six months old (like Eloise did! Thanks to Precious Little Sleep -- which is a great resource, btw!).

But right now I'm feeling like a master of nothing, so it's humbling. (For example, I have absolutely no idea how I'll return to freelance writing with the current stretching of my energies.) That said, both Eloise and Ada love having a little sister. They both beg to hold and kiss her all the time. In fact, they fight over it, which has been a bit of an issue. I'm just happy that there aren't sore feelings around bringing home another child. Ada's been a bit sensitive and possessive (she's MY baby).

Sorry to not have a more promising outlook to share at this moment.

(((Oh, wait. Maybe Eden is going to nap! How have her screams not woken Eloise?)))

I will say that emotionally I'm feeling good after delivery. I haven't been weepy or depressed or filled with anxiety, which is similar to what I experienced after Eloise (with Ada I did experience some PPD). I'm not feeling overwhelmed despite how it sounds. I just am hoping to figure out some stuff. To find a groove. Any kind of groove will do. But I'm not being too hard on myself. Dinner has been scrambled eggs and toaster waffles. I had a sincere talk with Ada about not having a birthday party this year because it's too much to toss into the equation.

In other words: I'm going easy on myself. We're stepping back from tons of responsibilities as a family and trying to have a quiet holiday + winter season. We're giving our family some grace. Maybe next time when I write about being a family of five, I'll have some words of wisdom to share.

Until then -- do YOU have any advice for me?

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Birth // Elective Induction

>> Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Eden was born at 39 weeks and 4 days. I scheduled her birth. No, I wasn't overdue. No, I didn't have a pressing medical concern. My birth was an elective induction. If you asked me how I feel about elective inductions before I had Ada, I would have told you that I would never, ever do such a thing. The baby should take her time -- however long that is -- and come when she's ready. I would tell you that drugs to augment labor are bad because they can lead to painful, intense contractions and, as a result, more and more interventions.

My experience with inducing birth, though, has been positive.

Twice.

But first I'll step back and explain how I came to the decision to schedule Eden's birthday.



HISTORY


It starts with my water breaking on June 14th 2016. I had been so anxious about having GBS (highly colonized with UTIs) during Eloise's pregnancy. So, I was on high lookout for my waters breaking in the final weeks of pregnancy. My water did end up breaking before contractions started. I was only dilated to a 2 and barely effaced. It was an extremely small trickle I could have easily dismissed as peeing myself. Still, I went into the hospital and was immediately hooked up to antibiotics and pitocin. My labor was considered "augmented" because my waters had ruptured on their own but nothing else happened.

That experience as it unraveled scared the heck out of me. All along I had believed that using drugs like pitocin were bad, no, HORRIBLE things. I immediately thought I'd need tons of pain medication or I'd end up with a c-section due to the baby being in distress. Why? Well, because all the "natural" birth stuff I had read and watched basically laid out that scenario as undeniable fact. I'm not saying that these interventions DO NOT lead to unnecessary interventions, but I am trying to share that it's not the case 100 percent of the time.

In the end, I labored with Eloise through mild contractions that turned "real" (based on my experience with spontaneous labor with Ada) after about four hours. Then my body transitioned quickly from 4/5 centimeters to 10 cm and pushing, with the pushing stage being really quick. And no pain meds or epidural were necessary. While the contractions were definitely intense, I found them not much worse than my "natural" ones with Ada.

REASONS


With that experience in the back of my mind, I simply had asked my doctor about his thoughts on elective induction as I got closer to my due date. He said my cervix was favorable. He said that as a third-time mom, things may go better than if I was a first-time mom. He didn't push me either way and simply said it was my choice, and he'd be happy either way.

Here were some of my own considerations. (And please keep in mind that these were MY personal reasons. You are free to completely roll your eyes or disagree with these thoughts, but keep comments civil, please.)

  • We do not have family who live in our area. We tried piecing together childcare with friends, but it was tough depending on the time of day -- we were fortunate that my mother-in-law was willing to stay with us for a couple weeks in anticipation, but with nothing happening . . . help was wearing thin.
  • I started having some strange medical stuff toward the end of pregnancy. Again, nothing that required me to be induced, but near-fainting spells daily, blood pressure that was raising slightly, I was barely able to eat between morning sickness and acid reflux, and my anxiety was raising. I tend to develop keen anxiety during pregnancy since my losses, but as time went on, I became convinced something bad would happen the longer we waited.
  • My labors and deliveries are relatively fast. With Ada I was in labor for like 5 hours before pushing as a first time mom. With Eloise, once I got dilated to a 4, I had her within an hour. With Eden, I was dilated to a 3-4 at my last appointment. While it's not a reason to induce, having GBS again did make me uncomfortable because I wanted to ensure I'd get appropriate dosage of the antibiotics before birth.
  • My experience with Eloise's essentially induced birth was very positive, so I felt I knew what I was getting myself into. 
  • Current research is also trending toward 39 weeks as a more favorable time to induce rather than after 40 weeks.
  • Also: I knew my date of conception (due to tracking ovulation several ways, having a confirmation ultrasound for ovulation, and timing of progesterone supplements), so I knew I was truly as far along as I thought.

With all this on my mind, I set October 25th as Eden's birth date. This isn't to say I didn't still have some worry and reservations (until the morning we went in). But after a few days, I felt more at peace with our decision.

PROCESS


The process of my birth with Eden was very similar to what I experienced with Eloise. My water didn't break first, but everything else more or less progressed in the same way.

  • I was hooked up to an IV upon admission into the hospital. Fluids, antibiotics, and pitocin were put in right away. 
  • We started on 2 units of pitocin, increasing by 2 units every half hour until we reached 16. 
  • I was hooked up for continuous monitoring, but I was able to walk around with my medication "tree" and mobile monitor. I'll admit this is the biggest downside in my opinion. It's a lot of stuff to lug around. Getting into the shower, walking around, bouncing on a birth ball -- I had to contend with wires and tubes. This time around I was prepared for it, though.
  • The difference is that my doctor broke my water after I'd received enough of the antibiotics. I was afraid that things would immediately get intense, but that wasn't my experience. It still took a couple hours to get really productive contractions.
  • Just like with Eloise, I dilated from 4/5 centimeters to 10 within a short timeframe. With Eloise it took about an hour. With Eden it took just 20 minutes.
  • The pushing stage with Eloise was like 0 minutes. She basically flew out of me. With Eden, it took 3 minutes with three series of pushes. (Much better than 2 hours with Ada! But I realize that's more of a second, third-time mom thing than an induction thing.)

PAIN, ETC.


Pain is the factor most people ask me about with pitocin. I feel I really lucked out this time around because none of the contractions I had before breaking my water and even in the couple hours following were bad enough to breathe through. By the time they hurt, they were STRONG but  -- in my opinion -- not any worse than I experienced with my unmedicated birth with Ada.

Another thing people ask about is the time between the contractions. I don't know how much pitocin is the ceiling, but on a level 16, my contractions weren't spaced any closer than 2 minutes apart. Most of the time they were between 2-3 minutes. I didn't experience the whole overwhelming, back-to-back contractions that I have read about.

Basically, by the time I was begging for an epidural (something that's happened in all my births, including Ada's), I was at a 9 and nearly ready to push.

What about Eden? The baby is constantly monitored throughout elective induction. And I have been fortunate that both Eloise and Eden tolerated the drugs well. I was constantly reminded that the nurses were watching for baby's health throughout the process.



I suppose I wanted to write this post to share my experience. Again, I never thought I'd elect to induce. I was actually afraid of it and disagreed with choosing when to have a baby. But now I'm more for choice. That's not to say I think everyone should elect to induce. That's not to say I don't still question my own decision at times. But I also don't think it should be regarded poorly. (Trust me. I got a lot of negative feedback.)

In the end, we were fortunate to have a healthy mom and happy baby. If you'd like to read more about my emotions through the process, check out Eden's birth story.

If you have any other questions, I'd be happy to answer them!

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