A Year Ago

A year ago I gave birth to our third, and last, little boy. I was 40 weeks exactly and he was more than ready to quickly make his way earthside. I have been lucky all my births have been uncomplicated and relatively easy.

O is a year old today and I still can’t believe it. He was our surprise (well, they all were technically surprises and rainbow babies) and we cannot love him more.

I am amazed every day at our little family of five. There are good days and not so good days (and nights!) but, the really great days outnumber the bad ones.

I am thankful we are here; healthy, happy and together.

I am lucky.

I am so lucky.

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Queen of the Hive

It has been far too long since I’ve heard the familiar buzz of a tattoo gun. 5 years, give or take. I’ve always wanted more but, had to wait because of my pregnancies, then breastfeeding, and other necessities (like buying our first home, remodeling, then selling it, then buying our second home then moving/settling in, then landscaping and painting the exterior… oy!).

Now that things have begun to calm down (not really though because hello, we have 3 kids!) it’s time.

It’s ME time.

It’s time to get all the designs I’ve been working on the last 5ish years out of my head and onto my skin.

C’s birth date was etched onto my wrist when he was about 7 months old. I had plans to get L’s birth date done around his first birthday but, that was when I found out I was (surprise!) pregnant with our third. O is 7 months old now so no more excuses.

It was worth the wait to get both L and O’s birth dates at the same time. Just simple Roman numerals to represent three special dates and three special little boys.

Adding to their birth dates is a concept I came up with soon after I found out I was having our third boy. The Husband stated I would be the “queen” with all my little monsters. While I am out numbered, I’m well loved.

I chose a queen bee because she (and the collective hive) represent family, unity, working together, communication, and striving for/enjoying the sweetness of life. The crown is simple (because I’m not that bougie, ha). It incorporates an alternative triple moon symbol. I wanted the center or “full moon” to be a hexagon as a nod to a beehive. C was born during a full moon, L during a waxing moon and then O during a waning moon. The body of the bee includes a pentacle to represent the five of us. I especially love the dotwork shading style she used as it doesn’t feel or look too dark/heavy. Honestly, this pretty queen bee could not be a more perfect representation of our family.

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Two Years & Counting

This is my youngest, O, he’s 6 months old. My middle child, L, turned 2 a few days ago which means I’ve been exclusively breastfeeding for 2 years AND tandem feeding both for 6 months.

I just want to take a moment to pat myself on the back because I wasn’t sure I would be able to breastfeed (since I wasn’t successful with my oldest) for my initial goal of 6 months let alone 2 years and counting.

I nurse both on demand and I don’t pump (no time!) which means I don’t use bottles or even pacifiers. I’ve nursed them everywhere and anywhere possible. In cars, restaurants, theme parks, on theme park rides. It sounds harder than it is, really.

Yes, we have had to plan our outings around their schedules but, that’s what comes with having little ones. Honestly, there’s no such thing as a schedule. Just when you think you’ve got some semblance of a schedule, one kid will inevitably decide to change it up.

I’ve learned to slow down, let the chores go (well, sometimes) and just be in the moment with them. I’ve learned how to multi-task like a boss! And it’s nice not having to worry about buying formula or lugging around bottles in an already full diaper bag.

My two babies rely on me for nourishment and comfort. It’s equal parts exhausting and empowering. It can also be frustrating as fuck. Especially when both are cry-whining and I’m just trying to get a moment to finally pee or spend time with my eldest.

I try to keep perspective and think about how fleeting these moments are in the grand scheme of LIFE. They’re only babies for a short time and one day (one day!) they won’t come running to me for every little thing.

Kudos to all my fellow mamas (whether you BF or use formula or are somewhere in between), this shite is hard work!

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L Turns Two!

Our sweet Luca-bear turned two today.

Did I mention he was a ‘surprise’ baby?

After almost 5 years of ‘not really trying but not really preventing’ and three miscarriages, we had pretty much resigned ourselves to the fact that we would only have one child.

People would ask if we were going to have more kids all the time. What can you say to those nosy people? Laugh it off? Say you only wanted one (but wouldn’t mind another). Or maybe, ‘Oh, sure thing. Just getting over another pesky miscarriage then we’ll keep at it!’

Pfft.

To say that I was shocked when I found out would be an understatement. I was in denial. I mean, the Husband was the one who noticed the difference in me and my lack of a cycle (even though I’ve never really been regular). He was the one who suggested I take a pregnancy test.

Side note : He did the same when I was pregnant with C. And again when I was pregnant with O. I swear he knows my body better than I do, ha.

We were so excited to learn we’d have another little monster to love. My pregnancy with L was quite different from C’s. I was way more nauseous in the beginning. Then developed GD which royally sucked all the fun out of it at first but, in the end, it was a good thing. It was the push I needed to turn things around and develop better habits for myself and him.

Thankfully, my GD was easily diet controlled and it felt like a strange science experiment every time I had to prick my fingers (4x a day). I kicked GD’s ass and felt amazing the rest of my pregnancy.

My labor and delivery with L was incredibly convenient (delivered on a Saturday evening) and easy (three pushes!). L breastfed like a champ and we both thrived.

Then at 7 months, after a scary ER trip, we learned he was allergic to pretty much everything (wheat, peanuts, soy, milk, eggs). It was an eye opener. Since I was exclusively breastfeeding him (and determined not to stop), I had to make drastic changes to my eating habits. I changed to an allergy-free diet. Paleo without the eggs, milk/cheese. It was difficult but, necessary.

Now, at two years, I’m proud to say I’m still breastfeeding. My original goal was 6 months, then it became 1 year, then 18 months. Two years of breastfeeding on demand (I never used bottles or pacifiers, and hardly pump because I find it more inconvenient than helpful) is equal parts exhausting and empowering. Sure there are days when I feel touched out and moody AF but, the moment passes as quickly as it comes. I am truly amazed at what my body – women’s bodies – can do.

Having achieved my 2 year goal the question now is, when will I wean him? Honestly, I don’t know the answer to that. I feel it would be best if L self-weaned. As it is, he can go the whole day without nursing if needed. He nurses to sleep (daily nap and at bedtime) usually and I think, eventually, he’ll drop both when he’s ready.

My little L isn’t so little any more and it has been so fun to watch him grow. He’s every bit a curious toddler and well into his “terrible twos”. He will be the one to keep the Husband and I on our toes.

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O’s Birth Story

Our youngest little monster turned 6 months old yesterday. I can’t hardly believe he’s been part of our daily lives for that long. He was the missing piece we didn’t know we needed.

And so (finally), I’d like to share his birth story as written a few weeks after his birth.

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Our littlest love has arrived!

Owen Nicholas was born on his due date, Thursday February 16th at 7:55p, weighing in at 8.6 lbs and 19.6″ long.

I woke up at 6am the morning of the 16th to pee and my water broke just as I was about to get out of bed. I rushed to the bathroom to make sure it wasn’t a false alarm. It wasn’t and I totally did a happy dance because I had gone into labor naturally instead of being induced (the next day) which was my fear.

I woke up the Husband (who decided to take the day off, just in case) to let him know and told him we can take our time as I wasn’t feeling any major contractions just yet. So, we went about our morning routine. I took a shower, got dressed, put makeup on, made breakfast for everyone and grabbed my hospital bag.

We loaded up my car and dropped off our eldest C at school. Next we headed to my IL’s house to drop off L. We told them we’d keep them updated as things progressed and then headed to the hospital.

After getting checked in to Labor and Delivery, we settled into the birthing room and the nurse checked me. I was only 3cm dilated and my cervix was high and thick so she started me on a very low dose of pitocin. By then I was getting mild contractions but none were painful.

The pitocin worked to jump start my labor. The nurse mentioned how sensitive my body was to it as it was only about a 2ml dose. I was getting frequent contractions as morning turned into afternoon. I breathed through them and was still able to eat a light lunch and hold a conversation as they occurred.

By 1p I decided to stand up, pace the floor and sway back and forth to help alleviate the pain and get baby down lower. My nurse came in at 230p to let me know the anesthesiologist was about to start on a c-section patient and I wouldn’t be able to get an epidural for another hour. Not the best news but, at that point I was managing my pain well so I didn’t mind waiting a bit.

Once 330p rolled around my nurse came in with the anesthesiologist and they began setting up for the procedure. Having gone through this twice before I knew what to expect but, I couldn’t help but feel a little nervous. Thankfully, the doctor was quick and efficient. He talked me through what he was doing and it helped knowing what I was about to feel etc.

Once the epidural was in, I was checked and unfortunately was still at 4cm. I laid on my side and my pitocin was increased a bit to help my labor along.

At about 7p I started feeling my contractions again, this time with pressure. I knew I was getting close because the contractions were getting closer and pressure was building up. At this time there was a shift change so a new nurse came in to introduce herself to us. She asked me how I was feeling and I told her it was almost time. She quickly got everything in the room ready to go; the baby station, instruments etc. She also got info on my OB and it turns out she was wrapping up a c-section so she’d be on her way over to me soon.

I didn’t expect my OB to deliver O since C and L were delivered by an on call OB (both were born on a weekend), but it happened to work out that way. I came in toward the end of her shift but she stayed just so she could deliver O. It was definitely reassuring and very sweet.

By 745p everything and everyone was ready to go. My nurse and OB coached me through what I had to do while the Husband held my hand (and my left leg up, ha). I pushed for about two minutes and then O was born! The nurse immediately put him on my chest for ‘skin to skin’. Getting to hold our brand new baby for ‘golden hour’ is one of the best feelings, ever.

We were all shocked at how quickly it all happened. What truly surprised me was the fact that I didn’t need a episiotomy this time around. That was a relief as my recovery would be much easier. O latched during our golden hour and I’ve been exclusively breastfeeding him since!

I cannot express the love I have for him. Our hearts have expanded ten-fold now that we are a family of five.

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Seven

Tomorrow is C’s 7th birthday.

SEVEN!

I could go on and on about how time flies, how he’s still my baby, my first little monster, the one who made me a mom and how I wish he wouldn’t grow up so fast…

The fact is, he IS growing up. Right before our eyes he went from baby, to toddler, to big brother and a big kid. He’s becoming his own person. He’s discovering his likes and dislikes, who he is and where he fits in the world. He’s incredibly smart and silly, sensitive and sweet. He’s also very inquisitive, full of energy and a great big brother. I love to see his face light up when he’s happy or excited. Or when he laughs out loud while playing a game, reading or watching a movie.

He can push our buttons sometimes and in some ways he’s can still be a ‘baby’ but, it’s all a part of learning and growing up. Hell, WE are still learning how to navigate this whole parenting thing. It’s not easy. We’ve second guessed ourselves a lot and it requires so much patience (SO MUCH!). Honestly, we just don’t want to mess him/them up. I figure as long as we do the best we can to teach, to encourage, to support and show him how much he’s loved (because he’s so very loved), then everything will be ok.

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