Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Chaos Coordinator

The transition from 2 to 3 kids has gone way smoother than I expected, but the added responsibility of keeping another human being alive has definitely put an even bigger strain on my time.  Keeping up with my blog has been one of the many things that has fallen by the wayside.  Pooping in private is another of life's little luxuries that I've given up.

Things around Sams Manor are understandably chaotic, especially since my return to work at the end of July.  Even though I work from home and only work part-time now, it really isn't any easier than if I were in an office 40 hours per week.  In some aspects, it's more difficult b/c I'm trying to do my full workload in less time, with 3 kids constantly interrupting me for one thing or another.  And while I realize that sounds like a complaint, it isn't meant to be.  I knew what I was taking on when I accepted the offer to work at home and I also can't even begin to describe how grateful I am that I can be home with my kids and still earn a living.  It just means that I have to work harder.  Where my biggest pre-Sawyer work challenge was keeping the condensation on my coffee cup from leaving a ring on my desk, now I'm faced with the daily test of guessing how many goldfish crackers will keep the 3 year old at bay long enough for me to finish nursing the baby I'm balancing on my lap on a boppy pillow while completing as many invoices as possible in that time.

In addition to the new tricks I'm learning while working at home, there is the regular old Mommy stuff that still presents regular challenges.  I have the natural maternal instinct, but there's so much more to motherhood than that.  For me, it's the mundane stuff that drains me the most.  It takes a lot of energy to care for 3 kids.  From the moment I wake up until I collapse into bed at night, I'm giving everything I have to my family.  Just getting out of bed to take my morning pee is a multi-step process.  Usually what wakes me is a hungry baby, rooting on his fist.  To keep him from crying and waking up the rest of the house, I have to get him latched onto my boob just as quickly as possible.  Taking the time to go to the bathroom is like playing Russian Roulette because if he starts crying before I'm done, the 3 year old could wake up and then all hell breaks loose.  After the nursing, burping, and inevitable diaper change, I have to tenderly put the baby back in his bassinet to avoid jarring him awake and repeating the nursing and burping process all over again.  If I accomplish this miraculous feat, my reward is emptying my full bladder before I piss my pants.  Then I have to decide if it's worth it to try to snag another hour or so of sleep, or take an uninterrupted shower.  Both of these are sanity savers, but I can never get both in one day.  A choice must be made and it all hinges on how tired I am in the moment.

As each day wears on, there are a million and one instances where I apply my ever-improving multitasking skills.  If it weren't for being able to do 10 things at once, nothing would ever get done.  I spend the majority of the week doing it all on my own while the hubs is working, so I have plenty of time to hone my craft.  Some days I feel like Wonder Woman and some days I just wonder what the fuck I'm doing.  More so the latter than the former, to be honest.  It's EXHAUSTING.

For all the times I look around my messy house and collapse in a teary-eyed heap amidst the broken crayons, stickers, and miniature Shopkin toys, I know I wouldn't give it up for anything in the world.  Motherhood is one of those things that drains and fulfills in equal measure.  I may go days, weeks, or even months without a single break.  I may work myself silly trying to keep up with everything until I feel like I absolutely won't make it another moment at that pace.  But then Presley will dance in the middle of the living room floor with such happy abandon, singing along to her favorite song.  In that moment, with her big, almond eyes sparkling with glee and her curly hair flying in all directions as she twirls and wiggles to the music, I'm so full of pride and love, I could burst.  Or I'll be walking down the hallway, burdened with yet another heaping pile of laundry to wash, when I'll overhear Trinity singing and playing her guitar.  As her voice sends out an undulating wave of emotion, it hits me in the face with all the force of a tsunami.  That beautiful, awkward, talented teenager of mine reminds me to hold fast each moment because it is gone in a flash. I recall easily the time not so long ago when it felt like just her and me vs the world.  Before she became this foreign person that I know less and less about each day.  Her drive to figure things out for herself both infuriates me and make me so incredibly proud.  Even Sawyer, who hasn't even been in this world for 3 months yet, gives me the "Mommy high" that keeps me pushing forward.  I'll hear him rooting and sucking on his fist, kicking his little legs in increasing frustration.  When I finally give up the hope of him falling back to sleep and giving me another moment before facing what is sure to be a busy day, I'll lean over to scoop him out of his bassinet and he'll light up the room with the biggest smile I've ever seen.  As I hold him in my arms and he latches on to start eating, his little fist will reach out and catch my finger, sending my heart into flutters as I stare down at my steely-eyed  baby boy.

It took me two days to write this blog post.  Each time I'd start to write, someone would need something from me and I'd hit the save button and grunt, resentful of the interruption in my thoughts.  This is the way my life is at the moment.  I'm not Trish, I'm Mama.  There is no time to write or cross stitch or indulge in the little things that are just for me.  This can be a very bitter pill to swallow.  But I know someday I'm going to look around my clean, organized house and wish there were toys strewn across the floor or crayon marks on the wall.  I'm going to have peace and order and wish for the chaos.  

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Birth Story: Sawyer Edition

With my first baby, my water broke spontaneously at 4am.  Thirteen hours and 21 minutes later, she was here and I was suddenly a Mom.

With my second baby, I woke up at 1am to painful contractions that came steadily and grew stronger for 2 hours before I admitted it was time to go to the hospital.  Five hours and 27 minutes later, she was here and I was suddenly a Mom of two.

This is the story of my third and last baby, who was the only baby that came at a time when I was mostly sure I didn't want any more children.  He is the only baby I didn't cry and pray and agonize over for years.  He was the biggest surprise of our lives, and completes our family perfectly.

The last several weeks of my pregnancy with Sawyer were typically uncomfortable.  I was sleep deprived, had recurring bouts of nausea, and just generally over the miracle of pregnancy.  At what turned out to be my final prenatal checkup, my doctor, my hero, gave me the option of scheduling an induction and I don't think he even finished his sentence before I said yes.  Call it selfish, but I was ready and at 39 weeks and 1 day gestation and my pre-labor progress all but completely stalled, it was a no-brainer.  My Virgo side was ecstatic for the opportunity to prepare and plan.  There was literally no down side to induction that I could see.

Monday night, I couldn't sleep.  I knew it would be that way.  I'm far too anxious a person to know a life-changing moment is mere hours away without my brain running a million miles a minute.  I finally gave up on trying to sleep around 4am Tuesday morning.  I got up, ate a very small breakfast, showered, and then checked and re-checked my bags before loading everything into the car.  We dropped the oldest two kids off with our friend and made our way to the hospital.  Our spirits were high as we sailed into the birthing center at 6:30am and got settled.

We met our RN, Shannon, and got to spend a lot of time chatting and bonding with her before things kicked off.  The plan was simple: 1 round of antibiotics (I was GBS positive...just like I had been w/ my 2 previous pregnancies), low dose of pitocin, another round of antibiotics, increase pitocin, break water, have baby.  Sometime between 8:30 and 9am, the first round of antibiotics was finished so the pitocin was started at a low dose.  I don't recall when the contractions began, but I do recall them being easy to breathe through.  My labor music was playing softly in the background and I was still able to be my sarcastic self in the midst of everything.  At some point around 10:30 or 11, right before they were going to increase the pitocin, I felt a hard bump against my pelvis.  The pain radiated for a couple minutes before it eased, and then I felt the familiar gush of my water breaking.  After a quick check, followed by an ultrasound to verify, we discovered Sawyer decided to roll over and get into the sunnyside up position.  That's when things got real.

There was meconium in the water, so we knew he had pooped.  With the second round of antibiotics in, it was safe for him to come, so the pitocin was increased and labor went into full swing.  There was no panic or sense of urgency.  My body did was it built to do and unlike my previous labor, I felt like I had a handle on the pain, even when the contractions were on top of each other.  At some point I asked to stand for a bit and that really helped to ease the more intense pain in my back, but after awhile I felt like my knees were going to buckle so I got back in bed.  After another quick check, we found out I was dilated to 7cm and progressing quickly.  I had warned my doc and the nurses that this was the history with my previous babies, so they were ready for it and my body stayed true to it's pattern of fast labor.  It seemed like minutes and I was at 9.5 cm and then suddenly there was a frenzy of activity in the room and I heard my doc say I could push.

In all my preparation, I had created a playlist for labor and delivery. The labor music was more mellow and soothing, while the delivery playlist was intentionally upbeat and even a little silly.  Song number 1 on the delvery playlist was Push It by Salt N Pepa.  I vaguely recall hearing it come on and smiling.  I was somewhat aware of the nurse and our friend/photographer laughing about the song choice and feeling very proud that I gave them a laugh because that was my intention all along.  The delivery playlist had barely kicked into gear when Rock Your Body by Justin Timberlake came on and then I heard my doctor say "look down" and I saw my son.  There he was, after only 19 minutes of pushing, covered in his own poop, eyes wide open and staring at me. 

At 2:24pm on June 6th, Sawyer Lane Sams was born.  He was a healthy 7 lbs 1 oz and 19 in long.  Just as suddenly as he was created, he was born, and our family felt whole. He's the most beautiful little boy I've ever seen in my life (yes, I'm biased) and unbelievably mellow in comparison to his big sister Presley.  He reminds me a lot of his oldest sister Trinity, though not entirely.  She was a mellow baby, too, but Sawyer still has his own unique personality.  It will be interesting to see exactly what he's like as he develops more.  For now, he's mostly quiet and observant.  He has these gorgeous, steely blue eyes that just hit me like a ton of bricks.  I admit, I'm much more mushy Mama status this time around than with my first two kids.  I think that has a lot to do with age and experience because with Trinity I was like every new Mom and scared of everything.  With Presley, I was just trying to survive her wild mood swings and juggle two kids.  This time around, I feel like I'm getting my bearings much quicker as far as managing all my rugrats, but of course, I still have a ways to go before I'll call myself a pro. Watching my first two babies interact with my last baby hits me in the feels each and every time, too.

So that's the story.  There's not much to it.  Just like it was when he was conceived, the sense of our entire house is this surreal shock of adding another member while simultaneously feeling like this was just how it was meant to be.  

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Ovary Ovation #AtoZChallenge

I'm participating in the Blogging from A-Z Challenge again this year. Today's post is brought to you by the letter O.


I have been lucky to have had my ovaries function 3 times and each time, the human they helped create was healthy and beautiful and cooked to perfection.  Today was the first really clear look we got at Sawyer's handsome face and it got me thinking about my girls and what they looked like in their 4D ultrasounds.  With Trin, the technology was very new and they only used it for high risk pregnancies.  Fortunately I wasn't high risk, but I got one anyway because the tech couldn't get a clear picture of all the ventricles of her heart with the normal ultrasound machine.  By the time I was pregnant with Presley, 4D ultrasounds were commonplace.  

Trinity in utero. Such a petite little thing!

Presley in utero. She had such a grumpy, squishy little face.
Sawyer in utero. He was practicing breathing in the 2nd picutre. It was really cool to watch on the screen.

Give these ovaries a hand, people! They do good work!!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Nesting #AtoZChallenge

I'm participating in the Blogging from A-Z Challenge again this year. Today's post is brought to you by the letter N.


Most pregnant women can tell you a zillion stories about the nesting instinct and just how insane it can be when it hits.  I nested with Trinity, but with an unhelpful husband and extremely limited budget, it didn't go very far.  Not to mention, we were renting a duplex and couldn't do anything major.  So I hung a few pictures and called it a day.  With Presley, we were literally shoulders-deep in boxes of our stuff mixed with my mother-in-law's stuff, trying to just make a path to the bathroom most days.  That frantic urge to clean and organize never came, and the idea of decorating was almost laughable.  But, just like "they" always say, every pregnancy is different.  As I enter the 3rd trimester, the urge to nest has taken hold...BIG TIME!  Though our budget is still an issue, I'm finding ways to make things work and at least try to appease the little domestic goddess within. 

As I've posted about before, we recently replaced all 13 windows and 2 sliding glass doors in our house.  This was something that was more out of neccessity than it was vanity.  (A $700 electric bill was all the motivation we needed.)  The fairly simple act of swapping out 1970s era aluminum frame windows for something modern and functional lit a fire under my tush.  I promptly made a list of projects I absolutely want to finish before Sawyer gets here, or before I get too large to accomplish anything.

First on the list is the laundry room.  The floor desperately needed replaced, so once that was done, I set my sights on window treatments.  There are a zillion and one different diy no-sew curtain tutorials online, so pinterest became my best friend.  A little fabric, adhesive, and hooks turned into some fairly decent little cafe curtains made by yours truly.  Martha Stewart would probably balk, but I'm happy with how they turned out. 

I've also been eyeing the fireplace hearth in our living room.  The thing is an eyesore, but it would be way too expensive to take out completely.  Once again turning to ye trusty olde pinterest, I found an idea for making a wash out of chalk paint to lighten the old-ass rocks and modernize it slightly.  The hubs says that will only look good once the living room walls are painted.  So that's another project on the to-do list.

And finally, there's Presley and Sawyer's shared room.  This one is going to be a challenge and I'm still not sure how up for it I am, but none-the-less, it needs to be handled.  Toys need to be downsized, organization needs to reign, and somehow I have to make it a fun and functional space for a toddler and baby of opposite genders to share comfortably for at least a few years.  Once Trin is grown and out of the house, one of them can take over her room, but I'm in no rush for that day to come, so I have to make this work.  There are ideas galore to be found online, but there are several aspects to this room that make most of those impossible.  The built-in cabinets, reading nook, and desk area are the biggest issue.  Then there's the closet and the sheer amount of crap it contains.  In the grand scheme of things, this one is the most important, but it's also one of the most overwhelming so I find all sorts of reasons to do other things first.

I have a ton of pictures that need to be hung and just the usual spring cleaning tasks that I can accomplish.  Little by little, this house is feeling more like MY home.  For so long it has felt like a museum.  Each bit of progress makes me feel better and makes me want to do more.  We'll see just how much of that I can get done in the next 2 months.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Managing, mostly #AtoZChallenge

I'm participating in the Blogging from A-Z Challenge again this year. Today's post is brought to you by the letter M.


There are moments when I feel like I really have my shit together.  I'm on top of my to-do list, my house is clean, my kids are well taken care of, my marriage is smooth sailing, everyone is happy and life is perfect.

And then I wake up from my magical dream land, probably because one of my kids is screaming bloody murder or complaining that they're starving.

The truth is, I never have it all together.  Some days are better than others, but most of the time, I'm just faking it or managing to juggle life the best I can.  Even people who grew up in "perfect" homes can say that being an adult is difficult.  Imagine being raised by addicts who had no business being responsible for little people, as well as a wide array of relatives and friends' parents who thankfully filled in where they could.  I just wasn't equipped with the skills to do this "grown up" thing.  Add kids to the mix, and it makes things even more complicated.

But somehow, I'm managing...mostly.  My kids are alive and not malnourished or neglected.  They live in a stable home, aren't exposed to an ever-changing cast of characters ala Faces of Meth, and their basic needs, and most wants, are met.  My marriage is exactly a month away from hitting the decade mark and I'd call it a success.  I don't forsee divorce or separation in our near or distant future.  It's not all roses, but it works and we make a good team when we remember to work together instead of letting our stubbornness get in the way.  Our debt to income ratio just took a turn toward the right direction, thanks to the recent refinance we did on our home, so that feels good.  We still live paycheck to paycheck, but we're finding ways to stretch it further, rather than digging the hole deeper.  To me, that's a pretty good sign that I'm not an epic failure.

Two days ago, I had the mother of all meltdowns and had to force myself to bed early and cry out my feelings.  In addition to the drama I was experiencing, there were thoughts of "what the hell am I thinking bringing another child into the world" swirling around my head.  All I could think was I am already screwing everything up with the two I have, why would I want to do that to another innocent soul?  

Yesterday was an improvement over the day before, but I still felt like I was drowning in quicksand.  

Today, I can breathe.  My house is still thrashed, but I have a better handle on my mommy and wifey duties.  I don't have that overwhelmed sensation or an urgent pull to run screaming from everything and everyone.  There are no tears. There are lots of smiles.  These are the days I have to store in my memory, to remind me that I don't have to be perfect and that when things get to be too much, it's only a matter of time before the strain eases.  I will be ok.  My kids will be ok.  My hubs will be ok.  Everything will be ok.  Perfect is a myth, but ok is just fine.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Laundry #AtoZChallenge

I'm participating in the Blogging from A-Z Challenge again this year. Today's post is brought to you by the letter L.


After coming in slighly under budget on the windows and doors, we decided to have the contractor stay here a little longer and tile our laundry room.  The floor in there was covered in the original vinyl from 1977.  When my in-laws tiled the kitchen a few years ago, they bought enough to do the laundry room, but never completed the project.  Yesterday, it was finally finished.

**BEFORE** The view of our laundry room from the door. Check out that lovely vinyl flooring!

**BEFORE** The view looking toward the door.  The green around the bottom is the original wall color that was hidden by the trim. 70s-licious!

**In process - Day 1**

**In process - Day 1** Check out that lovely green. We're purposely not painting inside the closet so our kids can see part of the house in it's original splendor. LOL

**In Process - Day 2**

**After** The view from the door got a whole lot prettier!

**After** View of the door. We will be putting in the trim ourselves soon, but it's all done otherwise.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Killing me softly #AtoZChallenge

I'm participating in the Blogging from A-Z Challenge again this year. Today's post is brought to you by the letter K.


I wasn't sure what I was going to write about today, but then by either really good luck or really bad luck, a topic fell into my lap.  As I sit here with a pounding head and throbbing gums, the song "Killing Me Softly" starting running through my brain.  And so, I'll whine a little about the pain that is currently killing me.  (Okay, "killing me" might be a bit of an exaggeration.)

I had a bit of tooth pain when Presley was first born and until yesterday, it had pretty much subsided.  I noticed yesterday morning that when I brushed my teeth, one of my upper right molars hurt pretty bad.  It was certainly a new and unwelcome sensation, but manageable.  In fact, I made it through the day without thinking twice about it.   This morning, there was no ignoring it.  The pain was intense, like an electric shock through my body.  The aching mouth that followed was hard to work through.  I hadn't been to the dentist since I was 8 or 9, but I was able to find a local dentist that accepted my insurance and could fit me in right away.

After x-rays and pictures, the dentist let me know that although my teeth were in really good shape considering the lack of professional dental care, my wisdom teeth and one molar needed to be extracted.  Typically they prefer doing root canals to save the teeth, but mine were in too bad of shape and the cost associated with saving them was way higher than it was worth.  The dentist said he could do the extraction today, too, so we agreed to just get it done.

After a good cleaning, my mouth was numbed.  Being my first time getting any kind of real dental work done, I wasn't sure what to expect.  The numbing shots left me with the oddest sensation.  Thankfully it kept me from feeling him rip my 4 wisdom teeth and that decayed molar out of my face.  The extraction itself actually went really fast.  I was at the dentist's office for exactly 2 hours, from start to finish.  I had planned to go back to work but the dentist put the kibosh on that right away.  

Until the shots wore off, I felt like I had a huge sagging lip, but no pain whatsoever.  The pain sort of crept in slowly at first, and then began to crescendo about 5 hours after the extraction.  Being pregnant, Tylenol is the only pain medication I can take safely.  I was worried it wouldn't be strong enough, but I can now tell you that it does take the edge off the headache, which is better than nothing.  I can eat soft foods today, real food tomorrow, and was given strict instructions to take it easy until Sunday.

This is now how I envisioned the day going, but even if I'm not feeling the greatest, I'm happy with the care I received and how quickly it all happened.  And I can tell you with all the confidence in the world that I will definitely not be waiting another 3 decades before my next dental visit.

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