Monday, December 29, 2014

3 Under 5

A few random reflections on having 3 kids under the age of 5.
Our house is loud. Seriously. It's really loud.
It's funny how having more kids changes your perspective. I remember when having just baby Ryan made me feel so tied down by always having a baby in my arms, needing me. Now when I get a moment to slip away to a room with just Jenna, I feel so free!
Adam bought me a 30-minute meals magazine for Christmas. I told him he should have bought me one titled 5-minute meals. He thought I was joking. Ha
I often look at these 3 and imagine what life will be like a few years down the road, when they are all big enough to play together, walk to school together, sit at the dinner table together. I'm trying hard to live in the moment, but there are many things I am looking forward to doing with these 3 kids as they grow older.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas 2014

We had a great Christmas this year!
Here's the thing though about having 3 kids under the age of 5....they make it nearly impossible to take decent photos. One child is always running away or crying or picking their nose.

I had plans to dress the kids up real cute and pose them in front of the Christmas tree, but that never happened. I still managed to get a few cute shots!
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Jenna: 1 Month

Jenna Mae, you are 1 month old today! So far you are such a sweet baby.
You love to sleep, more than your brothers did at this age! By this age, both boys were colicky. While you are fussy in the evenings, it isn't too bad. You are very easily soothed just by being picked up and held. The only things that make you cry really hard are a dirty diaper or being really hungry. But that is easily remedied by changing or feeding you. Other than that, simply holding you up on my shoulder usually calms you right down.  I love having such a sweet quiet baby!
Your brothers adore you, especially Ryan. They constantly ask to see you and kiss you. So far your brothers have been very gentle with you, with the exception of Lucas stepping on you and throwing an airplane at your head.
I sure hope you inherit those long eyelashes that your brothers have!
Daddy calls you "Baby Jen-Jen" a lot, and I sometimes call you "Miss Jenna Mae".
I witnessed your first smile and "coo" the other day! You were staring at the fringe on your blanket and you grinned and started babbling a little bit. I was a bit jealous that you smiled at a blanket before your Mommy! But since then you have given me a couple half-smiles.
You weigh 8 and a half pounds now, up from your lowest weight of 6 lbs 11 oz about a month ago. That means you are averaging a gain of 1 oz per day, which is right on track. Your big brother Lucas gained twice that per day, and already weighed 10 lbs at 1 month of age! Everything on you seems much smaller and more petite than your brothers. Your facial features are small, your ears are small, you have long slender fingers and toes, and skinny little chicken legs!
 I can't wait to see how you will change in the coming months. I love you so much Baby Jenna!


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Nursing Jenna

Breastfeeding started out rough with all three of my babies. I experienced the usual physical pains and mental worries, as well as mastitis and clogged ducts with both boys. But after the first few weeks or months, nursing my babies turned into something wonderful and very rewarding. I nursed both boys until they were around 18 months and I am so happy that I was able to do this. I have been hoping to do the same with Jenna.
However, I am beginning to wonder if nursing her is going to be a realistic option this time. I am feeling really frustrated and sad because I am not able to sit and feed her like she needs and deserves. Every time I sit down to breastfeed, the boys need me. And I'm not just talking about needing a cup of water or a diaper change. I'm talking about fighting and blood and timeouts and hitting and biting and screaming and the fact that they require constant supervision and discipline.

Sitting down to nurse Jenna leaves me really vulnerable. My shirt is up, she is comfy on my lap, and once she is latched on, it's impractical for me to quickly put her down and jump up to break up a fight. But unfortunately this is what I'm doing....constantly.

For example, this morning I sent the boys into the garage to ride bikes at 7am so I could nurse Jenna. She was very hungry because she had gone many hours at night without nursing. But Ryan crashed Lucas into the go-kart and I had to stop nursing to make sure he was okay and discipline Ryan. After two more fights between the boys I sat down again but the boys started swatting each other with their hotwheels tracks and screaming. The tracks were confiscated and I put the boys in separate rooms to play. I settled down with poor little Jenna again, but after a while I realized our house was strangely quiet. Once again I stopped nursing, only to discover both boys had snuck candy canes into the playroom. They were a hyper sticky mess.

By now Jenna was quite mad, and I don't blame her. I'm sure it isn't good for her feedings to be interrupted so much. After one more timeout for Lucas hitting his brother's head with the remote control, and a very stern talk with Ryan about talking back to me (oh my goodness his little attitude is out of control), I finished nursing Jenna on one side by about 8:15.

I'm wondering if feeding her a bottle would be any better. We would still be interrupted, although it would be easier to jump up and continue feeding her a bottle than it would be to nurse her. I don't know....I really want to breastfeed. I know it's better for her. But long gone are the days where I can quietly sit and feed my baby without interruptions. I have two other children constantly trying to kill each other. I'm incredibly frustrated with the boys' behavior. And I'm feeling sad about the possibility of weaning Jenna earlier than she deserves. How do Moms with lots of little kids breastfeed their babies?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

3 Weeks Postpartum

At two weeks postpartum I went for a 15 minute walk with Lucas and Jenna and afterwards I felt like my insides were going to fall out! I was in so much pain. I realized that just because this was my third birth, that doesn't mean my body is instantly going to bounce back to normal. If anything, having three kids to care for makes resting and recovering even harder.
I'm just over three weeks postpartum now and happy to say I'm feeling pretty good! I took the boys for a walk to the park this week and I didn't feel like anything was going to fall out of me afterwards. Progress!
Who knew leaves could be so much fun!
Lucas decided he didn't want to ride his bike home, so after I told him a million times I would not carry it for him (I was wearing Jenna in the baby carrier), he finally decided to carry it home himself.

Most of my water weight is gone because now I can fit my tall boots over my calves. However, my wedding rings are still a little snug. I've got quite a bit of baby weight to lose, but I'm going to wait until the beginning of January to get serious about losing weight. Right now I'm still kind of in survival mode with being a Mom of three.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Jenna's 2 Week Checkup

Jenna had her 2 week checkup today, and although I had a couple small concerns, her doctor said she is looking great!
Jenna was born at 7 lbs 2 oz. She dropped down to 6 lbs 11 oz in the hospital, and now at just over two weeks old, she is back up to 7 lbs 11 oz. I have no idea how she is gaining any weight, though, because she is such a lazy nurser! She will latch on and then doze off. Or turn her head and just refuse to nurse. This was one of my concerns, along with how much she is sleeping. Jenna loves to sleep. Some days it seems like she is barely awake more than a couple hours. And at night I do everything I can think of to wake her up, but she will sometimes go 5 or 6 hours in between feedings.
I was starting to worry about her being so sleepy all the time. I know, I know.... this is exactly what I hoped and prayed for. A sleepy baby! My Mom said God is probably shaking his head at me because He gave me what I asked for and I am still complaining and worrying! I'm sorry, worrying about my kids is just part of being a Mom. Luckily, the doctor said that because Jenna is gaining weight so well and looks very healthy, I can let her go up to 5 hours in between feedings at night. And he also told me not to worry about her sleeping habits. Some babies just sleep more than others. I guess I won the baby lottery!

Friday, December 5, 2014

House Tour: Jenna's Nursery

When I found out I was having a girl I immediately started thinking about what kind of nursery we would create for her. I kept passing by a painting in our house and thinking it would be perfect for a little girl's room. My idea for Jenna's nursery was born, and I am so pleased with the way it turned out! With a lot of help from my handy husband and creative mother-in-law, we created a garden-themed nursery inspired by the painting below.
I decided the primary colors of the room would be yellow, pink and green. I chose a soft buttery yellow for the walls, and purchased some pink blackout curtains.
When you walk in Jenna's closet is to the right. I framed some cute critters above her closet doors.
The nursery is quite small, so I knew both a changing table and a dresser wouldn't fit. We put our current changing table downstairs (so smart with a two story house!). Then I searched craigslist until I found the perfect combination changing table/dresser. It fits her diapers and all her clothes from Newborn through 9 months.
A picket fence and flowers that I painted.
Ryan wanted to paint something for Jenna's room so I let him pick out a bird house to paint.
My mother-in-law stenciled flowers along the wall under the window and Adam attached the white picket fence to the wall. I love how it turned out!
She also gave me this comfy glider! It's nice and cozy to sit on when I'm nursing in the middle of the night.
Finally, we have the crib with Jenna's name above.
I painted the letters to go along with the color scheme for the room.
Little flowers along the bottom of her bedskirt. (I got her bedding on a final sale clearance from the Land of Nod)
And finally, the cutest part of the nursery. Little miss Jenna Mae doing what she does best....sleeping!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Jenna's Birth Story

Jenna's birth story begins at Target on the morning of Friday, November 21st. I was bending over to try on a pair of shoes when I felt a squirt. It felt like more than just peeing my pants (not that I know what that feels like or anything. Ha!). I stood up and felt it again. I couldn't believe that my water had just broken in Target! Since it wasn't a ton of fluid and I wasn't having any contractions, I went ahead and purchased what was in my cart, all the while feeling really excited and anxious.

I called Adam, who just happened to be working 5 minutes from our house that day. It was perfect timing because he was about to head to a second job all the way in Sacramento. I dropped the boys off at my sister's house and met Adam at our house. I had called Labor and Delivery and they said I should come in to be checked. So we grabbed our hospital bags and headed in. We got there around 1pm and they confirmed that my water had indeed broken! The midwife also confirmed that Jenna was head down, but face up. I started to dread birthing another baby this way, and prayed that she would turn over before birth.

After we were admitted and my vitals were taken, we were free to walk the hallways, as long as I returned to my room every hour so they could monitor the baby. I was not in labor at this point, but hoping that walking would get things started. I snacked off and on during the afternoon, but tried not to fill up too much. I was craving something sweet so when Adam went to get himself dinner he got me a Wendy's vanilla frosty. We walked, we sat. We walked, we sat. By 6pm I was feeling absolutely zero contractions or cramping, and I was still not in labor.
The midwife and the nurse both started suggesting I use a little Pitocin to get labor going. My goal with this delivery was to do it completely drug-free, as I did with Lucas. I really didn't want to use Pitocin but I was already feeling tired. I was imagining hours of walking ahead of me, and I didn't want to go in to labor exhausted. When I agreed to a small dosage of Pitocin at 6:30, I think Adam was surprised that I gave in so soon. I got hooked up to the IV, but I was still allowed to move around. I sat on a stool for a while and then requested a birthing ball. They upped the dosage of Pitocin every 30 minutes, and I finally felt my first contraction at 8pm. Labor had officially started!
I sat on the birthing ball and breathed out slowly through my mouth with each contraction. Inhaling during a contraction felt really uncomfortable, so I tried to keep my breathing nice and slow as I exhaled. At some point during the next hour I got a new nurse, who I really disliked. I could tell she was new. She would NOT stop fiddling with the monitor strapped to my belly. Anytime she couldn't pick up the contractions on her monitor she would adjust the straps on my stomach. All I wanted was for her to go away and leave me alone, and looking back I wish I had asked her to stop touching me so much.

By 10pm my contractions felt out of control. Adam said they looked crazy on the monitor. With Lucas my contractions would look like little mountains, with a gradual strengthening and then a gradual tapering off. These contractions were very jagged peaks, coming two minutes apart. I can't exactly explain what felt different with these contractions in comparison to Lucas' labor. But they definitely felt different, in a bad way. I was still on the birthing ball, leaning forward onto the bed. I couldn't imagine laying flat on my back. A lot of the pain was in my back, so I was having Adam push on my back during contractions. But I was unable to talk to tell him where or how hard to push, so that wasn't really helpful. And I was no longer just breathing through the contractions, but instead moaning. I also wasn't able to open my eyes. Every ounce of my energy and focus was on getting through the excruciating pain.

It was also around this time that I started shaking uncontrollably. Ever part of my body was shaking from the pain and I had no control over it. I've never experienced that before with my other labors, although I did witness it happening to Adam when he was experiencing kidney stones. Our bodies react in strange ways to trauma and pain! This lasted for the next hour or so.

At this point I had not been checked for dilation, due to the risks of infection. (because my water had broken). But around 10:30 I started begging the new nurse to get my midwife. Things felt so intense I was sure I was in transition and close to pushing. The nurse left and finally came back alone, saying the midwife was busy. The annoying nurse checked me herself, and it was the most painful internal check I have ever had. She told me I was 5cm and I was crushed. Only 5?? There was no way I could endure 5 more centimeters of this kind of pain. I whispered to Adam that I needed an epidural.

I was really hoping and aiming to have another drug-free labor and delivery this time around. And looking back now I can honestly say I am slightly disappointed that I ended up getting not only Pitocin, but also the epidural. But that's easy for me to think now. In the moment, I was 110% sure that I needed and wanted that epidural. I was not feeling mentally or physically strong. I couldn't even talk to tell Adam or the nurse what they could do to help me through the pain. I just wanted the intense pain to stop, or even weaken a little. The nurse called the anesthesiologist and started pumping a bag of fluids through my IV while we waited. I remember thinking I didn't know how I would be able to endure any more contractions while I waited for the epidural. Each minute felt like an eternity.  I finally got the epidural right before 11:30pm. If I had known how close to giving birth I was, I wouldn't have gotten it.

The midwife checked me right after I got the epidural and I was 8cm. She also said my cervix was completely gone, so I would most likely be pushing soon. The epidural started working on the left side of my body during the next 10 minutes, but my right side was still in intense pain. I had one strong contraction right around that time that felt like awful burning. I remember crying out to the midwife "That one felt different! It burns!". She checked my again and I was already 10cm. As she got things ready for delivery she asked me if I felt the urge to push, but I said no. I have never felt the urge to push with any of my labors.

I'm guessing it was around 11:50 when they asked me to start pushing, barely 20 minutes after I received the epidural. They said Jenna would be born before midnight, and I was shocked. I was expecting a difficult delivery, since she was probably face-up. And it was my Mom's birthday. Would she actually come out quickly enough to share a birthday with my Mom?

On my next contraction I pushed two times. The midwife asked me to push again but I was too tired. I thought I vocalized this but according to Adam I didn't say anything. Apparently I was in my own little world where even talking was too difficult. The midwife told me that I was going to deliver my baby on my next contraction. I was in disbelief. She laughed at me and said "You should see the look on your face!" My next contraction came and I pushed.....and out came Jenna! I couldn't believe she came out so quickly! And she had turned at some point during labor, so she came out face down just like she was supposed to.
Jenna came out coughing and crying at 11:56pm on November 21st. They placed her on my chest and I was so shocked and relieved. I couldn't believe I had pushed just 3 times and now I was holding my daughter! The midwife informed me I had zero tearing this time. Jenna was born weighing 7 lbs, 2 oz, and 20.5 inches long. She has a little bit of dark blond/light brown hair, my lips, tiny ears that lay close to her head (one is slightly pointy!), and blue eyes of course.
Jenna's temperature dropped after I had been holding her for a little while, and the nurses weren't able to get it back up to a safe range. So she had to lay under a heat lamp for a couple hours while they monitored her and continued to check her temperature. Eventually it stabilized and I got to hold and nurse my baby. Jenna lost 6% of her body weight in the hospital but is almost back to her birth weight today, at 10 days old.

So while labor didn't exactly go as I had planned and hoped for, none of it matters now. I got my healthy baby girl in my arms at the end of it, and that's what's important. So far Jenna has been an incredibly sweet and sleepy baby. She is such a blessing to our family and I love my tiny girl so much!

Friday, November 28, 2014

First Week Of Life

Jenna has been such a sweet and sleepy baby her first week of life! I honestly don't remember my boys sleeping this much as infants (especially Ryan!), so I alternate between being really thankful that she's calm, and being worried that she's too sleepy. Ahh the life of a Mom. Always something to worry about!
Wrapped up like a burrito.
Jenna got to meet some family members this week, including my mother-in-law, her Grandma Jan:
 And my Mom, her Grandma Linda:
 She celebrated her first Thanksgiving with lots of nursing, sleeping and pooping. Look at her little chicken legs!
 Jenna met her cousin Ava:
And finally got to get close to her big brother Lucas! So far he has been really sweet with her, constantly saying "Hi Baby Jenna!". I hope he continues to be gentle with her!
Big brother Ryan finally got to hold his little sister. He was really excited, but then told me to take her back because she was too heavy. I completely understand...this little 7 pound girl is killing my back!
Nights have been okay. Jenna seems to have an awake fussy period from around 8pm until 1 or 2am. She doesn't want to nurse or sleep, and it seems like her tummy is upset during this time. She can easily go through 5-10 diapers during this time!

My recovery is going well. Today is the first day when I haven't had to take any motrin or haven't had the chills. I'm not overly sleepy until the evening, so I have enough energy to get a few things done when I'm not holding Jenna. Adam is home from work right now so I'm trying to just relax and let him take care of the boys while I continue to recover. It's nice not having a huge belly to get in my way of doing things! My second favorite quote from Ryan this week was "Mommy your tummy is so tiny!". Thanks Ryan, I appreciate it.