Nov 18, 2010

Mistakes in Labor: Part 2

Doulas are so important!! A doula is a hired non-medical support person and they are invaluable for support of the mother *and* the father during the pregnancy, labor, and immediately postpartum. Doulas can help you find comfortable positions to labor in, advocate for the parents wishes and birth plan, offer encouragement, comfort, support, massage, hip compresses, etc.
Why this is important to know: Moms and dads play very different role in the labor and delivery room. Moms are often focused on trying to do the biggest job of her life, where some fathers often just want to do anything to make their wife comfortable, even if she has elected to have a natural delivery. A doula acts as a cheerleader for the family, as well as a lookout to make sure her care providers are following her wishes.

Anecdotal evidence: I had a doula in my last two deliveries, and I have hired one once again for my upcoming delivery. The role of a doula in a home birth or a hospital birth are both extremely important. My doula in Matthew's birth was my eyes and ears when I was being told one thing, but the nurse was doing the exact opposite. She helped me find ways to get comfortable. In the end, the Pitocin proved to be more than I could handle, and I opted for an Epidural. It was my doula who helped distract me while I tried to rip my flesh on my face and chest off because I was itching so bad while I waited for another medication to take away the itching. It was the doula who recognized that I was probably complete (by my actions and descriptions, she didn't examine me).
In my homebirth I was lucky enough to have two doulas; my own doula was helping another doula get her certification and she needed some births under her belt. Both played an amazing role, from keeping spirits high, to helping me move my baby into the correct position, to keeping me hydrated and confident. I really wish I had a doula in my first delivery (I had never even heard of them), because although I had support from my mom and husband, they didn't like seeing me hurting and didn't try to talk me out of medication when I started to have a hard time coping. The didn't know different techniques I could use to get through the contractions, they didn't know ways to help ease back pain. Remember: Each person wears one hat. You may think your midwife would make an excellent doula, but doulas they are not! Don't expect your birth team to come in with more than one role! :)

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The freedom to move, eat, and drink is invaluable! Being stuck in bed, tied to monitors is counterproductive to labor. Along the lines of my last post about declining procedures, finding an OB or Midwife that will allow you the freedom to labor as you need will help make the process a lot more comfortable.
Why this is important to know: In the normal labor process, movement is important. Nurses will typically have you "walk the halls" in early labor, but then as you get farther along will want you to stay in bed for continuous monitoring. Contractions are typically harder to handle if you are stuck on your back unable to sway your hips, bounce on a ball, or listen to your body and baby to find a comfortable position.

Anecdotal evidence: I found laboring with an empty bladder was more comfortable, but waiting for the nurses to unhook my monitors made emptying my bladder a huge hassle, especially if I had to drag around a pole with IV fluids hanging from it. And once an epidural is in place, most providers will place a catheter to keep you from leaving the bed. Once you are laying down, you remove gravity from the equation and you no longer have the option of allowing the baby to move down with the help of movement and gravity. I also have little faith in contraction monitors, I don't feel their are exactly effective as I have had very productive contractions barely show up on monitors, and even though my body was making progress, these strips were used as a reason to "move things along with the help of some Pitocin" or tell me I just wasn't making progress when I was. My babies hate the doppler and like to run away from it, so I felt a lot of the time nurses were spending more time chasing the baby or moving the strips and disrupting my concentration. Finally, some women want to eat and drink in labor, I know I loved cool sips of water or gatorade between contractions with my daughter, and ice chips just doesn't do it for my thirst.

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Don't forget about dad! Often times dad is overlooked when mom is packing her bags, touring the hospital, or making birth plans.
Why this is important to know: Your partner is your most important support person, and if they don't keep their strength up, they can't be as effective as a support person.

Anecdotal evidence: I typically have prodromal labor (early labor that starts and stops for several days or weeks) and this can be exhausting for all. In my first birth, my poor husband hadn't slept in probably 24 hours before the birth. When he had a chance, he would nap in a hard chair and we never thought to ask if there was a better option. Turns out, two of the chairs turns into beds. We also were not told this when I was in the postpartum room and he ended up leaving the hospital to stay with a friend so he could sleep. We also didn't think to have clean clothing for him, cash for food, snacks, etc.

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Do your research. This is the most important part of pregnancy, delivery, and parenthood! Don't have regrets, you don't get a do-over.
Why this is important to know: Just like you cannot un-ring a bell. Choices you make the first time around can affect the rest of your life. Something as simple as consenting to an induction because you are tired of being pregnant at 3 days overdue can cause a domino effect you cannot predict or stop. One intervention often leads to another and you may be left with an experience that you still regret decades later.

Anecdotal evidence: I have tons of regrets that are so personal to me I won't go into them, some that didn't just cause regrets with my first child, but every child after that. However you live and learn, you do your research, and you try to get past regrets knowing you did the very best you knew how.

Nov 13, 2010

Mistakes in Labor: Part 1

Since these will be long, I am going to break them into sections. This part will cover: Irregular Contractions, Pitocin, and Pain Relief.

I have always felt birth should be natural, but it seems like no matter how good my intentions were in the past it seemed that my desire for a hands off birth were out of reach. I hope by sharing some of my mistakes with you, I can help others who may be misguided or unaware.

Not everyone has regular contractions! It seems the books all tell you that the hallmark between real labor vs. false labor is regularity of contractions, but I am here to tell you, that is NOT the rule and there ARE exceptions.
Why this is important to know: Often times caregivers may suggest a drug called Pitocin (more about that later) to regulate contractions, but do your research, sometimes irregular contractions ARE making a difference and moving labor along.

Anecdotal evidence: I have had three deliveries, two in the hospital augmented by Pitocin, one at home without any intervention. In all three labors my contractions were irregular, even after Pitocin was maxed out in the first two pregnancies, despite being told it would regulate them and was necessary to "pick things up", it only did the later, they still stayed irregular. And guess what, I still managed to give birth all three times!

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If you are told Pitocin won't make your contractions any more intense, or more difficult to get through... they lie! Pitocin is a synthetic form of oxytocin, the hormone your body naturally creates to stimulate contractions. The decision to use Pitocin is not one to take lightly. I am not saying it is evil, or does not have a place in obstetrics, but it can have some serious consequences.
Why this is important to know: Some of the risks of Pitocin are:
* fetal distress
* more likely to request pain medication like an epidural
* cesarean section
* uterine rupture
Not only does Pitocin cause contractions to be harder to manage, they can also start a domino effect of interventions leading to a cesarean section, or cause unnecessary stress on the mom and baby.

Anecdotal evidence: Watch any birth show on TV and you will see story after story where Pitocin is introduced. Baby's heart rate starts dropping and mom is rushed off to the O.R., or, the mom is given Pitocin, the pain is too much for mom to handle and she gets an Epidural and then has complications from the Epidural.

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Myth: An Epidural is the only way to make labor comfortable. Epidural anesthesia is the most common method of pain relief in labor. However, sometimes there are serious (and some not so serious) side effects. The most serious being maternal or fetal death, but the more common complaints by women are the inability to move freely, being tied to the monitors, not being allowed to get up to use the restroom, itching, a drop in blood pressure, headaches, nausea and vomiting, shivering or shaking, backache, uneven/incomplete/nonexistent pain relief, feelings of regret. Epidurals can also cause the baby to have changes to their heart tones, cause a poor sucking reflux and lethargy, and leads to a higher rate of cesarean sections.
Why this is important to know: Epidurals have become so routine in hospitals now days, that some women do not know there are alternatives for pain relief, or that they may have regrets later. Several childbirth classes, such as Hypnobabies, Hypnobirthing, Bradley, etc, have very high success rates in helping a mom cope with normal, un-augmented labor. Other methods may be walking, changing position, rocking in a rocking chair, bouncing on a birthing ball, massage, hip compresses, laboring in a hot bath tub or shower, visualization, reassurance, etc.

Anecdotal evidence: I mentioned I had two Epidural deliveries, and one without an Epidural. Between Hypnobabies, a birth pool, my Doula and support, my natural labor was FAR more enjoyable than my medicated deliveries, without any side effects.
Also, did you know that Epidurals can interfere with bonding? In labor, our body produces beta-endorphins to help us cope with the sensations of birth and make the changes easier on our bodies. These beta endorphins cause an amazing surge of euphoria unlike anything I can explain. The feeling is amazing and creates a bonding experience like no other. Not only was my daughter more alert after my natural birth, but afterward *I* was more alert and my husband and I bonded so well with our newest family member.

Stay tuned for Part Two.

Nov 12, 2010

Mistakes in Pregnancy

I had a nice sobering wake-up call this week that has really rocked my world and shaken me to the core. I am not ready to post the entire story yet, because it is still playing out, but I would like to talk about things I have learned in my pregnancies

You are the boss! Did you know that your caregiver is your employee? They work for you, and if you feel mistreated, unappreciated, or not taken seriously, YOU have the right to fire them and find someone new!
Why this is important to know: Sometimes we forget that we have the power to be treated the way we want to be treated, and will take the abuse of someone in power because we tell ourselves they know best.

Anecdotal evidence: I fired a midwife in Sophie's pregnancy because she was down right fear-mongering. She told me because I was not at my ideal body weight at the start of pregnancy I WOULD (not could) have gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and likely end up with a cesarean section. The other midwife in the practice told me several times she thought I was going to miscarry because I had some minor bleeding in pregnancy and she thought my hCG (the hormone in pregnancy that increases as the baby grows and is what pregnancy tests test for) was too low (it wasn't). After my 12 week visit, I followed my gut and I fired the practice and found a new group. With just a few weeks left, when my new midwife wanted to transfer my care to her partner (and OB I did not like), I left their practice too and found a home birth midwife. It is never too late!

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You don't have to take any test you don't agree with! Did you know that you have the power to waive any procedure or test? You may have to sign a waiver, but if you don't agree with the test, decline!
Why this is important to know: There are some tests that can cause unnecessary worry or inaccurate results in pregnancy. I personally will not get a pap smear in pregnancy, even if I am due for one, because I have never had an abnormal pap and there is a higher chance of bleeding, infection, and inaccurate results in pregnancy. I will wait until I am six weeks and have no problem declining the test. I also do not do the 15 week tests that check for birth defects (triple screen, AFP, nuchal fold, etc) because I decided it would not change the outcome of the pregnancy as I would not abort over elevated/irregular results.

Anecdotal evidence: I have known more than one woman who had irregular results and the stress that it created for the woman over a test that ended up being normal in the end was harder on the woman than need be. We have all stressed over test results unnecessarily, but so the research and ask yourself "Do I believe this test has a high accuracy rate?", "Do I agree with how this test is taken?" (ie Gestational Diabetes, not every lab has the same rules for fasting vs. non fasting, cutoffs, etc), "Would these results change my pregnancy?" (genetic tests are taken early so you can chose to abort or not, if they showed an anomaly, would you abort?) "If this test is positive, would I agree to more invasive tests for higher accuracy?"

***

You don't just have to suck it up and take it when it comes to the symptoms of pregnancy! Almost every symptom of pregnancy can be eased or relieved with supplementation, medical, or alternative therapy.
Why this is important to know: Sometimes we just deal with it because we think we have to. There are remedies for leg cramps, swelling, morning sickness, aches, headaches, etc.

Anecdotal evidence: For morning sickness things to try include eating small, frequent, high protein snacks, wearing sea bands, avoiding fried fatty foods, and wearing Sea-Bands can help ease nausea and vomiting. Heartburn can be helped with papaya enzymes, and liquid calcium/magnesium. Swelling can be eased by swimming in a pool and making sure you are getting a good balance of electrolytes. Back pain can be aided with the help of a chiropractor. Calcium/magnesium before bed can prevent charlie horses. If you talk to your caregiver, friends, family, search the internet, talk to a naturopath, you may find all sort of ways to make your pregnancy more comfortable. Some symptoms can only be eased, but some can be avoided all together!

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You are not alone! Pregnancy is tough, seek out support and friends. There are so many Due Date Clubs, forums, local playgroups, groups, etc.
Why this is important to know: Pregnancy and postpartum can feel socially isolating. When you are too tired with a newborn to shower, or too weak to take your other kids to the park because of an all day marathon of hugging the toilet, there is a lot of guilt that comes with it. Knowing you are not alone can make a world of difference!

Anecdotal evidence: When I had my first son I felt so isolated and alone. I had problems with breastfeeding and I never knew the problems I was experiencing were NOT normal because I didn't have anyone to compare notes with. By the time I had my 6 week checkup I found we had a case of thrush that lasted FIVE MONTHS and eventually caused us to switch from breastfeeding to bottle feeding.

Stay tuned for my next post where I will discuss Mistakes in Labor.

Oct 18, 2010

It is finished!

I finished the blanket! I also used some leftover yarn to make a matching hat last night, and I plan on knitting a couple more and a sleep sack before baby arrives! WOO!!

Oct 17, 2010

Calling it 'almost done'

I taught myself to knit about three years ago, but follow through has not been a strong point of mine. Neither has been following a pattern.

My husband teases me for my ADD, I still have a cross stitch I made for my son who is 5 now that just needs cleaned and framed, I started it when I was pregnant with him. A blanket I started knitting for my daughter who is 2 1/2 now is only about half done. I just threw out a baby sweater I started when I was pregnant with her and never finished.

So to be this close to completion is HUGE. My husband asked me point blank today "will this be the first project you finished?" and I sheepishly had to reply that it was. Thankfully while I was cleaning out my craft tote filled with half-finished projects, I found the yarn needles I need, so I have no excuse not to finish today. Hopefully in a couple hours I can post a picture of a completed project!

Aug 22, 2010

Time and space are linked.

As in the speed that time passes in my pregnancy seems to be directly linked to the space, or distance, of my husband.

The first 20 weeks flew by, the last two weeks have drug. Can you guess how long he's been home?

This will not be the case for the remainder of the pregnancy though, I know for sure of three weeks he will be gone coming up. Plus summer is starting to wrap up, school will start next month and all three of my boys are attending. One starting kindergarten, one starting middle school, and one starting high school. At least for a few months, it will just be me and little one until the end of winter break, then it will be me and the little one and the new baby!

Don't get me wrong, I don't want him gone, I want the pregnancy to fly by as fast as it has been ALL the time.

Jul 30, 2010

Sometimes I hate dreaming

For the last three nights I have been having dreams where I wake up angry at my husband. In my dreams he has been cheating, lying, smoking, and abusing my kids and I. When I wake up I have been retaining those feelings which I have to work at to let go because he is just the opposite of how he is when he's his dream self. Thankfully he's not here when I am working out my issues and by the time I talk to him the dreams are just a faded memory of a dream. And no, I am not mad at hubby for anything in reality.

The part that bothers me the most about these dreams though is not what is in them, but what isn't. Despite being almost half way through my pregnancy... I have yet to have a single dream about my baby. I am thankful how active this little one is because I would have a hard time believing there was really a person there. I cannot picture what my life will be like when this little gift arrives. I wish I could just start getting used to the idea in my dreams, so that it would spread into my daydreams.

Jul 15, 2010

Back to the grindstone

We are home from vacation, and things are back to the way they should be. Our house desperately needs cleaned, laundry is at a healthy level. The princess is fighting with the littlest prince, she has learned to tattle in her little baby way. She points at something, glares at it, and then in gibberish tells me all about it. I have appointments galore, I need to make a trip to Costco and the regular grocery store, and Bobby is already planning his next business trip. Yes, life is how it should be.

New Exciting Changes = Shopping Excuses!

When the baby gets here we will need to do a transition of sorts. The seven of us will be living together in a four bedroom home and that means the baby will need to bunk up with someone when he/she is around 4-6 months old, before then, we have a co-sleeper in our room. By then we are hoping to have transitioned Sophia to a toddler bed, and then I can get the baby a lovely set of crib bedding to coordinate well enough in her room. However, I have never had a toddler sharing a room with a baby, so I am not sure if that will go over well. When we got Matthew's bunk beds, which is kinda like a loft bed with a rolling shorter bed on wheels that can be moved, we toyed with the idea that they may eventually share the bed, with the "bottom bunk" in her room, and his loft bed in his room with a "play fort" of sorts underneath.

However, we may have to have Sophia and Matthew sharing a room for a year or so until the little one sleeps through a noisy sister in the room. I can imagine using so many different kinds of cute feminine kids beddingadorning the twin bed if she uses it, instead of transitioning to her toddler bed she inherited from Matthew. Excuse me while I hop up on this soap box, because I am about to sound like my mother.

Nothing grosses me out more than sleeping on a bed without a mattress pad. If you spend money on a mattress, get a quality mattress pad. Mattress pads are an inexpensive way to protect the bed from sweat, drool, and any other body fluids you encounter when you have kids (urine, vomit, etc). I don't care how good you cleaned after Junior peed the bed, don't expect that the next person is sleeping on a nasty mattress covered with only a thin layer of fabric, ewww. I will judge you if your beds lack mattress pads. And for kids, have several on hand. Matthew has three for his bunk beds, Sophia has two for her crib... both theirs are waterproof. I have one that I spent a fortune on, because it is waterproof and does not crinkle. We often have kids climbing into our bed at night, and that pad has paid for itself 20x over with how many times it has saved our bed. Austin and Christopher have one each, they were just cheapies, but they will tell you, I will get mad if I see a naked bed.

Jul 6, 2010

Little house in the big woods.

It is 6:45 and I have been up in a quiet house for 2 hours now. It was super hot last night so we opened at window, and some baby birdies outside my window decided I needed to be up before 5am. I shut the window, but the damage was done so I got up and showered, played around on Facebook, chatted with some friends, and did some laundry.

We are over on the other side of the state right now, we drove over for my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary at my parent's cabin in Idaho. We came back into town to see friends, and will go back on the weekend for a family reunion before returning home early next week. We packed for the 90 degree Eastern WA weather, and ended up freezing our butts off in the cold Idaho-in-the-woods weather.

It is nice being in the same state as my sister and parents. It was even nicer that my other sister could come over from Montana and we could spend the weekends together. When we go home, I know we will all be sad, but it is nice to know we are only 300 miles from "home".

Jun 27, 2010

Yuck, traffic sucks

Since moving to Olympia, we have been missing chicken wings. We got spoiled in Colorado being only 4 minutes from a Wing Stop, and 6 minutes from a Wild Wings. Here, such places just do not exist. We have a Hooters in Tacoma, about 30 minutes away, so we decided to hit Tacoma to get wings, then head to the zoo. We had never taken the kids to Hooters, and the reaction of my 12 and 14 year old sons' was hilarious! The 14 yr old said he wants to do his birthday dinner there next year. lol

Our trip to the zoo was horrid, traffic was a nightmare and when we got down there, there was no parking within miles of the zoo, reason being there was some festival down there. So we scrapped our plans and hit the mall instead to browse in the Apple Store. This evolved into a maternity shopping spree, two new bears from Build a Bear, and tons of window shopping. We also took the kids to Cabela's for the first time when we got into town. As disappointed as I was that we had to skip the zoo, we ended up having a ton of fun yesterday and now know when we go back to the zoo next time, to get there when it opens and to go on a week day.

Jun 22, 2010

Letting the cat out of the bag

If you are on my Facebook, then this is old news, but I have not mentioned it here yet.

While Bobby was in Wisconsin, I got a pretty big shock.

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See that little line? *Squint* Now do you?

This is my test from April 15th, I followed it up with a blood test which was also positive. I was in total shock. Seems like we were not as careful as we could have been the day before he went to Wisconsin.

Shock has faded, and now I am excited. Bobby is happy too, even though we has decided we were done.

On May 7th, I was able to see my little bean for the first time. His/her heart was flickering away and it was the most beautiful little blob I had seen since Sophia's first scans.
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A couple weeks later I got to see him/her again.

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We decided we would have another home birth, and interviewed a couple midwives. I found one I love and had my initial appointment at the end of May. The appointment was pretty uneventful, it included vitals, a ton of paperwork and history, information on prenatal testing, and a ton of routine blood work.

I was so sick this pregnancy, much like my pregnancy with Sophia, except this time it started around 3 weeks, then started easing up around 11 weeks, and now is mostly gone, where with Sophia it eased up a bit, but was never gone. Also, unlike Sophia's pregnancy, I have been able to eat, so I have gained around 5 lbs already, where with her I lost a bunch of weight, however, I also started this pregnancy about 45 pounds lighter than I did with her pregnancy, and Matthew's pregnancy (where I also lost some weight in the beginning). This is making me guess we are going to have another little girl, but I have been wrong before.

We also decided we are not going to find out the sex of this baby at 20 weeks, as long as this baby cooperates and decides not to be obvious at my 20 week ultrasound. It was funny, I was kind of playing with the idea thinking it would be fun, when Bobby called me and said "I just thought of something crazy, but what if we don't find out the gender?" Since then it has been settled and I am feeling a lot more at ease about not knowing and am excitedly buying little yellow and white baby items for the first few weeks. It will be so neat to be able to discover on our own what we are having as a family. With Christopher the midwife told us he was a boy at birth, with Matthew and Sophie I was told by the ultrasound tech.

Yesterday I entered the second trimester, such a relief.

Where in the world is my husband now?

A frequent question I get is "where is Bobby now?" There is a good reason for that, since we moved and since he's been home from Iraq, he's been feeling the pressure of too much work for not enough people. Starting in April, he began a rotation of roughly 3 weeks gone for every week home. In April he was in Wisconsin, May was Louisiana, June was Germany, and now Oklahoma. Once we got used to the routine, it has been easier, but at first it was hard to have him back from Iraq and home for over a month, just to have him gone all the time.

Germany was quite an experience. He stayed in an amazing apartment that had a view of castle ruins from his balcony.
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He was supposed to be there three weeks, but they ended up not using him like they planned so they sent him home early, however the sneak didn't tell me and secretly booked his trip home, and walked in the front door giving me the shock of my life. He said my expression was priceless and it was probably the first time he has ever seen me speechless. I thought it was one of the kids walking in so I didn't think much of hearing the door open, but when I looked up and saw him I could not even register it that he could possibly be home already. The reunion was short lived though, he arrived home on Thursday afternoon, and by Sunday morning (on Father's day) he was back on an airplane to Oklahoma for a little over a week.

Phew, this is going to be a long one

A week after my last post we started the moving process, a trip that took us several days and was a whirlwind of activity. We arrived in Spokane on March 4th, on the 5th Bobby, Sophia and I headed over to Olympia to look at houses and we signed for the first one we looked at. The house itself is not perfect, I would have loved there to be a bigger basement bedroom, more storage, a larger kitchen, and of course, more storage. However, the location is as perfect as you can get and the yard is HUGE. Overall there were a lot more pros about the property than cons. By the time we were done with that we decided to bed down for the night here in town, and Saturday we went back to Spokane. On Monday we loaded back up all the kids and headed back to Olympia and our stuff was delivered the next day. Other than a few small things, everything arrived in perfect condition and I was super impressed with the moving experience. Everyone was so kind and professional.

It is almost 4 months later and we still have not settled in completely. We have to organize the garage and have about a dozen boxes out there we have not touched. We have only hung a couple pictures and still have to build some shelves in the storage room. We have a good excuse, but more about that in another post.

When I said the location here is perfect, I mean it. I love the schools, I love how close we are to a neighborhood park that is just gorgeous, and huge. We are a couple blocks from a 22 mile trail that runs miles through the county, and will soon be expanding to be 48 miles long. We are minutes from walking to lakes, ponds, streams, etc. On our back deck, we can sit outside and listen to a chorus of frogs at night. I have never been happier in any other city. The plan is to keep renting here until we sell our home in Colorado and then consider buying, but I have no desire to do that for another 5 years or so.

Ok, more updates to come, I am going to break them up by major events instead of backdating them to when they happened.

Feb 21, 2010

Happy Eas-Birth-Mas!

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What is eas-birth-mas? Doesn't everyone celebrate it?? Well, since you asked (or didn't), eas-birth-mas is a family celebration we decided we would have when Bobby got back in the states, to celebrate all the holidays dad missed. We had planned on making it eas-thank-birth-mas, but with us moving in a few days, I decided to put off turkey day for after we were settled in.

We started the day by distracting the kids with box-forts we helped them make. When I got my new washer and dryer, we asked them to leave the appliance boxes for the kids.
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Bobby cut doors and windows in the boxes for the kids (while Austin posed for photo-ops) and then we let them decorate them or continue to cut them how the pleased. They ended up creating a tunnel and joining the two boxes.
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While they were playing with the boxes, I wrote directions on sticky notes at each child's level. For Austin and Chris I had a list of small chores that had a new hint at the end of it.

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Christopher found his video game in the freezer when his last note asked him to see how much bread we had in the freezer, where Austin's Blu-Ray was found in the dishwasher after the final clue told him to see if the dishes in the dishwasher needed started.
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Matthew's last clue simply said "tub" and Sophia's only clue had a picture of a cat and she found her gifts in the scratching post.

For dinner we had dessert first, ice cream cake, and Sophie made a big mess.
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She was so messy in fact, a bath was the only solution.
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We also sold Bobby's VW bug today too, so that was great news, since we can't take it to WA with us, and the person who sold it will take good care of it I am sure.

Feb 20, 2010

Apparently technology hates me today

I feel like I should be afraid of anything that plugs in today, I really do feel paranoid and that it is out to get me. What next? Is my ice-maker going to start pelting cubes at me? Do I have the anti-midas touch or something? Karmic debt from frying a motherboard 10 years ago?

This morning I wake up to the smoke detectors going off, all 8 of them, out of sync. The 12 yr old decided to turn his bagel into a piece of charcoal. So I get up, life goes on, right? Call the bank for an issue, 24 minutes on hold I give up, decide the issue is not worth it. Hubby and I make a wonderful breakfast, go to watch some shows on the DVR, and the Medium I have been wanting to see stopped recording 20 minutes into it.

Ok, well then I will just hook up my Wii and play my new game, Wii Active. Find the new cord I ordered (red/blue/green, new TV only has one input for red/white/yellow). I get the cord plugged in and Wii working (unsuccessfully at first, no sound) to find that we already had the cord I just ordered and waiting a week for an overpaid on shipping for, it must have come with one of the aftermarket accessory packs. Oh well, no use crying over spilled milk. Put Wii Active in and my console tells me I need to update! ARG! I have a temper tantrum and get over it. I go to plug in my aftermarket Wiichargable (sorry, couldn't help it) battery pack for my WiiFit board- no dice, the light won't come on. The 13 yr old brings me batteries, no dice. I get new batteries and finally it works.

So I set up the game, strap on the leg holster for the nunchuck and immediately it finds the ONLY workout I hate, running in place. As I am running, the leg holster starts slipping off, I tighten it, and I can feel a shooting pain down my leg as it constricts my blood flow and I feel like I have a bad case of sciatica. I finish my "run" just to have the very next exercise require the same torture device. Oh well, I will just play another game, I have 3 or 4 of them.

I put in WiiFit plus, load my profile, and I get the message "To start, please step off me and press A"... ok, I am not stepping on you, but ok... press A it recalculates and says the same message again. Turn the board on and off and same message. So I find a forum talking about how to fix it, make it through all the steps just to have the controller die. Get a new controller, it too is dead, in fact all five of them are dead. I guess the universe wants me to give up and be slovenly; I will try again in a few hours of them on the charger.

With facebook not working right, I really should be using this time more productively... I mean I do have a house to pre-pack, and hundreds of pounds of stuff I don't plan on moving gone through and tossed or donated. I have boxes to fill up to save money on packing. I have beef stew to start, a fridge and freezer to clean, not to mention an entire house to clean. I would really like to be out of here in a week, but is that realistic?

Alright, I need to wrap this up to get back to stressing, err working. This will be behind us soon, we will be settled and happy and it will all be a distant memory. We have moved before, and we survived, and we will move again, there is no doubt.

Feb 16, 2010

Just updating a bit

It's been about 18 days since Bobby got home and it is unbelievable to me that it wasn't just yesterday. These last few weeks have been a blur of activity, and I feel like I have not even had time to exhale, yet alone process. He's spending a lot of time working at home, and my routine of taking kids to and from school, cleaning, and going to appointments has resumed. But the craziest thing of this is that we are *still* in limbo. We still do not have authorization to move! Yes, here we are at 16 days past the day I planned to be gone, and we don't even know when and where we are going.

I cope by knitting another row onto an afghan I have been working on for two years. I listen to Bob Marley and remind myself that "every little thing, gonna be alright", I drink tea and sometimes wine, and take walks and watch documentaries on Netflix. But no matter how much I distract myself, I am still frustrated that we still don't have the information we thought we would have at the end of December; and every other Wednesday I am thankful that he still has a paycheck, and insurance, and a job, even if he is at home driving me nuts.

I used to romanticize the idea of working from home, but if anything, the last couple weeks has taught me that working from home is the equivalent at working in prison, with between one to five noisy cellmates hanging off of you like a bunch of baby orangutans. I sometimes wonder if he volunteers to go to the store in the evenings just to get away from it all, and even then he usually has to drag along a few primates with him. I really respect that he hasn't gone all "Here's Johnny!" on us and redrum-ed the kids and I.

So whenever I complain to myself that I am tired, frustrated, or frazzled (the trifecta of mommy-hood) I just remind myself that not only is he dealing with the same triple-punch, but on top of that has deadlines and reports and real-actual-get-paid-for-work that he has to complete without a nice, quiet space to run off to. Sometimes the silver lining is obvious, sometimes you have to dig deep to find it, but know that it is always there.

Jan 19, 2010

A very important date!!

I have unofficial news!! Bobby should be home at the end of NEXT WEEK!! SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!

TEN more days!!

T-E-N!

wow

Little sickies

Sophie and Matthew have a cold, Dr. Mom has diagnosed them with croup, but I have not taken them for a second opinion. They both have fevers and seal coughs, so I am sure their ped would agree with me.

Sophie saw her gastro this morning, all her tests were normal, so after we move we need to get her evaluated by a endocrinologist to make sure there is nothing hormonal going on. If that is normal, I am done testing her. I guess I just don't want to leave any stones unturned, especially if it is something we can fix. I am fairly certain it is just genetic, but I would feel bad if she just needed supplements or something to reach full growth potential and I chose not to investigate it.

Jan 18, 2010

What me, on time?

What a busy day!! This morning my friend Tracie and I took our kids up to Denver to go to the Children's museum. We had tons of fun and then decided to let Austin babysit his brothers and her 7 year old, while the babies and Tracie and I went to Sephora at JC Penny to find me a color match for foundation. While we were leaving Austin called and said "are you on your way home? It's 3:50 and your dentist appointment is at 4:10, right?" Oops! Thankfully they were able to reschedule me for an hour later and I *still* was almost late!!

Jan 15, 2010

Seriously? No. Wait. Are you freaking serious???

Today Bobby asked his boss if he is confident enough with sending us to Ft. Lewis that he would sign a lease if it were him and he got an email back that just said "call me". Oh man, the proverbial "we have to talk"; that is never good news.

To sum it up, seems like the entire department is going to be going through an overhaul soon and they are not sure how this will change things, so they are trying not to move anyone until they have all the kinks worked out. So now we don't know if Ft. Lewis is still on the table, and when we would need to be there. We were planning on being there in early February, but now it is impossible. On a positive note, while they are sorting things out he stays here & works from home, which means he can help me with pre-move purging.

Speaking of pre-move purging, we had a walk-through with Mayflower and we have about 3,000 pounds of stuff to get rid of to get our cost below what the company allows.

I refuse to lose hope, no one says this has to change the statement that we will be needed in Washington state. Purging will be good for us, we have a ton of stuff that has outgrown its usefulness that I just have not had a chance to remove, large bulky things I cannot move on my own. This is positive, really it is, I have to believe it, we just don't know what it means yet.

Jan 13, 2010

Yay, she has a heart, and I have proof!

Sophie saw her cardiologist today because a murmur was detected at an appointment I had for her funny walk. Thankfully, both her walk, and her heart is normal. The cardiologist called it an innocent murmur I think.

While I was there, he asked how tall my husband and I were, and I told him we were both short, me at 5'4" and him 5'6" and he smiled real big and said "well there is why she is so tiny, two chihuahuas can't make a great dane you know".

So there you have it, she is a normal pigeon toed, innocent heart murmured chihuahua, and yes, that diagnosis is official. I hope when I see the gastroenterologist next week, he will agree with the diagnosis.

Jan 11, 2010

Women Vs. Men

This move is teaching me a very valuable lesson on men and women. It seems no matter how stressed I get, or how mad, or sad, or frustrated or any other range of emotion I feel about waiting for confirmation about this move, my husband has appeared to me to be very nonchalant and calm about it. This morning I think I snapped and finally sent him this email.

Hey, I know you are trying to stay on top of this move situation, but I am seriously feeling major stress and I don't know what else I can do. No matter where we go it is going to be very hard for me to find a place for us to live without giving away all our pets and kids and I am just not sure what else to do to avoid getting ulcers. The longer we go without an answer, the more anxiety I feel and I start crying and have panic attacks multiple times a day. Can you think of any way we can communicate to your boss that we really need to have a for sure answer? Every person I have talked to in Olympia has told us they want us to have one full month notice before moving into a house, which means the longer we go without an answer, the longer the 6 of us live in a hotel together. If we end up going to VA, it will probably take even longer to find a place, and we may end up having to board the pets at anywhere from $12-30 per pet, per day.

Heather


About 30 minutes later he called me, and got me to laugh and smile. He told me he had tried calling his boss several times and left him a voice message. When I freaked out on him and told him I wanted him to fly home so I could choke him for not being emotional like I was (this statement was made very light-hearted, and we both knew it). He told me he knew this was hard on me, and he was allowing me to cry and complain and freak out because he knew I needed to. He knew one of us needed to be strong, so he decided to take on that role. So when I freaking out that he was not freaking out, he was being strong because he knew one of us needed to be or we would both be puddles of goo over this.

This made me realize, that when I felt I was carrying this load alone, not only was he helping me carry it, but in addition he was carrying ME! It is times like this that I really appreciate my husband, even if he does things differently than I do, and does not carry his emotions on his sleeves, it does not mean that he does not have emotions, he just expresses them differently than I do. I am glad he allowed me to step back and see things at face value, so I was not sitting here brooding and stressing, feeling like I was slaying the dragon all by myself.

Jan 8, 2010

More on the Car.

I never did update about what happened at the dealership and parts store. I bailed his car out of car jail on Tuesday morning with only a $46 bill, vs. the $90 I was told. I actually just left it there and they removed the dud battery for me, loaded it into my van and I went to the parts store. I showed him the bill and what they said and he took the dud battery, put a new one out in my car for me and apologized for the inconvenience. I decided not to press the issue with getting them to pay for the bill, more than anything I just wanted an apology. The dealership put in the new battery and washed his car up all pretty for me without charging me extra. My service coordinator was so pleasant that I decided to order some parts, and bring the car back for some other things it needs done before we move.

Because I have to arrange for them to shuttle me back and forth to the dealership, I decided tonight I would take it in, this time to fix a couple cosmetic things and repair his remote start & alarm. After the recent battery incident, it sure made me appreciate my dealership. I have always hated finding and trusting new mechanics, because you hear so many horror stories of shady mechanics. The disadvantage of moving so often, is you get to start over at a new city, and have to find all new services. This is why I love the Google Age so much, word of mouth has always been the way I find businesses, but if that is not available, I am all about the review sites. I have never been a fan of flipping through the phone book.

I found this new website today, called RepairPal that is pretty interesting. You can put in information about your car, repair needed, and zipcode and they will not only give you a range to expect the estimate to be, but shops nearby with peer reviews, which would look like this page showing some San Fransisco auto repair shops. Out of curiosity I put in his Civic and pretended it really had needed an alternator and it came up with a very comprehensive report. Not only did it tell me the range of costs I would be expecting for parts & labor, but then it also gives me recommendations of things I make sure are done (i.e. which other tests I make sure they do) and explanations of symptoms and other necessary repairs that may be necessary. Not just that, then maps out shops in my areas with reviews.

The other helpful part of the website is you can enter a specific make, model and year of a vehicle and get reviews, common problems, recalls, etc. So if you wanted to learn more about a 2001 Honda Accord, it would be easy to look up ratings, reviews, recalls, and common mechanical problems. Other neat features are a car encyclopedia, in case you wanted to look up what a timing belt replacement entails; and a section called My Car where you can keep track of your maintenance and repair records, plus get reminders, recall information and service reminders, and best of all it is all FREE!

When we move next month, it is nice knowing I will be able to find a place to take our cars that I can trust, I am extremely loyal to my service center and look forward to finding a place that can take care of all of our car needs, from oil changes, to mechanical repairs.

Jan 7, 2010

The power of positive

Yesterday evening I had writing out a whiny, negative status about the lack of housing I was finding with my pets, and I decided, if I wanted to attract positive, I needed to think positive, so I deleted my whine, and wrote a very positive message Tomorrow will be a better day. Tomorrow will give us more positive leads on pet friendly homes. We WILL find the perfect home soon. And the government will give us an definite answer soon. The Washington State move is going to go GREAT! Let this become my new affirmation. This all came from a series of phone calls from a large rental agency in Olympia with about 10 homes in our price range, with the numbers of bedrooms we need, who claimed to be "pet friendly" who told us that with our two dogs, and three cats, that they have absolutely no rentals that would allow my number of pets, and told me they imagine no one would.

My mood after this phone call was so low that all I wanted to do was whine and vent and cry, but when I chose to be positive about it and post the positive message, my mood became more positive and immediately I was contacted by a home owner who was willing to consider us, despite our number of pets. Even though he has yet to give me an answer (same with the government, they have yet to give us a 100%), I remain more positive, because if someone is willing to say maybe, someone WILL say yes. This is the far cry from the "no one" I was told, and allowed me to get down in the dumps.

Today, I was emailed by another company, and they gave me a choice of 6 houses, but when I told them about my pets, they told me of a house that was the same price as the other ones, but nearly 1,000 square feet larger where it would be fine for me to have my animals. So now I have one for sure I can look at, and now four houses that are maybes. I am confident that in less than a week we will have our definite answer from his company, as well as have housing secured.

Next time you start feeling down in the dumps, just remember the power of the positive and see how much you can make a difficult situation turn around!

Jan 6, 2010

Only took 5 days...

But Matthew found my keys! They were in the toy bins, in the bin that hold the hotwheels. I guess Sophie was trying to drive the cars huh? And I guess Austin was not forthcoming when I asked him several times if he checked in the toys.

Jan 5, 2010

Oh my aching nerves!

My stomach is a bundle of nerves, I feel like I could puke at any minute. I really do think stress is getting the best of me.

We thought today would be the day we knew where we were going, but that information didn't come. We have roughly 3 1/2 weeks now until he is supposed to be home and we are supposed to be moving. I feel like I am wasting the last few weeks I have in Colorado, instead of preparing to move. I feel like I am being wasteful of my husband's homecoming, because I will still have so much to do.

I did get his car battery replaced though, but not after paying $46 to cover the test at the dealership. Thankfully it was less than the $90 I expected. I ended up not asking the auto part store for the money to cover the bill, it just didn't seem worth the fight, I am already dealing with enough. It was just so nice to have a car that starts without having to jump it that I just decided to let it go.

Jan 4, 2010

All this could have been avoided...

...if you just did what you said you would!!

I mentioned the car problems we are having earlier with the battery/alternator issues. I had been told on the phone by the people who sold me the battery 6 months ago that they would keep my battery overnight, charge it and test it, sending me away with a loaner battery. I get there and they give me a different story, that my alternator is bad, battery is fine, just dead from a bad alternator. I asked for a loaner and they said no because they said my alternator would just kill it, and I need to just get a new alternator. They jump me and send me on my way.

Today I take it to my dealership to get a new alternator. They have be sign the consent form for the $90 test and drive me home. Today I get a message on my machine that they tested the car, the alternator is fine, but the battery won't take a charge because it is a dud.... and now I am LIVID! If the place I bought my battery from had just done what they said and given me a loaner and tested mine, then I would have a new battery, and not had to spend $90 for nothing! Tomorrow I have to go demand a new battery and hope that they don't treat me like I am an idiot again. I really feel like the battery place should pay me $90 for the test, but I have a feeling there will be icicles in hell before that happens.

Jan 3, 2010

The Joys of Toddlerhood

As the mom to a toddler, I feel like my life of cuddling a sweet little baby has been snatched away from me evolved. I now feel my primary duty is no longer as a nurturer, but now as a protector. Just today I was telling a friend how I felt like I spend my entire day saving my daughter from certain death. Just before I typed that I pulled a screw cap out of her mouth, and an alan wrench and nail clippers out of her hands. We are now on day two without any keys to my car, and I have a feeling my 13 year old had a 27 inch toe-headed accomplice. She's like a ferret without organization, she will steal from you, but lacks follow through to stash them away in a specific hidey hole.

She's getting better at entertaining herself, she will walk upstairs by herself and play with Matthew in his room for 10-30 minutes at a time before moving on to her next game, heist, or inadvertent demise. This is bittersweet, as part of me is happy she is able to play independently, while at the same time I worry she won't make it to her second birthday. Now that she conquered her fears about walking, she seems to have no more healthy fears left and is quite the little daredevil.

Her imagination is really starting to blossom too. Not long ago I wondered why we owned so many toys that no one played with, and now I am amazed at how, and how much she plays with them. She imitates so much and it is funny watching her play and realizing that she is imitating normal daily household activities. For instance she will put her purse on her shoulder and then push the shopping cart by her toy box picking out play foods, which she will then transfer into the refrigerator of her toy kitchen. She will also rock her babies and pat their backs, shush them, and coo at them. The toy kitchen has provided countless hours of play for Sophie and Matthew alike, as well as help from Austin and Christopher too from time to time.

I guess the more I look at this time, the more good I see in her growth and maturity. She is really amazing to watch as she grows into a young child. However, I do with, that for once, I could actually eat all of my own food. I feel like I get to only take a bite or two of whatever I have before I have to hand it over to one of the younger two. Yet if I put it in front of them, they won't eat it, or will cry for what I have, even if it is the exact same thing.

Jan 2, 2010

Well bummer

Hubby's car hasn't been starting for months. I figured it was just cold from not being run regularly. Jumped it tonight and ran it all over town for an hour. Took it to the auto supply store for a quick battery check and it showed after all that driving and assuming I was charging the battery, I turned off the car and it was dead. The computer showed my battery was completely dead, despite only being 6 months old. Now we are thinking the alternator is dying, so Monday I get to jump it again and take it to the dealership. Thankfully it only dies when I turn it off, for now at least.

Of course all this would be easier if my teenager hadn't lost my keys while I was out.... that is just my luck, huh?

Jan 1, 2010

New year, new resolutions.

I am not the type to make formal resolutions, but I have really let myself go in the last year. Not in the typical "boy she let herself go", sort of way. In fact I have gotten quite a bit healthier in the last 6 month (she says as she crams caramel corn into her face). More I have let myself go creatively... and I have really let my blog suffer. Seems that once again I have let real life get in the way, and I probably spent a bit too much time on Facebook too.

So the last month has been a whirlwind of emotion. You know the feeling of standing on a rug, then at the last minute having it yanked right out from underneath you? Well, that was my December. For the last 11 months, we have been looking for houses in North Virginia... just to find out that we may be going elsewhere. No big deal, except for... we have no clue where we are going. We won't know for another week... but we have to be there in a month. Yes, a MONTH. Simply put, I am a freaking, freak-out, McFreakerson, mess.

We have also had a ton of health surprises with our little princess. She "failed" her 18 month well-baby checkup so to speak. She got the label of failure to thrive because she is growing too slow. This has earned her a couple referrals to specialists, a long list of lab tests, xrays, and a visit for her strange way of walking yielded a referral to a cardiologist for a heart murmur. On the bright side, December brought me a baby who can FINALLY walk. I had decided when she turned 16 months old that she would crawl off to college; and the tender age of 18 months and one week, she joined the upright world. She took off running, never looking back.

2010 will bring good things to anyone who looks for it. The second month of 2010 will bring home Bobby from Iraq, and new adventures in a new city and state. Thankfully, January should fly by since I will have just 3 weeks to find a place to live, interview and hire moving companies, research schools and neighborhoods in a new location, and all the other little bits and pieces. I am looking forward to the last month of his deployment not dragging, like the 9th month of pregnancy always does. I am really hoping I can keep busy enough that it will seem like no time before he's home.