Friday, January 30, 2015

Second Wind

As of last Saturday at 3:01 am, I am officially pregnant longer than I was with the triplets. I may have had a little residual PTSD from that whole ordeal 5 1/2 years ago that I wasn’t aware of until I was approaching that day in this pregnancy and had a lot of anxiety wondering if it was going to happen again! Of course I know that I only have one baby in there this time, but it was still stressing me out a little. Hormones! It was a relief when I was safely at 30 weeks with no baby in sight, and hopefully that’s how things stay until at least mid-March.

It really helped to get past that point to have a visit from Mom and Dad! My mom had been toying with the idea of visiting before the baby came, and we decided this was a good time. She hopped a flight last Monday, and since the kids were out of school that day, they came with me to pick her up from the airport. It was such a nice change of pace from the moment she arrived.

I loved having a shopping buddy to do the heavier lifting and pushing, and someone to help with the kid corralling and entertaining (not that they need much, but it still wears me out at times). I felt like my body that was feeling a little stressed and worn out  was getting more calm and relaxed as the days went on. She helped with get the house ready for the baby to point where I don’t have to think much about that until she’s here which is so nice. I feel a little wimpy feeling the need for a little help at this point in my pregnancy when I see others doing just fine at this stage. But I know everybody's different, and why not take the help if it’s offered, right? It made life more fun in general to have someone to go through the daily motions with, instead of thinking about every ache and pain, and trying not to count down what still feels like long way to go.

Then Dad drove in on Thursday to join the fun! he brought a Car full of baby gear some being returned to me, and others on loan from dear sisters. Seeing everything makes me so excited to bring this baby girl home. Having the company, and setting up for the baby was just what I needed to push through what felt like a difficult couple weeks, and into the home stretch.

They left Sunday morning after joining us for the first hour of Church, and I definitely didn’t want to say goodbye. But thanks to this little babe, they’ll be coming to visit again soon!

So I have a couple months left to keep myself distracted until the big event. I’m so excited I can hardly stand it. The kids comment on how big my belly is daily, and I’m starting to get looks and questions from strangers as I’m out and about. While I’m measuring right on schedule, I must look huge because the comments usually imply that I look like I’m about ready.  It’s definitely funny being pregnant again. The world just looks at you a little differently.

I’ll leave you with these pictures of our fun week with the parents. 31 weeks and counting!

The kids didn’t waste time taking all of Nana’s attention the moment she arrived.781788789

We took the kids birthday shopping for KC at the dollar store, and they even wrapped the presents on their own. 792827828829

Thank you Costco for the amazing mousse cake when I have zero energy to make one myself. That filled our sweet craving for many nights. Happy 38th to KC!!831

I was so grateful to have my parents there the next day to watch the boys, because I had to take Ruby to a last minute dentist appointment. She ended up needing four crowns! I hate seeing them on my little girl, but her teeth were not doing well back there and we couldn’t wait any longer. She was the bravest girl ever as they poked, drilled, and kept that  mask on her for a good hour. Not one complaint, or wiggle besides her legs changing position. I was nursing a terrible burn on my hand the whole time, but kept my focus on her and how great she was doing. As soon as they were done (great dentist and assistant, btw—so sweet) she relaxed her little stretched lips, and it was only then that she let the tears well up in her eyes. She was concerned that she couldn’t feel her face, and probably just letting out relief that it was over. Sweet, sweet girl. The moment kind of made my heart burst a little. She loves the dentist and was so excited to go, but had NO idea that’s what she’d be doing. She was all smiles and a little loopy after that. There was a lot of excitement over the little prizes. Soft food and ibuprofen for a few days and she’s good as new, except now she has “princess teeth”. Again, I’m so glad we had reinforcements that day.925

Dad came up from the guestroom at about 7:00 am the morning after he arrived, and Bennett immediately handed him a paper and a pen announced that he would be giving Papa a drawing lesson. Dad was so nice to oblige. 926928933932

I found this 500 piece puzzle at the dollar store, and it was surprisingly challenging and fun. We sat around the table a lot working on it whenever we felt like it. Mom put her hands in the pic to see the size of the pieces. Tiny!934

I was in desperate need of a toenail painting, cause I am not in a position to do them myself, and my wonderful mother did them for me. That’s love. Such a selfless person. I loved having her by my side for a few days.944

Monday, January 12, 2015

Baby Talk

Like most second children, or in my case, second pregnancies, there is far less time and energy to do nearly as much documenting that was done with the first. I’m sure I’d written at least a dozen posts about the triplets by this point in their pregnancy. But again, with more kids there is less time. And with the triplets I had a couple months of bed rest so what else did I have to do besides write about it? This makes a total of two blog posts about this baby girl. I have been instagramming about her, so that’s something. Of course, it’s no reflection on how very excited we all are about her. I get butterflies daily as I think about meeting her for the first time. The kids love to feel her kick and never tire of hugging and kissing my growing belly. I’m so grateful they get to experience this with KC and me. She is already loved more than words can express, so I can only imagine how that love will grow when she is finally here for us to gaze at and hold and smother with kisses. 

I might as well write about how the pregnancy’s been going for comparison’s sake. The first trimester was very much like it was with the triplets. A lot of blood tests and ultrasounds at the fertility clinic as I weaned off the meds, nausea around the clock, and complete exhaustion. Going into the second trimester, there was a definite change from my last pregnancy, as the number of doctors visits drastically dropped. I really love having only once-a-month visits, and uneventful ones at that. While being a normal patient with short appointments and very little monitoring is lovely, it was also strange to me to not be constantly aware of the goings on inside me. It’s hard to treat this like a regular, not high risk pregnancy, because that is really all I know. I liked being micromanaged to keep my mind at ease. I’ve had a lot of anxiety constantly wondering if things are going wrong. The routine tests have helped with some of that anxiety, but it seems I am really good at coming up with something else to worry about as soon as whatever it was I was worried about before was put to rest. Ugh. Being a mom is heart-wrenching from the very start. I know everyone must feel like this. I guess all it took to get to this point gets to me sometimes. The further along I get, the less I fear. And her constant moving definitely gives me confidence as well.  It doesn’t help that I am having Braxton Hicks contractions like crazy, and I’m about two weeks away from when the triplets were born. I know there’s no reason to think that will happen again because there is only one baby this time, but still, it’s all I know. I do try to relax and distract myself so I’m not a nervous wreck all the time, and sometimes it actually works.

My nausea decreased drastically around 18-20 weeks, and has gradually gotten better and better from there. I feel like my appetite has officially returned, and then some, now that I’m at 28 weeks. I’m definitely packing on the pounds, but trying not to worry about it. It seems silly that I let something so temporary get me down when all I really care about it getting the baby here safely. But I know I’m not helping the situation as I crave ice cream every night, and most often give into it. It’s just so fun that it actually tastes good again. I feel like during the entire second trimester I was starving all the time and even a Thanksgiving dinner would only satisfy it for an hour or two. Now at least I can go a little longer between meals, and enough things are appetizing that I can make better decisions on what to eat. Doesn’t mean I don’t give into what sounds REALLY good now and then. I’m always glad we didn’t go to my favorite restaurants while I was morning sick, because now I still love them. I’m not normally one who drinks milk regularly, but it has never tasted so good to me as right now. We’re definitely going through those gallons faster than ever before.

My skin has been suffering this time around. With the triplets, I had the great hair and skin benefits that pregnancy often brings, but this seems to be the opposite. I developed what I thought was a little breakout on the sides of my chin in October, and it spread quickly. I have had an eczema type rash on my chin in the past called perioral dermatitis, but it was mild and went away quickly with the help of doxycycline from the dermatologist. Of course I can’t take that during pregnancy, so we went a different route this time with pregnancy-safe topical creams. we tried a few different combinations of things, as well as trying so many natural over-the counter things I could research (including changing my toothpaste and face/hair products), and finally after a month or two, things finally started to show signs of improvement. When the rash was at its worst, I didn’t even like leaving the house. I’m ashamed of how sad it made me, being just a silly cosmetic issue when my baby was really all I should’ve been worried about, I’m sure hormones were partly to blame, but it really got me down some days as it continued to spread and didn’t improve. It’s still there, and although SO much better than before, it’s sure taking it’s time going away.  I know things could be much worse, so please don’t think I consider this a real problem. Just something I’ve been dealing with during this pregnancy.

Although I’m feeling much better, I’m still not cooking like I’d like to. I’m just so tired by the afternoon, and I’m trying to take it easy with all these contractions. But I do manage to get a decent meal on the table a few times a week, and have even been baking more lately. My family is so patient and easy to please that they never make me feel like they need more from me. Which is a good thing because adding a new baby to the mix will probably keep meals simple and my energy levels pretty low for a little while.

It’s hard when your brain wants to do things, but your body can only do so much. I know I’m not pregnant with triplets, but pregnant is pregnant, and you still have to be cautious. Going to Costco is getting harder by the day (I am LOVING Walmart grocery delivery/pick-up for most grocery shopping), as well as other normal things like getting heavy objects off shelves, or moving things around the house. Even little tasks like going up and down the stairs over and over while getting ready for school are difficult sometimes.  Nesting is tricky when there’s only so much you can do. It’s also hard when you have three kids undoing everything you’ve used every ounce of energy to accomplish. I’m learning to let a lot of expectations go because the kids are more important than the perfectly laid-out plans in my head. I’m also trying to be patient with myself as I can’t be the mom and housekeeper I’d like to be right now. Ever since the triplets were born I’ve learned a lot about letting go of control and to let life be as it is (with reasonable boundaries), because otherwise I’d be unhappy all the time. My relationship with my family matters more to me than constant organization. Their messes are usually a result of some creation they thought up on their own and kept themselves busy for hours doing, so I can’t be too upset about that.  Still, it’s hard to not feel like I’m not doing my job when things are always a mess, as hard as I try for it not to be. The kids are getting better at chipping in and doing their part to keep things in order, and I’m grateful for that. This is just a much bigger space than I’ve ever had before, and it’s big job even if they do each pick up 20 pieces of paper off the floor, or clear their plates when they’re done eating.

I do love the age the kids are right now as we add another child into the family. They are so aware of what is happening, and are so excited for what is going to happen. I know this is a reason why we waited until this time to have another, because with the likelihood that it will never happen again, I wanted them to enjoy this experience with us. I want them to remember it. Not to mention they’ll want to help so much I might even have to fight for time with the baby at the beginning. I love that they’ll be involved, and yet I’ll still have time alone with the baby when they’re off at school. It will definitely be a different experience. I’ve never had just one baby in the house before, and I might actually know what that feels like later on when they’re in school all day. I do wonder if I’ll get the feeling that she’ll be lonely without built-in playmates as she grows up. I’ve had that with my twin sister, and my kids have had that with each other so this will be so new to me, especially with the age gap. But I have a feeling her three older siblings will always be her best friends despite their difference in age. I’m also excited that most of my closest friends have all had/will have babies over the course of a year, so friends will never be in short supply. Imagine a play date at the park with only one child to look after. I might even get bored!

I’ll miss my little triplets and the unique adventures we’ve been through. But I love what they’re becoming as they grow, and love that they’ll get the opportunity to be older siblings. It brings out a side in them that is so special to me that I wondered if I’d ever get to see. I pray these next few months go by quickly, but at the same time, I’m really cherishing the time I have left with my little sidekicks. It’s been just them for so long, and while we’re beyond excited to bring this beloved baby sister into the family, these five and a half years with my first sweet babies will always have a special place in my heart.

I know the weeks will fly by (though the days feel extremely slow), and I’ll try to remember that the back pain, heartburn, contractions, skin issues, mood swings, weight gain, headaches, and other joys will be a distant, and probably fond memory before I know it. I’ll desperately miss the kicking (well most of it), anticipation, and excitement, so I’m holding onto that as I hope to experience a much longer pregnancy than I had before. Anything more than 30 weeks is going to feel like an eternity, but the thought of having a healthy full term baby I get to just bring home from the hospital keeps me going. I’m so, so thankful for her every single day.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Our Christmas: Part Two

The kids were very diligent about the countdown this year, and they KNEW when it was the day before Christmas. We had an relaxing morning, as KC did some last minute errands, and we got ourselves presentable for the day. Around 1:00 we went to our traditional  movie matinee, and were pleased to have a couple other families join us. We saw Big Hero 6, and the kids were captivated the entire time, sometimes exclaiming their love for it mid-film. 054055056

When we got home, I got to work on the fondue prep. I love this traditional dinner, and it’s fun for the kids too. We kept it pretty simple for the kiddos with only a few dippers. Still hit the spot. The kids are also fans of “sparkly cider”. Who isn’t?!002004007

Ham, cheese and toasted bread- still my favorite combo.010

And for dessert, egg nog milk shakes. We like keeping things simple and delicious around here. 135

Then we opened up the pjs from my parents, something the kids have been anticipating since the package arrived weeks earlier. Nothing like a new set of cozy pjs.096095

Bennett was a stinker and preferred his angry birds pajamas that night (but has since worn his Batman ones many times and love them) so Alex enjoyed having his pick of both sets! He ended up wearing the ones meant for him.101B did take a turn with Daddy’s though.103

I actually got myself to make some nativity costumes this year! Very simple ones, I might add. All thanks to these great instructions (and Oriental Trading for accessories). I thought it was time to get the kids a little more involved than just using the Little People nativity set. It was a bit chaotic getting everyone ready and settled down. Really, taking pictures is what made me cranky to the point sending everyone to their rooms for a few minutes! But soon we all calmed down, said our apologies,  and we were able to tell the sweet story of Baby Jesus. The kids were darling and really got into their parts. 026027030032033034037047

Then Ruby was practically begging to go to bed, and on Christmas Eve, that really every parent’s dream. So after a quick reading of The Night Before Christmas, they drifted off into magical Christmas dreamland. 138

Santa came right on time! It wasn’t nearly as much last year, and that was intentional. Kids just don’t need that much stuff! Also, we’d used up all our cute wrapping paper the day before and had to make due with a Christmasy Justin Bieber variety meant for white elephant gifts. It all went in the garbage anyway, so fine with me!048052

Of course Ruby woke up first around 6:45, as usual, and I told her to wait until about 7 for the boys. And a few minutes before that, they were up and ready to play! KC went to turn on lights and things while the kids were upstairs literally jumping up and down with excitement. We let them free to run down stairs and they were thrilled to see that Santa had come and brought them what they’d asked for (plus a couple surprises he thought they’d like). They were beyond thrilled and couldn’t stop squealing and smiling. I loved watching everybody look so happy and excited for each other. I was just so grateful that morning. We are so blessed.059 054055053061065

Then we opened the presents under the tree, and they loved everything.068071073

They went to town playing with everything for the rest of the day.074091090105144

Somewhere in there we had our pull-a-part and strata for breakfast. Definitely a crowd-pleaser. 085

We made cookie dough, but never got around to making them for Santa (darn my limited energy), but the kids came down to find that he had eaten a few Werthers KC and I left out for him.213

It was a beautiful sunny day, but we knew the snow was going to come in that night. Festive. 211

She asked for a princess rug. She’s in love with it.215106108109

She got a matching doll nighty with her new pajamas the night before. It was on a doll for a minute, but soon was put on her unicorn.219

We even played with a  few toys ourselves.220

This is The Book with no Pictures. They can’t get enough! It’s brilliant.223

Her most treasured gifts, My Little Pony lip gloss, and a Hello Kitty diary that locks. Thanks Target $3 spot!241

I made some Christmas comfort foods for dinner. Pretzel jello (aka “the red” to my family) rolls, funeral potatoes (aka “potato nasty” to to my family) and ham, etc. Not much to look at, but fun to remember our little family Christmas dinner together. And lovely to have leftovers for a few days! 242243245246

Notice, the boys still in pjs. It was amazing to have nothing to do but play at home all day. 247

A perfect day full of so much happiness, and a very relaxed atmosphere. I love this family, and I love making these memories. We kept thinking about how different and fun next year will be with another sweetheart added to the mix. I can’t wait! 262