D(ue)-Day is Coming!

Our baby is due on Friday. Friday. As in this week. Like today is Tuesday. We could be a family of four by the end of the week. We could be a family of four by the end of the day. Or it could be a couple weeks from now. Let’s hope not. I’ve got my fingers crossed for an October baby. If we go into November I’ll most certainly cry.

As if I’m not crying now. I’m pregnant. I cry a lot.

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I also find humor in how ridiculous my belly is. 

At this point in my pregnancy with Haines I was so worn out. I felt like I was missing out on all my favorite things. I couldn’t walk for very long without wearing out which felt so disappointing. The pain I felt in what is now my “under belly” (when pregnant there are multiple dimensions to your belly) and hips was constant.

With this little dude, I feel so much more positive. Yes, I’m tired. Yes, I’m still prone to feeling overwhelmed and crying in the bathtub. Yes, my body hurts. BUT I’m not missing out on my favorite things. Over the past two years, my favorite things have adjusted. The person I most want to see each day (sorry, Tyler) just wants to hold hands and walk aggravatingly slowly. He wants to sit on the floor and read books. Sometimes he wants to pretend to sleep on the floor. That I can do. I’m a pro at pretending to sleep on the floor.

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He does like to sit on my lap though, which is extremely difficult. 

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Fun on the floor!

I still don’t love being pregnant. Feeling the baby move can be just as painful as it is beautiful. I want to eat things without feeling guilty that I haven’t provided another person with enough adequate nutrition. I prefer walking down the hallway without someone commenting on my waddle. And my waddle is pretty pronounced. When I think I’m walking normal, I’m most likely to be called out for waddling.

When I was pregnant with Haines I also obsessed over what labor would be like. This is totally reasonable, although not helpful. For weeks (months?) I couldn’t stop thinking about childbirth. I read The Birth Partner cover to cover (which I recommend) and practiced my breathing from yoga.

Luckily, this time I’ve only started thinking about childbirth in the last couple weeks although it’s still not helpful. Now my thoughts are more like traumatic flashbacks. I am not someone who found childbirth empowering. If you’re pregnant, I hope you do. I thought it was real hard and overwhelming. Mother Nature has removed many of the details of Haines’ birth from my memory and I only sort of remember what happened. I know the chronological order and I know how I felt but I can’t remember feeling it. It’s rather disorienting.

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This lady has no idea what she’s in for!

But here we are at 39 weeks and 4 days ready to go! My hospital bag is packed, the grandmothers are ready to help with Haines and I’m about to start eating jalapeños by the fistful if this little dude doesn’t show soon.

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What I’ll Do Differently With Baby #2

When I was pregnant with Haines I pretended I was flexible on baby things but in reality I had my heart set on doing things a certain way. If you asked me if I was planning to breastfeed, I would say “Yes, if I can” but mentally I was screaming “I’ll be devastated if I can’t.” Now that we’re less than 3 weeks from welcoming baby #2, I’ve been thinking about the things I want to do differently and hope to do again.

This time I plan to…

Communicate more // I struggle very hard with communicating my needs. When pregnant and postpartum I struggle even with identifying my needs. These last few weeks I’ve felt at times I was struggle with all my many intense mama emotions, but when asked what I needed, I had no answer. It’s hard not to anticipate my hormones preparing to go out of whack and just how intense I will be feeling in the coming weeks. I’m not sure how I’m going to improve in this area but I am going to try to be proactive as much as possible with sharing all my craziness  so even if I can’t identify what I need, maybe someone else can!

Have formula on hand // Yes, I want to breastfeed again. Yes, I would love to exclusively breastfeed for the first 12 months. But with two babies and work and life and sanity I plan to have a can of formula on hand. Supplementing with formula may allow me to breastfeed for longer. Knowing that Haines could be a healthy, happy formula-fed baby means knowing that I don’t need that pressure on myself.

Let’s be honest, I’m mainly into breastfeeding because it’s free anyways. I hope to start pumping fairly early, like week 2 as I did with Haines and will be slightly more aware of freezer stash this time around. I really like the freedom of being able to leave the baby with even if just for a short while and not worry about any feeding.

Try to get out of the house more // When I was on maternity leave with Haines, I always intended to get out of the house every day but it didn’t often happen. When it did, I felt infinitely better. I’m hoping as I will come into this maternity leave knowing how to survive baby outings, I will brave them more frequently. My tendency to isolate myself is a habit I have to break!

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Ask for help //  It is incredibly hard to ask for help. For the last three years I’ve been pregnant, a new mom or pregnant with a toddler and I haven’t felt very able to help others. Mentally and physically I’m out of whack and working with limited resources and it’s made me hesitant to reach out to anyone when I need a hand as I feel like I can’t repay it. I’m trying to get over that.

It’s hard to remember that this time is temporary and I have the potential to be a genuine, contributing member of society and my friendships again!

What I’ll do again (hopefully)…

Sleep train // We weren’t super intense about sleep training baby Haines but we started a few things early on and have stuck with it. Haines had a bed time routine pretty early on. I don’t want to make anyone jealous but it involves my beautiful singing voice. Now Haines tries to sing along with me which makes my heart explode. (He also stops singing mid-song to say, “Haines sing. Mama sing.”) Between 6 and 7 months we did a long weekend of cry it out. Cry it out blows but Haines has been sleeping through the night ever since. Hell yes.

Cloth diapers // I would really like to make it 12 months with baby #2 in cloth diapers. We’ll start the first couple weeks in disposables but then hopefully switch to a diaper service after that. Haines was in cloth about 90% of the time for his first 15 months. I’d love to do all cloth all the time but I do feel like using cloth at least some of the time helps minimize our environmental impact.

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Make our baby food // Haines rarely ate store bought baby food when he was little. He pretty quickly transitioned out of purees regardless. This new little dude will obviously dictate what he’s into but making our own food wasn’t that hard and saved us money. I just got to be honest, I just liked making it.

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Baby’s first lasagna

Worry way more than necessary // Although I’m hopeful I’ll be way less stressed out as a second-time mom, I know I’ll still be a nervous nelly. Once we get through the first few weeks and I no longer have to be concerned about sepsis, that will be a big help. Still, every runny nose and cough are hard to be cool about when they come from such a tiny being.

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Less than 3 weeks to go!

 

 

 

So Long Summer!

I basically blinked and found September was almost over. It will be Tyler’s birthday in only 3 days, which typically signals the start of fall for me.

August and September were challenging months personally but also marked with wonderful times.

Family:

Tyler’s father, brother and my future sister-in-law came to visit in August for a beach weekend. It was great to have the time together, although the highlight was watching Haines interact with everyone and learn to love the beach!

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My mom moved to town! Unfortunately she only got to spend one night in her new house before we evacuated for Hurricane Florence but her house is still whole as are all of us. I have never lived in the same town as either of my parents as an adult and I’m excited for this new adventure!

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Step 1: Convince your mom to move to Wilmington. Step 2: Let her spend one night in her home before evacuating. 

Haines:

Baby boy has freaking blossomed over the past month or so. Today we played “night night” for probably 30 minutes. This is a great game where I laid down and got tucked in with a blanket and Elmo over and over again. It wasn’t my idea! I hope we get to play it again.

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Regardless Haines is talking and singing nonstop. He is imitating everything we say and do- a very scary prospect- between total fits of rage. We have entered the time of tantrums, which I am not pumped about but recognize as a necessary evil in his growing up. One day they’ll stop. Just like one day he’ll go to college, right?

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Baby #2:

Baby boy is growing away! I had actually lost a little bit of weight in early September, only to gain 11 pounds in the last two weeks. 11 pounds!!

Apparently we only have 5 weeks left until his arrival (assuming he’s as punctual as his brother) which completely freaks me out but I also spent WAY too long looking at baby Haines photos today which made me very glad we’re doing this again.

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On the flip side, our community of Wilmington, NC is deeply suffering right now from Hurricane Florence. There is so much destruction but our house survived intact, as did my mom’s. We have a lot of yard clean up to do but that is a small price to pay. We are incredibly lucky. Flooding and downed trees have devastated homes and our neighboring communities. It is hard to believe this is our town.

If you are interested in providing support to those in southeastern North Carolina, Nourish NC, Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina and the Red Cross are good options.

 

 

32 Weeks

What a whirlwind year. All of the sudden I’m 32 weeks pregnant today, 8 weeks (hopefully) left until we’re a family of 4. Where did the time go?

This pregnancy has been so much easier in a sense as I haven’t had time to focus on it. Every hour of the day seems accounted for. It’s only stolen moments that I can think about baby boy #2. Whenever he kicks or somersaults or hiccups I am reminded of his quiet presence, waiting to make his debut. My belly is so large that I imagine it’s hard to believe I don’t spend all my time conscious of him but as must be common with younger children, the anticipation is more subdued, more of a bear hug than a champagne toast.

I worry he’ll think he was less desired, less welcomed, less celebrated than his older brother but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. To know his brother only increases our excitement. Now we know what love can feel like and to know that is to understand the world is absolutely limitless. That we will love him perhaps more easily because our hearts have already been opened.

This year has been full of challenges. Some have felt well beyond my ability to handle them, but we are still here, still standing, still reaching out to the universe asking for more.

So, the countdown begins baby boy! See you soon!

Enjoying Pregnancy

We are quickly closing in on the third trimester! It’s so hard to believe. All of the sudden I find myself thinking, this pregnancy may be actually flying by. Just kidding, I have 13 weeks left. It’s definitely not, but realizing that this is my last pregnancy has had more impact on me than I would have expected. I’m relishing in the moments I didn’t soak up before. Every little kick and somersault, the little pains that irk me when I move from seated to standing, and the times Haines pulls up my shirt to check out my belly. (No, he has no idea what’s in there. I’m sure he thinks I should lay off the snacks.) I’m even thinking about having maternity photos taken… although in fairness, I’m still really cheap and very uncomfortable in front of a camera so I have a friend who wants to take my photo for free, call me!

I didn’t enjoy being pregnant with Haines. It wasn’t particularly painful or tough but the emotional turmoil I felt was constant. I really struggled with what becoming a parent meant, what it was going to do to my life, to my identity. I felt obsessed. My first pregnancy and many of the months afterwards was almost solely focused on processing what it meant to embrace my evolving sense of self while making room for the needs of another life. It was easy and insanely difficult all at the same time. There is nothing like being needed by your child to put aside your own needs without another thought. But it doesn’t mean it isn’t hard to power forward, go without sleeping, live on snacks, etc. You can’t power on forever without a toll and I have learned to make the most of the moments I have to myself- even if it’s just nap time.

This process is not done, of course. I have no doubt I will learn this again with #2 and continue to learn with each phase of our lives.

But these days at least, I’m finding joy not only in Haines but in this pregnancy and anticipating the littlest member of our family. Where before I thought I might burst with fear, now I am a strange combination of calm and elation. I want to celebrate this time! But as baby #2 grows, I’m doing my best to make time for the two of us (me and the tiny, growing bun in my not-so-tiny oven). Once I have two children out in the world, there may not even be nap times to catch a moment of quiet.

Prenatal yoga// I won’t go on about this any more. If you’ve read any post I’ve written in the last few months, it’s been all prenatal yoga is the best thing since sliced bread. This is still true.

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Baths// When I was pregnant with Haines I was able to take a bubble bath every week. Now some tiny toddler keeps dirtying up the tub with his playground dirt and leftover dinner in his hair. For these last few weeks, there will be more baths. If I tell you I can’t hang out because I’m washing my hair, it’s a lie. I’m just reading a magazine in the tub.

Beauty regimen// I don’t know what else to call it, but I’m trying to slow down and actually pay attention to taking care of myself. Haines keeps me busy enough that repeatedly I get to work realizing I haven’t brushed my hair, put deodorant on or checked my outfit. I won’t look in the mirror until my first bathroom break at work. Clearly I’m not vain but I’m often disappointed when I get that first look. It makes me feel like a slob. So I’m slowing down. I’m remembering to rub almond oil on my belly, put mascara on in the morning and a couple bobby pins in my hair. It’s not impressive for sure, but I’m hopeful less people will look at me like I’m an injured whale.

Friends// These weeks I don’t get halfway through the week without mentally formulating a plan for some weekend social activities. I don’t care what it is as long as I’m chatting to someone else for an hour or two each day. It’s not enough to really satisfy my needs but it takes me from surviving to enjoying life. This weekend my husband sent me to beach yoga, we had friends for dinner, checked out a new coffee shop with a neighbor, and we’re going to a goodbye party.

Date night// Since Haines turned 3 months we’ve tried to take a date night every month. We have mostly been successful in this mission, but with number 2 on the way we’re trying to get in more whenever we can.

Only 13 more weeks to go y’all. No one panic.

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Pregnancy Update: Halfway!

So we finally crossed over the halfway mark in pregnancy. According to friends my pregnancy is flying by… I’m not sure I feel the same way, but I’m enjoying it more than I did with Haines.

With Haines I was incredibly stressed about what it was going to mean to be a mother. I assumed I would feel an insane love for him but I didn’t know what that meant. I couldn’t imagine what that felt like and I certainly didn’t understand what a driver that would become in my life. I was worried about experiencing a loss of identity and missing out on the things I enjoy.

They weren’t unreasonable concerns. I did feel lost for a while in the fourth trimester. I felt overwhelmed and without purpose. My sole activity was just to keep Haines alive which wasn’t very fulfilling despite the joy I felt holding and loving him. I still struggle with finding time for the things I enjoy. This blog post will probably take a week to write and yet it’s all fine. I have a better sense of “this is temporary” and more excitement rather than nerves this pregnancy. Although the idea of having two children to chase is terrifying.

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Pregnancy has treated me very well so far. My nausea was worse in the first trimester than with Haines but it was still manageable. Our anatomy scan showed a healthy baby in there and so far our only concerns are:

  • My placenta is underneath the baby which is not where it’s supposed to be. We’ll get an additional ultrasound at 28 weeks to see if it moves, which is apparently very common. Worst case scenario is a c-section which is not the end of the world.
  • Making sure I get antibiotics before delivery to reduce the risk of group strep b this time. I definitely want to avoid another sepsis experience!

This are both things we can prepare for and although I think about them from time to time, I’m not overly worried. We’ve chatted with the midwives and the pediatrician on our concerns and feel pretty good.

I’ve discovered I’m waddling already, much to my chagrin. I’m just a waddler apparently. I’m making a bigger effort to exercise despite hating it more and more. Today I went to a High Intensity Interval Training class and made so many modifications that I wondered why I was there. Still, it helped to be in a class setting and I did exercises that I wouldn’t have thought of to do on my own. With Haines I severely reduced my exercise starting at 32 weeks. I’m hoping to make it that long again.

Otherwise life is pretty much:

  • Drinking gallons of water every day (Okay, I average around 90-100 ounces) and peeing every 45 minutes
  • Obsessively coating my skin in sweet almond oil to prevent stretch marks
  • Hosting family- tis the benefits of living at the beach!
  • Surviving 90F+ days with 80% humidity
  • Re-reading Great With Child for the second time (recommend!) as well as reading Fever Dream (recommend!), Educated (recommend!), And Now We Have Everything (3 out of 5 stars), and What We Lose (don’t recommend). My night stand stack of books is shrinking… but I have a back up pile ready!

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Every day I feel more kicks and somersaults which I am relishing. It’s a total gift to know this little guy who is a total mystery and yet I know more about him than anyone else. What a strange thing to be a mother, isn’t it?

I finished this all in one sitting. I’m beyond impressed with myself.

 

Growing Family

Children are not logical.  They’re adorable, pretty fun (some of the time), and make your heart explode with joy on a regular basis. They are not; however, logical. They cost lots of money, sleep, time, sanity and home cleanliness.

And yet, here we are, ready to do it again. Not just ready, excited. (ILLOGICAL!) Another little one will be joining our family at the end of October. And if I’m totally honest I’m terrified. Bringing a new person into the world, our little world, could not be more intimidating.  But I don’t think being afraid is a bad thing. It just means something important is at stake.

It was an enormous decision to try for baby number two. There were lots of reasons to go one and done. There were two reasons to try again:

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1. I have loved watching Haines grow. I have loved every milestone, every new word, even every painful new tooth. Watching Haines grow from a fairly boring baby to a tiny, humorous person is joyous in the most quiet, incredible ways.

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2. I have a sibling who is almost 11 years older than me. I love her and our family just the way it is but growing up I often wished we were closer in age. I want Haines to have the full sibling experience… even though I know that means two kids under two, crazy fights over toys, personal space and the like.

These last 16 months have not been very easy. I have a tendency to isolate myself when I feel low and having a young child naturally keeps you at home more. This is something that I constantly have to work through- making sure I get of the house, reminding myself to make plans, to reach out to others. My company, nor Haines’ or Tyler’s, is not quite enough to give me all that I need. I’m not actually sure what does give me all that I need.

I assume that’s because I’m a growing, evolving person whose life has become much more complicated since adding 1 (and soon 2) children. So what I needed once, isn’t exactly what I need now. Plus before Haines I didn’t have it all figured out either.

I thought that by the time I had children I would be a pretty perfect, mentally sound person. I’m actually still me, which is more complicated and will probably make for a better mother overall.

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So, littlest Barrack we are not perfect. We will always make mistakes, but we will love you more than you can possibly imagine. See you in a few months baby B!