lately...


Life lately has been... tiring.
Hence the lack of posts.

Anneli is a wonderful baby and we are soooo in love with her!
We can't stop kissing her hundreds of times of day.
Especially Elijah who we can't keep him out of her face...
Which is actually rather annoying.

And speaking of Elijah, he's just as busy and funny and defiant as always.
Which is also annoying & tiring.
I feel like I am yelling at him all day while having a baby hooked to by boob constantly.
Cause this girl thinks she needs to nurse whenever she is awake,
or sad,
or tired,
or poopy,
or happy.

And then we have the night time.
Baby sleeps pretty great!
But.... she finally falls asleep for the night after her grumpy time at 11.
Elijah then wakes up after 12.
Then he wakes up again between 3 & 4.
Once I finally get him back to sleep, the baby wakes up around 4 for a feeding.
Then once she finally done close to 5, Elijah wakes up for the day between 6 & 7.
And that is my sleep schedule.

And then there's Adam's schedule which consists of him being gone all day and studying for the rest of the night when he gets home.
Not to mention the fact that he's like dead to the world when he's asleep.
Can I sleep like a husband in my next life??

So we are happy & in love
and so incredibly tired!

But those chubby cheeks and gummy {gassy} smiles are worth it 10000%

little boy messes & Viva Vantage

Living with a little boy gets pretty disgusting at times. 
I swear that kid just attracts all the dirt, messes, and germs around him. 
Like really he's gross. 


{And crazy & cute obviously. :)}

Popsicle drips, soap & pasta sauce all over the sink, dirt on his hands and nails, food all over the table & floor, snot... just sick & annoying messes everywhere. 


Thankfully I have a way to combat the onslaught of Elijah messes everyday. 
Viva Vantage paper towels. 


I used to use an other brand because it was easy and cheap. 
But I found that I was using a lot of sheets for simple messes because I didn't feel like one could do a good enough job. 
So one time I decided to try Viva paper towels on a whim from Walmart because they seemed to have a good deal going on. And honestly, I am hooked. 

Viva Vantage paper towels are thick and stretchy and are great at cleaning up messes. They are made with a revolutionary V-Flex Weave that gives enough stretch for strong scrubbing power. 
It just takes one small sheet to clean up seemingly big messes and can really take a beating.

Plus they're perfect for cleaning up all the sticky drips of Elijah's multiple popsicles he eats a day. 
And I mean that literally. 
He eats at least 3 popsicles a day probably...
And attracts all the ants. 
#lazymomproblems

What's your go-to cleaning product? 
Consider making Viva Vantage part of your cleaning routine and test out it's scrubbing power!

Thank you Viva Vantage and Walmart for sponsoring this post and helping me clean up my messes!


Inspiration

Anneli's Birth Story: Part 3

[photos by Alisha Hunsaker]

{{Part 1 here}}
{{Part 2 here}}

As each contraction continued to take over my body, I gripped the bars on the bed and screamed.
And not like a loud yell or groan.
A full on, high-pitched shriek like I was falling on a roller coaster.

"I want to PUUUUSSSHHH!!!"

With every contraction that rolled in, my body was desperate to push.
The pressure was so intense and it seemed like any relief lied in just pushing.that.baby.out.

But that was the one thing I was not allowed to do.
So instead all my energy went into screaming.
It was all I could do to hold that baby in.

[I swore to myself I wouldn't be a screamer. But you lose all sense of self at that point...]

Suddenly I heard Elijah start to cry.
I knew he was in the room somewhere with Adam but wasn't quite aware of what he was doing.
He kept asking, "What's wrong with Mommy??"



Adam kind of laughed and held him close.
He told him I was okay and that I was just kind of hurting because baby sister was coming.
They were standing off to the side a little behind the bed as the nurses were all surrounding me.

Another contraction and another scream escaped me.
One of the nurses got in my face and told me to breathe.
Breathe & relax.
But to me relaxing meant pushing so instead I screamed again.

I was trying to follow the advice of all the {tiny handful} of birthing books/articles I read to go with my body, move with the contractions, and follow its lead.
Which was telling me to push!
But the nurses were trying to make me stop everything that felt natural to me and I would tense up.

It felt like I was holding in a bowling ball that was about to bust through my behind.
I felt like my whole body was going to rip.
I was scared and anxious, I just wanted to get it over with.
I was in so much pain, felt so out of control, and yet I trusted my body completely.
I started to give up on the nurses...

Another scream.
I hear another cry from Elijah.
Adam laughed.
Then the nurse got close to me and said,
"You need to relax and stop screaming. You're scaring your son."

That snapped me back to reality.
I knew what I needed to do and I needed to help both of my babies right then.
I tried harder to focus and relax.
Which meant... I was going to push dang it! 

I didn't care what they were telling me, I was having that baby and they couldn't stop me.
Doctor or no doctor, this baby was coming now.

{And there was no doctor.}

I took a big breath and pushed.
The nurses looked surprised but went to work right away.
They were rushing to stretch & massage me which almost hurt as much as the contractions.
(TMI??)
I felt her head come out and saw the nurses reach to catch her and turn her.
One more push and her shoulders and rest of her body came out.

I immediately felt relief and exhilaration.
I couldn't believe what just happened.
First silence, a little gurgle, then I heard her small, chirpy cry pierce the tense air.
Clocked in at 4:07am.

I was in total awe that this little thing came so fast and furiously.
I just did that!

All of a sudden I heard a nurse yell, "She's peeing. She's peeing!"
Crap! My biggest fear came true.
But then I looked over and saw that the baby was, in fact, peeing on the table.
So crisis averted, the baby can deal with that embarrassment.

While I was watching them do their thing to get ready to hand her to me, another disagreement among the nurses ensued.
"You need to cut the cord here."
"No, I cut it here."
"No, that's not right. You need to cut it here!"
"I know what I'm doing!"

Adam and I exchanged glances.
What the heck was happening right now??
Then before either of the nurses cut, they asked Adam if he would like to do the honors.
{So you know, they can blame it on the dad if it got messed up...}

Once that got figured out... they handed her off to me and we got to finally get a good look at her.
Her hair was totally unexpected, a crazy matted down mess of brown curls. 
Her nose was a little crooked & smashed from the quick birth.
Her cheeks were full and soft.
She had a little dimple in her chin when she cried.
And she had these calm, tiny, puffy, almond eyes that just looked right at me. 


I couldn't stop saying, "Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh..."
It was so incredibly surreal.
She was absolutely opposite of how I expected her to look.
[mainly lots of hair!]
And even more beautiful & precious than I could have imagined.

They let us hold her and stare at her for a while before they finally took her to get her stats.
A couple of the nurses looked at me with big smiles, gave my arms a squeeze, & told me good job.
After all the chaos & absolute craziness, it was such a relief to hear those words and hold my new baby.


[do you see how the gown was barely on me? it was just hastily thrown on me. all part of the mass hysteria.]

Adam took Elijah to go see her get weighed and he was all smiles.
When they gave her her shots, Elijah got really protective of her and got mad at the nurses.
"Why are you giving her pokes? You made her red & bleeding!"
And about an hour later when they came back in to check her vitals again, he went to stand by the baby and made sure they didn't hurt her again.
Already playing his part as older brother well!

{In fact, the next morning the nursery nurses were still talking about how funny his reaction was.}

[Before they gave the baby her shots, they were asking for my consent especially since there wasn't time before to sign all the paperwork. At that point though I was pretty tired & confused because so many different nurses were asking me a bajillion questions and telling me to sign stuff plus I was really starting to feel the pain of after birth. Adam was standing there telling the nurse yes, yes, yes but she wouldn't listen to him, it had to be from me I guess. Kind of added to the craziness of the whole situation...]

About 10 minutes after she was born & they were cleaning her up, the on-call doctor finally came in.
She shuffled in there, eyes half-open, hair in tangles around her face, looking like she obviously just rolled out of bed, and mumbly asked the nurses where the gown and suture kit were.
Adam and I just looked at each other... who was this girl??
(And I mean girl. She looked younger than all the nurses.)
She hardly said a word to us, no congratulations or sorry she missed it.
She just told me she was going to deliver the after-birth and then see if I needed stitches.
{just one small stitch!}
While she was making her stitch, another nurse came in to tell her she was needed down the hall for another delivery.
She kind of snapped back that she was busy and would be there in a minute.
Then she finished and she was gone.
We never saw or talked to her again.
Weirdest part of the night.

After everything was done, all the nurses left us to enjoy our new family of 4.
It was quiet & low-key, a total 180 from what just happened minutes earlier.



My aunt, who we had called to come watch Elijah, arrived about 30 minutes later.
She walked in, totally shocked, and just started laughing.
"Megan! You already had the baby!?"
Adam was holding the baby and I was sitting up in bed signing forms while Elijah went to go get some cookies with one of the nurses.
[The nurse that was telling me to take my pants off took him. She redeemed herself ;)]
I apologized for making her drive all the way there when I ended up having her before she got there.
As we recounted the whole series of events, we asked a nurse how long it took to have the baby.
She looked at my file on the computer and said,
"Well, you had her at 4:07am... from the time you checked in.... about 10 minutes."

10 minutes!  

The most crazy, insane, mind-blowing 10 minutes of my entire life!

I still can't even believe what happened that very early morning.
If I didn't have a baby to hold as proof I would feel like it was all a dream.

As every wonderful thing in my life, nothing went as planned & I felt {literally} pushed to my limits.
But after much stress & anguish came a beautiful, perfect little blessing.
And it was all much much better than I would have ever chosen for myself.

[The one thing I do regret about the whole experience is how little involved Adam was. He would peek over to see the baby crowning and come out but made sure to hold Elijah back as much as he could. But he really couldn't get much closer anyways because of all the nurses in the way and just the sheer insanity of it all kept him off to the side. I wish he could've been right by my side more but I am grateful he got to do some small things like cut her cord and that everything turned out well anyways. Though we joke that Adam should've just delivered her himself since apparently the stress really got to some of the nurses.... Maybe next time ;)]

This little, tiny, piece of heaven has already changed our lives.
Mainly has made me utterly exhausted.
But has also filled our home & hearts with more love than we could even imagine.



{I just really hope her crazy entrance into this world isn't a preview of what our future holds...}

THE END 





[Thanks for sticking with me through this crazy birth story! It might not interest everyone but it's good for me to write it all down so I can remember all these little details for posterity's sake. There's still some stuff that I left out but I tried to condense ;) So thank you for humoring me with all these posts :)]

Anneli's Birth Story: Part 2

[photos by Alisha Hunsaker]

{{Part 1 here}}

"Megan, don't push!"
"But it feels like I need to push."
"You're wearing pants. You can't push!"

Leave it to Adam to try and be logical.

I could hardly sit any longer and started to feel a lot of pressure.
Adam was flying down the road, going 75 mph in a 40 mph zone.
Thankfully at that time of night {morning?} no one was on the road and all the lights were turned off.
And no cops around.
Though if we did get stopped by a cop I'm pretty sure it would have played out like a movie scene.
[Something I secretly hoped to be able to add to our story...]

We finally had to stop at a red light right before the hospital which presented Adam with the biggest moral dilemma of his life.
"Should I just run it?"
"I don't know. I don't care."
"I'm thinking about running it. Should I run it? Maybe I should run it."
"Just do whatever I'm about to have this baby!!"

For the record, we didn't run it.

We finally got to the hospital in record time (it took us about 5 minutes instead of the usual 10, arriving there a little before 4:00am) and Adam ran in to grab a wheelchair.
He wheeled me up to emergency and very abruptly stopped the chair in front of the security desk.
He then rattled off that he was going to go park the car and grab Elijah and left me there alone, looking at the security guards, gripping the arm rests, and trying to take deep breaths.
Soon a guard looked at me and said, "Do you need someone to take you up right now?"
"Yeah. Yes, I need to go now."

A girl came out and s l o w l y started pushing me towards labor & delivery.
And decided it was a good time for some small talk...
while I'm literally doing everything I can to sit still and not start crying/screaming! 
"So, is this your first?"
"No."
"Oh, do you have a boy or girl at home?"
*talking through labored breathing and clenched teeth* "I have a son. He's in the car. My husband went to get him. I think I need to push."
"Uhhhh... don't push. I'm not medically trained."

Perfect.

She started to pick up the pace a bit once we got out of the elevator and rushed me toward the nurses.
At this point, there was no denying my water broke since I was sitting in a puddle on the chair.
Of which I kept apologizing for...

"So sorry! I leaked... I should've brought my towel... Sorry!"

When I got to the nurses the security guard told them that I said needed to push.
You could see the panic in their eyes.
They were all rushing around trying to figure out what to do and see if there was even a room for me.
It was decided that I could go into a room that was supposed to be for someone who was getting induced in a couple of hours.
But since I was there now and yelling that I wanted to push they decided I could get first dibs.

By then Adam and Elijah had met up with me and they were trying to get all of our information.
Right before they wheeled me into the room I saw a sign that said
"NO CHILDREN ALLOWED IN TRIAGE."
Well, I thought, not the first rule we broke tonight.

A nurse quickly came over and pushed me into the room.
She saw Elijah in Adam's arms and became really concerned with my privacy, trying to push me into the bathroom to change instead of straight to the bed.
Nurse 1: "Okay, go in there and take your pants off so you can get the gown on."
Me: "I can't get up."
Nurse 1: "Well, you need to take off your pants."
Me: *gets up for 2 seconds in the bathroom to barely pull my pants down and then sits back down* "I can't do it."
Nurse 1: "You have to take off your pants."
Me: "I really cannot get up to take off my pants. I feel like I need to push."
Nurse 1: "You can't push with your pants on. They need to come off to have the baby."
Well, duh!

She finally understood that I was absolutely dead serious and had no physical ability to undress myself.
I even thought about wearing a skirt but then figured that'd be too fancy & ridiculous for a labor room.
I never wanted to wear a skirt so much in my life.

So the nurse guided me to the bed and finished taking my pants off and told me to climb up.
Between the next contractions I climbed quickly into bed after some protests from me.
["I can't move." "We need to get a sheet on you and check you." "But I can't move!"]
They then told me I needed to take off my shirt which at that point I was going nuts in my head.
What was the point of taking my shirt off?? The baby was not coming out through my chest.
They again were worried about what Elijah would see, which I could honestly care less about, and quickly threw a gown on me to cover me up.
I managed to get one arm in before I started screaming that I wanted to push.

Don't push!! 

It was pure chaos.
Within a matter of seconds nurses swarmed the room.
There were about 7 nurses in the room: 5 hovering over me and 2 waiting by the incubator.
Adam heard two of the nurses arguing over some protocol and if it was a sterile procedure or not while two others were firing questions about my health and previous delivery at me.
Did I have normal vaginal delivery?
Was it traumatic?
Did I bleed a lot?
Any complications?
Am I allergic to anything?
What medications am I taking?
Any health issues?

Yes.
No.
No.
No.
*hard breathing. ughhhhh-ing.*
No.
The usual.
No.
*strained groans & hard breathing.*
I just want to push!!



[trying to relax...]

"Don't push!" they all yelled at me.
"We're trying to get a hold of the on-call doctor."

Oh, okay, so no doctor is there.
I feel better.

The next logical thing to do was start screaming.


Anneli's Birth Story: Part 1

[photos by Alisha Hunsaker]

I woke up around 1:45am on Monday, July 14th after barely an hour of sleep.
Suddenly my pants felt wet.
Did I just totally lose control and wet the bed??
Did that finally happen? 
Or did my water break? 
No, I'm not going to get my hopes up about that. 

I sat up in bed, held myself and ran into the bathroom.
My pants were definitely wet through.
But from what I wasn't sure.
Or at least I didn't want to make the wrong conclusion.

Without waking Adam, I decided to take a shower.
I tried to just relax, take my time, and figure out what my body might be telling me.
After the shower, around 2:15am, I decided I should probably tell Adam.
"I think... my water may have broke."
"Are you sure it's not just wet from the shower you just took?"
"That's why I took a shower."
"Are you having contractions?"
"No."
"So what should we do?"
"I have no idea..."

We kind of sat there for a while trying to decide if we should go to the hospital to get checked out or wait until later. My water never broke with Elijah so I didn't have anything to base this new feeling on.
And it wasn't like a big gush of fluid, but more of a trickle.
Like I definitely could've just peed my pants.

Reading online we saw that labor could still take 24-48 hours to start after your water breaks.
And if your water did break, the hospital would make you stay because of risk of infection.
I really did not want to be stuck in the hospital for a whole day especially with Elijah at home.
So we decided to wait.

I told Adam to go back to sleep and I went to get ready in case we had to go to the hospital.

I called my mom around 2:30am to tell her that maybe my water broke but I wasn't sure.
She tried to tell me to go to the hospital but I still wasn't convinced since I only had one, small contraction while I was on the phone with her.
I told her we would go if they got worse and I would keep her updated.
About 15-20 minutes later though, the contractions started to come more regularly.
I told Adam he should probably start getting ready for a definite trip to the hospital.

By 3:00am I started timing the contractions.
I was still managing them okay and didn't really feel any kind of impending death.
So I continued to nonchalantly curl my hair.
{Curl my hair! Which I haven't done in months. Denial anyone???}

Adam came in and checked the contraction timer and started picking up speed.
What he noticed that I didn't seem to  was that my contractions were coming 2 minutes apart.
Kind of an important sign...

A short time later, as I was trying to get dressed, the contractions were starting to really bring me down.
Literally.
I would yell for Adam to come in while I was crouched on the floor to rub my back.
Adam would race in, rub hard & quick, and then race back out trying to put it things together and get our stuff ready. Like get the car seat in the car. Cause oh yeah, we didn't do that yet...

I called my aunt around 3:30am and asked her to meet us at the hospital for take Elijah.
She was driving in from an hour away & we didn't know if she would make it to our house in time.
So knowing our babysitter was on her way, Adam woke up Elijah and we all piled into the car.

Elijah was so tired and so confused.
"Where are we going??"
"We have to go take mom to the hospital."
"And then are we going to go look for bugs and snakes?"
"Sure buddy. We can do that too."
"What's wrong with mom?"
"She's just not feeling good."

And then about 2 minutes into the car ride...
"Adam, I think I need to push!"


Marriage & Babies

While I try to get back into a routine after having Baby Anneli {and deal with mastitis... so fun...} I have some really amazing friends who will be helping out with the blog. Be sure to check out their blogs and show them a little love for doing this big favor for me. 

Today, Alexis from Alexis Laughs is sharing her very real and uplifting story of how life after baby isn't always a fairy tale. Having dealt with my own post-partum depression and hormone-induced relationship struggles after Elijah was born, I can relate to much of this post and really appreciate when people talk openly about their own experiences. I think that, having personally experienced this or not, this post is powerful for all people to read to help them understand what their friends and loved ones might be going through. 

-------------------------------------------------------

I had heard a lot of people talk about having their first baby really strengthened their relationship with their spouse. Since my husband and I had a pretty fantastic relationship to begin with, I was excited for this aspect of having our first child.

See, aren't we so cute!

Just about everything about the process of bringing our sweet girl into this world did not go as planned.

(this was after she was born and after they had stitched me up and all that jazz. I was in so much pain I could not even move my arms to hold her. It's not a pretty picture, but reality isn't always pretty people!)

 I had a very difficult pregnancy, a traumatic delivery, and postpartum recovery wasn't so hot either. I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression at my six week check up with my doctor. In addition to all of that stress, I had a family emergency going on and Clint was in his last semester of school; he was trying to balance work, school, internship, senior design project (he's an engineer), church responsibilities, family responsibilities, etc. 
As a result, he wasn't around as much as we both would have liked.

I grew to resent him, maybe in part because in the midst of all those sleepless nights I could hear him snoring!
 With everything going on, I felt so alone.

Borderline: Having our first baby didn't strengthen our marriage. 
It made it a lot, a lot, a lot harder!

I don't tell you this to scare you, but to prepare what reality is for so many people! Not a lot of people talk about things like this because they're difficult, but that's why it's so important to talk about them. Don't you find so much comfort knowing you're not the only one who struggles with something? It's very typical to have some turmoil between spouses, especially in those first few months following the birth of a child. But it's normal. It happens. It's part of life. I have a friend who says that her and her husband are both prepared that the first three-ish months post-baby will probably not be harmonious between them. I think it's so smart to plan. When you're prepared for that, you approach the situation differently because you know it can be temporary. 

Hormones were a huge contributor to the difficulty in my marriage. Another big thing that's important to recognize is that the kind love for your child and love for your husband aren't the same. They don't come in the same way. It's a whole different package. The love you have for your child is instant and comes naturally. They are a piece of you. I remember just staring at my daughter and sobbing because I didn't know what to do with such strong feelings of love! You have instincts to love and protect your children. It's easy to shift our love to our child, or focus more on our child than on our marriage. 

However, I've learned in these last eighteen months of being a mother that loving my husband and being quick to forgive him is one of the best things I can do for my child. She deserves to be brought up in a kind, loving home with parents who show her a good example of the blessing of marriage. I want her to feel that her home is a sanctuary and not a place of tension. It's hard, but it's attainable.


Having our first baby didn't make our marriage into a fairy tale. It made it a whole lot more work; but you know what? We made it! And we are all better because of it. Our relationship is stronger, our love is deeper.

So, if you have your first baby and you think your marriage is going to hell in a hand basket, hang in there. With the appropriate amount of love, respect, and forgiveness, it can be all kinds of amazing.