Friday, April 14, 2017


When you get busy, and fall behind, you face the debate of whether to go back and try to catch up, or whether to just skip writing about some precious memories and start over on today.

I wanted to blog about the older kids meeting Amelia, how Felicity was nervous, but the gift exchange, and then her brother's ease, eventually brought her around; how Felicity tried to look down my shirt to see my belly was no longer "full" of baby. Those are about all the details I remember now.

I thought I might have time to write about the first week home, and other random cute moments.

But guess what?  Life with three kids is busy. EVEN when I am on leave, even when DH is on part time leave. Its going to get a lot busier when DH is full time again this coming week, and then in two weeks when I go back to the office. Anyways, I have had my hands full of infant.

Amelia has proven to be a fairly easy baby THUS FAR. (Knock on wood, always knock on wood). She only gets up once or twice during the night, and even slept through the night once already (about a week ago.... no repeat performance). She doesn't get fussy very long or very often. She eats well, poops well, and naps well (better every day). She tolerates the vast majority of her siblings poking and prodding, and just is usually pretty chill. She smiles in her sleep, and has given me 2 "real" smiles... but nothing regular or persistent just yet at 6 weeks. She has big beautiful deep blue eyes, brown hair, and the same eye lashes that have gotten constant comments for all of my children.

Felicity is 2.5, and she likes Amelia, is very curious about taking care of her. She is SO verbal and has constant constant questions (that are mostly in the form of statements. "Amelia is hungry? Amelia is eating? Amelia is eating your milk? You are feeding Amelia? Amelia is awake? Amelia is going [makes sucking noises]?" ... I am not exaggerating, that could be two minutes of my life. Then Felicity might try to "boop" Amelia's nose while she is eating and then when I tell her not to do that she will start jumping on the bed (which she knows is not allowed when I am on the bed w Amelia), and then end up in time out (assuming DH is there to administer it). Felicity says "Me-wa" rather than Amelia. We also have tried to get to call Amelia "Amy" but it is unclear if it will take. Today I told my mom, Felicity has always loved books, water, and sleeping. My mom added cottage cheese to the list.

Ben is 5. He loves Amelia. He wants to kiss her head, kiss her cheeks, pet her hair, tickle her, and hug her, hold her.... to such an extreme it becomes a problem and we have to "ban" him from touching the baby for a time. He is learning more and more to be gentle, and what gentle means when baby is so small. He also is learning to be a bit  more independent now that I literally have my hands full so often. Today he successfully got himself a bowl of cereal without any physical help from me whatsoever, and minimal advice on how to go about it. He is pretty interested in wildlife shows and dinosaurs right now, still loves board games. He is very interested in military stuff, fighting, machines of war, etc, but we try to keep a cap on it somewhat. He recently also has taken more of an interest in sports and after YEARS of cheering against anyone we said was a "good" team (Minnesota, OSU, etc), he suddenly realized last week how fun it can be to cheer for the same team us, so that is nice.

I am happy. Life is pretty good. I am working a bit from home and there are some important decisions going on at work. I enjoy the infant phase, and all of the freedom maternity leave offers. I am catching up on errands and projects I have been putting off for literal years, spending time with friends and family, eating at some fun restaurants. Amelia is portable and adorable. Sometimes I worry I dont spend enough time starring lovingly into her eyes, but I certainly spend a lot of time feeling her breath as she sleeps on my chest.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Birth Story

On Thursday, March 2nd, I left work thinking I would be back on Friday. I was so stuck on the idea I would go over due because the other two kids had. I still took some basic work precautions - taking my lap top home every night and leaving my physical desk nice and orderly. That evening, my parents babysat the kids so Aaron and I could have "one last date". We went to the Duluth East hockey game. It was a lot of fun, but ran late due to overtime, so we did not pick up the kids until past 10pm and did not get into bed ourselves until after midnight.

Around 3am on March 3rd, I awoke to use the bathroom. There was a bit of watery blood. I figured either my mucus plug was on its way or my water had broken/was leaking. I was not happy! Because I was NOT ready. I put some towels down on my bed and tried to go back to sleep... but mostly was actually paying attention to if my water was leaking (it didn't seem to be) and worrying. Worrying about... unfinished business at work, and whether I should go in if my water might be leaking, about the fact my hospital bag still needed a few things, about the fact the newborn crib/bassinet was not set up, and other random things. Worry worry worry, defo no sleep. I decided I would wake Aaron up at 6am and tell him I needed to at least go get checked out to see if I was leaking water. Then, at 5:30 AM, it became obvious and my water broke for sure (not just leaking). I jumped up to rush to the bathroom and managed to avoid making a mess. DH woke up at this point and I told him "My water just broke, today is hospital day".

My water was defo broken but there was no contractions. I got out my work computer and took care of the unfinished work business, emailed my director and a few other things that needed done. Then I took a nice hot shower (continually leaking water, still no contractions). Around 630 DH got up and started to get the kids stuff together as I gave him directions from the bathroom. I called my parents and let them know that it was baby time and that Aaron would be on his way shortly. After he left, I got out of the bathroom, finished packing my hospital bag, and put the baby crib together. I also called the hospital to tell them I would be in so that they could get a room ready. DH got back from taking the kids, and we headed towards the hospital, w a stop at Walgreens on the way.

They did indeed have a nice, lakeview sun-filled room ready for us when we arrived. They tested to make sure my water had indeed broken (TRUST ME, it had) and then told me what I already knew - that I needed to try and get labor to start (by walking around and moving), and if things did not start happening they would want to give me drugs to induce labor. We tentatively agreed on noon as a time to consider meds. They put in an IV - which actually totally sucked. It took three people and several attempts before they got one, and then it was poorly placed and kept beeping at me if I did not keep my right wrist straight. We started walking, IV stand in tow. On the nurses advice, we named the IV stand (Bernadette, nn Birdy). Around and around we went. No contractions. Not anything at all really. I was already feeling really discouraged. I was so tired from not getting enough sleep the night before, and my body was not doing anything. At noon I started pitocin and moved to the yoga ball, bounced around and watched a movie. Not much was happening still. I walked more laps an started having some mild contractions, about every 2 minutes, but very weak. The monitors, required due to the pitocin, kept coming lose too. I was so tired and it was only mid afternoon. I opted to get into bed for awhile. They checked me again and I was getting more effaced but not really dilating any at all. I continued to be discouraged. I knew if I went too long without progress (over 24 hrs from my water breaking) they would start talking about more drastic steps, and here was my body not doing anything and I just wanted to sleep. I watched movies, bounced around on the yoga ball and waited. And waited more. Shopped some lularoe, chatted with friends, and waited and felt discouraged. They kept upping the pitocin but nothing strong was happening.

At 8:30, DH wanted to watch the Minnesota United game, and I had no objections so we turned it on. About 2/3 of the way through, I stood up to go to the bathroom and my water broke "again" (another big set of gushes). The nurse came in and we told her and she got super excited, said they had been waiting for that and she hoped things would start happening now, and they were right. The contractions intensified quickly and I started to throw up. I figured once I emptied my stomach the vomiting would stop so I declined nausea meds. I also used some ginger essential oil the nurse offered, which was fantastic. The soccer game ended and DH asked if I wanted anything on tv or any music, I told him to find another sport because I liked the crowd noise. Contractions kept getting stronger and I started throwing up again. I said yes to the nausea meds at that point. The contractions were extremely intense, as intense as they had been during the very end ones with Felicity's birth. I begged to me checked. I wanted to know if I was making any progress because I was so tired and I felt like I couldn't do it forever they were so intense. They checked me, and I was only at 5cm. I asked for the epidural. (For the record, this was a huge departure for me from other births, I hate the idea of a needle in the spine, and I had planned to go pain med free like I did with the other two, but I was so tired and so mentally unprepared, and convinced that I was going to be having these contractions that were already as intense as I was at 9cm with Felicity's birth, all night).

It took about 15 minutes for the epidural guy to show up, and then they kicked Aaron out so they could place it. They told him it would be 15 minutes and that he could keep an eye on the door and they would open it when the epidural was in. I sat up on the bed and tried to hold still while the epidural guy worked. He was not having an easy go of it. It was pretty much as bad as I could have imagined it as he dug around trying to get it in the right spot and failing time after time. I kept having super intense contractions and had to try to sit still through them. He moved up one vertebrae and finally got it in. As he got it in, I had another intense contraction that included that familiar pressure that it would be time to push soon. They put in the "loader" dose to the epidural and I was told I would probably have one more intense contraction before it kicked in. DH came back in and said it had taken 28 minutes (not the promised 15). I told him "I think I made a mistake, this baby is going to come before this epidural kicks in" and the nurse said she agreed. I had one more intense contraction, then the epidural was working. The nurse checked me and said that I was 10cm dilated with "just a lip" and that she was going to go get the drs to set up to push. I joked and ate iced chips through 2-3 more contractions that just felt like pressure, not pain, with the epidural in, and then they were all set up and said it was time to push. I pushed through two pressure (no pain) contractions, and then the epidural began to wear off. I pushed for another 5-6 contractions, and then Amelia Marilynn was born at 2:05 AM. They put her up on my chest right away and she was screaming her head off. Pretty much the first thing she did on my chest was start sucking her thumb. LOL. I breast fed right away, and we enjoyed the "golden hour" time of skin to skin bonding.

We called our parents. After plenty of skin time, the nurse measured Amelia and she was 7lbs, 3oz and 21.5 inches long. We told the nurse we needed to sleep, so she put Amelia in the warmer there, right in our room and DH and both went to sleep while the nurse puttered around and did computer paperwork, etc. 

About an hour later, I woke up enough to be super nauseous. I drowsily told the nurse this and she reclined my head and took my blood pressure. It was very low, 80/30 or something. She discussed it with another (head?) nurse and they notified the Dr (who was in a c-section) and decided maybe I just needed to pee as it had been hours and I was pumped full of IV fluids. They brought me a bed pan and when I pushed to pee, I passed a ton of big clots. They now were concerned I was hemorrhaging. They got the resident and he did an exam. They hung a new bag of pitocin and pushed it fast, and gave me an inter muscular injection of something else to prevent bleeding. The resident said he thought I may still have a big attached clot in my uterus. I asked to hold baby again because I know this can help the uterus. The Dr came in a bit later after her c-section, and said if I kept bleeding they might need to do a D&C, but she was hopeful the meds would work and wanted to give me more time. She was right, they took my blood pressure about 15 minutes later and it was returning to normal. So ended the crisis. 

All in all, I think this was my hardest of the three births. With Ben, I was practically in a trance the whole time. With Felicity, it moved quickly and I was well prepared. This time I was unprepared and exhausted. (Plus the birth happened at 2am, I am convinced this automatically makes things harder). Ultimately though, I regret getting the epidural. It did feel GREAT for the short time it was in effect... but it was only in affect for like a half hour, and a bruised feeling in my back was my worst post partum symptom from about 12 hrs post partum until maybe 72 hrs post partum, plus the memory of the feeling of it going in is not something I will easily forget. If you had told me when they checked and I was 5cm that I would give birth an hour later (or 90 minutes, whatever) I would defo had said "I CAN DO THIS" and gone without. Oh well. Live and learn. 

Of course, regardless of difficulty, still totally worth it....

Friday, February 10, 2017

February 10th 2017

ME: 365d Pregnant. I gained 8 lbs in the past two weeks and am at an all time high for my weight. Dr thinks the most recent bout of weight gain is mostly swelling. I knew I had a little swelling, but did not realize just how much until she started poking my legs. We all are fighting a cold, and for me that is harder since I do not want to use PTO and I can't take most meds. For some reason, it seems all of the pregnancy safe cold meds are the drowsy ones, nothing to  use during the day. I swore off pants last week and am living in leggings, skirts and dresses. Baby is head down and, I believe, engaged in my pelvis. She had been resting on my right hip bone for awhile, but when I had a chair massage last week the little bit of pressure I put on the top of my belly for 15 minutes (leaning against the chair) was enough to pop her into place. It is always hard to get her heart rate on the monitor, I am told this is partially due to an anterior placenta, but I have to think its also just a bit of her being stubborn haha. I have signed up to do the puzzle derby on 3/4 despite 3/5 being my due date, and I am hopeful I will be able to attend, but you never know! The ammt of faith I am putting in, as DH puts it "two data points" to indicate this pregnancy will go overdue is probably a bad idea, but I really can't help it. I did pull the baby clothes out last night. We have a carseat purchased, but not installed, hope to do that this weekend. I have been approved for some work from home during my maternity leave so that I don't lose TOTAL touch with the office for 8 weeks, which with my current level of responsability would be a disaster. Mostly I am just surviving the days and enjoying feeling the kicks. 

BEN: I cannot express what a 180 we have seen from this boy. We went from horrible reports at daycare, aggression, being mean to other kids, etc, to perfect reports, "he was the most helpful" "he was so friendly all day", "he was engaged and smiling all day". It all changed from one week to the next and we have now had 3 weeks in a row of excellent behavior. As mentioned in the last post, what we did was take away ALL violent toys initially, even ones that dont seem really violent like Battleship. We also took away his screen time initially, and then we started encouraging him to have the daily goal of "doing five helpful things" and I would remind him of this every morning at drop off. I am not sure which thing worked. After one week of great reports at daycare, we gave him back screentime. After two weeks of great reports, we gave him back battleship. That one made me nervous because it defo changed the tenure of his play! He went from hardly any violent play to talking about guns and explosions again, BUT as we have seen no relapse in his behavior (only in his imagination), we are allowing it. Now he has had three weeks in a row and we may let him start playing pokemon again, as long as the focus is not on battling. We will see how it goes. This boy wants to be the BEST and has a very competitive nature. He now brags when you pick him up "I WAS THE BEST KID". Haha... well as long as he is trying to behave I will put up with it. We took him to Saturday morning at the races and he didn't push anyone (Like he did at the last summer races in August), so I guess we are making progress. He has also recently started playing a lot with playing cards, both actual games like Solitaire, Pyramid, and even Kings Corner, but also just a made up game where he creates families within suits that need to do certain things to survive. 

FELICITY: Oh, she is certainly two. Terrible terrible two. Daycare described her as "sassy" at one pickup. She knows what she wants and tries to get it. With Ben's behavior so improved it really emphasizes how often she melts down or is naughty! (For example, spraying grape juice all over grandma's house). I am sure she will outgrow it. She hate us brushing her hair and putting it up, and claims to want a haircut, but I dont think she really understands what that means so I am putting it off because I like her long hair, even if it is tricky at times. I have been trying to be more consistent at brushing it and putting it back when I can so that it gets less knots and so she is more used to it. She has been playing on the kindle a lot, she likes the game where you clean the house! LOL. She likes to clean stuff in real life too, so that makes sense. She also likes to be helpful, carry things too and from the table, get something you  need from the other room. She is now OFFICIALLY TALL ENOUGH TO REACH LIGHT SWITCHES. Holy moly. She is getting big. Her least favorite thing in the world is being told no. Her favorite thing in the world is taking a nap on Grandma's lap, with her pacifier in her mouth and a blanket (she will tell you all of this). 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Snapshot 1/22/2017

Amanda: 34w1d pregnant. Nauseated frequently. Sciatica frequently. Occasional migraines. Can't bend over or do heavy lifting. In high spirits. I drink too much Star Bucks, and shop more than ever before. Both habits that I will need to curtail when baby comes. One U/S has shown this is a girl, and thats what we say it is, but we recently discussed where we are on names if we find out later they were wrong and its a boy. At work, I have been certified in my supervisor position and am working on some big 2017 projects. I am trying to figure out how to best allow these projects to continue while I am on maternity leave. Its a different position to be in than my previous two maternity leaves where I was perfectly fine to just walk away from my daily work duties, knowing I was replaceable. Its a nice change, but also a challenge.

Benjamin: 5 years old (zero months) old. He is experiencing some major difficulties at the moment, both behaviorally (aggression, difficulty expressing his feelings at daycare) and phyisically (GI issues). I generally do not want to be a stay at home mom.. but it would be nice to be able to take a week or two off and just focus on him, unfortunately that is not an option right now, so we try to figure out different things to tweak in the context of our day to day life to help him out (most recently eliminating violence from his play, including things that seem innocuous but are actually about battle like Battleship, and limiting screen time more). He also can be incredibly sweet and he is so intelligent. He loves to play strategy games like Chess, he loves to learn about history and science. This morning in the car he was telling me about how blood cells work. I told him that his Grandpa K studies such things, how your body works when you are running around. Ben said that Grandpa should watch the Magic School Bus if he gets confused. We still need to have his birthday party, but I feel like his behavior needs to improve a bit first.

Felicity: 2y,4m old. She wants to be so independent. She puts on her own shoes, gets dressed, has strong opinions about what to wear, wants to get in the carseat herself, wants to open the baby gate herself, wants to pour her own food when we will let her, butter her own toast (and put it in the toaster to begin with), etc. She also changes her mind ever 10 seconds, which is the typical two year old. "I want apple juice" .."NO I NO WANT APPLE JUICE" cue the tears. She is very emotional. She likes playing with baby dolls, wrapping them up, pushing them around in strollers, pretending to feed them. She still uses a pacifier. Her version of the word pacifier sounds like "water". If you ask her to clarify it, it comes out 'wa-ter-wa-ter". She also likes to do whatever her big brother is doing, or to wreck what he is doing, or to steal his Eevee. She unfortunately likes to get our attention by putting things she know dont go in her mouth, like game pieces, in her mouth. She loves apple juice, blankets, and her bunk bed. She is running, climbing and jumping now and grows more everyday.

Monday, January 2, 2017

New Years MEMEs

For some unknown reason I skipped these posts at the end of 2015. I am kind of sad about that now, but I must not have been in a very reflective mood last year. This year I am a day or two late, it has been a rocky start to the new year. Aaron and I both had a rotten cold the past three days. Luckily though our families helped us through and we are both on the up swing.

Exercise #1

1. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before? Became a supervisor.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? My goal was to simplify and organize. I made progress.. but its a constant battle.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Ben Ben became a father, and some of my cousins.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Grim dog.

5. What countries did you spend time in this year? Just America.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016? My life is pretty damned good. My biggest wishes are for other people.

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? June 10th, date of my FET.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Becoming supervisor

9. What was your biggest failure? Not recording it! LOL... bad with pictures, journaling, blogging

10. Did you suffer any serious injury or illness? Nope!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
 A new van

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and/or depressed? The American Electorate

14. Where did most of your money go? Daycare, mortgage, eating

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? MFIP contracts. Thanksgiving trip to Des Moines.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?  Shut up and Dance

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? happier
b) thinner or fatter? fatter (mostly due to pregnancy!!)
c) richer or poorer? richer

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? being mindful

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? facebooking?

20. How did you spend Christmas? In Duluth - Santa came to our house, then we went to my parents for the day. ILs came up and spent it with us as well. There was a Christmas Day Blizzard, but everyone made it to the celebration and home safely.

21. Did you fall in love in 2016? I stayed in love.

22. What are the main websites you used? Facebook, What to Expect, Amazon

23. Did you write anything worth reading this year? No, I hardly wrote anything.

24. What was your favorite TV program? Supernatural, various cooking competition shows, Voyaguer

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? I try not to hate people in general, but Donald Trump comes to mind.

26. What was the best book you read? I mostly just read book club books. I enjoyed Book 2 of the Raven Cycle, and I enjoyed Etta and Otto and Russel and James

27. What was your greatest musical discovery? Piano Puzzlers on MPR

28. What did you want and get? A promotion, a pregnancy

29. What did you want and not get? A living niece/nephew

30. What was your favorite film of this year? I dont even know what movies came out this year or what I saw. Oh! I know! Magical Beasts and Where to Find them!

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
 32. I have no idea what I did.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? If Trump hadn't won the election. If we had our first female president about to be sworn in.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016? I discovered Lularoe!!

34. What kept you sane?
 The help and support of my family and friends.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? David Tenant, Dean Winchester

36. What political issue stirred you the most? The election. Black lives matter.

37. Who did you miss? My graduate school friends

38. Who was the best new person you met?

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016? We don't live in the idealistic world I had come to feel like we did.

40. What word or phrase sums up this year? Waiting

Exercise #2

1 minute ago... I was watching watching The Crown
1 hour ago... I was helping get the kids ready for bed
1 day ago... I was nursing a migraine, trying to make it through parenting.
1 month ago... Working on MFIP Contracts
1 year ago... Preparing for a trip to St Louis for Christmas
1 decade ago... I was in the middle of my first year of grad school.
1 lifetime ago... I think I was in revolutionary in Russia

5 minutes ago... Talking to Aaron, trying to remember what movies we had seen this year
5 hours ago... I was cleaning out under the sink (new years ... motivation)
5 days ago... Hosting a holiday party at work. Pizza Luce!
5 months ago... awaiting anxiously news of if this pregnancy would work out
5 years ago... I was massively pregnant with Benjamin, waiting to go into labor!!

Exercise #3

The rule is simply: Post the first line of each month of my blog from the last year.

JANUARY: On December 22nd we left Duluth MN and drove the 10 hrs down to St Louis MO to visit my ILs. We arrived back home on Saturday (Jan 2nd). Here are some highlights from the trip
FEBRUARY:  Ben... his personality. How do I describe it? The easiest way I think is - he likes the bad guy. 
MARCH: On Friday night we took Ben to his first Hockey game, or, at least he first one he has any chance of remembering at all.
APRIL:   IFelicity is asserting her independence these last few days. She want's to do everything herself.
MAY:  After lingering cold, yesterday a new weather pattern moved in and we suddenly have summer temperatures (too warm for my liking!). I love being able to open the windows though, and seeing all the summer close out there.
JULY:Yeah... so it has been two months since I posted. Oops!
In my defense, I have moved to some other versions of keeping track of our lives - mainly a "line a day" journal in which I keep one line as often as possible for myself, Ben, and Felicity. But I did not mean to abandon my blog.
AUGUST - December - NO POSTS

Pregnancy #3

 I am 31 weeks pregnant! Its a girl. We are elated. It has been a rocky journey! We had two frozen embryos left from when we struggled to get pregnant with Ben, so we set up to do a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) starting way back in February. First I had to get my thyroid back under control, then in April I was able to start the 8 weeks of meds required to ramp up for a FET. In early June I traveled to Columbus OH for the transfer (easier to take me to the embryos then vica versa). Only one of the embryos survived thaw, and we transferred that on June 10th. 10 days later, when we started to try to figure out if the transfer worked, my numbers were not what the doctor hoped for or expected, and they did not rise as quickly as "normal", but we wanted to be sure it was not viable before stopping meds so I kept having Aaron jab me with needles (9 shots a week) and we waited. We had our first U/S in early July, and again it was not clear news, not what the doctor hoped to see, and more waiting. Then, the middle of July we were able to have our second U/S and finally, some definitively good news! There was a baby in there, with a strong heartbeat! Such a big change of momentum. I was measuring a FULL WEEK behind with no explanation (given they knew the exact timing of everything), but besides that unaccounted for week, it all looked good, and so it has all kept looking good since then. My due date is March 5th (after they moved it a week).

This has been a rough pregnancy symptom wise as well! I had a lot of nausea and shortness of breath at the beginning and it was hard to know that it might be just the meds and not a viable pregnancy causing it, that was a huge psychological thing for me. The nausea stuck around until very recently and I feel sure it will come back. I assumed that because I was so nauseated, it  must be a boy, because I had been nauseated with Ben but not Felicity. Then I also started getting migraines... which was something I had with Felicity and not Ben. In the end, our October anatomy scan showed a healthy, stubborn little girl who would NOT show us her face for anything (we went back in November and got a picture of her face)

Overall, I really enjoy being pregnant even if I am exhausted, short of breath, nauseated, and getting occasional migraines. Just in the past few days she has gotten big enough in there that I am starting to feel every move, one of my favorite phases of pregnancy!