Friday, December 30, 2011

Choices and Judgment

My ideas on parenting are not wrong, they are not “way out in left-field” and I am not the only one applying my same ideas in their own parenting styles. I am however, one of only a few people that I know who parent like I do. I feel frustrated when my husband receives outdated advice and outright judgment about how we are raising our child. He comes to me all concerned that we are doing something wrong. Besides, these people have healthy, fairly well-adjusted children, so why shouldn’t their advice be followed?

I think that it is natural to second guess yourself when it comes to parenting. I think that it is natural to think that others are doing something wrong if they choose a different path than you took. I think it is normal to feel a little guilty about a choice that you made and wondering if you perhaps didn’t make the right one. The thing that I believe most firmly is that there isn’t any ONE right path for parents to follow. Every child is different, every parent is different – even my own children will have very different parents. My daughter has been raised thus far by first time parents, while our second child will be raised by second-time parents. Our daughter will be raised the first born and our second child will be raised with a big sister.

People are questioning my continued nursing of Smug-Baby as she nears two years old. I firmly believe that even though she isn’t nursing very often (once or twice a day, nursing to sleep for her nap and bedtime, and maybe once during the night) she is still getting the benefits of the antibodies nursing provides. She is still getting the comfort she needs when she is hurt, tired, or feeling vulnerable. She is a healthy, strong, secure, happy child and I believe that my decisions in parenting have led to that. I am not condemning another person’s choice to parent differently or saying that if you parent differently from my way, that your child will not be as healthy, secure or happy. I am simply saying that my way has worked the way I wanted it to for my daughter. My choice to do something differently than another parent is not a dig at their parenting style or a judgment that they have parented wrongly.  

That being said, I think that we all decide how to parent based on looking at the parenting styles of others, along with reading research from experts and taking and applying what resonates with us and discarding what doesn’t. So, it is a kind of judgment about a parenting style when I choose to co-sleep and someone else chooses a cry-it-out sleep training method. I don’t think that anyone would really take offence to a difference in parenting style, except in cases where a parent has turned their back on their instincts and perhaps parented in a way in which they did not feel totally comfortable. In these cases, that parent may feel some guilt about letting someone else sway them from parenting in a way that felt right to them. They may feel guilty that they may have done something detrimental to their child by not following their gut and letting someone else convince them to do something they didn’t want to do. It is normal for a person feeling a lot of guilt to lash out in strong defense of their “choice” and to find they take a lot of offence when someone else takes a different path.

I can’t help but feel that my parenting choices are the best ones and I can’t help but feel like those who are trying to convince me that they are wrong are also those people feeling guilty about their own choices and are trying to make themselves feel better by trying to convince me like they were convinced.

I can’t make a person feel less guilty about their choice, but I can say that it is probably all going to be fine. If your child feels loved and knows that you made the best choices you could for them given the information you had at the time, then it’s all going to be OK. That isn’t to say that you wouldn’t perhaps have made different choices if you could go back, its just to say that beating yourself up, or worse beating up on another parent, about things in the past doesn’t serve any greater purpose!  Forgive yourself for any perceived mistakes and try to live and let live!

I will not condemn you for vaccinating your child even though I chose not to take that path. There is nothing wrong with your choice. There is nothing wrong with my choice.
I will not condemn you for bottle-feeding your child, or that you may have stopped breast-feeding before I am. There is nothing wrong with your choice, it just isn't my choice and there is nothing wrong with that either!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


How was your holiday break? Mine was, overall, lovely! There was the small matter of hurting my back (while I slept no less - now that is talent!!) and feeling slightly sick to my stomach the whole time, but those were small and didn't keep me from enjoying the time with my family.

Christmas Eve was the big family celebration and I think that it came off without any problems. Smug-Baby and Smug-Niece played nicely together and no one except one of my nephews was body slammed by my crazy child!! My step-mother got marshmallow guns for Smug-Hub, my dad and my brother-in-law and they spent the evening shooting each other with mini marshmallows. Let's just say that I am still picking up the little white puffs from all over my house and probably will be for years!!

The food was really good, even if I didn't really feel up to eating much. I think that I covered pretty well with the family. I didn't want people feeling sorry for me or doting on me. I just wanted to enjoy everyone and everything without that black cloud of feeling lousy hanging over my head.

After everything was over and the kitchen was cleaned and the house back into some semblance of order, we got Smug-Baby to go to sleep and then Santa set to work! I was really feeling horrible, tired and sick by the time I went to bed, but I was so excited about Christmas morning that I didn't sleep well and kept tossing and turning. I kept waking Smug-Baby so she nursed a lot all night, and that is probably how I hurt my back.

Regardless, at about 7 Christmas morning, we were awake and alert enough to head out to the living room to see if Santa had come and he HAD!!! Smug-Baby was a little shell-shocked by all the stuff! The big play kitchen, the big tent along with dozens of wrapped gifts and a full stocking. It took her all day to open everything and while I think that she liked everything, I am going to set a few things aside until she starts getting bored and then I can bring out the new stuff!

We had a nice Christmas breakfast with some unexpected guests! My dad, step-mom, and step-brother arrived in their pajamas, robes and slippers! My step-brother became Smug-Baby's favorite person in the whole world within moments and watching them play together was really sweet. We spent most of the day in our PJ's and about 2:30 or so, Smug-Baby was bored and tired and over-stimulated I think - basically, she was really cranky!! I called my sister and asked if we could come by; get out of the house and let the girls play for a bit. She was feeling sick, but said we could come by for a short visit. That was nice, time to have some laid back conversation in between saving Smug-Niece from Smug-Baby's attacks! After the second time-out, we decided to leave!!

On the way home, Smug-Hub decided that since my dad and his brood had shown up without warning, we should return the favor, my back was killing me and I figured that I could let Grandpa and Grandma chase the girl and I could lay on the couch, so I was all for it :) We stayed there until just before it was time to get Smug-Baby ready for bed. We knew she was tired and being with her grandparents helped keep her awake. They only live about 90 seconds from our house, so we knew she wouldn't have time to fall asleep on the drive home! Score! She was ready for bed and asleep within 30 minutes of getting home and I followed soon after! Smug-Hub was nice and rubbed my back, but it didn't really help. I pulled out the heating pad and laid on that for a bit before falling asleep and when I got up the next morning, I felt slightly better!

The day after Christmas was laid back too. We were off work and Smug-Hub had learned that one of his friends had died of a massive stroke on Christmas day, so he took off to gather with other friends to grieve together. I took Smug-Baby and went to the after Christmas sale at Target, but it was kind of a bust. We came home and she had a nap and laid on the heating pad some more. When Smug-Hub got home we ran out for a quick dinner that turned into a long dinner (the kitchen forgot to cook our order!!) and then came home to prepare to return to work.

It was everything a holiday should be! Time with family, time with friends, time to relax and be a bum! I am very sorry for Smug-Hub's friend and his family, but like I said, overall it was a really nice holiday.

I hope that yours was just as lovely and Santa brought you some wonderful loot! Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Good Days

Today has been a really good day. I still was struggling a little with feeling "off" and Smug-Baby was still having teething issues; bursting into tears at the drop of the hat. She even passed out from crying so hard she wasn't breathing at one point - I think she either bit her tongue or just bit down on the chip wrong and was in pain. She started that crying thing, where her face is contorted and her mouth is open but no sound is coming out. She finally collapsed in my arms, like she was asleep, but came around in about 2 seconds and blinked and looked around seemingly a little confused. I know that this passing out thing is fairly normal for kids and the doctor told me that it won't hurt her as long as she doesn't hit her head when she falls or something, but it is really scary to watch her child pass out!!

Anyway, after she had a nice nap, during which I was able to make wipes, sort laundry and get a couple loads working, we had a nice lunch of pasta salad and played on the floor together. I was the horse and she the rider! I managed to bake some pumpkin bars for my boss's Christmas gift and finish all the laundry (except the sheets, they still need to be folded, but everything else is clean and put away). I called Dad to see if he had parmesan cheese and a cucumber and invite him to dinner and he was free! Then Smug-Sister called to see if I wanted to meet her somewhere for dinner so I invited her to come over too. Between her bringing the cheese and the cucumber along with French bread, and dad bringing bean sprouts, tomatoes, salad dressing and this chocolate trifle for dessert, we had a really fabulous meal!! The girls played together and we all talked and worked around the kitchen putting everything together.

After Dad and Smug-Sister had to leave, I cleaned up the kitchen while Smug-Hub had some dinner and took out the trash and recycling (which was the only task that I needed to get done today that I hadn't managed to do). After all that, Smug-Baby, Smug-Hub and I all played on the floor, rolling around with the girl and catching up on our respective days. It was nice.

Now it is time to get ready for bed and make up my to-do list for tomorrow. It is my last day of work until after Christmas and I am stoked to have all that time off and even more stoked that Christmas is just a few days away!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Dishes Need to be Washed... Again...

Do you ever feel like you are just living the same day over and over? Every day the meals need to be made and the dishes cleaned up. The bed made and house straightened. Each week there is more laundry, more diapers, the bathroom looks scuzzy again and the dust piles up.

I get frustrated that my day is filled with all these tasks that I just have to keep repeating over and over and I am never finished. I don't want my life to be dishes and laundry. I want my life to be more than that and yet, I don't know what that "more" would be. What do I love doing more than all else?

Well, that would be taking care of my family of course! I love it when the house is clean and there is a hot meal on the table. I love when my husband is able to wear is favorite shirt and my daughter has access to her most comfy pajamas. I love the way the house smells when it is freshly cleaned or when I have been baking all day.

So, what exactly am I am complaining about? I love doing all the mundane daily and weekly tasks that keep my home and family running smoothly. I think that I am currently frustrated by these tasks because I am still not feeling 100% and I am tired a lot still and everything weighs on me. I feel horrible that my bathroom hasn't been really clean in a month! I hate that the dust is getting so thick that Smug-Baby can practice her drawing technique. I hate that I am struggling to do the very basic tasks to get by and can't manage to keep up on things.

Today, I haven't felt well at all and I threw up my lunch and Smug-Baby isn't feeling well and she has been crying and clingy all day. I got exactly nothing done today and when Smug-Hub got home from his 10 hours at work, he made dinner for Smug-Baby and I. It was all I could do to get myself ready for bed!

They are reading a bedtime story while I write this and I am listening to the happy sounds of baby and daddy in the other room and I am just sad that I once again feel too bad to be part of things. I just want to be left alone to sleep.

I am going to go to bed, secure in the knowledge that the "morning" (ha) sickness really IS getting better and perhaps tomorrow will be a better day for both Smug-Baby and I and if all else fails... Christmas is just a few days away!!!

Monday, December 19, 2011


I was catching up on my Google Reader this morning and was struck when I read on Daily Garnish how sad Emily is not to have any family close to watch Cullen grow and change on a daily basis. I got thinking about how close my family is and how they have been able to watch Smug-Baby as she has changed over the almost two years.

I can't imagine not having the help and love and support of my family. I see some member of my family almost every day and Smug-Baby knows everyone and it is her routine to ask about what they are doing each morning when she wakes up and she needs to hear that "Pa" is sleeping and "Flo-f" is sleeping before she herself will settle into her nighttime rest. She asks who of the people she loves we are going to see whenever we leave the house and asks about them periodically throughout the day. She knows and loves my family and is so excited to see them when someone drops by the house.

As for me, my Mother was there to help me with nursing in the beginning and helps guide me in areas of nursing, nutrition and illness. My sister is my go-to on parenting since she had my nephew 9 years ago, she has been through most things and since she is currently dealing with almost the same developmental issues with Smug-Niece we talk daily on how best to parent our little ones. My dad and step-mom live the closest and we have become more friends than parent/child and we hang out with them weekly if not more. Since they only live 2 minutes away, dropping by for a quick 10 minute visit to get some hugs happens a lot. Smug-Baby is very close to them and runs like the wind when they come up the stairs and cries when they leave.

What if we didn't have that? What would her life, our lives, be without such wonderful, loving and supportive family close by? Smug-Hub's family lives very far away and they don't get to have the same kind of relationship with Smug-Baby as mine does. They visit for short periods of time, infrequently and it breaks my heart that in a time where air travel is possible, the cost really does keep families apart! I hate the the price of a plane ticket is the only thing that keeps Smug-Baby's other family from seeing her more!

I checked into tickets to fly to see them around the first of the year (not even for Christmas) and they are over $600 each!!! After February, when Smug-Baby is two, the airlines require her to have her own ticket - that will be $1,800 to fly to see family!! When Little-Smug arrives, it will just be too hard for us to travel, so that will mean that family will have to come to us. Smug-Hub has 3 brothers and his mother, so they are looking at a combined expense of $2,400 to come to see us!! I don't know anyone who has that kind of money and can just fly here to see us more than once every few years!!

I am broken-hearted that Smug-Baby and Little-Smug will not have the same kind of relationship with that side her family as she has with those close by, but I am beyond grateful that she has the chance to have a close relationship with the ones she can. I never was close to either set of my grandparents and while I loved them, I didn't really know them and I feel sorry that Smug-Baby and Little-Smug may feel like that about her other Grandmother and her Uncles. I have to get them a web-cam! That's all there is too it!!! Childhood is too short...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Breaking Through

Smug-Baby is cutting a molar. She has been chewing on her fingers, drooling and having some wonderful diaper contents over the last week and last night she finally let me stick my finger in her mouth to see what was going on. The bottom left molar is just about to break the surface! I am really excited about having teething behind us - and yes, I know that with Little-Smug on the way, we will be starting all over again!

Teething has been a constant in our lives almost from the moment Smug-Baby was born! I am ready for her to be pain free frankly! I will say that she is handling these molars like a champ - she has burst into tears for "no reason" a few times recently and has done just a bit of tossing and turning during the night, but overall, she hasn't seemed too affected by the pain of huge teeth pushing their way into her mouth and I am really proud of her!

I wish there was a way for her to tell me when she is hurting. Sometimes I notice her rubbing her head, and the chewing on her fingers is a dead give away, but I feel like if I could explain to her and she to me what was going on, it would be some much less frustrating for her.

I feel that way about a lot of things as she is getting older. Yesterday we worked through her first full on, honest to God, tantrum. I opened the back door to set the pan of cookies out there to cool and she wanted to play on the deck. Normally this wouldn't be an issue, but it was too cold for her to go out there without shoes and socks, not to mention the last splinter she got was impossible to get out! I told her that we needed to get dressed before going outside, but she just understood no. She burst into hysterics and threw herself onto the floor and kicked and screamed and tried to hit me. I guess she really wanted to go outside! It was loads of fun!! At that point, I couldn't take her outside even I managed to get her shoes and socks on, because that would have reinforced the idea that screaming and throwing a fit gets her what she wants. I took her into her bedroom and lay on her bed with her and did end up nursing some after she calmed down a bit, but she screamed for almost 15 minutes!!

After she was calm I made a game of my feet "falling" off the edge of the bed and she started to giggle and was totally fine after that. I never did let her play on the deck, but she didn't ask to go out there again. The point is, if she had understood that I wasn't saying no, I was saying that she needed shoes and socks, she would have been totally fine with waiting until she was dressed and then playing happily on the deck. She understands a lot, but just missed the boat on this one and there was this huge mess over it.

When she is trying to tell me what she wants and I get it right, she gets the happiest grin on her face and giggles with delight that she has been able to communicate effectively. I love those moments where we are in sync and she gets what I am telling her and I get what she is telling me.

I guess I understand why they call it the terrible two's, not because kids are horrible, but because communication is so hit or miss at that age. They understand some things and not others. They get frustrated because they want so badly to understand what you are telling them and to make you understand what they need to tell you. It's going to be a tough time getting the basics of communication down, and I just have to try to focus on the fact that Smug-Baby is doing the best she can to adapt to the world and I have to play my part in helping her get there.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Let's Talk About Food Baby!!

Now that I am starting to come out of this funk that I have been living in for what seems like forever, I am actually starting to crave food again, not just something that I have to choke down! I have been looking back at what I have been eating since the morning sickness started and I start feeling sick all over again! How can a baby grow big and strong on frozen pizza, cereal and chocolate?!?!?

I want to get back to eating how I should and while I know that Christmas baking and gatherings will involve eating some of the things that I probably shouldn't, I feel like as long as I am getting 90% of my food from really good things, then the splurges won't cause a problem - besides, if I have been eating this crappy for the last few months and I am still functioning a few cookies and a pound or two of fudge won't hurt me :)

Breakfast - I want to get away from all the sweets for breakfast. I have been having a piece of fruit (honey crisp apple) and then either Kashi Go Lean Crunch or oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins. Sometimes I even have a cup of decaf with some delicious creamer. I want instead to get back in the habit of making my scrambled tofu, which consists of a block of tofu, crumbled up and cooked with a variety of veggies - green pepper, mushrooms, zucchini, squash, carrots, etc. and a bit of soy sauce, red pepper flakes and nutritional yeast. This is amazing along with a thick slice of whole grain toast and an apple and makes enough to eat for breakfast the whole week! This is a true complete meal, full of protein and veggies and whole grains and fruit!

Lunch - I have gone a few times recently to this wonderful restaurant where they have an unlimited soup and salad bar for lunch every day of the week and let me tell you, if I had $7.50 to spend on lunch every day, this is where I would go!! Everything is fresh and local and the best part is that all the salad fixings are cut up into bite-sized pieces! I have never understood the point of whole baby carrots or long strips of green pepper, you still have to cut up your salad before you can eat it! Anyway, I digress...

What I would like to do is to get all the normal salad ingredients and cut them up myself. I can store them in individual containers and then have my own little salad bar when I want to eat. I also found a recipe for a lentil and kale soup that looks really good. So I will be able to create my own soup and salad bar at home and have a Hugh Jass salad each day!!

For dinner, I would like to go back to making simple one dish meals that provide Smug-Hub with leftovers for his lunch the following day. I think that the evenings are still going to be hard for me from an energy standpoint, so I want to find things that don't take too long to make or I can stick in the crock pot earlier in the day. The evenings have been really tough so far, I am tired and that is when the nausea seems to come back, so I don't want then to be when I am having to put something fancy together. Peas and Thank You had been my go-to cookbook before I got feeling so lousy, so I think that I will just dig it out and start making some of Sara's amazing meals again. I have so many cookbooks and I want to use them and not just dust them weekly (OK, so I haven't dusted in a month, so sue me!!) so I hope to find some great, simple meals that Smug-Hub and Smug-Baby will also eat.

Last night I made a tofu loaf for Smug-Baby and I and had picked up a steak that Smug-Hub grilled and then I heated up a package of frozen green beans and boiled some new potatoes for a fairly complete meal. I won't talk about how Smug-Baby spit out the tofu loaf and then tossed her entire plate of food on the floor...

So, now I just need to rob a bank so I can afford to purchase all these good, quality food items that I want to eat...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I believe that choice is important in life. I never like to feel like I have no options, but that is exactly how I was starting to feel about having this new baby. As we worked through the "options" they were whittled down to none and I started feeling panic about having no alternatives to what I was seeing as a negative situation.

Now, to clarify, I am really starting to find peace with the birth that we are planning now, but that doesn't mean that it is ideal or exactly what I want. What I wanted was to have this specific practice of midwives assist us with a home birth. I wanted to give birth in my own house with my daughter close by and my husband to catch the baby. When this group was already booked and wasn't able to accept us as clients I started looking at alternatives. I knew that the last thing I wanted was to give birth in the same hospital, in the room that looked just the same as where I gave birth before. I was sure that I wouldn't be able to relax and deliver in that environment.

We considered traveling to another, more mother-friendly hospital. The nearest ones are about 2 hours away in several directions, so the chances of giving birth on the side of the road are higher. Also, if the whole point of having the baby in the hospital is so that the NICU is there in case something goes wrong, none of the other hospitals have NICU's, so the baby would have to be transported to the hospital here anyway. That scenario would mean that the baby was in one hospital and I would be in another, several hours away. Also, Smug-Baby would be hours away and less able to visit and be part of things. So, traveling to a better hospital that would let me labor in the tub or whatever, isn't really a good option.

We considered using another midwife, but Smug-Hub was so uneasy about the whole idea of a home birth at all, that trying to get him to interview and get comfortable with another midwife wasn't really going to happen. He was really only comfortable giving it a shot because the team we wanted consisted of a midwife with over 30 years of experience and a midwife who had worked in the hospital and was a nurse for 15 years. It was the perfect combination of experience and medical training that helped him feel like this might be doable. So, hiring another midwife and having a home birth wasn't going to be a good option either.

Once we determined that a home birth wasn't going to happen, I felt really lost. My doctor had told us that he and his partner was sharing doctors with another practice so that would mean that the doctor who would deliver my baby would be any one of 14 doctors and would be whomever happened to be on call. I talked to him about my fears and my need to build a repore of trust with the person who would be assisting me in the delivery, but while he was sympathetic and understanding, he wasn't willing to be on call for me. I talked to other mothers and the leader at the La Lache League meeting, along with a couple of midwives about any other doctors in the area who would actually commit to being MY doctor but none exist.

All the doctors are moving to these large practices with lots of doctors on staff and while I understand that this allows for them to have a life and not be awake every night of the month delivering babies, it is just horrible for patient care. No one seems to give a shit about the patient! It doesn't matter to these doctors that a laboring woman needs to feel safe and protected and to have a bond of trust with the people that are going to help her deliver the baby, they just want to have some time off.

The doctor that we used with Smug-Baby was wonderful! He had an amazing bedside manner and he committed to his patients and was on-call for them. He has moved to another hospital that is about 45 minutes away from my house and this hospital has a really terrible reputation besides, again, not having a NICU. I think that he was hoping to change all that and I wish him luck, but it isn't a good place to have a baby at this time. Not to mention, things went to shit at the end of Smug-Baby's delivery and I need to create something as different as possible and thinking that I could trust this doctor not to make, what I believe to be, mistakes again is just crazy! So, there really isn't a point to changing the doctor that I have now. There isn't anyone else who would treat me any better in my  area, so why bother?

The hospital we are going to use (given the lack of viable options elsewhere) doesn't allow laboring or delivery in a pool or tub. Water was very soothing to me when I was in labor before and I expect that it will be again, so I really wanted to give birth in the water. That isn't an option in my area, but just two hours away, there is a hospital that will let you labor in the birthing pool, but you have to get out to push. Another hospital about two hours away will not only let you labor in the birthing pool, you can deliver there and they even encourage you to reach down and bring your baby up to your chest yourself - like deliver your own baby! How can things be so different, just a few hours down the road?!?!? The hospital that I am stuck with claims to be state of the art and the best technology around, yadda, yadda, yadda, and yet a little town down the way has better patient care??

It is really frustrating to see all the options whittled away until you are left with a doctor that probably won't be helping with the delivery and a hospital that doesn't allow a laboring woman to labor where/how she feels most comfortable.

All that being said, I really did have a good labor with Smug-Baby and I have no complaints about the nurses who attended me during the labor. I also feel like this baby is going to come super fast, because there isn't any blockage within me to cause him/her issues. I probably wouldn't even have time to get a birthing pool set up!! A midwife and family friend has offered to act as Doula for me at the hospital and I feel a lot of trust in her. She will be providing me with that level of prenatal care that I need and the doctor will not do for me. She will be meeting with Smug-Hub and I monthly to get to know the baby, to work with us on creating a birth plan and bonding with Smug-Hub so that they can work together to create that peaceful, trusting environment that I will need to labor effectively.

Whomever the doctor happens to be who comes to help with the delivery will be a professional and we already have discussed that Smug-Hub will take him or her aside and explain the fears and triggers that I will be struggling with during labor. I really do believe that doctors and nurses want to help and aren't in the back room thinking up ways to make labor and delivery harder or more uncomfortable and if we can go in there with an open attitude and maybe some home-baked chocolate chip cookies, then we will be met with good people who want to help bring our baby into the world our way.

I still wish there were better options though...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Can't Wait!

My brother graduated from college this past weekend and I went up there to celebrate with him and the rest of my family. I ended up missing the actual graduation because Smug-Baby was napping right when we needed to leave and I needed her to be rested, so I stayed at the house. It worked out well actually, because by the time everyone arrived back home, I had the BBQ heated and all the trays of food laid out so everyone could start eating as soon as they walked through the door. It was a good party and I am glad that I could be part of it, however, it was exhausting chasing Smug-Baby all over a non-baby-proofed house all weekend!!

While I was there, I was able to have a nice conversation with my cousin. Normally, I see my extended family twice a year, Easter and Thanksgiving and while I love the visits they consist of a lot of running around trying to visit with everyone and no real deep conversations, so this was nice to have an hour just to talk about stuff. We talked about relationships and communication and stuff like that. I am not sure how we got talking about it, but I told her all about my birth with Smug-Baby.

Not the after-effects of the NICU or anything like that, but the actual labor and delivery. I realized that I am very proud of having given birth to my daughter! I realized that I am looking forward to delivering Little-Smug just as much! I realized that I have been so focused on feeling afraid of what could happen and how the doctor could mess things up, that I have not focused on what an amazing thing it is to bring a child into the world!

I have no fear of labor, no fear that I will not be up to the task. I know that my body is designed for giving birth and that I labor very well. I know that Smug-Baby paved the way for her little brother or sister to slide easily into the world and I know that if something goes wrong it will not be because I was frozen by fear!

I am looking so forward to my labor and my delivery this time. I know what to expect and I know what it will feel like and I am looking forward to embracing the sensations that will bring my child to my arms! I am looking forward to that incredible high that comes after delivering your child naturally! Those hormones released and I felt like a super-hero! I could have leapt tall buildings in a single bound after giving birth and I can't wait to do it again!!

When I was pregnant with Smug-Baby so many people told me how labor was so horrible and how I would take the drugs when the time came and how I was silly to think that I could handle the pain. I wanted to try. I felt like there was some kind of feminine power that came from giving birth and I wanted to connect to that power, to feel all the women of generations past lifting me up and carrying me through. I still feel like there is something to be said for connecting to your female power by giving birth, but when the time came, I wasn't thinking about connecting to my heritage, I was counting and working and thinking about meeting my daughter, and I have to say, it really wasn't all that big a deal. It wasn't the most fun I've had in my life, but the pain was totally doable and I never felt like I couldn't do it, or that I needed something to help with the pain, it just wasn't bad!

But the high when it was all over!!!!! Man of man was that amazing!!! I want it to be different this time, because I think that having all those super-hero hormones washing over you while actually holding the child you just delivered would make the high even higher!!! I can't wait to give birth and meet this new little person who has chosen to come be part of our family!!

OK, moving on :)

Becks turned me on to a new app for my iPhone, called Big Lens! Here are a few pictures that I took using it and it is really cool!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

12 Days of Christmas

OK, NOW you can celebrate the Christmas season! There are 12 days before Christmas Eve and I like the idea of spending those 12 days doing something festive. Visit with Friends, attend holiday parties, decorate the house and tree, baking, singing Christmas carols and all the other festive things that put one in the holiday frame of mind. I hated seeing Christmas shopping commercials in October, but 12 days of Christmas is a perfectly acceptable length of time to celebrate!

That being said, I have finished all the shopping for Christmas that I needed to do and everyone has something that I am happy about and Santa is all hooked up for the big night. Also, we decorated our tree last night so we are getting a bit of a head start on everything J I have all the ingredients (except one spice that I need to get from the co-op, because I am not spending $12 for a whole jar when I need ½ a teaspoon!!) for all the baked gifts that I am doing. I will still need to get the food for the actual Christmas dinner, but that has to wait a bit longer – I don’t think people will want to eat a two week old turkey!! But, the major shopping, ordering and buying are all finished.

I like having that part out of the way. Now, I need to think about packing up and mailing the items for those who live far away. I need to bake for my friends and deliver delicious goodies to everyone. I need to wrap things and put some things together. I need to mail the Christmas cards (if they would EVER arrive already!) I still need to get the outside of the house decorated and I need to work on the Christmas Dinner menu and food assignments for those joining us. All these things are smallish and not really headache inducing so I will really be spending the 12 days of Christmas doing fun, festive things to get ready for the holiday, without stressing and without worry and most of all, without dread!!

Bring on the Christmas music!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Getting Back on the Horse

It is time. I have been wallowing in morning, noon and night sickness for a hundred years now and it is time to take back my life! OK, so while I am still having some days where I feel really horrible, it seems to have settled down a bit into a more manageable level of just feeling kind of lousy most of the time.

I want my house back in order! I want my child to do something other than watch TV while her mommy lies around all day! I want my routine back! My schedules and my to do lists and my workouts and my walks outside!!!

I will be starting from scratch and I know it will take some time to get back into a routine and some time until I feel more like normal and not so lousy, so I am just going to start slow, take it one day at a time.

I know that December will be extra busy with Christmas stuff, but I want to get back into walking each day as soon as Christmas is over.

I want to try to incorporate any extra Christmas daily activities with my scheduled daily tasks. Since I am not working for Smug-Sister anymore, this should be doable and not too overwhelming.

Once Christmas is over and I have established my daily routines again, then I will start with the deep cleaning and organizing of each room, like I did earlier this year. Every room has gotten totally out of control again because I haven't been up to keeping things in order and it is time to get them back in line! I want to have this completed by the end of my second trimester. That's the goal!

Also, once all the Christmas food and baking and parties and such are over, I am going to get back to eating mostly vegan and getting a lot more veggies into my body! I feel like I haven't been taking very good care of this new baby the last few months. I have been focused on surviving the morning sickness while trying to remember to feed my daughter and maybe change her diaper a time or two! Beyond that, I haven't been much good to anyone! I was eating a nice salad the other day and realized that I couldn't remember the last time I had eaten a vegetable! I have been living on frozen pizza, cereal, pancakes and oatmeal - quick foods that don't take long and don't require much effort! It is high time to get back to eating right!! I know that it will be hard to stay diary free over the holiday's so I am just letting that go. I will focus on getting as much good food in me as possible and be at peace with the junk food that I know I will joyfully consume over Christmas! After all 2012 is another year!

So, with any luck as I enter the last three months of pregnancy, I should have my house organized, my routines established, my workouts and walks going strong and my diet really clean and healthy. I figure that it will be at about that time that the leg swelling will start and I'll need to slow down again and get ready to bring a new little-smug into the family!!

Here is to getting back on track (once again...) and to moving forward!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Do Not Open Until June 2012!

Well, I can officially tell you (all 1 reader of you!!) that Smug-Baby is going to be a big sister!! It has been really hard not to blog about this pregnancy so far. We wanted to tell our family in person at Thanksgiving and we wanted to keep it a bit quiet until the end of the first trimester. But since I blog about my daily life it was like I couldn't blog! I couldn't talk about other stuff, because there isn't really anything in my life that isn't affected by this new baby!

Now the news is out there and I can start keeping a detailed record of this pregnancy! Mostly, the only major thing that I have to report is the morning sickness!! It is terrible and horrible and never-ending!!

I don’t remember it being this hard. Morning sickness was a big problem when I was pregnant with Smug-Baby, but as long as I ate every 2 hours on the dot I felt pretty decent. With this baby, I feel horrible all the time, before I eat, after I eat, in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening. The evening is actually the worst and morning, before I eat or drink, the best – Go figure! I am currently 13 weeks along and I am hoping and praying that the morning sickness is on the way out!

I have been dealing with a lot of turmoil regarding the birth of this new Little-Smug. I initially really wanted to have Little-Smug at home, but factors outside my control have made that no longer an option and I will talk more about those in coming posts. For now we are planning to bring this baby into the world in the same hospital where Smug-Baby was born, but with a different doctor and a different doula for support. I felt really trapped in the beginning. Trapped because my city has so few options for birthing women and I am still upset about that, however, I really trust the woman who is going to act as my doula and I feel stronger with her by my side. Also, the many discussions I have had with Smug-Hub over the last 3 months have really brought us closer and I feel like he will support me and protect me and help make sure that things are done to our specifications.

I am really sad that Smug-Baby will not be able to be part of her baby brother or baby sister’s birth, but she can come into the delivery room the second Little-Smug is born and bond with us all together, so that is helping me cope. I also really trust in my baby and my body and I have a strong feeling that this baby is going to come really fast and I will not have a long labor that will keep Smug-Baby away from me for a long time. Babies have plans for their births and I have to trust that this baby has his or her own plan too. Let go and let God! Easier said than done and we will see how my calm holds up as I connect more deeply to this baby and my mama bear comes out toward the end. I hope that I will still be able to let go and trust that all will be as it should be!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Getting Excited About Christmas

So, it was Black Friday and all through the house, no was heading to the mall cause we ain't stupid!!!

I waited to do my shopping until Cyber Monday and then I went a little nuts! I took care of Smug-Baby for the most part as well as the few last minute items that I needed. I got free shipping on everything I ordered and saved tons because everything I ordered was on sale!!

I even found the diaper bag that I have been lusting over on eBay, used for totally cheap and a replacement wipe warmer on Craigslist! The wipe warmer has to be replaced because Smug-Baby climbed up into her changing table and threw the current wipe warmer off the edge, causing the plug to separate itself from the warmer and the cord in a way that was not designed by the manufacturers!

I also created a new 2012 family calendar on Shutterfly and ordered a little something for Smug-Hub too, because I had a $10 off coupon and of course, free shipping!

I still need to get something for my step-brother and my brother-in-law, but I know what I want to get them and it is just a matter of driving over to the stores as soon as I have some money again. I also wanted to get one thing from Toys-r-us for Smug-Baby, but they are only offering free shipping on orders over $50 and it is a $10 item, so I will drive out there one random afternoon soon and pick that up and try to escape the mall area without killing or being killed!

Also, I still need to do the baking for the neighbors and other friends that I do each year, but that will wait until closer to actual Christmas time. It is kind of sneaking up fast though!

We are having Christmas pictures taken this Sunday at Sears (I have a Groupon!) and I will turn those into our Christmas cards and get those mailed out in a few weeks.

We are kind of putting off decorating the house and putting up the tree. I think that as much as I love the tree, it is big and kind of in the way and I get irritated if it is up too long, so I am toying with the idea of waiting until the weekend before Christmas. Smug-Hub has to work a lot of the upcoming weekends, but should be off the 19th/20th and we could make a day of it. We will see!

Yesterday, I cooked a turkey, mashed potatoes, yams, mac and cheese, stuffing, corn pudding, Watergate salad, cranberries, green bean casserole, rolls and apple pie for dinner. Smug-Hub was in heaven! It was great, because it was all our favorite and now we have tons of leftovers to last us the rest of the week and into the weekend. It really felt festive and we both went to sleep feeling overly full and happy!!

I am excited about all that the new year holds and thankful for all that this past year has given me. I am so thankful for the love of my family and friends and looking forward to a really fun holiday season!!