Wednesday, July 23, 2014

let's talk labor!

Just to put this out there, I am NOT at all penning this post with any sort of a desire to argue natural birth vs. epidural and which is better and which makes you a better mother/person/citizen. I am just hashing out my thoughts on the various birthing ways and thinking thinking thinking about how this one is going to go down all the live long day. I try to steer clear of controversy round these parts of the web. I'm a middle child, I like peace and harmony and donuts.
Here's a prior labors recap, for fun:

+ we had an all natural, un-medicated, accidental tub birth (not accidentally natural, just accidentally in the water), after being adequately schooled in all things Bradley and evils of the epidural and how all doctors are out to slice and dice you to get your baby out.

+ we had a c-section. Yes, after all that, little Bernadette proved to be our most stubborn child in the uterus as well as out and would NOT flip from her comfy breech perch. We tried the version, and everything else under the sun and on the "spinning babies" website but to no avail. Sooo slice and dice it was, because I am just not at all ok with the risk of a vaginal breech birth.

+ we successfully VBACed with Lucy (vaginal birth after cesarian, sorry I just used the work vaginal. 3 times). While I would have liked to try the natural thing again, after 2 full weeks of being a very full 4 centimeters and timing contractions for hours in the middle of the night, every night (again, for 2 weeks) by the time my water broke I was just done. So epidural it was. And it was a glorious, glorious thing.

So my question is, what now? And yes, that a serious question. Even though every time I mention the natural birth thing to Mike he looks at me like my head is on upside down (because I praise the epidural to the high heavens!), I am still of the Bradley mindset in a lot of ways, except that I really, really like doctors and will never say a bad thing about them.

I get a leetle worried about tempting the epidural gods, lest they let me know that not every epidural is as awesome as mine was with Lucy. I've had plenty of friends that they don't work for, or they fall out for and then have to be re-administered, etc... and I wonder if I shouldn't take a break from it this time or something.

So let's go over some pros and cons of the birthing ways, because I'm 36 weeks and it's just not possible to NOT think, talk, and breathe all things birth and baby right now. Just bear with me.

Epidural Cons:
- interventions often lead to interventions (or so they say)
- it's not fun trying to stay still while they put it in, while you're in hard labor
- sometimes they don't work
- sometimes they come out and you have to get another one
- you have to get an IV (I didn't even have to have a port with Naomi's birth and I am going to go ahead and say that getting the IV was the very worst part of Lucy's birth experience. I hates it)
- there can be other complications which I won't even look up and type out because they freak me out too much

Epidural Pros:
- it gives you the chance to rest. REST while in labor.
- I don't buy that relaxation techniques actually help with pain management, so what other option is there?
- most anesthesiologists are completely competent and they go just fine
- you don't feel any pain...
- you don't feel ANY PAIN......

Alright, some people still say they feel some level of pain or "pressure"- though I didn't at all- but really, compared to actual transition contractions and " the ring of fire" (gross! sorry!), if the epidural is working even a little you are still in a much better place in my opinion.

And now for the pros and cons of the non-medicated, all natural birth, as I can remember them.

Non-medicated Birth Pros:
- no worries about interventions going wrong
- possibility of not getting an IV
- makes you feel awesome about yourself
- I've heard you bond better with baby or nursing goes better, but everything was the same with my epidural birth as my natural one
- you're "really present" for every single aspect of the birth, though I could probably go ahead and list that as one of the...

Non-medicated Birth Cons:
- you're totally present for every aspect of the birth, every square inch of the pain. yikes.
- it is really flippin painful
- painful
- painful
- painful

So that about sums up all the pros and cons I can think of for now. I know everyone says that "your body is meant to do this work" and what not, and while I agree, I also think our bodies sometimes have exhaustion limits. As soon as my epidural was in with Lucy I went from 4 to 10 cm in like 2 hours, after being at 4 cm for 2 weeks, and I attribute that to my body being able to relax and let the uterus do its thing. I don't know how things will go this time around. Who knows? Maybe I will actually give birth during the day, which would certainly change up the exhaustion factor since the 2 vaginal (4 times!) births were smack dab in the middle of the night.

Any extra pros and cons that you seasoned birthers care to share? I am all ears, or eyes in this case. I by no means feel like I am a pro at any of this and tonight Bernadette asked in all seriousness if "I am scared to have baby Joseph come out?" And while I answered "no", I kind of lied because birthing a baby is crazy hard work and OF COURSE I am scared!

^ Bernadette and Baby Lucy. Time must stop NOW!

In the end, I just want baby J to come into this world in the most healthy and peaceful way. (And in the end, I will probably get an epidural :)

And on the birthing note, a big, huge, massive CONGRATULATIONS to my little sister Christina and my bro-in-law on the birth of their first sweet little boy, William! She is a rock star of the highest caliber and I cannot wait to meet his royal sweetness! 

Friday, July 18, 2014

7 Quick Takes!!

Linking up with Mrs. Fulwiler this fine Friday, because it's been way too long. 

1) I mentioned before that I am reading a book about an Olympic runner turned World War II POW, which I am just about done with and I have absolutely loved. I decided to read it on Jenna's recommendation and am so glad I did because 1) I am maybe a little too into anything concerning World War II and 2) it just so happens that Mrs. Jolie-pitt went ahead and directed a film about the book set to come out this December and I am kind of freaking out with excitement about it. Here's the trailer I got to see during a movie date night with Mike this week, just try not to read the book after watching this thing:

2) I am a little overwhelmed with every emotion possible about coming to the end of this pregnancy. Let's go over some of them, shall we?
  • Completely and total elation about the prospect of not being pregnant anymore. 
  • Anger that I am still pregnant.
  • Total cluelessness about the prospect of birthing and rearing a small male. 
  • So much excitement over having a boy resulting in... 
  • an impatient eagerness for him to JUST BE HERE! 
  • Followed closely by utter terror about the idea of having 4 small humans to care for which prompts me to tell him to just stay put for a little while longer. 
  • Such intense joy over being blessed with four beautiful lives.
  • Emotional and sad when I think about it not being just me and the girls anymore.
I run the gamut of every emotion I could feel about this whole thing pretty much every day. Luckily Mike is completely used to being married to a basket case.

3) On an unrelated note, baby Joseph stands pretty much no chance at not being dressed up like a female. I will give him $5 if he makes it to his 1st birthday, which for a 1-year-old is like, $100.

4) I am super duper sad to be missing Edel next week. I will probably just have to stay away from all the social media during that time so I don't just spend the weekend crying. That is a slight exaggeration and I am sure I will be fine, but as a long time karaoke lover and niece of the world's best karaoke jockey (that's right, it's in the family), I am especially sad to not be making a fool of myself time and time again at the microphone with all you fun, sweet ladies. 

5) With that said, I have gone ahead and declared confinement again. I am generally the type to want to get out of the house as much as possible, but these days I have no interest in going anywhere that is outside the confines of this home, or off of this couch for that matter. Everyone I see in public has been really sweet about me being so hugely pregnant with 3 kids in tow, but it is obviously still pretty shocking for them, no matter how much sweetness they proceed to muster up.

I don't mind the stares as much as I mind my own sheer panic at the thought of their not being a bathroom within 5 feet of me at all times. It really is a terrifying prospect.

6) This pretty much sums me up entirely right now:

A slight improvement on Chris Farley a few years ago, but still pretty rough. Obviously I am relating to the Elizabeth Banks character, in case that didn't go without saying.

7) I am about to go make this bread for the second time this week, and I highly recommend it (replace the 2 oils with coconut oil and butter, you will not be sorry). It is really SO good.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Confessions

+ Last night Mike and I got Taco Bell at 9 p.m. I went to bed at 10, so you can imagine what a wonderful night sleep that decision resulted in. "But Ana, you're not in college, you're an adult with 4 children with decent judgement and reasoning powers, the resulting horrible night of sleep was entirely your own fault, so stop complaining", that's what I would be thinking if I were you. Not complaining, just confessing. I justified the late night (for me) run for soggy, fake Mexican food by telling myself that 1) it was such a rough day and I deserved it and 2) everyone needs a late night run for soggy, fake Mexican food every once and while. Both were so egregiously false that I think the only way for me to really learn my lesson was the 10 hours of indigestion and digestive discomfort that followed.

Lesson to be learned? Do not ever go out for a late night soggy, fake Mexican food, you will be sorry.

+ I am pretty sure that our dishwasher is broken or in need of some major cleaning/repair and is barely cleaning any of our dishes, leaving them with a faint-to-strong stank that permeates the senses while trying to enjoy any meal. I could do something about this or I could use it as a tool to eat less. I am going with the latter since I obviously need a lesson in temperance. Also, I do not feel like dealing with dishwasher maintenance.

+ I attempted to send both older girls to "Vacation Bible School" this morning and left with 2 girls in tow and one legitimately independent one enjoying the parish festivities. I was ok with Bernadette clinging to my side and refusing to stay because 1) I sort of lied about her age on the registration form, she is supposed to be 4 (she will be in October, close enough, I say). And 2) there were over 100 kids there and even I was really overwhelmed and wanted to run far away so I could sympathize. However, I had big plans to get some shiz done this week during my one child time, so I kept telling Bernadette that if she wasn't good and helpful on our errands, I would have to take her back to VBS. Yes you read that right, I used biblical instruction and a fun parish-based program as a threat against my 3-year-old. And it sort of worked. I am really going places with the whole parenthood thing.

+ I've been reading to the girls less and less lately and part of me feels really guilty about it and part of me thinks I am just dealing with the inevitable now. I mean, there is Lucy, who insists on sitting right on the 35 week pregnant belly and who will sit through roughly 3 sentences before the angry, bored squirming commences followed by an "I am not into this at all" tantrum. Then there is the hormonal, hot pregnant woman who prefers to be touched at little as is humanly possible in our non-air conditioned home who is doing the reading. The result is general pretty abysmal. I can only imagine that the addition of an even tinier, more dependent person will seal the no-reading-in-the-Hahn-home deal. Any ideas would be most welcome. Teach me your ways, oh mothers with infinitely more patience and wisdom than me!

+ I am serious denial about the disappearance of nap-time. I simply cannot accept it. Lucy has also (read: right now) started skipping them which has me nearly balled up in a corner rocking back and fourth and twitching a lot of days (read: right now). Like, I just typed this whole thing in front of the window air-conditioner to block out the sounds of talking/screaming from their perspective spaces and now they are all making an exodus and/or screaming too loud for me to ignore them. Like I said, I am really going places in the world of child rearing.
No rest for the weary. Ok, a little.

Have a great Monday!!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Freshly Picked Moccasin Giveaway

On more than one occasion I have referenced mine and Mike's love for a certain show called Shark Tank, which has now ended thanks to the special cable package deal being expired (single tear). Anyways, a few months back we saw an episode which featured Susan and her company Freshly Picked, and I was so incredibly impressed, as were the Sharks who invested in her. The story of how she built her company is inspiring, you should definitely watch it for yourself. I am thrilled to be able to offer a giveaway of a pair of her baby/toddler moccasins here on the blog.

I wasn't sure how the moccasins would work on Lucy's bigger toddler feet, we usually stick to doing the super cheap moccasins for when they're just learning to walk and then graduate them to normal shoes. That usually works fine but there are almost always multiple pairs purchased because they wear out so easily. Lucy does don her normal tennis shoes or sandals now that she's going on 2, but I was getting really tired of her removing her shoes anywhere from 1 to 30 times from the time I put her in her car seat to go out to when we return home. Call me crazy but repeated toddler shoe application sort of drives me crazy. Enter Freshly Picked moccasins.

I was really looking forward to trying out these bigger mocs on her to see if we had any extra success in the "keeping your shoes on your feet department", and we really have.

I've had to convince her to let me take them off, she loves them so. She has requested them above all her other shoes since they arrived and obviously really enjoys how they feel on her feet.
This is her excited "new shoe dance"
The leather is super thick so they worked great when Mike took the girls to the park (even on the mulch!) and they actually didn't make her feet even a little bit sweaty.

Plus they are 100% adorbs.

I am hooked and so is she.

Do the Rafflecopter thing and maybe you can be too! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

34 weeks

Linking up over here since I decided to venture outside of my typically worn maternity shorts + tee shirt uniform.

I found this little Old Navy skirt yesterday for ten bones and figured it might just help me make it to the end of this pregnancy without purchasing another pair of shorts. I found this rather awkward pink maternity shirt with quite the tail, which really makes me look like a large circus tent when I where it. I discovered today that if I belt it, it is much more wearable, so belt it I did.

Do you really need another pregnancy picture of me? No, no you do not. And I am pretty sure I promised no more full body shots for the rest of pregnancy. I guess I lied. I am sorry. I actually really love looking back at the awkward, overly informative pregnancy posts from Lucy's birth and I would never want to deprive Joseph of his blog-due when he's grown and just sitting and wishing he knew how I felt at 34 weeks gestation with him, so I will not deprive him. Or you.

I'm feeling just fine.

Ok, actually sometimes I feel really horrible and I may or may not have had a total sob fest on Mike's shoulder the other night about how there is absolutely NO WAY I am making it to the end of this pregnancy and how pregnancy is even worse than the stories I am reading in my World War II book all about POWs in the Pacific Theater. Yes, I went there, but I didn't mean it, it was the hormones talking as always. I talked to my little sister today who is due any day now and felt so much for her in her late late days of pregnancy and wishing for labor that I have decided to try to stop complaining for another few weeks to store it all up for her. We'll see if that resolution takes.

I am mostly not ready for this boy to come and the house is certainly not ready at all. I am just waiting to feel the same motivation I felt with the other pregnancies, particularly the last one, to nest like I am in a zombie apocalypse. It will come, I hope.

Here are a few pregnancy related gems from the mouths of these little girls who have had more exposure to a crazy pregnant lady than they ever bargained for:

Bernadette: Mom, you're not just like the fat bunny in the book, because only your belly keeps getting fat!
Ana: Thanks, hunny.
Bernadette: Your legs aren't too fat...
Ana: Thank you.
Bernadette: And your arms are too fat...
Ana: Thanks, sweetie.
Bernadette: And you back isn't fat at all!

From one of the girls over me insisting that we keep the windows open for the breeze:
"Yeah, keep those windows open, because pregnant ladies get real hot."

Bernadette: Mom, are they going to cut your tummy open to get the baby out?
Ana: Hopefully not.
Bernadette: Then HOW will the baby get out?
Ana: He will just come out.
Bernadette: BUT HOOOOOW?!?
Ana: I'll tell you when you are older.

Ana: Really, Bernadette, you have to pee again?
Bernadette: Yep, I'm just like a pregnant lady!

Aaaand if you're interested or incredibly bored, here I am at 34 weeks pregnant with Lucy.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

These Days

Howzabout a little post about the current state of things at casa Hahn. The mom blogger must memorialize all that she can via the interwebs, or she wouldn't be a mom blogger.

These days are...

+ Long: I feel like I start every day with this dreadful feeling of "how the heck are we going to make it to  10 a.m. let alone nap/rest time" and so I set the girls in the play room and desperately try to get more sleep until the 7:30 protest for breakfast begins. Sound too dramatic? It is, it really is. But I tell you what, this baby I am bearing is sitting pretty right. on. my. bladder. And even though I am fairly vigilant about no drinks for mama past 7 p.m., not even a tiny sip of water, I am still rushing to the WC every 2 hours on the hour like I drank a 40 right before bed. It be redic. Hence the waking and feeling like I just won't make it and jonesing for more sleep.

+ Too short: Then I get to the end of the day and in my pregnant, emotional, "everything is about to change" state I walk into the girls rooms once they are slumbering and wish I had had a few more minutes to sit with them and enjoy just having 3. I simply cannot be pleased.

+ Mostly the same: I have not been bitten by any legit sort of nesting bug this pregnancy and so our days are pretty much just a hodgepodge of various summer goodness: taking the mornings slowly, doing minimal chores, meeting with friends, playing in the baby pool, eating copious freeze pops, and then we mix it up with the occasional giant box house for fun...

+ Slowly changing and about to change big time: I went ahead and started our math curriculum for the fall and will do additional phonics stuff once this workbook arrives to get a little under my belt before this baby makes his grand entrance. It is changing the dynamic between me and Naomi in little and good ways: it gives us a little bit of special time, and it is fun to see how much she wants to learn.

I am also soaking in every single second with Lucy as the baby (except when she is boycotting her nap, then I am begging her to not be with me forjust1hourpleasepleaseplease!!!).

I am super duper emotional about her not being a baby anymore and often find myself sneakily reading to just her in another room because we have like, 6 more weeks of this? That is not enough!

+ Hard and hilarious: Bernadette is still going pretty strong in the tantrum department, but I am finding little ways to help prevent them (SMOOTHIES!!!)

and ways to cope with them (LEAVE THE ROOM!!!) and Lucy's are not as bad right now, soooo no additional complaints.

The one really great thing about Bernadette is that she never leaves us wanting in the entertainment/laughter department. She general shifts very quickly from being in character and putting on a show for all, to laying on the floor kicking and screaming:
^the shift hath begun

Therefore, my own emotional state usually goes from laughter to tears in a matter of seconds, it's an overly emotional party over here at all times, folks.

+ Celebratory: Mike and I celebrated 6, count em, SIX wonderful years of marriage yesterday and got to go on a real, live DATE! Check it:

I had big plans to make a sappy slideshow of the last 6 years but then realized that Picasa has taken upon itself to shrink all my photos down to tiny files that look horrible and pixelated and in order to get the right sized file I have to search for each picture in the deep depths of my computer and it took about 3 photos for me to realize I should probably just work on one for next year. Big 7, I'm comin for ya.

Here are some pictures I put on facebook, because I don't want to do the computer search for any more right now:
^ wee fetuses in the marriage department. I think that makes us in 1st grade now, if we're getting technical.

We did it. We got married and now we have babies. And it is the best thing in the world.

That's all I will subject you to today. Hope your weekend was spectacular!!

Monday, June 30, 2014

ignorance is bliss

One of the many benefits of having Mike work from home is the flexibility of his schedule for my prenatal appointments. Today I got to devour a whole chapter of this book in peace while waiting to have my name called, pure bliss I tell you.

While it is the most gigantic blessing ever to not have to bring all three girls along and not have to bribe Lucy into not to tying the spiral blood pressure chord around her neck, my appointments have still brought with them a super annoying amount of stress. But why, Ana? Your pregnancy is completely healthy, you're doing great and so is the baby, why all the stress?

One word: weight.

I have written at length about how my doctor is a little obsessed with weight gain and it is always something I get really anxious about leading up to each appointment; each appointment, that is, but today's. Today something revolutionary happened that was completely in my control, extremely small and seemingly menial, and a total day and game changer: I didn't look at the scale.

My doctor is awesome and has not even really been the source of my stress leading up to and during most recent appointments. She made a really big deal about my weight gain after the first trimester (when I always gain a TON), but has since piped down quite a bit on the matter. However, that wasn't changing how anxious I was getting when thinking about the appointments. The fact is that I am self conscious and about it and I hate how much weight gain goes in to each pregnancy. I hate the build up to each appointment and the walk of death to the scale as I wait to see that I am (SHOCKING GASP) already the same freaking weight I was when I birthed  Lucy (you read that right, and that was last appointment).


It is so stupid and small and yet so enormous and huge at the same time to have your weight constantly tracked and shoved in your face while all you can do is gain it. My underlying anxiety comes from being out of control with regards to weight gain. It is definitely the case that I have placed way too much of my sense of worth and beauty in the number on the scale and the size of the pants and obviously this is a problem.

Jenny has written about this beautifully before so I won't rattle on for too long, but the sense of freedom that I felt today when I stepped on the scale and forced myself to not look was fabulous. I did not worry about how many digits above my weight at the end of Lucy's pregnancy it was, I did not worry about what the number meant for postpartum weight loss time, because I don't even know the number.

When the doctor came in to chat, I wasn't freaking out that she was going to chastise me about how much I had gained because if she mentioned it, my plan was to just let her know that I don't know how much I've gained and ask her very nicely to not tell me so that it is not an added source of stress for the rest of the pregnancy. Maybe she would have told me anyways, and maybe me not wanting to know would have bothered her, I don't know. I was prepared to stand my ground and insist upon not knowing though because, really, it doesn't matter. This pregnancy has been much harder for me than the others and there is so much other, legitimately important stuff to stress about and weight is just not one of them.

I ate ice cream every night when I was pregnant with Bernadette, I hit up way to many fast food places at the beginning of this pregnancy, and every pregnancy, but those things are not happening now. The bad habits were formed and then were broken. Somehow I've found it in me to lose the baby weight after each pregnancy, and I'm hopeful I will be able to this time too.

4th bump with 7 weeks to go.

However, if I can't get back to those pre-baby numbers, if control over my weight continues to slip through my pudgy fingers, I will still have control over whether I look at the scale and over whether those numbers dictate how I feel about myself and about life. I have control over whether I let it become something I obsess over and freak out about. And I think that after today, averting my eyes from the number on the scale will become something that I try to make a habit. Because it just doesn't matter.