Monday, April 14, 2014

bleeding gums and baby bumps

Greetings from the land of teething babies, volatile albeit hilarious toddlers and preschoolers and women getting more pregnant by the day. Or just one woman.

I started writing multiple posts last week, each of which I stared at at about half way through, knew that there was no way on God's good earth I would ever subject the public to the likes of whatever nonsense I was typing, and still continued to type. The pregnancy brain only functions on the lowest of levels. One of the posts was written on the bathroom floor during one of the worst days of teething I have ever experienced.

I feel like the biggest baby-mother out there complaining about teething while being on kid #4, because it seems like such a first-time mom thing to complain about, but really, it is the worst. The day I penned one of the never actually posted posts was the day I walked into Lucy's room after a nap, from which she awoke like an angry, ravenous, caged and starved Lion to see her face covered in blood. Ok maybe it wasn't covered, but there was a substantial amount of blood. I soon realized the blood originated from the top gums where she was desperately trying to cut her upper canines with her bottom teeth. It was like an episode of CSI, toddler style.

She was soon placated with one of these bad boys, which I will always love.

But the teething has actually gotten a little better, inexplicably so, and we've relished in the many days of sunshine...

 that preceded today's snowy, sweater weather:
                               ^^22 weeks going on 32

Thank you Katrina for letting me borrow this maternity sweater, which I was sure I would not need, because I am naive and hopeful. The girls announced to me shortly after snapping the above picture they they have "tiny wombs" and I have a "VERY BIG womb". They have never been more right.

In other news, "project detachment" is going really well with Lucy, despite her teething woes. She has grown more accustomed to not being held by me allllllll day and... she is still alive!!! While I don't necessarily prefer the amount of crying at my feet while wiping her snot all over my knees because I am cooking dinner and NOT going to pick her up, I really do prefer cooking dinner with both hands. I also pulled another run-out-of-the-house-while-she-is-screaming-bloody-murder-about-being-left-with-the-babysitter and left her with my sweet babysitter for another 3 hours of total kidless bliss and came back to a totally happy baby. Again. That was only the second time it worked to leave her with the sitter, and I will never have it another way again.

Now I will actually hit the "publish" button and then go attempt to make and eat everything I see on Pinterest. Particularly these, because I am really good at Holy Week.

Friday, April 11, 2014

5 Fun Non-Essentials for the New Mom

My little sister, Christina is having her first little babe this July,  I got to attend her baby shower during our trip home last weekend and I am so super excited for her. When I was expecting #1, things were so radically different than when I was pregnant with 2, 3 and now 4. I did so many things that I just don't do now, and while lots of people told me what I should do (or buy) I was really not interested in listening. I was so excited and wanted to have as much fun with that first pregnancy as I could, and in the end I am really glad I did because I will never have the time to do that again nor will it ever be as new and different as it was with number one (although always just as exciting). There are tons of great lists out there for what-to-get when you're expecting (I know Grace has done a few really awesome ones lately that are way more practical and had me nodding in total agreement about every item. Check them out).

These are just non-essentials, a few fun gift ideas for a new mom-to-be.

1) A Pregnancy Journal. My mom bought me this when when I was pregnant with Naomi and I wrote in it at least every week. It has a little description of what is going on each day with your baby's development and little spaces to track how you're feeling and other fun pregnancy facts along the way. I still bust it out a lot to compare weight gain at various points and to see what baby is doing in there around a certain time. It is a great little resource and was one of my favorite gifts with Naomi.

2) Baby Books. I read Baby Wise(don't throw the first stone. I ended up chucking it to the back of my closet in a sleepless fit of rage when it didn't just work for Naomi like they said it would),  Husband-Coached Childbirth(and proceeded to use roughly none of the techniques during Naomi's birth but rather screamed and was asked to shut up multiple times but nurses), The Baby Whisperer(and laughed A LOT), and several others. I definitely read too may books while pregnant, and while tons of people told me not to read anything, but again, I was not going to listen to them. I really do feel like each  book provided its own beneficial information that really helped me out later, especially when it came to any nursing difficulties I was to face. As long as a new mom doesn't take everything in the book as gospel, and gleans what is helpful for her from it, it is not a waste in my opinion. 

3) Belly Buds. When I was not working (other than some light nannying) while pregnant with Naomi, I had copious amounts of time to sit on the couch and play classical music to her via awkwardly placed headphones on my belly. Who knows if this did anything, but it was super fun and she would often move around a lot while I did it. I saw this product during one of mine and Mike's obsessive Shark Tank viewings and thought it looked amazing and when they offered to let me try out a pair to tell you about it, I jumped on that quick. The little "buds" adhere to your tummy so you can move around with them on and your ipod in your pocket. I really like them and while I am sure I will not use them as much as I would have while pregnant with Naomi, just due to being 1000 times busier, but they would be the perfect non-essential fun gift for a first time mamma.

4) Cute Bedding. Everyone said this was a useless purchase when I was pregnant the first time. Did I listen? No! I never would have. This was one of the funnest things to shop for and in the end, I still use most of the bedding that I purchased with Naomi. My sister stands firmly by Pottery Barn's quality, and if I had the cash flow to jump all over this one right now I would, because it would be fun.

5) Wipes Warmer. I know, I know. Everyone says these are not worth it, but with baby #1, I loved it. I think we gave it away by the time Lucy came, but we definitely used it for Bernadette as well and there is something really great about not wiping your baby's bum with a cold wipe in the middle of the night. There was definitely less crying during diaper changes with the wipes warmer in those early newborn days than without it. Even if you put it in storage after your first and never look at it again, it is a nice non-essential item to have when your fist little baby is as tiny as he/she will ever be.

So that's that. I am sure some serious eyes will roll at this list, but I am really not insisting that anyone needs these items, they are just for the fun of it.

How about you? Favorite fun baby non-essentials, and....  Go!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Never again. Ok, maybe again.

When I was a mere infant of a mother, or rather when I was just a young lady mothering my first infant, I made the decision to take the trek to my home town of Steubenville alone with 4 month-old Naomi. I thought I was so BA at first and then when I got home from the trip I declared decidedly that "I would NEVER do that again. Ever." The time with the family was great, but the hours of car screaming by baby which left me feeling like a rung out dirty dish towel did not seem to make the whole thing worth it.
^ All taken during that trip 5 years ago, which we did end up living to tell about.

Fast forward 5 years and at least 4 additional solo trips back with more than one child in tow and I have to laugh a hearty belly chuckle at new-mom Ana: so naive, so wimpy, so lame. I'm still wimpy and lame, but I know what I am getting myself into and I knew full well that this past weekend would not be a walk in the park when I decided to take all three girls (+ one gestating male) back to the "Burb of the Burgh" alone for my little sister's baby shower. And it wasn't a walk in the park, but it was fun and I think I'd do it again.

I called my mom crying a couple days before I was slated to leave telling her that I was not coming due to my utter terror at the thought of feilding any of Bernadette's tantrums in front of family or at potential rest stops alone, it was sad and pathetic. But then we had one good day with minimal tantrums and I figured, "what the hell? how much harm could it do either of us?" Well probably a lot but in the end that was not my primary source of frustration other than one mid-interstate tantrum involving Bernadette getting out of her car seat and walking to the front of the car (while I am sailing along at 75 mph) to "pull my hair! for not putting her boots on while I was driving!!!". I had to pull off to the shoulder to deal with that, but at least it wasn't in front of any random people. I guess?

                                                     ^ She was a peach most of the time.

No, the bigger source of frustration was my new child-sized tumor name Lucy who would not leave my body for the duration of the weekend and who screamed as if someone was attempting to water board her every time I put her down, attempted to pass her off to anyone, or if a loving family member or friend even looked  at her. You may think I am joking, but feel free to ask any one of my family members (other than Mike's dad who she inexplicably loved at first sight) and they will corroborate. It was the most annoying thing in the world and definitely served to confirm some suspicions in me that I need to seriously "cut the umbilical chord" now before the next babe comes with an actual umbilical chord. I did not even realize how horrible her clinginess was until we were there and everyone was trying to be so sweet with her and she would not have any of it.

^  Lucy is only out of my arms and smiling because of that cookie, and it did not last long.

However, despite having another fairly sizable baby human attached to my person the entire time, I had a great time seeing everyone and seeing the utter cuteness that was this shower.

If you are in the market for stationary awesomeness, please just click to my sister, she is amazing. And my mother and other sisters just know how to do up a shower right, and they do it.

It was definitely worth it and I would probably do it again.

And now today we are back to life and reality and commencing day 1 of mother-baby attachment detox, or I guess you could just call it detachment parenting in full force. I am sure I will keep you all unnecessarily  abreast of the progress of this venture, as I do all my endeavors. In the mean time, have yourself a splendid beginning of the second week in April.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

finding out about #4

Keeping the theme of this in-utero babe going on the blog with a bit of a novel for your Wednesday. 

(WARNING: this story is way too long and contains certain terms similar to that of a birth story, if you no likey, no readie)

Last November I read a post by Katrina and by the end of it was in a little emotional tear puddle, and since the post was her retelling the events leading up to finding out she was expecting her second son, I naturally began to wonder if my emotions right then weren't being dictated by growing another little babe. I really, really wanted to be pregnant. Mike and I were being  "open", which on all other occasions had resulted in being "pregnant", but since one of those pregnancies had ended in miscarriage, I wasn't assuming anything. But I did purchase a pregnancy test.

You see, I have this little problem, it's somewhat of an addiction- an addiction to taking pregnancy tests when there is even the slightest possibility I am pregnant. I am an innocent victim of the marketing schemes of all the pregnancy test companies claiming they can "detect pregnancy 5 DAYS EARLIER than the leading test". I, the gullible consumer, put my faith too often in their promises and always take tests way too early. (sidenote: I do know about various bulk tests online, and used to be a frequent customer, but they only serve to feed the addiction. If they are there I will take them. All of them)

Such was the case in early November when, spurred on by Katrina's prose, I took a test one morning, way too early and hoping so much that it would be positive. Here is where I give a little helpful hint to any woman who will ever take a pregnancy test: do not take the test back out of the trash 15 minutes after you've taken it and seen that it is negative to just make sure, it's not a good idea. But that is exactly what I did. I took it, it was negative, I threw it away, I came back 15 minutes later, dug it out and low and behold: a faint line!! I must have just missed it the first time, and I was sure I was pregnant. I woke Mike up and told him about it, I had him check to verify that it was there and he did see it too. I was thrilled, absolutely overjoyed and spent the rest of the day planning and plotting for a probably July baby. BUT! It was just a faint line so naturally I had to run out and buy another just to be sure. So I did. I bought several more, took them all, and they were all.....   negative (I told you I have an addiction).
^ Pictures taken the day of the false positive, sure that there was another Hahn coming.

I just chalked it all up to it being too early and waited a few days to take some more, I think I probably spent somewhere around $50-$75 on pregnancy tests that month. That is even more embarrassing when I read it typed out. Long story short (NOT!), it ended up becoming abundantly clear within a week that I was absolutely not pregnant and that faint line was a result of breaking the rules and looking at the test way later than you're supposed to.

It was nevertheless devastating, it really felt like I had lost a baby, even though I know that is not what happened in that case. In addition to being so down about not being pregnant right then, I was so scared to go for it the next cycle because that would be the exact timing of the conception of our miscarried baby. I was terrified of history repeating it self, even though I know that that is not how God works, but I still couldn't get it out of my head.

Almost done... sort of.

(Important back story) Throughout all my cycles in the 2013 year I had been having a whole lot of sharp abdominal pain associated with the fertile time (sorry, you were warned). I know that can be totally normal (i.e. Mittelschmerz) but mine had gotten rather debilitating during the ovulatory time and I was starting to worry. So after found out that I was not actually pregnant, my mind went immediately to the worst case scenario involving infertility and all sorts of trouble conceiving in the future, it's just how my brain is. I was prepared to not conceive for a while, and certainly not the very next cycle.

But then... we did!

We had one leftover test from the host of tests I had purchased the month prior and, per my request, Mike literally hid it from me until an appointed calender day that would actually be acceptable to take the test. I took the test on December 16th (too many details? I know) just 2 days after the test I had taken when we miscarried 2 years prior. It felt a lot like dejavu, or like I was reliving a dream. The test was positive and we were ecstatic.

I went to our local pregnancy center to get proof of pregnancy and got the due date of August 20th (again, 2 days after the due date of the baby we had lost). On the one hand I felt like this was a second chance or a new beginning or something, since after the miscarriage my appreciation for my fertility and for new life grew a thousand times, but on the other hand the pain in my lower right side was scaring the crap out of me.

We traveled to Steubenville for Christmas break and decided to tell our families that we were expecting, even though everything in me wanted not to out of fear of losing the baby and uncertainty about the continued pain. We got through Christmas with no issues and I was feeling more and more pregnant, which was great.
 ^ A picture from Christmas break, because I need to break this ridiculously long post up a little

However a few days after arriving back home the pain had gotten worse and worse and on New Years Eve was finally accompanied by spotting. It was horrible and I was so terrified and convinced that it was either ectopic or I was miscarrying. On New Years day the pain had gotten a little better but no doctors were in and since I was only spotting, I didn't want to fork out the cash for an ER trip and waited until the next day.

When I finally got an appointment for an ultrasound, it felt exactly like it did when we found out we had miscarried. I went into that dark little room with the same heavy heart, convinced of the same outcome.. I do not think the ultrasound tech was expecting the flood of emotions about to descend upon her when she started, but when I saw the heart beat thumping on the screen, it was like finding out again that we were expecting, only waaaay more intense since I was so sure we'd lost this baby. It was really beautiful.

At my latest ultrasound, the baby was measuring bigger and got his due date bumped around and moved to the exact day that our lost little baby was due. We had named that baby Ignatius, because I had a strong feeling it would have been a boy, and in a lot of ways this feels like a second chance, or at least a new opportunity to welcome new life with greater joy and love and appreciation for the miracle that it is.

If you made it all the way through this please go get yourself a stiff drink or some chocolate, for the love of all things good.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Belly Buds: Part 2

Welllllllllllllllll Lauren and I wanted to do a "Belly Buds: Gender Reveal" and make a big deal out of it, but then my excitement got the better of me and I could not restrain a blog post for that many days. But don't think you got off the hook and are going to get out of copious gratuitous pregnancy deats from the 2 of us, no no, we're still posting.

I am super excited that Lauren is having a little girl because now we can go ahead and hop on the arranged marriage train with Hahn Boy and Johnson Girl, a match made in heaven. Or at least in Indiana and Alabama.

So here you go, another edition of:

+ What did you think you were having and what was your reaction when you found out?+

Ana: Well I have already posted about how I thought it was a boy and I already let you all know that I totally cried when we found out, but I'll always share more. I kept thinking that I was seeing the region as the tech was trying to find out the gender for us, and I wasn't seeing anything, which generally means girl. That was the first time I felt any disappointment about the possibility of having a girl. Then the tech found the real region and I realized that I was not looking at the right spot previously and then she let us know it was a boy. I was so surprised and emotional, as always, and cried like a little baby. 

Lauren: I didn't have any strong feeling of boy or girl. Emma was really praying for a sister and we spent so much time prepping her for a brother that I think we were all a little shocked when we found out we were having a girl! We took all three kids to the ultrasound and when the tech announced the gender, Emma and Kolbe had the biggest grin. We were all just excited and enjoying the moment. Well, except Joshua who spent the entire time laying on my neck and shoulders, unsure about the dark room and the little machine on mommy's belly.
^Match made in Picasa.

+ How have you been feeling now that your breezing through the second trimester?+

Ana: Definitely better than a few weeks ago and since I don't want to be annoying with complaints about insomnia and continued fatigue, I will stop there. Oh wait, I think that was still complaining.

Lauren: I definitely have more energy during the day, which is awesome.  But I think pregnancy is flying by because I am distracted by our busy schedules. I am really looking forward to Easter break and some quality family time.
+ What food do you crave the most?+

Ana: If I could eat Thai food every single day I would. I would also be a solid 300 pounds, so I don't.

Lauren: I have been craving lots of fruits and smoothies. It's funny how being outside and enjoying the spring weather inspires healthy food cravings...And maybe a few scoops of ice cream.

+  What is your weirdest pregnancy dream thus far?+

Ana: I am having such a  hard time coming up with the weirdest one because, seriously? Pregnancy dreams be CRAY! What in the world is it that causes the madness? I have had more dreams that I am being captured or am some sort of drug lord countless times so far. I had one recently that Mike and I were living in the basement of my old childhood parish and we couldn't ever come out because the people were always eating coffee and donuts. And I also have a whole lot of dreams that something is happening in real time, like right then. Last night I had a dream that Naomi was in the hall way, right at that moment in the middle of the night, rolling on the floor screaming, waking everyone up and then when I asked her what was wrong she said she was just pretending to get everyone to wake up. I woke up completely enraged and confused as to whether that really just happened. It messes with the head, I tell you.

Lauren: I can't remember any recent dreams that were just really weird. To be honest, most of the dreams I wake up remembering are about this family conference that I am helping to plan. The details that I am in charge of have been haunting me at night, but thankfully the conference is this weekend, so maybe I can go back to having normal/weird pregnancy dreams. Is that something to hope for? Not sure.

+ What is your favorite part of being pregnant?+

Ana: The few times I have felt this little boy move around. It has taken sooooo long this time around to feel anything and my fragile worry wart heart was having a really hard time handling that. I still feel so little movement for being almost 20 weeks, but every time I do it pretty much makes my entire day. That is something about being pregnant that will just never ever get old, I love it.

Lauren: I am just beginning to feel our little girl move around and I love that feeling! I am excited for the day when Dan and the kids can feel her kicks too.

+ What is your least favorite part?+
Ana: Insomnia and my doctor's constant nagging about my weight gain. Every appointment feels like an audition for America's Next Top Model. Not that i know what that is like, but I imagine it's a little bit like my appointments.

Lauren: I haven't had trouble sleeping due to being physically uncomfortable, yet. So I will probably complain about that in another post. I guess right now my least favorite part is wearing compression stockings on my right leg every day because of my varicose veins. Maxi skirts have become a staple in my wardrobe. :)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Seeing Blue

For the record, we would have been thrilled if it were, but this time- IT'S NOT!

I definitely did not expect to cry if we found out that it was a boy, but wow did the flood gates ever open involuntarily as the ultrasound tech announced that this baby would be very outnumbered with so many sisters. The tech pretended not to notice and went about her business.

^ scary alien baby face. 

We brought all three girls in for the ultrasound (which the above mentioned tech did not seem super thrilled about) and I was so happy that Bernadette was not upset at the news. The day before the ultrasound she was very adamant that "we did not even need to go in to find out because it was DEFINITELY a girl and would be named Zelie!" (p.s. never divulge your favorite girl name to a toddler, there is no going back).

But despite her pleas, we did go in for the ultrasound and later in the day I was walking through Old Navy (or as Bernadette's says, "Old Maybe") and mentioned to her that we should walk through the little boy clothing to get something for the new baby and Bernadette retorted that "actually, we should probably just go buy a dress for baby Zelie". Uhhh, it still hadn't really hit her but it did provide the Old Navy sales lady with some diversion as I sat and re-explained right there in the maternity clothing section that it definitely was a boy and that would not be changing . She gets it now and she's happy.

A lovely old man at our parish gives out toys to kids after Mass every week and for the last few weeks Mike has been capitalizing on the stash of match box cars he gives out in high hopes that he had indeed produced male offspring this time around, and he was not disappointed.

I am sparing you the ultra-awkward obvious boy picture because I couldn't figure out how to photo shop a modest diaper over his nether regions.

It definitely feels like being pregnant for the first time in a lot of ways, which is super fun and may just mean that I will be subjecting the blog community to many more pregnancy posts than they ever knew they didn't want to read. I was supposed to be about 18 weeks at the appointment yesterday, but am measuring more like 19, which kicks the due date up a little, which I will never ever complain about. Ever. 

I think that's enough for now. Thanks to you sweet friends for being so excited with us, we are over the moon about this little boy and cannot wait to meet him in August!

Lucy's gender reveal post 

Monday, March 24, 2014


I am sure that when Mike stopped to chat with me for a few minutes this morning on his way downstairs to work he was not expecting the heaping bucket of complaint vomit I dumped on him, or maybe he was because he has lived with me almost 6 years now. It's what I do.

My primary complaint was just that "I was done with this day". A mixture of a big medicine spill in the bathroom circa 5 a.m. this morning (and children's medicine which is basically syrup with a dash of ib profen) resulting in at least 5 floor scrubs before 9 a.m. and a smoothie food processor explosion in the midst of what felt like complete pregnant lady starvation were the main culprits for my complaint. But it was all ok and after I spewed my uncontrollable whines to Mike I felt really stupid because I can't "just be done" with the day and having that phrase cycling through my head was certainly only feeding how much I hated everything. So out of the denial phase I went and on to acceptance.

Here are some things I am working on accepting currently (or accepting them, moving on, getting pissed about them again, accepting them again, and moving on again, etc...) it is not an exhaustive list.

+ that days during pregnancy will always be front loaded with an extra 20 pounds of hard just because I am pregnant. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone else, but even though the constant nausea has passed and a tiny bit of energy has returned, the day automatically starts off significantly harder because of bearing this tiny person. And that is totally ok.

+ how NOT good looking I feel all the time. You would think it would be easier to accept the 4th time around that my body is just not going to look how I want it to look for about 18 months of pregnancy and postpartum, but on the contrary this is becoming harder and harder. But I am getting there thanks to copious shopping for things I feel the best in and a husband who is nothing but complimentary allllll the time.

+ that the basket of clean laundry sitting in the living room will not find itself folded until all the current dirty laundry is cycling through the appliances and it will only get done on account of my need to use the only laundry basket we own, which is filled with clean laundry.

+ that I am daily nursing a bunch of dying plants indoors because I started them way too early and it is no where close to being able to put them outside because this winter will never end.

+ that no matter how many times I refresh the Accuweather website, it will not magically change the 10 day forecast. And I will always want to cry about it.

+ that the only place Lucy is happy is on my hip roughly 94% of her waking hours. C'est la vie.

+ the fact that Bernadette-- my one lone consistently wonderful napper, always giving a solid hour and a half of nothing but silence from her sleeping quarters-- is phasing out of napping. I know this is totally normal and I've been wondering when she would stop because she's like 3.5 years of age and not at all a baby anymore, but I was marinating in my love for it as long as it would last. But then today- today- the end has obviously begun, in the form of total nap rebellion because she has not learned the ways of this rest-time-nazi of a mother who WILL make her stay in that room and quiet come hell or high water.

+ that one child has been singing the same line to the same (dumb) Veggie Tales song over and over and over and over x348 because it would be way too hard to learn any other lines, or at least not as much fun as chanting those 2 lines.

+ that it will always be a struggle to accept things that challenge how self centered I am and how much I love routine and comfort and time to myself and solo bathroom trips and so on and so fourth.