Back to Life…For Real This Time??

My last post was titled Back to Life…That was wrong.  The first six weeks of Khali’s life had gone pretty smooth considering Nate and I had mentally and physically prepared for  this, and we were both obviously off of work.  The house is a mess, there’s no food in the fridge, there’s four loads of clean laundry on the guest bed to be dealt with and certainly none of it is mine since everything I own is covered in breastmilk or spit-up.  But all of this was to be expected in those first six weeks so it didn’t really phase us.  However, when Nate went back to work, and I decided to go back to work, I was delusional in assuming that I could keep up my previous standards and lifestyle with an infant.  Like all of a sudden six weeks of life graduates her from a breastfeeding every two hours, up all night, burping, pooping, crying newborn?!?  Duh, Raquel.  Baby brain has completely taken over and now you have another human to take care of, and less brainpower to do so.  He he he, the universe laughs.

So here I am writing my first post in five months!  What’s changed?  Well, for one, we are all sleeping through the night!  Hooray!!!  This is an enormous game changer.  If you think that sleep depravation isn’t really affecting you, (I am in this foolish group,) then get a few full nights of sleep and get back to me.  Secondly, I haven’t been working at all this past month partially because it’s so slow around the holidays, and partially because we all agreed that mommy needs a break to get her sh*t together.  And I gotta say, hallelujah.  My house is finally clean, (to my standard,) for the first time since baby.  There’s plenty of food in the fridge, and warm, home cooked meals for dinner.  And I am actually responding to text messages within 24 hours.  Go me!

So I believe NOW I can say that I am back to life for real this time, but with the caveat that there are lower standards and slower timelines.  And this will have to be okay from now on because I am doing my best, and everyone seems to be happy, which is really all that matters!  I have so much more I want to write about and catch you all up on, and let’s hope it’s sooner than later!  But for now, I will leave you with our new family pix with baby Khaleesi.  I must thank my girlfriend Erica for taking the time to come over and photograph the madness that is my family.  Some of you might remember that she also took my sexy maternity pictures a few months ago.  Girl, you are an amazing photographer and amazing friend.  Thank you!

 

 

Back to Life

I can hardly believe that my brand new baby GIRL is eight weeks old today.  That’s right, we had a baby girl, and we named her Khaleesi after the Mother of Dragons.  And true to her name, she is strong and steady in her own right.  This baby, (as with all my babies), has got me mystified in wonder.  When I was expecting my second baby, I asked my surrogate sister Autumn, (who has two little boys,) how I could possibly love another human as much as I loved my Maverick.  And she told me that your heart just grows.  This reminded me of the Grinch whose heart grew three sizes.  And today I can firmly say that my heart has absolutely grown a whole size with each baby.  It’s the best feeling in the world!

Khaleesi was born June 28th, at 10:45 p.m.  I ended up getting induced at 40+3 mostly out of convenience and misery.  We strolled into the hospital at 7:30 a.m., and started the Pitocin at 9a.m.  Yes, I still labored for more than 12 hours with my third baby.  Ugh.  I will say though that I only pushed three times, so there’s that, lol.  As soon as the doctor held her up to us, we all clapped because we only had one name picked out for a girl, but about five names for a boy.  Fate.  This little bundle of awesomeness is the reason moms go through the hell of pregnancy and childbirth.  Because let me tell you, the recovery this time was excruciating.

They told me after my second baby that the recovery gets worse each time.  And holy hell, they were right.  I struggled to get out of the bed and walk to the bathroom.  I was shakey and weak and in so much pain.  My uterus felt like somebody had repeatedly punched it from the inside for 12+ hours.  (Which in all reality is kind of what happened.)  Also my pelvic bones felt like they would snap apart if I stepped too quickly or in the wrong direction.  I was a mess.

Here’s where I especially thank God for my husband; because when the jaded nurses who see this every day don’t believe you are in that much pain, he will semi politely tell them to take their judgement elsewhere and take care of me or all hell will break loose.  He was my biggest advocate.  I had literally been moaning and crying and white-knuckling the bed frame.  Call me weak, I don’t give a f*ck, just give me something for the pain.  So they did, and things got a little better.  I could still barely walk to the bathroom, but at least I could lay in the bed and not be in pain as long as I didn’t move.  It was rough.

40 hours after we had strolled into the hospital to be induced, Nate and I had only gotten about three hours of broken sleep.  Finally my nurse convinced me to let her take the baby for a couple of hours.  I’m sure she knew we would soon fall apart at this rate.  When she came back in three hours later, we were both sleeping like the dead with significant drool puddles on our pillows.  Sleep never felt so good.  For those of you who don’t understand why we had gotten so little sleep, let me explain.  Not only can the baby keep you up, but there are people coming into your room every 30 minutes for one reason or another.  Check you.  Check the baby.  Clean your room.  Bring you food.  Take away your food.  Take some survey.  Fill out forms.  Blah, blah.  It’s absolutely nothing like the movies.  Just FYI.

The next day when we were discharged from the hospital, I was a little bit terrified to go home and take care of everything in my state.  I was still looking and feeling pretty pathetic.  Again, thank God for Nate because he HANDLED everything.  Two days after being home, we ended up going to triage because my pain meds were done, but I was still in tremendous pain.  They did an internal exam, (which was excruciating,) and determined that my pubic bones might have separated a little bit.  Oh, joy.  They said that my healing will be slower, but that I should eventually be fine.  They sent me home with more pain meds, some anti inflammatories, and directions to stay in bed.  So I spent the next two weeks only taking care of myself and the baby, while Nate wrangled the other two kids, did all the house chores, and kept us all fed.  It was insane.  I am glad to report though that I am now completely back to normal.  Birthing babies is rough.  Don’t let them tell you any different.  But I feel like a freaking warrior at this point!

So that’s basically the first four weeks after baby.  I will fill you in on the second four weeks after baby in my next post!  Thank you all for hanging in there while I took this hiatus.  Not only have we been crazy busy adjusting to three kids, but we really just wanted to soak in every minute with this brand new little baby because it really does go so fast!

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Weeks 35, 36, 37 & 38, The end is near

Well, this month has flown by.  We had a baby sprinkle a couple of weeks ago, which is like a baby shower, except we don’t really need that much stuff since we have all the baby gear and clothes from our previous babies.  So not a shower, just a sprinkle.  So thank you to all of our friends and family who sprinkled us with love and gifts for the new baby ❤

I have also been working up until last week when Nate finally started yelling at me to stop because he’s worried I’m pushing myself too hard.  Well, honestly, going to work where I sit down the whole time was a lot easier than staying home and chasing around two toddlers and cleaning all day.  But since this baby dropped lower into my pelvis in anticipation of birth, it’s like there’s a bowling ball between my legs, and I have taken the pregnant waddle to a whole new level.  In fact, it’s almost unbearable to walk up and down stairs, or get into my car.  And since we have stairs from our house to the street, it makes leaving my house almost impossible.  So out in public, I look and feel crippled.  Which is fine in my sweatpants at Target, but a little embarrassing while wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase into various law offices.  Also I could tell that I was making the male attorneys a little uncomfortable.  Like she’s gonna blow any minute, why is she here and not at home or in the hospital?!  lol

So for the past week, I’ve pretty much been on house arrest and going out of my mind.  I’m bored and antsy and physically miserable.  I want to be productive, but every time I get up to do something I just feel like absolute crap.  I’ve gone into false labor twice, which is so exciting for that moment, and then soo disappointing when you realize that it’s not actually happening.  With every one of my pregnancies, right at this last month, I get what I call pre partum depression.  I am so insanely excited about having the baby, that everything else in life is just mundane and unenjoyable.  And the thought of having to wait even one more second to meet this little love is unbearable.  The world is still turning, my husband goes to work, the neighbors go on vacation, and I just can’t think of anything else in life except having this baby.  I don’t know if other women get this way, but I know I do, and I know I’m borderline crazy.

I am so bitchy lately it’s ridiculous.  I don’t know how Nate deals with me.  He’s a saint.  He actually mocked me the other day with a monologue of bitchy comments I had made throughout the day while we had been running errands, and it was downright hysterical.  It really gave me perspective of how physically miserable I must be feeling to be so snippy.  Well, I’m giving myself a free pass and pulling the pregnant card.  I’ll be nice again later, but for now, I just really don’t give a ****.

Another reason I will embrace this don’t care attitude, is because it overshadows any fears or reservations about childbirth.  I use this misery to my advantage.  Because by the time I go into labor and I’m screaming my head off in pain, I will just be so relieved that the pregnancy is almost over, that I won’t care how many people need to get up into my whohah, or how big the epidural needle is.  This makes childbirth much easier for me.  After I had Maverick, and while I was already pregnant again with Summerly, I watched my sis-in-law give birth, and it was BRUTAL.  It’s one thing when you watch some unknown woman on youtube, and you think well, mine won’t be that intense.  But when I’m watching my beautiful, five foot tall sister-in-law, with her pretty blue eyes and freckles, push a watermelon out of her body, with all kinds of fluids and blood and stretching…carnal.  And I was thinking, well damn, I’m about to do that again in a few months, and I probably shouldn’t have watched that live.

My brother didn’t watch like I did.  He stayed by her head and held her hand.  He later jokingly asked Nate how could he watch when I gave birth, and, “Ever look at the pu**y the same?”  And Nate responded, “With wonder.  I respect the hell out of that thing more than I ever did before.”  God, I love him for that.  Because I, like my brother, was a little bit mortified.  It just really doesn’t make sense that object A, comes out of object B.  But I’m not gonna be thinking about that when I’m having contractions every few minutes and in the worst pain of my life.  And that was definitely part of God’s plan, I’m sure.  Brilliant.  So that’s what I’m rolling with for now.  I’m miserable and bitchy and just don’t give a crap about it until I get this human out of my body, which will be one of the best and most beautiful days of my life.  I just can’t wait!

Week 33 & 34, Knocked up and Sexy

So I asked my girlfriend to come over and take some sexy, artistic maternity pics of me.  Photography is a hobby of hers, but more importantly, I didn’t feel like getting naked in front of some random photographer and taking directions.  In my bitchy, hormonal state, that sounded like a recipe for disaster.  So she came over, and we played around with lighting and backdrops and poses.  She patiently snapped pictures while I waddled around the house, and had to heave me off of the floor after taking some pictures lying down and sitting.  I also frequently pestered her to look out for fat arm, and thigh dimples, while she just rolled her eyes at me.  Needless to say, we both had very low expectations for these pictures.  She had low expectations because she was clearly underestimating her ability, and I had low expectations because how in the world could I take a sexy and artistically beautiful picture while I feel like an elephant.  Well, they turned out amazing, and I really am Knocked Up and Sexy!!!

Here are a few of them.

So this really got me thinking that this must be what Nate sees when he looks at me.  See, I’m feeling like Jabba the Hutt over here because I can’t move, I’m sweaty and cranky, and I’m always hungry and spilling food all over my ginormous belly.  Blaaahhh.  Meanwhile, he can’t get enough of me and my belly.  So I’ve heard from most girlfriends that the men pretty much go one of two ways.  Either they are a little bit uncomfortable or grossed out by pregnancy, or they are excited by it.  Nate is definitely the latter.  I always tell him he’s just proud when looking at the manifestation of his manhood, but truly I am so incredibly grateful he feels this way.  I used to be more private and embarrassed about my bodily functions, so having Nate be the opposite was really a Godsend.  My first pregnancy came as quite a shock when every doctor and their mom want’s to take a good thorough look at your whoohah, and ask you highly personal questions with the same tone of voice as, “Pass the salt.”

One night when I was about 10 weeks pregnant with my first baby, Maverick, I woke up to pee and found that a bunch of blood had come out as well.  That’s not a good sign.  So we immediately drove to the emergency room, terrified that I was having a miscarriage.  When we get there, the front desk lady asks how many pads I would have filled with blood, had I been wearing one.  I was baffled because I didn’t really scrutinize the toilet that much.  Then Nate whips out his phone and shows her a picture he had taken of the toilet to show the amount of blood, and they both avidly took note.

I was completely mortified.  When did he take that picture?  I literally had to walk away to recompose myself.  Everything turned out fine, and I gave birth seven months later to Maverick.  But I look back at this moment and love that Nate had absolutely no shame.  Because throughout the rest of my pregnancy with Maverick, and forevermore raising kids, there is no more privacy or modesty.  And honestly, I’m happier this way.  It’s a relief.  For the men who are grossed out, well hopefully you get over it quickly, and hopefully your pregnant wife is like Nate and just doesn’t give a fuck.  There needs to be one of those in the relationship.  And for the men who think they are hitting the baby’s head during sex, my response is don’t flatter yourself.

Speaking of pregnant sex, it is the best or the worst sex you’ve ever had in your life, and really has nothing to do with what you and your partner are doing.  For one thing, your body is changing dramatically and rapidly.  It’s like the house is the same, but the furniture is constantly being moved around.  So sometimes it feels absolutely amazing, and other times, nothin.  For another thing, hormones can either amplify or detract from the mood big time.  And for another thing, it’s a logistical nightmare.  Try duct taping a large watermelon to your stomach the next time you want to get intimate.  Although it has brought out some teamwork and playful problem solving imagination at times, usually it’s just a cluster.  Anywho, being knocked up can be sexy at times.  But most often it’s just downright humbling.

P.S.  Here are a few pics of our adventure to the Ocean Beach Kite Festival with the kids:)

Week 29, 30, 31 & 32, Nesting

OMG where has the month gone?  Well, we spent the first two weeks celebrating.  First was kids’ military appreciation day at the SD Zoo.  Then Easter.  And then my birthday!  Nate took me on a couple dates, and then we drove up to Palm Springs to my parents’ weekend house to swim in the pool and eat all of my mom’s delicious cooking.  It sounds glamorous, and it was!!  The kids had a blast too.  Here are some pix of those first two weeks.

The second two weeks have not been so glamorous.  You see, I am nesting big time in preparation for this baby.  Now, I know my urge to nest is strong, and I have gone a little overboard in the past… Well, let me tell you, this time, it’s downright loony tunes.  Not only are we recarpeting and repainting all three bedrooms, we are also rebuilding the closets in two of the bedrooms.  And besides the carpet installation, we are doing everything else ourselves.  That’s just how we roll.  So all three bedrooms and two closets worth of furniture and belongings were in the backyard for a few days.  Thank God it didn’t rain!  First we reframed, drywalled and painted the closets.  Then repainted the rest of the bedrooms before the carpet was installed.  We installed custom built in storage and lighting in the closets.  Then the new closet doors and ceiling fans.  Then moved all the furniture back in.  And just yesterday we rebuilt the crib and started unpacking baby stuff!

So as I mentioned, we do have three bedrooms.  However, I am keeping all three of these gremlins in the same room for as long as possible.  Not only do we use the guest room as our everything room, but also I enjoy having one space that I can keep clean all the time, lol.  Having the kids in the same room means all of their crap is in the same room, which is so nice.  But the best part is that they understand that they are equal and together, and they seem to grow more tolerant and patient with each other.  Like they are a little team in this world.  I did not anticipate this when putting them in the same room, but it’s an awesome result.  People ask, “Well, what if one starts crying and wakes the other one up?”  And I respond that they cry and scream at me all day long.  So I feel that when I close that door for bedtime, they can cry at each other all they want.  Pretty quickly they learned to either ignore, or console each other.  This works out well for everyone, lol.

Coincidentally, they are also going to share the same birthday celebration every year.  Summerly’s birthday is June 16, this baby is due June 25, and Maverick is July 9.  People tell me, “Oh, no, you can’t have joint birthdays!”  And I’m like, first of all, if it’s all they ever know, they won’t care.  Secondly, we would literally be throwing a party three weekends in a row.  And not only is that financially ridiculous, but none of our friends or family are going to come to three birthday parties in a row.  Please.  When you produce children with factory precision, you start treating them like they are all one.  We didn’t plan this timeline.  But obviously about four months after I’m done breastfeeding is when I even consider that MAYBE I could do it again.  Bam!

Meanwhile, Nate is just now starting to freak out about having a third.  He says to me, “Babe, you realize we are going to be outnumbered?!?”  And I’m like, “Well, since you’ve been gone training and deploying for about 60-80% of their lives, I’ve been outnumbered forever.”  I’ve been saying this whole time that if I could have two alone, I could definitely have a third with my husband.  So probably I’m in denial, but I just feel like it’s a drop in the bucket at this point, lmao.

So another thing that happened right in the middle of this whole house project is that our little dog Yoshi, (my first baby,) spiked a 104 fever, and was completely sick and lethargic. So I’m taking her to the vet every morning for three mornings in a row, and running all kinds of tests to figure out why she was so sick.  At the grand total of $450, I might add.  Then on night three before going to bed, Nate takes Yoshi’s temperature with an infant’s rectal thermometer I had picked up at Target earlier that day.  And from the other room, I hear him mutter 107.  Now, for a dog, 100-101 is a normal temp.  103-104 is a definite fever, and the temperature she had been at for the past few days.  107 is the point where she would be having a seizure.  So I run into the room and ask, “What was the temp?”  Hoping I heard him wrong.  And he says, “107.  Is that bad?”  And I’m like, “Yeah, Babe, it’s really bad.  Like brain boiling bad.”  I can see on his face that he’s thinking that I’m just being hormonal dramatic, and he’s not taking me seriously.  Perhaps it was the bottle of Tito’s Vodka he and his brother had just polished off that was affecting his judgement.  So he just stares at me blank drunk, and I not so politely tell him to get his ass online and on the phone with the 24hour emergency vet.  Mind you, it was 11:30 p.m.

So as he and his brother get online and start brainstorming, I put Yoshi in the sink and drench her in cold water.  I am in a panic.  They call out to me that probably my brand new thermometer is broken.  I’m about to start screaming at them to take me seriously when Nate sees the panic on my face, and threatens that he will put the thermometer in his mouth to prove to me that it’s wrong.  And I respond, “Well, it’s a rectal thermometer.”  And he asks, “Will that put you at ease?”  And I nod, “Yes.”  So my sweet husband who will do anything for his family, (especially after half a bottle of whatever,)  proceeds to clean off the thermometer to test it on himself.  He then realizes that once inserted, he can’t read it.  So he waddles over to his unsuspecting brother, and now it’s just a big joke.  I can barely understand what they are saying through the screaming and laughter.

I wrap Yoshi in a towel and attempt to dig out an old infant thermometer that I know I used to have for the kids, and I am literally praying to God that I didn’t throw it away.  Bingo!  I take her temperature, and it’s 103, which is what it had been for the past few days.  It’s a fever, but not emergent.  I come out of the bathroom to tell Nate and his brother the good news, only to find the two of them attempting to take Sasebo’s temperature.  Remember that Bobos is a 90 pound, highly athletic Labrador with all of his faculties, dealing with two giggling drunkards.  It was quite the scene.  In the end, they did succeed in taking his temp with both thermometers to officially prove that the new thermometer is broken, and the old one is accurate.

So finally at 12:30 a.m., I am feeing calm enough to sleep.  And then the next morning, the heavens opened up, and Yoshi’s fever broke.  The vet told me later that day that it was a fever of unknown orgin.  And I’m thinking, jeez, couldn’t you have told me that $300 ago?  But whatever.  Such is life, and my dog is healthy.  And when these things happen, it reminds me to be so incredibly grateful for my family’s health, because life is precious.  And I just can’t wait for our next little one:)

Week 27 & 28, Working Moms

Sometimes I am just amazed that I have been able to hold down a job since I had kids.  Seriously, the effort it takes to get out that door on the daily is unfathomable.  The planning, the timeline, the priorities; it’s a 500,000 piece jigsaw that somehow mom gets together every day.  It just boggles my mind how my husband can just walk his happy ass out the door, (sometimes for weeks and months at a time by the way,) without a clue about how his kids will be cared for while he’s away.  Well, why would he?  That’s what moms are for, right?  So I know you’re the breadwinner honey, but I work too, and childcare is the biggest pain in my ass I have ever had to deal with.  Here’s the thing; reliable, affordable, and convenient childcare does NOT exist.  You will find two out of three.  But not all three.  So you have to choose which two are the most important to you.

Because I don’t work full time, I had to choose affordable for one, since full time childcare costs the same as a mortgage on a small house, and is pretty much not worth working at all.  And since I’m always pregnant, and my husband’s job is highly demanding on the family, I chose convenient for my second.  Convenient to me means in-home care.  Aka, nannies.  Yes, plural.  I have an army of them.  I can barely get myself ready and out the door every morning.  Getting the kids dressed and fed and out the door is equivalent to that 500,000 piece jigsaw I mentioned, but with a timer.  And if that timer buzzes before you are in the car, then you might be fired.  The stakes and margin of error are too high, and I prefer to not take that risk.   Once the Nanny shows up at my door, I don’t care if everybody is screaming and naked, I get to leave.  Convenient!

The other convenience is that we aren’t sick all the time.  Daycare is literally the plague.  When Mav was in daycare, he and I just traded off being sick every two weeks.  Therefore, we spent half of the month every month sick.  So miserable.  But daycare IS reliable.  It’s a stationary building that will watch your kids when you drop them off.  Unlike a nanny who might bail last minute or isn’t available when you need her.  So like I said, I collect nannies.  As many as I can get my hands on.  I want back-ups for my back-ups.  With our first baby, Maverick, Nate and I conducted several interviews each for many prospective girls.  Nate gathered as much intel as he could on these girls to the point where they were probably uncomfortable.  Then Nate deployed, I had a second baby, Nate deployed again, and I just became so desperate and overwhelmed at times that the interviews turned into, “Hi, what’s your name — I don’t care.  Just keep them alive.  I’ll be back in three hours.”

So there are a few one-timers here and there, but mainly I juggle the same three girls.  And on a daily basis, Nate has no clue which one is coming.  If he’s off work before I am, he doesn’t know who he’s meeting at home.  He’s probably surprised when he walks in the door and it’s not me.  And the girls know better than to ask him for their money, because he doesn’t carry any cash, or even know how much to give them.  They just text me the run down of when they left, and any other details I should know about how the day went.  I need to check my phone at intervals while I’m at work to answer any questions the nannies have, and of course in case of an emergency.  Nate leaves his phone in the truck, and trying to call the work phone and have someone track him down is about as likely as hitting only green lights while driving.  When Dad’s at work, out of sight, out of mind.  This is never the case for Mom.

So really, I have two jobs simultaneously.  I never really leave the kids at home, I am their person.  This is a perfect example of society’s gender roles.  My sister-in-law mentioned to me once that she had some commitment to go to, and that my brother would be “Babysitting,” my nephew.  I was like, “Girl, he’s got you brainwashed!!”  Dear brother, you don’t babysit your own child!  Are you kidding me?  But really, it’s kind of true in the sense that dads do not assume full responsibility in this way.  When it comes to the kids, they have appointed you Captain, and they are the First Mate.  Nate mentioned a guys’ night he was planning on going to, and I said, “Oh, that sounds fun.  Who’s gonna watch the kids?”  And he literally just stared at me completely confused.  Whether it’s work, or an invite somewhere social, my first thought is who’s going to watch the kids.  I no longer remember what it feels like to just come and go as I please.  That would be like leaving the house without my clothes on at this point.

And when I get home from work, my job is nowhere near done.  I have to quickly strip off my work clothes and hang them up before some sort of food or other unidentified stain ends up on them.  And then I need to get the run down from the nanny and pay her, all while the dogs are barking to go potty, and the kids are whining and pulling on me for my attention.  Or because I’m ignoring them, they will rummage through my work briefcase or my purse, maybe set off the alarm on my car keys.  And even if the nanny just fed them, when I get home, all of a sudden they are starving.  There is no break in-between work and home.  Like I said before, it’s always simultaneous.

Another issue is that I do a lot of work from home.  So sometimes I have the nanny come watch the kids while I lock myself in my bedroom with my laptop.  Most of the time I just wake up at 5 a.m. and work before the kids wake up.  And sometimes on rare occasions I am literally typing on my laptop while pushing the kids off and away from me with my feet.  But you gotta do what you gotta do.  Phone calls are a nightmare.  As soon as that phone rings my kids are like locusts.  Screaming in my ear, following me around the house until I finally lock myself in my bedroom trying to get away, and they just bang on the door and scream the entire time.  But God forbid, my husband gets a work call and the kids harass him, he will give me this look like, “Do something!”  And I’m like, “Nope.”  It actually makes my day a little bit watching him struggle.

So life is already hectic.  Throw in a paying job and a few nannies, and it’s seriously a circus every day.  I love being a mom and I love my job, so I wouldn’t change it for the world.  But I’m not gonna lie, I definitely wouldn’t mind being the first mate, and watching Nate try to balance this cluster.  Just the thought has me laughing my ass off.

By the way, Nate is home from his trip, and here are a few pictures and videos of his homecoming.

 

Week 25 & 26, Getting Through

Well, Nate is still gone, and we have been a hot mess over here.  I am trying to hold it all together, but most days I just feel like a complete failure.  Because although I may make it through each day, I feel like I made many, many compromises to do so.  For example, there are no healthy homemade dinners while Nate’s gone.  It’s sandwich meat and cheese and crackers at best, and McDonald’s at worst.  When you’re negotiating how many days a week your kids can have chicken nuggets, you know your standards have fallen.  I am consistently asking myself how much I can get away with, rather than what I can do better.

How long can I let the dog poop sit on the side yard before it’s just a health hazard.  How many weeks can I skip bringing the trash cans to the curb before they are just too full that I can’t even fit another bag in there.  How long can I make this most recent Costco trip last so that hopefully I don’t have to make another trip until Nate get’s home.  I’ll supplement Bobo’s dinner with some table scraps so that maybe I can stretch this bag of dog food until Nate get’s home.  I won’t wash the kids’ sheets until someone wets the bed.  When the dog throws up on the turf in our front yard, I give myself permission to drag a piece of furniture over it, rather than clean it up.  This is how I’m making it through each day.

Needless to say, my previous standards are out the window, and I’m setting up a whole new rulebook to follow.  This is how military wives deal.  And we get together and compare notes, and ultimately we make each other feel better about these sacrifices in our quality of parenting, because we have to.  If I tell a non military parent that I don’t really limit screen time for my kids, that, in fact, I pretty much leave the Disney channel on all day long in hopes that it will distract my kids enough so that I can take a shower more than twice a week, I get judgement.  I will never admit to anyone how many times a week I am willing to feed my kids fast food while Nate’s gone, because I don’t even want to admit it to myself.  How about the fact that instead of giving Summerly a nap during the day, we will just power through, and I will put her down two hours early instead.  That means she’s in bed by 4p.m. every day, which is a complete embarrasment to admit to anyone.  But it’s a necessity for my sanity because by that time every day, I feel like I’m about to scream or cry or both if I don’t get a chance to sit down and rest.

That’s just the ways I might cheat through each day.  That doesn’t even begin to cover how I might deal with the constant stream of unexpected issues.  For example, Maverick is an, “Emotional pooper,” in his doctor’s words.  He has apparently decided that he will not go poop while Nate’s gone.  Try as I might to encourage him and bribe him, this little man is holding it in.  When I let the doctor know that Dad will be home in a few weeks and that that should fix the problem, she sternly tells me that if I don’t get this under control ASAP, I will be taking him to the ER in two days to be manually, and painfully evacuated, and also this could cause long term damage to his colon.  Bad mom.  So here I am giving him multiple doses of Miralax every day, Ducolax once a week, and throw in an enema every now and then.  So my almost four-year-old son who was finally potty trained, is now basically shitting water in a diaper every day because he is in distress about his dad being gone.  And I have to let him regress in potty training, wear a diaper, and do a lot more laundry and baths.

Speaking of baths, he will poop almost every bath probably because it relaxes his muscles.  This is a problem when the whole point of the bath in the first place was to get him clean.  Not to mention usually Summerly is in there with him.  So I have to be very quick about scooping them out right away when this happens, dry them and clothe them, and then use an excessive amount of bleach to clean the tub and bath toys…EVERY bath.  And I just have to be okay with this for now because he is sad, and it’s all our fault.

Meanwhile, I am getting to the point where the belly is completely in the way.  The belly is sore and achey all day long from growing.  And that’s why I feel like I want to cry at the end of the day, because I just hurt.  This is not my kids’ fault that mommy is tired and cranky that Dad’s gone, but they are getting the crap end of the stick.  But here’s the thing, I love you two more than the whole world, and although I may lower my standard of care while Dad’s gone, I will never stop loving you and taking care of you.  You can count on me whether Daddy is home or not, and you can count on the fact that when he does come home, balance will be restored.  So just be patient a little longer little ones, and it will all be okay again.

Weeks 23 & 24, Fur Babies

This post will be two week’s worth.  Not only because I’m actually in week 25 right now, but mainly because I have a lot to say about my other two children, the ones with paws.  You see, they were our first babies, and they had it made.  And then once I got pregnant, they really started to get shafted.  And with a third one on the way, well, they’re really gonna have it rough.  But let’s start at the beginning, shall we?…

Let’s start in 2009, when Nate and I started dating.  I was 20 years old and he was 28.  I was just starting court reporting school and still living at home.  And he was approaching 10 years in the Navy, having already travelled all over the world, and contemplating whether he was gonna re-up for another 10 years, or get out and do something else.  We were set up on a blind date by someone who was friends with both of our dads.  And she hassled them each saying that, “Your son,” and, “Your daughter,” need to meet.  Finally she just started calling Nate and I directly to tell us that she would leave us alone if we went on just one date.

I was resistant because I was really over dating at that point.  20-year-old guys can have that effect on you.  Nate was resistant because he thought for sure I had a boyfriend already, and also he didn’t want some, “20-year-old party girl.”  He was ready to settle down, get married, and have kids.  Which he bluntly told me when we spoke on the phone later that night.  And I was like, Dude, buy me dinner first.  Well, we ended up talking on the phone that night for four hours, and going on our first date that following weekend.  It was definitely love at first sight.  This man was a can-do, get-‘er-done, let nothing stop him kind of guy, which completely overwhelmed me, but was also very exciting.  And that’s exactly it, he was a man.  The first real man I had ever dated.  I was a little girl growing into a woman, and he held out his hand, and has lead me through life ever since.

After that first date, we spent every weekend trading off either him driving up to OC, or me driving down to SD to be together.  And then one day I showed up with my brand new Pomeranian puppy named Yoshi.  I was completely unsure of what his reaction would be.  Things were getting serious between us, and I hadn’t involved him at all in this decision.  Well, just as he was falling in love with me, he fell in love with her too.  In fact, he actually told her he loved her before he told me.  He and I were in a bit of a stand off as to who would say it first, and one night while cuddling with her on the couch, he let it slip out in a whisper.  And I was like, “What did you just say?!”  And he responded, “What?  Nothing!”  And immediately shoved Yoshi off of his lap, and shooed her away as if that would make me forget.  I actually thought it was hilarious because I knew for sure that he loved me and my little dog, but big tough man that he is, he could only admit it to a five pound fluff ball.

So then a few months later, after we had been dating for about eight months, he finally told me he loved me.  Then he told me about how he has wanted for a very long time to get a black lab, but hasn’t been able to because the military sends him away a lot.  And what did I think about moving in to take care of the dog.  Well, Nate’s never been known for his tact, but I have obviously always found that to be part of his charm.  I had only been moved in for about a month when we went to the breeder to pick out our new addition.  I was feeling pretty overwhelmed with this decision because our current apartment didn’t allow dogs, and we had already been sneaking Yoshi.  Now we were definitely going to have to move, and quick.  So while I’m starting to hyperventilate, Nate grabs my hand and tells me that he will always take care of me and our family, and everything’s going to be great.

We ended up moving just a little bit down the street, but still within walking distance to dog beach in Ocean Beach.  I was taking these pup dogs to dog beach at least three times a week.  We ended up naming our new Labrador Sasebo after Nate’s childhood family dog.  You see, Nate’s dad is a Navy man, of course, and apparently had had a really great time while on liberty in the port of Sasebo, Japan.  And then came home from that deployment, and bought little baby Nate a puppy which they named Sasebo.  I just liked the name because it was Japanese and so it matched Yoshi.  Our Sasebo grew to a whopping 90 pounds, but never grew out of that floppy labrador demeanor.  I started calling him Bobos for short, and it really just fits.

Once I got pregnant, the visits to dog beach lessened.  I was no longer as physically capable as I used to be, and couldn’t wrangle this beast of a dog when he decided to disobey.  Or on the rare occasions that another dog wanted to attack my goofy Bobos, I was useless, and this made me feel vulnerable and incapable.  Then once we had a baby, forget about it.  Nate used to run with Bobos a lot, but with a new baby, and growing responsibilities at work, those runs lessened also.  All in all, Bobos was taking these changes in stride… Until we bought the house.  But we’ll get to that in a minute.

As far as Yoshi, well, her barking escalated from a slightly annoying greeting whenever someone came to visit or when Nate came home from work, to an incessant and relentless yapping all day long at anything and everything.  She now had to compete for attention with not only me and Bobos, but adorable little baby Maverick.  And clearly it was just too much to handle.  I have tried many things over the years to combat this.  The tin can with the coins in it that you shake at her when she barks, and it’s supposed to startle her out of it.  Nope, she don’t care.  The spray bottle with 90% water and 10% vinegar that you spray at her when she barks.  Nope, she don’t care.  I even tried 90% vinegar and 10% water.  Still don’t care.  I tried all my best Cesar Millan impersonations and clearly failed.  I tried a product called the happy hoodie that the groomer puts on her to calm her.  Nope, don’t care.  Here’s a pic of it by the way, lmao.

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I have tried anything and everything that anyone has ever recommended to me to no avail.  Until finally I was able to train her to go to timeout.  I point and sternly tell her “Timeout,” and she will prance her yappy ass to the bathroom.  Sometimes I don’t even have to get up.  This, to me, is a victory.  So until I come up with some other idea, it’s as good as it’s gonna get.

Now, back to Bobos and his issues.  In 2013,  about four months after we had Maverick, we bought our little beach cottage in Ocean Beach.  We closed escrow on the house in mid December, and then two weeks later right after Christmas, Nate deployed for six months.  Bobos lost his mind and was overcome with anxiety.  Like where the hell are we, and where did dad go???  He would cry and whine here and there during the day when I was home and he was outside.  But apparently when I would leave the house with Maverick, and he was completely alone, he would howl non stop the entire time.  I received quite a few angry and threatening notes from my new neighbors telling me so.  No casseroles for me, lol.

So I took another tip from Cesar and gave Bobos a job.  I put him on the front deck where he could see me come and go, and gave him the official title of guard dog.  He would bark at anyone approaching my front gate, but the whining and crying while I was home ceased.  I also set up the baby monitor whenever I left the house to see if he was still howling, and it was cut down to very few and far between.  Success!  Or so I thought.

The next time Nate left for a few months — actually any time Nate leaves for longer than two weeks, I receive an anonymous angry note from some neighbor about something.  A couple of times it has been about Nate’s truck.  We park it on the curb in front of our house, and there’s really no more room for another car.  Now, when he’s not parked there, there’s just enough room for two small cars to park on that curb, although the butt of the second car comes very close to blocking me in my driveway.  Well, a couple of angry neighbors don’t like how much room his truck takes up in a beach town where parking is limited.  Did I mention that we park his truck on the curb in front of OUR house?  But I digress.

So Nate leaves again, and I receive another note about Bobos.  This one claimed that he howls all day AND night, which got me to thinking that these neighbors are just leaving notes on my door for any dog on the street.  Because Bobos sleeps inside with me at night.  And the night howler is, in fact, my neighbor behind me who works the night shift and leaves his dog outside all night.  Sometimes the dog barks in the middle of the night, and I open my bedroom window and tell him to cut it out.  I would never leave my neighbor an angry note about his dog that, go figure, barks at stuff.  But that’s just me.  So after that note, I made a big sign and taped it to my front fence.  Here’s a pic.

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So how else were we going to work on this.  Well, I tried a happy hoodie for Bobos which was just ridiculous.  I tried bark collars for both dogs and they kind of worked for a day or two, but not really.  For one thing, I knew I needed to exercise him more.  But remember, I’m a mom of a one-year-old, I’m working part time, I’m six months pregnant with Summerly, and my husband’s deployed.  So I tried exercising Bobos by throwing the ball down our cul-de-sac street from my front yard where I could safely watch Maverick at the same time.  But then he would see a random passerby, and bolt after them to say hi.  Well, that angered a few people too because although he’s a lover labrador, he’s a dog without a leash, and they were going to call animal control on me.  Yeesh.

So then I took another que from Cesar and decided to buy a treadmill.  The smallest one that I could find to fit in our tiny little beach house, and could be folded up and stored under our guest bed.  It was a walking, low-speed treadmill, and it was about $200 on Amazon.  So every morning while I fed Maverick his breakfast, I would set up Bobos on the treadmill, and sit and encourage him to trot for about 30 minutes.  Nate thought I was crazy, but truthfully I was pregnant and desperate.  Here’s a pic of that idea.

So Nate came home, we had Summerly, and Bobos has calmed down a little with age.  He’s almost eight now!  Well, I’m pregnant again, Nate has been gone for about a month, and I have received another note.  This time they are angry that he barks when people walk past my house.  And I’m thinking, Yeah, he’s a guard dog, duh!  Okay, fine.  We’ll work on that.  So I reprimand him when he barks at people walking by, and only allow him to bark at people who are actually walking up the stairs to the gate.  I am a woman with a husband away, who likes to leave the front door open occasionally, and two small babies who want to play in the front yard a lot, and I appreciate when my dog alerts me to someone approaching my fence.  So bring on the notes.

My dogs are my children with fur.  And even though they cause me a huge amount of stress sometimes, I will always try to meet their needs because I am their mama, and I love them dearly.  So even though they fall lower on the priority list each time we have a baby, we will never be giving up on them.  So good luck to me with my three babies, plus two fur babies, which equals a lot of angry neighbors.

Week 22, Pregnant in Public (continued)

So last post I talked about how being pregnant in public seems to give people the sense that it’s okay to approach you and either vent about their kids, or judge you for having your own.  But I also wanted to add that the better part of being pregnant in public is that people will give you a lot more slack, and let you get away with a lot of what’s usually considered socially unacceptable behaviors.  I call it the, “Pregnant card.”  Whether you are pulling it yourself, or other people are pulling it for you, the bottom line is that you can pretty much pull the pregnant card for any reason whatsoever, and people will be understanding.  Or at least they will pretend to be, because otherwise they look like jerks.  Now, I try not to abuse this, but truthfully I am so grateful for being held to a lower standard when I’m pregnant.  I really need the leeway.  And even if some of us preggies don’t admit it, we all do.

There are just so many physical changes going on with your body, that you literally just can’t keep up.  One example I can give is that when I was about five months along with my first baby, my left boob started leaking colostrum.  It was my body’s way of preparing for breastfeeding.  Just a non-stop drippy faucet nipple.  Completely random and ridiculous.  And for some reason, only the left.  Well, it’s one thing when you start leaking through your shirt in public and explain that it’s feeding time for your newborn baby.  But what the hell do you say when you are clearly still pregnant?  Well, it’s happening, and there’s no stopping it.  Pregnant card.

Another thing that happens to me right around six months along is that I get this really severe pain in my rib muscles right below my right boob.  The doctors call it costochondritis, and told me that it’s basically inflammation in my ribs and cartilage from the rapid stretching and growing of my body.  The only thing that helps for the pain, and that I’m actually allowed to take, is lidocaine numbing patches that I wear.  To make sure these patches stick to my skin during the day, I wrap gauze around my ribs on top of the patch.  So now with the patch and the gauze on, it’s kind of bulky to then wear a bra on top of all that.  And it’s really just a lot of pressure and uncomfortable with the pain.  But then I have to wear a bra so that I can stuff the breastmilk pads in there to soak up the colostrum from the leaky boob.  So the solution to one symptom causes a problem for another.  Thus, a pregnant hot mess.  Pregnant card.

But best of all is when you don’t actually have to pull the pregnant card yourself.  I was at the DMV, waiting for an eternity of course, and a man waved for my attention from across the very crowded room and offered me his seat.  I was so incredibly grateful because I had actually been feeling kind of lightheaded and dizzy.  I will never forget it.  Also I have been allowed to cut in line in the ladies room a few times in these pregnancies, and I’m telling you people, it is hugely appreciated. Chivalry is not dead yet, but let’s all keep a conscious mind to keep it going.

And one last example of the pregnant card is that no one will get in-between a pregnant woman and her food.  You can eat anything you want, any time you want, and anywhere you want.  “No food allowed,” signs do not apply to you.  And even if someone does try to enforce it, you just give them a look, (which is all you can do because your mouth is too full to speak to them,) and they think better of it and walk away.  It’s really great.  You know how they always have candy bowls in waiting rooms and no one ever takes any?  Not me.  I’m usually taking an obnoxious handful and giggling with delight.  I once showed up to work not knowing that my lips and mouth were bright blue from eating candy on the drive there.  Well, that’s easily explained with the pregnant card.  You see, a pregnant woman with a craving is like a ravenous, scavenging honey badger who will stop at nothing until her craving is sated.

So like I said before, being pregnant in public is a whole different ball game than being pregnant in the comfort of your own home.  People will judge you a lot, but they will also forgive a lot.  It’s really interesting to navigate through this new circumstance, but I find it mostly hysterical and exciting.  And all of this is just the journey 🙂

P.S.  Here are some pix of Mav’s second visit to the dentist a few days ago.  He had a great time, but Summerly wasn’t too happy even though the visit wasn’t for her.  We shall see what happens when it’s her turn in a couple weeks.  Wish us luck!

Week 21, Pregnant in Public

Being pregnant in public feels like you have a big neon sign above your head flashing all kinds of words at any given moment.  And it’s all completely out of your control.  People see you pregnant, and then they see whatever sign it is that they relate to pregnancy.  All of a sudden you are more approachable, and people want to talk to you about whatever it is they are thinking, whether their input is wanted or not.  Most people are nice, and want to know how you’re feeling and whether this is your first baby, etc.  Some people just start rambling and venting about their kids and whatever is going on in their lives.  A few will tell you, in detail, about their birth experience…TMI.  And many others will just give you varying looks of joy, fondness, hesitation, skepticism, or a mixture of many unidentified emotions.  It can be very confusing and awkward because these looks and emotions are directed at you, but really have nothing to do with you.

Now, with my first pregnancy, I was very much aware of this neon sign, and how people were reacting to me differently.  It was quite a shock to be bombarded with other people’s emotions and thoughts, when I was already dealing with my own boat load of hormones and emotions about the unknown of having a baby.  But then on the flip side, I preferred the people who just babbled their thoughts to me, rather than stay silent when the expression on their face told me that they clearly had things they wanted to say.  With my second pregnancy however, I was much more confident since I was already a mom, and I was somewhat used to the sign and awkward public interactions.  Now with my third, I am a veteran, and almost look forward to hearing all the weird crap people say.  It has become more amusing than awkward.

I will say, however, that with this third pregnancy, the public reactions are really falling more into two categories.  When Nate and I are out together with the kids and they are happy, people are amazed and proud for us for daring to have three.  When it’s just me with the kids trying to run errands, and one or both of the kids are having a meltdown, people look at me thinking, “Wow, should she really be having another kid!?”  I’m telling you, the judgement is palpable.  It actually took me a minute to figure it out because it’s new to this third pregnancy.

Here’s the thing though, when you see me pregnant in public with two unhappy toddlers, take your judgement and turn it into empathy.  Hell, I’ll even take pity at this point.  Because being pregnant means I’m already physically feeling like crap in one way or another.  And, no, it’s not pleasant when my kids are screaming at each other in Target at the top of their lungs.  And if I had any energy left, I might even feel embarrassed.  But mostly I’m just trying to stick to the task at hand, which is picking up food to cook dinner for my ungrateful children, and my amazing Hubby who’s been at work all day, all while not having a colossal freakout of my own.

So like I said, keep the judgment to yourself.  Or better yet, that’s when you should be proud of me.  Like, “Damn, she’s got a lot on her plate, look at her go!”  Because that’s how I really feel most of the time.  I feel proud and excited to be having a third.  I feel a huge sense of accomplishment every day that I keep my kids alive.  Seriously.  So don’t rain on my parade, because I’m perfectly happy with the utter chaos that you are seeing.  I am fulfilled.

And just for laughs, here’s a video of Mav when he was about a year and a half old throwing a small scale tantrum.