Thursday, March 19, 2009

Take a compliment

Mark Twain said, "I can live for two months on a good compliment."

What's the best compliment you've received lately? Ever?

In November I took Jesse for a haircut. Simon tagged along. Jesse sat so nicely draped in his racecar robe while the girl trimmed his hair. Meanwhile I sat in a chair with an overhead hair dryer chatting with the stylists while I snuggled, kissed and munched on Simon. About 10 minutes in, the owner of the shop stopped working on the head of hair in front of her and said to me with a huge smile, "It's obvious you really enjoy your children."

Wow. What a compliment.

When Jesse is on my last nerve and Simon's whining seems unending, I remember that compliment and try to enjoy my children as much as I do on a good day when everyone's happy and full of smiles.

What have you been complimented on? Take that compliment to heart. Next time you're frustrated or pissed off, next time you screw something up or feel like nothing can go your way, when that moody friend stops talking to you for no apparent reason, your husband acts like a total dolt, your mother gets on your nerves, your boss is a pain... Think of your best compliment. Take heart! You are good at something, you are a good person, you do something well.

Take a compliment.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"But I AM three!"

So says Jesse. He's been insisting he's three years old for months now.

Well, today it is official. My boy is three. My baby, my first born, my "best boy"... three years old. How did this happen?

Maybe because the details surrounding his birth are always present in the front of my mind even though I choose still not to face them all, it seems like it wasn't so long ago. March 18, 2006 was the most frightening, traumatizing, and heart wrenching day of my life. It was also the most glorious day. It was the day I became a mother. The day I stepped into the role I believe I was born to fill. The day my gorgeous red haired, blue eyed boy was pulled from my body. He did not breathe, he did not cry, his heart did not beat. God had his hand on Jesse Daniel and He breathed life into him and protected him and here we are three years later. Happy, healthy, full of energy, love and life.

Jesse is an amazing child. He takes my face in both his hands, pulls me toward him and says, "I love you, Mama," and gives me a squinty eyed smile and my heart melts every time. He's so grown up in many ways, yet still like the baby I recall in others. He wants to be independent and do it all himself, he speaks like an adult at times, he comes up with thoughts and ideas that blow my mind. He loves to snuggle in close, asks "Hold me like a baby" when he nurses, cries when he doesn't get his way. He challenges me and keeps me on my toes. I have learned to love in a way that was new to me, I've been more frustrated than I knew was possible, I have found patience within I never knew I had. He taught me how to mother, he led the way as I learned, as he grows I grow along with him.

I am blessed. I thank God for the miracle that is Jesse every day of my life. I love you, Buddy. Happy birthday!

First time meeting Jesse in the NICU - 14 hours old

Jesse's first dentist appointment - February 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I did it. A while ago, actually. But I realize I never updated here.

In January I got a tattoo. My "first tattoo" as Dawn, the woman who inked me, told me to refer to it as. She said it is hard for most to stop at one and I can see that. It was easy to do and I absolutely love my tattoo!

It all started last June. Scratch that. It actually started in June 1993. I went on a trip with my girlfriends to Ocean City, MD after we graduated from high school. I was 17. That trip was a blast. Wow, to be young again. But I digress... While at the beach, I considered getting a tattoo on my ankle. We went to the tattoo shop and I looked around. I had no idea what I wanted to get, I just wanted to get something. I was young, tanned, free, on a crazy summer trip with good friends, I needed to do something wild!

Then I thought about it. Did I really want Tweety Bird on my ankle on my wedding day? Or for the rest of my life for that matter? I was thinking no. So I decided to wait 6 months and if I still wanted the tattoo then I would get it. If not, then I would skip it.

Needless to say, once I returned home from the beach, I knew immediately I definitely did not want a tattoo. To be honest, I've never really been a fan. And then there was my mother to deal with. She actually told us girls to come home pregnant before coming home with a tattoo. She's not a fan either.

Fast forward 15 years to June 2008. My second baby boy was just 3 months old and I had been lamenting the fact that I was done having babies because it was practical and not because it was what was in my heart. Somehow this feeling worked its way into my head so deeply that I awoke one morning after dreaming that I had gotten my boys' names tattooed on my left wrist. The dream was so real that I started to consider getting a tattoo for my boys. While I am no longer a fan of Tweety Bird, will there ever come a day I will regret my children? I think not. The seed had been planted.

Still, being me - deliberate and practical to a fault - I decided to follow the same 6 month rule I observed as a teen. When I told Dan about it all, he suggested I get my tattoo as my Christmas gift if I decided I still wanted it in December.

For months I searched the internet for ideas, drew pictures, looked at photos of other tattoos, asked for opinions and ideas. And then one day, there it was. As soon as I saw it, I knew that was it. The symbol I wanted to honor my boys with. It's from some Australian organization - Barnardos - for a Mother of the Year award. I don't know the specifics, but when I saw the symbol of the mother gently cradling her babe against her breast, it made me think of nursing my boys, of holding them close, their warm body snuggled against mine, eyes locked in that gaze... That was it. That was what I wanted.

So in January, I did it. Dan came with me. I went to Dawn at Art Fx and got inked. It didn't hurt the way I thought it would. It felt like bee stings. A lot of them. It was less bearable when she didn't let up for a while, but it was mostly just annoying. I ate a lot of Dum Dums while she did it. Within 20 minutes of sitting down in the chair, it was done. Immediately, I loved it. I couldn't stop looking at it or touching it. It took a lot longer to heal than I expected or was told and I think it actually scarred a bit on one end. But it doesn't change how it looks.

I'm past the stage where I'm constantly touching it or looking at it every 13.5 seconds. Jesse hasn't asked for weeks when my tattoo will come off. Now it's just a part of me. Part of who I am. Just like my boys.

No regrets.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Boys and boobs

Jesse's 3rd birthday is a week from tomorrow. I wish I could make time stand still.

Jesse is nursing. The boys loves to nurse and nursing meets his needs and I'm happy to continue so we're not considering weaning at this point. Sometimes I ask Jesse how long he will nurse though. Just to satisfy my own curiosity.

Usually when I ask he tells me "Forever!" and then as I go up the chain of boys/men he knows he says he will nurse when he's that old... Landon (4), Joseph (6), Brandon (10), Chris (13), Daddy... he says yes to all of them.

Last night I asked if he liked to nurse and he told me YES! Then I asked how long and he told me, "For a while." That was different so I went up the line. "Will you nurse when you are as old as Landon?" "Yes! Yes, Mama!" "What about when you're as old as Joseph?" He thought about this for a little bit and then answered, "No. I think I'll stop nursing before then."

That's different. And I'm ok with it. I guess he's set his weaning date (for now) sometime between 4 and 6. Works for me!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Three years ago

I've been so sentimental lately in this month of birthdays. Simon's was 5 days ago and Jesse's is in another 9. Today I came across an email I sent out to loved ones on March 9, 2006 while I was waiting for Jesse to arrive. I remember those days, going stir crazy on bed rest, enjoying most of being pregnant (the crushing pelvic pain and PUPPPS I could have done without), but getting antsy to go into labor to experience the birth I had dreamed about my whole life and to meet the little man who kicked me while I tried to sleep at night.

Motherhood is more beautiful on this side, but I did thoroughly enjoy having that little life all to myself, growing inside my body like my own little secret relationship, the only one to know what he was doing at any time, imagining what kind of child he would be, what he would look like, etc. Pregnancy was a wonderful time in my life. I thank God I was able to enjoy it not only once but twice.

It is March 9 and our official due date was March 4, so I figured a little update was in order since some of you might be wondering if you missed the news.

You didn't miss anything. Little Jesse is being stubborn and doesn't want to come out. I am ok with that because I rather enjoy being pregnant and know I will miss it when it's over soon. I feel really good and relaxed and, though I want to meet my son so badly, I am ok staying pregnant a little while longer.

I have had pregnancy induced blood pressure issues for a while now and have been home on bedrest for a few weeks. Because of that and some test results on the baby's heartrate when I have contractions, there was talk of inducing me last week and then again this week. Luckily, they ran more tests which we both aced and they are allowing us more time to go on our own like I hope to go.

So we spend 5-7 hours at Magee having tests done every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We don't mind even though getting someone to drive us there and back is a pain sometimes. As long as we keep doing well on the tests, they will allow nature to take its course. If anything comes back with a less than favorable score, we will be induced.

So please pray for us to go into labor on our own soon, while we are both healthy and before my midwives start talking about induction just based on the calendar (they usually don't let you go past your due date by more than two weeks).

If you are on this list, you are on the list that I gave to my best friend, Amanda. She will send out an e-mail letting you know that little Jesse is here once he makes his appearance!

Until then, take care! :)

Here are some other bits I came across:

It's been a roller coaster, but I am glad they are allowing us some time to go on our own. The thought of a 3 day inducement (that's how long they said it might take since I was making no progress on my own at all) with all that medical intervention really didn't appeal to me even though I am willing to do whatever it takes if little Jesse is in any danger at all. I stayed up the night before my induction and prayed and prayed and the last minute tests were perfect! Now I am just praying to go into labor and for the strength to get through it naturally like Dan and I have planned for so long.

I talked so casually about the "3 day induction" my midwives speculated about. My Bishop's Score was low, my body was not ready to be induced, my baby not ready to come out on his own. Little did I realize at that point that it would indeed be a 3 day induction that would not even end in a vaginal delivery. I was still so hopeful and confident.

No clue how much he weighs. I don't think he'll be too huge though - he has room to stretch his little legs out at night when I am in bed. I can't wait to meet him!

Hopefully, I won't have to keep up the appointments too much longer. I keep taking walks hoping to get something going before time runs out.


I laugh when I remember being convinced he was going to be about 7.5 pounds. I was 7lb 5oz and Dan was 7lb 9oz and I had it set in my head that he would be 7lb 7oz, right in the middle. Hilarious the way my pregnant, deluded brain worked then.

Yeah, nothing has worked yet. I have been threatened with induction three times now and every time it's imminent, the next test comes out fine and they send me home. Today, his amniotic fluid is really low, but his non-stress test was excellent, so I am home again. I am scheduled for induction on Friday if I don't go on my own before then though.

I had been scheduled for an induction that Friday, March 17. At my appointment on Wednesday, March 15, my amniotic fluid was dangerously low and we returned that evening to start the induction. It was another 3 days before my beautiful boy was pulled from my body, blue and limp. Sometimes it seems like a story that happened to someone else. I'm blessed that it was me and that he's a gorgeous almost-3-year-old today.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Happy (almost) birthday, Baby!

Wow. Where to start?

Today is the anniversary of the day that was supposed to be Simon's birthday. Our favorite midwife, Shannon, wasn't working that Monday so we moved the date of my cesarean to Tuesday, March 4, 2008, so Shannon would be there to be with us in the operating room with Dr. Kaminski to welcome our baby boy into the world. It seemed fitting also that Simon would be born on his brother's original estimated due date. We had looked forward to March 4, 2006, as the day around which we would become first time parents, never expecting for two full weeks to pass after that date before Jesse came to be with us.

It's hard to believe an entire year has passed since Simon's birth. It has been the fastest year of my life. Time started flying once we became parents, but the two years it was just Dan and me and Jesse definitely passed much slower than the time does when you've got two little ones to chase after. What a year it's been though! Simon is so different from Jesse. He's changed my few expectations over and over, teaching me - yet again - that I am no longer in charge and life is better when I follow the lead of my children.

I still carry many scars from Jesse's birth. It's not something that I will ever "get over" and move on from. I changed too much over the course of those three days of labor and I have yet to completely face my feelings regarding his entrance into the world. But I started my path to healing on the day Simon came to be.

Leading up to Simon's birth was agonizing. I had many fears. Would he cry? Would his lungs work? What if some freak accident happened and we came close to losing another baby? Would I be able to handle more? What if he ended up in the NICU like Jesse did? How would we make that work, could I go back to the NICU again without all those memories of Jesse's start rushing back in?

And then he was born. And he cried. And it was as though the sun was rising for the first time. Everything was going to be ok. I was going to be ok. I wasn't going to be defined by Jesse's birth anymore. It wasn't going to have the same hold on me that it did before. It's still there, still a part of who I am, nothing will change it. But Simon's birth lifted a fog of sorts that I had been in for almost two years. It was a new beginning.

And here we are one day away from the anniversary of that date. Simon joined our family one year ago. How can that be? It seems he was only born a few short months ago and it seems we've known him forever at the same time.

He's my chunky, lovable, adorable boy. I love his dark eyes and light, wispy hair. His whispering "dat dat dat" and light squeals welcome me every morning, reminding me that I am beyond blessed with yet another gorgeous boy to love and hold. Even overnight when I am exhausted from nursing every few hours, I thank God for the warm little body snuggled up against mine, his grunty little sounds as he feverishly sucks for more milk, his sweet smelling head and little chubby fingers holding tight to mine. I have been blessed with the most precious gift again.

In one year, Simon has gone from being a skinny little spider monkey with long chicken legs to a solid big guy who steals hearts wherever he goes. In his early days, when I was convinced he'd never latch to nurse and I was pumping and finger feeding him with a syringe, barely sleeping, frustrated, exhausted, discouraged... I never looked forward far enough to see where we'd be today. I plugged through one minute, one hour, one day at a time never realizing a year later he'd be a happy, healthy, beautiful boy, fed for 9 months exclusively by my milk, passionate to see me at the end of a work day to reconnect, content to lie snuggled against me as he sleeps.

Simon, you are my precious boy. I love you more than I can ever express in words. You've turned my life upside down again in a good way. You're a joy to be with. A pleasure to mother. My life is complete with you in it. You are my second born, but you are never second in my heart. I love you, Bubba. Happy birthday.