Blue Christmas: Part 2 “The point of no return”


As I check in at the hospital’s main admittance desk, my tears well up. I know it’s so stupid but I can’t help it. I call my beyond shocked husband telling him that I’m being admitted (feels like I’ve “been here, done that” a “few” times before). I text my mother in law, who has been such a great help through out this pregnancy, as well.

With only a few weeks before Christmas, who knows what will happen…

As I sit and wait for my hospital room to get ready, I know logically that I have to stay put, for a healthy pregnancy, a healthy me and a healthy baby! I’m still starting to entertain the thought that maybe I’ll be released in a day or two (since I’m pretty sure by now my symptoms are NOT pregnancy related) and we can STILL fly “home” to Sweden. But I heard what the PA said, I really did, and I try to turn my thoughts around (being a slight control freak and maniac planer makes that extra hard).

It wouldn’t be the worst to stay home and take it easy over Christmas. I wish I could just snap my fingers and be transferred right to my parents house though, so I can relax there, (wouldn’t that be awesome!) but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. I know the long flight would take a toll on me and my now enormous body and obviously I don’t want to jeopardize anything. The PA is right what IF something goes wrong during the flight! What IF my cyst burst with not only extreme pain following but bleeding- I would think something is wrong with the baby-and so would everyone else. And what IF it wasn’t the cyst at all and something WAS wrong with the baby…

No, definitely better not to take any chances, better safe than sorry and all that…

Not what I was hoping and planned for but…

I have been known to dislike change buuut after a shift in thought process and a clear headed analysis of the situation I have also been know to change my mind, my plans and eventually able to “roll with the punches”.

And I’m also known popularly to make the best of any given situation. This is safe and good and we will just spend a wonderful Christmas here (hopefully not in this hospital) and spend NEXT Christmas in Sweden!!

My room seems oddly familiar, it’s private and behind the nurses station, around the corner from a fridge (which I know hosts yoghurts, cranberry juice, jello and stale peanut butter crackers), a large scale and a storage room for wheelchairs. The room is rather large but the window faces a brick wall and a little bit of black roof…
Even though I’m sure (in fact I know…for a fact) that these rooms pretty much all look the same-I feel like I’ve been here before…
I feel like I “lived” here before- as in the 36 days of hospital bedrest before my daughter was born…

When the nurse comes in I immediately recognize her as well. She doesn’t seem to recognize me but as I glance at her “staff” card hanging around her neck stating her name and her credentials I greet her with a “nice to see you again Eva” in Swedish…

It’s the swedish nurse who took care of me on and off after my water broke only 29 weeks pregnant with my daughter!

I completely bombard her with questions in Swedish and by the time her shift is over we both agree that I have a nasty stomach bug (as evident by the hours of nonstop vomiting and my kid Ss beng just as sick at home) but that it’s NOT pregnancy related, (but since my condition affects the pregnancy and the baby’s condition), I should stay 24 hours for observation, (but be released to be able to re-plan the holidays with my family).

As she checks my temperature and my vitals we chat about everything from family to pregnancy to travel, to various illnesses (she is a nurse and we are in a hospital after all). Of course I see the opportunity to pick apart every part of my four pregnancies (as well as miscarriages) and my different complications (poor woman), seeking out honest, down to earth responses in my first language!
We are really bonding and she is quite interesting. She makes me “promise” not to come back before I’m at least 39 weeks, saying babies actually NEED to stay in that long to be “fully cooked”.

The night nurse seems to resent our closeness and as she is taking over AND is about to set an IV I try to connect with her as well (but no such luck).

It takes five nurses to try to set the IV (my poor arms and hands are bleeding and black and blue by the time they are done-and they still don’t succeed). They fear I’m dehydrated but as they can’t give me fluids and I’m not allowed to eat yet (unable to keep even small sips of water down) they call for the expert!

For him, I have to wait, it’s after midnight when he comes in my room. “Him” being the anesthesiologist, sets the IV like it’s nothing and tells me to call him “Doctor Hurt Less”
“Be sure to ask for ME when this baby is ready to come out, around 39 weeks” (why does everyone keep saying that!?)

I have to spend an agonizing 3 days in the hospital without my family, until my fever is down, I’m no longer dehydrated and until the baby “behaves” on the monitor (being hooked up to the machines yet again checking the baby’s heart rate, fetal kicks and movement and mama’s contractions). After 24 hours I have contractions big enough to suggest preterm labor (probably caused by dehydration) which earns me another 24 hours.

After 48 hours my blood test results come back suggesting “a severe” iron deficiency.

When I finally get release it is with stern orders not to travel, ESPECIALLY out of the country…
They set me up with iron infusions straight through an IV at the “hospital main” twice a week until my iron levels stabilize. With those appointments plus my stress tests at the doctor’s office three times a week – I’m going to need a lot of help watching my other little ones at home!

When I get back to my family and all the packed suitcases, I get sad (and spend a weepy hour Skyping my mom, even entertaining the thought that the family could go to Sweden without me) but we all regroup, talking about the summer and next Christmas.

My family and I take a short vacation to “Knott’s Berry Farm” and spend an amazing Christmas with the family we have here. Not according to plan but definitely cozy, fun, warm and memorable!

It might not be white but it still is wonderful!!

Blue Christmas (part 1)

I know I shouldn’t be upset. This is in MY best interest after all and more importantly the baby’s, but when the PA says I have to be admitted to the HOSPITAL all I feel is dread…

 

A flood of memories wash over me, are they really saying my huge bump and I could be spending the Christmas holidays in a hospital?? and what’s even worse, do they really think the baby could be at risk???
I can’t believe it, as I try to laugh it off when asking if I can still go to Sweden (I can right? Maybe they just want to keep us for a 24 hour observation) the PA (my “friend” Eva, remember her!?) gives me a stern look telling me that this isn’t funny at all but quite serious…
I’m at a loss for words, what is wrong then? I exclaim!
Baby looked great on the ultrasound. The huge doses of pregnancy hormones have wired me shut down there (with no exit in sight for our little guy) and there are no abnormal doses of protein in my urine.
This is the answer I’m given…
“You have a fever, you show signs of pre-e, you are 30 weeks pregnant with a high risk pregnancy…”
Eva hands me the thick orange envelope, sending me on my way to the hospital entrance and admittance window…
I cannot believe it as I stare at the paperwork the words “acute febrile illness”, “cyst on left ovary”, “history of pre-eclampsia”, “history of preterm labor” and “geriatric pregnancy” become blurry.
I know I’m acting like a child, I need to suck it up and take care of myself and ultimately this little innocent life inside of me but…
This pregnancy has been so bad, straight from our miscarriage, I have been feeling so ill from the very first moment, I’m so huge and so hormonal and so alone and right now so sick…
I can’t help it, even if I’m totally “geriatric” (being in my late 30s and all) and already a mother of 3, my tears spill over as I’m asking (more like pleading and begging) the PA Eva one last time…
“If this turns out to be something I ate or a stomach bug instead of pre-e and the baby and I both look good in a few days do I get to go with my family to Sweden?”.
“Honestly, NO”
what??
“You have a blood filled cyst that can rupture any moment and even if it’s unlikely you don’t want that to be on a plane”.
“You could develop pre-eclampsia especially since you had it before or your water can break despite the barrier due to your big baby and this being your fourth- you don’t want any of those or other seriously life threatening scenarios to happen thousands of miles from your doctors or thousands of miles up in the air-trust me!”
“You know, you are not flying to LA BUT Europe, being from Germany, I know just how far and what that trip entails”
Wow, how come nobody had explained it to me like that before?
I was here today under the assumption that I was “allowed” to travel to Sweden, just needing the letter to give to the airline (and my meds, syringes and letter for those).
It feels like me getting sick blew every change of me (and us) going away…
The pouty child in me gets mad at her but after my tearful FaceTime call to my mom as I walk over to the big hospital around the corner I realize that I’m under excellent care, that I should listen to the professionals and that my plans (and dreams for the holidays) and my will means nothing when all that matters is this baby’s health! (And my own since I’m the one cooking him until he is completely [hopefully] done).
Before I even reach the hospital doors, I get the text that the kids at home are throwing up…

Perfect (NOT) timing…

The Friday before we were going home to Sweden for the holidays I have my last doctor’s appointment. This appointment is very important since everything needs to look great (baby and I) for them to let me go on this long trip (and back).
I need a letter from my specialists explaining the syringes and meds I need to bring and another letter explaining that I AM allowed to travel pregnant (being high risk and all…but probably more me being 30-31 weeks but looking like at least 36!). There is rules about traveling internationally after 36 weeks after all…
Of course (and cruelly so) I wake up that Friday feeling more nauseous than ever (and here I thought I was past the worst nausea).
An hour before I have to leave for my appointment I empty out the entire content of my stomach violently, including what I just “tried” to eat, (my mandatory a.m. “grande, decaf java chip frappe” make a come back -yuck!) in the guest bathroom by the kitchen (I didn’t get any further).
My mom and I debate the reason for my sudden “sickness” in a panicky FaceTime call wondering if it could be “baby related” or not…?
As a “curtesy” (more out of fear to be honest because as we know…you never know…), I call my doctor’s office letting them know how I feel, explaining that I must have ate something or it might be a stomach bug (great timing huh!?), could they (pretty please) see me on Monday (the day before we are supposed to leave?) but all they hear is the possibility of pre-eclampsia…
Of course they tell me to “come in right away” …
I dread my appointment while I wait in the waiting room (had to call my husband to come home sooner and cancel his last appointment to rush home to stay with the kids). I really really want to go home for Christmas! It’s all I have been looking forward to for months!! All that kept me going at my sickest most uncomfortable moments (not really bad moments more like weeks-months)…
I feel extremely nauseous but trusting that my stomach is good and empty already (but locating the nearest bathroom OUTSIDE of the office just in case).
I really want to get the “go ahead” (and the letters to show at the airport/s) to go home to Sweden on Tuesday morning, that is after all why I’m here today (I was here just days ago after all).
The nurse takes one look at me before taking a giant step back (do I really look that bad?) asking “How are we feeling today”
I hesitate, do I tell her the truth? That I’m miserable….Could this be something other than “something I ate” or a stomach bug?
Could this somehow affect the baby or have anything to do with my pregnancy? (How are WE feeling might actually refer to me AND baby boy).
Obviously I can’t risk anything.
Here goes nothing… “I AM miserable (disgusting details) but I’m suuure it’s a bug”
The nurse leaves to tell the PA (Our stern German  friend Eva) what is going on …
Eva checks me and my baby- ultrasound, “in and out” she even checks my cervix for dilation (which is NOT recommended so close to a long far away trip…)…
All good, baby nice and cozy in there, exit route rock solid. I keep my fingers crossed and say a little prayer..
And then she checks my urine for protein via the nurse, I get my progesterone shot and then she checks my temperature….

Freakishly Fertile…?

We don’t “try” again as much as we decide “to see what happens”. There are no ovulation calendars or planned intimacy sessions. There are no counting days or keeping track of cycles. There is no rush to run out and get pregnancy tests or religiously check my “body temperature”. We also don’t “get it on” more often…

BUT we don’t use protection and I’m trying not to feel terrified…

We don’t expect it and we certainly don’t count on it. I’ve heard the stories how you are most fertile after a loss, but that means right after, right? Not after a couple of months?

“What is meant to be will be…”

Do I believe that?

Me-the planner and organizer, thinker and over-analyzer!?

I thought we had more time…

Did we really, REALLY decide, DECIDE to try again or did we leave it up to chance and was that a “smart”‘decision (if it really wasn’t a decision at all…)

Are we just freakishly fertile? I mean since we just stumbled upon getting pregnant without even trying at all last time (quite the opposite actually) when some people try unsuccessfully for years…
Are we just “lucky” or could you even call it that knowing the end result…?

But what about this time? Was it Luck? A blessing? A choice, a chance, a decision, random happening, fate…
What?

I tell myself to not even check until my period is more than a week late and not even stress about my third cycle after our loss…

Because it IS coming, right?

Except it is NOT…

It is the end of June and I have to face that I’m already six weeks along-fear and excitement and all…

When I try to get an appointment to confirm, they can’t fit me in for another three weeks.

There is no way, I’m a nervous wreck, fragile, vulnerable and obsessed with the fear of blood and yet another loss. I can NOT wait this long.

I don’t want to go through this again..
I’m just not ready!
Why didn’t we wait longer, plan more, DECIDE?

I debate disturbing my very busy doctor (I’m sure) just to tell her the “news” and see if she can squeeze me in sooner.

I have to (I just HAVE to) do it for my own sanity (those around me agree).
My husband tells me that my doctor is human and why don’t I just try to reach out so that I will stop obsessing and feel better.

Except my fear is that she won’t answer…

I don’t want to tell anybody until I’m at least 12 weeks along…and then until my genetic tests come back…

I wish I didn’t have to tell myself, I wish I didn’t have to know.

I text my doctor’s private cell phone (hoping she won’t be upset) and pray for an answer…

My doctor DOES answer and she is completely awesome and can fit me in in a few days. These are the best news in like forever.

I can’t wait…

At the same time I’m dreading the appointment- even entertaining the idea of skipping it all together…

Something I would of course never do…

I’m crossing off days on our fridge calendar.

The hardest part is not telling my mom. She already knows something is up (of course she does).

Even before my appointment I start feeling sick. There is no denying this crippling nausea-something is definitely going on…

But will it continue “to go on this time”??

 

 

The Year’s First Play Date!!

IMG_4388IMG_4400IMG_4404IMG_4287IMG_4327IMG_4348IMG_4372IMG_4367IMG_4373So the first play date is off to a great start. Read lost shoe(s), wrong colored dress (too cold for a dress, pick your battles?), last minute “I all of a sudden have to poop for a very long long time…can I have the iPad” and yet another nursing session despite the previous one being less than twenty minutes ago.

And we’re off, only twenty minutes late- great job mama! Only three out of three crying (gold star)!!
I’m glad people are waiting for us, sigh! (These people are most likely super mamas-of course they are-with super well behaved kids- and they are never late to anything…)

Today is one of those random school holidays that nobody has ever heard of- at least I haven’t. I think the teachers just need a break-and I don’t blame them at all, quite the opposite in fact, but it makes it a little (a lot) difficult on the parents (mommies mostly, who are we kidding here…?).

I think maybe you are supposed to jump for joy on school holidays. “Yay, a whole day (days/week… I mean, seriously “ski week” is coming up…) to spend with my precious offspring-my greatest wish come true!!!!”

I know that I’m being unfair here, I should be thankful to spend more quality time with my oldest (at least I could pretend better, beaming gratefully and nod with the other moms agreeing that a free day off of school to spend with your “little one” is the greatest blessing ever). But it’s not about my son really, (he is pretty great MOST of the time), it’s that I have two more kids (in quite difficult ages) with different demands and schedules (and I’m not the best at changing plans and schedules- being inflexible and all…).

Like I said, I really try to embrace this (these) school holiday (hmm). My son is actually (dare I admit it) my best behaved child at the moment (no; really). The littlest one is mr. Whinny, crank monster lately, extremely demanding, loud and wants to nurse around the clock…and my daughter’s requests and tantrums when they are not being meet, are just getting more ridiculous by the minute. Soo, back to my oldest; at least you can TALK to him, and reason with him (well somewhat) and he is starting to understand consequences…

He is growing up, my little man-my first born (insert beaming, teary eyed, proud mommy moment here; but for real this time!!) Amongst his nonsense (as in makes no sense what…so…ever), he all of a sudden makes a lot of sense, like he knows things I never knew he did, he senses things, he listens (about 20% more than before-which probably means he NOW listens about 20% of the time) and he remembers everything (although he always has-I swear even as a baby I understood that this one was special (I know cliche it sounds- but it’s so true!). He is still as full of energy as ever, can never sit (not even stand) still, usually up to no good with that gleaming look of mischief in his eyes, so darn cute and I swear a heart of gold that one!

Anyways, I know I went on and on and ran away with that one…my point is that amongst my three adorable, lovely kids he might just right now win the spot of the loveliest…except…

When he uses his “school scissors” (bought especially for school projects and homework by his loving mother) to cut huge holes in his brand new “work out pants” (bought by his not so lovely- and hysterically un-athletic mother who forces him “to finish what he started” – meaning “hoops”- no idea at first that it was basketball, and tennis- which he despises most days-but to be fair to his poor parents who paid good money for these after school/extra curricular activities; loves other days). Maybe that is why the nice, brand new “work out pants” got sliced…

All I know is the same child who begged to get out of “hoops” is suddenly having a meltdown that he can’t play today.

This morning I had to load all three kids in the car in acceptable clothing (and it’s cold too) to take them to sister’s dance. She is of course extra grumpy and doesn’t want to wear her brand new long sleeved ballerina dress (short sleeved in the laundry…and did I mention how cold it is) and wants her mom to watch her dance but not her brothers…

Anyways, I call the mom who organized the play date and apologize profusely-luck has it they were late too, not as late of course (only “two kid late”-not “three kid late”) but still!

The play date starts out nice enough, a little chit chat, the boys seem to get along. But soon baby wants to eat and I hate leaving my oldest playing without me watching (but hate asking the other moms to, even more). I tell his in my stern mommy voice…to behave, and take the youngests to the restroom.

Of course the girl refuses to potty, in the middle of potty training and all, and only wants to use her pink princess potty at home…and baby has a disgusting, leaky diaper and there is nowhere to change him but the cold, hard, dirty stone floor.

When we are all done, all heck has broken loose since my oldest has proceeded to pour sand all over the heads of his friends (to be fair it wasn’t unprovoked or malicious and I’m pretty sure he thought it was part of the game)…

It’s just simply time to say good bye!

My daughter disagrees, she wants to swing…and lets the whole park know!!

Next up is Panera because this mama is starving and this restaurant is not only nearby but convenient and kid friendly and near the grocery store Trader Joe’s where I need to buy specific, approved snacks for the oldest’s snack and lunch for school.

Little girl barely makes it to the bathroom but sits down like a good kid but unfortunately soaks her “big girl underwear” AND pants with pee in the process (do you know how difficult it is to help a 2 year old potty with a big, unhappy 9 months old strapped to you in a baby carrier…?? Just checking).

I’m not sure what to do (while “mr. No school today” is screaming about a cookie- and being specifically starving for a cookie…) but then have the brilliant idea to put an “old” (as in “she is out of diapers, not used eww) diaper on her instead of the wet clothes she obviously can’t wear. I’m so lucky I found one of her old diapers in the diaper bag.

Not lucky…or brilliant…NOT at all…

She has a very short dress on, and I can barely take her to the car with her bare bottom hanging out, let alone the store for the snacks we desperately need (I’m being honest), but after all that talk about “no diapers”, “finally big girl undies” and “being a big girl” I get it, believe me I get it…

But she doesn’t get me…at all…

So the boys and I wait it out. Some ladies come in the restroom to offer “helpful” advice…but apart from making sure she doesn’t hurt herself…we let her be.

At one point I sit on the toilet to breastfeed baby boy because he starts wailing, apparently starving…AGAIN.

And then we eat, and go to the store- in a diaper (two counting baby’s) and minus a “no cookie meltdown”,  we are all smiles!!!

Next stop Kindergarten- Part II

img_8223img_8221img_8220img_8226img_8237img_8228The first day of real school comes sooner than we expected (its probably like that for everyone). All of a sudden it’s the morning of THE FIRST DAY of kindergarten. We have plenty of time to get ready (when does that ever happen?!) and my son carefully puts the clothes on that we laid out for him the night before. He lets me brush his teeth and his hair (this is not normal mind you). He goes potty without complaining (I know…odd), he even has some breakfast (who is this dude?).

Now even though we woke up super early (and I promise myself that we will keep this routine…all the while knowing we probably won’t make a week…) it is hard to plan for the needs of the toddler and the baby as I’m trying to help my oldest for his very first day of school. The joy over the 4 months old sleeping through breakfast is short lived as he freaks out for milk as we are about to leave. Good thing we are early…not as early after my two year old decides to poop the second I back out of the driveway though…

Knowing that we will have to park and walk, greet the teacher, other parents and have coffees with the moms (a school arranged “activity”) afterwards, I know I have no other choice than to leave the two boys (one of them crying, worrying that we are going to be late, the other one bawling over more milk…or needing to burp…or some left over colic or I don’t know…just to be difficult) to unlock the door, go back inside (without letting the dog out) to take off (well half of it) her carefully picked out outfits to change this diaper!

Poop on the leggings! Oh well, sniff on some in the nearby laundry basket (or you know, bathroom floor…close enough) and on they go! Okay! Grateful that we still have minutes to spare!

Back in the “cry car”, we manage to get the whole crew towards the school.

Now the new school has an odd parking system. They do have a parking lot so that you can park and walk your kiddos to school, but it’s really small and a first come, first serve kinda deal…
If you do park and walk (considering you do get a spot) you can’t leave though because you are stuck with the line of cars blocking your exit, driven by parents who are trying to drop off their kids curbside (we are not allowed to do this with our precious, tiny kindergarteners just yet). My plan is to park across the street at a nearby church and walk to school (only problem being crossing the busy street, with the only cross walk located on the furthest end of the block).

Now we are officially running late, I can’t really justify jay walking with a baby in a carrier, a toddler in one hand and a kindergartener (gulp) in the other, so of course we walk the long way towards the “legal” crosswalk. Except the two year does NOT want to walk (like at all), its tears and snot and “carry me mama”, dangerously close to “tantrum town”. But mommy can’t carry her two year old-because she also has a 4 MONTHS old…and a 5 year old who wants all attention on him…because today is his very first day of “real” school…

So even though we make it across the street, which is slightly hazardous because I’m letting the oldest hold on to the carrier with the little baby while I basically drag the toddler after us with both hands. Calm down-she is fine…

But unfortunately she is not exactly fine. As we finally reach the gates of the school. I know where the classroom is and where to enter and drop off (I even timed it “perfectly” because of course I did…except you can NEVER time anything perfectly with 3 kids in tow) and we made it-with exactly 1 minute to spare mind you. This is when it happens, everyone is already there (because hello most important Milestone ever- first day of kindergarten people!!!) and my little girl trips and falls.

It happens right in front of everyone and when she had finally stopped crying and walked like a human…you know like actually walking (not being dragged against her will…oh that will). I mean seriously I had not much to do with this fall, except maybe I should have paid better attention to her…but like I said, oldest’s first day of school happening as we speak.

The fall is not that bad and she doesn’t even cry…until she sees the blood that is. As you may know, our daughter is a preemie (my water broke eleven weeks early so I was put on hospital bedrest before they had to take her out six weeks prematurely due to the risk of infection) and it may not be related but when she bleeds, she bleeds a lot. All the big blood disorders have been ruled out thankfully but unfortunately her blood does not clot properly and we will have to evaluate her further to find out more.

As we enter the school gates, blood is gushing from our little girl’s knee soaking through her dirty leggings. Of course we get some “gasps”, and “oh my Gods” and “is she OKAYs”. My son is freaking out about his sister one second and the fact that it is, you guessed it, his very first day of school the next.

I promise not to cry…

About the whole situation in general but about it being my tiny firstborn baby boy’s first day of school in particular. It’s not like I haven’t left him in school before…but that was three hour preschool…THIS is different…

Of course I’m not going to cry, I know I won’t, who does that? (apparently these women…) but not me, no never…

I’m in shock and beyond surprised, because as my oldest lets go of my hand to go join his brand new classmates, at his brand new school in front of his brand new classroom…

I cry…

 

 

 

Creepy crawlers, Indian Summer BBQs and a Baptism

Before we know it, August is here!
It’s still insanely hot (both outside and inside) so having a pool to cool down helps (minus the bees who apparently also want to cool down and drink the water). The kids have both benefited greatly from their swim lessons. The only downside is that they are displaying some risky behaviors their parents aren’t completely comfortable with. Water confidence has somehow translated in water UN-safety. My husband almost had a heart attack when baby girls went out (and then promptly disappeared) in the deep end and despite her safety vest went under…

luckily he wasn’t far away and was able to scoop her up rather quickly. She stayed on the side in the shallow end with her dollies for awhile after that (a day or too max).
The boy is insane, jumping and “swimming” in the deep end, flinging off his vest because he can (apparently) swim now-even though we require the vest on in the deep end at all times. If anything, I think we have to watch them MORE now. I’m terrified of that secondary drowning thing. Can you imagine? They seem fine and then they die in their sleep- your worst nightmare-literally! Even though I’m sure there must be more to the story…?

My first born is spending his first week of August at a local animal camp. It’s a rescue, hospital and shelter for all types of animals-and it’s right down the street. I’m hopeful that he will love spending time with and learning about different animals and sure enough he seems to be having a good time.
It’s hard to know sometimes since he doesn’t tell me stuff (is that already starting? Not telling your mom things… not even how your day was at the tender age of 5..?)

One of my friends who has her little boy at the same camp see a huge rattle snake in her yard and tells us about the horror. Since she lives in the same area as us my fear of these deadly (seriously) snakes comes back. I scan our yard like a madwoman every time I let the kids and our dog outside and I have nightmares about one of them getting bit. I drill them in “snake safety” (probably scaring them more than teaching them). My fear is not irrational however, they do come out in this heat and bites are not entirely uncommon-it does happen.
At a BBQ get together for our Neighborhood (complete with a huge bouncer, snow cones, pony rides and square dancing) a man tells us the terrifying story how a rattle snake bit him twenty minutes AFTER the head had been separated (with huge scissors) from its body. Freaking crazy is my reaction! Apparently this is completely possible. Another dad of a young daughter who will start kindergarten with our son, said that he had to save his kids from a rattlesnake the other week in their POOL. Okay, this is stuff nightmares are made of.

We also have friends over to the house for BBQs of our own. It’s so nice to sit outside eating with good friends, the warm summer breeze, the lush palm trees and the many hot air balloons flying by. Kids are running around the house which now really feels like a home and I feel completely satisfied and comfortable to my core- what a great feeling. I have such a great family, wonderful friends and our house is finally coming together. We have unpacked everything, decorated just enough to be able to live and with some added style (with my mom’s help and excellent touches), I have the kids on somewhat of a schedule, they have gotten “used to” the baby, his colic is basically gone and he is eating (great) and sleeping as well as can be expected (not so great still)!

Even though beautiful, warm and serene, August is the month of creepy crawlers, huge spiders, snakes and even scorpions. BUT, it’s also the month of baby’s baptism!

It will be a time of celebration and family! My husband’s dad will baptize the baby like he did our other two and he will wear the gown my dad wore when he got baptized as the other two did (the baby not my father in law!!)
My parents are both flying in and we have a hectic but fun packed week planned. The whole house is excited!!

We go to the beach, beautiful locations in our new neighborhood, coffee shops and yummy restaurants, outlet malls and even a sightseeing tour of our scenic downtown. We take the “bus that turns into a boat” touring the harbor and the kids love it. I’m sitting with the baby who thankfully sleeps for the first half of the tour-especially since my daughter is out of control and I’m worried about her falling overboard. There is a ton of bouncing, yelling and climbing going on. Luckily she calms down when we spy some dolphins and sea lions up close. Then it is baby boy’s turn to wake up very unhappy. My big boy sits with my dad and they seem to enjoy themselves. Baby cries are escalating but before we know it the now boat turns right back into a bus again and we drive back through the downtown (where I have a lot of fun memories from long ago-some blurrier than others…).

The kids are so excited to have their Swedish grandparents here, my big boy also knows it is the last hurrah before school starts, my daughter loves talking to my mom and do girl stuff with us while the baby really takes to my dad!
My parents go out to dinner with my husband’s parents and have a great time (me sitting up waiting with my tea and my babies like I’m their parent too). We are also treating my parents to a much needed night out at the theatre!

But the main even is Sunday’s baptism, which doesn’t exactly go according to plan…

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The magical month of July!!

How come the magical and arguably the best month of summer July,no school; end OR start, no stress, (wait was the “no stress” part before having children!?) always go so fast?. It races away in a haze.

Our July doesn’t start great with illness and almost unbearable heat. We are trying to save by not turning on the AC as much in the house but with our many large windows framing the family and living room it creates a vacuum of heat and you can hardly breathe. The kids have swimming three days a week (and are making great advances-when they listen to the swim instructor that is) and no camps. I signed my daughter up for dance Friday mornings and have the nanny come entertain my oldest (or is it the other way around?!).

I’m keeping baby girl out of the pool the first week due to some “diaper issues” (those swim diapers are not really built for holding anything, now are they) and I’m trying to save our pool (and myself from a major clean up) and my daughter from embarrassment (she totally wouldn’t care) even though she is feeling better. She is very mad that brother gets to swim and very curious about the swim instructor. We (meaning my daughter) watch brother every lesson in full on swim gear even though only toes (and feet) can go in the pool. Every time my son needs to work towards a promise of a favorite thing in order to listen to instructions (since he doesn’t like most food the options are limited and pretty much narrowed down to “Subway” , frozen yoghurt (ice cream) or a cookie at Starbucks (don’t judge). I also promised him a small toy if he will swim by the end of the four weeks. His listening skills are improved by constant reminders but he tends to forget very frequently and has been known to do “his own thing”. The instructor who apparently used to be an elite swimmer gets very frustrated-seemingly much better at swimming than dealing with small kids.

All the lessons means less social time outside of the house, especially if you add soccer Mondays and dance Fridays but we are still able to steal some ice cream dates with close friends. By the end of that first week the kids are all feeling like themselves again and I am beyond relieved to be out of the bad diapers/added laundry (gross) trenches!

I finally think the leaking of various body fluids (I know major yuck! …oddly enough less so if you are a parent of little kids…or maybe not so odd considering the frequency of said fluids..) is over. I venture out to Target. With the oldest (still recovering somewhat) safely at home with daddy (watching football) , I bring the other two.

Since I am the youngest’s walking, talking food source (and since hubby is not quite comfortable with him yet) he is coming too!
He is all smiles so it clearly (almost…eh not fully) make up for the two year old’s whining.

I know she has been sick and all and that she is tired but come on…everything is “no”.
Are you hungry, tired, need diaper change, hug…new shoes? No, no, no!
She is in full on 2 year mode, and of course everything I do is wrong-and she complains about it-loudly!!

I’m barely hanging on as I scroll down my “iPhone reminder list” of stuff we really need (and you know a few… occasional extras) as my toddler is reduced to tears after not getting a new “Peppa Pig” toy! In my head I mentally repeat “avoid the toy aisle…always always avoid the toy aisle…even if it means getting creative with diversion strategies and round about ways to get to the things you want. Even if you need something in the aisle next to the toys- do not, I repeat, do NOT pass them!!”
No shortcuts parents-this is serious mental planning. Think I should suck it up and take the whining, crying, melt down, “tantruming”?
Let me tell you many of time-I have and let’s just say it’s so not worth it, but today she spied this toy and being in the mood she is in; its all over…

I briefly distract her with some new shiny shoes but let’s face it- they are no Peppa pig’s dream house substitute…
At least the full on drama tears have subsided into heavy sobs and violent hiccups, not (barely) facing this brave mama! But here we are back to full on tantrum tears (aren’t they the most fun “people are officially starring and judging” kind”). Wait, what the heck happened now???
Oh, I see who was the complete idiot putting “Doc McStuffin’s” Lego set amongst the shoes huh, huh??

It’s clearly time to escape this place before my perfect little angel of a baby boy wakes up too- not so perfect…and far from an angel.

It’s Sunday-therefore all lines are long. When we are up next and I think we made it, guess who wakes up…?

The not so sympathetic cashier ring up my items painfully slow as both my kiddos wail, scream, yell and cry in a potpourri of scorned, disappointed, ignored, hurtful (as well as hungry) emotions. They are clearly being unfairly treated (according to everyone but me. This is when the cashier holds up a pink and purple Peppa Pig set (well…you know…) with some suspicious brown stains on them. I match her disgusted look at first genuinely confused …until I look down at the cart…and the seat occupied by my daughter…

 

 

Happy friggin 4th!!!

Hubby is scheduled to fly out early morning on the Fourth of July and I’m not going to lie- it sucks!

But we are not going to let that keep us from the fun-oh no!

We have a full day of celebration planned this year. We are going to a parade (have never seen a real live American parade before and am really excited!!) in our neighborhood and fireworks by the beach (love fireworks) and we are bringing grandma and grandpa (and hopefully uncle, aunt and cousins as well) along! I have bought food for a family BBQ and festive paper plates, cups and utensils as well as quite a few Independence Day decorations! I have also laid out matching flag colored outfits for myself and all the three kids! The weather promises to be warm and sunny but not too hot. Maybe we can swim in the pool and grandparents can take the littlest baby so that I actually get to cool down and splash around as well. I can’t wait to spend some much needed quality play time with my kids!

I’m in high spirits; baby’s first fourth- lets do this!!!

And then darling daughter wakes up with a fever and then an extremely runny (smelly, leaky) diaper….
Which after breakfast leads to another…and another…with the mood to follow!
Can you say; complete toddler meltdown!

So yeah, we wave bye bye to daddy dearest (oh yeah; thanks for leaving me Hun!) as I rapidly begin to understand that nobody is going to want to hang out with us on this very special day…

Holiday or not, kids get sick and there is nothing you can do about it. I cancel all our plans with friends as well as family. It’s all good, we will make it work, it is just the crankiness and the overwhelming loneliness I feel when kid number two starts throwing up…

I order in food, but right now I only have one kid willing to eat and that would be the one without any teeth!

Its not like I have time to eat anything anyways, I’m running around like a mad woman, and strangely enough the idea of eating while people around me (and on me) are vomiting (and dry heaving) does not seem that appetizing…

I stream YouTube videos on the tv and keep changing diapers, smearing diaper rash cream, wiping butts as well as tears and pushing fluids.

I desperately stage some photos in memory of this “special” day of all my little kiddos in their outfits (good thing my “fancy” camera snaps dozens of photos in seconds because there are no willing participants and especially my daughter will not stand for it) on the patio- which turn out more sad than funny (keeping up the facade right…or not).

I change them out of their celebratory clothes right after our private little (disastrous) photo shoot scared any nasty fluids will make the nice outfits filthy (the washer and dryer already working overtime).
Of course my toddler throws another tantrum wanting to keep her red, white and blue Tommy Hilfiger dress on…

Let’s just say I’m in for a long night…

The kind of night where in between nightly nursing session (and they are plenty) I have to change sheets twice (we are now out of sheets that fit our bed), wrestle as well as share said bed with not one, not two, but three sweaty, germy kids (good thing I love them). I also have one of them throw up as I brush their teeth-after having thrown up…Hate when that happens!

I’m laying awake in our big bed (that suddenly feels small and cramped) when all the kiddos are finally asleep listening to each of their individual breathing patterns, (one arm around my beautiful daughter and another around my littlest man, while my big helper sleeps by my feet…for some reason) listening to their little whimpers and snores and my heart fills with so my love that I can hardly stand it…

Yes, they are a handful, and messy and smelly and oh so loud but at the end of the day I am just so so grateful to have them! Grateful that they are here with me, healthy and happy and whole (even with a nasty stomach bug) . They are my biggest accomplishments; who would have knows after my degrees and my diplomas that being a mommy would make me feel so important, so proud and so extraordinary!

Hope you had a great 4th of July this year everyone-I did despite it all (I have to admit it was pretty bad…and sad). I had a holiday I didn’t expect, one that I didn’t see coming and I was all alone to handle it all. But I think maybe that we have all been there one time or another and anyways; isn’t that what us mothers do…? We care and we fix…and we handle!

Too late I realize there in the pitch black room (while my five year old is mumbling something about Star Wars and transformers in his sleep) that I forgot to cancel the swim instructor-scheduled to come first thing in the morning…

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lost boy and various leakage…

 

Talking about special moments, hubby and I have started our exercise regime again (they don’t call it “working” out for nothing).
Let me tell you, it is brutal. I’m so incredible sore after doing next to nothing and it’s just so disappointing!
On top of that I seem to have completely lost my abs. They are far gone, and I worked so hard to gain them back after our princess was born. I was actually in pretty good shape after becoming pregnant with number three…
Now he is sitting there in sister’s pink baby bouncer, happy as can be with his toothless grins, while we work out, so it is impossible not to think it’s worth it (a million times over of course).
If he would only sleep more at night as to not turn mommy into a day time zombie (read; for example only shaving one leg in the shower…twice in a row…and yes, unfortunately it WAS the same leg).

I’m worried about driving my kids around in this state of acute sleep deprivation but oldest has his adventure camp! That is going okay so far but I know it’s early yet and since it’s his first week, he is still charming everyone with his big brown eyes, blond (nearly white) hair, crooked smile and smooth talking (yep, he can charm his way out of everything – until you catch on). This is totally his honeymoon phase! (Camp leaders are still smiling…I’m not about to warn them but my insides are screaming “you just wait…” While on the outside I’m also smiling, thanking them for their compliments about my son…soaking it all in-while I can!)

Today after picking him up from camp (after an early morning of getting three kids ready and a couple of hours of just having two kids-both refusing to nap with me) I have the brilliant idea of taking us all grocery shopping! (Well we are out of numerous essential, you know such as diapers and…Apple juice…my kids are “Apple juice-oholics” shush don’t tell the perfect “no juice mommies” not even the organic, “only sugar from fruit” kinds).

As I pull up to camp, both kids are sleeping (of course they are). The older one crying hysterically when I lift her out of the car brutally waking her. She is naturally refusing to walk claiming her “legs don’t work” but I need to get her little brother. As I carry her around the car, I try to explain this to her, hmm, yeah to a two-year old! I was on time, even slightly early but now I’m getting late (of course I am).

I run, half way dragging my “terrible two-er” while bouncing my little guy in the baby carrier, out of breath towards my son’s group leader. How weird, why isn’t she smiling today?
“Yes, okay, I understand, we will totally tell him about this at home and about the seriousness of staying with the group, not running away and to listen to the group leaders, yes, yes, of course, yes!”
Well, okay, hm!
As I walk, a little less bouncy back with my little loves another mom start sniffing around me announcing that somebody sure is smelly (sigh), while another mom chimes in “smelly belly” (big sigh), “someone has made a poo poo” (huge…)
Okay, I guiltily start smelling my two youngest kiddos. It’s the littlest one and I have to agree it does smell nasty (for only eating breastmilk this guy sure both poops and smells a lot).

I trek over to the restroom, only finding the men’s (oh well, while at camp!)
Of course there is no changing table and the floor is well, really dirty. I can’t go back out there with mr. Smelly pants, otherwise I would have changed him in my car (but not ready for that particular “walk of shame” at the moment).

I put my poor baby Bjorn carrier down on the bathroom floor after having wiped it off (the floor not the carrier-that WAS clean) with a wet paper towel (this is not easy mind you with three little ones in tow, infant boy hanging haphazardly while I mop the ground (not nearly good enough). Then I put the sheer dinosaur swaddle blanket on top of the carrier and finally the baby (who is not happy about this development).

Its not only a stinky one but a leaky one as well (great!) and it ends up being impossible not getting it all over the blanket…
I ask my older son if he needs to go potty, you know while we are here and sniff my daughters diaper too- but no, all good there!

Changing this diaper would go much faster if the toddler isn’t screaming in my ear while hitting her brother-who yells for me to hurry up because there are people waiting (really…) and that I really shouldn’t be in here because this is after all the MEN’S restroom (reeeaaallly)- the only thing appeasing my daughter is “to fix my hair” violently while I’m down on all fours-at a dirty men’s bathroom at a kid’s camp cleaning up poop…
Well you get it, right?

Almost all the way back to the car my oldest announces; I have to go poop!
Very pleased with himself…

We go all the way back, now finding the Women’s restroom a little closer but of course he won’t go there-oh no!
Then we wait for what seems like a really long time. How I manage to keep the little ones entertained beats me-all I know is littlest boy gets some milk and girly gets extremely muddy at the same time. I start thinking about whether I have an extra towel in the car I can put her on..and how bad she will look at the store (read dirty and neglected).

All the way back at the car, guess who smells awful?

Checking her, something brown is seeping thru her pants…and it’s NOT the mud…

The car now smells terrible because I refused to trek back to that restroom again (or any other restroom).

At the store they are all getting on my last nerve. Typically sweet and easy going baby boy has had enough, now loudly announcing that he hates the baby carrier…grocery shopping (apparently) and life in general with desperate wails and heartbreaking sobs in between, only to gain enough energy for more wails! The older kids do not want to be in the cart but drive it! – need I say more??
Such good helpers!!!

I leave my oldest son with the cart to go down the aisle to grab some rice (the good basmati kind…you know not laced with arsenic), holding my girl’s hand and trying to bounce and ignore my miserable baby at the same time.

While picking the rice I hear a store employer’s concerned voice “I’m so sorry your mom left you, we will do anything to help you find her, don’t worry my poor, sweet little man”. I have time to feel sorry for the mom, the kid probably was being a brat and ran away from her or something and this store employer is laying it on thick guilting that poor mom.

As I turn around I see that it IS my son chatting with the store worker, tears running down his face and all…

I raise my voice (scaring my two other kids)
“But I’m right here, I told you to watch the cart so I could go and get rice…
I’m in the SAME aisle”….

My face red-hot, I grab my son, mumble thanks to the confused women trying to help him, leaving the cart.

As I get my bearings, retrieving the cart, because you know we NEED those things, my breasts start to leak, spraying milk right through my dress (and it is not black), dripping down the front while I’m trying to juggle three kids AND pay for our groceries!

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