A freaking Rockstar🤰🤱💙👶🏼❤️

03DD3105-EC42-4F29-A37B-093D083AB201BC86DB19-69DD-4B98-BD3C-486A76735E32ACA94CB3-5E3A-4CB2-BD1A-A3B9AD4E8831948FCE95-C8AF-4AA8-82A8-31FA970A16169B32E735-8374-4BE6-8D6A-13E26B0D9D2BAnd man is it go time- I feel literally NO (zero) relief from the epidural. Where is the numbness? Where is the warm, tingly feeling? Where is the dull pressure and mild cramps taking the PLACE of the hellish pain that I’m am now experiencing? Because THAT is all I can fell-pure, earth shattering PAIN!

Aha-this is what mamas WITHOUT epidurals we’re talking about “being split in two” and the worst pain on planet earth. And through this fog of pain they actually expect me to DO something?

I can’t even concentrate enough to form a sentence, let alone ask for more pain medicine (I know it’s way past “too late” for another epidural but hello give me something).

Im 10 centimeters (well of course I am) and I’m coughing, gasping for air and wittering in pain as on contractions replaces the next with literally no down time in between.

It IS go time!!!

The pressure is so intense my whole body is shaking like it is possessed…

The nurses tell me to push. Now there are several nurses, not that I really notice, I just want to disappear, dissolve-or for them to-or the whole situation (which strikes me as absurd) anything to stop this excruciating pain. While they (now) yell for me to take a deep breath in and puuuush some maniac is yelling that I’m a rock star (that would be doctor D).

I shake, I cry, I throw up (and apparently split wide open but we’ll save that little “detail” for now). I just want this baby out of me but it hurts (waaay) too much to push!!

They give me oxygen because I find it hard to breathe maybe because my flu/pneumonia combo you know!?

I’m sweating, I’m screaming annnd I’m pushing…all to the soundtrack of …

“You are a freaking rockstar” (he even sings)

The pressure is unbearable…

”Rockstar is what you are”

It reminds me of when my daughter was born and I couldn’t have an epidural until the very last moment because it wasn’t safe, but soo much worse- is that even possible??

Doc McCharmy over here is telling everybody that women are all freaking rockstars and that men could never ever do this – “man” is he right..
And I push again as I’m having a complete out of body experience…

It’s almost like it’s not me in that bed, delirious in pain-that I’m part of something greater…and as I push I try “the eye on the price” method…tunnel vision…tuning everyone-and everything out but my body.

My body and it’s sole purpose right now-to push this tiny human out of it.

If I concentrate, I will achieve…

As a smart, independent, intellectual woman I hate to think of my body as a vessel, a vehicle, a tool for child birth. But here it is my body “failing” my theories-working like a machine with one purpose, one end goal..

Pressure rises (“freaking rockstar”) and I push, concentrating all my energy on the task, the motion the area in between …

I drool, I sweat, I swear (never) and scream (I don’t recognize myself and my husband has never seen me like this).

I feel like I’m actually splitting in two (I never really truly got that analogy before) -the burning sensation is extreme. The intensity something I’ve never experienced before. The “ring of fire” quadrupled from the times before…

He better come- my price-my love-my son

They are worried about MY breathing AND the baby’s lungs after he swallowed meconin (his own poop). One big breath in and puuuush!!!!!

and he slides out…

McCharmy is outdoing himself cheering and clapping “she is a rockstar better than all the other rockstars” before he turns serious as the NICU team on stand by crowds us.

But baby boy cries and it is the sweetest sound. And you know what? we are rockstars-all women are and right now I feel like I deserve this title!!

I’m a freaking Rockstar!!!

It’s GO time… 💙👶🏼

Since it is (major) flu season and I have a temperature, the hospital is required to test for influenza. I tell them I was vaccinated this year (because of my pregnancy) and I was already diagnosed with pneumonia (and despite my temp, runny nose and nagging cough, I AM feeling better).
Nop, I still had to do the dreaded nose swab. I knew how painful it could be (having survived it TWICE before) so I ask if I can perform the test myself (very hopeful- but I didn’t actually think they would go for it…but they did). They seem almost relieved letting me do the test (to) myself. None of their explanations are necessary (I got this), I know how far you have to go (up the nose) to get real results (ouch!).
Up the nose I went…
Annnd- POSITIVE, I’m testing positive for influenza A…
All the nurses all of a sudden wear masks and full on “uniform scrubs” (come on really?). My main nurse even has a little sticker stating “my patient has the flu” …(or something like that) seriously???
But I feel fine(ish) – (huge coughing spell).
With the poopy water leaking out of me and the positive flu results, we are suddenly getting full on (white) glove service (literally-they all wear gloves…but they are blue or purple not white!)
Little man can’t wait to come, I can feel the pressure building, however, this time I’m not letting my husband go back home.
He just came back after dropping off the kiddos with grandma and is now fiddling with the remote for the TV. Since he missed the birth of my third after I went from 2 cm to 10 in less than 2 hours (believe me or not..) we are not taking any chances and I can feel the enormous pressure which is this one trying to rush as well…
I tell the sweet nurse in our delivery room (“after changing into yet another “sexy” green gown, after soiling the other one…not me, promise-this is all baby’s doing) that I’m more than likely to go fast and history is more than likely to repeat itself…
I know it’s highly UNLIKELY to go that fast and I can see that she doesn’t quite believe me as she sits by the computer typing in my stats BUT if Nr 3 came that fast, I can only imagine what’s going to happen with Nr 4…
When the sweet nurse checks me again, I’m 4 cm, and I tell her it might be time for the epidural!
Yes I’m having one, this is my fourth baby and I’m not in the mood for extreme and excruciating pain- thank you very much!!!
But fate has very different plans for me…
My husband is “channel surfing” while I get my catheter put in (highly uncomfortable, but I’ll take it if it means the epidural will be here soon).
The sweet nurse asks me if I’m sure I want the epidural “so soon”. I almost “choke on my words” as they come rushing out “YES I’m sure”!!! ( I have never been more sure about anything!!!)
Although sweet, this nurse has no idea what she is talking about or what’s about to happen…
Even my husband chimes in for the first time, telling her that the epidural better come soon..
The contractions aren’t that bad but they are building and the pressure is starting to really bother me…
When Dr. D comes to check on me with his charm and wit I actually beg him to believe me “This baby is coming any moment”. But of course when he checks, I’m still “only” 4 centimeters and the baby is high up.
He gives me pitocin to speed things along (as if that is needed) and it actually takes two nurses to sit on my belly to get little baby boy to slip further down (I am NOT kidding-they actually physically sit on my belly because their hands alone couldn’t move baby further down).
Dr. D leaves the room but promises to stay close, and to bring the team with him next time he checks in on us.
He means the NICU team since our baby has swallowed his first poo and is only 36 weeks, he might need special attention.
I’m actually full on crying now. I never cried during labor before-the intense pressure is killing me. My husband, who has settled on a “flipping houses show”, startles and looks over at me-this is not like me at all. He looks slightly scared (terrified let’s tell it like it is)…
I can tell baby is coming-this freaking hurts! The enormous pressure, the pulling, tugging, aching PAIN..
My nurse takes one look at me and springs into action. She calls the doc and the team, but before they reach the door the anesthesiologist does…
It’s a student (buuut of course-no offense to students here, but come on-NOW is not the time)…
The nurse okays the epidural even though I’m 9 cm and you are not supposed to receive one after 8… (but come on I was just 4 cm minutes ago-I’m actually serious…).
Dr. McCharming and his NICU team in full on scrubs and masks arrive before the anesthesiologist is finished abusing my back with shaky hands (perhaps my imagination since my whole body is shaking and rocking with the most nightmarish contractions in the history-at least mine-of contractions).
As soon as the needle is in and the plastic sticky thing is covering it-the nurses barely have time to get me situated before Dr. D the charmer announces “its GO time!!!”

Be Careful what you wish for: Part 2

D4AA3B48-AFEF-42DA-B129-E4CBD66AFFE5So I actually need to back up a little bit in order to tell the full story. A week or so before my iron infusion I got sick (like really sick, 104 fever, chills, aches, sore throat, ears etc. “doubly” fun when you are hugely pregnant) a couple of nights before my infusion and stress test I felt like I couldn’t breathe (literally), my fever was at its highest and I was hot and cold and shaking. Not being able to breathe actually got to me as I was struggling sitting up in bed propped up by pillows.

I even (embarrassingly enough) recoded my own shallow breathing on my phone (mostly to share with my mom but potentially the doctor. I felt a little like I was overreacting (being Swedish and all) but I was actually scared. I ended up pacing the house for hours that night not being able to even sit up in bed because of the shortened of breath and pressure on my chest.

I called my mom a little “panic-y” in the early morning (afternoon in Sweden). She wasn’t concerned until I told her exactly how freaked out I really was. She diagnosed..heart attack or pneumonia and voted for a doctor’s visit.

Luckily I got an appointment the very same day (they probably considered my pregnancy as well) and luckily it wasn’t my heart (but since my mom is always right) it WAS pneumonia. I had to do an x-ray which is always scary while pregnant but they completely covered my huge bump with that heavy protector blanket and let me know baby would be fine (actually the illness is way more worrisome for the baby than the x-ray procedure). I was so sick that I even had to cancel two stress tests for baby and I .

When I went to my iron infusion that rainy winter morning, I was still  sick. I had to disclose my pneumonia diagnosis to the receptionist as I checked in, despite having been on antibiotics (3 days in and feeling  better). They immediately gave me a mask (making me feel self conscious and like a giant threat amongst all the moms-to-be in the waiting room area).

Fast forward to the week later. I had just been released after my 48 hour stay in the hospital STILL feeling feverish, achy and under the weather, complaining to my mom that my antibiotics must not be working (5+ days and I felt like after some progress I had gone backwards to feeling worse again. I have this issue with antibiotics too-might be since I’ve had a “few” doses in my life, where they sometimes don’t work or I’ll have to switch to a stronger kind, stay in them longer or double the dose). My mother wisely told me that the antibiotics only works for bacterial infection not viral ones…

Anyways, back to what happened after our Skype call. I hang up with my mom and feel instantly better after all the venting (as always) and put our 21 months old down for his nap.

Something wakes me up and it all happens EXACTLY like like last time, a huge fish of water streams down my legs and into the carpet (sorry TMI and about to get worse) as I run towards the tiled bathroom. I yank down my maternity pants and underwear and proceed towards the toilet but something is different…

Something is not “exactly like last time”, something is off and I have feeling that something is not good…

Not good at all…

Be careful what you wish for…

At 35 weeks after an iron infusions at the hospital I walk straight over to my doctor’s office for my regular stress test (third THIS week-3 times a week every week after 30 week gestation).

During the test, baby doesn’t cooperate at all. His hear rate is all over the place (I have to turn around, walk around, sip cold water then orange juice) and towards the end I start getting contractions so strong they are (literally) off the chart. They feel just like labor contractions and my heart is racing (just like my baby’s) as the doctor on call enters the stress test area.

This baby is not ready yet, I was hoping for at least 38 weeks (and I so wish I was 38 weeks pregnant right now), even though I know babies aren’t really ready until 39 weeks (and not fully cooked until 40 weeks).

I find myself yet again with the big orange envelope, back at the admittance desk at the main hospital. They fear preterm labor once again and have no other choice but sending me back to the hospital.

Things go much quicker this time (probably due to my recent visit-and updated information). It’s not like I like spending all my time in this place but I keep finding myself back here…

As I’m waddling towards the familiar elevator I try to breathe “IN; last pregnancy, OUT; last baby” and as not to seem ungrateful I pray that the baby IS and WILL be okay! I love this little one and can’t wait for this last pregnancy to be over and to be able to hold and cuddle our baby boy!

Buut not until it’s safe obviously!

Stay in there a little longer I tell him as I hold my ginormous tummy, waiting for the nurse to put me in a wheelchair and wheel me over to yet another hospital room (at least they are all private). If I can hold on for at least another month or so, so can he…?

And so the process start yet again as they prep the IV, draw the blood, give me the steroid shots for baby’s lungs (ouch!) and give me (with huge difficulty because of my “impossible veins”) the anti-contractions medicine (brown and burning and slow moving) more known under the name “puke” .

Trapped in the big bed in the regular (very sexy-not) green hospital gown under straps leading to monitors I feel like I spend waaay too much time like this!

They want to monitor me and baby for preterm labor for at least 24 hours.

My contractions subside, baby is looking great on the monitors, steady heartbeat, great movement. No leaking, blood or pain!

As I’m about to get released the contractions pick up again, earning me another 24 hours away from my kids, my family, my dog, my house, and my life.

Luckily the contractions subside yet again and I’m finally being released under stern promises that I will come back the very next day to see my doctor and EVERY day until I give birth, which (hopefully) could (should) be several weeks. I promise to come back if I show ANY signs of preterm labor (including leaking, bleeding, strong contractions and/or lack of fetal movement).

It has been such a tough pregnancy so far and I’m so ready to be over and done with this but I know I need to hang in there. I know this baby depends on me, I know he is not ready and if I (we) have made it this far…

It has been tough at home as well with two kids transitioning into a brand new School and with one kid approaching the age of two.

Back home it’s hard not to stress. The kids are feeling my stress as well as their own with all the changes happening around (and to) us and I’m fearful the baby in my tummy will be affected as well.

After a tear-filled School drop off and a mid morning tantrum, I decide to call my mom to vent. In the midst of all the chaos I complain to my mom through the computer; “I’m sooo huge”, “I have soo many aches and pains”, “I’m terrified my cyst might burst”, “I’m scared I will have to have a c-section”, “All I want is to know for SURE baby is okay and healthy”,  “I’m worried my kids won’t settle in to their new school”, “I’m anxious my third child will regress even more when the baby comes”…

My mom is calm, realistic and reasonable as always (with just the right amount of “mom”, “support”, “strength” and “push”).

Most of all I’m telling her that I am just so ready to get this baby out of me like RIGHT now…

But I know I have to hang in there for at least a few more weeks…or will I??

Be careful what you wish for…

Second Chances…

We make it to 12 weeks and beyond and I become acutely aware of our loss yet again (not that a single day go by when I don’t think of her).
Having my parents here help me feel better and we invite the in-laws over for cheesecake and champagne, finally feeling safe enough to tell them the good news (their 20th grandchild!!)

I am grateful- of course I am but it also feels confusing and somehow surreal (despite having been through multiple pregnancies including two losses).
It’s like the constant state of illness makes it extra hard to feel joy and the joy I (we) have is still overshadowed by doubt and fear. It’s almost like I’m ashamed of this fourth pregnancy- like it’s too much somehow, that I don’t deserve it- that something WILL go wrong…

I never felt as ill as I do this summer. It rubs away memories, sunny pool days, playdates and quality time with my kids- it really does and I’m sad about that. Every day is a battle – and listen I know I’m not sick (thinking about moms with chronic illnesses and unthinkable terminal diseases I should really count my blessings)
I feel like a spoiled brat or just like a very ungrateful human being. Maybe I should just embrace this constant nausea, belly aches and pains, heartburn, fatigue and general feeling of yuck! I do try- thinking about not feeling ill in my previous pregnancy, prior to our loss-and how wrong that went. That this little boy might be trying to remind me that he is still in there-thriving! But come on-it’s so difficult-is it possible to hint in a more subtle way?
My mom and I joke that “someone up there” might be telling me something. Like God is giving me this last pregnancy but making certain it IS my very last one!!

My one and a half year old and his daddy are getting closer during the fall, this is exactly what happened when my oldest son was his little brother’s age. But this time I feel like the little one knows something is up-and it’s almost like he is punishing me for it. He is pushing me away both physically (hard) and emotionally (harder). He cries for his daddy when he is gone, talks about him (dada dada dada) all day, and they are inseparable when they are together (giving his big brother some competition for dad’s attention that he is not used to). With our daughter, I would describe her as unpredictable and up and down in her parental favoritism! I told my husband that he now has both boys, loyal to him like puppies and I have no one. He suggests darling daughter but agrees that her gifts of attention are like rare gems (and therefore very precious and extremely special). “If our boys are loyal dogs, our daughter is more like a cat” he exclaims!

The holidays are coming up and my pregnancy progresses very slowly it seems. My nausea goes beyond the typical 12-14 weeks like it never has before and I find myself complaining at every doctors’ appointment. I hate doing that (and I still keep it on the down low because of course there is little they can do about it AND I’m not a complainer by nature). The “real” nausea meds help once I’m off of the B6 and B12 (did nothing for me) and the sleep medicine I could never take (because hello drowsiness and driving kids around- eh NO!!!).

Our oldest has started first grade (I can’t believe how old he is getting) and upon seeing the mommies at school again I feel so huge, I feel like they can guess my “condition”. Nobody does but I feel like I’m at least ten weeks further along than I really am (of course I’m not and we are well aware of the exact date of conception).

As our daughter’s due date (the daughter we will never have) approaches frighteningly fast- I’m not ready for those depressing feelings to wash over me yet again. I’m definitely not ready for pumpkin patches and costumes. I remember thinking that I would “cheat” my kids out of Halloween this year by having a newborn and not have time for all the celebrations around the holiday. This makes me of course feel double the guilt since I’m without a baby but STILL don’t feel up to celebrations, organizing, planning and “doing it all” for my kids. I sure still try in a fog of sickness and sadness.

My arthritis is acting up again, I’m suffering of pelvic pain, I pee constantly, I can’t sleep, I still throw up most mornings and some afternoons and heavy, spicy and fat foods give me crazy heartburn (isn’t one of the benefits of being pregnant that you can EAT said things…??). Despite having to watch what I eat, I gain like an overweight hippo with unlimited food supply…

We survive Halloween- way beyond telling everyone the reason for my giant frame and people probably think my due date is around the corner. Telling them “February” seems like a joke!

Around the corner are the rest of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving and especially Christmas!! My only light at the end of the tunnel is that we are spending Christmas in Sweden with my family!
I cannot wait (we have planned this forever, it’s my family’s year and even if I’m not looking forward to the extremely long flights-I am looking forwards to my mom’s food and care and to just being “home”).
My doctor’s are on board so far and just knowing I will land surrounded by Christmas and love and that once we get back we can really start focusing on our forth baby coming-I feel good! I feel great! I can do this people! I can do this!!!

An adventurous week; difficult news

IMG_7161IMG_7160IMG_7162I can’t believe that we are back here…to the hematology department at Children’s Hospital. The flashbacks are acute and many.

I don’t know how they do it, I really don’t. I ache for them-these parents. I feel embarrassed to be here somehow and yet…I know I have to, we have to. Something IS wrong for real-just not as wrong, or as real as for most of these people here. The reality of what is going on on the third floor of this hospital for kids is devastating. I AM embarrassed to even feel sad because it seems I don’t have the right to somehow, and they don’t need my pity, and there is literally nothing I can do to help.

I praise these doctors for doing what they do, for pushing forward, for trying their very best, for smiling…
But the real heartbreak are these strong, brave little people who are just getting the toughest childhood imaginable…and their poor parents.

I have been dreading this appointment since my daughter was 18 months old. We found out when she was 11 weeks old, (just shy of 3 months) and cut her “tied tongue” to be able to breastfeed, that she had some kind of bleeding issue. She would not stop bleeding no matter what the tongue specialist, her pediatrician and the ER doctor did. She was loosing so much blood she had to have emergency surgery right away…

This tiny little preemie baby girl who had already been through so much in her very short life…
It was one of the worst days of my life. Seeing her bleed uncontrollably in the backseat when I rushed her to the ER is an image imprinted in my brain forever…

My baby girl was in surgery for hours, her little pale body and all that blood. Afterwards she was groggy and swollen in my arms. I felt awful. She wanted to eat so bad but was too hurt to feed. Seeing her in so much pain was agony.

We spent 3 days at Children’s Hospital before the 4th of July weekend and she still refused to eat. I didn’t sleep at all and was a wreck. Grandma and auntie were home with big brother because dad had to continue working (even though I’m sure that was extremely hard on him).

I remember the nurses trying to help squirting my pumped breastmilk into baby’s mouth with a syringe- it finally worked enough to get her off the IV. She was this little girl in a huge bed surrounded by rolled up baby blankets with wires and monitors…
It was utterly terrifying.

On day two we saw a couple of doctors from the hematology department. They drew a lot of blood to test our baby girl for a bleeding disorder. Since she was so tiny yet-still on the preemie scale, they couldn’t take too much blood from her little body-so we had to come back for a follow up.

The follow up was on the third floor of Children’s Hospital a week later. Baby girl had gotten her color back and she had finally started to nurse again. My mom was thankfully able to accompany us this time, having flown in on the 4th of July withstanding delays and cancelled flights. It was such a support to be able to lean on her as we entered what must be one of the most depressing places-full of sick-really, really sick kids.

My daughter had lost too much weight to be able to draw the required blood panel for the full spectrum of blood disorders so the doctor sent her home with a liquid that makes blood clot in the event of blood trauma.

The tests came back negative for any of the more severe blood disorders…and for leukemia. I have never prayed harder for these results..

Then again the unfairness of it all, seeing all the other kids and their parents. How do they do it? how do they live and breathe when their insides must be breaking.
These caregivers are incredibly strong that goes without saying but…these kids…I don’t have words, little superheroes who just deserve way better lives.

Hoping for them as I’m standing here at the hospital with my two (big brother is in school) happy, healthy (for the most part) children, is the same for them, that they will beat this, they will get better and this will all be a distant memory…

The reality though is a punch to the stomach and the embarrassment of even feeling like this when I’m fine and my kids are fine is raw and present.

This is the 4th time here seeing her hematology doctor. When we saw him when baby girl was 18 months old we still didn’t get to do all of her testing, because of her low weight. I was informed that in order to complete everything we needed to admit her to the hospital for a few days to monitor her while drawing the required amount of blood for the full panel of blood disorders. I declined these tests knowing that she didn’t have the more serious ones and signing papers that I declined treatment was really difficult-was I doing the right thing?

I promised (myself and her doctor) to keep a close eye on her, knowing full well that you can’t bubble wrap your kids (no matter how much you want to).

Fast forward until now, there is no more denial. Every time she bleeds from simple cuts and scrapes it is way too much- abnormally so. Her new pediatrician ordered more labs at her 3 year check up and testing confirmed without a doubt that our daughter does have a bleeding disorder. He sent us straight back here again…so here we are.

This has truly not been the best week..

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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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Between a rock and a hard [head] place!

I drive as fast as I dare, freaking myself out when I’m allowing myself to think at every stop sign and red light. After I park haphazardly across two parking spots, I grab the kiddos telling them that we have to hurry to make sure big brother is okay!

I run with my littlest bumping against my stomach (still that stubborn belly looks about four months pregnant, seriously…) in his carrier. Baby girl’s little legs can barely keep up with me and I keep squeezing her hand to follow along, but it’s like she knows this is serious so she is not whining or complaining.

When I reach the camp site I catch my breath and it’s like I can’t breathe again until I see him…

Playing …

He seems fine, running around with his friends. I stop to ask the camp leader what really happened. The story is scary really. The rock that another boy threw on my son’s head looks huge. I close my eyes for a second, thanking God that he is okay.
His leader tells me he was dizzy after the accident and had to lay down, they also iced his bump for a good half hour. At least the boy throwing the rock didn’t mean to. It was truly an accident and they were just playing (dragons apparently…). I do have time to think (which I realize is a little nuts…but I always kind of go there…) “I’m glad it wasn’t MY son throwing the rock”…

The camp director had told me to call my son’s doctor just in case, (hopefully out of genuine care and concern not only liability) because the rock was so big and it did make him fall to the ground and made him groggy afterwards.
As I collect my son (and all his stuff), my two other little ones are being really good. As we are walking with his friend and her mom (and my friend) towards the car his legs does look wobbly and he falls down when trying to play with her on the top of the hill by the parking lot. He tells me that “everything is still spinning”…
And that would be my cue to call the doctor…
Better safe than sorry for sure!

Unfortunately his doctor is out of town but another doctor will see him as soon as we are able to come, they take head injuries like that very seriously (even though his bump isn’t that big-it’s not about the bump on the outside…). We have to cancel ice cream with our friends and head straight for the doctors’ office.

The new female doctor is completely serious and has my son go through a series of tests where he has to walk in a straight line, move legs and arms certain ways and follow her fingers with his eyes. He is acting tired and tells her he feels faint so she has him laying down and we all get to wait until he feels better. I guess I make a face like “really it can’t be that bad”… Because she gives me a stern look and tells me that my son has a concussion and that I need to be very cautious as well as concerned and as long as he is feeling tired, faint and disoriented we will have to stay in the doctors’ office.
I assure her that I’m taking my son’s condition very seriously and that I AM in fact concerned…its just that it’s really hard to just “hang out” here with two other little ones…

My two years old is hungry and cranky and I’m trying to nurse the baby while she is yelling that she want to go home. My oldest is uncharacteristically quiet, laying down, which does worry me.

Two hours, a tantrum, three poopy diapers and some random spit up and clothes changing later the doctor is finally willing to let us go. Before she does so I have to sign some papers basically promising to take him straight to the ER if he starts acting funny, to keep him still (hmm) for the next week (yup; not a problem whatsoever…) and the dangers of a second blow to his head (brain bleed…ok time to get on board with the scariness of the situation). I listen to the doctor and I sign, collecting my three very, tired, hungry and whiny kids (I’m exhausted myself).

Everyone is gone for the day, the office and lobby empty, dark and quiet. I take my son “potty” (an older woman pointing out as she leaves that maybe he is old enough to go to the men’s restroom by himself…soo not the time lady…) and change the other two’s diapers before we leave the building (hoping that they will not lock us in here while we are in the bathroom). Luckily we make it out okay and head straight for Whole Foods (aka “whole paycheck” I know) buying the kids ridiculously expensive snacks and juices as well as really yummy pizza!
My son is chatting away, teasing his little sister and tickling his little brother at the table we struggled to get to outside, stroller, pizza, groceries, kids and all…
I’m just grateful he is okay!!

We are now gearing up for a quiet and really restful (!) week at home-heading for the 4th of July with tons of fun plans before daddy goes out of town for work for another week…

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Right after

 

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The day after

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Super mom and hard heads…

I love having three kids, I always, always wanted THREE!! Didn’t I mention that before, no?

But seriously this baby is so dreamy it doesn’t feel at all like the other two (can I say that…?). Yes, I might be older and more sleep deprived and I have two older ones this time around, but it’s like he knows this (taking it easy on his mama) with every toothless grin. His smiles make my heart melt every time and he smiles way more than he cries. He is still only two months old but he is quite the charmer and so easy going. I’m not comparing here (would never) but…

When we are out and about our little (big) baby just tags along. His big brother loves to love on him (this is also the kid with major boundary issues..but the biggest heart..but baby boy doesn’t seem to mind/quite the opposite…more toothless grins) and his sister wants to change, clothe and bathe him (no I don’t let her…she is two, people!) -but mostly she wants me to put him down somewhere (no smiles here), so I can carry her instead!

Everywhere I go, I get compliments. It’s very flattering really, it’s not like I have an obscene amount of kids-I mean some people have four or even more (and seem to juggle them just fine). Those moms (and/or dads) are the true heroes (my husband is one of five for example). I go to Subway (sandwich place my oldest son is particularly fond of), nursing the littlest, while trying to break off a food fight between the older two and calm down the yelling (5 year old) and the random requests turned tantrums (2 year old). This mom comes up to our table and out of nowhere she tells me I’m amazing and that she only has ONE two year whom she can barely handle. It feels nice and kinda needed.

This is one of the things I love about Americans, their ability and ease of complimenting total strangers! I mean they so don’t need to.

 

 

At Ikea the other day (represent!) a lady totally gets out of her way to tell me I should get “the mother of the year award” (as I roll a cart full of stuff as well as my two year old, baby in the carrier, preschooler in one hand-ordering hotdogs, pizza AND ice cream; hey! Don’t judge!!). A Swede (and I am one) would never (never say never) do this and I really appreciate it!

Today I drop off at camp, even though my son has received his third and final warning-hoping against all odds that they let him stay (let’s just say we BOTH need him too) and this mom tells me I’m so awesome for getting three kids ready in the morning and for still being on time (kind of). I thank her, but she probably has no idea how much this means to me. A couple of nice words can really make a difference! (Thanks again nice camp mom with the Cali hat and purple yoga pants!)
The drop off goes smoothly to all our surprise but it’s not the usual girl checking us in! The guy who does gives me strange looks as I wait around, easing my way backwards towards the car, expecting them to call me back to get my little short delinquent any moment, but nothing! Yes!

Not so fast…

I’m on the phone Skyping with my mom once I’m back home with my two little ones, when an unfamiliar Arizona number pops up on my phone. I usually don’t answer weird numbers but as soon as I miss the call I fear it might be from my son’s camp.

As I listen to the voicemail-I’m filled with dread. It’s the camp director and she is telling me to come get my son right away…

Not because he is in fact kicked out or has done anything wrong, no… quite the opposite- he is the one who is hurt…

“It’s his head mom” I yell, “he got hit, he is dizzy and laying down, telling them his tired (tired…MY son?). I have to get him right away”. As I’m  running around, changing the baby (kinda had to be down), letting the dog inside and strapping two kids into their car seats, I fear the worst-he got hit in the head and I brought him there. I brought him to this camp. I brought him there even though he had three warnings and we were told three warnings meant that you are kicked out…
Maybe it was a sign…I took him anyways…
What if this injury is way worse than they told me…

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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