Being re-admitted …

Up at the triage they stare at my hunched over shaking, shivering self. Nurse Kate quickly and efficiently tells them I probably have a very high fever and that I am three days postpartum.

She asks my mom if we got it from here, looks at me and squeezes my hand “good luck” and off she goes.

The triage nurses aren’t as efficient however, instead of taking me to a room they are asking me a bunch of questions that I can’t really answer in my state. I just want to lay down with a bunch of warm-no hot-blankets (where is a sauna when you need one?) and for these shakes to go away, they are seriously starting to bug me, like for real.

I wish I could be down in the NICU, healthy and strong for my baby girl, feeding her and then meeting up with the rest of my family, picking up some to-go food and sleeping in a warm cozy bed at home tonight.

I really don’t want to be in the hospital that is for sure, and I really really thought I was done dealing with hospital staff and nurses with their questions. I am too sick however to reflect much on take-out food and annoying nurses and a little too scared to want to walk up and leave, besides again, I don’t think my legs would carry me.

My mom seems even more worried than before as she keeps telling me to try to relax. I am so stiff and my muscles are already aching from shaking so much but I can barely tell due to, you guessed it, the violent shivers (it’s like my body is an earthquake refusing to stop).

When they take me into a room (finally) they have even more questions (of course they do) but as they take my vitals, they refuse to tell me anything as usual (starting to get used to this). I feel mad in between the shakes, enough is enough and I would really show my anger had I not felt that I was going to pass out any moment.

My only request was warm blankets (I know they have them these sneaky nurses, I have gotten them before, for example during my ultrasound) but they refuse to give them to me. Not until my mom, seeing her daughter suffering asks why, they tell us that it could mess up the readings on my vitals, for example my correct body temperature.

They haven’t told me yet what my temperature is but when I ask point blank the nurse tells me that it is not crazy high, around 103. I hate these Fahrenheit temperatures, they make absolutely no sense, come on, Celsius is both understandable and easy; convert already! (yes, I’m worked up, excuse me and yes I know it is not their fault I’m sick…or is it..?).

At this point I feel incredibly nauseous, I tell the nurse as my mom tells me that I will not throw up, it is just in my head, trying to calm me down. The nurse wisely gives me a little plastic thing to throw up in “just in case”. Now don’t get me started on these thingies, they are like plastic bags (more like cones though) slim and cone shaped and they do not seem like the perfect thing to vomit in. Ever heard of a bucket? I know this is beyond gross but how do you even aim? I am throwing (mostly spitting up) in my little plastic cone as my mom tries to convince me to calm down and lay back, except I can’t.

Literally I can’t, my neck is so stiff and I am still shaking so bad, I can’t tell my muscles to relax enough to lean (let alone) lay back (which also makes aiming and spitting up into this plastic thing next to impossible).

In the back of my mind I also realize three things, I have to pee really bad, I fear that they will keep me here over night and I haven’t called my husband to fill him in yet (peeing obviously being my top priority).

That being said I don’t think I can get up so instead I spit up some more, try taking my iPhone from my mom (who got it from my purse) but my hand is shaking too much to even hold it, I momentarily get mad a my headband (don’t ask, it is in my way) and finally just have my mom text my husband that I will probably be re-admitted to the hospital (yay me).

It is somewhere in the middle of this when the real vomiting starts (that is right, here comes my lunch…sorry guys). My husband keeps calling after receiveing my text but I just feel too weak to even talk to him.

We keep waiting for different nurses to come into the room, check something, mumble something to each other I hushed voices, tell us absolutely nothing and leave again.

I keep getting mad at the one nurse who stays, because I really just want to know what is wrong with me so that they can fix it and I can be on my way.

I also really don’t want to stay in the hospital another night but I am sane enough to realize that this is serious and they will not release me like this.

My mom holds my hair while I’m throwing up like I am a little kid all over again and she keeps telling me that everything will be okay and to go easy on the poor nurse (she is probably just an intake nurse who knows nothing…and I am probably acting very scary right now, not my best moment).

My mom will agree however that they give us absolutely no information and she is stunned by that (not what we are used to from back home).

Another nurse finally comes in and lets me know that the doctor is on his way. That makes me feel better, maybe he can diagnose me and tell me what is going on and finally give me some release.

I want to have some medicine but they are refusing to let me take the Vicodin I brought with me, I am in pain, I was ripped open and a baby came out of me a few days ago, remember ?? and I am being denied my pain meds hours overdue.

I am scared the doctor will “check” me as I am extremely sore and in no rush to relive the trauma from my labor (can you say ouch!!!).  I am still bleeding a lot and my stomach really really hurts. They try to convince me that he will not check me…and to try to relax (tough chance). Unfortunately, I have learned not to trust what they say however. The nurse also tells me that we have to get my fever under control because it’s now 104.6 and get me into a gown (oh green gown, how I missed you) oh and into giant see through underwear and a gigantic pad (lucky me) and I need to stop shaking (easy for them to request).

The new nurse checks my vitals again, sucks in air and exclaims “Damn”…

 

 

 

 

Shopping delight…cut short!

We go shopping, well if you call Target and Babies r us shopping…I haven’t been out for weeks so I’m not picky.

I try to concentrate on what I really need; the problem is we need so much, at least according to me.

My mom is an expert shopper but she is more interested in things for the house (where she has been cooped up) than cute little pink baby outfits.

I still can’t believe it is real. I don’t think it will completely hit me until we get to take her home, we have a baby girl!

Finally I get to buy girl stuff, don’t get me wrong I love shopping for my son but come on, have you seen the girl stuff for babies lately?

We need some boring things as well, what we like to call “essentials” and as I walk through the aisles at Target I feel more and more tired and slightly dizzy as I’m gripping the red cart tight, leaning in to it as I’m pushing following my mom’s excited stride.

Sometimes Target has the ability to get you very tired though and I haven’t been out of bed for 4 weeks basically, so of course I feel dizzy. I decide to power through, we have Babies r us after this after all, where I’m naturally a frequent buyer with all the essential VIP and bonus cards. There is something about a store full of baby stuff (pregnant women and babies), bright colors, new beginnings and hope!

My ultimate wish growing up was always (ALWAYS) being a mom, now I get to dress real live dolls!

Suddenly I feel faint in the middle of a (I have to admit, sorry mom) home decoration (?) aisle (I think it was lamps, “we do need one for the baby’s room and one by the pool table”) and stop for a second. My mom, still talking about the wonder of being out of the house (poor woman) notices that I am not answering her and turns around, zooming in on me with her mom eyes as she exclaims “you don’t look so good”…

I’m telling her that I’m just tired and that I just gave birth a couple of days ago for crying out loud, of course I’m feeling weak in the knees and there is no way I’m cutting this outing short!!

We get the Target shopping done and I manage to hang in there. Right outside, there is as Starbucks (you can’t go many places without a Starbucks but my hospital room didn’t exactly have one close by). I am craving caffeine but since I’m worried about it getting into the milk I am pumping, I have to “settle” for the double chocolate chip frappe I got more or less addicted to during my pregnancy. Mom never says no to a coffee so we push the cart toward two available seats (it’s a very small place so space is limited) and I’ll go order our drinks.

I still look pregnant so I worry that I will have to dodge some uncomfortable questions when I feel the barista glancing curiously at my stomach (nop, kid is out, come on please don’t ask, and luckily she doesn’t…I mean who cares…well after everything I shouldn’t, but I can’t help it, I care just a tiny bit).

Soon that is the least of my problems, I suddenly feel a big gush in my underwear where I have the biggest night diaper…I mean pad ever made, and it seems like it is leaking through (sorry about the TMI here people).

I go put the drinks in front of my mother and excuse myself to run to the bathroom. Maybe this outing wasn’t such a bright idea after all, I would much rather be in the comfort of my own house than at a Target restroom.

I do have back-up pads in my purse though but I am bleeding a lot (A LOT) and I don’t remember it being this bad after my first born. A little voice whispers in my head something about soaking a pad in an hour being bad but I’m pretty sure it’s been more like two hours since we left the house and I put in a new one, besides I gave birth only three days ago…

Reassured that it is normal and cheered up by the prospect of my frappe and going to Babies r us, I leave the restroom and head back to my mom.

At babies r us though, as I stand in line a severe headache is brewing, not even the cutest baby dresses size 0-3 months can hold my attention and I start to worry that I am coming down with something…

 

My baby boy just turned ONE 🥰👶🏼💙😭

About a year ago, I was all alone in a hospital bed yet again (looking back on the premature birth of my sweet daughter and her NICU stay). This time around my baby was “only” four weeks early, but unfortunately he inhaled his first poo and it clogged his tiny lungs. On top of that I had pneumonia and tested positive for influenza so all the nurses and doctors in masks debated whether I should even hold and nurse my brand new child.

It is a very lonely and unnatural feeling to have your baby whisked away from you right after birth. You just accomplished a miracle and your (priceless) price is taken away from you shortly after receiving it (him). You are left achy and sore after excruciating pain followed by the highest of highs and then left to process the experience all alone. I know all moms of preemies having been taken away can relate to this devastating feeling of emptiness.

Once in the recovery room someone was acutely missing…

I couldn’t even get some well deserved rest, knowing that baby boy wouldn’t be able to rest at all- that he would have tubes down his throat and his little body would be worked on. I kept worrying about him and wondering if he was uncomfortable or (worse) in pain…

It was decided that I could give my new son formula or donor milk (real breast milk) but I wasn’t allowed to try to nurse him just yet. I have read that a mother’s breastmilk have powerful antibiotic qualities and is always best for the baby no matter how ill the mother is, so I was slightly taken aback by this. It also felt slightly strange and somehow sad to be giving him someone else’s breastmilk (as his first milk) and not my own…

After having thought about it, I could see the tremendous benefit of giving him breastmilk right from the start and how lucky we were that this was even an option at our hospital.

Since the epidural never worked, the aftermath of childbirth was quite different. There was no period afterwards of feeling sluggish or being unable to walk on your own. No headache or backache or tingly legs as the feelings in them returned. I didn’t feel nauseous and as I went to the bathroom I needed no assistance and I could get out of bed and move around right after birth how I pleased, except for the pain and the bleeding I felt myself being more awake and alert and more in charge of my own body!

As they gave him back to me to be feed the donor milk, my baby boy was also awake and alert and sweet as can be.

No matter how many babies you have, the feeling that hits you as you get to hold your brand new baby in your arms and really soak him in for the first time after the stress and trauma of the birth and delivery room, is nothing short of extraordinarily.

I smelled him (his tiny newborn body that had been through so much already) and cuddled him (mask on) and as I tried to feed him (someone else’s milk) I didn’t see the obstacles, only the opportunities of the future. I promised right then and there to love and take care of him forever!

And now my baby boy, it’s been a whole year and you are still the sweetest, happiest, cuddliest boy!

Happy first Birthday to my youngest baby boy! My very last baby…

I can’t wait to see you grow and thrive and try to keep up with your siblings!

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…

After rain comes sunshine!!!

After the appointment, I am completely drained. Driving home after an entire day at the hospital with our young daughter yet again in a bed hooked up to IVs, is like a fog. The baby boy sure hated the experience as well. But with no childcare available I had to bring him. What an absolutely exhausting experience. Entering the freeway I’m pretty sure I hit an innocent squirrel- just pile it on right (I really really hope I didn’t but am afraid I did).

This whole winter/early spring has really not been the best, as far as springs go. I have had better starts of years…
I know I’m an incredible lucky and blessed person so I try to look at the positives, and look forward. I really am!

My brother comes to visit in late spring with his family and his brand new baby boy (first time auntie over here holla!!!) and makes it to my littlest’s first Birthday party. We have a ton of fun, I haven’t seen my brother in so long and to see him as a dad is truly special. I have a busy schedule during the weekdays with my kids but we manage to meet up with my brother and sister in law for dinner everyday. We also grab the occasional coffe or lunch and make a couple impromptu shopping trips. We cook together, drink wine on the patio, share stories, splash in the pool and enjoy the kids-the sweetest little cousins!

Since my three kids all have birthdays in a row-the spring pretty much disappeared in some semi-chaotic (but totally fun) party planning and execution!

Our baby boy gets a big jungle celebration (just like his brother did when he turned one) with jungle music, decorations, cakes, cupcakes and fun gift bags! We have a bouncy castle, yummy sandwiches and tons of snacks…and bubbles…plenty of bubbles. Our baby loves himself some bubbles after all (second to food only). I can’t believe he is one, how did this happen? Stop robbing me of precious baby time already (why do the years get shorter not only the older you get but apparently the more kiddos you have?).

Our princess just wanted her birthday with family, a low key day playing with her new toys (first barbie and first lipgloss-did I mention the years are rolling by way too rapidly) and then dinner, ice cream and balloon animals (flower) at her favorite restaurant. Only three years ago, I was terrified that she would be okay and just look at her now! A smarter, more charismatic, pretty, little decisive three-nager you may never see!! The following day is a Minnie Mouse theme day, spent with grandparents and a BBQ and princess cake very fitting for our very special sassy girl!

Our big boy is turning 6 (did I mentioned somebody messed with the time..turning the dial onto rapid…I know I did and I know it’s cliche BUT how IS he six?). He has requested a “creepy crawler” party and the NAT (Natural History) museum gets to host us and 12 of his classmates plus six other friends and a handful of siblings. All these kinder kids were so great for about 30 of the 45 minutes planned lecture about lizards and snakes but then they decided (apparently telepathically) to hit the dessert table, run into the projector screen, and draw on the white board-all at the same time. No worries though, after a dessert break (having dessert before sandwiches) we got to pet some live (gasp) animals, play some games (competed crawling in snakeskin anyone!?). Then we sang for and had cake/s with the lucky six year old. Excitedly he told us after the party that he made “a new awesome best friend”. Thinking it was a classmate we asked him whom this might be as he proudly announced that it was the museum employee that had helped with the party!

Summer is fast approaching (what happened to spring? But as I said the winter months leading up to spring were arguably sucky…I will share but am just not quite there yet…) so moving on feels now kinda great!

We have some graduations coming up after all our birthdays! And then our summer can officially start!!

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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Christmas Magic

img_2766c1c91bc2-f84e-4545-ae8a-bdecc345a55c51db7a3d-a599-48be-bafd-f1b9ec9a0044img_2808img_2814img_2751img_2759img_2764img_2733img_27359da97ede-a66e-49f9-88e0-fdabc70f9a42img_2772img_2792img_2797img_2767img_2768So it’s Christmas and my oldest is really, really sick, poor guy. He has no energy and is burning up with an especially nasty fever (which is worrisome because we don’t know exactly what is the matter with him).

To top it off, our daughter has morphed into the spawn of… someone eh hm, NOT nice. In my silly naive mind I thought that the random displays of (what I now see was mild) tantruming behavior was IT for her terrible twos (I really thought it wouldn’t get worse). I considering myself lucky but also DUE for an easier two year old this second time around.

I clearly forgot that the worst year is NOT 2-3 but two and a half to three and a half and that the “treenager” (seriously) is way worse than the “terrible-two:er” and that it gets worse and worse (way worse before it get better). 2.5-3.5 is really a year of unnecessary parental exhaustion (read: mental breakdown) dealing with little kid-devils with their main mission being messing with your mind! They are so manipulative, calculated, smart yet evil at the same times as not making any sense…at all. They go from sweet and nice (still being “baby cute” and adorable) to needing an exorcist in a heartbeat.

The baby boy is still NOT sleeping through the night and seem to have been going back to the newborn stage of nursing around the clock and confusing day and night…

You know by now what no sleep DOES to this mama, I’m running on fumes, I need (need, need) my sleep!!!

This is the year that I of course have chosen (completely my own brilliant idea) to host Christmas! And don’t get me wrong I am excited, of course I am…

I want to show my in laws more of my traditions and customs and what I am used to celebrating Christmas growing up and I want to give that to my children as well merging my husband’s family traditions and the “American way” with mine and the Swedish!

To start it all off the stove top stops working and even if I prepped a lot of the food days before Christmas  (lots and lots of meatballs of course), I  still obviously need my STOVE and nobody can come out to fix it because, you know, it’s Christmas Eve…
And then there is a roof leak…in the kitchen. (Hi, welcome; don’t mind the precipitation…inside)…
We are late for church, unable to sit together with family and all three kids fall asleep during the ceremony.

Oh and I almost forgot, not because I’m a selfish, mean b*tch but because I literally have a million…at least a thousand…several hundred things to do (and mouths to feed, or so it seems) but my husband got into a little accident…

Well more of a “fender bender really” (yes the fender; is that what it’s called?? Got really really bent). I guess he had to urgently go get a really important (hmm, yes!) gift last minute (ya think!!??). Because you know he has so many gifts to take care of, so many names on that list, and so little time (read:me) and I just have EVERYONE ELSE (now there is a LIST). But all good, hubby is fine-the car not so much (we also just bought his car off of the lease…) but it didn’t exactly take away from the stress and chaos or add to the Christmas spirit!!!

It all turns out pretty great in the end with tons of Christmas magic with the help of family, Tylenol, many gifts, lots of hands to hold cranky babies and toddlers, an amazing Santa, a Croc Pot (full of meatballs, “prince sausage” and briskets) and a handy grandpa and tons of actually delicious food including great cold items (yes!) like smoked salmon, breads, crackers and cheeses and items that could go IN the oven like glazed ham and Jansson’s temptation (my very own favorite potato dish with breadcrumbs, cream and anchovies…minus the anchovies for me), lots of “glogg” (spiced wine) and yummy and decadent desserts curtesy of grandma!

After Christmas it’s hard not to feel slightly sad and kind of empty even as an adult. Christmas is truly a magical time of year especially for kids. But as a parent I think that you try to recreate that magic you felt yourself as a child. My parents sure bent over backwards to make sure all our Christmases were truly that, amazing, traditional and simply; Magical!!!

As a child I always felt low after holidays (vacations and summer breaks) and now I understand the anticlimax that follows Christmas for my own children. As a mom though you simply don’t have time sitting around feeling blue and as soon as school starts it’s go go go again!

This semester is way more serious than the last one – that becomes apparent right away! No more sweet, cuddly and forgiving teachers, no more “practice homework”, no more “volunteering is optional”. Spring semester in kindergarten here we come! Who is ready to dive in with us!?

Drop off Disaster

I prep my oldest son even before we reach the school parking lot. He knows by now how to buckle and unbuckle himself and how to stand ready (hunched over) by the back “lift-gate” (we have been practicing). Okay, so maybe that needs some further explanation…
As you all know, I have three kids and we TRIED to put them all next to each other in the backseat of our new (oversized) SUV. Heck noo, did NOT work…
The oldest two were fighting like crazy, which made me frustrated and scream way too much. I was also worried about the tiny (okay not so tiny) baby back there.
After weeks best described as catastrophic, we had the brilliant idea to put the oldest in the third row!
It was a bit tricky with the big stroller and all the other baby stuff (car seat adapters, extra toddler seat and what not) but we made it work. We also had to teach our oldest to buckle himself. The problem is, I didn’t WANT him to be able to open the back liftgate on his own (way too dangerous). So every time he (we) went out of the car, I had to open it for him.

So back to the dreaded school car line…

As soon as we are on school property I yell for my son to unbuckle himself and to prepare with his backpack and such, for me to come open the back for him.

We have arrived early enough so that there won’t be a lot of cars…there still IS, but we are amongst the first in line (pat on back).

As we approach the green “drop off zone” I slow way down and then come to a complete stop in front of the school, I put the car in park (and apply the parking brake for good measure) and open the door…

As soon as I do this, cars (people of course but you know what I mean…) start honking (these are moms and nannys and the occasional dad, mind you) and by the time I’m in the back of my car there is also yelling (I’m not kidding).

When my big handsome boy jumps out with his backpack, I feel so proud of him but of course the moment is completely ruined by even more severe honks and yelling ( “hurry up”, “come on”, “unbelievable”, “must be a new mom”, “she will make me LATE”)…

As I rush over to the driver seat, a school “representative” runs after me screaming “this is NOT how we do things”.

Yet as I see my son struggle with his huge backpack I feel an urge to go help him out, to go steer him in the right direction, to show him the gate and his classroom. I swollow hard and manage a wave to the car behind me as I speed off away from the school parking lot.

Theoretically I know he knows where to go and that he won’t be lost (or gasp “stolen”) but I can’t help the moment of “mommy panic”.

As I drive off I feel sad and disappointed. Well that didn’t go according to plan! I almost want to call the school to make sure he made it to his classroom safely. I feel worried and stressed. I have to call my husband to relay the fiasco…
Well, that’s it!!! I will NEVER ever expose myself or my son to that car line EVER again!!!

The frazzled, slightly lost and confused new mom…

As I slowly walk away from my brand new kindergartener’s school, feeling empty and a little lost, baby boy starts crying on cue!

Nothing like a gut wrenching hunger scream to take you back to reality. I quickly realize that all three of us (it does feel like I’m missing one) have to go all the way back to the car so I can feed the baby before the “coffee with the school moms”. So we start walking…

The restaurant across the street is beyond full of mingling mommas. My little daughter is trying to hold on to me for dear life as I try to maneuver her and the baby in the carrier .

There is hot coffee, giggling mamas and their legs everywhere- my two year old daughter is basically being swallowed by the crowd. I don’t think this is the place for me and my young to be right now. There are no other kids here and I come to the understanding that these moms are older (not that I am exactly young) and so are their kids. I challenge myself to talk to at least three different moms. They all seem nice but very different from myself and not quite what I’m used to. I try to introduce myself, give a compliment and ask a question. The planner in me feels like I’m checking off a check list not being genuine or trying to make friends. But I do want to be genuine and I do want to make new friends. I try to get out of my comfort zone and not think “I have all the friends I need”. This is not only for me but for my kids-my oldest and the other two following him! It just feels like this crowd has a secret I’m not in on … but I should make an effort to find out what it is. Some of them are very cold and stand off-ish but I must say, most of them do seem warm and approachable.

I make my rounds and manage to talk to three different woman- all of them with older kids, their youngest being in kindergarten. Not a lot of babies or toddlers beings seen or talk about diaper brands (organic, cloth or *gasp* plastic) or potty trading tips being heard. It makes sense now that they all seem to know each other since they have other kids in the same school. I feel like a lot of new information is being thrown at me and I feel totally unprepared, unpolished, and frankly like I’m left out of some “perfect manicured mom’s club”. I am that frazzled new mom who makes the mistake of bringing her smelly, whiny little kids to a classy event. Except my littlests are totally behaved (AND they smell delicious…at least I think so but I might be biased…then I remember the leggings) and I thought this was a “come as you are, casual coffee after drop off thing”…

I’m officially exhausted after discussions school safety and security as well as the kids cafeteria menus and meal plans with mom number 3 and have to excuse myself (who am I kidding? She is so bored by my input-or lack thereof she is already seeking a more gluten/dairy free, pro huge fenced in/gated school mom after a couple of sentences from me even if I’m totally pro healthy eating and school safety!)

Trying to avoid my little girl getting trampled, our little gang (feeling totally misplaced) head for the door.

For the first couple of weeks, we are supposed to walk our brand new school kids to their classroom and drop them off and walk to their classroom to pick them up. More seasoned moms with older kids get to pick their kids up by car-stopping (more like a rolling stop) by the side walk.

I oblige and walk my son back and forth with his little sister and little brother for weeks. I park at the church the first two weeks but get by week three that if I’m early enough I can snag a parking spot at the actual school, and I won’t get stuck in the line of cars dropping off and picking up (that lines up around the school’s back parking lot-sounds confusing? That is because it is!!! The school itself call drop off and pick up “an organized chaos”…)

After the initial weeks of a lot of walking a baby who just wants to eat and sleep and hates the in an out of his car seat and a hysterically grumpy (worst little morning person ever…gets it from me…very proud) toddler who is forced to walk in a rush several times a day…my oldest son and I decide to be brave…

We decide this on the same day as our very first kindergarten play date and we are both very excited…until we are actually stuck in that school line of cars at drop off…

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