Where were they taking my tiny, perfect, little human?

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Last years New Years I was still reeling over the disappointment that we weren’t able to go to Sweden for Christmas.

The days leading up to the holidays were spent in a hospital bed instead of an airplane to Europe. I was also hugely uncomfortable and even if I knew the baby needed to “cook longer”, I just wanted him out!!
As a mama of a preemie I obviously didn’t mean that, and I  regretted feeling that way immensely when (at my breaking point- the water broke) he showed up almost a whole four weeks early!

I remember feeling soo over my pregnancy once the “hoopla” of the holidays were over and January said hello! The month dragged out like a nightmare full of “whale-like” insomnia, heartburn, vomiting (hello again), backache, leg craps, Braxton Hicks, itchy skin (driving me absolutely nuts, especially at night) and shortness of breath (scaring me to tears and having me sleep upright in bed). My thyroids were out of whack and I was a swollen, peeing hippo of a mess!

Come February, I remember talking to my mom about being so over (and done) with it, knowing I probably had to wait until the end of the month for my 39 week induction at least…

I proceeded to take a nap and then my (nasty greenish) water broke  all over the place…

Thinking back now I never wanted my baby to be early or to be in distress (obviously) but I can also remember being so extremely uncomfortable and huge -and luckily baby boy ended up being okay after all the worry and drama!

Our baby had inhaled the meconium in the amniotic fluid which means he had swallowed his own poo. The NICU team was on stand by but it was a good sign that our baby cried as he came out! He did however have a  blue complexion and his Apgar score was low (only a 6 out of 10)…

I think I was too exhausted to get what was happening but the nurse told me that they would have to rush him out to check his lungs and probably do a procedure where they clear his lungs so that he can breathe better. I didn’t have the energy to freak out (wait, “procedure” does that mean surgery on a 10 minutes-if that-old newborn?).

There was a lot going on in that labor and delivery room. They were concerned about my flu and pneumonia possibly transferring it to baby, the meconium he inhaled and his blue coloring, slightly labored breathing and low Apgar score…

I remember vividly how they fiercely (almost violently) rubbed him warm, they even slapped him on the behind (I’m not kidding), wrapped him in warm blankets and while under the heat lamp they gave him a sugar solution in a dropper….

The two nurses were able to get his Apgar score up to an eight and I could finally let out the breath I didn’t know I was holding. I knew enough from previous births (and from my daughters Apgar score being low as well being born six weeks early) that an 8 is okay and he would hopefully be just fine!

The NICU team unfortunately had to take him anyways but everyone assured me that he would be okay, that they would check in and that my husband could go home to the other kids-there was nothing we could do anyways.

I didn’t get any food (sorry, it should be the last thing on my mind but since I hadn’t eaten since breakfast and it was ten o’clock at night I was starving) because the kitchen had closed and there would be no food service until breakfast…

The night nurse coming to escort me back to my new room told me they might have some yoghurts, crackers and other snacks available on the 3rd floor.

A NICU doctor came to have me sign some documents for baby boy. She explained that he was under some stress when inhaling the meconium and that they had to clear his lungs but they would give him to me right after the procedure, and I could try to nurse him.

A male nurse came to help the night nurse move me from my labor and delivery bed to the one on wheels to “push” me to the next floor and my new after delivery (perinatal) room. He was going to help lift my legs because of the epidural but since it never worked I had full mobility and feelings in my legs and could easily swing them over to the moveable bed. He was shocked asking me how come I could move around and put pressure on my legs if I had an epidural (that just does not happen if the epidural works)  I could even go the bathroom (after the catheter was out)  completely on my own. This feeling (literally) was completely new right after childbirth!

I kept asking for my baby once I reached my new destination and all the nurses, wearing face masks and protective gear because of my flu, told me he would have to stay in the NICU for awhile after his procedure and because he came “a little early” and since I was sick.

I felt so lonely and empty and my arms were acing for him…where was this tiny, perfect humans I had just given birth to? And why wasn’t he with me?

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…

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…

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!!

First comes Halloween…

But of course I do- expose myself and my son to that “school drop off car line” again…but not for a very, very long time.

At first drop offs are back to finding an extremely limited spot insanely early in the school’s back parking lot. Sit and wait for what seems like an eternity while at least two out of three kids are screaming their little heads off, while trying to read e-mails and leave important voicemails (no one is answering their phone at this hour and honestly I wouldn’t have been able to hear them if they did), and let’s “face” it; checking Facebook!
Then march in (usually) extreme heat (always worse at pick up) or pouring rain (by the end of the year) with a very specific and demanding kindergartener in one hand, a hungry (always) baby bouncing (getting heavier and heavier) in the carrier and a tantruming (more often than not) two year old in the other hand. Following the exact same procedure at pick up (except then we are also stuck and kept from leaving the school until all the cars in the car line disappear…a good 30-40 minutes later…(not kidding, wish I was).

This has now become our daily routine and even though we don’t have much of a Fall per say here, the leaves do change colors and it slowly gets a little colder-at least at night.

Halloween creeps up on us way too fast and I can’t believe my son has been in school this long already. This is his absolute favorite holiday and as soon as October is here, he starts talking pumpkins, bouncy houses, candy and ghosts. The highlight is of course the dressing up in costume part! Since his school won’t let you do that, it’s up to me to figure out what to do for Halloween and where to take the kids trick or treating!

I offered to take pictures at my son’s kindergarten class school party! Like mentioned, they are not allowed to dress up or have candy but it is surprisingly festive anyways. The kids are so darn cute (hate people under 65 who say that, or even worse; “they are so daaarling”) but they are. Trusting and sweet and so excited to do their little poses for the camera and show off their art work and their classroom. You just get the feeling that these genuine traits disappear more and more the oldest they get and it’s almost like you can’t think too much about it, or you’ll get really, really sad.

We go to a neighborhood Halloween party at the clubhouse (which surprises me as well with how great it is-nothing like the summer BBQ fiasco where a bunch of old people ate really bad food and nobody was dancing to the poor live band, which was actually quite good). This even had a ghost house, a picture kiosk, a bouncy house, a costume contest (as well as a golf cart contest) and lots of treats and goodies! We were just excited to be able to go as the “Disney Family” and entered the contest as such!

I was just really excited to provide my oldest with some real Halloween fun IN costume but of course all he wanted to do was going door to door actually trick or treating. Something our neighborhood apparently does NOT do…

Thankfully we could rely on good friends living in an awesome trick or treat friendly neighborhood!

While my son got his fun, running ahead with his little friends, our little ones were both scared and exhausted, neither wanting to be in the stroller. It was worth it in the end though with all the candy we got (soo stealing the peanut M&Ms).
We did donate most of it to the troops a day later even if our son just tried to give away the candy he didn’t like-and you know the candy that wasn’t candy… like fruit, gold fish and Rice Krispie treats… (so proud).

The highlight of our Halloween however was this grand party that I randomly got invited to. Thank mommy, family- except that is not exactly true. It’s baby boy that we all should thank!!! He totally got us all invited!!

This sweet mom from our oldest’s school invited us to the best costume party ever, solely based on loving our youngest! His smiles and his flirting got us a really fun night! Everyone from Donald Duck, to Goofy, to the two Minnies and the littlest Mickey Mouse had an amazing time. The family hosting the party’s house was seriously a massive mansion you only see in the movies and from the valet parking, to the hired magician, to the craft table, the good food (OMG the food), to the dance floor and DJ, it’s fair to say we never wanted to leave. Even our little (ice) princess had a lovely time dancing and giggling dressed up as her favorite character! Overall a great first Halloween at our new location with all our babies!

Once Halloween is here, it’s like you blink and then it’s Thanksgiving and Christmas- seriously the Fall disappears in a fog of holidays and I’m always left wanting time to stop, or at least slow down enough so we can enjoy it more…

I wish Christmas would go as well as Halloween, our oldest wakes up with 104 fever on Christmas Eve (the day we celebrate), our daughter wakes up in the foulest mood ever, the baby will not stop nursing and the stove top stops working-and we’re (I’m) hosting Christmas this year (for the first year ever) for the entire extended family…

 

 

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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