I think I already mentioned that I have a good block of time to myself in the mornings, after Jacob leaves at 5:30. The kids don't usually get up til at least 9. I like to if my hair and put on a dab of makeup and do my nails sometimes...it makes me feel a little more put together and presentable. As a mom I think we could all use a little time to ourselves to feel like we still matter, outside of being mom...if that makes any sense.
So this is what I did this morning...it makes me smile. :)
Btw, I don't totally blow *all* my time on vanity, either. ;) In my opinion, spending a little time on me helps me feel nice the rest of the day.
For the first couple of months after Chloe was born, we had a pretty rough time of it. Starting at a few week old, Chloe would stay up at night and cry. Most of the time I didn't go to sleep until 2 am. I would just stay up and rock her. There was one time she and I didn't go to sleep until 5 am. Couple that with the fact that Aaron just doesn't like to take naps and I was completely exhausted. The sleep deprivation, along with adjusting to two kids under two (actually under 14 months!) made for a very tired mama....not to mention the emotional draw of not being able to soothe your crying baby! At the time, Aaron was still nursing to go to sleep, so more than once (ok, nearly every night...) Chloe would be crying on one side of me in the bed and Aaron would be fussing on the other side and I'd just lay in the middle and cry. This is NOT how I pictured tandem nursing! I always liked the idea of cuddling up with the kids in bed...but that's just different when you're a few weeks postpartum and you've got a toddler in between you and hubby and you can't get the baby to sleep so you have to get up and rock her but you have to nurse the older one to sleep first...and hubby feels frustrated and helpless because he wants to help but he can't. Life just isn't always how we picture it! Don't get me wrong...I love my life and I finally worked the kinks out (well, some of them...) but it's doggone hard sometimes!
I really said all that to say...it passes. Chloe now sleeps very well. Last night she slept from about 10 to 7:30 without waking up once. It probably helps that she REALLY likes her thumb now. Every night I'd be rocking her and I'd be crying half the time because I couldn't figure out how to make her happy (sleep deprivation makes you crazy) and I just wanted to be curled up next to my husband sleeping...but even if I was in bed with him I wouldn't be next to him because I couldn't figure out how to get Aaron to sleep alone (still working on that one)...but then I'd try to think about it in the grand scheme of things. I have two healthy babies. I know people who would give ANYTHING to be up at 2am rocking a crying baby. And then I felt horrible for even being frustrated at all.
We got throught that, but every season of life has struggles, I'm coming to find. Right now, Jacob is gone about 60 hours a week working. That's a lot of time apart. Like I said earlier, I still have trouble getting Aaron to sleep on his own and there are many times I get so frustrated. But then, he's not going to be this little forever and one day he'd rather die than curl up next to me and scoot even closer in his sleep. Every morning I wake up at 5am with Chloe right up next to me on one side, and Aaron right up next to my other side. I ease out of bed so I don't wake anybody up and Jacob and I cuddle on the couch with a cup of coffee before he leaves. Jacob leaves at 5:30 and most of the time the kids don't get up until at least 9, so I have a large block of time to myself in the mornings.
My dad asked me a couple weeks ago how hard it was, having two this close together. Actually, I've got this. It's not really that hard for me at all. I think it will be harder once Chloe gets a little bigger. She's really a great baby, very happy most of the time. She sure loves Aaron...she just watches him and laughs. Aaron kisses her all the time and tries to share his toys with her. He doesn't really understand why she doesn't want them! I can shop with both of them easily...thanks to the Ergo carrier. That's a real life saver! So I don't have any trouble having two so little. My biggest stuggle right now is wanting more time with Jacob! But this is only temporary...
Btw, any tips for getting a 17 month old to sleep alone? I cut out the nursing completely now but the kid just will not sleep! We rock him and lay him down in his crib and he pops right back up. I can stand there until he goes to sleep and when I tiptoe out, he can hear the tiniest creak in the floor. I played music for him to cover the creaks and that helped for about a week. I guess creaks sound different than Mozart! The only way we can ever get him to sleep in his crib for even a little while is to get him to sleep in our bed and then wait until he's REALLY good and asleep and then try to move him carefully to his crib. Even then he only sleeps til 1 or 2 and the we have to put him in our bed to get him back to sleep. These days he's been staying in our bed because we all fall asleep soon after he does and Jacob doesn't want to have to wake up to get him in the middle of the night. We tried letting him cry and he will cry for as long as we leave him in there. It's horrible!
So, this was all totally random wasn't it? My thumbs are worn out now...lol! Finish up with a picture... We really need a family picture taken!
Here are few of my favoritest pictures of my favoritest people...
Aaron's 15 months now and Chloe's 6 weeks old today. Aaron really likes her a lot and tries to help if she cries...he'll kiss her or try to pick her up (yikes...good thing she's too heavy for him!) or give her toys (we're working on being gentle!) or standing over her imitating her hollering, or, if all else fails, just looking very confused! He's figuring out new stuff all the time and it's a lot of fun watching him learn new things.
I'm finding my own groove and the past week has been great...I guess I'm getting the hang of this now. I've been getting up two or three hours earlier than Aaron (he just sleeps really late most of the time now) and Chloe goes back to sleep soon after I get up, so I have some time alone. I've been able to keep my house really clean, laundry all caught up, supper always made, and I've still had time to do "fun" stuff that I like to do...read or knit or sew, mainly. So, I've never (ever, ever, EVER) been a fan of getting up early but it's growing on me. I feel better if I get more done too, so it makes me happy, which seems to make everyone else happy. You know, if mama ain't happy...lol!!
My garden is mostly done now, but I have a ton of peppers to pick, hopefully today. Our four okra plants went crazy and when we got sick of eating fried okra, I started battering and freezing it. I've never done that before so I hope it turns out ok. I have over three gallon size bags of it in the freezer now...and I'll have more soon! I'm wanting to plant some fall stuff soon...maybe next week sometime.
Gotta wrap this up and get busy...hope y'all enjoyed the pictures!
If you're not on Facebook you might have missed this so I figured if better blog a little blog. A baby blog. :) About a baby.
Monday morning, July 28th, our family of three became a family of four. Chloe Elaine Ellis was born just after 5am and weighed 8lb 5oz, 21 1/2 inches long.
Aaron doesn't really know what to think and he's been spending a lot of time with his aunts and uncles until I feel better.
Labor this time was harder in general...I had close intense contractions from about noon Sunday until she was born, but I only pushed for 9 minutes instead of 6 hours...a definite plus. I definitely need to go to the chiropractor because I had excruciating back and hip pain while in labor, pretty close to unbearable towards the end. It all gets hazy thinking back on everything (Jacob says his mom told me everything was ok and I said "NO it is NOT!" Oops) but I remember sweating because it hurt so bad.
Anyway, it over now and I feel like I am significantly less sore than last time. I didn't tear at all (gotta love not pushing there at the end! Gggrrr!) so that makes things better!
I think everyone is still in shock because she's a girl. Everyone keeps catching themselves referring to her as him! There hasn't been a girl on my side since I was a baby! I'm not sure I'll know what to do with a little girl! I have a feeling I'll figure it out though. :)
Aaron is 8 1/2 months old now and he's crawling around like crazy and getting into everything. He started pulling up a lot too. In general, he's just getting very big! He's a major mama's boy right now...we feel attached at the hip! There's worse things than having a cute little boy hanging onto you all the time though. :)
So here are a few recent-ish pictures.
And like I said, into everything!!!
Oh and here's my Valentine's Day gift from my man.
If everything continues to go well, Aaron will be a big brother sometime around early August. I'm about 16 weeks pregnant...surprise! I feel much better this time around...I was only really sick one day a few weeks ago and I was sick nearly every day for the first trimester when I was pregnant with Aaron. I'm still nursing Aaron (although he does eat some of what we eat...anything and everything I give him, so far) so it feels like I'm starving all the time!
So anywho, there's a little update, and the big news. :)
Now that Aaron's six months old, maybe I should write about how he got here! If I can remember everything, in the right chronological order, anyway!
One day in early to mid May, I thought for sure my water broke. Turns out, embarrassingly enough, it wasn't my water...just a baby head on my bladder. I can't tell you how funny my husband thought that was! I was significantly less amused. This was about three weeks before I ended up having Aaron, and that's when I had my first exam from the midwife. She said then that I was 3cm dilated, 80% effaced, and she could feel the baby's head, and since we all thought it was my water breaking, she told me I'd probably be having the baby soon! (We realized it wasn't my water when a couple days went by and absolutely nothing happened...we weren't worried because you continually produce more amniotic fluid, so there was no chance of the baby running out, and we were careful to prevent infection, while we thought it was broken water!)
So anyway, that got me on a major high, because I really thought I was having a baby any day. Any stinkin' day. Aaaaannnnyyy day now...for three weeks! I went on like that for two weeks, and I'd have a few painless cramps every evening when I went to bed, but nothing serious. After two weeks of that, I started having crampy feelings one morning and got really excited! THIS is it! Well...out came the midwife again, she checked me again, and I was 5cm, 90% effaced, baby's head was RIGHT there and engaged....but then nothing else. The cramps went away again. They came and went for days and days. I had dilated all the way to 5cm without really having any painful contractions at all! Some of them were a little uncomfortable and they'd keep me awake sometimes, but nothing I'd consider really painful. (We decided later I have a high pain tolerance, I guess.)
At almost a week past my due date (which was May 29th,) I started some natural labor getter-goings. I took fenugreek, evening primrose oil, and ended up taking castor oil a couple days before I actually went into labor. I've heard horror stories about the castor oil, but it didn't really do anything to me...I'm so weird! I don't think any of that really did much.... I also walked. And walked. Not a mile or anything...more like four. For a few days. And nothing happened! The good thing (and somewhat frustrating, at that point,) is that natural things to get labor started just won't work if you're not ready to go into labor yet. It's not like medically inducing at all.
So, after weeks of dilation and cramps and impatient waiting, I woke up June 5th with something different. The midwife had told me that if I woke up with "contractions" that wouldn't go away, to take a shower and see if they went away then. I got up around 4am and got in the shower and had four of them in the 20 minutes I was in the shower. (Yes, I've been told I take long showers.) I went back to bed and laid there for a while and I was still having contractions but they weren't really timeable, because they weren't regular and I couldn't feel any kind of peak really. I was a little bit hesitant to call my midwife again, because I'd called her with false alarms a few times and I really thought this would be like the other times...they would eventually go away. In the meantime, Jacob had gotten up and went on to work...he asked if he needed to stay home, but I really didn't want him to stay home and then it be nothing again! (At the time he was working over an hour away.) I laid around til 9am or so and finally did call the midwife, after I'd had contractions every 5 minutes for an hour. She was surprised and said they (I had two midwives...the main one and an assistant) would be on their way soon. Since I wasn't going about this "right" (no textbook labor for me! I'd been in labor for 3 weeks already!) we had no idea what I'd do next...if I'd go really fast since I was already halfway there, or what! I was just sure that once they got there and checked me, I'd be all the way dilated and ready to go...the contractions I'd had for the past few hours were definitely different and more uncomfortable, though I still wouldn't call them really painful.
Well, once the midwives got there, got settled and moved in, and checked me, I was all the way to....SIX stinkin' centimeters! And then once everyone got there (midwives, mother-in-law, mom, and one of Jacob's cousin's wives) my contractions pretty much stopped. I'd have one every 30 minutes, if I was lucky. I kept on like that for a couple more hours...very irregular if anything. We were just having a party sitting around and talking and laughing and eating. After a little while of that, the midwife checked again and I was 8cm and my water broke for real then. So we called Jacob and told him to hurry on home...now! (It had to be soon, right?!) That was around 1pm, June 5th. (He said he told his boss I was 8cm and my water broke and his boss said "you better hurry!") I guess he got home around 2pm (times are kinda fuzzy...) and still nothing. I was walking and going up and down porch steps and doing a little bit of everything to try to get this thing going...and nothing was happening! I still wasn't having regular contractions at all!
In the meantime, Jacob went and got some pizzas and we still just sat around having a big party, laughing and cutting up. I would have a contraction every now and then, and they were more uncomfortable, but still not horrid labor pains like I'd heard about. My midwife would watch me and could see when I was having one, but other than that, there weren't a lot of indicators to everyone else. I mean, I wasn't screaming or anything!
By about 10pm, I was all the way dilated and still didn't feel like pushing at all, but they had me start pushing some, to try to stimulate pushing contractions, I guess. (If I had it to do over, I'd have waited until the real thing...seeing as I still had so long to go. It really wore me out.) It wasn't too long before I was pushing my guts out about every 2 minutes...I did eventually start having regular pushing contractions. It started hurting more then, and that didn't go away! I pushed and pushed and pushed...and not much was happening. The midwife said I had an issue with a cervical lip, so she had to hold that back while I pushed. Ow. Like super ow. Once that was out of the way, Aaron got stuck behind my pubic bone. She couldn't really do much about that, so I changed positions a lot trying to get him under that. We finally got past that and I pushed and pushed and there still wasn't anything happening. She said there was some muscle in there that wasn't stretching like it was supposed to and they tried to stretch it while I pushed. Super Super Ow!
This whole time I was pushing my guts out, I was sitting up in our bed, with someone holding my legs up for me to push against. By the end, I was pulling on my mom, who was sitting in front of me, and Jacob's mom, his cousin's wife, Jacob, and the midwife were all rotating who would push against my legs. (The Amish assistant midwife was in the living room watching a movie and crocheting..LOL!) Apparently, I'm like super strong, and everyone was sore after my labor...my mom had marks on her hands from me grabbing her to pull! My wrists were hurting a LOT, because every time I pushed (every 2 minutes, if I was lucky) I would slide down, so I'd have to push myself back up. At some point, Jacob sat behind me for a long time and I'd sit back against him, so he'd pull me back up after every push. He was really sore the next day too! I'd read a lot about the advantages of different positions in labor, and I knew that sitting up in the bed wasn't ideal, but I couldn't really do much else. I tried hands and knees but that was excruciating and I absolutely could not push in that position. I also had to be in a position that offered the midwife easy-ish access, because she was trying to hold that muscle back while I pushed.
After pushing like this for so long (by now it was 3am or so) without getting anywhere, the Amish assistant midwife mentioned something about the hospital. I knew without a doubt that I did NOT want to go to the hospital and I think the first time she said it because she thought I wasn't giving it everything I had. She was wrong about that, for sure. Someone asked her if she was serious and she said something about "well, if she can't have it..." My main midwife didn't feel there was any need to consider a hospital...no one was in any danger (she kept monitoring the baby the whole time,) I was just exhausted! I knew what would happen if we showed up in the ER after I'd already been pushing for 4 or 5 hours and my water had been broken for 18 hours! I would have had a c-section for sure. At that point, everyone but my main midwife started to get a little concerned...I'd been at this for a long time, I was beat, and nothing was happening. She put me on oxygen to revive me a bit then. Everyone left my room and started praying and calling everyone we knew to start praying. While everyone was still out of the room, I was still pushing and my midwife called everyone and said they might want to come on in there now....she was seeing the head! It took about 20 or 30 more minutes (I think...?) before I got him out. Jacob caught him and it was so amazing...he was really excited! He'd been really concerned and just about couldn't handle seeing me like I was. Aaron was born at 4:54am, Thursday morning, June 6th. I tore a tiny bit and didn't need stitches...I just stretched too fast at the last minute... Turns out, Aaron had his hand up by his head the whole time, which is what made everything so slow and hard! Somehow, his elbow was sticking up too, because the back of his hand was up against his temple...figure that out! (Put the back of your hand by your head and see where that leaves your elbow. Yeah.)
Aaron didn't want to nurse much right away but he hasn't hardly stopped since. He was 7lb 13oz and 21 inches long.
I am so happy I had Aaron at home. As slow as I was progressing, I know I would have had "intervention" had I been in a hospital. Even though there was a time when I was beyond exhausted and couldn't see progression at all, I knew I didn't need intervention...I knew that I could do this. A woman's body was designed for this very thing, so I knew it was possible. I wouldn't give anything for the relaxed atmosphere we had here all day while we waited for my body to do it's thing. There was no tension to stall things (like I needed anything to stall anything!) and we had a lot of fun, just hanging around! With the exception of the last few, tough hours, we all laughed and cut up more than anything. Maybe this is TMI (but isn't that the definition of a birth story?) but during one of the checks to see about the cervical lip, someone said something really funny and I just laughed and laughed and the midwife said "oh, that helped!" It was just so low-key and happy and exciting! I am so thankful for my midwife and how she kept cool even when things went slow...we'd ask her how I was doing and she'd say "oh, there's progress..." Now maybe she couldn't see any progress and was just trying to make us feel better, but it worked! :) They ended up being at our house for about 20 hours or so.
So, labor was hard and long and hurt like crazy (at least the last few hours!) but I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Here at home, of course! :)
I found a blogger app for our iPhone so I can at least post a few pictures every now and then. I wouldn't expect long posts though, if I were you...typing isn't all that fun on here!!!
That's it for now...all I have on here. Now that I know I can post from the iPhone, I'll try to get more pictures.
Aaron is two days shy of 5 months, and no, I don't know how that happened! He's about 20 pounds already and is just the cutest thing EVER.
Since the most common question seems to be "does he sleep through the night yet?" I'll answer that. He will, if I let him, but I try to wake him up for personal reasons. :) He is still completely breastfed and will be for a while.
I love using cloth diapers and can't believe how expensive "fake" diapers are! I do use disposables at night, so we do buy a pack every few weeks, but using them all the time sure would add up!
Aaron already sits up pretty good...I try to spend a lot of time sitting with him in the floor and he does well. I don't know how long it will be before he crawls, but when he's lying on his tummy, he already gets up on his knees and rocks. It's super duper cute. :)