Thursday, October 31, 2013

The First Week

I'd be lying if I said this past week was easy. Giving birth is never easy on anyone, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally. The normal healing from childbirth has gone well for me. That feeling of terror when I brought home my first child has thankfully not returned since then. Though the newborn stage is unpredictable, I find it enjoyable for the most part. After a week, I feel well enough to not need naps or any medication for pain.

I had something new to deal with this time around that made the first week almost unbearable for a few days. I feel I must write it all down to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else! I felt pretty good when I got home from the hospital, but things changed by the next day. I started feeling pain in my stomach, as if I'd been punched in the gut, and I completely lost my appetite for food and drink. I couldn't sleep because of the pain, so I was exhausted during the day, hardly able to get off the couch. I was baffled and completely devastated that something like that could happen to me when recovery had otherwise been going so well.

I received several blessings that gave me comfort and promised healing. It was still a hard wait. On Monday afternoon, I visited my doctor and he was able to prescribe medication for reflux. It still makes no sense to me why I wasn't feeling heartburn at all. I sure did throughout my pregnancies, but I managed it with Zantac. The reflux always went away right after delivery, but I guess it was different this time. I should be able to stop the medicine once my hormones settle (haha) and my insides get a little more normal. I still can't believe how much pain that it caused and yet how effective the medicine has been. I was worried that I was never going to want to eat again, which caused me a ton of grief. I love food! I'm so glad to feel hungry again.

Katie is as mellow as a newborn can be. She's almost always sleeping, unless she's eating or looking around contentedly. With all my eating issues, I was afraid she wouldn't gain weight as quickly. However, she was back at her birth weight by 6 days. The boys got back to theirs at 4 days, so not too bad!

The boys seem to love their sister and are usually gentle with her. Kenny loves to say, "Hey, KK!"It's adorable. They've both been fighting with each other a little more this week, but it's nothing I can't handle. Boys will be boys!

Joseph has decided to give up naps, even though I know he could use a little sleep. I can tell he really wants to be a big boy, so I let him do quiet time while Kenny naps. Kenny naps better without Joseph goofing off and keeping him awake, so the days are much more peaceful now. Thankfully, I don't need naps anymore since the quality of my sleep has greatly improved! :)

I'm so grateful for my new daughter. Though she isn't the first child, she is still such a miracle. I'm so glad she came to our family. I'm already seeing miracles happen that will let us pay for all the medical bills.

And speaking of miracles, our ward has been incredible. We received meals starting the day Mom left (Saturday) and up through this week. My RS president, who isn't young, came and did all the housework for me on Monday when I wasn't feeling too great. Katie has received many gifts and well wishes. I've run out of thank you cards twice already!

I couldn't be more grateful to be well and past the first week. Transitioning from 2 to 3 isn't so bad. I think each addition gets a little easier and harder at the same time. God is certainly watching out for us, and I am grateful. Now that I am feeling normal (and in regular clothes - boo yeah!), I hope to take a lot more pictures of this sweet girl, starting with Halloween today. And that is all for now. Next week will definitely be a lot more calm; I'm sure of it!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Katie Anne Head

Having done 3 births now, I totally give up with trying to predict anything that's going to happen or make plans! Here's why.

I was a couple of days late again. My doctor and ultrasound had both predicted that I'd be early - for once - but I didn't really believe it since it has yet to happen. It turns out that I was right to assume I'd make it to my due date again. We went to Church as always and just kept waiting. I felt some contractions that almost felt real that day, but they stopped.

Monday was a pretty normal day. I got lots of cleaning done, went on a walk with my mom and the boys, and even mowed the lawn since I felt TOO good for having a baby due. Haha. Nothing worked, at least, it didn't seem to do anything but make me tired and grouchy.

The next morning, I definitely woke up feeling labor pains. This was Tuesday, so I was 2 days overdue, technically. The pains started at 3 a.m., just like with both the boys. The contractions were hitting every 6-7 minutes and went on until 1 p.m. when they stopped.

I was pretty annoyed at this point. I know it was the real thing. I've even read that longer labors can pause and start up again. I went to my doctor's appointment and I'd dilated some since the previous week, so I wasn't imagining things! He stripped my membranes (this was 4 p.m.) and I went home feeling pretty hopeful.

Everything started where it left off at 6 p.m. I took a nice, long bath in my jetted tub and hung out with James and my mom until 11 p.m. We went to the hospital and checked in. I was pretty annoyed at that point because the nurse acted like she might send me home since I hadn't changed from 3 cm. We walked around the hospital for an hour, and then I was at a 4. I hurt pretty badly by then and was grouchy as can be since I hadn't managed more than an hour of sleep since 3 the previous morning. (I'd tried, but I just couldn't sleep through the pain even though they were mild contractions.)

I got an epidural around 3 a.m. and spent the next few hours in warm, tingly bliss. By 7 I felt I needed more medication, so they dosed me up twice more to make it stronger. I'm sure glad I asked! Katie was born at 7:51 sunny-side up. Unlike Kenny, she didn't turn around, so her head was a really funny shape. I could still feel plenty - enough to get the job done. She weighed 7 lbs. 11 oz., so a little bigger than the boys, and was 20 inches long. Since her birth, she's been as calm as can be and asleep for probably 20 of the 24 hours. I know that will change, but it's been great for me to get some rest, even in a hospital bed that makes me sweat like crazy. I feel pretty good after some sleep and a hot shower, plus real clothes that aren't maternity.

Joseph definitely loves her and keeps asking to hold his sister. Kenny just points and says, "Baby! Baby!" I don't know if it will sink in until after we get home, but I predict some jealousy on his part since he can still be a Momma's boy.

I can't wait to go home and enjoy this little lady. She's really cute with lots of dark hair, something I didn't expect at all! The boys were both blond. I wonder if her hair will get lighter or stay brown.

And now that we've been home...

She still sleeps a ton! Last night she slept for 8 hours straight. It's hard to catch her awake so far, but when she is, she's very calm and likes to look around. I feel a little bit less like I got run over by a truck, but recovery is always like that. (I wish I got to take advantage of the 8 hour stretch, but I was in too much pain to sleep well!) So far, she reminds me a lot of Joseph as a newborn - pretty much the most mellow personality you could give a baby. We're so happy to have her around.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Easiest Quiet Book You'll Ever Make (For Church!)

Most quiet books I've seen look pretty hard to make. This is a no-sew version that also makes good use of some things you probably have lying around your house.

Materials:

binder
page protectors
old copies of the Ensign, New Era, and/or Friend
scissors or paper cutter
tape or glue
scratch paper (full sheets)

1. Carefully tear out pages that have desirable pictures on them. I use only full-page pictures, but there are plenty of those to be found.

2. Trim rough edges.

3. If it's a smaller picture, tape/glue it to a blank piece of scratch paper. A full size picture doesn't need paper behind it unless you want slightly thicker pages.

4. Insert pages into page protectors.

5. Place pages in binder.

Voila! You now have a beautifully illustrated book for Church that your child can look at and enjoy. Since none of the pictures have many (if any) words, you get to tell the stories.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Week 39

My fatigue grows and so does my grouchiness. I never remember being this tired until I reach this point, but it overwhelms me every time. Each day I do a little less to try to conserve my energy, but I still come up short. Lots of things put me on edge more than usual: phone calls, whining, cleaning, sleeping.

I know you have all been there, and if you haven't, you don't want to be hearing about it from me. :)

I'm officially due Saturday or Sunday (depending on if you go by LMP or U/S). I've had the most typical of signs that labor is near, but knowing that doesn't mean much. I've never yet had an early baby, so I'm not expecting to wake up in labor tomorrow. All I know is to expect that it will all take a long time again, around 24 hours of labor, and that some part of it is going to hurt a lot even if I get drugs. Everyone's story is different. My body just likes to hold on to these babies for as long as possible, I guess. It doesn't give them up easily.

I'm not writing again until my dear daughter is born. I promise I won't be away from technology for very long. I'm not one to keep secrets and wait to announce the birth of my child. Until then, I will be sleeping through as much of these grouchy days as possible. James doesn't have school for the rest of the week and Mom arrives tomorrow night - hurrah!


Friday, October 11, 2013

A Review of Homemade Beauty Products

I used to think that making your own beauty products was something for hippies. If that's true, then you can call me a hippie now. :)

A friend of mine gave me some ingredients for making homemade deodorant, and I was intrigued. They were all things I'd heard of before and actually all edible. Making beauty products out of ingredients safe enough to eat has to be better than what was in the stuff I'd been buying before.

I've provided links to the recipes I used. I also priced things out so you can see the savings! My normal purchases were very cheap before - the off brand, not-so-amazing stuff from Walmart. Ingredients like coconut oil are pricey up front, but since you use so little, the cost is actually minimal.

1. For washing my face (which actually isn't very often), I use the oil-cleansing method. I can't say enough about it. When I break out, I do it for two days and see vast improvement. I've used harsh chemicals in the past, but they smelled bad and made me break out even worse. I highly recommend trying the OCM! My friend Cindy writes about it here. Cost of prescription I used as a teen: $1.05 per oz. Cost of the OCM: $.33 per ounce, and it actually works! I have yet to use up the original mix of oils that I made.

2. For lotion, I gave up on store-bought stuff. I didn't like how it smelled. Applying it almost every day still left me with flaky skin. Now, I use a little bit of coconut oil 1-2X a week. It smells really nice and works a lot better. Since I use so little, it's cheaper! Cost of lotion: $5 for 2 months. That's having to apply every day. Coconut oil: $2 a month (or less). That's for a tablespoon per application used 2X a week, and it works a whole lot better!

3. For shampoo and conditioner, I tried out the "No-Poo" method. I gave it my best shot for three whole weeks, but I just couldn't get it to work for me. I stopped shampooing every day about a year ago, and my hair has gotten considerably less greasy since then. It took a little bit of adjusting, but now I only wash my hair every third day.

4. Homemade hair gel sounds crazy, but I promise that it works really well. I recycled a spray gel container I had from before. Cost of gel from store (7 oz.): $4. Cost of homemade: $.25 (for 8 oz.) The only downfall is having to keep it in the fridge, and it only lasts for 2 weeks or so, so I recommend making small batches at a time.

5. I can't rave enough about homemade deodorant, the recipe that started it all. I love it. It has a very mild smell, not a horrible flowery smell or chemicals. It takes 5 minutes to make, stays just as solid as regular deodorant (unless it's incredibly hot, but it won't leak from the container), and I use less of it. Make some today! If there is only one beauty product you make yourself, let this be it. Store deodorant: $5 for 2 sticks. Homemade: $3.25 for 2 sticks. It does stain shirts a little bit, but it's minimal compared to what my other deodorant did: no more crusted on stuff, just a little yellowing. I've not tried this recipe with essential oils yet.

I haven't gotten around to making mascara again. I got the wrong aloe vera gel, so it didn't turn out well. When I try it and have success, I will write about it! For now, I've been too lazy to wear mascara more than once a week.

Have you ever tried making your own beauty products? Tell me; I want to hear about it!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

This Week

I can't help but be grateful for good health. I mentioned a few weeks ago that my boys had both gotten bad diaper rashes - the worst I've ever seen! After those were better, they both got colds. Joseph has since recovered, but James and Kenny sound like they're coughing out their lungs. Kenny thew up in his crib some time last night. Poor little guy! James has thrown up a few times this week, but only in the evenings. I'm pretty sure it's all related to the cold/intense coughing. (He's gone through almost a whole bag of cough drops!)

So yeah...I can't complain much, because I'm the only one who hasn't gotten sick. (Knock on wood.) I don't know how that's possible, because I know I've been more than exposed to the germs. James is pretty wiped out by the time he gets home from work, so we both have spent a lot of time lying on the couch while entertaining the kids. My energy level keeps going down, but I know it happened when I was pregnant with Kenny. I didn't do a whole lot that last month except lounge around, so I'm definitely at that point. I feel terrible for my boys. Kenny has been really whiny, and both he and James wake up coughing pretty hard during the night. :( I hope everyone is well by the time the baby's born, because I definitely don't want her to get sick! I wish someone would just cure the common cold.

My dad is coming to visit today and tomorrow since he had meetings in Salt Lake this week. I'm glad he gets to come. We're just going to hang out, and he's going to fix the ice maker on the fridge and tune up my washing machine. Hopefully I will have some energy tomorrow because I also have a baby shower. A lady in my ward is doing it for me. I wasn't expecting one at all, so I'm definitely going to end up with a ton of stuff for the baby. (Remember how I went yard saling at the beginning of summer? Yep.) I'm looking forward to meeting and hanging out with the ladies in the ward. I've been way too tired to attempt going to play group. I feel a little bad, but I also haven't remembered to ask James to arrange a ride to work so I can have the car. Buckling two kids into car seats and in warm clothes and shoes takes forever! And that is why I go grocery shopping alone on Saturday mornings. :)

I'm going to make it. My doctor was funny when he said that he thought I'd be early. I'll believe it when I see it. I told him my doubts, since I've never had an early baby, and he said, "Well, it's the look on your face." My reply was, "What: the look of being tired of being pregnant?" and he just laughed. The nurse said she thinks that baby has dropped, but I don't think that means much either. I carry a little lower each time, which just means that my belly pokes out further and I get less heartburn - a huge blessing after Joseph, because he was brutal to my ribs as well. I never have any signs of labor coming until it actually starts, and then I have a whole day to wait before the baby is born. Never fear, I will keep everyone updated when it happens. I suspect I will be at home for the greater part of labor, just like last time, and that it will still be close to 24 hours. I'm okay with that. I think this body just likes being pregnant and doesn't want it to end. I, on the other hand, am ready! I want to meet this girl!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Cheap Dates

Yup, that's us. We go out sometimes, but that's gotten a lot harder with two little kids. At-home dates are pretty fun. Since there are already a whole bunch of ideas out there, I'm just going to share the ones we've come up with ourselves.

(Disclaimer: You may not appreciate these as much if you're not a nerd!)

Our dates almost always have a theme. I think it makes them really fun and easier to plan. I love being creative even though it's hard to come up with ideas sometimes.

We always try to include the following:

1. Food. What kind of date doesn't have food? It's not usually dinner, but a snack or dessert.

2. Dressing up. If the theme permits, we try to dress up, even if it's really goofy.

3. Decorations...sometimes. They're usually pretty simply and made of supplies we already have on hand.

4. Activity. This usually means a game, movie, or creating something like a song or poem, or a combination of any of these.

Fun Date Ideas

Harry Potter: eat eye of newt (olives), Bertie Bott's (Skittles), dragon dung (no bake cookies), Polyjuice Potion (green smoothie), dress up in bathrobes, play HP Scene It

Red Hot Date: wear something red, watch a movie with a red cover, eat jalapeno hummus and buffalo popcorn

1/2 Date: make and eat 1/2 of a dessert, watch 1/2 of a movie, write 1/2 of a poem and finish each other's, discuss why he/she is your better 1/2

Percy Jackson: online translate a note from English to Greek and back to English to see the funny translating, javelin throwing contest (dart board), eat no bake cookies (ashes of killed monsters), write your own myth in ode form to sing around a campfire

High Class: dress up fancy, choose strange (but classy) baby names for a future child, play cards, have a "ball", travel somewhere exotic using Google Earth flight simulator

I know there have been more, but we haven't kept a record of them all. (I didn't remember all of these, but I looked through our scrapbook so I could!)

What do you like to do for dates at home? Any great ideas to share?


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Growing Up

baby Kenny at 9 months old
When I got pregnant with my little girl, I already had a baby in the house. Kenny was 9 months old at the time, still nursing, and only knew a few words other than "mama" and "dada". He didn't even crawl yet! I can't believe how much that little guy has grown up since then or that he'll be a big brother in a matter of weeks.

Kenny weaned to a bottle at a year and now takes a cup after a few grumpy days this week. I'm so proud of him! Bottles were almost like pacifiers to him, because he'd walk around the house with one hanging out of his mouth.

He's had his 2nd haircut - no more curls! :(

He plays and interacts with Joseph and knows more than 50 words. I lost count a while ago. He can use a few short sentences.

He walks! Finally! I was beginning to wonder if it would ever happen, but finally did at 16 1/2 months.

He sits facing forward in the car. I was recommended to rear face for 2 years (though the law still says 1 year), but since we have a Corolla, I made the switch this week to be able to accommodate 3 car seats in the back. Yes, they will fit safely! I'll have to take of picture once all 3 kids are riding in the back. It's going to look ridiculous when we go on any trips.
big boy Kenny, almost 18 months old
Kenny loves books, just like his big brother Joseph. They both fight over which ones I'm going to read. Kenny's favorite is King Bidgood's in the Bathtub since it has a song to it.

He's also getting pretty good at fine motor skills, important things like putting Duplos together and eating with a fork and spoon. (For him, it doesn't mean any less of a mess during meals, just a more organized one!)

He's old enough for Nursery as of this Sunday! Since it's Conference, he will have to wait a week.

It's a great relief to me that I'm not completely robbing my baby of being a baby. He's definitely a big boy now. I have to wonder where all the time went, because it seems that his baby days (even before I was pregnant) flew by twice as fast as Joseph's. If that's the case, I don't know how often I'll get to stop and think about baby girl. Perhaps I'll manage to get a few pictures before she turns 21.

Until then, I wait for the glorious day when this pregnancy is over!