Category Archives: Life as a Mom

I Don’t Love Everything About Being a Mom

Not everything about motherhood, not everything about being a parent, is sunshine and rainbows. Sure, we like to pretend that it is. That’s the way that it seems when you see all the selfies and perfectly style bento boxes on Instagram, but no one takes pictures of the less than happy moments, the incredibly hard moments. Heck, I don’t, and I don’t blame others for not doing so either. Why would I want to permanently document those moments?

I love my kids; I do. However, I don’t love every minute, or every second, that I spend with my kids. I know that probably makes me sound like a horrible parent, and I know some people will probably judge me for it, but yesterday I had one of those days when I didn’t love everything about being a mom. 

I feel so guilty writing that, but it’s true. It was just a bad day. How is it possible that I can love these two little people so much, how is it possible that these two little people who make my heart explode with so much love and laughter, can be the same two people who make me feel so awful at times? It doesn’t happen often, but it happened yesterday.  And I hate myself for feeling that way. 

Because Cayia is so little and helpless, I find myself expecting more of Porter these days. I have to constantly remind myself that he’s only two and a half. He still needs me, and there are still things that I can’t expect him to do, standards that I can’t expect him to meet. He’s not five; he’s not ten; he’s not a teenager; and he’s certainly not an adult.  He’s two, and there’s still a lot that he doesn’t understand about the world. 

We are in the midst of potty training Porter and while there have been a lot of good days and proud moments, there have been incredibly frustrating ones as well.  Porter was having a day yesterday when he just didn’t feel like sitting on the potty, a task that seems so easy to us, but it’s a task that is still new and confusing to him. For the past two and a half years of his life, he’s been able to go to the bathroom in his diaper. That’s what he was used to; that was his normal. And now here we are turning his entire world upside down when we are asking him to forget everything he has ever known about going to the bathroom. I found myself getting frustrated with him when I should have shown more patience and understanding.  Now that it’s a new day,  I can remind myself of that, but yesterday I wasn’t able to.  

Porter loves to play with Maggie’s toys. He loves to throw them for her, and he loves to tease her with them. They often have a lot of fun, and it’s endearing to watch.  However, yesterday when I was feeding Cayia, Porter threw one of Maggie’s hard rubber balls and it hit Cayia in the head.  Cayia immediately started crying; I knew it must have hurt, as it probably would have hurt even me.  Porter immediately sensed her discomfort and exploded into a fit of tears. “Mommy! Cayia is crying! Baby Cayia is crying!” He climbed up on the couch and his eyes quickly darted to mine as he tried to figure out what was going on. I found myself feeling angry at him, even though I knew it wasn’t his fault, even though he didn’t mean to hurt her. I took a deep breath and tried to console both of them. I tried to have a calm conversation with Porter as I explained that he had to be more careful and that he couldn’t play around baby Cayia like that.  I blamed myself, though. I was looking down at Cayia when it happened. Had I been looking up and been more aware of both of my children, I probably could have prevented it from happening. Now that it’s a new day, I realize that it wasn’t my fault, but yesterday, I was convinced that it was. 

Porter doesn’t always take an afternoon nap. He has his days when he goes down easily, his days when he fights it, but eventually falls asleep, and his days when he downright refuses. Even on days when he fails to take a nap, he usually will play in his room for at least an hour. He likes to read books, sing, count, and say his ABC’s during this time. Yesterday, however, he decided to destroy one of his books. When I walked into his room after I was finally convinced he wasn’t going to take a nap, I could see that he had torn out most of the flaps from one of his flap books. He seemed upset and asked me to fix it.  I found myself feeling annoyed because he had done this himself, and it wasn’t something I could fix.  Now that it’s a new day, I can brush it aside and laugh, but yesterday, I could not.

At one point yesterday, I had asked Porter to do something and he downright refused and said no.  He likes to say no a lot lately–though it used to be “no way” and at least we’ve gotten him away from that.  When Porter refuses to listen to something we ask him to do, we often place him in timeout for a few minutes. This is what happened yesterday when he refused to listen to me.  After a few minutes, I went over to him and knelt by his side. I had a conversation with him that David and I have had many times before. I explained to him that when Mommy and Daddy ask him to do something that he needs to do it. I told him that it makes Mommy very sad when he doesn’t listen to me. Even though I was calm, I felt frustrated, but I was trying not to show it. Usually when we are upset with Porter, he sticks out his bottom lip and pouts. He doesn’t like when we are upset or disappointed with him. Sometimes he even cries, but what he did surprised me. He leaned over, gave me a hug, and said, “I love you, Mommy.” What should have made me feel over the moon, made me feel awful. It was the first time Porter had said “I love you” without me saying it first, and it seemed that he said it in attempt to make me feel better because he knew I was sad and upset.  

Now that it’s a new day, I can recognize that as parents we all have those moments and those days when things just don’t go as planned, but yesterday, I felt like a failure. While I can recognize that nothing of what happened yesterday makes me a bad mother, I still have tears in my eyes as I recall what happened.  

Do I love my kids more than anything in the world? Of course. Do I feel so lucky to be their mother? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean I love every second of being a mom.

I hope admitting this makes me normal. I hope it makes me honest. I hope it means that I’m realistic as I continue on this journey we call parenthood. 

Being a mom, being a parent isn’t easy, and I never expected it to be, but I am grateful that I have more moments of joy than moments of doubt, more moments of bliss than moments of despair, and more moments of patience than moments of frustration. 

 

Life with Two and Random Ramblings

I can’t believe Cayia is already 7 weeks old. It seems like this summer/my maternity leave has flown by, and in a few short weeks I’ll be starting school again and back at work. I have mixed feelings about this. I love my job, but gosh, I’m not ready to be away from her for so many hours during the day. 

I never shared Cayia’s 1 month photos, and here she is almost 2 months <insert crying emoji here>. Anyway, here are some of my favorites. Hopefully I can post her month 2 photos in a more timely fashion.

1month-15 1month-98 1month-89 1month-57 1month-27 1month-50 1month-29

Life with two is, well, tiring. Tiring, but awesome. There are hard moments, terribly hard moments when I feel like a failure, but there are also times when I feel like this having two young kids thing is a breeze.  If I can manage to get an hour where the kids’ naps overlap, I feel like I have won an Olympic medal. If I ever get brave enough to take them both to Target and survive, I will feel like I’ve won the lottery. 

My house is never, and I mean never, clean. The laundry is literally never ending–especially with cloth diapers.  Whenever I do get them to nap at the same time,  I run around frantically as I try to unload the dishwasher, vacuum the floor, put away blocks and puzzle pieces, and fold what seems to always be 87 burp cloths as fast as possible before I hear the “Mommy. Mommy. Mommy.” over the baby monitor. The house gets “clean enough” and for now, that will just have to do. I’m having a rough time, because I tend to look around and freak out about the mess, but I’m trying to learn that this is all just a part of parenting and the way it’s going to be for the next 18 years at least. I also try to make sure I at least have a decent meal on the table come dinnertime, but sometimes I’m lazy and cheat by ordering pizza or making grilled cheese. 

Porter has been so incredibly awesome about his new role as a big brother. He loves his baby sister so much–so much that it literally makes my heart ache at times.  The first words out of his mouth are usually “Where is baby Cayia?” and he often comments throughout the day at how cute she is. If she’s wearing a tutu or something with a ruffle–like in the picture below–he’ll announce that “Baby Cayia [is] a princess!” It’s the cutest thing ever.

PrincessCayia

AwesomeBrother

Awesome Brother Tee

He also likes to give me a play by play of what Cayia is doing. “Cayia is sleeping,” “Cayia is eating,” and “Cayia is crying” are heard multiple times a day. If I’m burping her, he comes over to gently pat her back. If I’m nursing her, he often climbs up on the couch to snuggle with us. 

At 7 weeks old, Cayia is a pretty happy baby. She’s been sleeping relatively well, though I can’t wait for her to start sleeping through the night (Porter did this incredibly early, so I was spoiled with him!) We run a flexible version of Eat, Play, Sleep that Baby Wise is known for.  I’ve never read the book, so I don’t know how close it is to the real thing, but I try to keep her up at least an hour after eating. This is how I was able to get Porter on a pretty predictable schedule. It’s somewhat working, but she doesn’t wake up at the same time every morning, so our schedule changes every day. 

Porter is still refusing to eat at least one meal a day. We can always get him to eat breakfast, as it’s his favorite meal (just like me.) He likes anything that goes with syrup and will eat four toaster waffles and three sausage links if we let him.  Lunch and dinner is always hit or miss (but usually a miss.) Sometimes he asks for a “peanut butter and jellyfish” sandwich to only refuse it three minutes later. One evening at dinner we couldn’t get Porter to eat anything and David hypothetically asked, “Porter, what is your deal?” and though Porter had no idea what David asked, his answer was quite fitting and comical when with a straight face he said, “I’m two.” 

In other Porter news, we’ve attempted to start potty training him and I have no idea if anything we’re doing is working. We’ll see how the next few weeks go, as I was really hoping to get him (mostly) potty trained before I went back to work. If I feel like I have anything worthwhile and not totally useless to share once this is all said and done, I’ll write a separate post on it. For now, let’s just say there’s a lot of bribery with Skittles going on.  This someecard is unfortunately pretty fitting. 

pottytraining

Well, that’s all for now. Time to reheat my coffee from this morning. XO

Dear Porter, (You’re a big brother!)

While I was pregnant with baby #2, I often worried about how a new addition to our family would affect Porter and my relationship with him. I worried that it would somehow mean that I would love him less because I would be sharing my love with another child. I worried that he would feel jealous or resentful of his new brother or sister. And while I realize it’s only been a short three and a half weeks since Porter has officially been given the title of big brother, I have been so amazed at how he’s reacted to it all. 

Some people warned me about how Porter might react. Others gave me advice. But no one ever told me that it would somehow make me love him more. I didn’t think it was possible to feel any more love for my little boy, but somehow, I do. 

Porter and Cayia

Dear Porter, 

You’re a big brother. Can you believe it? On June 2, I left for the hospital, and even at the age of two, there was still plenty of baby left in you. On June 3 when you came to visit us in the hospital, every ounce of baby was gone. It was like you grew up over night, and when your sweet voice yelled “Mommy!” at the sight of me, my heart swelled so much I was sure it was going to burst out of my chest. 

You’ve turned into a miraculous little boy, and though you’ve only had twenty three days of experience, you’ve turned into a fantastic big brother, too. 

No, you’re not perfect (far from it.) You do throw tantrums. Just the other day you hated life because you wanted a bigger plate at breakfast, and getting you dressed into real clothes out of your pajamas each day is a real battle (for some reason you grow very attached to whatever pajamas you wear each evening and throw a fit when we try to take them off.)  You get time outs when you refuse to clean up your toys, and most nights we’re lucky if we can get you to eat more than four bites at dinner. 

But, you love your sister. 

When we come to get you out of bed in the morning, the first words out of your mouth are usually “Where is baby Cayia?” Though, admittedly, sometimes that is the second phrase that you utter as some mornings you ask for faffles (waffles) for breakfast first.  You recently learned the word cute and you probably tell me at least twenty times a day that “Baby Cayia is cute.” It warms my heart. When she cries, you try to console her by saying “Okay, baby Cayia, okay.” and I know you’re trying to tell her that everything will be okay. I can only hope that when Cayia starts dating in fifteen years and she gets her heart broken for the first time that you’ll console her just the same (while at the same time assuring her that the boy who broke her heart is an idiot and worthless.) 

I worried that you would feel neglected and that you would feel jealous of the attention we’re giving to the baby, but so far, you haven’t acted that way at all.  You seem to understand your role as a big brother, and you have memorized the words to the Best Ever Big Brother book we have been reading to you the past few months.  

Even though Cayia has only been a part of our lives for twenty three days, I’m excited to see her grow and change into the little girl she’ll become. I know a lot of moms dread seeing their babies grow up– and trust me, I feel that way, too–but I look forward to discovering and learning all about this new little human. I can’t wait to see who she becomes because I’ve seen who you have become, and you continue to amaze me every day. 

I love how when you choose a toy, you share your internal dialogue with us. We often hear you say “Let’s see here…” as you peruse all your options. 

I love how excited you are about your surroundings. I’ll never get tired of your commentary as we drive in the car. “Ohh, big truck!” and “Red means stop and green means go” and “Mama, the trees are pretty” and all your other little phrases are my favorite. I also love how excited you get when we go underneath a bridge. You never fail to ask. “Mama, more bridges?” 

I love how when making a decision, you sometimes put your finger to your chin and declare “Hmmm…” as you think. I have no idea where you picked this up, but it’s adorable. 

I love your recent fascination with hide and seek. I love even more that you peek whenever you’re the one who’s counting. 

I love how you say “Bwess (bless) you” when we sneeze, and it’s especially cute when you say “Bwess you, baby Cayia” when your little sister sneezes.

I love how you cross your legs and tap your foot when you’re sitting on the couch.  Somehow this makes you seem so grown up.

I love how you get out your toy vacuum whenever I vacuum. You exclaim that “Porter wants to help!” and you truly think that you’re helping Mommy clean the house.  I just hope that this continues into your teenage years. I’m sure I’ll need and want the help then. 

I love how seriously you take your role as second man of the house. You mimic Daddy and like to rattle off demands to Maggie. Whether it’s “Sit!”, “Lay down!” , “(Pee) in the grass!”, “Maggie, come!” or “Eat, Maggie,” it’s adorable that you think she’ll listen to you even though she’s taller than you are. 

I love how independent you’re becoming. You climb in and out of your high chair on your own, and you can even climb in and out of your car seat. You are so proud of yourself and know that this makes you such a big boy. Whenever we go to brush teeth, you exclaim, “Porter try!” because you want to do it all by yourself. 

And while you’re such a big boy and gaining independence, you still sleep with a blankie, and lately, you sleep with your toy tractor, too, and we let you because we think it’s so adorable. It’s even adorable when you wake up at two a.m. looking for your tractor and we can hear you over the monitor saying, “Tractor, where’d you go?” and this is saying a lot because every minute of sleep at this point is precious. 

So, yes, you’re a big boy, and I love the little person you’ve become, and while all the baby may be gone from you, you’ll always be my baby. 

Thank you for filling our hearts with so much joy, Porter. And thank you for loving your sister.  You truly are the best big brother. 

Porter and train

Happy Birthday, Cayia June: A Birth Story

I love love love reading birth stories. You can read Porter’s here. I’ve been writing Cayia’s birth story over and over in my head, and I’ve written bits and pieces here and there when I’ve had a few minutes, but I finally had some time to put it all together. Looking back, the whole experience seems surreal, like it didn’t actually happen to me. It’s hard to remember all the details, but I wish I could have recorded it all so I could replay it in my mind whenever I’d like. 

My due date was May 31. Even though Porter was four days late, I never thought in a million years (forgive the cliché) that I would have a June baby. I was already 2 cm dilated at my 35 week appointment. At my 37 week appointment, I was 3 cm dilated. At my 38 week appointment, I was 4 cm dilated. I know dilation doesn’t always mean anything, but the baby was already really low and I was already feeling a lot of pressure in my pelvis region. Due to all of these things, I was so confident that Baby Blythe #2 would appear sometime in May.  Of course, she proved us wrong, and decided to arrive two days after her due date.

On the evening of June 1, I started feeling a few very mild contractions. They weren’t forming a pattern, and they weren’t very painful. I went to bed feeling fine and woke up a few times throughout the night with a few more mild contractions, but I was always able to fall back to sleep.  Between 5 and 6 a.m., I woke up to some more contractions, but again they were very mild. However, they started forming a pattern (about 9-10 minutes apart) so I thought maybe I was in the beginning stages of labor. I told David what was happening and I got out of bed at 6 and jumped in the shower (just in case this was the real thing.)

I obviously couldn’t time them while I was in the shower, but by the time I got out, it seemed like they were easing up a bit. I continued to time them, and was disappointed to find that they were all over the place. While they were consistently between 30 seconds to a minute long, they were ranging anywhere from 3 and a half minutes apart to 12 minutes apart. Patterns would form, but only for short periods of time.  They were increasing in intensity, though, so I decided to get ready and eat breakfast. I knew that if I really was in labor that it would likely be my last meal for awhile.

By 7:30-8:00, I was getting really frustrated because the contractions were getting worse, but there was no consistent pattern. I was told not to go to the hospital until my contractions were 5 minutes apart, lasting for 1 minute for an entire hour. I was worried that if I went to the hospital that they would send me away saying that I wasn’t in labor. Finally by about 8:30, I was in enough pain that David convinced me that we should just go. I was already 4 cm dilated, so I knew that my labor was likely to be a lot faster (or at least I hoped.) Plus, I knew that second births in general tended to be quicker. David said, “I’d rather us get there too early than too late.” I knew that after my labor with Porter that I wanted an epidural, and I didn’t want to miss that opportunity.  My sister was in town, so we got her situated with Porter, I hugged Porter goodbye, David packed our bags in the car, and we were on our way.

onlychild

I took this selfie with Porter right before we left.

When we arrived at the hospital around 9:00 a.m., we were immediately led to a labor room and to our surprise it was the same room that I had Porter in. Not only that, but the same doctor was on call, and we even had the same labor and delivery nurse, Tina. With Porter, I had two different nurses due to a shift change. We adored our second nurse, and we were thrilled to have Tina help us again.

I got gowned up and hooked up, but I wasn’t admitted immediately. My contractions were still all over the place and were not holding a consistent pattern. When Tina checked my cervix, I was still 4 cm, so no progress was made.  So, we decided to wait a bit to see if things progressed so that I could be admitted or if I was to be discharged and sent home.  My contractions were getting more and more painful, but they were still manageable at this point.

Around 10:30, Tina checked me again, and I was dilated to 5 cm, so it was apparent things were progressing and I was in true labor. My contractions were getting closer together, too. Around 11:00, I was officially admitted and I made my request for an epidural. Up until this point, I couldn’t have an IV and the epidural could not be ordered because it wasn’t certain whether I would be staying. Shortly after being admitted, Dr. Murphy came in to break my water, and at this point, I was around 6 cm. It was discovered that the baby had had a bowel movement in the womb (just like Porter had—which is common when babies go past their due dates) so it was determined that NICU would need to be on board when the baby was born.  Minutes after Dr. Murphy broke my water, my contractions significantly intensified and grew closer and closer together. David held my hand through each one and assured me that I was doing a good job.  As Dr. Murphy was leaving the room, she said, “Well, I think we’ll have a baby around dinner time.”

babyday

I posted this picture to announce that I was in labor. This picture was obviously taken in between contractions, and thank goodness for Instagram filters. 

Tina started an IV, and we were told that it wouldn’t be long before I could receive the epidural.  When it had been almost an hour, and my contractions were getting more and more intense, I finally asked if I could have some pain medication administered through the IV to take the edge off.  I only had to wait a few minutes before receiving the IV pain medication, and I immediately felt some relief. It was around this time that according to David I had a “mini breakdown.” I started to think about Porter and couldn’t help but to feel bad for him. I couldn’t stop crying because I felt like Porter was going to be mad at us for giving him a sibling. I know he’s still young enough that he’ll never remember when he was an only child, but I still felt bad. David assured me that he wouldn’t be mad at us and that he would love his baby brother or sister. I also talked to my sister at some point during this mini breakdown and she, too, assured me that Porter would be fine.  Shortly after receiving the pain medication, I suddenly felt like I was going to get sick.  I felt extremely nauseous and had to slow down and control my breathing in order to prevent from throwing up.  Finally around 1:00 I received the epidural and I felt immediate relief. My Dad also showed up around this time to bring David lunch.

Around 1:30, I started to feel some pain. I thought it was weird because after receiving the epidural with Porter, I didn’t feel anything. It was enough pain that it was making me uncomfortable, so we called Tina in. She gave me a boost in the epidural (I can’t remember the official term she used). We waited for a bit to see if that would help, but the pain and pressure I was feeling just kept getting worse. Around 1:45-2:00ish, we called Tina in again. She emptied my bladder and hoped that it would relieve some of the pressure I was feeling. It didn’t really help, so she checked my cervix to discover that I was about 7cm. Throughout all this, I had a group text message going, as I was trying to keep my close friends updated. I looked back at the text message and I had sent a message at 2:06 giving my friends the update that I was at 7cm.

The next bit is kind of a blur. The pain and pressure I was feeling kept getting worse, and while I couldn’t feel my contractions, I was in quite a bit of pain. When we first arrived at the hospital, we didn’t bring our belongings up, so we sent my Dad to the car to get our camera. In the short time that my Dad was gone, we called Tina back in because with the pressure I was feeling, I just felt like something was wrong. She checked my cervix again, and said that I was already 10 cm. She said “Okay. Let’s have a baby.” She then called NICU and the doctor and told them it was go time. My Dad came back with the camera and David told him what was happening and sent him on his way.  David made a few quick calls to other family members to keep them in the loop.

At this point, some other people came into the room to prepare for the baby’s birth. One of the nurses was Taylor, a girl whom David and I went to high school with.  Taylor and I had been in contact for a few days, and I was so glad that she was going to be there for the actual birth.

During my next contraction, Tina had me push. I couldn’t feel how effective the push was, but I wasn’t very confident (as I pushed for over 2 and a half hours with Porter.) I asked her if the push did anything and she said, “Oh, yeah.” Taylor and Tina assured me that I was doing a good job, and I remember feeling grateful for their encouragement. Tina made another frantic call to NICU and the doctor and told them that they needed to get there. At my next contraction, Tina had me push again and told me that she could see “this much” of the baby’s head. She held up her two hands and formed about a four inch circle. I couldn’t believe the baby was so close. She told me that I absolutely could not push during my upcoming contractions and that “This baby was coming out.” She made one more call and told NICU and the doctor to get there now. It was difficult to not push during my contractions, as I had the extreme urge to do so. As I couldn’t push, I sent a quick text to my friends at 2:33 to announce that I was 10 cm.

Finally, Dr. Murphy showed up and she quickly scrubbed in. As another contraction was coming, we prepared to push again. I pushed three times during that contraction. After the second push, Tina yelled at me to look down. The baby’s entire head was out, and after the third push, at 2:56 p.m. the baby was completely out. Someone quickly put the baby on my chest, and my head was spinning because I couldn’t believe everything had happened so fast. Later David told me that Tina announced that the baby was a girl, and while I worried that she may have ruined it for David, David told me that just seconds before he had seen for himself. David also announced it was a girl, but I apparently didn’t hear either of them. I was so focused on looking for myself that I completely tuned out everything else around me.  

I was not surprised to see that the baby was a girl, as that is what my gut was telling me throughout my entire pregnancy. In fact, towards the end of my pregnancy, I was so convinced that it was a girl that I started referring to her as Cayia in my head. 

Someone (I don’t know who) asked if she had a name. I announced that her name was Cayia June and someone whisked her away to hand over to NICU. All I could hear was “Hi, Cayia June!” and “Happy birthday, Cayia June!” and “She’s beautiful!” I was crying and trying my best to see what they were doing, but my head was still spinning. I do remember hearing Cayia crying and I also remember seeing them suction out her nose and mouth.  David kept saying how much she looked like Porter, and I couldn’t agree more. It seemed as if they were exact clones of one another!

Porter week 1-40

Porter just minutes after birth (12/28/12)

birth-12

Cayia just minutes after birth (6/2/15)

As the NICU was taking care of Cayia, David was snapping pictures. They announced her birth weight as 7 pounds 10 ounces, which was Porter’s exact birth weight as well. Her length was measured at 20 inches (so just ¾ of an inch shy of Porter’s length.) Cayia also earned 9’s for both of her Apgar scores (just like Porter had.)

birth-23 birth-50 birth-47 birth-27

After what seemed like forever, Taylor asked if I wanted to do “skin to skin” and I said yes. They finally brought her back over to my chest, and I tried to memorize every inch of her. I absolutely couldn’t believe she was here. While it felt like I was going to be pregnant forever, it all seemed worth it, and I couldn’t believe how much I already loved this little tiny human. When I was pregnant, I wondered how I could love someone as much as I loved Porter, but somehow, it’s possible.  

birth-87 birth-60 birth-73 birth-117

David made a few calls, and some of our family members didn’t want to know the gender/name until they arrived at the hospital. Some family members wanted to only know the gender, but no one wanted to know the name until seeing the baby.

Within an hour and a half or so, my Mom, David’s parents, my Dad and my sister all arrived. They weren’t all there at the same time, as there was some trading off with Porter. We stayed in our labor room for a long time (Taylor was spoiling us!) and just enjoyed this beautiful new addition to our family.

birth-151 birth-105

 Cayia June, we are already so in love with you! 

To read a little about Cayia’s name, go here.