Monday, November 2, 2015

Welcoming Weston Charles!

It’s probably a testament to the whole “second child syndrome” that it’s taken me a month to sit down and write this. If I’m being honest I think today might be the first day in a month that I haven’t had to squint to see through the lack of sleep in my eyes. And, it should be said that I’m existing this way because I sat (not laid) down on the couch with Weston and accidentally woke up two hours later. So, the introduction to welcoming Weston could be summarized as; having two kids is hard. I realize that there are millions of people who do it and even more who have more than two kids but I say this with the utmost sincerity… I have no idea how you do it!

Back to one month ago …
I began noticing some contractions as I dropped Nora off at daycare. They weren’t yet painful so I headed to work for the morning, and quietly tallied the contractions  during meetings and conference calls. Around noon I decided that I should head home.

Once home I finished sending emails for work and even took a nap – knowing that if things continued to progress I would need the energy. Once I woke up, I finalized plans for Nora and went for another walk as Andy made his way home and my doula, Melissa, headed to our house. Everyone rallied at our house around 4:30 which is when I think active labor really picked up!

I was so thankful to labor at home for a few hours. It was nice to chat between contractions and to feel comfortable as things progressed. One of my favorite moments was when – between contractions – Andy asked Melissa and me what it all felt like. I’m not sure either of us were able to give him a great description – I think we likened a contraction to a Charlie Horse?

Photo by Heart Shot Photo

Around 6:00 Melissa began to talk to us about heading to the hospital. All through my pregnancy I was nervous about getting to the hospital “too early.” Because I wanted an un-medicated birth again, I feared I would think I was further along than I was and head to the hospital earlier than I would prefer. Melissa, being the expert she is, was tasked with helping me determine when to go to the hospital. And, despite my knowing that she is the expert (for a reason), I still felt she was crazy when she began urging us to get moving!

During the first part of the drive to the hospital, I talked with Andy about how I didn’t want to be frustrated if I hadn’t progressed very far, and by the end of the drive that whole conversation was null and void. As we pulled into St. Luke’s my contractions were coming one on top of each other and it was clear that things were picking up.

Photo by Heart Shot Photo

We checked into triage around 7:00 pm and I was 6 cm dilated. At some point we moved to a labor and delivery room and the nurse asked if I wanted the doctor to break my water. I discussed the pros and cons of this with Melissa and ultimately heard “it will get more intense but will be over more quickly.” The doctor arrived pretty quickly, checked me (8 cm) and broke my water. He also made the comment that he’d “wait outside the room” as it was clear things were moving quickly.

Melissa was once again correct, the contractions did get more intense but it wasn’t long before I felt the urge to push. This was a huge a relief as I never got this urge with Nora (and subsequently pushed for almost three hours). The nurse was very relaxed as I began pushing and allowed me to push on my side. Multiple people in the room told me excitedly that I would be meeting my baby soon and I didn’t believe them. I was wrong. After about three contractions with pushing (and twenty minutes after they broke my water), Weston Charles Wendling was born!

Photo by Heart Shot Photo

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to describe the feeling I had when they placed him in my arms. Weston was born about an hour and a half after labor intensified and we arrived at the hospital which meant I got to experience the rush of joy without the exhaustion from a long labor or prolonged pushing. I was ecstatic to meet our son and was overjoyed by the love I saw in Andy’s eyes. We made it. We made it through yet another full-term pregnancy and an un-medicated birth to finally meet our son.

Our last appointment with the doctor we have been working with for over three years – the one who saw us through fertility tests, surgery, a confusing diagnosis and now two high-risk pregnancies – was the Wednesday before Weston was born. Unlike when I was 38 weeks pregnant with Nora, I was able to have a sensible conversation with her (beyond “get this baby out!”). It felt significant to have a reflective conversation about how far we’ve come. She reminded us that the odds were stacked against us both in terms of getting pregnant and carrying two babies to term!

It’s crazy the way the lack of sleep, countless nonsensical conversations with a toddler and the overall chaos that exists with small kids clears the memory of the pain that infertility can cause. The gratitude comes back in quiet moments when you remember how you thought you’d never get here. 

November 6, 2013 was supposed to be the date when we would have our implantation for a round of IVF. Almost exactly two years later we have two healthy kids under the age of two. We blinked and created a family – against all the odds.

Photo by Heart Shot Photo

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

To my girl...

Dear Nora James,
Tears overwhelm me as I write this. You see, you’re going to get a baby brother soon. Within weeks, for sure, and days, if your mama is lucky! This means I'm very emotional - and that your whole world is going to change. I swear it will change for the better in the long run, but in the short-term, it’s going to be confusing. You’re going to wonder why I can’t pick you up every time you mutter the syllables “up-pees.” You’re not going to understand why I’m not as quick to jump out of bed and wish you a good morning or why your dad is doing the “night, night” routine with you more often.

Believe me when I tell you that I’ve gulped in every look at your cute, chubby face the last few weeks. I have given you more kisses on those squishy cheeks than you or I could possible count. I have savored all the moments that have been just the three of us. From you spilling milk all over the table to you pulling off a somersault with your dad in the middle of the living room floor. I’ve done this because I know as soon as your brother gets here, you’re no longer going to look like the baby I remember. You’re going to look like a big girl, and we’ll then be treasuring our party of four.

And, like most things, I’ll be feeling all of your emotions with you. I’ll be excited, don’t get me wrong, but I’ll be confused too. We’ll find our way – much as we’ve done for the past 17 months.

What I know for sure is; above the sweater I received one year from American Eagle (that I desperately wanted), and far above those True Religion jeans I got on a separate year, the greatest gift my parents ever gave me is my siblings. And, I’m excited to give you a comrade to play with, commiserate with, and, ultimately, probably complain about me with!

From confusion, little lady, we’ll get to a new normal. And, I promise, we’ll do it together!

Love you!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Letter to the Little Man

Dear Baby Boy,
You’re so close to officially joining our family and we are anxiously awaiting your arrival. Your dad and I are curious about what you will look like, what your personality will be and if your sister will ever let you wear clothes (as she refuses to let her “baby brother doll” do). And, you, I’m sure have your own plans… to keep up the kicking and punching outside of the womb, to sleep soundly through the night at 1 week old (right?) and, ultimately, make our family complete.

But, let me tell you what a ride we’ve already been on.

You chose to make your presence known when we barely had this whole parenting thing down, and during the most challenging phase of my career, so far. And, buddy, I was scared! But you knew what you were doing all along. The thing I’ve learned about parenting is that you little people teach us bigger people far more than we could ever teach you.

I believe you came to us to make our family complete, yes, but also to reinforce the importance of balance. You’ve put in long hours with me – and kicked the computer off my belly multiple times! You’ve been a constant reminder that while work and ambition is admirable, there is plenty more to life than the success we may find at the office. You have forced me to pause. You have required true prioritization of my time and energy. And, you’ve helped me laugh and shrug when things aren’t in accordance to my plans. 

So, little buddy, thank you. Thanks for showing up when I didn’t know I needed you. Thanks for being ours! I promise that the chaos we will welcome you into, is a good chaos. And, I swear we will try our very best to teach your sister what “gentle” means.

You and me, buddy!

Your flawed mama

Friday, April 17, 2015

Dear Nora

It’s almost your first birthday and that means this first-time, pregnant-again mama is getting emotional. It’s hard to believe that you’ve been in our family for a year.  And, yet, you have fit in with us so seamlessly that it’s easy to know you’ve always been in our hearts.  There are a few things I want you to know now that I’m an expert mom {ha!}. I’m writing them down as a reminder to both you and me when our future selves are doubting.
  • Being a mom is hard, but not really as hard as some people will want you to believe. If you choose to become a mom one day, know that people will make parenting sound scary and intimidating. And, it is, but you have it in you to be the person you need to be no matter the challenge you are facing – parenting or other.
  • Sorry for… accidentally biting your finger when we were playing, pinching you when putting your pajamas on, not realizing you had thrown up in your crib soon enough, forgetting to change your diaper on a long car ride, dropping food on your head during the days that you stayed content in the Baby K’Tan, your dad pinching your finger in the rock and play (we’re lucky your fingers are all still intact), and everything I’ll do in the future that isn’t quite right. You deserve better and I’m getting better all the time.
  • Your name means “light.” And, I described you as full of light long before I knew that. Don’t let anyone dull that light.
  • I wet down your cowlick every morning. I think the spirited curl that sprouts on top of your head because of it might calm down once your hair gets longer. Truthfully, I hope it doesn’t, because I love it.  Regardless, I hope you’re always confident in the beauty you were born with. From the curl on top of your head to your curious spirit to the freckle on your knee to the seriousness in which you make your point to those killer eyes, you’re beautiful.
  • You have a really good dad. You know that today. Your light is brightest when he’s around. Don’t forget it in 11 years or in 24 years. Keep talking to him. Keep reading with him. Keep building that relationship.
  • You are skeptical and slow to trust others. I get it. So am I! But, girl, you have a lot of great people who love you, so go ahead, and let them in!
  •  Keep sharing things you love {Gerald} with others.
Photo by Heart Shot Photo
But, most of all, always know that we love you. We cut your bananas up into tiny little pieces for fear you might inhale them too quickly. I have more awkward “pumping” stories than I have time to tell. You didn’t get a blanket in your crib for a ridiculously long time. Your dad still gets scared when you walk on tile. Remember these things when you’re frustrated with us. They may be strange ways to show it, but we love you more than you know right now.

Love, Mom

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Planning for Suprises

I’m a planner at heart. Sure, I appreciate spontaneity, but I prefer to plan to be spontaneous. When we found out I was pregnant with Nora, it was surprising, yes, but we had been planning to have her for years.  I had no idea we would get pregnant at the exact time we were planning to begin IVF, but pregnancy was obviously in our plans.

Further, I struggled with pregnancy. The planner in me just wouldn’t be quiet. How could I plan for the potential risks that existed within my pregnancy?  And having my ideal pregnancy, labor and delivery? Well, if I’m being honest, I definitely didn’t understand that might be our outcome. Thankfully, it was. Thankfully, we have a healthy little girl. 

But, I needed time after that nine months of uncertainty to adjust – to adjust to the uncertainty that exists within being a parent. To come to a better understanding that life is good great, and sometimes when you plan for the worst and hope for the best, it really does happen.

So, what am I trying to say exactly?  Well, I had planned to come to terms with the idea that Nora may be it for us. That one little girl, full of light, might be the extent of our family. We had hoped to give her a sibling, but, we honestly didn’t know if it would happen. And, frankly, I was leery of pushing our luck. 

Well, while I was making my plans, someone or something was laughing – insistent on teaching me a lesson about planning and over-thinking everything.  I forgot that when they say your fertility is 50%, ultimately, it’s a crapshoot.  And, while half the time it’s impossible to get pregnant, the other half the time, everything works perfectly.

In short, Nora is excited to become a big sister in the fall of 2015.

I could say that I have no idea how this happened.  But, truthfully, I didn’t skip that day in sex-ed.  So, theoretically I know how this happened.  But, how could we be so lucky to experience a true surprise with this little one?  I’m not sure.

Here’s to relinquishing control.  To two under two! {gulp!} To my family of four! {smile}

Cheers, everyone!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

This is 30.

I woke up on the morning of my birthday to the sound of the alarm on my phone.  And, it was alarming because it wasn’t the sound of a little one jabbering in her bed.  Then, there was a feeling of excitement knowing that she had slept through the night despite a cold that has been wearing her down. 

This is 30.
I got out of the shower in time to hear the jabbering that I had missed at 6 am.  And, it wasn’t long before that jabbering turned to crying.  The crying lead to a conversation regarding to daycare or not to daycare.  And, that conversation quickly changed to a comparing of calendars and a decision on who could afford to stay home and who could not.

This is 30.
There was coffee with said crying baby on the hip while dialing up the doctor for a last minute appointment.  There was a quick hand-off of the baby before rushing to the office for a few meetings.  There was a double ear infection confirmation and the commencement of antibiotics.  There was a change of plans from a lunch date to take-out and another quick hand-off.  All before noon.

This is 30.
The thing is, this is definitely not twenty.  This is chaos that I’m so thankful for.  If it wasn’t for a career that I’m blessed to have and love, I wouldn’t have deadlines that I would be juggling – and missing and meeting depending on the day.  If it wasn’t for meeting a fantastic partner that I’m so fortunate to have married, I wouldn’t have someone with which to compare calendars - someone who loves me even when I’m frazzled.  And, on a different day in a different year, I thought I wouldn’t have a little one to jabber at me, wake me in the night and smile at me in the morning.

This is 30 and 30-something :)
This is 30.
This is a time when each small, unplanned inconvenience allows for reflection and thanksgiving.  It’s a time where enough life has been experienced to appreciate what you have while anticipating all that’s still to come.  So, this isn’t twenty (thank God), this is 30.  And, well, 30 feels pretty damn good.
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