Friday, March 13, 2015

The Joys of Motherhood in Flu Season

The 2014 flu season has kicked me in the butt! My kids have been sick for about 2 months with virus after virus. Bennett has been on antibiotics twice for ear infections (which thankfully have gone away). Hayden has had a fever for 3 days in a row. I was on antibiotics for an ear infection and the list goes on. There have been many days when I feel the overwhelming feeling of "how am I going to do this today" come over me like a big heavy blanket that I can't lift off. I've felt that looming darkness so close and the knowing that your kids are sick, young and there's nothing you can do to help them feel better. Oh sure, there's the typical humidifier, steamy shower, saline spray (and suction), but none of that brings immediate relief. If I think about it too long that big heavy dark blanket will cover me and I'll feel as if I'm suffocating and in a tunnel with no end in sight. When I should be clinging even more so to Jesus I find myself frustrated with Him. Why are my children not healthy? Why do you keep letting them get sick when I pray every day that they would be whole, well, in complete comfort? Why do you not heal them when I pray it? I'm definitely someone who really appreciates immediate gratification! During this flu season I have felt the farthest from God than I have in a long time, add to that not being able to go to church but once this month due to said sickness and you've got a recipe for disaster. I feel like everything gets so much harder when my Savior is put on the back burner, but at the same time I feel like I'm so busy going from doctor to doctor and trying to comfort sick children that I just don't have time. Nap times are hit or miss these days, more misses than hits and that leaves minimal mommy time. I feel the distance is a problem and I feel like I'm starting all over with the sinner's prayer and maybe that's where I need to start. There is such peace when I just lay it all out for my sweet Father. I tell him I'm exhausted, I'm sick of being in a house of sickos, and I just want to go back to normal. Just when I feel like my prayers are in vain I start to see a breakthrough, a feverish child wakes up with a smile and a normal temp a child that had been congested for a month wakes up able to breathe and I remember that Jesus hears my prayers. He hears me, He knows exactly how I feel, He knows that dark overwhelmingness is so close I can touch it, but He keeps it just out of reach. I know my Lord loves me and He knows how my heart hurts when my children hurt. I know my God is a good God and sometimes I need to remind myself just how good He is. As a mom it's hard to not to feel overwhelmed with all that you have to do. Being a mom is hard work! I'm so thankful that I have a loving Savior to vent all my feelings to, He listens to me and comforts me. Just the way I hurt when my children are hurting is the way He hurts when I hurt.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dear Me (when I'm a mother-in-law)

It's no secret that I have in-law issues and I thought I should write a letter to myself so when I become a mother-in-law I can at least attempt to avoid some mistakes.

Dear Michelle,

You will be a mother-in-law to 3 spouses for your children. You will have 1 son-in-law and 2, count them, 2 daughters-in-law and that may be the most difficult of the relationships. Even though it may feel like no girl will be good enough for your boys, Jackson and Bennett will fall in love and get married and have children. Jackson and Bennett will bring home girls and tell you they love them and you will have to do all you can to have a relationship with these girls. You'll probably feel like they are taking your boys away from you, but this is God's plan. Remember that these girls might feel like an outcast in your family. They won't know the inside jokes you all have, they won't know the funny stories about Jackson and Bennett growing up. Do everything you can to make these girls feel included. Call them at least once a week just to say hi and see how things are going. Don't let them ever say about you that you were never there and you never offered to help. These girls might have a great relationship with their moms or the might not, either way you should be there for them. When they have your grandchildren don't just say, "let me know if you need anything" tell them, "I'm free for a few hours today and I could watch the kids if you need a break". Remember when your very own mother-in-law would say call us if you need anything and you never did? Do everything you can to make your children-in-law to feel like a part of the family. Call your daughters-in-law and ask them if they want to go to lunch or get a pedicure together. Be their friend. They may not want to be friends with you and if that's the case, don't be offended. It might take them a while to warm up to you (you can be overbearing at times) and give them the time they need. They may not want a close relationship with you initially, but you should still be there. Don't be the overbearing mother-in-law, always offering your opinion and butting into their lives. Most of all, be as involved as you can with your grandchildren. Get to know them, don't just buy them toys. Go visit them even if Josh can't be with you, you should be comfortable around your daughter-in-law enough to do this. Show those babies that you love them and you'll always be there for them. I'm sure I'll have more experiences to write about later. Your children-in-law should really be son and daughters-in-love. Love them like your own children. It might be very hard to let someone else take care of your sons and daughter. You've been praying for their spouses for years now and trust that God knows what he is doing.

This is only based on my 8 year experience of having a mother-in-law and I'm sure I'll have more experiences to remind myself of later:)

Don't forget in the mean time to treat your boys how you would like their future wife to treat them and act how Hayden should act as a Godly wife. I feel so far from Godly, but I should treat Josh the way that Hayden should treat her future husband. They are looking to you for wisdom and direction and you always hear how children marry people similar to their parents.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Mom of 3

We had some friends tell us that going from two to three kids was the hardest adjustment. Our two older kids are a bit crazy so we knew it would be difficult, but there are some days when it's just exhausting. Our oldest, Jackson, was a pretty fussy baby but as he got older he was a really happy toddler. We prepared ourselves for him to be the baby that got into everything and did all the stuff toddlers do, but he wasn't really into everything. We child-proofed everything we knew he could get into. We even anchored some of our furniture to the wall and all in all, he wasn't a super eventful toddler. Now, our daughter and middle child, Hayden, is into everything! I feel like I can't even express in words how into everything she is. She will grab random things off the counter, if she can reach, and bring it to me. Nothing gets past her! She hears all conversations and repeats phrases whether or not she knows what they mean. The other day she told me, "stop talking to me". Can you believe that?!? I would say she is probably going to be the ringleader of our children. She can get Jackson to do things that he normally wouldn't think to do. I love her so very much and I love her tenacious spirit. I know someday that same spirit will be put to good use, but for now it just drives me crazy and I can't turn my back on her for a second.
Hayden is like a mini mommy and I know one day, maybe 30 years from now, she will be a great mommy. She want so much to feed Bennett, but she only gets to help feed him with they are with my mom while I'm at work since I breastfeed. She loves Bennett so much and and I think she loves her baby dolls so much more now that Bennett is here and I have a baby to play with like her. She still talks about Bennett popping out of my belly and going to the hospital to get him out.
There are moments when I feel totally overwhelmed having 3 kids and then I start typing out a blog entry and I feel like I am so blessed to have these children. Although they are a handful (even now I'm dreading having to take all 3 to the dealership to have the car serviced on Monday), I wouldn't change a thing. They make me laugh everyday and I know I am a better person and a whole lot more patient because of them. Three kids is a lot, but now that Bennett is sleeping thru the night (most days) I feel so much better.
I have felt pretty good about being back at work. I so miss my Bennett, especially since I was home with Hayden and Jackson, but it's been pretty good overall. I am so grateful to work for a company that has been so flexible in my schedule and even let me work part time during my maternity leave. I am even more grateful that I have my mom to care for my children. There is no way we could afford child care if we had to pay for it. My grandparents live with my parents and I love that my children will not only grow up knowing their grandparents but also their great grandparents! Up until recently my grandparents lived in Texas and my brother and I didn't get to see them all that much growing up, so it means so much to me that I get to see them and so do my children.

Friday, September 19, 2014

My 3rd Birth Story

I know it's been a little over 3 months since our third baby was born, but I still want to write as much down because as each day passes I feel like pieces of my memory are passing by as I adjust to being a mother of 3!
Since I knew this would be my last pregnancy I tried to savor every moment, every moment of nausea, the immediate urgency to pee late in pregnancy, the first moments feeling the baby move, feeling his hiccups, I tried to remember that good or bad symptom this would be the last time I experience this. It was really hard to savor these moments when I was feeling exhausted and I still had to work and entertain a 3 and 2 year old. Hayden loved to feel the baby moving in my belly and I can still remember her sitting on my lap so I could read to her and she would touch my belly and ask if the baby was moving.
Overall my pregnancy was your run of the mill pregnancy. No complications and nothing too eventful. We had our anatomy scan at 20 weeks and the baby was head up in my ribs and that continued until week 37. I really wanted to have another vbac (as I would have 2 children at home to care for and recovering from c-section, caring for a newborn and two other children seemed like more than I could handle). I asked the doctor what our options were and all along they were convinced he would turn on his own as babies have more room when they are head down. That just never happened for us. I scheduled to have an external version done. I prayed long and hard about doing this and did the necessary research on Google and YouTube. The prognosis was 50/50. I think all along I knew that the baby wouldn't turn on his own, he had been in the same position for so long. Josh and I went to the hospital for this procedure and I received an epidural just in case there would be a need for an emergency c-section. The doctor and her surgical tech came in and within 2 minutes the baby was turned. His heart rate went down for a little bit and I was prepared for that so we had to wait at the hospital for about 2 hours to make sure he was all ok. The epidural was so good that I couldn't walk for nearly 2 hours after the procedure.
My next concern was that I needed to go into labor on my own since this would be a vbac. I went to the doctor at 39 weeks 1 day and I was dilated to 2.5 cm and just experiencing a lot of braxton hicks contractions, nothing too exciting. I did have a night at about 36 weeks when I was sick and I had consistent contractions for an hour and then they just stopped. We scheduled a sort of light induction for that Friday as we were a little concerned about the baby getting too big.  At 39 weeks 3 days I woke up at 1:30am to contractions. I had downloaded this contraction timer on my phone so I kept track of them for an hour (I wasn't too excited at this point as it had happened before and I was still pregnant). They were consistent and getting a little stronger. At 2:30 I woke the hubby and did my hair, you gotta look good right? I still wasn't convinced this was it, but I called my parents to come over to stay with the kids. By the time they got to the house, the contractions were intense but I could still chat with Josh in between them and I was still able to pack my stuff for the hospital (as I had nothing packed, I like to wait for the last minute I suppose). My water also broke while waiting for them, I think it was then that I knew this was it. It was 3:30 by the time my parents got to the house and 4:00 before we were at the hospital.
The whole process of getting admitted to the hospital takes forever and is so annoying when you are in labor. They didn't believe that my water had broken so they had to send a sample off even though when they checked me I was 6.5 cm. When the nurse told me I was 6.5 cm I remembered from my childbirth class with Jackson that the transition from 7-10 cm was the most intense and painful and I was panicking because I wanted an epidural. Of course there was what seemed like hundreds of more medical questions before an order could be placed for an epidural. This was my greatest fear, not having an epidural. I wanted to be able to enjoy the process of delivering my last baby, not screaming because the pain was so intense! I wanted to have this beautiful moment, not be this red face screaming crazy person you could hear down the hallway. None the less, I was that screaming crazy person. By the time I was put in a L&D room I was completely dilated and they wanted me to push. I know I told Josh I couldn't do it several times and he kept telling me I could. The nurse was so annoying, she kept telling me to slow down my breathing or I would pass out and at that point I would have welcomed passing out! They ended up letting me get an epidural even though I was completely dilated. I can't tell you how excited I was! I only got to "use" the epidural for about 30 minutes before our baby was born, but I was then able to enjoy his birth. 4 pushes later we had a beautiful baby boy. He weighted 8lbs 9oz, my smallest baby. I got to hold him for over an hour before they took him to get his measurements. It was amazing, I felt wonderful after he was born!
I have to admit I was a bit sad when he was born, knowing this would be the last time I would be in the hospital delivering a baby. We named him Bennett and he is such a sweet baby! His big sister things she is a mini mommy.
I feel like every day I have to tell myself that I need to enjoy these moments, these moments of craziness because soon my children will be older and not need me as much. It's hard to remember that when they are running around like crazy people or wrestling and pinning each other down. I love the new shape of my family and we are truly blessed by such a loving God!
I suppose I should change the name of my blog to family of 5 now!

Friday, May 30, 2014

My External Version Experience

So before the memories fade, I thought I'd share my experience since there might be someone out there who wants to to know.  My baby has been in the breech position since the 20 week anatomy scan. I had been praying he would flip, but he didn't. I even went to the spinning babies website and tried the exercises to see if he would flip.  He seemed perfectly content with his head wedged in the my ribs on my right side.  Since I've had one c-section and one VBAC, my hope was to have another VBAC. The recovery was so much easier and my VBAC experience was so wonderful! My only option was to try an external cephalic version. This procedure is where the try to turn the baby from outside my belly. I, of course, consulted Dr. Google before agreeing to this procedure and watched numerous videos on YouTube. My doctor prefers to do the version with an epidural for two reasons- 1. because this procedure is quite painful and 2. should there be any complications the epidural is in place for an emergency c-section. I told the doctor that I didn't think I would need an epidural (because I had watched so many videos on YouTube and no one appeared to be in much pain). She told me that if there was an emergency and I didn't have the epidural then I would have to be under general anesthesia for the c-section and my husband would not be able to be in the room. So, I agreed to the epidural. Although I'm all for epidurals, I have the feeling of them putting it in my back. The pain isn't that bad, it's the weird feeling in my back when they are trying to get the epidural in the correct place.
The day of the version came and the whole thing was done in triage, thankfully it wasn't too busy in there. I had to have 1 bag of fluids because I was getting an epidural and I had to have an IV and blood drawn to check platelet levels. The whole process was way more intense than I thought it was going to be (due to my video watching). I was kind of thankful when it was time for the epidural because my back and hips had been very uncomfortable just sitting in the bed and I had to keep shifting back and forth. The epidural experience was pretty good, but my blood pressure always gets really low after the epidural medicine goes in and that's not a really great feeling. After the epidural was in for 20 minutes or so, the ultrasound tech came in to verify the baby's position and the doctor and her assistant took their positions. By the way, I couldn't believe how many people (ultrasound tech, anesthesiologist, doctor, assistant, and nurse) were in such a small area with curtain walls. Josh got shoved all the way in the corner and I couldn't even hold his hand. The doctor got the head and her assistant had the baby's butt. The pressure was so intense and at that point I was unsure as to why I got the epidural because the pressure was so great. I couldn't imagine there being much pain that was being numbed. At first the baby didn't want to move, so they tried again and finally got him to move. The whole process from ultrasound to the baby being head down took less than 5 minutes. His heart rate must have gone pretty low because they gave me some oxygen and everyone seemed concerned. Of course, no one was really telling my husband and I all of the details. At first, no one but the doctor and her assistant knew he had turned to be head down. I thought there would be cheering, but I think they were more concerned with his heart rate at the time. We were all so excited when we found out he was head down and it only took two tries. I don't think I would have made it through much more.
It's been two days since then and I'm still pretty sore. My belly is super sore and my back is still a little sore from the epidural. So far, I'm thankful I did it, but I'm not 100% sure I'd do it again. The experience was still painful and I think those women on YouTube are totally crazy for just laying there like they are getting a deep tissue massage. Maybe the doctor was more rough with me than those other women, I'm not sure. So far it seems like our little baby is staying head down, but I can't push on my belly too much right now to confirm. If I'm able to have a VBAC this time around then I would say the procedure was absolutely worth it. Right now there's just so much unknown. Since I'm trying to VBAC I have to go into labor on my own and can't really be induced. The idea of just scheduling a c-section seemed very appealing, just because I'm a planner and I would know the time and date of this baby's birth. However the recovery from a c-section with two small children at home would be very difficult, so I'm praying for a VBAC and that I'll go into labor at the perfect time!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Pregnancy for the third time......

Okay, I have to admit this pregnancy has been a bit difficult. Not that there have been issues so to speak, but it's just been hard on my body.  With two little ones at home there is not much down time.  I feel like someone always needs something, especially right when I sit down. I do keep reminding myself to cherish this last pregnancy. I have to remember to file (in my memory vault) the feeling of the baby moving in my belly because after this baby I'll never have that feeling again. I know I've got some time to cherish this new little life growing inside me, but sometimes I get busy with the other two kids that I forget to cherish him. I remember thinking when I had our daughter that I'd get to do this again, so I didn't think about remembering pregnancy that much. At the same time, I want to give as much time as I can to the two kids I have here because my time will be consumed with a new little one in a few months. It's hard to believe that March will be here tomorrow and then in June there will be a new little Harris!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Baby Harris #3 is.......

Last week we found out what our newest addition will be. Since I knew this would be my last baby, I wanted to do something special to find out what the baby is. I didn't want the ultrasound person to just blurt out what it was. We planned to do a gender reveal party with our family. I wanted to do cupcakes from Joe's Coffee Shop since their cupcakes are amazing! They had told me originally that they wouldn't be able to fill the cupcakes, but that they could frost them all pink for a girl or blue for a boy. We had our ultrasound on Thursday and we have a healthy baby, which was most important to us. The ultrasound tech wrote the gender on a paper and put it in an envelope for us to give to the Coffee Shop. I was a little nervous that we wouldn't know what our baby was if they lost the paper especially because they wrote down all my directions on a tiny post it with a sharpie, but I handed it over anyway! I asked my mom to pick up the cupcakes on Saturday (the day of our party) just in case they weren't covered. If any one had to know what it was then it could be my mom and Josh and I could still be surprised. I told the cashier that I wanted the paper back that the doctor had given us. She assured me that all would be as promised. Well, my mom went to pick up the cupcakes and they had the post it on top of the cupcakes, but all the cupcakes were yellow!!

I was freaking out when she called me and told me. She said that maybe the answer was in the cake, but of course no one at the Coffee Shop knew that since the bakers were not there at the time. I could not believe this was happening! They had circled the correct gender on the post it, but I wanted there to be more excitement and I felt like looking at a post it would be such a let down. After I calmed myself down, I decided that either way we were finding out what this baby was today whether it was from a cupcake or a post it.
We had asked the kids several times what they thought the new baby was. Jackson was confident that it was another girl and I started thinking maybe he had a sense for what this baby really was. We also kept a lot of Hayden's super cute clothes and the season was the same as this baby, so it would work if it was a girl. Hayden said it was a boy, but I figured she's still a little young to know what's going on.
I was beginning to feel like my mom was just trying to torture me with making this dinner last so long and not just giving us the cupcakes. The time finally came to have the cupcakes. They looked delicious and we were so so excited!! I just broke it open because I figured that's where the answer had to be and sure enough...

We are so excited to be having another boy! I'm so happy that even though Hayden will be a middle child, she'll still be the only girl and daddy's only princess! 
On another happy note, my sister-in-law just found out she's pregnant and they had been trying for a few years! I'm so happy for her and all of these blessings just assure me that God is good. There's no other way to put it, He is so good to us. He knows just what we need. He probably knew that Josh couldn't handle another girl because he's got such a soft spot for Hayden. God even knows this little boy I'm carrying, He knew him before he was even formed within me and that gives me such peace.