Thursday, September 22, 2016

Mia's Birth

So... it's been over 3 weeks since she came.
Rhea came over and checked me and told me I was 6 cm and progressing quickly, she got real serious and said we needed to go to the hospital right then.
My contractions were coming every few minutes. On the way to the car I stopped to pass through one and Rhea didn't let me, she told me to keep walking, we had to get to the hospital!  I threw the big exercise ball to the side in the garage realizing I wasn't going to be doing a lot of waiting around once we got there.
The Hanns were there to pick Sarah up but we didn't have time to say goodbye so we put her in our car and had them follow us to the hospital.
I'm grateful Sarah was there for that ride.
She was so cute.
I decided to sit in the back with her so I could provide any reassurance she'd need since everything happened so fast and we had just literally woken her up and dragged her out of bed.
It worked out so well because I was distracted by Sarah and didn't even notice the red lights.
I had at least 1 contraction in the car and Sarah was a bit confused and shocked by the low "uhh" noises I started making from out of nowhere.  It was then she must have realized that I was going through something really physically and psychologically demanding because she got really quiet.
Once we were there I stepped out of the car, trying to cover myself with my blue robe- I did have a bra and underwear on underneath at least!
I kissed Sarah and she said she wanted to go with Jared and Jackson and I was soooo happy she went with them willingly and happily.
I walked into the hospital and had a contraction in between the automatic doors.  It was most comfortable to have weight off of my back and hips so I got on all fours and was going through the contraction in silence when a man from the waiting room came over to see if I was OK and started telling the staff that there was "a woman on the ground over here!"
Michael yelled from the outside while the automatic door was open that it was OK, that "[she's] in labor".  The man didn't seem content to just leave me which was really sweet.
It's crazy to think of how in the zone I am during strong contractions... that's how I get through it, though, by fully letting go of everything around me and letting the contraction pass through me.
A woman got me a wheel chair and Rhea helped me onto it.  She helped answer questions the nurses had for me to help since I was barely talking and definitely didn't talk during a contraction! Crazy people- expecting me to talk during contraction.
The woman started wheeling me up to the labor and delivery floor and asked me if I was in Walmart the day before.  I was. Turns out she was behind me in line (we bought a LOT of stuff so she was behind me for a while) at Walmart and said she was positive I was having contractions by the way I was walking and breathing and holding my tummy.  I laughed about thought- what an awesome coincidence!
We got to the elevator and waited for a family to get out before we could get in.
We arrived to the 2nd floor and wheeled down to the delivery room.  They pushed for me to get on the bed.  I was so uncomfortable on the bed and I felt like I was going to push her out any second.
They kept asking me dumb questions like "what is your name and birthdate?"  Later I realized they did that for security reasons...
My water hadn't broken and the doctor wasn't there, but my baby was coming out whether we felt ready or not.  The nurses seemed stressed to me and I didn't care because I could feel that my daughter would come out without much help.
The urge to push was so stinking strong, so much stronger than it was with Sarah, and so much faster to come that I was scared.  I yelled a couple times that I was scared and Rhea reassured me immediately and the calm and happy look on her face kept me confident that everything was going to be OK.  Michael also came and held my hand and tried to show me he loved me even though I could tell he was shocked about the quickness of this birth also.
They had me push, which wasn't very hard to do, my body was doing it for me already pretty much.  And then they had me slow down and not push and that was really challenging.  I had just read somewhere that if I pretend to blow out my birthday candles then that would provide the control to not push even when that's all my body wants to do.  So this came to my mind and I started to do that and it helped!
Michael said that at this point it looked like a balloon was coming out, not a baby.  Mia was still in the amniotic sac and the balloon was the sac.  The nurses were trying to break my water with no success.
It was 5 whole minutes of being on the delivery bed before Mia came out.
I sat up and looked at her.
She was so calm and so beautiful.
I looked at her while she was still in the amniotic sac for maybe 30 seconds but it felt like 5 minutes. It was like time stood still so I could take some wonderful mental pictures and video. :)  She reached her hand out and broke the sac herself!
That first night with her was so magical.  Listening to Pandora with a MoTab station and holding Mia near me all night.  I woke up every couple hours to feed her and record feedins,wet and messy diapers and each time I'd look at her and just want to be by her all the time.

Strong Family Ties from Far Away

I am a physically affectionate person.  When I’m with people I love and feel comfortable with you’ll usually find me playing with their hair, giving massages, hugging or snuggling them somehow.  I am a firm believer that I’ll never be too old to snuggle with my parents… They’ll always be my parents and I’ll always be their daughter. The act of feeling safe in their arms is natural and instinctual and crucial to remembering where I came from.

Somehow, even though I express love and feel love through physical affection, I have felt the love for my family deepen and increase (change to be stronger, better, more mature) over the last 6 years of living in different states.

I guess I could argue that although physical touch is the most powerful way to show me you love me, words of affirmation and acts of service can show me too. And, I can learn to receive love in different ways.

Phone calls, texts, blog posts, FaceTime, Skype, letters, packages, more phone calls, costly visits, more phone calls.  That’s how I communicate with my family that’s far away. 

I could imagine living close to them, like in a nearby town, and how much that’d change our experience.  I probably wouldn’t FaceTime or chat on the phone for long periods with my parents since we would know we can actually see each other in person very soon or that day if we wanted to.  That means that Sarah wouldn’t have her one-on-one phone conversations with my mom where she gets to have her all to herself.  Sarah’s communication skills have definitely been affected by the fact that she gets to communicate on the phone with her grandparents often.  That means she has to focus on something she can’t see if they’re not FaceTiming and she has to practice formulating relevant verbal questions and answers.

I was standing in my kitchen in home we lived in on Fort Rucker, AL while my mom and I talked on the phone. In that conversation I realized that we were trying to love each other without considering how the other feels loved best. I learned that her love language is “acts of service” and one of my strongest next to physical affection is “words of affirmation”.  I wanted to hear her tell me why she loved me and how much she loved me or else it was hard for me to believe that she loved me… crazy, right? Or maybe it’s not so crazy.  These were the words that I heard my mom say next.  “I adore you, Minta.” I felt so much peace and comfort in that moment. It was like I could finally believe that my mom loves and accepts all of me.   That was about three years ago and I still relive that moment in my mind often to remind me how much she loves me.  I don’t know if we would have had a conversation like that had we been living by each other all that time

Being far from family can feel almost wrong at times.  Thankfully we’re conquering that challenge by showing love for each other in different ways only necessary because we’re so far apart.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Deleting Pictures and Videos


What if I delete something I shouldn’t have?
Then the memory will be lost forever, right?
It means that whatever we did or showed or learned or discovered in that video is lost, right?
Sarah won’t remember it right? She won’t have a clear or accurate or positive memory of her childhood?
Good parents take good pictures and make them easily accessible to their kids for the rest of their lives.
I won’t have evidence that I was a good parent if I delete these videos.
I am afraid of deleting anything.
I will be so sad.
I will be depressed.
People are counting on me to show them pictures and videos of our lives and if I can’t then I am not doing a good job as a daughter, mother, daughter-in-law, granddaughter or wife.
Michael will be upset if I delete something he wished I didn’t.
If I don’t delete them they will crash my computer eventually and I’ll lose everything.
I can’t make decisions.
I’m too indecisive.
I’m too sensitive.
I’m too sentimental.
Pictures are just things… but they mean so much! They show joy and love and happiness and family and relationships and the beauty and wonder of my children and their experiences.


I will keep pictures that have meaning, impact and are clear and can be enjoyed by everyone.

I will do a little bit every day.

I will clean up my computer and then back it all up so my photos and documents will be preserved.

If I were to lose everything tomorrow, all of my pictures, I would still be a good mom.  I would still be a good daughter.  I would still be a good daughter-in-law.  I would still be a good wife.  My kids, parents, in-laws and husband would all still love me very much.

I can delete a picture I like if there is a similar picture that shows a similar time period that's of better quality and can be enjoyed by many.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

My Life Right Now

Sitting at the dinner table with two quiet girls only making sounds of "mmm" and chewing with the soft twilight coming in through the plants of our kitchen window box I find myself smiling and watching everything around me, wanting to remember how utterly perfect my experience as their mom is.  Sarah looks at me and smiles and Mia slightly gags because she's still learning how to eat solids.  My belly is full of leftover spaghetti and meatballs and yummy brussels spouts my hubby steamed earlier today.  Sandy waits under the table for anything that falls and gets lucky when Mia offers her her sweet yellow pepper she's been half-gnawing on and half consuming.

A mother's day is very routine and can be mundane but because of the nature of children, it's also very different from day to day.  I hope to appreciate the peaceful times like the one I just described and pray I can stay strong, calm and faithful when I'm tested to my limits by my little girls.

I'll tell you what I did today, to give you an idea of my world but mostly so I can look back and feel a bit of the joy I felt today.

I wake up to Sarah usually, we snuggle and I sound like a broken record reminding her to stay quiet because her little sister is still sleeping.

Michael gets up to make Sarah breakfast because I was up 4 times during the night and need the extra rest.  Sarah goes to play in her room and ends up singing one of her random lyrical songs just loud enough to wake Mia up.  Am I mad? Not really, I don't want to demand silence and I love how much she loves to sing.

We get Sarah off to preschool- Michael drives her when he's home in the mornings- and I race to get myself and Mia ready for my YMCA exercise. This morning it's Spin Class and I'm mentally preparing myself to get beat down as I throw on workout clothes and jump in the car. Spin delivers and I am red-faced and pooped but filled with more happiness and confidence.

It's kind of a weird schedule we follow when Michael's on nights, like he was today.  Since we won't have time together at night I try and relax with him in the morning, watch a show and joke around a little.  And because I won't have his help that evening I try and take a nap while Mia naps.

I nap too well and snooze my alarm too many times, and end up running to the front room in my underwear with sleepy eyes to ask Michael if he can get Sarah from preschool. He looks at the clock, stands up to go and kindly asks if I had a nice nap on his way out.  I jump back into the warm covers until Mia wakes up minutes later ready to nurse.

The time from when Sarah gets home from preschool until bedtime is a mix up of trampoline playing, sitting in the grass with sunlight coming through pink cherry blossoms, raiding the kitchen for snacks, cleaning, patty-cake, a walk around the neighborhood, swinging and then, finally, dinner.

And so we come to that moment I remember how blessed I am to be here. To be Sarah's mother.  To be Mia's mother.  To adore mothering, nesting, home-making, serving and creating enough that all the dirty dishes and stinky diapers really just become afterthoughts when I recount my day.

Next I'm lying in bed snuggling Sarah and singing the three songs she requests every night, Rock-a-Bye Baby, Twinkle Twinkle and my choice of a "church" song.  Our foreheads are pressed together as she's fading to sleep and I can't get close enough to her.  Her little breath reaches my face and I kiss her nose, her forehead, her cheeks and her eyebrows.  She tells me I can only kiss her 3 more times and I do but accidentally kiss her a fourth.  When I apologize she giggles and says "That's OK, Mom."

Another little one is waiting in my room to be nursed, changed and read to before bedtime.

We grow closer together through our ritualistic evenings.  She knows that after books are read and lights are out that I will snuggle her and sing to her the same song I do every night before gently placing her in her crib.  I want to hold her until she's asleep, just to have more time with her as she sleeps peacefully, but I don't so that she learns to sleep on her own.

And now that I have time to myself I'm compelled to write the details of such a beautiful day in the life of me... as a mother.