Boobies

Just before our breastfeeding adventures with Baby #1 ended at six months old, I was still quite shy and hesitant to feed in public, especially after getting a few stares from strangers.

One moment in particular nearly brought me to tears, as I looked for a place to hide and do business, as my son wailed, desperately hungry. Despite being completely draped in excess fabric in the hottest part of the year at an outdoor horse race, tucked away in a corner on an abandoned maintenance golf cart, I still feared that I would embarrass someone, which only increased my anxieties.

I tried to fight back tears as my baby fought with my overflowing boobs, which were spraying him right in the face. As he finally got latched on, a mature older woman walked up to me, keeping a respectful distance as she gauged my situation. She simply said, “You’re doing great, Mama. I breastfed all four of my own; don’t worry about covering yourself up and hiding when your baby needs to eat.” I started bawling and apologizing for my hormones while she gave me a thumbs up and said, “Hey, you’re just fine.”

Though it wasn’t some magical moment where I threw my drape off and forewent covering myself for future feeds, I did remember her sentiment as we took our first family outing last week with Baby #2. I had waited too long to feed and once again, struggled with milk soaking my light colored tank top. Only this time, instead of crying, I started laughing as my son pointed at my chest, proclaiming “BOOBIES!” at the top of his lungs. It was a deep, belly laugh that caught me off guard. Being a mom is super weird.

I hope to pay that woman’s advice forward some day, but for now I am just getting through our next adventure – embracing the fact that not everyone will agree with public feedings, but that having the ability to whip food out for my growing child is a serious blessing that I am embracing this go-round.

Mamas of the world: we are all doing just fine.

Click to view last week’s vlog

What is Down Time, anyway?

We’re baaaack! By ‘we’ I mean myself and my mind. Kind of.

Okay, I already sound nuts. Scratch that and let’s start over.

 

HI.

 

We are finally moved into our new place, and most of the boxes are unpacked. Those remaining items are in a somewhat organized stack to be gone through at a later date. The important part is that I’ve finally gotten all the kids’ stuff put away, we have clean sheets and are back to somewhat of a normal routine (vs. waking up each day saying Omigod). There are a few house repairs necessary (yes – even in a brand new complete remodel, the plumbing and electrical need some work) but the labor bags are packed and if baby girl arrives in a few weeks we won’t all be crying.

I’ve finally set up a space to sit and have a cup of coffee and work on the blog during down time. Today I finally got a moment of down time while Canyon is asleep and the baby is still doing her time on the inside (Yes! Actual down time for me, not just “time to feverishly unpack a box or wash something”). I should be preparing for tomorrow’s yard sale, but I decided I deserve a reward for packing, staging, selling, moving, buying, unpacking, and organizing two homes in the last two months.

Whew!

I planned on catching up with you for a hot second, but now I remember how much stuff there really is to do in the garage (plus I need to repair a burnt tail light and break down some empty boxes and and and) before the baby wakes up.

I spent most of his nap working on my latest page update: “Nursing Busy Bags – Entertaining a Toddler while Breastfeeding A Newborn“. 

Because when I think of me time, I think of you.

Go check that out and I’ll see you again soon.

 

Love,

Mama B

 

 

Coming Into Our Own

The last couple of weeks in our temporary housing has been a breath of fresh air – (although the air quality still hovers somewhere between “bad” and “dangerous” on any given day). We have been able to entertain ourselves indoors a bit better than we were able to last week, when the air conditions forced us inside after weeks of enjoying the local water parks and such.

The change was difficult to get used to at first, making us feel like trapped animals and further increasing my stir-crazy nesting anxieties…but like all things difficult you just have to take what you get and roll with it. We have accepted the poor air quality and carried on, despite it. We continue to be grateful for those battling to suppress the wildfire flames and honor in thought those who have lost their lives to them.

Canyon is really coming into his own, growing at least an inch since the house sold and adding many words to his repertoire, though some of them come out a little garbled and nonsensical. After weeks of listening to him insist that his new bee replica toy was, in fact, a “bumble butt” I tried to catch him on film saying it. Of course, he self corrected the second I began to record and hasn’t gone back to the term since. Though it was painfully adorable to watch him delight in pulling it from his toy shelf and proclaim “bumble butt!” I am also glad he has decided to use proper nomenclature, even if it comes with a slight accent with a foreign slant I can’t quite place (southern?). “Bumble Baeee”. It reminds me to take more photos and videos – we have not been vlogging as much as we would like to, and I forget that these adorable stages he is going through are fleeting moments.

We have a couple of weeks remaining until we get our house keys and schedule the movers to deliver our belongings. I am so excited to start putting together our home, one box at a time. I am still under strict orders to keep my blood pressure down until delivery day and I will be working hard to successfully nurse, which means keeping my blood pressure down after baby gets here. Fall is my favorite season, and it feels appropriate to nest in and enjoy a couple weeks with my family of three before the baby arrives. Either way, September and October are on the way, and I couldn’t be more excited. (Decaf PSL, anyone?)

Until the smoke clears a bit more we have been keeping our days filled with indoor adventures, and Canyon has decided walking around a store is exponentially more fun than being pushed around in a cart. We also make weekly library trips while we wait for the movers to bring home our entourage of story books, and I have been shamelessly printing my ten free black-and-white .PDFs (a privilege that comes with the library card) and putting my new thermal laminator to use, creating all sorts of fun things for “older” Canyon: file folder games, Playdoh mats, routine cards and matching games. Creating my own versions has been a fun nap time activity during the long days in transitional housing; I am also catching up on a few books I’ve been meaning to read for some time.

In our new home we will have a master bedroom for the moms (an en suite, finally!), a shared room for the kids, and a multipurpose room that will be used for crafts/office/tot school/preschool. We won’t have a designated play room, but will be able to utilize a toy rotation set up in the corner of the dining/living area, which worked well for us in our last home. Despite my wife and I’s OCD and clutter-free tendencies, it is just bound to look like children live in our house for years to come. Which is okay. Because they do.

If you follow MommaAMommaB on Pinterest you can download some of my free preschool printable worksheets and folder activities on my shared boards (geared mostly for 2 to 3 year olds). Once we put these materials to use we will try to upload some videos of how successful they were!

Until next time,

Mama B

31 Weeks 1 Day

Baby Dakota is the size of a head of romaine lettuce and we are still waiting for our house keys – how is time flying so quickly and yet taking FOREVER at the same time?

Pregnancy seems to intensify the conundrum of the passage of time, and packing up our home and staying in temporary housing only compounds the situation; nevertheless, we are grateful for family to help us occupy our idle hours and let us use their laundry facilities and air conditioning during the last few (hottest!) days of the summer.

There have been some wildfires burning in the surrounding areas, and much of Washington state is under unhealthy air warnings. In fact, Wenatchee reached a hazardous level this week, and staying inside all day in a house that isn’t our own has been a bit taxing for Canyon and I. Amy has started working with a new division of the same company, and seems to be liking it pretty well. We are all trying to settle into a new routine while waiting anxiously for things to get crazy again.

Canyon was born at exactly 37 weeks, after I was diagnosed with a slow amniotic leak and pre-eclampsia. We will get the keys to our new home during week 34 – to say we are eager to get the cribs put together and the sheets washed is an understatement!

We have a midwife appointment in our new town this evening – luckily they had an evening spot available so that Amy could join me after work to tour the facility for the first time. I was able to go for my glucose screening a couple of weeks ago and I am so hopeful we will get to experience the serene birth center for delivery of baby Dakota. Last go ’round we were admitted to the hospital to start the process of labor induction after blood pressure continued to rise over the course of a few days.

Our midwifes in Seattle explained that a woman’s subsequent pregnancies can be very different from each other – our midwives here in Wenatchee further explained that sometimes the body has a rough first pregnancy and that pre-eclampsia is most common in first pregnancies. My blood pressure has been looking great so far (and if anything slightly lower than usual) so I am hopeful it will stay this way; I haven’t noticed any major swelling yet which was starting to appear around this time during my pregnancy with “Canyon man” (as his Mom calls him).

We should get the keys to our new house before the first week in September comes to an end, if everything is on track. So far, things are moving along! We sign our final closing documents for our Kent home tomorrow, and the air quality is slowly improving which means we can escape the confines of our recent haunts: Target and the library and the local burger joint “Bernie’s Burgers N’ Suds. Before the smoke invasion we were enjoying the outdoor water parks and splash pads every other day, and enjoying Nanny and Papa’s yard: running back and forth and back and… you get the idea.

Fingers crossed for a speedy delivery on the new house documents, and for normal range blood pressure in the coming weeks!

lovemamab

Canyon’s Birth Story

Written May 27, 2018

Happy birthday Canyon! Today is your actual date of birth.

This time last year I was getting my blood pressure checked at Fred Meyer, which was closer than the midwife center and cheaper than purchasing a blood pressure cuff (free!). It had been slowly rising over a couple of weeks, and our midwives were concerned that if it kept rising we would fall under the pre-eclampsia category (meaning, not a suitable client for the birth center). So in the last few days we were to monitor it daily.

When I felt a slow leak of fluid over the next few hours, I let my midwife know, as I was calling to report that yes, my blood pressure was still a few digits higher than just the day before (even after three readings). She told me to not panic, to sit still and that she’d come down from the center to meet me. “Those store machines can be a bit over sensitive…”

We both knew I was also very anxious that we would be discharged as her patient and this was NOT my wife and I’s ideal plan at all! When her readings outside in the fresh air still showed similar results, she gave me an amniotic fluid test strip to use in the bathroom. Blue reaction on the strip confirmed, no color or green indicated urine or other. When I came back out nodding, we both knew the next step, as we discussed the prior day. The strip of paper she’d given me, bright blue, promoted us into action. She hustled to her car to tell Amy parking instructions for the hospital. “Wait…right now?” I asked. They both laughed a bit before saying, together: “Yes!”

Our midwife said of course we should go home and grab our bags, and my mind started reeling from all the things I would have to unpack from our birth center bag. “Guess I won’t be needing those snacks,” I wondered aloud. “No, eat! They may not let you once you check in, and if you are going to try to do a natural birth, you’ll need the energy.” All our advice from our world-renowned birth course instructor Penny Simkin rushed back. Good idea. Amy was fresh from getting a haircut on her lunch break (she’d rushed to meet us at Fred Meyer, down the street, hair trimmings on her shirt and everything). She confessed she needed a shower, as she scratched at the back of her neck.

Our midwife handed me a chux pad to sit on incase my water did break, and instantly I felt so excited and nervous that I could hardly think! We drove home in our separate cars to grab our things, and Amy took the fastest shower of her life! Our birth center team stayed with us and helped facilitate the process of checking us into our hospital and our amazing doula was due to arrive any moment – we started our transfer of care to the birth center at the hospital (no birthing tub, which is why we had originally chosen the facility next door).

Amy and I met with a nice midwife on staff who confirmed that since my water had been slowly draining for a day, compounded by the fact my blood pressure was higher still than it had been at check-in, it made us higher risk patients – the birth center at the hospital couldn’t accept us, but the doctors would be more than happy to accommodate a natural style birth as much as possible. She asked if we had a birth plan. We said we only had about two or three “ideals”, and would wing the rest. We didn’t anticipate being here, after all! We wanted skin to skin after birth, no pain meds as much as possible, and avoid surgeries unless necessary.

We were getting tired already, and fine with starting pitocin as recommended (admittedly after a brief cry when the nurse left to exchange our paperwork with the hospital doctors on staff). We knew we would do whatever we could to get our baby here safely, but I was irritated when my blood pressure spiked and I was told I could no longer move freely, and to be as still as possible. I was again offered pain medication, and through the first fee centimeters of dilation, until my doula took JuJu the nurse outside and gave her a good talking to.

I was started on blood pressure meds. I tried to lie on my side for as long as possible; When I switched to my other side and adjusted the ball between my legs, the blood pressure monitor would become angry. I was told if I wasn’t able to stop moving completely, I could potentially need a c-section if my blood pressure hit a certain level (not too far from where I was). The comfort ball at my hips was taken away. I was at 6 or 7 centimeters, and things were very uncomfortable. My doula was amazing but how much can you really do when you are confined to no movement? I wasn’t sure I could do a drug free birth without being able to move from my back at ALL, or stand or turn. I agreed to an epidural, because I preferred that over the alternative.

My doula was so supportive of my decisions, and told me how amazing I had done when I was discouraged about giving up by agreeing to the epidural. I could tell she really was proud of how far I’d come, as she kept telling me that I had already thrown up and gotten through the worst of labor on my own. She saw in me that if I could get through that I could have done the rest, but we were both in agreement that my blood pressure rise plus not moving around was a unique situation that we dealt with the best way we could.

The pressure cuff was so mad about as I sat as still as a stone for the epidural placement by a very severe, younger-looking man. At this point, whatever it took, we were okay with! Things were rolling along pretty smoothly after that, and I was able to get a little bit of sleep. The next afternoon, after a bit more work, baby Canyon was here and we were all so relieved and happy!

What a day to remember and be thankful for. I can’t wait until our guy can wake up from his nap and have his birthday pie smash (so what he already had a cake smash? A birthday isn’t a birthday in our house without a piece-a pie)! Grateful for our amazing midwife, doula, and hospital team; and for every second I get with Canyon James.

 

Baby Girl Hightower NAME REVEAL

Baby Girl Hightower has a name! We are so excited to see Canyon become a big brother, and we can’t wait to meet baby Dakota June (due October 17, 2018).

dakota

Dakota is so loved already, and we are so thankful for all of the love and support we have received in recent months. June is a special month for us, being our first son’s original due date month (though he came a wee bit earlier than we expected) and also being Pride Month in many cities around the world. June is also the month we were joined into domestic partnership (2012) and we think it works beautifully as a middle name.

If you missed the name reveal video posted yesterday, you can still see it on YouTube – So many wonderful LGBT and family vloggers joined in to help us with the announcement, and I really suggest watching it in it’s entirety. The video is styled after the ‘Wheel of Fortune”  game show, and participants had no idea what the final answer (a.k.a. our name choice) would be!

Check it out!

My Pickle Needs A First Name

It’s week 16 and baby is the size of a dill pickle. The best news this month has to be finally finding a nanny that I’m quite happy about – I didn’t even cry on the first day of dropping him off! I had been worried about justifying spending the cash while also being a stay at home Mama…but the amount of chores/tasks/extras I can get done when I have some solid chunks of time is worth every last penny. I already can’t believe how much I was able to get accomplished in three days this month without carrying, entertaining, feeding, cleaning, or trying not to wake a baby.

Not to mention our nanny-share kids are the best. Each week he gets to spend time with his full genetic siblings! They go to the zoo, music class, parks, and even the local landfill for fun and free activities, which drastically reduces the mom guilt associated with leaving him. Our nanny share house is baby-proofed and immensely fun, and seeing him playing with other kids always warms my heart.

I know he is in confident, capable hands; I am SO glad I let my wife talk me into this – she was seeing me day in and day out over the last year, stressed from trying to keep a perfect house and immaculate child, while dipping my own head into the sink occasionally when shower time was not an option.

She sees my eyes widen in horror when I behold the inside of my car: not bad by most standards, but definitely not pre-baby status, complete with spare cheerios in the console and pacifiers in the side doors (and usually an old cup or two that require an extra pair of hands that just never seem to be there when it comes time to unload). Still, having someone in my home didn’t feel right (um, I’m trying to clean here!) and paying money felt wrong (um, I’m a stay at home mom this is my job). Still – she insisted; when the perfect opportunity presented itself, we jumped.

She knows I wanted to paint that train table, finish making party decorations, put away dishes as quickly and loudly as I want without waking anyone up, help plan a baby shower, bathe the dog, pull weeds, vacuum out the car, knock down a wasp nest, go car shopping without a stroller or a sticky, screaming, still-adorable-but-OMG child in tow… all the things that have been piling up around my ears as I wait for nap-times that are less frequent and shorter these days than ever before. Yeah…my child has F.O.M.O., just like his other Mom. If there is a hint in the air of something fun, good luck sleeping. Me? 8 hours, please.

Single moms holding it all down: I bow down to you.

In similar news: We finally reached our 1K sub threshold on YouTube. This reinstated our partnership status, which is exciting. We never imagined a thousand people being all that interested in our day to day lives, but here we are. We have plans to meet a same sex couple touring Seattle from Sweden next month, who we have met through the TTC community.

We have met vloggers in Los Angeles, and have tentative plans to meet with a few more people this summer. We met with a new friend for burgers awhile back, and it was sweet when she offered to hold him so I could eat with two hands! I also shared lunch and great conversation with a lady and her two sweet daughters, when we rendezvoused for an IVF meds exchange downtown. We have plans to get together again before the new addition arrives. All these friends, just from putting ourselves out there and telling our story!

It feels nice to have friends who ‘get’ it. It being the struggle of giving up your personal life and your not-so-spare change to try to start your family for years and years. It being the aftermath of all that draining emotion and an empty bank account and a tired smile. I can be myself, and speak openly – and they get it. Likewise, I enjoy being a sound-wall for others, hearing their stories and holding their secrets, letting them get it off their chest while remaining anonymity. I get it, too.

Speaking of conception: This growing baby is getting harder and harder to smuggle, yet I am not quite into my maternity clothes yet. Last pregnancy, I stubbornly wore my favorite jeans until the zipper would no longer close. I had successfully ruined them for my post pregnancy body, and I still can’t manage to pull them off, as the legs and hips have actual stretch marks through the denim. Oops! I have already retired this season’s favorite pair of jeans to avoid that debacle come Spring 2019.

2019. Are we already talking about next year?

Okay, slow down. Another cup of decaf. It’s 7 a.m. and my crib baby is stirring. Still waiting to feel the little one growing inside, but I imagine he’s up, too. I also imagine it’s a he. Amy and I both tend to refer to the bump as a ‘little brother’ so maybe our respective intuitions are on point. Or maybe we will be completely surprised at the gender reveal party!

Let’s just focus on one thing at a time. Today’s list: Deep clean kids room and playroom, install the room-darkening curtains in the nursery, and finish our registry for next month’s sprinkle/reveal.

How blessed we are despite the struggle is not lost on us. In fact, we feel more blessed, knowing how close we were to not being parents at all. As we watch our dear friends struggle to start their own family, we continue to be active in the TTC community by vlogging and blogging when we can, sharing encouragement and witnessing pain.

It’s sometimes unbelievable to me, the things we went through for these precious babes. But we both agree we’d do it again in a heartbeat. You know – with a guarantee, and all!

To all our TTC sisters – our hearts are with you, today and always.

lovemamab

 

Patiently Waiting

Seconds after the doppler wand caressed my lower abdomen, I heard the sweet and familiar sound. “There it is; there’s your baby!” I smiled, soaking in the best sound I had heard all week: thu-thump thu-thump.

Today’s appointment was with midwife Val and her apprentice, Rochelle. I was doing a clinic ‘drive by’ as they call it, a quick scan for the heartbeat, midway between our monthly appointments. If we had a doppler at home, I wouldn’t need to come in, but something about our second pregnancy has found me more patient – so we chose not to purchase one.

In between heartbeat scans, I have filled my days with playing with my ever-curious and into-everything ten month old; I simply don’t have the time to worry my days away! Heck, I haven’t even done a pregnancy update video for three weeks – we have simply been in our own little bubble over here.

Soon, I should feel movement internally as the baby continues to grow and develop; shortly after that, our midwife schedule will transition to bi-weekly appointments. For now I am trying to be positive and look forward to each visit instead of wondering, “what if there’s no heartbeat” every twenty minutes, a la our first pregnancy, where we were constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.

In a weird way, I feel like I am enjoying this pregnancy a bit more, especially knowing it is our last. Two children is more than I could have ever hoped or dreamed for, and I am in a constant state of awe that it is actually a reality, after 5 years and all the help in the world. The weeks are flying by – I feel like I barely have time to capture a weekly belly shot, but have managed to at least get those photos taken.

We have given all of our past TTC attempts all we had, including all of our worries and doubts. Now that we are in the second trimester, there is a certain feeling of ‘letting go’. I am able to just be happy hearing that sweet heartbeat – it is just a pure blessing, instead of a relief of all the things I had been worrying could be ‘wrong’ with my child in utero. For now, everything ‘looks good’, which is more than I could ask for.

We are still awaiting our second scan, which will be the anatomy/gender scan around 20 weeks. Until then, we are not requesting any additional testing or ultrasounds, which is different than last time – we had started out with an O.B. before switching to midwifery around 32 weeks due to not ‘feeling’ our doctor. The first visit with her we had gotten ultrasounds and a few photos of our growing babe (around 12 weeks), which was not the case this go-round!

In fact, friends and family seem to be more anxious to see inside this belly than we are! I don’t blame them – perhaps time is moving more slowly in their worlds. 😀

We are feeling happy, hopeful, and optimistic, and waiting patiently for our gender reveal scan, which will remain a surprise to us until our gender reveal party, just after Canyon’s first birthday.

There is still the reality that we will become too high-risk for the birth center – last time, three weeks before our due date, we experienced PROM (premature rupture of membranes) paired with pre-eclampsia, and were checked into the hospital and hooked up to pitocin. We had cried together, knowing we wouldn’t have the birth experience we had hoped for, but so glad to be moments away from meeting the one who would make us moms. Again, I would be humbled – this wasn’t what I expected but it was the way things were supposed to be. Hearing Canyon’s first wail was the best day on record, and our days have been a little brighter with him in our lives.

Becoming pregnant (twice!) was one of the biggest and most rewarding challenges of my life. My wife agrees that she wouldn’t take it back either, but boy did we have some rough days! We are still holding out for the birth center, but keeping an open mind this time. We would be beyond blessed to have another healthy, happy child – how s/he gets here is the least of my concerns at this point! This journey is a day-by-day process, and we continue to look forward with hopeful hearts to our birth center / natural birth.

In October, our family will be complete and we will end the TTC season of our lives, though we will continue to remember our sisters in arms forever. I sometimes wonder if I will ever forget the toll that trying to conceive took on us, as the years tick on. Like any difficult journey, it often feels like a dream to me: did we really go through all of that?

Thank you to everyone who rooted for us along the way. We will continue to share our journey with you in months to come.

 

lovemamab

Week 11 Bumpdate

How’s Mama?

SO STOKED that it’s week 11, that I used the term ‘stoked’.

I mean it; I am feeling so happy to be nearing the end of our first trimester – EIGHT more days of medication, and then the placenta pretty much takes over much of the hormone production and regulation.

So, let’s get into it.

SYMPTOMS:

Nausea

Current Pregnancy:

Evening and Early Morning Nausea (mild to moderate) – Similar to being on a rocking boat. I get sick to the point of vomiting at least three times per week. Only in the morning, or between 4 – 6 p.m. So strange!

Last Pregnancy:

No strong morning sickness, very rarely vomited (maybe six times in total?).

Cravings / Aversions

Current Pregnancy:

Watermelon, raspberries, avocado, strawberry ice cream, organic juices, beef, Life cereal.

Last Pregnancy:

Oranges and orange juice and McDonald’s (that last one sounds horrifying, now).

Also, I couldn’t stand the smell of onions and once cried that Amy forgot and was cooking them in our small loft apartment and went to Target…so funny now, because onions are delicious and I cannot WAIT for spaghetti tonight!

Insomnia

Current Pregnancy:

Every day, I am up at 2 or 3 a.m. One of these days, I am going to succumb to an afternoon nap while my child is down!

My Ovia pregnancy app tells me relaxin is making my joints and tendons a bit looser, which I also remember reading last pregnancy, and I feel this has a lot to do with me not getting comfortable at night.

I am sweating profusely and don’t want to use my pillow until I am off of the progesterone injections, which is making my body odor absolutely strange – I am still soaking through the sheets at night, despite no heat in our room!

Last Pregnancy:

I remember ordering my pregnancy pillow (Snoogle?) around this time, last time; not that my stomach was bothering me, I wasn’t showing a bit until at least week 14 or so. My hips had begun to get a little achy at night around this time, but both pregnancies so far my stomach-sleeping ways are still the preferred position.

 

Closing Thoughts:

I have to wonder how the different protocols for each pregnancy affected my symptoms (progesterone injections, estrogen patches, etc). At some point I’ll consider that pregnancies for women carrying boy vs. girl babies differ, and pregnancies themselves are different with subsequent cycles, in the same woman.

It is fascinating to reflect on how differently every woman’s symptoms present, from one woman to the next. So if you are obsessing over early trimester symptoms in your first pregnancy, don’t be disheartened if your boobs don’t hurt (mine never did) or panic if you spot or bleed (I did, for most of my first trimester, and so far so good).

Actually, do panic, if that’s what you feel like doing. I can attest that you can’t ‘cry’ a pregnancy to an end!

Best wishes!

lovemamab

 

 

 

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Done with Estrace! KinderCare? (LONG POST)

Last night I took my final oral Estradiol (Estrace) pill and received my final shipment of Endometrin suppies. The end of the first trimester is in sight – 14 more days, to be exact.

Still feeling like my daily to-do lists are impossible, due to first trimester over-tiredness and recent insomnia. A great combo, eh!

After looking at housekeeping or preschool prices to take some of the load off, at my partners insistence, I was happy to learn that my work here is extremely valuable. Eighty dollars for half a day of KinderCare, plus a contract – no thank you! Even though the place was immaculate and he was enthralled looking at the other children…and they work with cloth diapering…and I wouldn’t have to feed him one meal a day…

…we decided that we just can’t do it. Amy says she doesn’t want anyone else to raise our children, and after smelling the sterile environment (bleach for days, anyone??) and reading too many nanny horror stories, we just can’t. Though the place was nice and the staff were friendly and the kids were happy, we didn’t like the ‘care center’ feel. Outside of that, we haven’t met anyone we liked – though friends have offered to help, what would I really go do for that odd hour or so a week? I don’t really feel like it would be much of a break, I would be even more neurotic knowing people were coming over, making sure the fridge was perfectly stocked… Sigh. The trouble with being a Type A.

I also don’t prefer the idea of having family sit, even if that was an option, because there are so many disagreements to be had, and I want family fun time to be family fun time, no rules and no schedules and no issues. We are firm believers that kids should be at home with their parents for the first couple years, at least, if possible. We do so many fun things outside our house, it’s not as if he is a prisoner in here! Swimming, tumbling, story times, zoo trips, park, grocery shopping (he actually loves it)… the list goes on!

I don’t like the idea of someone shuttling my kid around in crazy Seattle traffic, either. One Saturday, my wife and I called each other when we reached our respective destinations of Winco and the mall. We both had babies to care about – her with Canyon in tow, me with a baby on board – and we both saw road rage and near accidents on the highway and interstate. We were calling to tell each other to be safe.

I am that one crazy person who does not text and drive, unless I am at a complete stop. I’m not even kidding, I have been on the mountain pass before and let texts sit for an hour or so. Not worth it. Going to so many social events in the last few years, it’s astonishing to see the condition people are in, getting behind the wheel after a few drinks, and thinking they are fine. Have I mentioned I am a Type A person before? I literally have no friends because I’m not ‘fun’ anymore. (I kid. Kind of.)

Besides, I love my job. I have done some crazy things in my life, for hobbies and for pay. This tops the cake on being the most difficult. In the long run, it will be incredibly rewarding. Day to day, the monotony, feeling like I want to do my makeup for a reason, to talk to other adults other than on play dates or inside a library or in passing at Target or the park…That is where things get tough.

It’s feeling like in society, you have no value. What do you “do”? But the truth is, after seeing the value and hard work, and knowing what kind of a person I am (graduated with honors while working a full time I.T. job and TTC, for example), I can’t imagine handing over the reigns to someone who might just sit on their phones all day and provide only his basic needs. Or pay extravagant fees for the assurance he will be changed every two point five hours and go outside every day? I’m sure it would be fine, but for what? So we can make more money to spend? At eighty bucks for half a day, and me going back for part time work and commuting to Seattle and back, it doesn’t make sense.

More than anything, though, I realized how much value I really do have. How much I really am contributing, though Amy tells me all of the time. I am my own worst critic, and it’s hard not having my own milestones to hit. Quotas. Reports to write. Goals. Instead, I feel like I am keeping a giant sack of poopy potatoes safe for another day, until it’s time to do it again. The little moments I live for, reading to him and doing preschool activities, going to the park whenever we feel like it…they are so huge but hard to appreciate when your day to day consists of scrubbing bodily fluids from absolutely everything and not having an out-loud conversation that doesn’t involve colors, numbers and shapes. Maybe I am sadistic, or maybe I really do know the value, deep down, underneath all of the “it’s so hard right now”. Because I wouldn’t change it for the world, especially as he is taking his first diving steps toward me, letting go of his secure grasp on whatever happens to be next closest to me. I can’t imagine missing all of this!

For now, we are working hard to pay off our “baby debts”, and almost own our Subaru, and so many more financial milestones coming up this year. We have learned to live – and live well – off one income. We are still able to save for our children’s future educations, and we feel nervous as hell for baby number two, but we are still able for me to stay at home after s/he arrives.

I would be sitting at work all day feeling like I was missing out, if it wasn’t for my wife. She loves me at home, and on my darkest weeks when I swear it’s “no wonder people don’t do this crap anymore and hire it out”, she reminds me that it’s just a wonder week, it’s just a tooth, it’s going to get better. Otherwise, I would be at a desk, no doubt, right now! She keeps reminding me of the greater good, and whenever we think about getting care for just one or two days a week, or talk about me going back to work part time, we come back around to deciding it’s not an option. I’m an all or nothing person, when I was working, it was 60 hours plus. I devote my not-at-work time in studying crap for work. Especially in technology, where the field is changing so quickly. We both worked so hard to have these babies, the thought of hiring overtime care for them is too much.

I have some Microsoft certs that are still valuable, but I don’t see myself finding something in I.T. for a couple days a week. It’s just not worth the stress associated with the tiny extra it would make us. It would make sense for me to go back full time, when we are ready, which may be awhile. And just when I think I am comfortable with that plan, a week goes by or a rough day happens or my partner leaves town for days, and I feel like running for the nearest “hiring” sign.

Unless you’ve actually been a full time stay at home parent, especially without assistance, you might not fully understand. If you’ve done it, even for a short while, I’ll bet you feel me!

Hormones play a huge part in my first trimester life crisis. I am so thankful to start today without taking my oral estrace, for the first time in 60 days! Next stop: Thyroid check later this month.

Stay tuned!

Also: I look crazy in this thumbnail, but I left it, because the baby is up and I’m out of time…!

lovemamab