I couldn’t decide if I should use my free ½ hour to write about being a mama of two or a house update. I’ll stick to the former and will provide a house update sometime in the next week or so…
On Doing Things
In retrospect, having Vivianne changed Dave and my lives quite a bit. We go out less, need to coordinate sitters, etc. However, moving from one kid to two kids is a much bigger deal than I was giving it credit. The simple task of doing anything with both kids is daunting. Anything.
We had an ENT appt for Viv’s ears and the doc wanted to also check Leroy for tongue-tie (A thing that makes breastfeeding difficult). We got to our appointment nearly on time (a miracle), but the doctor was running over an hour late. This was literally hell on earth for Dave and I. Thankfully, the doc also has a holistic spa and gave mama a free 60 min facial after she walked into our exam room, saw Leroy on the boob (crying) and Vivianne stomping on the Goldfish crackers she had scattered on the floor. Listen, Vivi is SO well behaved but after a three-hour doctor circus, anyone would lose their cool.
I have ventured out once solo with both kids to get Vivi her first pair of skates. The logistics, ya’ all. The store we were going to is on a busy road. I didn’t feel like I could let Vivi out and then get Leroy out in case she ran into the street. So I did Leroy first. Then – I didn’t want to set his carseat in the snow / mud, so I set it on the sidewalk and went back for Vivi. No one stole the baby, so I win. Also – Vivi was a hit at Play It Again Sports. “Hockey skates!” on repeat as she danced around the store. Everyone won, really.
I’ve also given myself a pass on some things. Thank yous will go out in January. Christmas cards are becoming Valentine’s Day cards this year. And G-d bless Kaitlin, Lori, Kat, and the crock pot for providing a meal here and there so that cooking can take a back-burner on the real chaotic days.
We have a rhythm for bedtime that is working, although I remain concerned on how Dave will get both kids out of the house, fed, and in bed when I’m back on the road for work. He’s convinced he can do it. I think he thinks he’s superman.
This childbirth experience was awesome and then awful. As my nurse put it the next day, “I’ve been telling everyone that you came in and kicked ass, then you got your ass kicked.” Truer words…
I had wanted to do a natural birth with Vivianne but about 24 hours into the induction, I got an epidural. It was the right decision with her. Leroy was attempt #2 at a natural delivery. Now that I knew what to expect, I had a bit more confidence in myself. In addition, when we went in to induce, we were allowed to skip the cervix ripening, which is what gave me trouble with Viv. All good news – so we start down the natural birth journey…
With Viv, I tried to rely too much on external support (e.g. nurses, Dave, etc.). The problem is I’m someone who needs to focus on one thing at a time – so the simple aspect of inviting in my support system broke my concentration. This time – I got Bluetooth speakers and blared inappropriate 90s rap music, bounced on a ball, and zoned out into my world. It worked! Dave did what I needed him to do when I needed him to do it – he helped draw me a bath… and made sure he was right there when things got real. I didn’t call on him much, but knowing he was within arm’s reach was such a comfort. Leroy was nearly ten pounds and was also a “complex presentation,” which is doc terminology for he came out with a hand by his face. Butthead. Still it was all good and I was so proud of myself. We did it!
And then the placenta. The damned placenta. It grows good babies, but has been a problem after delivery for both babies now. This time, I had two lobes to my placenta. As they were trying to get it out, the umbilical cord ripped to a thread. I won’t get into details – but things got a bit ugly. Doc was called in and we had the option of going elbow deep to clear out my uterus with or without general anesthesia. I chose “with,” and OR prep started in a hurry. When all was done, I was away from Leroy and Dave for a bit over three hours. I had lost 3000 mLs of blood (500 is considered hemorrhaging). My hemoglobin dropped to 4.3. That means nothing to me but whenever a nurse hears that number, they react the same way – “oh, Kari. That’s not good…” In the next 48 hours, I was given four units of blood to help get my hemoglobin jump-started. We got up to an 8 when I was released (13.5 is normal). Now I’m recovering and growing red blood cells at home. I was amazingly weak the first 10 days at home, so Dave spent his week of baby-bonding PTO making sure I didn’t fall over and hit my head. Thanks, friend. I’m finally feeling back to my old self now.
I think the hardest part of this was having a doc come in and matter-of-factly tell Dave and I that we shouldn’t have any more kids. I’m not saying we are ready to have that conversation yet, but we have talked about having three kids a few times and this doc’s absolute position less than eight hours from Leroy being born was disheartening. We were still stunned a bit from how the whole thing went down. Anyway – as Dave says, “Kari, we don’t even know that doctor’s name. Let’s keep her opinion in perspective.” Truth. And we’ll deal with all that crap another day… for now, we enjoy little man.
She loves her brother so much. I can only hope Leroy ends up being as well adjusted, sweet, and empathetic as little Miss Viv. When Leroy cries, Vivianne yells – “Ree-roy, eat! Nipple! Ree-roy, eat!” as she pulls down my shirt. Such a little helper.
On Maternity Leave
I’m on week 3 of 16 weeks and frankly, am looking forward to getting to the other side of the holidays so I can hopefully find my rhythm. I struggle so much with the transition of my daily stresses of work (keeping clients happy, supporting our people, working through logistics to try to be in three places at the same time, etc.) and the daily stresses of maternity leave (keeping the kid from screaming, keeping the kids alive, keeping the house clean, keeping the laundry done). I feel like I haven’t fully transitioned into my “home-maker” role yet and we are all suffering for it. Fingers crossed for all of us that I get better at my temporary job after the holidays.