Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Almost Tiny House

Well we're settled into the nearly tiny home and finding a new routine in a new town. So here's a peek at the little place we have for now. I got a set of camera lenses for my phone, and it was easiest to capture with a fish eye lens instead of taking a bunch of photos. I'm not sure I'm doing it right, they seem blurry at the edges but oh well, good enough.

First, the view outside. Not bad at all. I like trees.

The living room, dog and baby for scale. The box is a cat and toddler toy, not trash. All of Lyra’s toys fit in that coffee table and one small kitchen drawer. I am realizing we have too many toys, she doesn't miss many of them.

The kitchen. And technically dining room as well, I suppose.

Another view of the main room.
The entry way and bathroom.

The bedroom. Everyone sleeps here. Some nights that's a bit rough. But realistically, it is going quite well, somehow we generally all sleep. The bassinet is for Wyn and you can just see Lyra's bed crammed in at the foot of the big bed. The open space is where the rocker goes at bedtime.

Lyra's toddler floor bed. It will become a travel bed once we move. But everyone needed their own space and this was the only viable option.

Lyra's fort.

Most of our things are in storage still, minus what we brought with us in the cars. We took some of my parents furniture and this place already had the bed and the clothing racks and shelves, and the bar type table thing. The only major thing we bought was the couch. It folds out to a bed and has storage on one side. The coffee table has storage too. I might steal that for good, my family wasn't using it. That's the biggest hack for living small I've found so far,  all the furniture needs to have extra purpose as storage.

It took a bit of creativity to make it work with both kids and animals. We originally didn't have a door on the bedroom. Travis was able to put one in but we had a few days worth of  juggling around doors and making do. Now we can fit a toddler floor bed (with just one tiny bit of smushing) and a bassinet in the bedroom. I can even get a rocker in there when the door is open. We have to leave the door open once we go to bed so that it stays heated but Roxi and cat have settled and aren't being super obnoxious at night generally.

This place has all the main things we need, even a full size bathtub and a washer and dryer. Those are must have things with little kids. There's no dishwasher, that's my only big thing missing but that's manageable. I purposely didn't bring too many dishes to avoid having a bug procrastination pile of dirty dishes. The location is most similar to Alaska or maybe Washington. About 25 minutes from town, rural ish with neighbors close by but not as close as Washington or Nevada.

There's been no internet and only half working cell service for me for a while. I can get messages out intermittently but it's annoyingly slow and hit or miss usually. I've been reading a lot more which is nice, but I've seen no news either which is tedious. I can't look anything up, make calls, etc. I try to  quickly get those things done when I go to town with the kids but it's hard to be productive like that when I'm out with 2 little ones. Hopefully it will be resolved soon. I don't necessarily think the cutback on TV and social media has been terrible, but it will be nice to have things like weather forecasts and local activities and Google back as resources. I haven't watched a TV show or movie in well over a month. I miss my podcasts. I like less social media. But I forget how all my recipes are kept online on pinterest until I need to make a shopping list. And I have twice been caught out in not ideal weather since I didn't see the forecast. Internet has it's upsides.

Also flu and cold season has hit us pretty hard. We've been rotating through illnesses and had at least one of sick what seems like all the time. I'm feeling very paranoid with the increase in illness around. Plus things like the measles outbreak. Wyn is too young for the vaccine. Which means if we walk through a room where someone with measles has been in the last 2 hours, there's a 90% chance he gets it. I can't say I've never had my sick kids in public. Sometimes you need groceries when your toddler has had a cough for 2 weeks. And I've definitely sent Lyra places not realizing she was sick. I don't, however, send a super snotty with a hacking coughing toddler out to a playdate or toddler activity though and it drives me crazy when I realize the kids seated by my 4 month old at storytime is clearly sick. It annoys me when people do that. I just hope the kids inherit Travis' immune system instead of mine.

Speaking of kids, Lyra has been speaking nonstop. I've decided to write a parenting book. Working on the title but I'm thinking, "Raising Serial Killers" has a nice ring to it. This morning as I was making her breakfast Lyra said, "I'm so hungry I'm going to bite your head off." I thought maybe she meant it in the way you say, "I'm so hungry I could eat an elephant," or "You're so cute I could eat you up." Until she continued with, "Then you won't be able to talk. Or look at anyone." Okayyyyy. Creepy. She also still says the word "carry" in a weird toddler way that sounds like "kill." She was sweetly telling my mom and brother all about how she likes to carry her baby. She likes to carry her baby just like mommy does (she has a toy ring sling she likes to put her dolls in when I carry Oswin in the wrap). Both my mom and brother gave me some serious side eye, Martin seemed particularly frightened. My dad baptized Lyra and Travis always likes to complain about how "that excorcism your dad did just didn't take." Besides the creepy speak, Lyra really is a chatty Kathy lately. She's always trying to negotiate with us which is hilarious as her grip on numbers is tenuous and something like "A, B, M, S, 6, 8, 9." She also sings 87% of the day. Sometimes I'll ask her what she is saying and she just says, "Oh I'm just talking to myself."

Oswin is growing too. He's in a bad napping phase which is unfortunate. Unlike with Lyra, I can't dwell on it or do much about it. At least he's sleeping alright at night. He's rolling front to back too at 4.5 months. He beat Lyra by a couple weeks. Impressive considering his gigantic head. He doesn't sit on his own yet but he wants to stand all the time. Similar to Lyra, so I guess we will see if we get another no crawling early walker. He's still generally so quiet and smiley. He loves people and is super social. Those big gummy baby smiles are the best. He has this goofy dinosaur sounding squawk/croak thing he likes to do all the time and he's started doing this weird face where he clacks his gums together. Unlike Lyra, he is not into being terrified. If you surprise him, he's pretty likely to cry. Lyra on the other hand, won't stop listening to goosebumps audio books, I am not even joking.

We are starting to find the regular activities to do around here and make some new friends. The first person I met here (Ok, second, I met the bartender at the local brewery first. And the food and beer and service was quite lovely, just saying.) immediately knew who I was once I said my first name. Our husbands both work at the mine and our boys were born within 12 hours of one another. Small towns, but still pretty slim chances. There's a lot of library story times around here which is awesome, and the libraries are big too.

It still feels kind of surreal to be back in Colorado. I think we've vacationed here so often I can't quite reconcile the fact we live here now. But mostly it feels like being back home.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Moving Update

Well it has been craaaaaazy the past few weeks. Non-stop planning, organizing, packing, dealing with various things that crop up last minute. Adverse weather, car repair, sick kids, you name it. I had to have dental work done, my glasses are held together with hot glue right now. It has been stupid busy. We made it to Colorado, obviously, and the kids, animals, and I are staying with my parents and Travis is a few hours away.

The 2 days we had movers were pretty rough. I've had much better experiences with movers, I'll just leave it at that. I was concerned we wouldn't get things done in time and we had plans to leave and hotels booked. I think Travis had worse once, but I wasn't there, I was on an oil rig on the slope. Oswin was an angel and napped in the wrap all day, but after a few hours that is extremely tiring even when it's going well. The second day, when everything was being loaded so doors were open all day, was quite cold and had some rain and bad weather. I felt bad for the animals. Kitty spent the day in her kennel, Roxi was locked in the front seat of my car, and Dinger had to be unceremoniously shoved in a coat closet for hours. I'd planned on having the dogs outside but not in the rain.

The actual trip here wasn't awful. Travis took the animals and booked it in 2 days so we didn't see him much. Oswin hates the car, so I was concerned, but he really only cried 3 or 4 times over the 3 day drive and just for 10 or 15 minutes. Lyra, on the other hand, was the actual devil. I expected her to be a pro traveler like the last time we did this drive. I think she was mainly stressed with a side of not feeling great. It was understandable but awful to deal with. She's nearly back to normal now minus an urgent care trip for a weird rash and sore throat that the pediatrician was concerned was scarlett fever. I never knew kids could just get viral rashes. It's happened at least twice now. Someone should tell you that before you have kids. The weather was ok for us, there was a couple hours of dicey wind and blowing snow with some icy roads on the very last day, but we made it.

Lyra provided some comic relief when she wasn't channelling Satan. I made a comment one evening about how thirsty I was. She piped up with, "Mama, you thirsty for beer??" Why, yes, yes I am, after 2 long days of driving with children. She also made up a song at one point. We can't figure out the words she's saying but it sure sounds like she's singing about boobies. Who knows.

It only took me a couple weeks to decide I was done with this parenting alone thing. Now my parents are helpful with the kids, but it's just a different dynamic. I had to take Lyra to the urgent care (we have both an ER and an urgent care visit on the books for this ove because of course it can't be low stress and uncomplicated) and my mom came along to help. However, once Lyra had a strep test and Oswin needed to nurse, I ended up with one kid on each knee, despite having backup. Having help is great, it really is, but it doesn't beat having the other parent around.

We spent a good amount of time scouring zillow and craigslist looking for rentals. I made lots of calls and sent emails and checked with random acquaintances. I looked into tiny houses, busses, airbnb's, and pretty much everything we could think of. The problem was the pets plus needing something short term. Buying sooner rather than later is easier with a relocation program. And no one wants to rent to you if you have a cat AND a large dog. Sometimes you find one or the other but rarely both.

So that brings us to the next adventure. 576 square feet, one bedroom, one bathroom, two kids, a cat, and a dog. Technically it isn't a tiny house, those are smaller than 500 square feet. But it is pretty small. On par with my first couple apartments. Dinger has to stay with my parents. Finding a short term rental is hard. Add on a cat and a small dog and it's even harder. A large dog in top of that has proved to be impossible. I love my family and I don't mind living with them, but having Travis nearly 4 hours away just isn't very doable long term. So we will be renting a tiny place until we sell and get a new house. We will be borrowing a lot of my parents stuff (it's ok, they have spares plus my brother left his stuff here and ran off to Spain. They have 9 peanut butters. NINE. That I've found.) and probably buying a duplicate thing or two while everything from our house (that didn't come in the cars with us) is in storage. Like coffee, that's probably our biggest indulgence. We have an espresso machine but while that's in storage we're getting a cold brew and a coffee siphon. Because we really like our daily caffeine to be high quality.

Peanut butter

Travis always said he never wanted a tiny house. Or to live close to his in-laws (just kidding). Travis also didn't want a cat. Or a small dog. Yet here we are.  Poor guy.

Anyway, that mini move is next weekend. Wish us luck and lend us a sleeper sofa or a loveseat for a few months. Only kind of kidding.

For now, the kids are enjoying being around the grandparents and uncle Chris. Lyra is so sweet with Chris, it's funny to watch them interact. He sticks up for her when we try and tell her to drink her water or eat her food or do quiet time or whatever. And she will very happily help bring him things or hand him things or play games and do crafts with him.

 I'm anxious to get settled into our own space a little more. It's hard to make a new routine with kids and I think it will be good to get them to their own home with mom and dad and start making new friends and getting to know our new town. We will visit the grandparents a lot. The next weekend when we visit, there will be 7 adults, 2 kids, 4 dogs, and 1 cat. Plus, my dad promised Lyra a fish. Also, it's always just kind of crazy around here. Today for example, one of the dogs brought home a pig head. And a flock of turkeys came to visit.

The dead pig head.

Turkeys. At least 15 of them. 

They won't miss us around here when we move out. Plus, we'll be back.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Logistics and Anxieties

Moving preparations are fully underway. This weekend is our last chance to get things done around here with all 4 of us here. Then professional cleaners and photographers will be here next week and we will finally officially have the house on the market. The following weekend Travis will fly to Colorado and start work, living in temporary housing for a bit. In other words, a hotel. My dad (who will have been enjoying a quiet retired life for a full 5 days) will fly out here and help me with the kids and pets for a week and a half. Then movers will be here for a couple days, Travis will fly back and take the animals in one car and my dad and I will drive the second car with children. Travis is driving in 2 days so he can drop the animals off at my parents house and get back to work. My dad and I are opting for a 3 day drive. That will average to about 5 hours driving a day plus I figure an addition 3, realistically, for stopping and changing diapers and feeding babies. The kids and animals and I will be staying with my parents for a bit. So that will be a mad house. 4 adults, 1 toddler, 1 infant, 4 dogs, and 1 cat.

Trying to plan for what we need to take with us for an unknown number of weeks/months is stressful. Baby swing, diapers, baby many decisions to make. Do I take the stroller? That eats up soooo much space. Not to mention the clothing situation. I'm still in weird postpartum limbo, half in maternity clothes, my old stuff doesn't fit yet but I'm tired of maternity clothes and I don't want to pack it all. Oswin and Lyra are both growing. I need a cooler for breastmilk I pump while I travel. We need a cat box for the trip. We will need to have space for the extra liquid food items, lotions, shampoos, assorted things movers won't pack that we want to take with.  Also I need to pack the weird stuff I'm don't want to explain to movers. I'm talking things like the leftover "team penis" buttons and vagina candy molds from the sex party when we announced Oswin is a boy. Or the weird collection of tiny penises my best friend buys me. I have a wind up one and a stone carved one. Seriously. The normal weird stuff like the storm trooper lifesize cutout and assorted sasquatch paraphernalia is fine, I'm not embarrassed about those.

My advice is, don't ever move over the holiday season if you can avoid it. It slows down scheduling movers, getting the house on the market, etc. I'm kind of a type A, hyper organized person. I like to have everything lined out and love lists and having everything settled. So I'm kind of a big ball of stress. And to be completely honest, I think I have some postpartum anxiety/OCD going on. I'm planning on taking a combination of my own advice and the advice of other mother friends and see if things calm down in the next few weeks until I can get to Colorado and set up with a primary care doctor there. It's hard to tell where to draw the line between normal holiday/young baby/moving stress and "this isn't really rational" stress. In all my internet research and bonding with mom pals I've seen it's actually a really common but not often discussed openly topic. Even with my openness about a lot regarding birth and babies and pregnancy, it makes me uncomfortable. But anyway, there's this thing that happens where you get some obtrusive thoughts. By the way, it's totally different from the postpartum psychosis level where you hear voices or want to hurt yourself or your child. Just to clarify straight off the bat. It's more like worry taken to the next level in a creative way. Like just a thought pops into your head about whatever various ways your child could be harmed.

Some are the more (for lack of a better word) normal and common worries.

"What if I drop him him?"

"What if he just doesn't wake up from his nap?"

Then you get into the more irrational or elaborate territory. Things that would never happen or are so rare you really shouldn't be worried about them.

"What if all the glass disappeared and I dropped the baby out the second story window?"

Never mind this isn't Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone.

"What if I had a seizure or something and smacked his head on the corner of the table when I fell?"

And they can be very uncomfortably graphic thoughts. I think that's what makes people hesitate to talk about it. This is where I want to say again, it's not postpartum psychosis where you might act on those thoughts. It's more the opposite feeling, where you're horrified by all the dangers out there and semi panicked about preventing them. Intrusive and bothersome thoughts is what they are. That's the line I'm less sure of though,  where it goes from being fleeting thoughts to worry that interferes with daily life.

I'm putting it out there though because I mentioned it in a mom group and got an immediate chorus of "You have those thoughts? Thank goodness, so do I."

And let's be real, while kids are hearty little things, there's a lot of real danger to worry about and common sense things you have to teach them. Running with a toothbrush and stabbing through your cheek, legitimate fear that need attention to prevent. Toddler drowning in the tub if you don't pay attention, cutting off circulation to appendages with rogue hair or string tourniquets, hot food on the counters and stoves, all other scenarios that are not unlikely and should be kept in mind.

On a lighter note, I'm teaching Oswin to speak wookie. He's got it 95% down and makes a valiant effort to conversationally chit chat back and forth with you. He also laughs hysterically when you say, "Woo woo, quack, ribbit." Kids are great.

Anywho, this post is actually incredibly late, movers come tomorrow! See ya later, Nevada.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018


Big news again here. Did not expect to be making this post for a couple years. So the last trimester of my pregnancy or so, Travis started to make jokes about moving again. Now I've moved something like 14 times in the past 12 years. This will be 5 out of the last 7 holiday seasons we will be moving. That's our holiday tradition. Side note, every time it gets harder and more complicated as we acquire more things, pets, and children. This is the longest we've stayed anywhere, about 2 years or so. Anyway I was 38 weeks pregnant or so when Travis asks me, "So how much do you really want to move back to Colorado?"

Now I'd resigned myself to staying here a couple more years before Travis found a new job. He doesn't mind Nevada and he likes his job here. I however, am not Nevada's biggest fan. And in my defense, Nevada has been rough on me. When we first moved I was stuck alone in an apartment with a toddler most of the week while Travis commuted 2 hours one way and worked 10 hour days. Our second car hadn't arrived and then had some serious mechanical issues. Then we were stuck in a too small, somewhat sketchy apartment. I had my wisdom teeth removal (super painful and stressful). Then I had 2 miscarriages. And also my allergies were killer and made me feel like I had a bad cold for 4 months of the year. Plus my neck pain and headaches were the worst they've ever been. And the icing on the cake is desert climate is my least favorite climate. So generally, not too many great memories here. The friends I've made and Oswin are really the only big highlights to come out of Nevada for me. It was a great career move for Travis and that was necessary to get to where we are now. But, frankly, I won't be sad to see Nevada in the rear-view mirror.

So turns out Travis applied for a Colorado job, interviewed by phone, and they wanted to fly him out for an interview. I'd told Travis months before to apply for anything relevant in Colorado but not to get my hopes up unless it was serious. Unfortunately they wanted to fly him out the 20th of September. My due date was the 19th. They were very understanding of his situation and told him he could wait until I had the baby. This added to my anxiety when Oswin did not arrive on time. Anyone who has been pregnant and especially overdue can understand the wait to just get your baby out. Add to that a wait to hear if you get the opportunity to move back home. I was sooooo grouchy.

Finally, Travis was able to fly out a week after Oswin was born. Not an ideal time for Travis to leave, but better than possibly missing the birth. And here's the part of the story I left out in earlier posts. This is when Lyra got her stomach virus. Also I'd been saying she got it when I was 2 weeks postpartum, nope. That's when I got it. Anyway we were just sitting down to supper. I'd just gotten a text from Travis saying his interview ran late and he wasn't sure he would make his plane home but he'd text in a half hour or so to let me know. Then Lyra pukes everywhere. On the couch, on the floor, all over herself. Luckily, my mom had stayed an extra week to help me, knowing Travis would be gone. Still that was the most stressful 30 minutes ever. Cleaning a vomit covered toddler, trying to care for a 1 week old, still super sore from birth, waiting to hear if Travis would make it home that evening. I cried actual tears of relief when he said he was on the plane. And then I got to wait and see if I caught the virus, or if Oswin would. I was so worried I'd end up having to take a newborn to the ER. Not to mention I was very unexcited about the prospect of puking after having given birth. I mean for a while there anytime you cough or sneeze it feels like your vagina might fall out. Puking would be so much worse. I was also thanking my lucky stars that I hadn't had a c-section. A stomach virus after that sounds like the worst nightmare. Luckily, Oswin did not ever get it and I didn't until 2 weeks out and I had a speedy birth recovery. My leftover zofran from pregnancy was also a lifesaver. I think that's the only thing that kept me out of the ER to be honest.

Back to the point though, then we waited to hear anything. For ages. Travis even went on an interview to Vancouver Island in the meantime. Apparently, it's recruiter season. Funny enough, during that trip Oswin puked all over myself and the floor right around 10 at night when he was stubbornly refusing sleep. They always have to vomit when he's away. But that was minor and the only incident that trip. So then we were waiting to hear back from two awesome sounding locations. Finally we heard back from Colorado that Travis did not get the job. At that point I was expecting it. So I was sad we wouldn't be making it back to Colorado anytime soon, but at least the possibility of Canada lessened the blow.

Then one evening Travis tells me, " Well Canada is not going to happen," and hands me a paper. It was one of those moments where it takes your brain a second to process. I registered "pleased to offer you the position..." and the header of the company at the top of the page. Surprise offer from Colorado out of the blue! I've had a few of those moments lately where everything takes a 180 turn. "You're only 5 cm." Just kidding, "You're complete, that was your water breaking."

So we're moving to Colorado! I'm very excited. We'll be 3.5 hours or so from my parents. Oddly enough we will be in the same town Travis lived in and I visited the first summer we dated. He's worked for the mine before but when they were owned by a different company. It will be kind of surreal to be back there. We were in college, I had Roxi already but since then we've added another dog, a daughter, a cat, and most recently of course, Oswin. I used to drive back and forth on weekends from my apartment in Golden to visit. Now I'll likely be making a similar drive again, 8 years later, from my parents house. With a kid or two along for the ride. Anyway, I'm sure I'll have an anecdote or two to share from a cross country journey with the whole crew.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

7 Weeks Post Oswin (never expect title creativity from me)

Well we are 7 weeks out now. I don't want to jinx anything but Oswin slept 11 hours straight last night. I know that may not last and he's still sleeping swaddled, I don't know how he'll take to un swaddled sleep, but it's a nice change. Lyra, on the other hand, woke me up to put on her halloween socks. Oswin takes a while to get to sleep in the evenings but when he goes down, he goes down hard. Setting Lyra down used to be a delicate process. If you fumbled at all, breathed too hard or patted her for one second too long or whatever, she qoke up fully and you were back to square one. With Oswin you can kinda just toss him onto the bed and he doesn't wake up. Exclusively at night though, doesn't work during the day. But I'll take what I can get. 

Here's a couple snapshots of our life right now.

Weird Oswin quirk, one of the best ways to put him to sleep....hold him like this with his head leaned back at this really uncomfortable looking angle. 

This is 2.5 days worth of diapers for a toddler and newborn. Plus like 6 or so disposables for overnight. All I do is change diapers, I swear. 

Mom life. But you know you have good friends when they show up at your door with mac and cheese and wine when you send out a pleading text for company. 

Bought a new good swing when the little secondhand one we had broke and it is amazing. I regret cheaping out when I had Lyra. He naps at least one good nap a day in here typically.

Her face = her personality in a nutshell. They have themed brother/sister shirts but I keep forgetting to get a picture with both.

In general, everyone's doing pretty ok these days. Oswin's still growing like crazy. Breastfeeding is way easier this time around. Except for some weird reason both kids do not like left boob. At different times I've thought it was due to the way I hold the kids, their necks being sore, too much or too little milk, too fast flow, nothing really makes total sense that I can figure out. Super frustrating because that leads to different sized boobs. Comical, but mildly stressful. And then I'm trying to pump enough to fix that but not cause myself supply issues or pain. Plus, one time when I was still nursing Lyra I went on the internet and learned that very rarely a one sided nursing strike means you have cancer. I am basically 99.999% sure that is not the case here. So every now and then I have to have a chat with myself and calm down the 0.001% side of me that's crazy. Stupid left boob. I'm sure that I notice much more than anyone else does but still, not cool.

I forgot to include my postpartum pictures in the last post so here goes.  

2 days before Owsin was born, 40 weeks and 4 days is my final guess of how far along this was. In any case,  I was over it. I'd gained 42 pounds at this point. 

1 day postpartum, just after we got home from the hospital

2 days 

3 days

One week out, peak mom hair here. 

2 weeks out. Post stomach flu from hell. At this point I'd lost 22 pounds and weight loss stalled out. Weight loss kicked in again around week 5 or 6 but at a much slower pace. At 7 weeks out I still have an extra 16 or so leftover from this pregnancy. And I've been too lazy to get a good picture.

I've spent a bit of the last couple weeks wondering if Oswin has a milk allergy that is manifesting itself earlier than Lyra's did. At this point I'm not convinced it is anything more than normal baby stuff and I'm just being extra diligent and watching too decide if I need to go dairy free for a while.

Occasionally, he throws up everything in his stomach. Lyra used to do this too. At this point this has happened to me enough, I'm a pro at dealing with it. We happened to be out at brunch the other morning when he did it last. (My hipster kid loves brunch by the way. Lyra knows which restaurant we go to, and loves her "bakey." That's bacon, in toddler speak.) I was holding him upright and he aimed the first part straight down my shirt. If you're a mom who has had this happen, you know exactly how the space in a nursing bra right between your boobs is basically a pocket. A pocket for catching dropped food, vomit, basically anything gross or smallish sized. I even found a pacifier in there at the end of the day once, true story. So anyway, I know better than to move him since he'd already puked straight into my bra. I just let it happen and tried to minimize the spread of the mess. Then I just threw the vomit covered baby at Travis and ran to the bathroom to mop up the vomit puddle in my bra with a cloth diaper. Thank goodness for those, they're truly multi purpose mess cleaners.  I was impressed with our smooth handling of the situation. Oswin needed a full outfit change and I had to leave the restaurant wearing Travis' jacket, but no one around even noticed the chaos as far as I could tell. I even finished my mimosa. I mean, is it even really brunch of someone doesn't end up without clothing?

Good thing Travis wears jackets. 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Postpartum/Newborn Oswin Update

I'm only on day 3, but so far I'm having an easier recovery and adjustment postpartum.

Physically speaking, I pushed a much shorter time during delivery which helps the general soreness. Plus, this time I am more prepared because I know what works for me recovery wise. I have one of those stomach binders that I think not only helps the "my insides are rapidly rearranging and it feels like there is a huge gaping empty space in there" feeling, but it helps support my back and stomach muscles. All of which were sore from pregnancy and pushing.  I didn't use that until probably 2 weeks in with Lyra. This time I had it brought to me in the hospital and have been using it when I'm on my feet since 24 hours out. I lucked out again and didn't tear, even with the pound bigger kid and the more rapid pushing. Even bleeding is surprisingly slowed down already. Travis says that's because I got that all out of the way during labor. He's been joking about the big clot I passed right when things got scary. He's like, "That's when your cervix fell out onto the floor and you went from 5 to 10 cm. Someone cleaned it up for you. " We can joke about the scary stuff in hindsight.

The main thing that hurts right now is my tailbone. Getting up or down or changing positions is the worst. Travis says its concerning to him when I make my labor noises trying to get off the couch. I think mainly I keep trying to stop taking tylenol and ibuprofen too early. But that's probably my most major physical complaint so it really isn't much to complain about.

I'm also used to the sleep deprivation so that's kind of business as usual right now. I'm sure that will get worse, but it helps right now. I didn't sleep the night I was in labor, but luckily I gave birth in the morning and had a day to let the adrenaline wear off and to settle a bit. Still didn't sleep much that night (the hospital isn't restful when everyone comes in to check you all the time)  but it was better than when I have birth at dinnertime. I'm basically back to 3rd trimester sleep, still up every few hours.

Breastfeeding is so far going better than with Lyra. I had a crazy oversupply with her and she had jaundice. I think both of those things got ahead of me. This time I think Wyn is a better eater from the get go and isn't having any jaundice issues so far. He seems to have kept up with my supply a bit better, I definitely don't have trouble getting him to wake up and nurse. I think we're starting to turn the corner into drowning in milk territory though so I may have to start with the pump soon. But with that, my biggest struggle was mental. I didn't want to have to pump and kept thinking I was making things worse and either just trying to deal with the engorgement pain or being really inconsistent with pumping. This time, if I have to pump, I'll probably just donate the majority or see if Lyra will drink it.

3.5 week update:

Ok, so I got busy and didn't complete my post. Basic update, this baby is huge. Like 6 month size clothes at 3 weeks huge. He weighs as much as Lyra did at 2 months at less than 1 month.

Still have an oversupply but much less than with Lyra. I maybe get 4 or 5 extra ounces a day if I have to pump some. And it's only ever once a day, if that. I think he eats more than she did. Plus I got a killer stomach virus at 2 weeks postpartum. Lost almost 5 pounds overnight and haven't had a stomach virus that bad since I was a kid. That kinda killed my supply, turned out to be lucky I had extra. Lyra also had the virus at 2 weeks out. That was brutal. Sick toddler while trying to recover from childbirth, puking a couple weeks postpartum, 10/10 would not reccomend. I'm so thankful I didn't end up with previa and a c section at the end.

Mentally, I've also felt better this go around. In hindsight I wonder if I had some postpartum anxiety with Lyra. I've felt a little extra hormonal this time around but it's soooo different. So far the transition to two kids has been easier than the transition from none to one. I don't know if that will continue later on. I think it's because no kids to 1 kid was a full lifestyle change. Adding a second kid is adding a lot of busy and extra work, but it's not a full routine change.

Sleep has been ok so far. However, I'm going to be waiting for him to be a terrible sleeper for, oh, probably the next 5 years. I just can't let my guard down there. Lyra still gets up on occasion during the night. I listen to a lot of podcast episodes on nighttime wake ups now. I've discovered some good scary fiction ones.

I lost 22 pounds the first 2 weeks and since then haven't really lost anything else. So still about 20 pounds up. But I don't think that's too bad for not being far out from birth yet. Everything else feels pretty much back to normal, much faster than I felt normal with Lyra. The one thing that still hurts a lot is my tailbone. I've heard that can last for months so that sucks. But this time I'm going to a chiropractor and getting massages regularly so I feel pretty good otherwise.

It has also been weird to adjust to a baby that isn't Lyra. Oswin is similar in a lot of ways but very distinctly a different person. It is weird but also really neat to see how different personalities a tiny little person can have. Oswin loves his hands up by his face which makes a lot of in utero movement make sense. He wobbles his chin a ton when he cries which is adorable and hilarious. Lyra used to do the bottom lip stuck out sad face, Oswin doesn't really.  She also used to do the funny super red faced grunt poop noises, Oswin doesn't which is sad. Oswin is also so grunty all the time. He sounds like a little pig, it's adorable.

Cut to 5 weeks out....

And a final update at 5 weeks out because life is busy with 2 kids. Oswin is smiling now, almost laughing today. He likes when you bop his lips with your fingers. He also likes Lyra which just melts me all the time.  He's starting to struggle with sleeping which is a bit rough. But overall, settling in to things better than I was led to believe, honestly.  Hopefully I'll be back with another update sooner than this one came together.


He takes all his naps on the go and in someone's arms. 


Travis and Lyra are blurry because he's trying to avoid the camera. 

Monday, October 1, 2018

Oswin's Birth Story

After 18 months of waiting, 3 pregnancies, 2 miscarriages and countless changes in plans, we are finally home with another baby. Oswin Finley Howard was born the 28th of September, 2018 at 8:34 AM. He weighed in at 8 lbs 3 oz (a pound bigger than his big sister was) and 21.5 in long. I planned on a homebirth but ended up transferring to the hospital partway through.  All in all though, things went as well as they could have and I feel pretty good about how everything turned out. No one had a horrible traumatic experience and everyone is safe and healthy. I think it helped that I dealt with the placenta previa earlier in the pregnancy and had basically accepted both a homebirth or a hospital birth as a probable outcome. I'd even had a lot of time to process that I might have a c-section. I also had co-care with an OB I really liked and a hospital I was comfortable with as a backup. So I'm glad that all that forced me to remember I might not get an unmedicated, vaginal, relatively complication free birth experience like I had with Lyra. For the most part I had my ideal birth experience with Lyra. Minus the fact I wish I could have pushed her out in like 5 minutes instead of 5 hours.

So, first, to recap Lyra's birth experience for comparison and reference. She was born at a birth center in Alaska. I went into labor early one morning and had her by dinnertime on her due date. I dilated fully in about 6 hours (pretty fast for a first time mom) but pushed for 5 (an eternity for anyone who's been there), so a total of about 11 hours of labor. My contractions were always pretty close together, I never had long break times maybe 4 or 5 minutes at most. I didn't have any significant complications, no meds, no tearing, a bit of extra bleeding after birth but my uterus was tired. Almost transferred to the hospital due to the extended pushing but didn't have to. The full story is both on my own blog and on my birth photographer's blog with pictures to go along with it.

Normally, subsequent babies come faster and earlier than first babies so everyone kind of thought this boy would follow that. Especially because I had such an early positive pregnancy tests and all his ultrasounds showing he measured early. NOPE. Side fact, I had an irritable uterus with Lyra and had Braxton Hicks contractions constantly, especially at the end. Usually with subsequent pregnancies that's also worse. But I actually had less with this guy.

So when all my due date guesses passed me by and I was still pregnant, I was very surprised.  And frankly, quite displeased. I was 100% more ready to be done with pregnancy than I ever was with Lyra and I felt terrible and sore and exhausted. I didn't want to medically induce for anything other than a health reason or if I got all the way to 42 weeks.  But I had a few timelines and his due date was a little questionable. On Thursday the 27th I went in for my last appointments. I was somewhere between 40 weeks and 1 day at minimum and 41 weeks and 1 day. My best guess given all the factors was that I was 40 weeks and 5 days.

My OB did an ultrasound and monitored the baby and deemed him just fine in there. I had him check my cervix and I was 3cm dilated, 80% effaced and baby was at -1 station. I wanted to know a starting point and to have an idea if things were favorable should I need to induce. Basically the verdict was, "Not bad, I'll take that." I also had him sweep my membranes. Basically detach the amniotic sac right around the cervix to try and get a hormonal reaction to jump start labor. My OB was on call and suggested induction the following Thursday (42 and 1 by his timeline). He wasn't pushy at all and it was a reasonable suggestion on his part but I was hoping to not get to that point.

Factoring in when the OB suggested inducing, that Travis was just starting his weekend, my mom couldn't stick around indefinitely to help, and Amy (Travis' mom, an OB nurse) was also trying to make it to Travis' sisters birth in Portland (we were due the same time because why wouldn't that happen), we decided to try some at home labor inducing tricks. I went with the non invasive lowest risk things that appeared to have some evidence that they actually work and don't raise your risks for c-sections, inductions, distressed baby, etc. I went home and tried to bring on some contractions by using a breast pump. Didn't work really, caused some super mild ones while I used it but they disappeared really quick afterwards. Finally, I took my midwife's suggested castor oil recipe and tried to go to bed hoping labor would start in a couple hours. I felt mildly nauseous but other than that not much happened and I was just figuring nothing would happen that night.

Then around 11:30 I started thinking I was feeling some mild contractions every few minutes I also started to have a little bit of bleeding. We woke up Amy and called our midwife out shortly after that. Neither Amy or our midwife were terribly concerned about the bleeding, just something to watch at that point but it spooked me a little more and I was glad I had them both there to watch me. I mostly labored on my yoga ball  or standing and used my baby wrap that Travis rigged as a rebozo to hang from the ceiling. Probably one of my favorite ways to get through contractions. After another hour or so we called out the doula and birth photographer. That's also when we woke up my mother, we initially didn't so that she would be a little more rested than we were to be Lyra's person when she woke in the morning.

My sense of time gets a little fuzzy after that point because labor started to get more intense. I started to have heavier bleeding and began passing a few clots so I started to feel a bit panicky. I was still having bleeding that was "the upper end of normal." Then I felt what seemed like a giant clot (I believe it was somewhere around apple sized but it's hard to tell with those things) and I pretty much made up my mind things were not ok anymore. The midwife asked to check my dilation (something that hadn't been done yet since seeing the OB). At the same time my contractions had hit a new level of intense that was worse than anything I'd experienced with Lyra. I also started to feel pushy and have some of the contractions where I couldn't stop my body from pushing involuntarily. So I was expecting to hear I was very close to fully dilated. At this point I think it was around 5:30 to 6 am so I'd been in labor for as long as it took me to fully dilate with Lyra.

However, when the midwife checked I was only 5 cm. And I knew I had started at a 3. So there I was, passing some big clots that were so terrifying to me. Both Amy and my midwife were trying to reassure me that while the bleeding wasn't normal or great, I wasn't dying and the baby was doing well but we started to discuss the plan for what to do next.

In hindsight part of what happened for me was that all the blood and clots took me straight back to my last traumatic miscarriage. It physically felt the same, passing those clots, and happened in the same area of the house. I didn't think through that at the time and no way could I have vocalized that that was part of my mindset and decision making process but talking to Travis after the fact made me pretty sure that was a good portion of it. I was prepared for some level of sadness or triggering during labor, but bleeding like that didn't actually cross my mind. I knew you could bleed but didn't know you could bleed like that and be ok.

Another big factor was that my pain level was crazy. I'd done unmedicated labor with Lyra and this was a whole different level. So I was bleeding and freaked out, experiencing pain like I never had in labor before, and super stressed that I was starting to push uncontrollably when I'd made hardly any progress and was nowhere near ready for pushing. I also knew I couldn't make it through a slow labor like that without pain meds. I wanted an ambulance to take me to the hospital and get me all the drugs and stop the bleeding asap. With Lyra's birth I did eventually want meds and was debating a transfer because I wasn't sure I was getting her out. But there was much more of a debate and I was more indecisive. This time I was decided in a second and it just took me a bit to convince everyone that's what I wanted and needed. I'm still surprised by my conviction tobe honest. It took a minute for everything to be organized but we got an ambulance there and everyone scrambled to transfer.

Really at this point is the part that is funniest in hindsight. So I've been laying on the bed for a bit, I have nothing on from the waist down and I haven't really been able to move positions on my own, being ginormously pregnant and having a baby head low in my pelvis and intense contractions and all. There's some debate about how to get me out to the ambulance, I hear talk about taking down the 3 baby gates. Everyone is busy making plans about how everyone is getting there, what to take along, how and when to bring Lyra (she is somehow miraculously sleeping through all this) and I'm in one track mind mode. I am in more pain than I've ever been in my life, I'm bleeding, trying not to push, and I want to be in an ambulance on my way to drugs at the hospital, like, an hour ago. I also am 100% motivated to make it to the front door in one shot between contractions. No way in hell am I having one in the hallway. That's the worst, I like to be set up in a comfortable position during a contraction. Then I had a big contraction where I pushed and felt another bloody gush and was horrified and basically kicked into flight mode. So everyone helps me up, expecting to assist me in putting on a skirt or something, gathering my stuff and getting me to the front door. But the second I am up, I take off. Travis stopped to get shoes and I'm like, "Where the fuck are you, I need you right now. Keep up." My photographer and doula were laughing about it later saying everyone was basically chasing me down the hall because no one expected me to move so fast. Next thing I'm really aware of is being right at my open front door at nearly 7 in the morning, half naked, with paramedics I don't know (but Travis has met/will meet being a volunteer firefighter) screaming about how I'm pushing, I need a bucket (I was afraid the pushing was making a mess) and I want to get in the ambulance. People are tying to offer me clothes or a sheet to cover with to get in the ambulance, and I give zero fucks.

I make it into the ambulance with a sheet wrapped around me somehow and Travis is allowed in the back with me. I'm not sure if this is because he mentioned the firefighter thing or after my vocalizing through a contraction and kinda freaking out the paramedic decided he didn't want to be alone back there with me either. In any case as they're setting me up to go I feel a huge gush. I think it's blood and am really starting to panic. The paramedic tells me its very clear and it's my water, there's no blood. He lifts the sheet, looks between my legs and says, "Alright, looks like baby is going to come here after all." And starts talking about getting the midwife or OB nurse in here. I'm absolutely not comprehending any of this. I'm still about 15 seconds behind and I don't understand that I'm not bleeding and I'm thinking I'm only 5 cm and these guys don't know anything. Travis explained later that what he and the paramedic saw was part of the still water filled amniotic sac starting to come out and that my waters did indeed break. It was a slower leak than I had with Lyra and I didn't feel the pop I did with her or my last miscarriage so I didn't recognize it.

So somehow in the time between being checked in my bed and my mad dash to the ambulance I'd dilated the other 5 cm. In hindsight that's probably why the pain was so extreme. And the bleeding was from the rapid cervical change as well. Amy had reassured me I was making the right choice to transfer earlier with the bleeding when I was so far from the hospital and wasn't close to complete. If I would have known that I was almost done I would have probably felt a little better too, but no one could predict that. And it makes more sense why I felt pushy.

So anyway, we only know it was nearly 7 am when I started pushing because that's when Travis tried to call and get someone in the ambulance. Somehow his mom ends up in the back of the ambulance and she's the one who convinces me that I'm no longer bleeding and I'm fully dilated and can push because I know she at least has experience with this that the paramedics don't. And I should make it clear that the paramedics really were great. They originally didn't want anyone in the back with me and then basically followed Amy's lead with helping me and that's exactly what I needed. Not to mention they got an IV line in first try during a contraction,  that took some serious skill. And so then I pushed all the way to Reno. At that point I felt a bit dumb because I wasn't at home. I had been wanting to watch the sunrise before things got intense and I guess I kind of got my wish as I'm watching the sun rise in between my legs out the ambulance windows between pushes.

Sometimes I wish I was a little less dramatic. Like when we roll into the hospital and I'm screaming mid push all movie birth style. I was definitely louder and swore a lot more with this labor. But sometimes I just can't help it. So we make it to a room and get me on the bed. Luckily, the birth photographer we went with was already in the room (she works at the hospital, conveniently). My doula was there as well but I'm fuzzy on more details as I couldn't see without my glasses and I was deep into labor zone. My midwife was there as well but I have no memory of when or how everyone arrived. At first the nurses told me to stop pushing and wait for the OB. I didn't even bother explaining that wasn't a possibility and I heard Amy tell them for me.  My OB wasn't going to make it on time so his partner (who I hadn't met) was the OB they brought in. There was one single comment she made that made me angry but didn't turn into an issue. I asked to change positions because I was hoping to get the baby moving down faster. I actually like pushing on my back laying down in bed, which isn't generally a very effective way to push and I always assumed I'd want to avoid before I gave birth. But it's the only way I feel like I have a chance to rest and it just works for me to deliver.  Anyway though I asked to change, I think I said hands and knees because it seemed doable and I wouldn't have to move far. Someone suggested standing leaning over the bed. The OB made a rude comment along the lines of "That's fine, as long as she knows she's delivering in bed. The last time I had a midwife transfer and she tried to deliver standing the baby fell on the floor and had a fourth degree." I was braced for potentially clashing with this OB so I wasn't bothered other than I wish I could have been in a position to say what I thought about that. I don't like being told what I'm "allowed" like that or being bullied and scared into things.  Plus, I wasn't actually fighting to deliver like that. In any case, I just ignored it and kept pushing. I tried on my knees leaning over the back of the bed for a bit but then wanted to lay down again pretty quickly.

It seemed like forever but I really only pushed for a little under 2 hours which was so much better than the 5 I had with Lyra. The second scary part was after I got Oswin's head out everyone started telling me I had to stop pushing because he had a really tight double wrapped nuchal cord. Meaning it was around his neck really tightly twice. It took everyone by surprise because he had a great heart rate during labor. Luckily, I was able to comprehend what was happening and stop pushing. That takes some effort.

And as an aside, this is where I have a huge problem with OBs like the one I was delivering with. I want feeling very inclined to listen to her advice after her comments earlier. I had enough people I trusted telling me to stop pushing and was aware enough to realize what was happening. All it would have taken was a "I'd prefer you stay in the bed to deliver,  it's how I feel I can help you deliver safely," would have changed my entire perception of her. No need to jump straight to scare tactics. This is why I like the OB we picked so much, he treats you like you're capable and have a right to make decisions as long as he says his opinions and passes on the facts, he's pretty ok about going with your plan. 

Back to delivery, I had planned on delaying cord clamping but it had to be cut off before I could even finish delivering him. But I mean, breathing is pretty important. I got to hold him for about 10 minutes but honestly didn't get a good look at him because we were both a little stunned and he was up high on my chest. Then he just wasn't pinking up very well and they took him across the room for at least 20 minutes, timing is fuzzy but it was a long time for me. I still couldn't see and Travis went with Oswin. I had my doula, midwife, birth photographer and Amy all with me and everyone was in a good mood the whole time so it was clear Oswin was going to be fine but it's not a good feeling to be worried about your baby who is struggling and you've been waiting for so long to hold him.

Travis explained afterwards what all happened.  He had pretty high APGARS but pretty mottled color. They took a pulse ox and he was mid 80s when they want over 90. They ended up using a CPAP and deep suction to clear out fluid from his lungs and get him breathing better. They also did his newborn stuff and got his stats and what not. Luckily, they didn't have to take him to the NICU at all and he ended up back with me after a while.

The timing ended up working well where Lyra and my mom were concerned. They showed up (with my glasses) to meet Oswin shortly before we moved to the postpartum room for our 24 hour stay.  The rest of the time there was pretty unremarkable. We were able to go home a little over 24 hours later and thus far things are going pretty smooth for adjusting to life with a toddler and a newborn. He was worth all the wait and the trouble but I'm so ready to not be pregnant for a while. So far Oswin is an easy new little dude and my recovery is going even better than I hoped for. Probably just jinxed it all but guess we'll just see what the next few weeks bring. I'm already working on some postpartum posts but this one is long enough as is!