Knocked Up #2

pregnant_silhouette_2It was a phenomenal stage in our married universe. At this point in our lives, the baby daddy and I were both working very fulfilling jobs and volunteer roles, our firstborn was around 18 months old and we had a respectable amount of quality together time going on. Other than our son not sleeping a full night by himself EVER, our bodies had somewhat adjusted to the new normal of functioning on MUCH less sleep.

Disclaimer: I’ve been subjected to the movie “Inside Out” (or what’s lovingly referred to as “The Pump” by my toddler) no less than twice a day for months. Disney movies plaque my illustrative brain these days. I am sorry OR you’re welcome!

I remember sitting at my computer desk one night in September 2007 and all of a sudden this wave of intense irritation consumed me.  There was no logical trigger. No valid reason to make me want to verbally assault innocent civilians or throw the remote into a glass door. Maybe I was fed up with having to watch another PAINFULLY BORING, colossal waste of my time, webinar. Perhaps I was coming down with ANOTHER virus my child had brought home from daycare. (You know most parents stay sick the first several years of parenting small kids, right?)

Maybe there was that little red guy from “Inside Out” that had taken over the master control board in my brain. Uh oh. Yep. I was about to voice any and every irrational opinion I could drum up to the baby daddy in 2 minutes or less. My lips began to part and the words flew out like lava.

Inside-Out-Anger-Lewis-Black

Consequently, the baby daddy, always the rational sort, said “What’s WRONG with you! Is it that time?”. Ugh…typical. The standard “go to” male comeback for a grumpy wife. Can’t a woman just be a heifer because she feels like it? What’s their excuse when they get short and sulky? It doesn’t start with a “P” and end with a “D” now does it?! Sheesh.

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I sat there in that chair fuming for no reason. Apparently, “Disgust” took over because rational, highly opinionated thoughts began running interrupting the anger. “Ok, what date is it?”  “You really shouldn’t have said that even though you are always right.” “Hmm…yep, it is a possibility. You should find that cheap test you got at the Dollar Tree. Seriously, WHY pay $20 for a pregnancy test when you can get one just as accurate for $1? First Response and EPT are way too proud of their ancient technology.”

That gave me short-term confidence that I wasn’t possessed by an evil entity and there was a legitimate reason for my temporary character shift. After only taking TWO tests this go around, the stick read “pregnant”. Or, in the case of the cheap dollar store test, there were two lines. Well alrighty! Here we go again!

The hubby and I called everyone. Mom cried…AGAIN.

I had to tell my boss. For many women, this is a nerve wracking event. Will he/she be mad since there will be two to three months lost in productivity? Will he/she completely change his/her tune for the worse? Fortunately, the conversation seemed to go well but I always felt I had to work harder pregnant than I did not pregnant. Something I completely put on myself. There was the line of thinking that I had to PROVE I was just as much an asset to the company knocked up or not. Furthermore, my fabulous partner had just relocated closer to family, which left me the sole worker in the territory. I knew my manager was stressing and I felt I needed to do everything I could to put him/her at ease that the work would get done and get done well.

telling your boss you are pregnant
telling your boss you are pregnant

I laugh at myself now because it was senseless to put that much pressure on a body that was working overtime to grow another human being.  I worked up until a few days before the scheduled C-section and remember fervently washing baby girl clothes in Dreft the night before delivery.

Back to being knocked up! There were no food cravings that I can remember but more food aversions. I was a little wiser to the world of “things that can go wrong” and, consequently, worried more. All in all, the pregnancy was very similar to the first. EXCEPT for one thing.

You know how they say that two women can’t live in the same body? Well, guess what? TOTALLY ACCURATE, in my case anyway. I knew from the beginning that it was a girl. I had such a short fuse. It was nothing like the sheer giddiness I had with my first boy. For example, there was this one time that “Bailey the Geriatric Maltese” (although not so geriatric at the time) was having trouble with consuming a large snack that the baby daddy had generously shared with him off his plate. As a result, I drug my elephant body over to where he was and reached for the food, attempting to break it apart because I LOVED him so much.

maltese mania

Then, it came out of nowhere! What the what? The dog thought I was trying to STEAL his “precious” and whipped around and BIT ME. Drew blood, left marks, mama was FURIOUS! This guy showed up AGAIN.

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I chased that poor dog all over the house and let him KNOW his mama DID NOT APPROVE. I remember my husband looking at me in shock and disbelief and saying “Dang babe. You ok?”.  I screamed, “I am absolutely NOT okay! Do you see what he did?!” (showing him my bloody arm). Yeah, you better run buddy. DON’T even come barking up in my bedroom thinking you are sleeping in MY bed tonight!” Then, I marched over to that little snack that caused the insanity and threw it AWAY. Take that CUJO.

It was one of those moments you are embarrassed about later and you know you overreacted to. But STILL..don’t bite the hand that feeds you, especially the hand that is attached to a body that is with child and plagued with excessive estrogen levels.

Moving on to the main event. Because of my first pregnancy resulting in an emergency C-section, we opted for planned surgery this go around. There were a few things that stood out to me. First, my daughter had the most beautiful ROUND head, unlike her brother that emerged with an impressive cone head. Secondly, she had the cutest little dimple on her chin. A dimple that her mother, father, grandparents, nor any other member of EITHER side of the family shared. Mailman? Finally, girlfriend was the size of a small pony! Close to nine pounds and was a week early.

Brother holding sister for the first time
Brother holding sister for the first time

In addition, my doctor loves to talk while he is working because he is a gifted multi-tasker. After baby girl was getting prepared to go to the nursery, he was observing my innards and conducting a thorough inspection. I’ll never forget him saying “My dear, you have BEAUTIFUL anatomy. Really! Your scarring is minimal and everything is pink and healthy.”  Say what? You have to picture the scene. I’m laid up on the OR table, arms strapped to the table, uterus on display and my voluptuous, post delivery body exposed for the world to see, nauseated, light headed and I can’t feel anything from my chest down. My response, “Thank you! I work out. In great shape. My six pack is to DIE for.”

Fortunately, there were no complications this go around, so we all returned back to the hospital room rather quickly. By the way, spinals make you itch like you bathed in poison ivy and then dried off with a towel of chiggers. 24 hours of intense fun. That is all.

Probably the sweetest moment for a mother with other children is the  first moment your older child meets the new sibling for the first time. My son smothered baby girl in kisses. I especially adore this picture. Look at her little face! Classic.

first meeting

Fortunately, my daughter is my one saving grace that I may be a decent mother with routine and disciplining. Or, maybe God sent her to us because he foresaw my “areas of improvement” I would always struggle to master. When I’ve spent a full day with my hard headed boys (who are gifted in their own unique ways), I mentally picture her on her best behavior for some comfort. For example, she is the only child that has slept through the night since birth (pending a nightmare here and there), organizes her things (although she could be classified as a high functioning HOARDER) and minds us the first time in most cases.

She is our introverted, sensitive, dramatic diva darling and enduring all that excess estrogen was completely worth the “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” persona experienced while she was in my womb those lovely nine months. For the next four years, it would be man to man combat with our two offspring. Also, I’m pleased to report that his royal white fluffiness never bit his mama again. 🙂

I would also like to add that whoever came up with the following statement that goes something like “Going from one to two is the hardest but three or more is a breeze” is an ignorant fool and should be burned at the stake. But that’s another “Knocked Up” story for a different day.:)

The phenomenom of pregnancy and the pandemonium of parenting are beautiful chaos. As one of my good friend’s so wisely stated to me the other day, “Sometimes it’s more chaos than beauty but we are thankful for both”.

jansen in hospital

 

 

 

 

The Blue Tractor Baby Shower

13120541_614262545417182_639698965_oIn honor of the upcoming birth of my only brother and sister-in-law, family friends and I threw the mom-to-be a baby shower recently.  Immediately, I knew the shower would revolve around some sort of farm theme.  Why? I come from several generations of crop farmers in South Alabama.  My brother joined in the family business after graduating from college and, ironically, my sister-in-law ALSO is from a farm family.  Although her family farms cows, she is a MUCH better fit for the world of peanuts, cotton and cucumbers than yours truly ever has been! She loves the farm life and has been a God send to my baby brother. Now what type of farm theme? Hmmm.

Crops? Eh. I know those cucumbers put me through college but they get rotten, smell like the STENCH OF DEATH that can be detected for miles and then these black, flying bugs invest the home front.  Seriously, it’s like an infestation.  Cucumbers + baby shower theme = inappropriate jokes for YEARS.  Furthermore, cucumbers have to be HAND GRADED on a wet line, which means one has to stare at a conveyer belt for HOURS and physically throw out the bad ones.  I volunteered to help one time, got motion sickness and almost threw up (an OSHA no no) on the product.

images-16Also, I’m allergic to peanut dust and COTTON…oh man, OH MAN.  Mom took me to a cotton gin to “educate” me on the family business when I was ten’ish and it was BREATHTAKING! Literally. I instead became educated on what it was like to fight for one’s life due to CO2 build up in the lungs! ASTHMA from that point forward. Thanks for the hairy chin corticosteroids. Farm life, as you can see, isn’t for everyone. No crop themes. Cows are cute but they don’t have those on their farm now.

 

But who doesn’t love TRACTORS right? After we learned I would get to be an aunt for the first time (YAY) to a bouncing baby boy, it was a DONE DEAL.  A tractor themed baby shower was on like donkey kong!  Now, our family doesn’t do John Deere (you know, the green ones).  They prefer the BLUE ones from New Holland.  Those that know me well know that I LOVE to host parties.  My rule of thumb is that you must always have a theme and stick with that theme throughout your planning and implementation.

Feel free to switch up the colors as needed if you want to duplicate any of these ideas (there are also RED tractors from Massey Ferguson). For any of you desiring to plan a tractor themed baby shower, VIOLA! Here is how you do it.

Supplies: Go to amazon and purchase these items…

Click here if you need a beverage dispenser. (One of the BEST purchases I’ve ever made. I use it for every party. Very durable.)

Click here if you need a tiered tray server and here if you need a stackable organizer.

Clear cups, napkins and forks.

Click here for the Cookie cutter for sandwiches (you can make chicken salad, pimiento cheese, etc. and cut out tractor sandwiches)

Click here for the Cookie cutter for cookies (note this is not an Amazon Prime product so order in advance. Also, please don’t wash it in the dishwasher like I did and melt the sucker! I like this cutter for cookies better because the impression allows for easier icing decorating.)

Click here for the Icing for cookies: Blue, Black and white – One of each should do it for 3 dozen cookies.  (I liked the icing in the bottles for cookie decorating.  I’m not a pro by any means but it was like PAINTING and the baby mama can hang with that.)tractor cookies

COOKIE RECIPE: Click on the Pinterest Board “Tractor Baby Shower” on Threekidsandababydaddy.com and you can find the link for the recipe I pinned from Sallysbakingaddiction.com. (I substituted the almond flavoring for LEMON and it tasted FAB. It made between 2-3 dozen, average sized cookies.)

Peanut Butter Bon Bons: I found a recipe using butter, peanut butter and powdered sugar (SUPER healthy). Get the chocolate to coat them here. I used white (2 bags), 1 dark blue and 1 light blue.

Peanut Butter Bon Bons

DECORATIONS: Go to Amazon.com and buy the following turquoise mesh ribbon and cobalt blue mesh ribbon (or whatever color you prefer.) Napkin rings like this one would be a good choice to string the mesh through and pin on each corner of the food table.  The napkin rings pictured in this blog were some I had purchased from Pier One MANY years ago and just happened to find them tucked away in a drawer. Also, the white tablecloth was a wedding gift. Lucky Me! There are many table cloth options on amazon if you need one. FYI – An average 6 person, rectangle dining room table is 72 inches.

Table Decor

   food table

petit fours

The New Holland Ride On Toy Tractor was a Birthday Present for my three year old, but if you would like to purchase one and double it as a baby gift then you can get it here or the small toy tractor here. It makes the PERFECT entrance decor.

new holland toy tractor

Here in Dothan, Alabama, we have a FABULOUS store called “The Artist Tree”. They ship to out of town customers also. I HIGHLY recommend! They are on Facebook also. My go to gifts these days are creative door hangers! All I had to do was get them a picture of the invitation and they whipped up this wooden hanger that could double as a home door hanger AND be used to add baby stats to display on the hospital door, then in the baby’s room. It ties a shower theme together nicely.  I mean…LOVE.

The Petal Pusher is a local florist that coordinates with other florists all over the country to give the customer exactly what they want.  Below is the floral arrangement they made and even has blue pacifiers attached to the flowers! Too stinking cute!  They also provided us with the corsage for the mom-to-be.

Flower Arrangement

In conclusion, more ideas for a tractor baby shower can be found on threekidsandababydaddy’s Pinterest account. Baby’s are one of the best events to celebrate and why not go all out! Future party ideas to come. Can’t wait to meet the sweet baby boy in just a few months!

Secretly, I kind of hope he throws lots of tantrums in public, keeps my brother up (not my sis-in-law, hope he is an angel for her 24/7) and is strong willed like his father. Mwahahaha. Pay back for all those “This is how you need to parent sis” (during these last 10 years of NOT having children of his own).

Either way, I feel certain that the kiddo will be taking his first ride on a blue tractor while still in diapers. Oh! Maybe my brother will get stuck in the New Holland with a code brown, no diaper bag and in the middle of a very large field. Yes! I’m just kidding. Not really. 🙂

Party on people! Enjoy the fun moments.

 

 

KNOCKED UP

KNOCKED UP

Early into our marriage, I set a hefty goal of bringing FOUR children into this crazy world. When I shared that with my husband, he assumed the deer in headlights emoji face, shook his red head and wisely stated “Why don’t we start with one and see how that goes”. Like many high achievers, yours truly has been known to take on more than she could handle. Go big or go home right? I had never even changed a DIAPER but I was going to successfully pump out four babies in just a few years, get promoted at work, make six figures, be a devoted volunteer in the community and save humanity as we knew it. Totally realistic. Completely doable.

Therefore, you can imagine my frustration when the baby daddy and I had a hard time getting knocked up. Was something wrong with me? Was it those inhaled steroids I had to take as a kid for asthma? Was something wrong with him? Could we ever have kids? If not, could we adopt? Would he have to go to a specialist and study Hugh Hefner’s latest centerfold to determine if this was a possibility? Was I going to have to get on fertility medication and end up birthing a liter?  Then, could I get a TLC deal with my own reality show? Hmmm…I’d have to come up with a catchy name.  Something like “JAWS” to chronicle breastfeeding six kids.

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A year and a half went by and no zygote. Because I tended to share most everything about my personal life with my close friends and even random strangers on the street, word got back to the baby daddy’s coworker. She had experienced the same struggle as us, but had success after applying information she learned in the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility“.

"Taking Charge of Your Fertility"
“Taking Charge of Your Fertility”

She lent it to me and I eagerly started flipping the pages. It gave me a temporary action plan of which I had some control over. I would begin charting my temperature every morning for three months and bring to my next OBGYN appointment.

Let’s just say that sometimes TIMING is EVERYTHING. After two months of charting with that purple ovulation thermometer, a stress free week on a Caribbean Cruise and some divine intervention, we FINALLY saw those two pink lines every couple trying to conceive lives for. YES! Like any rational woman would do, I took 54 home pregnancy tests, including the “dummy proof” kind.

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First Trimester: I craved citrus, had mild nausea and was annoyingly GIDDY. I drove my coworkers, customers, family and anyone on the other end of my fabulous flip phone CRAZY.

Second Trimester: I LOVED being pregnant, all food tasted EXQUISITE and  I was still OBNOXIOUS. Over dinner one night we read the ultrasound card together of what our child would be. “It’s a…BOY!”  The baby daddy was thrilled. A kid to carry on the family name.

Third Trimester: I ate my way through the holidays and gained too much weight. Doc scolded me. Eh, oh well. Then I learned my pelvis was unfortunately small and he seriously doubted I could birth the baby without some surgical assistance. Do what? Then the back and abdominal muscles began stretching with discomfort, major heartburn, unsightly kankles, a lone varicose vein, Braxton Hick’s, thought I was in labor but got sent home, the “You’re HUGE” comments, his head bouncing on my pelvic bone, mood swings, etc. Get this thing out of me!  Not so giddy NOW.

D-Day: It was a Saturday afternoon in mid March.  Our parents were hanging out at a local park celebrating a Spring Day event. The baby daddy had grilled out and we were having a lazy afternoon. I stood up, started waddling and POP! “Um, babe I think my water just broke.” Confidently he stated “Naw, you aren’t in labor hun.” I guess he thought if I wasn’t clawing his arm off from pain or cursing his prior “Y” chromosomal possession that I was, in fact, NOT in labor. And he is the medical professional. Go figure.

My doctor wasn’t on call. Of course, right? I remember thinking how huge my nose was when I was wiping away the tears. All would be fine though.  We were assigned a wonderful substitute in his absence.

I made it to 4 cm dilated when they offered me the epidural. I could handle it at that point but 4 was no 10 and who knew when they would be back around. I pulled the O2 mask off and yelled “Heck to the YEAH! HOOK THIS SISTER UP.” The only time I ever used Lamaze was when that needle was going in my back. My “happy place” was me as a size 4, laying in a hot pink bikini, looking 18 again, on a Jamaican beach, under a cloudless, sunny sky.  Like THIS…ahhhhhh.

Swing on a tropical beach - vacation background

Fully effaced and fully dilated, I pushed for a little under two hours. The zygote turned zebra was stuck at +1 in the birth canal and it appeared he would be a permanent resident of my internal structures if we didn’t proceed to a stat C-section.

Alrighty then! Delivering at the same hospital where my husband worked meant that bringing our baby boy into the world would be like one big party surrounded by friends who had our backs. Except that the party stage would be my uterus and the only thing party goers could NOT see would be, ironically, my back. Before I could dwell too much on the weirdness, the party had started. I hear “Ok dear. You’re going to feel a lot of pressure” and VIOLA out came my first child!

You know how most birth scenes go down with the kid screaming his or her head off? Well, not my son. He whimpered a little and then got COMPLETELY quiet. And so the never-ending phobia known as “Mother Worry” began for me on a Sunday morning in that cold operating room. “Is he breathing?” “Is he alive?” “What’s wrong?!” He was just a curious kid and was taking it all in. Mothers worry about anything and everything I have come to learn.

Speaking of worrying, it was about this time that the baby daddy brought the curious bundle over for us to formally meet for the first time. I was so amazed that I didn’t even realize the cone head he was sporting from being wedged for so long. I remember he said two things to me. 1) “Hey, do you mind if I go walk with the nurse to take the baby to the nursery?” (Leaving me ALONE with my uterus on the table) and 2) “This baby is HUNGRY! You better get ready!” Oh man.

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Next thing I knew, I began feeling a hot sensation on my right side and it was getting worse. “Um Alan (my CRNA). I think my epidural is wearing off”.  Morphine administered. Check. Fist bump.

I kept thinking why the surgery was taking so long? Later I found out that I was the proud recipient of a cervical tear during the C-section and had lost a significant amount of blood. That explained why I had so much trouble staying awake after being rolled back to the room. However, I forced myself to stay awake long enough for the little piraña to latch on…every 1-2 hours…for FOUR days…because I was not yet equipped to provide the liquid gold he so desired. Barely born and already DEMANDING something from me. Three days later and several hormonal meltdowns, we were discharged to begin our life as a family of three.

In conclusion, being knocked up was a wonderful experience for me, until the very end. I mean, who really ENJOYS that last month anyway right? I quickly learned how to change a diaper, found that I had the ability to mass produce liquid gold and realized this was to be the hardest job I had ever held. On the job training is the best kind of experience though.

As I have just finished writing this, I am reminded that children are gifts that keep on giving. Why you ask? Because that same child that I just described being knocked up with 10 years ago just snuck out of bed to “snuggle”, the second just had a nightmare and yelled for me and my third just snuck out of HIS bed and crawled into mine. There you go. I didn’t realize that becoming knocked up ten years ago would alter my goals, motivations and life direction. A REM cycle is foreign to me, I get very little down time, being knocked up destroyed my rectus abdominals, but I am needed, loved and we have a king sized bed.:)