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Today was probably the most real remembrance of how uncomfortable this is all going to get with the thoughts of, “Oh man, I’m REALLY doing this again.” It IS amazing how quickly I forget how awful pregnancy is for me. I have had severe depression, I’ve convinced myself my marriage was over (even though it was far from it). I felt like my lowest of lows in life have been while I was pregnant. I hesitate to blame it all on the pregnancy itself. I gotta own up to what I can.
There were two distinct feelings I had after Aelynn was born. When I say after, I mean, I was looking at her in the hospital before she even had a name right after. I felt first, she was a middle child. Second, like the hardest challenges of my mental stability while pregnant were over.
After Aelynn came, I’ve never felt happier. I had some scary things to decide, like homeschooling and stopping photography to do it. That felt like a true sacrifice. But ya know what came of it? I found a new way to focus photography. On my kids, who I care about most. Homeschooling brought me to my knees SO much in prayer to know if it was right, to have the strength to do it, to know HOW to go about it. As a result my faith and convictions were strengthened. Things became clear, I started to become the kind of parent I always made myself feel guilty that I wasn’t before. I had a better relationship with my kids. I let go of things the world holds onto so tightly and I finally was completely ok with myself.
Life is good. Then the feeling came to Nathan and I that it was time for number five. I had some new ideas on how to combat my struggles this time but I knew it possibly wouldn’t work (like every other time). My plan was, at the very least, to make it as stress free as possible. Just let go of the little things, do what I can, and be OK with what does not get done.
Then about the time the positive sign showed up, we decided to move to a bigger house. I was glad for the distraction and getting everything ready to sell has been helpful to keep my mind off things.
The emotional side? Yes, the VERY short fuse side of me has come out, the side that wants to sulk and hate every aspect of what I need to do every day has showed up, the completely indifferent person who doesn’t care about anything has knocked on my door.
But here is the thing. I know who I am now. I know that any of those feelings aren’t me. I can step back and say, “that’s not me. I’m a positive, loving person and I don’t have to be like this.” That has made all the difference.
At first it felt like I was faking being nice and caring most the time. This was really difficult, I couldn’t forget myself for a moment or I would get mean fast. I would have moments of “lucidity” (that is the best way to describe it because I really did feel crazy most the time) I would revel in the lucid times when I actually felt happy. Then it just got easier from there. Lucid times got to be more and more. I paid attention to when it was the hardest to feel normal (usually after trying to rest) so I try to stay busy. That can be difficult since I can only do so much feeling sick and tired. Now it feels mostly like I’m normal with a little bit of crazy that will go away after I get busy on a task.
I used to be more focused on the “now” and how pregnancy affects me during this time. Especially with Aelynn, I was so wrapped up in being pregnant that I all but forgot about the baby at the end. Luckily this time, I vividly remember how amazing child birth and a new little life is. I used to be afraid to admit that I love child birth, even after this all natural, worst-pain-of-my-life-by-a-million-times-over birth, I LOVE child birth. There is nothing more special and it only happens in a certain season of life. After that it is lost to you. You can only be a support to someone else when it is gone. So remembering this isn’t about me, its about this awesome new life I get to help create and I only get to do it so many times makes it easier.
I tend to think (for me since everyone is different) that the pain of child birth makes the joy better. It didn’t come like I expected it to. Everyone says your recovery is better and you have that euphoric feeling from endorphins right after that help you bond to your baby. The recovery was the same as with an epidural. I was relieved when they had to whisk her away right away instead of getting to hold her because the beyond painful experience was all just too much to handle for me.
The quiet moments the next day or so in the hospital were much more memorable however. I just enjoyed her so much. It might be partly because it was with no pain meds and partly because I had no anxieties that come with inexperience. Either way, I got to keep those memories in my mind much more than previous births, and that has helped me focus on the end instead of the now.
I’m thankful to God for the opportunity to really stretch and get to know myself this last year and also memories to help get though the tougher times. All the struggles are there from before, coping with them has been SO much easier, and I really think it is because I can say, “Those feelings aren’t you, you are an optimistic loving person, and you don’t have to feel this way.” And I actually, really, truly believe it.
This is the first year I feel like I’m “In the Spirit.” Previous years everything just felt hard and like lots of work. My attitude was that of trying to keep up with what was “expected” for the Christmas season. People would give us plates of treats so I would have to make sure we did them too. People are suppose to do Christmas cards so we did them too, but I will admit we had fun with making those. Nevertheless, that expectation feeling was there and my motivating force in doing them. I gave to the Christmas baskets, I tried to do some kind of service, I bought all the presents and stocking suffers and let kids believe they were from Santa.
There was nothing wrong with any of it except I found no joy in it (except the Christmas basket part, I enjoy that and of course Christmas morning)
I also have always felt really guilty about lying to my kids that Santa exists. I know, I know, it’s fun and magical and kids love it. For real though, I just felt like I was lying to them and I had trouble getting past that feeling.
This is the first year I felt like IT WAS TIME to do our own traditions.
The first thing I did?
Get presents done early and I had a budget that was more of a guideline than a rule. We are super money conscious and I would often get angry when it was time to get gifts because I felt like we couldn’t afford what I actually wanted to get people and the list of people just gets bigger. This year I just got what I wanted to get them and it honestly felt SO good. I know there is a flip side to the coin where there is no restraint in gift buying, but that is not me. I usually agonize over any purchase until the last minute, so my shopping is never done early and I’m never satisfied with what I end up getting. This year I’m excited about what I got the grandparents instead of feeling anxiety about hoping it was “enough.”
Our Traditions starts with a new Christmas book that gets unwrapped every day until Christmas Eve. Not just any Christmas book, but ones of Christmas Miracles and of the Savior. Ones with rich meaning of the season. Next year they will get wrapped up and used again, just chosen in a different order. Also, everyone will be a year older and the books will have different and deeper meaning to us as we read them every year.
Next, is a new scripture we read every day of God’s gifts to us. Honestly, we haven’t been as awesome about doing this one everyday. But most days we will take one out of the little advent calendar I made and read and talk about it together.
Lastly, I told my kids who Santa really is. He is a symbol of giving with joy and without thought of anything in return. So as a family we are working on “Being Santa” and doing service together at least once a week. Instead of just me getting things for the Christmas basket, we are going to choose and prepare things together. Instead of just me thinking I NEED to try and serve in a special way, WE are going to serve together.
Ahnna and Isaac both offered to give their Nintendo DS’s away. I hesitated at first thinking it was too big, but what will that teach them if I don’t allow them to give freely? Should I buy them new ones as a reward for their sacrifice? Should I let them feel the loss? I haven’t decided on that yet. I’m just happy they are thinking of it, I’m hoping this idea of giving sinks in over the years. I like it MUCH better than seeing Santa as an expectation of getting presents they feel entitled to. They will still get presents, Christmas morning will still be wonderful, but maybe they will have a heart more of giving than receiving.
This is the best Christmas season yet! I think it is because I’m letting myself relax about what is expected of us and doing what I feel is most important.
I had decided NOT to homeschool. Over the years before Ahnna started school and during her kindergarten year there were things that I learned about public school that bothered me. However, not enough to do something crazy like take their education into my own hands. I had decided even though there were lots of things I didn’t agree with, there was nothing wrong with my personal experience and I was going to wait until there was something specific. Until then (if it ever happened) I was happy to send my kids off to school every day.
Then one morning it happened. The idea popped into my head and it wouldn’t go away. I told myself it isn’t happening. I was the wrong personality for it. I’d be all excited for a while and then get lazy. I needed the break. The kids need friends. All the normal reasons for not wanting to homeschool. But that stinking thought would NOT go away. I was pestered by it. “OK” I thought, “maybe I will just do some research on it.”
Then I started reading. I started with The Brainy Bunch which was very overwhelming and inspiring at the same time. They are a family of 10 who had their kids in college classes by the age of 12 and often sooner. Not that I expected my kids to do the same, but I thought if I was going to follow someones example, I might as well follow someone exceptional.
As I was reading that one, I saw they used what their kids were interested to inspire learning and their kids were able to enjoy it, grab on, and excel. It taught me about using love and support to let them take off in their life purpose(s) and how faith and character training are essential in this process. I LOVED the idea of teaching character and virtue to my kids as part of their every day curriculum. I LOVED that we can talk about how learning obedience to parents who are in front of them is good practice for learning obedience to the holy spirit in their hearts.
About a year ago I was listening to the Dave Ramsey show on the radio. Instead of the usual how to get out of debt talks, he was talking with someone about raising kids. The one being interviewed (I don’t remember who it was) said how usually the goal of a parent is to teach a child to be well rounded in all areas of their life. Then he said, really though, the goal should be to raise a child dependent on God in all things. One who is willing to live God’s way and take decisions to the Lord is truly trying to do what is right for him/herself and those around him/her.
That little exchange has stuck with me and I thought of it a lot while reading The Brainy Bunch. These were kids who were taught to depend on the Lord in all things and to not think highly of themselves, but to thank God for all they have and remember that pride comes before a fall. That is a huge win in my book.
The next book I read was No Regrets, How Homeschooling Earned me a Masters Degree at age Sixteen. This family of 10 used a completely different method of homeschooling. From both these books I understood better how close knit homeschool families can become. They LOVED being together and they loved their parents. The biggest thing I got out of this book however, was in the beginning, when the author’s mother was debating homeschooling in her mind (at a time when NO ONE homeschooled) and she had a dream that she was reading the bible and in words of fire, it read, “Do not send the children to school, lest they be corrupted…for My wisdom is sufficient.”
I don’t know for sure if corrupted means they were not going to become good people, or simply that they were not going to rise up to the potential within them. Either way, when I read that passage I got one of the STRONGEST feelings in my life. I even read it a few more times just to feel it again. I’ve read lots of things about peoples personal revelation before and I’ve never felt this kind of powerful “this is also for you” feeling like I had right then.
So I decided to experiment and try things out during the Summer. It went really well for the most part. I LOVED that I had something to do WITH my kids every day. I realized more than I was taking care of my kids needs and living in the same house, but my interaction WITH them was lacking. I felt a lot of my “Mommy guilt” melt away. It was a really great time.
Then “real school” was getting closer and closer to starting. I felt on the verge of panic often. Like I needed to throw them in too because that is just what you are suppose to do and that it all I have known. I started feeling fear, confusion, and LOTS of doubt. Realizing who uses those kinds of feelings as tools, I decided to pray. I said that I know I felt like I needed to do this but I’m feeling SO much doubt and confusion and I just need some peace if this is still what I was suppose to do. I usually don’t feel answers to prayer immediately, but in this case I did. Immediately I felt peace. Immediately I felt again that I needed to do this if my kids were going to become the people they needed to be.
The panic does come back. The feelings of inadequacy return and I know this is probably going to be a constant battle. Those feelings are also why I’m writing this. It is important to always remember the “why” when doubts come up.
There are lots of other reasons why I feel homeschool is the answer for us. Common core and government are among them but not what I want to focus on. The short answer would be because God told me to and I love the tight families and virtuous kids homeschool can produce.
So we had an interesting thing happen this morning. While Wendy was getting Ahnna’s hair ready for school she noticed that her earring was in tight. She began to pull it out and noticed that it was stuck and causing Ahnna some serious pain.
She continued to fiddle with it until she realized that it had been put on rather tight. So tight in fact that her skin was starting to grown around it. Wendy knew she had to get it out so she began to fiddle with it more. Ahnna started crying. She managed to get the right side out, but the left side was another story.
This left earring of hers was even tighter and the skin had begun to grow even more than the other side. This time Ahnna really began to cry because it hurt so bad. Wendy was feeling so bad but it had to come out. She’d mentioned to me she might need to take her in to numb it so it could be extracted.
I remembered that I had some lidocaine in the pantry. Yes I know….I’m a pharmacist. I had Wendy rub some gel onto Ahnna’s ear. After a minute or so it was numb and Ahnna only felt a little instead of crying which pulls at my heart strings. The earring came out and left a bit of a red mark in her ear.
It doesn’t look like much but the skin was really starting to grow over. I’m glad Wendy was able to catch it in time before it got really bad. Ahnna’s fine and at school now. Dad is an awesome worker of miracles. Ha!
Well I went into the doctor’s office yesterday and found out the baby was transverse. He was able to move him head down but there is no promising he/she will stay that way. If my water breaks (which it has done 2 out of 3 times) and the baby is transverse it is instant c-section. The plan is to make sure it is head down today and then induce labor to take out that variable.
I really wanted everything to be natural this time but if I have to chose being induced or getting a c-section, I choose an induction. I REALLY DON’T want a c-section. I know being induced also makes my risk of c-section greater but I was on pitocin before and I seem to respond to it ok.
Having said that I REALLY want to try to avoid pitocin. I would still like to try this with as little drugs as possible and pitocin makes contractions so hard I bet I will get an epidural again if it comes to that.
So there goes how predictable I was expecting my fourth labor to be. I shouldn’t be surprised. This pregnancy has been totally different than my other ones so I should have expected this part to be different too. I was planning on my normal just a few hours but who knows how long it will take now. I just hope my body is up for being induced. It is when your body just isn’t ready and they try to induce where you run into problems.
So I’m excited but very wary at the same time. I hope this was the right decision.
So a while back, not too far since I haven’t blogged a whole lot. I did a lot of explaining on how I was going to fix my mouth as much as possible with supplements and diet. Well after I got pregnant, the diet went down the drain. I had to change it to whatever I could get down. Usually food aversions go away in the second trimester but this time they have only recently (like last week) gone away. So I’ve gone most of 36 weeks just trying to eat enough calories to get through the day. This involved no restrictions on sugar or anything, I just needed calories.
However, I did keep up the vitamins that help with dental health the entire time and I had a dentist appointment to check on things not too long ago and everything looks great!! Not only that but all my sensitivity has gone away. I’ve never liked cold water because it just hurt my teeth so bad but now it makes no difference. I had a spot that used to be painful to floss because of a filling that was not done correctly, without fixing the filling, I have no pain. ZERO. EVER.
I won’t be able to really see what is going on until I can get x-rays after baby is born but as far as my dentist and I can tell, there is nothing that needs immediate attention. Since pregnancy is known to wreck my teeth, the fact that everything looks good / feels much better while also being pregnant is huge in my eyes.
Hey I started a different blog for photography. Come on over to see what I’ve been doing lately!