Meet Colin

Hi guys! Things have been busy in our household this past week. We are now officially a family of four! I can’t believe that this time has finally come. As before with Clark, I’m going to share Colin’s birth story. If this isn’t your cup of tea, you might want to navigate to another post. However, if it is, prepare for a teary-eyed, joyful celebration of our newest son.

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Last Tuesday, I started having fairly regular contractions around 9pm but because of some fun insurance complications, I wanted to go to work the next day. I was 39.5 weeks along but I was determined to ignore them. About 1:30 am, I moved to the couch, hoping that the change of position would slow/stop the contractions. They did temporarily, and I felt relieved and went to sleep.

Until 2 am, that is. I woke up because I heard and felt a resounding pop inside my body. You know when your joints pop and make a loud noise you can hear from the inside? That’s what it sounded like. I can’t describe the feeling, but it was really weird. When my water broke with Clark, I didn’t feel a thing except the gush. I hopped off the couch just in time to save the leather lol and yelled to my husband, “My water broke! I’m hopping in the shower!”

Ten minutes and freshly washed hair later, we were scrambling in excitement to wake up our toddler, make sure we had all our items, and call my parents. My mom laughed when I greeted her with, “Happy early morning wake up call!” to let her know it was time to meet us and get Clark at the hospital. We had to bribe him in the car with jelly beans but he was really very agreeable for being woken up and transported in the middle of the night.

As we went off to the hospital, I realized that I probably needed to time my contractions which were picking up in intensity just slightly. I was pretty surprised to see that they were only three minutes from the start of one to the start of another — things didn’t progress that fast with Clark, and definitely not without Pitocin!

My parents met us in the parking lot and took Clark to their house so my mom could get him settled in and head back to the hospital. Even though things were obviously progressing, it took almost an hour to get through evaluation and into a room, but by that point, my midwife had arrived and my contractions were still picking up. I was breathing through them and trying to settle in just in case the labor was going to be long since it was only 4 am. I was 4 cm and 80%, which made me hopeful that I wouldn’t need any meds to help the labor progress this time (and the added pain that goes along with them).

At 5 am, Christy sat down with me to chat about my last birth and reconfirm what I wanted for this birth, feeding me Popsicles and rubbing my legs as my contractions started to make me pause during the conversation. It was so refreshing to sit down and have personal attention from her, and it kept me super calm. At 6 am she suggested I get up and walk around, and even though I wanted to conserve my strength, I got moving about 15 minutes later.

It only took one lap around L&D to send my body into high gear — by the end, I was leaning all of my weight onto Mom and Jason and really trying to focus on not succumbing to the pain. I almost didn’t make it back to the room because the contractions weren’t letting up, and I couldn’t get back into bed. I laid across the foot of the bed as my mom called Christy to let her know about the contractions. Granted, it was only 6:40 by then. When she checked, I was 6 cm and progressing quickly, so she encouraged me to hang in there as it wasn’t going to be long.

The next part was the hard part. I can still remember it very vividly, although parts are fading as they inevitably do to help us move on and have more babies later (gotta love biology). The contractions were strong at best in between the earthquakes that were progressing my labor, and I had to play a massive psychological game with myself to get through them without pain medication. I wanted to give in so bad, but it was too late and I knew it was almost over anyway. I was sweating so bad trying to deal with the pain; Mom and Jason were pressing cold compresses on my neck and forehead to try to help me keep calm and focus.

My head was a battlefield; I thought I was bawling but they said I looked determined and in control. I kept going between I can do this and I can’t do this. Christy kept telling me that I was doing it. It was so painful and overwhelming. At 5 minutes to 7, Christy checked and I was at 9 cm. She told me that I would be ready to push after the next contraction.

That’s when mentality changed. I was in control of this labor? I could choose to push? I could end this pain and move on? As soon as that contraction was over, I started pushing. It only took 5 or 6 pushes and he was out.

Colin was beautiful. He was healthy, crying, and all mine. She places him on my chest within a minute, where he stayed for the next hour. He was there when Jason cut the cord, he fed within 20 minutes with a perfect latch, and I experienced something new: instant bonding. Could it really be possible to love this child so quickly? Bonding didn’t come easily with Clark and PPD was a monster I had wrestled with. Don’t get me wrong, Clark and I are incredibly close now, but it took awhile for my head to understand what my heart knew.

So, at 7:04 am on Wednesday, my 8 lb 4.3 oz, 20.25 inch long preciousness was born. Things have been so different and easy. I was up walking around and getting dressed two hours after Colin was born. I have felt terrific with just ibuprofen and I’ve had a fast recovery. Colin is feeding so well. Who knew breastfeeding could actually be manageable?

We are now a week out and I feel like we have been a family of four forever. It isn’t easy getting things done by any means but it works. Clark is adjusting fairly well, we are sleeping in nice 3-4 hour spurts at night, and MawMaw is here helping fill in the gaps as we learn how to navigate our new lives. I really wouldn’t change a single thing.

An Explanation

What a crazy few months it has been. Yes, it’s been three full months since I have really kept up with my blog and I think that might be the longest hiatus I have ever taken. This post will serve as a quick update to a lot of things, and hopefully a gateway to new posts. After all, I’m getting ready to go on maternity leave (and summer break! squee!) so even if things start back slowly, I will have a lot more time to get things organized and caught up.

We’ll start with the biggest elephant in the room – me! LOL I’m just kidding. Seriously, though, this pregnancy has been a lot different and yet eerily similar to my last pregnancy. In January, I started having contractions in the middle of the night and had to go get shot with Breathine to stop them. That was fun, considering I wasn’t even to the survival threshold yet! Things got better but then at the end of February I started having trouble walking and started having a lot of pain. They still aren’t sure what is causing the pain, but basically standing, walking, and even changing positions when I’m sitting or laying causes me extreme pain near my hips and pelvis. It’s not the baby pushing on things, but it’s not fun. Did I mention that I take four flights of stairs eight times a day with my third graders??? Not fun. I’ve been wearing a belly support band and that helps a tiny bit, but it is still excruciatingly painful to do things as simple as stand up from a sitting position or put on my pants. I’m not joking – sometimes I have my husband hold my pants and I lean on him to put them on because it hurts less than trying to bend over.

You can imagine how clean my house looks (actually, it is not that awful thanks to my amazing husband) and how disorganized my classroom currently is. I have to wheel around the room or hop from chair to chair to try to limit the impact during the school day. Still, I’m not quite ready to let go of my classroom. I want to finish as much of the school year as possible. Last week, things got even more complicated. I’ve been having series of regular contractions a few times a week, and this time they were pretty darn close together and time-able – at school of all places. In addition to the contractions, major pains started stabbing me and my legs even went numb for a few minutes. My blood pressure kept crashing and spiking. I finally left about 15 minutes before the end of the school day and went to the hospital. You know what caused all this fun? My son had turned himself around breech, taking with him a lot of my nerve impulses. Luckily, he finally stopped and settled in feet down for the afternoon, so after 2.5 nonstress tests (because he kept kicking and punching the monitors off), I got to go home.

And of course, I got to experience all that pain and fun again that night as he turned himself back around. Quite enjoyable at 35 weeks, don’t you think???

Now, things are going much better. This week off has been good for the both of us. I’m still in immense pain like before, but I’ve been getting lots and lots of rest, which means that I haven’t been having regular contractions this week at all. I’ve had a few here and there, but no more 13-in-a-row-at-6-minutes-apart contractions lol. By comparison, my water broke with Clark on what would be this upcoming Wednesday, so I’m interested to see what happens with Colin. I thought I really wanted him to come early like I did with Clark, but now I kind of want another two or three weeks with my class to get them close to the end of the year, and a bit more time to prepare for him to arrive. I wonder what’s going to happen?

As for the house, there are lots of updates and there are very few updates. Confused? So are we. We are reorganizing our priorities based on the fact that I haven’t really been able to help the last two months like I was and based on possibly buying the house next year – meaning, do we want to do quick fixes or do we want to wait, save money, and do the major upgrades we’d like if we bought?

Anywho, here’s what has been going on so far. We’ve finished Clark’s room except for a few tiny tweaks and design elements, meaning we KILZed the whole room (ceiling and all) a few times to cover old paint and nicotine (after washing the walls – yes, J did this part – I did not wash nicotine off walls while pregnant!), painted, tore up the old shag carpet, hung new blinds and curtains, and painted the ceiling medallion under the ceiling fan. J tore up the shag carpet in the living room and we’ve rearranged the furniture, added a for-now IKEA cabinet, got a new couch and rug, and have been deciding what we are going to do next. We honestly aren’t sure yet and it isn’t really high priority.

In the master bedroom, we have pretty much only set up our “walk-in closet” area. We haven’t really done anything. In the kitchen, we’re just living with things as-is for now because if we buy, that’s going to be a major upgrade. The bathroom has just had some new caulk, and the basement has been completely reorganized, to the point that we can finally move around and even store some stuff again. The exterior has just been cleaned up a bit with a couple quick fixes for the time being.

And Colin’s room… well, that is enough drama for a couple of posts. We haven’t been great about taking pictures (I know! I’m a terrible blogger!!!) but let’s just say we are finally moving on to the completing-prep stages and getting ready to paint during the next few days. Still so much to do before he gets here (and even after he gets here since some of it he won’t use immediately), but I’m hoping he’ll hang on so I can get some of it done. J has been amazing footing all the work with no complaint on top of pretty much being a single parent since I’m prepping for leave and doing a ton of work for his fast-tracked grad school. I owe him big, big time after all this pain is gone and I can do stuff again.

So, that’s a really-quick-please-don’t-kill-me update that will hopefully be accompanied by lots of posts and such moving forward. After all, I will soon have lots of time to kill as I am trying to feed every hour or two and I can always blog from my iPhone, right? You’d forgive me for less than perfect pictures taken while breastfeeding, eh? 🙂

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Knotty Nautical

So even though I’ve hinted, I haven’t officially announced it on the blog yet: we are having another boy! Colin Grant is due in May, which means his nursery will be high priority on the remodel to-do list.

Hubs and I have been discussing nursery themes a lot lately, and while he was excited that I briefly considered Super Mario Bros., I quickly realized that it would drive me nuts after about, oh, 2.5 seconds. And call me crazy, but from the behavior of this baby in utero and his hilarious ultrasound performance (he would hide his face with his hands and kick whenever the tech put the ultrasound wand against him), I can already tell he is going to be an old soul who likes his privacy. I’ve been steering towards nurseries he can grow into, and we both agreed that nautical would be a great fit!

Nautical Themed Nursery

After a ton of Pinterest searching and discussions with friend and Hubs, I’ve realized that I want to add some modern twists to our nautical theme. The picture above is my color inspiration pic (click on it to go to the pin and the original source website). I absolutely loved this half of the nursery featured, but didn’t dig the other half so much.

The nursery is tiny, tiny, tiny, so while I think navy walls are awesome, I want to add pops of yellow instead of red to expand the room a bit. It currently has heinous faux wood paneling on the walls (with perfect plaster behind them), so I think I’m going to remove the paneling down to chair rail height, add some trim, and paint it white to make a batten board look. The walls above the paneling will be navy, and the ceiling will get a fresh coat of white paint.

For the dresser, I love this long 6-drawer unfinished piece from IKEA, which I’m going to paint the body white and the top dark brown like the expensive PBKids nautical line. You really can’t beat solid wood for that price! I’m going to get some non-toxic, low VOC stain or paint to redo the crib (thanks to a grubby toddler who once teethed on the rail). I’ll repurpose Clark’s rocker and ottoman by either making new cushions or ordering new ones from the manufacturer (the current cushions were attacked by an elderly cat, eww).

I have no idea what I’m going to do for bedding or curtains. I don’t really like anything out there. I do know that I will do a mix of traditional accents and more modern ones, or traditional accents painted with modern colors. If anyone can find me a rug similar to the one above that is actually a decent price in a 4×6/4×7/4×8/5×7/5×8, I would be forever grateful!!

For the sliding closet doors and main pocket door, I’m not sure what to do yet. We’ll have to see how the rest of the house unfolds. I have a feeling that they will be one of the last decisions I make.

Everything is highly flexible at this point, but since we have a lot of other remodeling projects to take on as well as the nursery, we knew that we needed to make a commitment to a theme so we can get started soon. What do you think of the theme? Have you seen any pins I can add to my Pinterest board?

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Buying for Number Two

As I was cleaning Clark’s room today, I started to take notice of things that I needed to put away for Colin. I also noticed things that need to be replaced or upgraded due to wear and tear, so I ran off to my laptop to start a post – not only to ask for your input, but to help me keep check of the things I need (since prego brain tends to get in my way a lot these days!).

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You would think that having a second child, especially one of the same gender, would mean lots less to buy. And in many ways, it does. But we also have to upgrade to a four-people-in-our-family lifestyle. Here’s what I have on my list so far.

  • A new (better) crib mattress. We need another mattress, and this one is for Clark’s toddler bed, which takes the same size mattress. The crib has a nice, almost boxspring support on the bottom, but the toddler bed only has six rails across the frame, meaning it’s not very supportive with just a mattress. Do they make toddler-sized boxsprings? I’m also thinking a piece of plywood over the rails might help sturdy it up a bit. I like this highly-rated posturepedic mattress.
  • A dresser or chest of drawers for Clark. Our current set will stay in the nursery (although I don’t love it because it needs to be reinforced a bit), so Clark doesn’t have any clothes storage. I’m thinking I might find a sturdy, ugly piece on Craigslist for cheap to redo since it will take a lot of abuse over the upcoming years!
  • A ton more sheets and changing pad covers. Our current stuff has lasted the last two years, but it looks gross. When I changed the changing pad cover today, I was appalled at how dirty and gross it looked even though it was freshly washed! I need double the sheets for both boys, anyway.
  • A double stroller. We used our stroller a TON up until recently, and I’m thinking one of the new sit and stand models would be nice because it would allow Clark some freedom to get in and out a bit while still allowing one person to corral both kids. My only concern is that almost every single model only goes up to 40 pounds in each seat or 40 inches tall, and our very tall little man is already 32-34 pounds and 38ish inches tall! Any feedback from families that have one of these strollers?
  • New nursery decor. Sure, I could use the almost-perfect condition gear I already have, but Colin is going to get a lot of hand-me-downs as it is, so I think it is important to make his nursery decor special, just for him. I can already tell a lot about his personality, so I think I can find a decor style that will work for my little man for the first two years 🙂

Any suggestions from second-time (or more) moms or dads? What am I missing that will need restocked? Any info on that stroller?

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Energy, or Escape/Avoidance

This is a mini-rant. Kind of. Towards myself.

I used to have so much energy.

Well, duh, Amanda, you’re pregnant! That’s half of it!

Yes, but really I used to have SO much energy.

I’d go to a really difficult college and work three or four (no joke) jobs to pay the bills and somehow still get decent grades and hang out with my friends and participate in several clubs and my sorority. When I graduated, I’d teach full-time, advise three clubs, work football and basketball games, blog, cook, clean, and improve things.

Even after having Clark I didn’t slow down much. Until now.
I feel like I am putting all of my energy into my job (and I still don’t have enough to do that). I come home, like a zombie, try to stay awake until Clark goes to bed, and then I’m out like a light. I don’t have time for needs. I don’t have time for wants. I’m lucky if I remember that I need to wash the laundry before I head to bed and don’t have to beg my husband to change it over to the dryer in the middle of the night. Or that I need to shower. Which is a problem when third graders point out everything lol.

I need to pay bills, plan lessons, grade, do laundry, clean something every once in awhile, spend more time with my son. I want to blog more, spend time with my friends, sleep more (this one might be a need, actually), get on Pinterest and just veg out occasionally.

Why is it so much harder this time? Why can’t I adjust like I did before? Here’s hoping some of that energy returns soon so that I can get back to semi-normal.