Tomorrow is your first day of kindergarten. I don’t plan to sleep much tonight. My head is so full of all my dreams and wishes for you. It feels like I have been counting down to this day forever, yet I still can’t believe it’s already here. What I wouldn’t give for just one more year before I have to share you with the rest of the world.
Earlier tonight you told me that you were nervous, and that you couldn’t go in without me. I felt such guilt-ridden joy to know that even now, you still need me. I promised you that I would hold your hand, walk alongside you, and stay there as long as you want me to.
I’ve spent the last five years protecting you, keeping you in this little safe bubble where I’m sure that no one can hurt your feelings or break your heart. You are so excited about this new adventure, so unafraid. But your Mommy is terrified. I haven’t let you see me shed a single tear, but I think you sense it anyway.
On the other hand, Mommy is so incredibly excited to watch you come home every day with that joy in your eyes that always appears when you learn something new. You’re so eager to learn, and so curious about everything. You are going to thrive in kindergarten, Aiden.
I want you to know that Dad and I are so proud of the little boy you have grown into. You have become an amazing big brother. A tenderhearted, inquisitive, and an independent little man. You can bring a smile to anyone’s face, and constantly keep us laughing with your silly jokes that only make sense to you. I am so thankful that God chose me to be your Mommy.
All day long tomorrow, I’ll be worrying, praying, and thinking about nothing other than how you’re doing. If you’re making friends. If someone has hurt your feelings. I’ll hope that you will remember all of the manners that I have drilled into your head over the last five years. Say please and thank you. Yes or no ma’am. These simple little things will go such a long way in your life. But, I know I don’t even have to worry, because I know you will be fine. You’re going to make some awesome friends, you’re going to learn some amazing things, and you are going to kick kindergarten’s behind.
Aiden, my hope for you is that you will always be happy. I want you to be eager to meet new people and to learn new things, not just today as you start kindergarten, but always and forever. I am so incredibly proud of you, Bubba. I love you to the moon and back, times infinity.
You know how in the movies, after the woman gives birth, and everyone is smiley and happy and joyous all the time? Yeah? I get it. Ideally, that’s how it should be. Everyone is happy. Everyone is smiling. Spouses don’t fight. Babies don’t cry. Older kids don’t get jealous.
Sometimes it’s not.
Sometimes, the baby cries nonstop for no reason. Sometimes, the spouses are at their wit’s end with exhaustion and take it out on each other. Sometimes, smiling takes too much of the ounce of energy you have left that day, and it’s not worth it to waste it. Sometimes, the older children turn into little jerks thanks to jealousy stemming from no longer being the center of attention.
Sometimes it sucks.
Please don’t get me wrong. I love both of my boys more than anything. I thank God everyday that I get to be their Mommy. I would not change a single thing.
When Aiden was about 4-5 months old, he didn’t sleep. He started having awful reflux issues that caused him to violently puke 90% of what he ate at each feeding. I was basically caring for him on my own, exhausted, frustrated, and to top it all off, I was in a horrible relationship with an apathetic partner. I constantly felt like I wasn’t good enough. That Aiden wouldn’t love me. That I wasn’t cut out to be a Mommy.
I started eating my feelings and I cried myself to sleep more often than not. I remember thinking, ‘how could something so little, that I love so much, make me so miserable.’
It wasn’t until just before Aiden turned six months old that I realized that I needed to talk to someone. Things were super rough. My ex and I fought endlessly and I felt isolated and overwhelmed 100% of the time.
I was diagnosed with postpartum depression.
Fast forward four years. I’m older and more prepared/less overwhelmed over the needs of an infant. Asher is here and about two months old. Aiden’s almost five and ready to start school. Hubs is working in a different city during the week. Our marriage is great, but we rarely have time together. He’s not home, not because he doesn’t want to be here, but because he’s working his bum off to provide for our family. Totally different dynamic.
But I started feeling those first signs of PPD again almost as soon as the last visiting relative walked out the front door. Crying over nothing. Overwhelmed. Insecure. Started eating my feelings. [I swear I’m the only person in the world who gains more weight AFTER having a baby than she does while pregnant.] Getting frustrated when Drew would come home and mess with our routine on the weekends. Getting even more frustrated when he would leave for work again when the weekend ended.
I began feeling inadequate. Like I wasn’t good enough to be these boys’ mommy. Like I wasn’t good enough to be a decent wife to Drew. Overwhelmed by the neverending dishes and laundry and feedings and laundry and cleaning and did I mention laundry? I tried to hide it from Drew for weeks, thinking that he already had enough on his plate and shouldn’t be worried about me.
A couple of weeks ago, he came home to find me completely disheveled, unshowered and still in my PJs with my hair and face a hot mess, crying, and holding Asher as he nursed. Asher had a long day with no sleep the night before, and Aiden is in this phase right now where he wants to challenge everything I say to him. I’m tired. I’m frustrated. I’m overwhelmed. I looked up and word vomited, “I have PPD again.” at him. He said, ” I know, let’s get you taken care of.”
Turns out, he already suspected I was struggling. I assume he didn’t know how to approach me about it, in case he was wrong and I was actually just crazy. We talked about making sure I had some time to myself more often, and working through it together.
So now, my boys are at home having some QT with Daddy while I sit in this Starbucks and reach out to any other moms who might be struggling with the same.
To the mom who feels overwhelmed, it gets easier.
To the mom who feels inadequate, you are enough.
To the mom who hasn’t showered in 3 or more days, your kids don’t care if you stink.
To the mom who swears she’s failing her kids, I’m willing to bet their world revolves around you.
To the mom who thinks she can’t keep up, the housework will wait. babies don’t keep.
To the mom who doesn’t want to admit she’s struggling, asking for help doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It means you’re strong enough to know when you can’t do it alone.
To the mom who believes she can’t handle being a mom AND a wife, let your Husband love you.
To the mom who feels isolated, you are not alone.
To the mom who knows she sucks at being a mom, don’t let your brain tell you a lie that your heart knows isn’t true.
So much personality in one little body. He gets happier and chubbier everyday. His eyes are turning this blueish-green that melts me and his hair is turning reddish-blonde! He is seriously growing faster than I can keep up! Just slow down, baby! Stats: 12lbs 10oz and 24.5inches Food: Just breastmilk still :) Favorites: Nursing snuggles, Bath time, floor play, being outside, splashing in the pool, snuggling in our bed, basically anything but napping.
Doing: Rolling from back to belly and belly to back. “Talking” all the time. CONSTANTLY wiggling. Dislikes: Being left alone, being strapped into anything, and naps. Signature Moves: I don’t know that he really has any yet. Giggles at big brother all the time, maybe? Saying: Gibberish.
Teeth: None yet. Biting and drooling 24/7 though. May be earlier than Aiden’s first one (8mos)
Wearing: Size 2 diapers when in disposable, one-size in cloth and 0-3 or 3 month clothing
The day of my due date, I was so over being pregnant. I was uncomfortable, tired, in a lot of pain from endless pelvic pressure, and I was just ready to hold him. My nerves over whether my VBAC attempt would be successful or not were getting the best of me, and I was almost ready to just schedule a repeat cesarean.
The week prior, I spent the afternoon in L&D thinking that my water was leaking (it wasn’t) and after being checked, I was ecstatic to learn I was just over a centimeter dilated and about 50% effaced. For someone whose body did NOTHING on it’s own the first time around, this was beyond exciting. Drew and I decided that we would be induced if I didn’t go into labor by 41 weeks, and scheduled the induction while still remaining hopeful that my body would work on it’s own.Fast forward to my due date. Not a single painful contraction or cramp, no more potentially leaking fluid, Asher seemed comfy in there. I went to my 40 week check up fully prepared to hear that my cervix had just closed back up. Imagine my surprise to learn that I was actually at two centimeters and 75% effaced.
Again, that may not seem like a big deal to some, but to someone who barely even progressed WITH drugs before, it’s a big freakin deal.
My midwife offered to do a membrane sweep (it hurts. a lot.) to try and get things moving. She told me Asher was head down and low, and she had a feeling we’d have a baby by the weekend.Drew was at the firehouse and Aiden was with me so we went to get some dinner before going to my small group meeting that evening. I noticed I was beginning to feel a bit crampy, but nothing major. We arrived at the small group meeting, and I was having what I assumed were contractions. They weren’t super painful. Just irritating and hindered my ability to focus.
Halfway into the meeting, my contractions became a little more intense. I sent Drew a text telling him I was going to head home, let my co-leader know that I felt like I needed to leave, and left. My husband had my fathers-in-law come pick up Aiden just in case (I never in a million years imagined I wouldn’t see him again until we brought his brother home!), and after a hot shower, we climbed into bed to try and rest in between contractions.
I could not get comfortable. The contractions stayed about eight minutes apart the entire night. They weren’t unbearable, but made it impossible to sleep. I don’t know how many times I got up in my sleepy stupor to pee or to pace around the room willing them to get closer/more intense. They didn’t.
Drew woke up, and asked if I thought he should go to work or not. At that point, my contractions were more intense, but further apart. I reluctantly told him to go, but to keep his phone close. The idea of having a quiet house to labor in sounded amazing at that moment. He left, and I waddled out to our living room with some breakfast, a timer, and my birth ball.I spent the entire day moving back and forth from the ball to the couch. I was exhausted, and the ball made my contractions pick up, but as soon as I would lay down they would essentially stop. I don’t think I ever really believed that this was it, and that I was actually in REAL labor. Finally, in the afternoon, I lost my plug and was hopeful that it meant I was making some progress.
Drew got home shortly after, and we decided to go get some dinner and walk around, hoping it would make things progress a little faster. The contractions picked up the instant I sat in the car. Gracious. I struggled to make it through dinner at Jason’s Deli, picking at my food between contractions. (Which were now down to 6 minutes apart.) After dinner, we went and walked around Target. I braced myself against the buggy while walking through each contraction. My contractions stayed around 5-6 minutes apart, but were getting more intense by the minute.
[At some point, I called the midwife, whom I remember told me to wait until they were a little closer together. I also remember temporarily hating that midwife. I do not, however, remember exactly when I called her.]
We left Target and headed home, and I hated this ride even more than the first. We arrived home around 8pm, and I laid on the bed to try and get a few hour’s rest. As soon as I hit the pillow, my contractions became unbearable.
Around 10ish, I got up and told Drew that I thought we should go to the hospital soon. I was losing more and more of my plug, my contractions were 4-5 minutes apart and lasting about a minute. Our hospital was 30+ minutes away, so I wanted to go. Even if it meant waddling through my contractions around the hospital.
I called the midwife to tell her we were coming, and texted my mom to let her know she needed to head to our hospital. We gathered up everything and got into the car.Longest drive of my life.
At one point, my contractions were down to three minutes apart and I seriously thought I would give birth in the car. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed my Hubs speeding more than five over until that night.
We finally arrived at UNC Women’s Hospital. I think it was close to or around 11 by that point. Drew drove up to the curb, jumped out of the car, and ran over to help me. We walked inside and he let the guard know that he would come back to move the car after he got me up to L&D. My contractions were still coming steadily at 3-4 minutes apart, and multiple times we had to just stop walking and Drew would literally hold my body up when I couldn’t. We were checked in and triaged. I was only at 4cm, so the midwife said I could be admitted if I wanted. I chose to be admitted and receive some pain meds to attempt to get some rest. We were quickly put into a room, my IV was placed and the monitors were put on my belly. The first sign of a potential uterine rupture in VBACs is the baby going into distress, so I chose to do continuous fetal monitoring. I wanted my VBAC desperately, but I wanted a healthy, safe baby more.The on call OB came in to have me sign the “just in case” forms for an emergency cesarean. I had yet to get any kind of pain meds or anything, and I was still contracting every 4 minutes or so. She proceeded to tell me that I would most likely end up with an emergency cesarean because my VBAC chances weren’t very great.
This infuriated me. I signed the papers as quickly as I could manage so she would get the heck out.
She finally left, and the next hour or so was a blur as my walking epidural was administered. The anesthesiologist was phenomenal. I highly recommend the walking epidural. I could still move and feel my legs, and also the tightness and pressure of each contraction, but with barely any pain whatsoever. It took rolling from side to side a few times but eventually it took all over.
Then the waiting game started. I was told to “rest.” Ha. Eventually, my parents arrived and helped entertain me. Hubs and my Daddy snoozed while my Mom and I chatted endlessly about nothing. I think she sensed how scared I was and knew I just needed to be distracted.
Around 5ish(?) I started feeling like I was peeing myself every time I shifted positions. I thought maybe my water had broken, but it wasn’t constant so I wasn’t sure. Shortly after, I felt this strange gushing feeling. It still didn’t feel like my water had broken, but I knew it was something unusual so I made my poor momma check. She looked only to discover that my bag of waters was bulging in a way that was comparable to a water balloon. So. Freaking. Bizarre.
I called the nurse, who called my midwife. She came in to check me, and as soon as she touched my “water balloon,” my water gushed out. I was also completely dilated. I didn’t feel the urge to push just yet so she had me sit up in my bed with my legs in the butterfly position so I could “labor down.” I sat like this for an hour or so. Somewhere in that time frame, my amazing doula, Lesa Williams, arrived. (If you’re in the NC Triangle area and having a baby any time soon, you should check her out by clicking here.)
Around 7am, nurses and midwives started trickling into my room. The baby nurse came in to set up the warmer, and I think that is when I finally had the ‘holy crap, this is actually happening’ moment. The nurse asked if I was feeling any pressure yet, (I definitely was) and if I wanted to do a few “practice pushes.”
FYI, the term “practice pushes” is stupid. They’re real pushes. There’s nothing “practice” about them.
I did a few, and more nurses and my midwife came in, as well as an OB med student. At some point in labor, you stop caring about who walks into your business, don’t worry.Around 7:45 or so, I started the real thing. Shortly after 8, my epidural wore off. I pushed like a madwoman. I was so freaking determined and I was so freaking exhausted. Drew was still holding me up, physically by helping me lift my head and chest to bear down, and emotionally because he knew I was terrified. He really was my rock. My doula stood next to him with a nurse or two next to her. A sea of midwifes and nurses floated around behind them, and my Momma stood next to me and my Daddy stood above my head, armed with a cool washcloth for my forehead. They both wanted so badly to be present for Asher’s birth, since they weren’t allowed in the OR for Aiden’s.
The midwife insisted at one point that if I looked at what I was doing in the mirror, it would help me have stronger pushes.
I did not want the mirror.
And it didn’t help.
So they put the mirror away, and I started making more progress. Everyone started telling me that they could see him coming and that he had a full head of hair.
And then my Husband asked if he had time to go pee. Yep. Baby’s head is coming out, Husband has to pee. A nurse told him that he had better hurry, and he went. I could’ve killed him. Asher began descending more, and I yelled (the only time I yelled..FYI) for Drew to get back out, and now. He finally did, and I was relieved.
I pushed a few more times, and he started crowning. By then, my epidural was non-existent and the ring of fire is a real thing, people.
There was barely any time between contractions anymore, only just enough to catch my breath. The midwife looked up at me and said, “this one is it, push.” I looked at Drew, waited for the contraction to start, and pushed with all my might.
And at 8:45am, after just over a hour of pushing, he was out.
Another push and the rest of him was out too.
It took a second for him to make a sound, but then he started crying and it was the most amazing sound I ever heard. I reached down and pulled him onto my chest. He immediately looked up at me, and I cried. I was so overwhelmed with love and joy that I couldn’t even really speak. The pain was gone, the exhaustion was gone, and it was the moment that I had spent the previous nine months praying for. We had delayed cord clamping, and then the placenta came out without any issues. He latched on and stayed there while I received a few stitches. He only left my arms for a few moments while he was weighed and measured. All 8lbs, 8oz and 20 inches of him were absolutely perfect. Drew picked him up from the warmer and I watched as his Daddy fell completely in love instantly and shed a tear or two as well.
This birth experience was exactly what I needed to heal from the trauma of my first one. While Aiden’s birth was beautiful in it’s own way, Asher’s was everything I could have asked for and more. The healing processes were night and day different. Ash was born Friday morning, and I was up and going to the bathroom unassisted by Friday afternoon. I took a solo shower Saturday morning. There was no obnoxious swelling, minimal pain, and I was back to “normal” within a few weeks.
PS, in case you wondered, my midwife forwarded my delivery notes to the OB who told me I couldn’t do it.We’re now finally beginning to settle into life as a family of four, and you can follow our daily adventures by clicking here. :)