Pregnancy the second time

You know what is great about being pregnant with a child already on the outside? Well first of all, it goes by a lot faster. Last time around, I was anxiously counting down each day because I wanted so badly to be a mom. Well, now I am a mom. And I'm very busy being that mom. So while I am so thrilled and excited to be a mom of TWO, the time seems to go by much faster.

But even better than that... when you're pregnant with not-your-first, no one really feels inclined to give you any advice. Because I already know that I don't need to "stock up on my sleep now since I won't get any when the baby comes." That advice is a lie. I know full well that I will sleep BETTER after the baby comes. Back sleepers unite. Get me off my side and into back-sleeping heaven. Also, heartburn be gone, aching body be gone, and movement-preventing-belly be gone. I would just like to bend over and pick something up without the awkward Serena Williams grunting sound please and thank you. Pregnancy is not beautiful. It is everything unflattering happening in your body all at one.

You know what's not so great about being pregnant with a child already on the outside? Basically everything that has to do with caring for that rambunctious, curious, active little boy. From messy meal times, to emptied cupboards and drawers, to battles during every diaper change because that boy does not want to stop moving ever.

Seth has been especially crazy the past few days that Jason has been out of town (naturally). Extra whiny, extra destructive. And then this morning he threw up in his high chair and pooped in the bath (naturally).

It was an exhausting day. He's been testing my patience and mostly, I've earned an F. But then he sat on my lap for a bedtime story and in the middle of the book, turned and looked up at me with the sweetest little face and just said "Mommy" in the sweetest little voice. And then after saying our prayers, while I sang him a song, he smothered me in runny-nosed kisses. And now for the cliche, that is why it's all worth it. It's funny how real the parent cliches become when you are a parent. They may be overused, but man are they true.


July Recap

July has come and gone. It was a busy one for us.
 Family was in town for the 4th. We ate some good food and watched the fireworks. Seth did great and wasn't bothered by them.
 This boy just seems to keep getting bigger and bigger. I'd like for him to stop.
 A family that swims together stays together.
 Jason and I took a very quick trip to Nashville and this is the only picture I took the entire time.
 Our babysitters loving reminded us that we hadn't been on a date in awhile, so we booked them for last Friday. And then didn't ever make any final plans. To avoid our typical dinner and a movie, we decided to go to Sprouts for a delicious assortment of cheese and have a little picnic. Well, cheese is expensive and we easily could have gone to a nice restaurant for what we spent! But we were treated to the most incredible Colorado sunset that night, and I guess you can't put a price on that.
First full week home from work complete! And this boy has been a gem.


Summer trip to CA

A few weeks ago, we went out to visit my parents in California. Here's a little synoposis of what our week looked like:

- Fly in Saturday afternoon
- Drive to Yosemite on Sunday and camp until Monday
- Hang out at the house on Tuesday
- Jason and I drive to Santa Cruz on Wednesday and stay until Thursday
- Hang out at the house on Friday
- Fly home Saturday

Basically, it was not a long enough trip. But we had an absolute blast while we were there and Seth loved soaking up Nana and Grandpa and Edison time. A dog that will actually play with you! A house full of yummy food and people that will happily give it to you. A pool with fountains! That is little boy heaven right there.

This is the moment right before Jason jumped into the cold, swift current and lost his wedding ring. We were both amazed that he made it 5 years seeing as it was too loose from the get-go. It has already been replaced with a ring that we both like even better than the first, so yay to losing wedding rings?
Jason and I enjoyed a child-free day and night in Santa Cruz, and ended up doing kid things anyway, like going on rides at the boardwalk, playing at the arcade, and eating pizza for dinner.
We visited Fairytale Town and Seth learned how to go down a slide all by himself. I also came across the same cheese that I took a picture in with my brothers when I was maybe 2. It was A LOT smaller than I thought. I was expecting that thing to tower over my head... which I guess it did the last time I saw it.
Peace out California.


Working Mom

Working Mom is a silly term. All moms are working all of the time. In the past year, I've experienced different varieties of the working mom. Stay-at-home, work-from-home, work-away-from-home, work-part-time-away-from-home-and-part-time at home, work-from-home-part-time. None of them are easy. Some of them are slightly harder than others due to lack of flexibility or the emotional toll of missing your child.
In some ways, being in the office during the day is a lot easier than working from home. I'm able to focus on my work with less distractions, but I miss being with my child. When working from home, I can take little breaks through out the day to give Seth my full-attention, and I'm able to hammer though a lot during nap time, but when his needs and client needs coincide, that's some major stress-inducing stuff. Like being holed up in a room on an hour-long client call, presenting a research report while your child is wailing at the bottom of the stairs because he wants your attention and there's nothing that you can do about it.
It's not easy. I've felt incredibly overwhelmed. Things have been particularly busy at work, and Seth is in the busiest stage of his life thus far. Always on the go, and always curiously getting into things or onto things that need some supervision. Throw a time-consuming calling and pregnancy on top of that, and I'm down for the count.
Recently, I've felt like I'm doing it all and none of it well.
When I went back to work, Jason and I had some specific goals we wanted to accomplish. Mainly, to get completely out of debt. So as we neared that goal, and with a second baby on the way, I decided to forgo sticking it out until maternity leave and just get home full-time as quickly as possible.
This will be my first full-week at home in 10 months. I'll continue working in a freelance capacity with my current company, which will ultimately be the best situation as I'll have greater control over my schedule and workload. Plus I'll get to continue to work, which I genuinely enjoy doing.
But mostly, I'm just happy to be home.


#2 Brings Even More Blue

It's a boy! I don't think I can adequately explain how excited I am for another little boy. Logistically, it obviously makes my life easier since I already have boy clothes, and toys, and accessories. But even more than that, I'm so excited for Seth to have a little brother, to have two little boys running amuck in the house.

We found out really early. I was only 13 weeks when they called with the gender results. They have this new blood test where they draw a little bit from you, and are able to determine the chromosomes of the baby. They check for any chromosomal defects and can tell you if your baby has XY or XX chromosomes. Pretty amazing.

Leading up to the test I was feeling pretty sure that it was going to be a girl. I even had the perfect name already picked out. (Which I still love and am saving for the day a little pink might enter our lives.) Jason was also thinking it was going to be a girl. When the nurse called me with the results, I asked her to tell me the results of the chromosomal defects and then call back and leave a voicemail with the gender, so Jason and I could listen to it together after work.

That notification tormented me all day long. And I told Jason to drive home as fast as he could. The moment he walked in the door, we played the voicemail on speaker and heard the nurse tell us that is was a BOY! We were both shocked and so excited. Let's be honest, we would have been thrilled either way. But after being so sure that it was a girl, it was really fun to imagine what it would be like with another little boy in the house.

So now the torturous part of coming up with a boy name that Jason and I agree on begins. We have vastly different opinions when it comes to boy names. And since Seth's name was Jason's #1 pick last time, I feel like I get a trump card with this one. Right?



16 weeks with #2

And now for a very long story about finding out. There are many mentions of periods (or the lack there of, so if that makes you squeamish, proceed with caution.)

Getting pregnant with Seth was a struggle. Ovulation just doesn't come natural to me, and after exhausting a lot of the typical fertility drugs, we were one cycle away from moving on to IVF. Luckily, the second IUI attempt took, and held, and brought us Seth.

Near the end of December, after Seth had turned one, I started feeling like it was time to see a doctor about getting the fertility process started again for baby #2. I hadn't had a period in 4 months, and knew that if nothing else, I needed to get that taken care of. I went into this prepared for a year to two year long process, so I wanted to start slow. I asked my doctor if I could just start with Metformin, a drug they use to treat PCOS, but not an actual fertility drug. I wanted to get acclimated to that drug before adding in any additional fertility drugs to see if the Metformin gave Clomid and the other fertility drugs a better shot than they had last time.

My doctor prescribed the Metformin, along with a drug to induce a period, since going many months without one is not a healthy thing to do. I remember her telling me I should get a period within two weeks. I was on the drug for a week, and a week later nothing had happened. I thought that maybe I'd misheard the doctor and that I should get a period two weeks after finishing the medication. So I waited another week. And still nothing. By then, I was deep into taking the Metformin and feeling unbelievably nauseous and miserable and nauseous (worse than any pregnancy nausea I had ever experienced with Seth). I called my doctor to ask her when I should expect a period because at this point, I had no clue, and mostly to tell her that the Metformin was brutal and I needed to reduce the dosage.

I was surprised when she was surprised that I hadn't had a period yet. Not having a period is normal to me though, so my immediate thought was that something was wrong with me and this just went right along with the pattern. She said we should do some labs to figure out what is wrong, but asked that before we do the labs, I take a pregnancy test. I scoffed at this idea. The cause of the mysteriously absent period is not due to pregnancy, because for me, it never is. I'd taken a pregnancy test a few months ago when my period failed to return after seeing it resurface briefly after I stopped nursing, and as usual, I'd gotten those hopes up. It's those hopes that you tell yourself to keep down, but rise exponentially as the seconds tick by while you wait to check the stick for two little lines. Well after taking two just to be sure a few months ago, I was not interested in inviting that briefly lived hope back into my life. I told her I'd call her back in a bit with negative results so we could schedule the labs.

I was working from home this day, and had an errand to run at lunch time. On our way home, Seth and I stopped by a drug store to grab a pregnancy test. Once we got home... I stalled. I put Seth down for a nap. I got some work done. I picked up toys off the ground. Then I decided that I should just take it. And then I realized I should probably drink a gallon of water.

So I take the test. And my mind started doing that mean trick. The one where you start thinking.. well maybe? You see, after going through the fertility treatments the first time around, I started getting pretty good at noticing signs of ovulation. They didn't happen very often, so it was clear when things seemed different. Well, a few weeks prior to this test taking, I had noticed those signs. I thought that was interesting, but didn't pay much attention to it because I wasn't in that "trying to conceive" place yet. I hadn't even gone to my first doctor's appointment. It was going to be the very next day. When I went to see the doctor the next day to ask to be put on Metformin, she mentioned that it looked like I was likely ovulating. Again, interesting. But again, I wasn't "trying" yet. I was "preparing" to start "trying" soon. So as I'm waiting for those minutes to tick by, my mean mind is telling me that it.. is.. possible. But I've seen my fair share of negative tests, so I tried to keep my emotions balanced and ready for the inevitable.

I went to check on the test, and at first glance, I saw one big bold pink line. "Nope," I thought. "Not pregnant." I leaned down to pick it up and realized, there was actually a faint line next to it. This was the moment when my mouth dropped and my hand jumped to cover my shock. And I just stood there. So still. Whispering to myself, "pregnant... I'm pregnant. I'm pregnant!" Jason would be home in 2 hours, and would react very similarly to me. Utter shock. Utter joy. The realization and relief that this time we got to skip out on the stressful ups and downs of "trying", and the cost of fertility drugs.

When we struggled getting pregnant with Seth, so many people told us they knew someone who went through that with their first and then didn't have any trouble with their second. I'd hoped that would be the case, but was skeptical, and for that reason, decided not to return to any preventative measures after Seth was born. Which means that after I stopped nursing Seth, over the course of 5 months, I likely ovulated just once. And amazingly, once was all it took.


The NICU Stay

This has been sitting in my drafts for over a year so I figured it was time to hit publish.

Oh the NICU. What a wonderful and terrible place.

While I was in the labor and delivery room, someone from the NICU came to talk to us. She told us all of the things that a 33 week old baby may struggle with and the things they would keep an eye on while he was in the NICU. There were three main things they mentioned he needed to do before he could go home: maintain his body temp, be able to eat on his own, and go 5 days without any large drops in his heart-rate. Of course there were many other little things they'd be keeping an eye on, but those were the big three. We were told to expect him to be in the NICU until his due date, January 31st.

After Seth arrived, I was able to hold him for a bit, but he was quickly whisked off to the NICU. He was put on a CPAP machine right away, so when I was finally able to get to the NICU, it was hard to see his little face. My niece Lucy was heartbroken that she wasn't able to come into the NICU to see him, so we Facetimed with her while she was on the other side of the doors and she squealed over and over again, "Oh he is so cuuuute!" I was sure glad she thought so, because from where I was sitting, I could only see a third of his face.

By the next morning, he was off the CPAP and on low flow oxygen. For the first few days, his temperature was a little low and his billirubin numbers started to be a concern. He was transferred into an isolette to go under the lights for his jaundice. He had an IV in that had to be moved to a new location often. Holding him was a juggle of tubing and wires and that's how we learned to nurse. Twas fun.

Actually, that whole part was really easy. Seth was a champion nurser. When he was awake. But he still slept through so many of his feed times, they continued to give him his full amount through a feeding tube.

It was hard being discharged from the hospital, and while they did have rooms available for parents of NICU babies, I could never sleep there. I wanted to be there as much as possible, so I'd be at the NICU from 8:30am to 10:30pm. We'd usually get home after 11. I'd pump at midnight, 3 AM, and 6 AM and then get ready to head back to the hospital.

He was in the NICU over Christmas and New Years. Christmas was really hard. It didn't really feel like Christmas at all. I just wanted to have my baby home with me. Though, New Years was a little better.

Even though they told me to plan on being there until his due date, he seemed to be making good progress. Twice I asked when he'd be able to go home. And both times, I got no indication that he'd be out of there any time soon. Finally after the holidays were over, I started to get a handle on the NICU. I had a good schedule. My hormones weren't playing funny tricks on me. I walked in to the hospital on January 2nd feeling good. And ready to enjoy my day sitting by Seth's hospital crib. During rounds that morning, our favorite nurse gave the doctor Seth's stats. He's handling all of his feeds, digesting well, gaining weight, and hasn't had a drop in his heart rate in over 5 days.

Everyone smiled. He was doing great.

"Well what's he even doing here," I joked.

"Yeah, he can go home today." the doctor joked? He was joking right?

One of the NPs interrupted, mentioning there was still a shot and a procedure he still needed.

"Tomorrow then," the doctor said.

The group made some notes and were set to move on to the next patient. But I was a little confused, and I wanted to be clear.

"I'm sorry, what's happening tomorrow?"

Was it the shot? Was is the procedure? Would they need to monitor him for a few more days?

"You can bring him home," the doctor chuckled. The nurses, NPs, and RTs all smiled.

Finally, someone had given me a date. Unfortunately, I wasn't quite ready.

So after quietly cheering and hugging Seth's nurse, I ran off to get the one thing that I needed other than the doctor's go ahead to bring him home. A carseat.


A Walking Weekend

We went on a walk Friday evening. We had gone far enough and were heading home when we stopped at a big intersection to wait for the crosswalk. When the crosswalk light turned on, we began crossing the intersection when a car started to turn towards us. He was going slow at first, so I looked at him to make sure he was going to stop for us, as we were already well into the intersection. Jason was in front of me with Grizz, and I was walking a few steps behind pushing Seth in the stroller. All of the sudden, the car sped up and was headed straight for Jason. I called to Jason something about whether he thought this guy saw us and as Jason saw the car coming at him, he tried to quickly turn Grizz around to jump out of the way. And let's be clear, turning Grizz around quickly is like trying to take a sharp right with a Navy Aircraft Carrier. As the car got closer, I didn't know what else to do other than scream. Right as I was screaming, the driver slammed on the breaks and the car screeched to a halt. Luckily, he stopped 5 or 6 feet away from Jason, but it was still close enough that it got my heart racing. The rest of our weekend was much less eventful.
Seth walked around Jason's office on Saturday while Jason was grabbing a few things. Within a few minutes, Seth had gathered all of the balls from all of the surrounding desks and started relocating them. Footballs were in trashcans, and stress-balls were under desks 15 feet away from their original location.

Later than day, we walked around Aurora Resevoir, which we thought would be beautiful because we'd gone on walks over there on warmer days this winter. But the bugs were out in full force. We spent most of the walk waving our arms and keeping our mouths shut tight. So yeah, a very pleasant walk.

Then, Seth walked all over our car while we ordered a few drinks at Sonic.

And to top it all off, Seth walked around and around the pews, and rows, and hallways at church. 3-hour church with a 16-month old is a rare form of torture. Just 2 more months until Nursery! Hallelujah!


Is this thing on?

When Seth was about to turn 1, I realized I'd done a pretty terrible job of recording our memories from the past year. I'd been keeping a journal through a website called OhLife but they went belly up. I'm no good at writing in an actual journal. So I'm returning to what is familiar.

Yes, Seth is now 16 months. So I didn't do a really good job of writing when I felt that urge many months ago. But, here we are. I recently got to do some extra writing for my company blog. And it made me realize just how much I had missed writing.

Off we go.

Seth is almost 16 months. He's walking and talking - baba (anything he drinks from. used to be bottle but now he uses a sippy cup), dada, mama, up, moo (when asked what a cow says. also when asked what any other animal says), gaga (doggy), cag (catch), ball and a lot of other gibberish we haven't made sense of yet.

He loves food like no other (except maybe his dad) and doesn't like when the food comes to and end. He's got big blue eyes. Whenever anyone sees his eyes they say "Wow his eyes are so blue." Their next action is to stare deeply into my very brown eyes, which is never not awkward. I feel like I'm supposed to open my eyes extra wide to give them the answer that "No, those blue eyes did not come from me."

I was home with Seth full-time until he was 9 months. I worked a bit from home with my old company but the projects that came in were fewer and far between. I was kind of looking for other work-from-home opportunities when a research company reached out to me. I figured it wouldn't hurt to figure out what they were all about and went through a rigorous round of interviews and found I really liked the company. And when they gave me a good offer and told me I'd have the chance to work from home a couple days a week, I figured this was one of those "meant to be" situations.

Being back at work has been a great experience and also a hard experience. But Seth is thriving and when I'm not home with him, he's at my wonderful sister-in-law's house so I know he's in good hands.

I feel like this is turning into a Christmas letter where you get updates on each member of the family. So I guess Jason's next? He's still working in financial sales and genuinely enjoys going into work every day. So that's a win.

And Grizz the dog is huge. 170 the last time we weighed him. He was promptly put on a diet but I swear he only lost weight that first week and has completely plateaued since. So I'm estimating that he is now 160? The moral of the story is, bullmastiffs are already large but Grizz is particularly large for a bullmastiff. But he's generally a good dog and Seth loves him so I tolerate him and his mess of slobber and shedding and poop. (Who am I kidding. I don't pick up his poop.)