Friday, March 21, 2014

Finding Joy In The Unexpected {Hospital Stay}

When you're going to the hospital because you're having contractions five minutes a part, don't think, "oh, they'll probably fizzle out once I get there," and grab only your phone charger, slipping on a pair of ratty TOMS on your way out the door. 

Why? Because those contractions won't fizzle out and you will develop supraventricular tachycardia forcing you to spend not one but two nights in the hospital and all you will have to wear, once you finagle your way out of the hospital gown, is what your husband brings for you- which bless his heart, all seems to be of the same color schema: blue. Blue tank top, blue underwear, blue yoga pants. 

If you see a smurf walking the halls of Labor and Delivery, it's me. 

Even though you're certain those contractions will fizzle out and you'll be on your way back home in no time, kiss your babies goodbye before you step out. Because if you don't and you end up developing supraventricular tachycardia and spending two nights in the hospital, your hormonal pregnant self will cry multiple times each day at the thought of not kissing the soft warm skin of their foreheads, brushing the hair from their eyes or being the one to tuck them into bed at night. 

If you see a smurf walking the halls of Labor and Delivery with swollen, red-rimmed eyes, it's me.

I know it could be much worse- as far as I know, I'm busting out of this joint tomorrow, fingers crossed, and throughout everything, the ten hours of contractions five minutes a apart, the scary fast heart rate and an infection of unknown source that has caused my white blood cell count to sky rocket upwards of 22,000, Collins has been a trooper. Always looking perfect on the monitors. Never once giving us any reason to worry about him. And if my white blood cells continue to trend downwards with antibiotics, I get to walk out of here tomorrow. I know it could be worse. 

I'm a planner by nature. That's no surprise. I've been a planner my whole life and so I thrive on plans. The unexpected surprise of being admitted to the hospital and having to stay not one but two nights has me struggling. I miss the boys something fierce. Had I been able to prepare myself, I think I would have handled the situation much better. After all, in a few short weeks I'll have to leave them for twice as many nights as we welcome the newest little brother. I'm okay with that. Why? Because I've been preparing myself for it. Unlike this surprise admission. This bump in the road, if you will. 

Also of note, when you're on the Labor and Delivery floor but you're not currently engaged in either of those two activities, labor or delivery, you tend to be overlooked. Not to mention that you're not even technically "on the floor" but in a windowless triage room because that's the only available room on the unit. Factor in that you might take it upon yourself and your many years of nursing knowledge to silence your own beeping pump and fix your own toco monitor and therefore, your self-sufficiency has basically rendered you forgettable. 

Having worked in a hospital for years, I get it. Hospitals are S-L-O-W slow and medical professionals often make for the worst patients- but for crying out loud, is it too much to ask to see a doctor or nurse just once in a six hour span? Trust me, I would gladly be at home rather than taking up a bed on your unit but while I'm here, you might as well check in on me from time to time and maybe fill me in The Plan. I like plans, remember?

When you're sitting in a windowless triage room for hours on end, strapped to a bed underneath the weight and itchiness of monitors, you have plenty of time to think. Think about things like, "Maybe I should go home and pack a go-bag for the hospital," or "Maybe now is a good time to order those curtains I've been wanting for the family room." I cannot be held responsible for any of the online shopping that has taken place these last forty-eight hours. 

I've also had plenty of uninterrupted time to listen to my sweet son's heartbeat, beating strong and solid on the monitor next to my bed. I've had hours upon hours to watch him roll and move about in my belly. Hearing the cries of brand new babies, I can't help but imagine what his first cries will sound like. Cries that I'll be hearing in just a few short weeks. 

After all, we don't have too much longer together, he and I, in this way. Before I know it he will be an outside baby and feeling him move and grow inside of me will be nothing more than a memory. It will quickly be replaced by tiny kissable toes and that sweet intoxicating baby smell. 

Even though its hard to be here, even though it hurts more than I ever anticipated to be away from my boys unexpectedly, I'm reminding myself to savor these moments because they are moments I will never get back.

Here's to finding the joy in the unexpected.    
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Speaking of babies, have you heard of my friends over at 4Moms? They're currently hosting a fantastic giveaway along with aden & anais and Skip Hop and I wanted to help spread the word. As new parents, we know that bath time can be a little intimidating. After all, there's nothing slipperier than a soapy, soaking wet, itty bitty baby! They've joined forces to make bath time FUN for everyone. 

You can enter below to win everything you'll need for baby's first bath!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Haps. And Why This Post Took Me Two Weeks To Write.

I never meant to stop blogging about my pregnancy, it just sort of happened. The last time I wrote a "bump date" was around twenty weeks. For those that are keeping track, I'm more than halfway through my 33rd week. Yikes. 

It was around that time that I eagerly accepted a writing position as a Word of Mom  Blogger over at and have spent the last two months or so learning to balance (hopefully what is good and decent) content both here and over there. I love writing for them- I've secretly always wanted to write and somehow get paid for it- which, duh, blogging- so being asked to write for them has kind of been like a mini dream come true. Which, if I'm being honest, is kind of like the warm and fuzzies I get from writing here, too. It's really been great.

In case you've missed them, I've written the following posts for What To Expect "The Wrong Reason To Have A Fourth Baby," "Say What? 5 Things You Shouldn't Say To A Pregnant Woman," "5 Signs Your Ready To Have A Baby," "How Not To End Up In Couples Therapy When Choosing A Baby Name," "What It's Like To Sleep With My Parents" and have even more up my sleeve in the coming weeks.  I'm hoping to have enough posts backlogged to carry me through April and the birth of M3, so here's to some late nights and early mornings at Panera. 

Anyways, a lot has happened since twenty weeks! I've gained roughly a second grader, went up two sizes in underwear (that's humbling), have gotten no closer to redecorating the nursery or shared big brother's room and find myself adding more things to our growing to-do list than I can realistically cross off before Collins' arrival. Basically I'm in a great place, but really. I need to get it together! The other moms on my birth board are posting pictures of packed hospital bags and fully furnished nurseries and I'm all, "well, I have diapers." 

Want to know how long this post has been sitting in my blog roll? Two weeks. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that. It's taken me two weeks, in five minute increments each day, to collectively pull together this post and publish it. At this point, I don't even remember the point of it all. 

I think I had originally set out to write about this last pregnancy. This final baby. And how when the time came to sign my surgical consent that included consent for my c-section as well as the much agreed upon tying of the tubes, I couldn't do it. I couldn't sign it. 

About how I sat and stared at that single piece of paper with its six paragraphs of words and that tiny little line to sign on- and about how I vigorously crossed out the paragraphs containing any consent of tubes being tied before signing my name. 

I just couldn't do it. 

Or maybe this post was supposed to be about the last ten weeks of pregnancy. The things about it that I want to remember- despite how exhausted and uncomfortable I might feel. Things like how this baby seems to want to bust out through my belly button between the hours of 7pm and 10pm every night. About how he still loves fresh berries and yogurt and thick chocolate milkshakes from Chick-Fil-A. About how I started washing all of his teeny tiny baby things in Dreft this week and how I sometimes might stand in front of his closet with my eyes close and just inhale- imagining his sweet, soft fuzzy head tucked beneath my chin. 

But this post isn't much about anything, really. Just checking in, I guess. Hopefully I'll be back next week to actually write about all those things I listed above and more. You know, some real feelings. When I don't have to sit down in five minute increments to gather my thoughts.

Have a great weekend, friends.    

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Stuff Them With Cute. Easter Baskets, That Is!

Growing up our Easter baskets were always the highlight of Easter morning. Second only to finally getting to wear that fancy pair of white patent leather shoes with the slight heel that had been sitting in my closet for months on end that I used to sneak into the bathroom to try on because I wouldn't dare step outside in them before the actual day of Easter.

Even though our baskets were mostly filled with candy and school supplies, there was always one or two fun things in there, be it a stuffed animal or brand new swimsuit, that we couldn't wait to tear into. It's traditions like these that have further sneaked their ways into the Easter baskets of my little ones.

This year I'll be filling each of the boys' baskets with one of the many super adorable Zubels knit dolls from my friends at Peekawhoo. With such a wide array to choose from, I had a tough time narrowing down just which doll would go in which little M brother's basket. After all, I would need three of them this year! 100% hand-knit, 100% cotton and standing at 12" tall, these are some of the sweetest and softest dolls I've seen! 

Knowing that the littlest M brother who has yet to arrive probably didn't have an Easter basket of his own, this adorable monogrammed Easter bucket showed up on my doorstep filled with some of the sweetest goodies in the Peekawhoo shop. 

Made of canvas with a comfortable handle and inner lining, this bucket is not only the perfect size and shape for a Zubels knit doll but also for the safe keeping of any and all Easter eggs found during that annual Easter egg hunt!

What's even sweeter is that my friends at Peekawhoo are currently running a 10% off promo good for use on their monogrammed Easter buckets, Zubels knit dolls and Zutano gowns pictured above. 

Having a difficult time deciding what to buy? How about a Peekawhoo Package? Let Peekawhoo take the guess work out of gift giving and choose any one of their packages containing any of the above items (Zubels & Zutano Gown or Monogrammed Easter Bucket and Zubels Dolls) and take 10% off your order! 


And in case you're wondering which other Zubels dolls found their way into our home, the rabbit and the frog will surely be taking up residence in Carter and Maclane's basket this year! Hoppy Shopping! See what I did there?
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Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Magical Burrito of Freedom. Or Something Like That.

A long time ago, back when Mr. AP and I were in college (and if I'm being really honest, for many months after we had both graduated and perhaps even well into our marriage), there were these burritos. 

Not just any burritos but these burritos that we would buy wholesale from Costco, ones that you would pop into the microwave and slather with hot sauce and sour cream and they quickly translated into tiny pockets of heaven. They were delicious but more importantly, they were so damn easy (and cheap). 

Somewhere between growing up, buying a house and having babies, Mr. AP and I had forgotten all about these burritos. The reason for this is likely because our trips to Costco suddenly became few and far between and when we did make our way there it was no longer for "fun" food but rather those items that when purchased in bulk sting just a tiny bit less. Dish and laundry soap, batteries, forty-seven chicken breasts, etc.

Until last weekend when my husband ventured there with not one but both of the boys in tow. Part of me wanted to hand him a trophy for his valiant efforts but then I quickly realized that taking both boys to the grocery store was something I did every week without the benefit of free samples. Trophy redacted. 

It's always kind of exciting when Mr. AP goes to Costco because you truly never know what he's going to come home with. Let's just say sixty-four English muffins, twenty-seven cans of tuna and three very large plastic bears filled with honey later, this trip did not disappoint. Good thing we won't need to buy any honey until 2017.

It wasn't until the following evening when upon arriving home from work to dinner unplanned that he mentioned those burritos that he had picked up while in Costco. I'm pretty sure my eyes lit up because within minutes we had two of those babies wrapped in damp paper towels and ready to hit the microwave. 

After dressing mine with all of the fixings, I sliced into it, forking a heaping piece into my mouth. I closed my eyes and must've made a nosie akin to that scene from the movie What About Bob. If you don't know the movie nor the scene that I'm talking about, I pity you. Mr. AP laughed and said, "it's that good huh? What does it taste like?" 

And the first word that came to mind was... FREEDOM. It was the burrito that tasted like freedom. Like carefree late nights and even later mornings. Like sleeping all the way through the night and wearing size 2 jeans. 

I swear that burrito was magic.

As I sat there trying to savor every last bite it was almost as if I couldn't even hear the constant din of the table around me. The "Mama? All done! All done, Mama! ALL DONE, MAMA!" and "Mom, I don't wike these green beans vewwy much," on repeat became obsolete.

I could almost feel the sticky floor of the local bar beneath my feet. The smell of stale beer and the cologne my husband wore in college tickled my nose. A picture of the very first house we lived in together flooded my memory and I thought about the time the basement flooded and we just stood there, ankle-deep in water and laughing hard as it continued to pour in through the walls of the foundation around us.

I thought about how much simpler life was then. When, after a long day at work I would come home, pop a burrito in the microwave, open up a bottle of beer and sit on the couch watching not one but maybe even two of my favorite TV shows in their entirety. 

I only kissed my husband goodnight on the weekends because it was during that time he traveled for business Sunday evening through Friday afternoon, week in and week out. It's why we have to remind ourselves to kiss each other good night, even now, four years after he left "the road," because saying goodnight over the phone had become such a natural part of our relationship.

There were no tiny voices begging me to change the channel back then. No little brothers clamoring for space in my lap. There was no husband who walked in the door each night and certainly no two little faces who downright lit up at his arrival.

Snapping back to reality, I suddenly realized my burrito was gone. The dog was begging to be let out and it was time to run the bath water.  That time may have been much simpler but my life is so much fuller now.

But those burritos? Those burritos are magic. 

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