Saturday, March 31, 2012

...I already have one!

I say I wish I had a twin, and today I was reminded...I already have one! Whitney. All you really have to do, is read this post, from a year and half ago when we were both pregnant with our November babies, Bobby and Curtis. It gives a nice little description of how exactly we seem to have been separated at birth. I would like to add, that since that post, we have both gone on to have another baby just 4 weeks apart! I also forgot to mention, that we both chose the healthcare profession, she as a nurse on the telemetry floor, I as a doc in primary care. And when we were kids, connected at the hip, we frequently got asked if we were twins.
Whitney and I left our hubbies to the kids, and set out to her family's new farmstead to go for a nice afternoon ride. We may have just traveled 40 minutes straight South, but to me, we traveled to a different world. A different time. In this world, I am living my little girl dream of having horses to ride on a whim. Where I can visit a beautiful farm, that is well kept and spend a perfect Spring day with a friend. And of course, the friend I always imagined to share this experience with, is the one who made it possible.

Whitney picked me up after her swim lesson with Bobby. We stopped at Latteland. Our favorite. We sipped our coffee and enjoyed some "girl talk" for the next 40, relaxing minutes. We got to the farm, and quickly toured the newly refinished, and furnished house. We were like kids the night before Christmas. We rushed out to get the horses. Found 7 (Butterscotch) and 10 (Buttercup), saddled them up, and went for a ride. We explored the trails, momentarily wondering if we were lost, maybe kind of hoping that we were, so that we had an excuse to give our husbands as to why we were riding for 5 hours. We trotted in the field. Then we headed back to the barn.

At this point, Whitney decided to try and canter a bit. Butterscotch wasn't really feeling it. He bucked, for what felt like 15 minutes to Whitney, but realistically was about 45 seconds. I watched, in amazement (and in a bit of panic as my horse began to become unsettled, and in helplessness as I tried to figure out how to help her) as she managed to get her feet out of the stirrups and jump off safely. With only a deep bruise to her elbow. Unbelievable.

We then sprayed the horses down. Released them back into the pasture. And set off to find Whitney's glasses that had been tossed from her nose during the bucking. Found them. Got a big bottle of water and headed home. With a stop at Taco Via to complete the day. Our favorite.
I don't know about her, but even with the bucking, this was one of the best days I have had in a long, long time. Being home with 3 kids, and then heading back to work had me feeling old and beat. For just a moment today, I felt so young again. I felt so independent. The day rejuvenated me in so many ways, that when I came home to my little family it felt like I was arriving after a long vacation. Thus, I even enjoyed my time with them more than usual.

Friday, March 30, 2012


Whenever I see a set of identical twins, I wish I had one. Or even a triplet. The narcissist in me almost feels that I SHOULD have been a triplet. I am convinced I could have done a lot of different things and been incredible at them. The competitor in me wishes I had the ability to prove the thoughts that the narcissist creates. And an identical twin or triplet is the only solution.

I imagine that it would be like having another one of yourself to see what life would be like had you taken a different path or made different decisions. I imagine that my twin would embrace our artistic, creative, right-brained side. Her career would be to own her own little graphic design/paper goods type shop. She'd be a bit skinnier and have tattoos and short hair. She would have gone far, far away for college, and she would have run track or played soccer on scholarship at a Division I school. Her husband would be a musician. Their house adorable and uniquely decorated.

If there were a triplet, the third one would have decided to pursue the academic side. She would have been valedictorian in high school, and gone Ivy League for college. Probably still played a sport, like tennis or badminton. She would continue on and get her PhD in something probably on the sciences side of life, maybe behavioral science and done research for the rest of her life. She probably wouldn't get married due to her intense A-type personality and obsessive tendencies. She would live in a really, really nice loft.

Don't get me wrong. I am in NO WAY disappointed with the choices I have made and the path I have taken. I love where I am, I love being a physician, I LOVE my family. I just want to do TOO many things. I always have. And, most likely, always will. I even have a journal entry from some school assignment in 7th grade where I discuss this exact predicament. In this entry, I am speaking to God, I mention that I have been given so many gifts, abilities and talents, how will I ever know which is the right one to pursue? And all of this is because I am soo competitive, I want to make sure I am picking the path that makes me most successful. Could I have been an Olympian had I chosen a different sport?

Now, I just hope I have passed on some of these gifts, abilities and talents to my kids, and that they choose as wonderful a path as I have in life.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The whole "birth experience" thing.

Whenever I read articles, status updates, comments about home or natural births, I get annoyed. I get annoyed for so very many reasons, but it just dawned on me, that mostly, I just get annoyed because of the tone. Now, mind you, I am speaking in generalities. Most people who have had, or plan to have, or advocate for home births behave as though it is the ONLY way to give birth and have an amazing, magical, wonderful experience. They act as though any hospital birth, especially one where you get an IV, and epidural, and have an OB/Gyn instead of a midwife, robs you of the miracle that is bringing another life into this world.

So, now it's my turn. I laughed and smiled and joked through my last two deliveries. In fact, I had such a wonderful time delivering Curtis, that I was looking forward to the delivery of George. My husband was by my side the entire time, and with the epidural, I could comfortably hang out with him. We took pictures. We talked. We discussed the possible middle names of our soon to be child. I napped. The jovial nurses periodically came in to make sure I didn't need anything, then they left the room. I bonded with every one of my delivery nurses, and think fondly about them always. I look forward to seeing them again, and they all visited me in my post-partum room because we had such a great experience together. I relaxed and enjoyed my brand new baby laying on my belly as the doctor repaired any tears, because I didn't feel them. I sat back as others took care of me. I shared the experience with my husband, yet, my entire family was just a hallway away to come see the newest addition just hours. They got to feel like they were part of the whole process.

And yes, after both Curtis and George, I said to myself, that could easily have been done at home, less then 7 hours of labor, less than 3 pushes and their out, no don't need an MD or DO for that, but it didn't ruin the birth for her to be there. I love, and text, and email, and visit my OB/Gyn. Who says you can't bond with your doctor? Only midwives are personable? Only midwives listen and are interested in your life?

I am not really sure why I am required to be in pain, and to sit in a bath tub, and to clean up my own house after giving birth in it, in order to love my delivery or to have the healthiest baby possible. Brock was born with the apgars of 9 & 10 (as high as you can get, never seen a doctor give a 10 at one minute.) Curtis 9 & 9. George 8 & 9 (he was really purple and had a knotted cord around his neck...which wouldn't be any different at home.) My boys were and are, healthy as a horse. No colic. No allergies. No hospitalizations. Two ear infections, total, ever, from the 3 of them at this point. They gain weight and grow like it's their job. They are extremely happy kids. And people want me to feel as though I stole something from them by having in a hospital, with pain medication? And took something from myself, as a woman?

Surviving 9 months of pregnancy is the hard part. That is where a woman is made. Not the one, short day that ends it all. The only thing important about that day is a concluding it with a healthy mom and a healthy baby. Period. Happiness, joy in the experience, that is a far second. You cannot convince me otherwise. Because a sick baby or mom? No matter how smooth, and according to plan the birth went, means for a miserable delivery experience.

You notice I don't mention Brock's delivery, this is because I can't lump it into the other 2, as it was completely different. And it is why a hospital is necessary. My water broke, and I wasn't in labor. I was also Group B strep positive, meaning I required antibiotics. I get to the hospital, get my antibiotics and 8 hours later, still nothing. Not in labor. Not dilated. Had I waited around at home for this thing to get rolling, my 27 hour labor would have been no less than 48, and certainly, Brock's apgars would not be 9 & 10. I required nearly every intervention in the books, just barely short of a cesarean. I pushed for almost 3 hours. Thank god for that epidural. After 24 hours of labor, I had the energy to push for 3 hours. And with all of that hulabaloo, and medical intervention, I still look back at November 23rd, 2008 as the HAPPIEST day of my life. Why would I change even a minute of it? I got Brock.

So, finally, let me say something that the home/natural birth fanatics rarely, if ever, say; to each their own. Every woman has a birth style or plan, and they are all, for the most part, reasonable. So let her choose. I wouldn't change a thing. And I hope to have a 3rd delivery someday, as wonderful as my previous two. You cannot look at these pictures, and not tell me it is one of the most touching, beautiful moments you have ever witnessed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It takes thought.

The other night, as we sat for dinner, and I asked Matt to bring some napkins to the table, to which he replied, "I don't know where they are." Let me clue you in, he knows where they are. They have been stored in the same location for six years. He just didn't want to take the time, nor heaven forbid, have to bend over and open a cabinet door to retrieve them. And I called him out on this. And as I pointed out his laziness, it dawned on me: we have never run out of napkins. Nor paper towels. Nor toilet paper. Nor wipes. Nor diapers. Nor trash bags. Nor soap. Nor shampoo. Nor toothpaste. Nor Ziploc bags. Nor ibuprofen. Nor Band-aids. Also, if we were to get trapped in our home for a week or so, we would all survive on a reasonable amount of food and drink. The dogs might we do run out of dog food on a regular basis.

These things don't just magically appear. I am constantly taking a mental note of the inventory of this household. I see that Curtis has outgrown all his t-shirts. Kids clothes don't just appear in the right size for the right season either. They don't just organize themselves in a dresser or closet. On a day to day, moment by moment, basis, I am taking constant note of what we do or do not have, where it is located, and when will we need more of it. I even notice where pacifiers are lying on the floor throughout the house. All of this takes quite a bit of mental energy. The wheels are always spinning. To manage a household it NOT an easy task.

So, all of this runs through my head as I get up to get the napkins, whose location Matt has so conveniently forgotten. And I get back to the table and say to him, "Do I not amaze you? Have you ever realized we have never run out of napkins (then I go on to list the aforementioned items)? You could never run a household. You don't even notice where the napkins reside, let alone, if we have any." His response was merely more than a shrug of the shoulders. But I know he's impressed. And I know, he knows, he would struggle to take on my role as household manager. Most of the time, I enjoy my role here, as I am somewhat of a control freak. Noticing, caring about, obsessing over the little things is what I do best. But sometimes, it's nice to take a mental break. And sometimes, it's nice to be noticed yourself. And appreciated, for all the small things. And now, I officially sound like my mother (and every other mom.)

I just want people to know, it takes a lot of thought. What we do. It takes thought.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pudding and Pie

It's all too appropriate that George is my most Irish looking kiddo. My little, red-headed, leprechaun looking baby turned one month on St. Patty's day. I am still trying to figure out this little guy. He seems pretty serious. He thinks about smiling. He loves my voice and is intrigued by the sound of his siblings - you can see it in his big, alert eyes. For brief moments, I see those huge, inquisitive, bugged Brock eyes. In other instances, I see that completely content, don't care what kind of chaos surrounds me, I am going to just chill out, composure like Curtis. He has an element of distract-ability, but will sleep through ANYTHING...once asleep.

George eats and wakes up every 4 hours like clockwork. We had a few 5-6 hour stretches overnight in the beginning, but those have stopped. Mostly, he eats and falls right back asleep. I have to quit falling asleep with him...nearly every night we spend a good stretch sleeping together in the recliner or bed. It needs to stop, but holding a newborn is just so relaxing, and it's 2 in the morning. He behaves much more like a newborn than his brothers, well, definitely more than Curtis. I think Brock was a struggle there in the beginning - I have already forgotten!

His strength and motor skills seem more like that of a newborn, than Curtis' freakish toddler-like abilities. At one month of age, George is still just under birth weight: 10lbs 6ozs. He kind of doesn't care to eat. And he isn't so great at it, either. His tiny nostrils prevent him from breathing well, so he gasps for air as he gulps. He absolutely refuses to poop, or even fart while remaining latched, so there is that constant interruption. And, feeding him a bottle is just painful. Every time it takes him about 20 minutes to figure out how to suck from the darn thing. So the first 1/2 ounce takes forever, and then bam, the rest is gone (after the pooping intermission).Brock and Curtis LOVE George. Neither of them seemed phased for even a moment from his crying. It doesn't bother them that I walk around holding a baby all day. Brock does not get upset when George's crying interrupts our game or bedtime routine. Curtis cannot give George enough kisses. Or licks, is probably more accurate. And he has started to say "baby". I picked up Brock from Mimi's after school, and when he came to the car to find Curtis and George in there, he exclaimed, "hi brothers!"I feel like maybe George doesn't smile a ton yet like his brothers did, because I have no time to just sit and smile at him. I don't just leave him on the changing table to talk, smile and play with him during each diaper change, because, inevitably, someone or something else needs my immediate attention. At night, when the other two are tucked away, snug as a bug in a rug, I am so tired, I merely just rock George to sleep. Or hold him as I eat or veg out in front of the TV. I am done interacting. It makes those moments when he does make eye contact, and smile, and coo, and talk to me, breath-taking.

It makes me a bit sad I don't have the same time and energy I did for the other two, to share with George. But one thing remains completely consistent between the three of them, my love. I will never get over how much one human can love another. I will never get over the amazement. The joy. I feel busier than ever. And my heart feels fuller than ever. Just like I did with the others, by one month, I can no longer imagine a life without George. And he does have a goofy side, it's just a bit over-shadowed by the constant need to adapt and survive. He completes our family. For now.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Facts:

  1. I should be showering right now. All the kids are asleep. Matt is home. I may not get this opportunity again for quite some time. But, I think I will continue blogging.
  2. You can tell what kind of day it is going to be, from the absolute first second, of the first encounter you have with your toddler. And boy did we have a doozy today. Brock was not going to do a single thing I asked of him today. In fact, planned to do quite the opposite at every opportunity. No point in fighting it. Just make sure you have all your cards in a row. Absolutely DO NOT promise anything you are not willing to give. Absolutely DO NOT threaten anything you are not willing to take away. And it's never OK to shake a baby.
  3. It takes a solid month for your hormones and body to recover from delivering a baby. At least. I do not care who you are. No matter how healthy, energetic, happy and put together you feel at 2 weeks postpartum, you are not 100% yet. In fact, you are probably far from it and just surviving off the fumes of adrenaline left from giving birth as well as the absolute joy and freedom from no longer being gravid.
  4. Never let your husband leave you for 5 entire days, with a 3.3 year old, a 16 month old and a 2 week old. (And 2 dogs, a cat, and a fish). Refer to #3. I love my children. It's painful how obsessed I am with they're every nuance. But, I have realized, it is not healthy for one person to run a household of this size in those conditions. I consider myself to be a very strong, positive person, and let me tell you. Every one of those 5 days had me beat. Major life lesson learned. I think I love my husband more after this little trial, as it demonstrated what a difference having him around truly makes...
  5. not take your significant other for-granted! I can't be bitter with him for leaving me in these conditions. We couldn't have known how hard it would be, or that the "all-mighty Erin" really does have a breaking point. But we sure found it. One child was always crying. Always. With one person around, someone had to be neglected. And all too often, it was poor, teeny, weeny baby George, because houses don't get flooded, or burnt down from a newborn crying. But a 3 year old and a 16 month old can easily destroy an entire 2100 square foot home in hours.
  6. Be impressed, very, extremely, can't imagine anything worse impressed, of ANY mother who has stayed home, all day, alone, while she is extremely ill to take care of the kids. Make that 3 kids, one or 2 of which are ill as well, one that is nursing and requires attention at least every 2 hours, with little to no relief from the husband, because he is ill as well (in fact, maybe add him to the "ill child" list.) When Matt came home with this dreaded cough and horrid fever, I was bitter. My husband was finally home to help, yet, here we are, he is now adding to the neediness. Then, I got the bug. The bitterness vanished. I had no energy to be bitter. I had no energy to care. Thank goodness, I had no energy to shake a baby, either.
  7. Keep your sense of humor, through everything. If I didn't blog about these past 11 days, I would probably forget they ever existed. I might remember that there was something about the early days of George's life that were a bit awry, but not to the extent that they really were disastrous. Though, amidst all the insanity. All the pain. And what I might even call torture. I found moments of hilarity. Moments of happiness. Moments I enjoyed, even cherished. Moments I wouldn't trade ever or for anything, because I always kept my sense of humor. And I found these moments everyday.
  8. Be thankful for, appreciative of, and flabbergasted by all the really wonderful family and really close friends in your life. After this past week or so,I think they all might murder Matt and I if we decided to have another child any time in the near future. I relied too, too heavily on them. And a baby or two may have been shaken if it weren't for the near daily assistance I had from one person or another. A number of meals were provided, bedtimes assisted, children entertained and showers or naps allowed. I love, love, love Kansas City. And it's only because of the people in it.

(Ok, or maybe just a few of them. I could continue on with the facts of life, but #9. Go to bed when all 3 of your children, especially your newborn, have been asleep for well over an hour...your time to catch some zzz's is only deteriorating.)

Friday, March 9, 2012


If I stare at you too long while you sleep on my chest, tears will brim and eventually overflow my eyelids. I created and carried you for nine months, and now, you sleep on me without a care or worry in the world. The complete trust and peace of a newborn is something that can only be experienced but a few times in life. One might think that because I did carry you for so long, I should be tired of it by now, I should want to give someone else a turn. But I am not tired of holding you, and I don't want to give you away. I want to have access to kiss your forehead and inhale those baby smells simultaneously anytime my heart desires, and it does a million times a day.

I think about you nonstop. I hope I can always comfort you. And comfort you better than anyone else in the world. I truly miss you when you nap for 4 straight hours a day. I would sleep snuggled up to you every hour of the night, if I didn't know I would regret it years down the road when my queen bed can no longer house me along with 4 other it would be doing right now, had I succumbed to the temptation to hold you every minute of everyday. I feel guilty when I have even a moment's frustration with you, and I only feel worse and worse as you grow and the need for discipline increases. I wish you would never make me the bad guy. I want right now, with me as simply the protector, the provider, to exist always.

Every night, I wish to stop time. I put off going to bed. I hold you for as long as I can. Because tomorrow is a new day. You have grown. You are becoming you. And someday, you will be completely self-reliant. You will have your own family. Perhaps, even your own baby. And then you will feel for yourself what it is to love something, someone in this manner. In that moment, I hope you can think back to me, and realize someone loved you harder than you ever imagined possible...and loves you still.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

You couldn't make this up, if you tried.

I know Matt thinks I make these things up, I know he does. But this time, I had a witness!

Last night, Matt left for a 5 day trip to Chicago/Peoria. I will not see him from 7am on Friday until 11pm on Tuesday. As I talk to him before heading to bed, I start to say something, but then quickly catch myself, and instead say, "not going to say it". Well, I said it anyway, "watch, someone is going to get sick." And my first 24 hours proceeds as follows:

Round 1: Lost.
Curtis goes down at 8pm on the dot. Like always, my wonderful little boy. Brock, of course is a bit of a struggle, but it in bed by 9pm. George on the other hand is not quite ready for bed, and takes my attention until about 11pm. Finally, we are all settled. Brock then wakes up at 1:51am. He flips out because I make him go back to bed. He is sobbing, which nearly always leads to vomiting for him, so I take him back out of bed, as I do not feel like cleaning sheets. Sure enough, he throws up a bit. I change him, get him back in bed, all in time for George to wake up at 2:05am. I feed him, get him back to bed by 3am. He wakes up again at 5, instead of his 6:30am norm, and he has decided he will just stay up until almost 6:30am. Next thing I know, I hear Brock, and he is up for the day, at 6:37am. Awesome. I convince him to lay quietly and watch cartoons while I catch a few more Zzz's, only to be awoken at 7:30am by Curtis on the monitor...30 minutes earlier than his usual wake up time!!! At this point, I know all is lost, and it's not even 8am.

Round 2: Tie.
So, I really want a latte. I am convinced I will not make it through the day without it. So, I don't even dress them, and just throw the kids in the van to head to Starbuck's drive-thru and Dunkin' Donuts. All are happy, the big boys are watching "Bolt" and George is snoozin' away. We get our donuts. Curtis happily downs his muffin. Brock, who I question whether or not he is well, throws a fit about everything. Doesn't want anything, decides he is not hungry, and then says he is cold, which is weird and lays on the bed with a blanket to watch TV. So, I kind of won because all is calmish? But kind of lost because Brock still hasn't eaten, and is sick.

Round 3: Lost.
At this point, it's about 10am. I have gotten a text from Curtis' godfather, Gabe, who has offered to come over and help for a bit. I take him up on the offer because I want to bathe the children, and an extra hand tends to be useful in this situation. Boy, was I right. Curtis can't wait to get in the bath. Brock then wants in. Curtis then wants out. George isn't happy. Gabe is trying to calm the baby, meanwhile, Fannie pukes in the living room. Seriously, dogs. Why must they ALWAYS make a chaotic situation worse? Every single time Matt leaves town, the dogs puke or have diarrhea. Maybe I make them anxious.

After this round, I just put everyone to bed. It's not even noon. And the day has me beat.

Honestly, I can't even remember the rest of the day at this point (this was Saturday, it's Monday now.) They have all run together. I think my mother came over and removed the wallpaper in our downstairs bathroom, then helped me with what turned into a 2 hour process of putting Brock to bed. And he then woke up twice. And George woke up 4 times. So, I got 4ish spotty hours of sleep.

Lesson learned: Do not let your husband leave you for 5 days with a two week old, a 16 month old and a 3 year old.

On the bright side, they are REALLY cute.
Oh, and update on how the rest of the week went: both Curtis and Brock currently have low grade fevers. Fannie vomited at least one other time. George needs to be gaining more weight, so I am feeding and pumping more frequently...which means the other 2 are loose to seek and destroy the house. My immediate family will probably need a vacation from my children, as I call on them daily to reprieve me from some of my duties. Otherwise, it's been a blast!