Tuesday, February 20, 2018

At-Home Doppler: The best worst gift I've probably ever gotten

End of October: 13 weeks pregnant with #HundtBaby4

In case it hasn't been made obvious enough, you can probably tell I might not be the easiest pregnant person to live with.  Especially during first trimester (or let's be honest, basically until a baby continually gives me reassurance with kicks or actually let's be REALLY honest, until the baby is in my arms), I am a DI-SAS-TER.  #MyCrazy is in full swing during this time.

You can go back through old blogs while I was pregnant with Nolan and Judah and also when I was pregnant with Carter to see the pattern- losing sleep, checking to see if I'm bleeding a million times a day, constantly worrying, etc.  

In October, I hit a really rough patch- mentally.  I had my 12 week appointment to which I did not score an ultrasound (even though I tried and actually also cried) and I was going to have to go another four weeks until I was next given any reassurance that things were okay.  That feels like ETERNITY TO ME.  I completely lost it one day and poor Josh was the receiver of my breakdown (as he usually is).  I was feeling like I wasn't taking good enough care of myself, I was getting frustrated with the three boys I had outside my belly, and felt like my behavior was affecting the baby.  This is #MyCrazy ladies and gentlemen- totally irrational, but very effective.  Once she comes out swinging, I can't turn it off.  

Josh was at a loss- nothing he could say or do would make me feel better and he couldn't give me what I really needed, which was reassurance that the baby was okay... or could he...

While searching on Amazon, he found an at-home Doppler- something we could use to check the baby's heartbeat.  We've looked into these before but know they don't work nearly as well as the ones at the doctor's office.  Those cause me to panic enough as it it so we both decided getting one for us during previous pregnancies would probably do more harm than good.  But what else could he do?  I had lost it.  So, after reading a lot of reviews, he put the best-seeming one in the cart and hit "purchase."  

It arrived on Halloween.  I cried when I received it.  THIS was going to help me.  

Josh, the saint that he is, knew that I was going to need some healthy parameters around this new tool.  We decided that I could only use it once a week- checking it every day or multiple times every day (which is what I probably would've done being left to my own devices) wasn't going to do me any good and wasn't healthy.  And so it began...
The Doppler with gel
Each week, on Mondays usually, I would put the gel on the Doppler, hold my breath, say some prayers, and check #HundtBaby4's heartbeat.  At first, this wasn't always easy, which is why I still refer to this thing as the best worst gift ever.  It would sometimes take several minutes to fish around and find what I was looking for.  During those minutes, time, and I think my own heart, stood still.  Actually, I take that back, my heart would speed up, which definitely caused some issues- I would think I had found the baby's heartbeat sometimes when really it was just my own.  We had a few weeks where I had to call in reinforcements, my mother, to come help me find the heartbeat.  Those were not pretty moments... not at all. 

As the weeks have progressed, however, checking the heartbeat became easier and easier, which allowed this Doppler to truly be a gift. Josh and I listening to the heartbeat, together, has really given us some special moments.  Nolan, Judah, and Carter have now all heard the heartbeat multiple times.  We can now hear kicks and movements as he/she is swimming around.  The Doppler has also truly provided me with some reassurance in between the weeks where I could do nothing and know nothing about how #HundtBaby4 was doing.  All in all, this device has truly helped me.  

N, J, and C with #HundtBaby4
I'm pretty sure Josh has wanted to light this thing on fire multiple times and has cursed himself for hitting that "purchase" button, but at that time, at the end of the October, there was really nothing else he could've done.  He was desperate, I was desperate.  It was the only thing to provide with me with any solace.

I don't know that this is the right gift for others, but Josh, I can reassure you that it's been the right gift for me.  Thank you, thank you.
Boys with #HundtBaby4~ End of November (17 weeks)

Monday, February 5, 2018

To Thy Own Self Be True

I've been a proponent of therapy/counseling for as long as I can remember.  When I was in elementary school, I saw the school counselor anytime I needed some perspective and extra guidance.  When I was going to become a big sister, we would go to the library and check out some books on the subject to read together.  When my friends had a conflict, I made them go see the counselor with me to work it out.  I like to verbally talk things out and if I couldn't solve a problem on my own, I had no shame asking for outside help.  I am still exactly this way.

In the summer of 2010, I was struggling big time- Josh and I were knee-deep in our infertility issues having just switched from the Fertility Center in Grand Rapids to the U of M Center for Reproductive Medicine in Ann Arbor.  My family was also knee-deep in my brother's drug addiction.  It seemed like all I was receiving was bad news and there was no "end of the tunnel" in sight.

My sisters and I had been seeing our brother's counselor every so often just to get an outside perspective on what WE were dealing with a loved one with a drug addiction.  We were all on our own journeys: my mom, dad, Eric, and all of us sisters, and it was really difficult finding any common ground, it felt.  The counselor was a nice outlet.  

I divulged my fertility issues to her during a session only to learn that she, herself, had NINE... that's right... NINE miscarriages in between her first and second child.  She understood pieces of my struggle, which was so helpful, but that hit just too close to home for the both of us- she could not counsel me on something so raw for her.  She referred me to a different therapist and I signed up for her next available appointment right away...

Through the next seven and a half years, Dr. A has been an incredible source of peace, understanding, and self-awareness for me.  Seeing her was such a beautiful time that I took for myself to take care of myself.  I knew, in all that I was dealing with, how much harder it was for me to get pregnant if I was stressed out, worried, hopeless, and faithless.

Even though I originally sought her out to help me deal with infertility, it did not take long to start talking through my brother's drug addiction, my issues with weight and food, and then, as the years went on, my brother's death, anxiety, miscarriage, the crippling fear that takes over every pregnancy I have, my tendencies to worry way too much, and wading through my recent, most important job of mom.

She has given me SUCH a gift- a gift I didn't know I needed- extreme clarity.  I now know, with such certainty and a highly deep level of understanding that EVERY struggle I have comes down to pretty much the same theme- my need to control things (what I affectionately refer to as "#MyCrazy").

I had no idea my infertility and brother's drug addiction were related in any way; they were separate struggles that just so happen to be going on at the same time.  How could my issues with weight loss have anything to do with my crippling fear during pregnancy? Nothing in common there.

I could not have been more wrong.

Of COURSE I have crippling fear during pregnancy- I cannot control what happens and I have a NEED to so badly.
Of COURSE my anger was out of control when dealing with my brother's drug addiction- I could not fix him no matter how hard I tried.
Of COURSE I was struggling so deeply with our infertility struggles- there was nothing I could do about my unbalanced hormonal levels and erratic cycles.  

I felt honestly embarrassed that I hadn't put all these things together realizing they all came back to the same thing.  How could I have missed that?!

This clarity has opened up an incredible door- self-awareness.  I.know.me.

Dr. A has provided me with the best tool to help myself- I know exactly what my struggles are and exactly where they come from.  I am not in denial; I am not oblivious, naive, or uninformed.  

I can predict #MyCrazy, I know her triggers, I know when she's arrived and when she's left.  I know exactly the type of situations that are going to give me extreme worry and anxiety even before they happen.  I know precise events that I will want to take over and control.  This self-awareness allows me to communicate to people in my life openly and honestly about what's going on in my head, where I need to draw limits, where I know I will struggle, where I know I'll need help and support, and when I've totally lost it, where that is all coming from.  You can imagine how helpful that all is.  

Best of all, this self-awareness has led towards a level of acceptance for who I am.

That doesn't mean #MyCrazy isn't still there- oh she exists and she disrupts all peace, calm, and balance I try so hard to keep in my life. 

It doesn't mean I don't still struggle with a need to control everything I possibly can because that is truly who I am, at my core.

Never have my visits with Dr. A been about changing myself- they've been about figuring out who I am, why I am who I am, and what I can do to best help myself so that I can be the best I can be.

I recommend therapy and counseling constantly- for me, it has been one of the very best ways I've ever spent my time- to truly take care of me.


Around Christmas, Dr. A and I had our last session together- I always knew there'd be a day where she would retire and it arrived a little quicker than I was ready for.

I think back to the Kristin I was when I first met her- absolutely hopeless, angry, confused, frustrated beyond belief, and truly just very, very sad and lost.  

Through tears, I revisited myself 7.5 years ago with her- those feelings still raw and real.

I tried to find words to explain to her what our time has meant to me and how much she's truly helped.  Nothing seemed good enough to say.

Instead I just thanked her, for helping me know me.  I'm pretty sure, through her big smile as she hugged me tightly on my way out, that was really the goal all along. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

#MyCrazy Returns... A Big Scare for #HundtBaby4

End of August and September: 4-7 weeks pregnant with #HundtBaby4

After lots of years of searching, I think I've finally found my favorite exercise avenue- spinning.  The pace is fast, the music is fantastic, and I leave there exhausted and sweaty.

I had been spinning since last April and was to the point now where I was all in- I asked for bike shoes for my birthday, work out clothes with words about spinning, and was looking forward to continuing to push myself and get more and more in shape. 

When I found out I was pregnant at the end of August, I made a commitment to myself that this pregnancy was going to be different. If I was lucky enough to get a chance to do this pregnancy thing one more time, I was going to have a different type of pregnancy- a calmer one, a less frantic one, one that I could really enjoy and relish instead of worry and fret.  I was also going to take better physical care of myself.  

Because of #mycrazy, when I've gotten pregnant, I do not exercise really.  I know exercise was not the cause of my two miscarriages- I know that, really I do.  However, #mycrazy has a mind of its own (actually, it's my own brain struggling, which is why everyone should be grateful they don't have to spend any time with my brain and my thoughts).  It does not take much to convince me that instead of continuing to run, instead of continuing to strength train, instead of continuing to spin... I should be sitting with my feet in the air as much as possible ;)

Not taking very good physical care of myself has definitely had an affect on me, both during pregnancy and after.  During pregnancy, especially at the end, my body is physically spent.  With the twins, I literally couldn't even walk to the mailbox because my knees, ankles, and thighs hurt so badly.  Yes, I was carrying two babies and like 65 extra pounds that my body wasn't used to, but I'm certain if I had moved more regularly, taken more walks maybe, I would've felt better.  

After pregnancy, I am an out of shape disaster.  I cry every time I go back to working out because I am so disappointed with what I can't do- little things, easy tasks, short distances that completely wipe me out.  Again, if I had been more physical during pregnancy, I'm sure I would've bounced back a little easier. 

I was going to shut #mycrazy up this time- I was determined!!!!!

So, there I was, newly pregnant, waking my butt up, sometimes at 5:00am to make a couple of spinning classes a week.  I was doing it!  I was going to stay in better shape with this baby! To heck with you #mycrazy! I AM DONE! 

And then...

Two weeks after I had found out I was pregnant, I got home from spinning and used the bathroom.  In  my underwear, was blood.  In the toilet was a dime-sized blood clot.  I was absolutely certain I had just miscarried my baby.  I crumbled to the bathroom floor in tears muttering "no, no, no" over and over and over again.  Josh tried to console me, but he knew too that the clot didn't look good. I knew how teeny tiny my baby was.  We called the doctor right when the office opened begging to be seen.  Thankfully, they were able to get me in that afternoon.  I was only six weeks pregnant exactly.

I spent most of the morning crying knowing with every inch of my being that if this baby wasn't to be, we were done- done trying to have another baby.  I couldn't do this again.  I had only been pregnant for two weeks and my soul was aching, my brain hurting, my fear crippling.  I couldn't put myself through months and months of this again.  If this was over, it was over for good for us.  I hated thinking like that but that was absolutely my truth.  I also spent the day praying over and over again that maybe things would be okay- maybe this was just a fluke and our baby, our teeny tiny baby, would be safely inside of me.  

In the waiting room, God played some serious tricks on me.  Two families came in with moms visibly pregnant with their third and fourth children.  The small children they had each asked to be read to by their parents.  One little boy and one little girl- probably both around Carter's age, the boy actually named Carter, had gotten a book from the table and walked over and asked their parents to read the books to them.  Both sets of parents said no.  Both sets of parents were on their phone.  Those were the people in the waiting room with me while I was waiting to confirm that I wasn't pregnant anymore. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

I laid down on the table in the ultrasound room, I half heard the tech let me know that there was a good chance, because I was so early, that even if the baby was fine, we might not hear a heartbeat.  As she fished around in there, I can't even explain how I felt- a murky combination of scared, hopeful, heartbroken, sick, and honestly mad at myself that I went spinning, which is stupid and I know it. 

Josh was pacing back and forth breathing loudly.  Time seem to stand still.  Then, I saw it...
A small gray circular mass.  I've had enough early ultrasounds to know that something was in my uterus.  Was it a baby? was it just leftover tissue?  Then, as the tech zoomed in, I saw a heart beating.  

There was a baby in there.  Through tears and sighs Josh and I held each other- overwhelmed with surprise and gratitude.  I stared at that little miracle as long as we could, clutching the picture with clenched hands  after it was given to us.  Our baby was still there- still alive.  

As I sat down in the passenger seat to drive home, I knew something had come back with a vengeance- #mycrazy.  She was back as strong as ever.  After this scare, my pregnancy would be no different than the rest- I would be panicking and worrying, and sitting with my legs in the air as often as I could.  My first words to Josh while driving were, "Well, I guess I'm done with spinning for nine months."  

Listen, these are the cards I've been dealt.  I have crippling worry while pregnant- fear overtakes me.

I tried to fight #mycrazy during this pregnancy, but after that moment, I had to embrace her because she wasn't going anywhere. 

 I am thankful and grateful and appreciative every single step of the way, but also so scared, and fearful, and nervous every step of the way.  

That is me, pregnant.  

Friday, January 12, 2018

An Ode to this Roller Coaster we Call Parenting

I woke up from a restless sleep to see that I had been given a snow day.  As a teacher, snow days are such a gift.  They are the gift of time- extra time at home, extra time with your family, extra time to get caught up, extra time to sleep, etc.  

As a part time teacher, snow days have taken on a different meaning for me.  While still the gift of extra time with  my boys, they make me fall short of what I needed to accomplish before my teaching partner takes over.  Also, in the case of this year so far, I've been the only one given this gift of snow days, which will make me owe time later, which gets tricky while balancing child care.  

Even though I was frustrated with all I wasn't going to get done at work when the snow day was called, I knew I would feel a lot better when I went in to announce to Nolan and Judah that Mommy would be home today with them instead of at work.  They always jump up and down and get huge smiles on their faces, which helps me feel grateful for the gift of extra time.  

I tiptoed out of our bedroom to meet them in the hallway and said, "Guess what?!" Pause for dramatic effect, "I GOT A SNOW DAY!" And then stood with a grin, eyes lit up, waiting for all the jumping and hugging and excitement to commense.  

It did not.

In fact, what I got was giant tears and wailing from Nolan when his reaction was, "That means Papa isn't coming?!  I wanted Papa to come" Sobs, sobs, more sobs.  He was inconsolable.  He kept mentioning over and over how much sad he was Papa wouldn't be here and how much he wanted to spend the whole day with him, not me.     

Cue all the warm fuzzies. 

I will admit that I was actually crushed and my feelings were super hurt.  So much so that I needed to retreat back into the bedroom to have a really good cry.  Now I was behind in my work AND no one at my house wanted me around either.  Sheesh.

Don't get me wrong, it was I love that my kids love their grandparents- we are very lucky how much they look forward to and enjoy time with my parents and Josh's parents and how close we live to them so they can see all four of them often.  None of that helped my bruised ego.    

A few minutes later, Josh came into the room to console me, understanding how much that interaction hurt my feelings.  He tried, so kindly, to reassure me- reminding me how much Nolan loves me, how his favorite thing about the day before was when I was watching him dance around the house.  He was right, of course, but I was still pretty low.  

After he left, I reflected on how crazy this roller coaster of parenting is.  You have such ups and such downs.  You can be filled with such disappointment one minute and pride that will leave you speechless the next.  You can feel like a super hero and a villain in a matter of seconds.  You can feel like a supreme success and supreme failure many times within a given day, within a given hour. Their are big dips, stomach-flipping drops, loops, and spins that will make you dizzy.  It is quite manic- parenting.

I know my kids are going to hurt my feelings- I know that, I really do.  It's already happened and will continue to happen.  I also know they love me, very, very much.  But in that moment, I couldn't help but question some things.  Wouldn't Nolan know that would make me sad? Haven't I taught him to think of others before speaking?  About empathy?  Am I that un-fun?  Do I spend too much time asking them to clean up instead of playing?  I was questioning everything- where in the world did I go wrong in this situation?  I was only trying to light them up, which would've lit me up.

My door creaked open again, more slowly this time. 

I heard, "Mommy? Are you asleep?"  It was Nolan.  

He walked slowly over to my side of the bed- Josh a few steps behind him.  I sat up and looked at him waiting for what might be next.

Josh began, "Nolan has a couple of things for you- he's been telling me quite a bit downstairs how badly he feels for hurting your feelings and making you think he didn't want to spend today with you."

"I wrote you a note and drew your a picture with your favorite colors,"  Nolan said bringing pieces of paper into view from behind his back.  "Can you read the note I wrote for you?"  He handed me one of the papers.  On it was a note in Josh's handwriting with Nolan's signature.  

I read the words above out loud in that lumpy broken voice when tears are coming.  Then he handed me the picture filled with mostly purple (my favorite color) but also pink (my second favorite).

Josh assured me, several times, that he had nothing to do with this- these papers were not his idea, but Nolan's.

Nolan and I hugged for a long time and I let him know how much better this made me feel and how much I appreciated his kindness.      

Just twenty minutes before, I was questioning so much of my parenting.  Thinking I had screwed up big time if my kid would rather not spend time with me and could find words to hurt me that badly. Now, I was... touched, deeply touched.  So proud, so impressed, so in awe of this little kind-hearted being who knew he may have made someone sad and worked so hard to make it better. I needed to have a good cry again, but for a completely different reason.  This little human is incredible and he is mine.

Again, such a roller coaster and it wasn't even 7:15 in the morning yet.  

I had gone from such a low to SUCH a high.  I knew the rest of the day wouldn't be perfect- there would be more highs, like when we pretended we were in Cancun and went swimming in the bathtub, when Judah went from one side of the couch to the other just to snuggle with me, when Carter said he missed me while he was at school yesterday, and Nolan showered me with kisses.  I knew there'd be some lows too- when the boys took FOREVER to get dressed, when they disagreed and tears were shed, when Carter knocked over an awesome Magnitiles tower built by Nolan and Judah, when we were arguing about how much carrot needed to be eaten during dinner.

This parenting is such a ride.  

Bottom line- I need to keep trusting my instincts, putting in the time, boundaries, and  consistency, and showing these boys an extreme amount of love, patience, compassion, and understanding.  The parenting roller coaster is an extreme ride, but so worth it.    

Monday, January 1, 2018

#OneWord 2018: Less

I don't know why, but each year, I love to decide, as many others do, to try to sum up my new year goals, resolutions, and changes with only one word.  I do find this incredibly challenging since I am not concise and am always striving to change and improve 783 things at once.  How can I sum up all that in one word?! 

After much reflection and thought, I've decided that my #oneword for 2018 is less

Less can often be a word that has a negative connotation: being less happy, caring less, giving less effort towards something, spending less time with someone.  For me though, this year, I'm hoping this word helps me gain more.  

I couple of things I'm going to try to do less of...
- worry less about things I cannot control
- spend less time on things I don't want to do
- purge things in my house so that there are less things, less clutter
- spend less time ignoring myself
- get up less early in the morning (please, please, please)
- say yes less
- check my email less 
- be winded less (I MUST EXERCISE)
- spend less time making decisions
- know my boundaries and limits and stick to them so I am ultimately juggling less

I also can't use the word less without making a reference to eating less or eating less junk food (I'm afraid #hundtbaby4 will pop out a pizza, cookie, or piece of chocolate... like really).

I want to think less, do less, give less, get less worried, and less fired up about things that aren't mine.

As a detailed-oriented perfectionist control freak, I will often take on more and more and more and it can be really damaging.  I can get overwhelmed, frustrated, and begin acting as though my priorities are different than what I actually know them to be. 

I hope that lessening a lot of things will help me get more of what I really want: more family time, more connection with friends, more time to do what I love

I find myself constantly searching for more balance and more peace.

Less can be my key to finding these values that always seem unreachable for me.  

What is your #oneword for 2018?


Sunday, December 31, 2017

My Doctorate in Youth Sleep Studies OR I am Tired

This post is honestly embarrassing for me to write.

The last day of 2017 began, for me, at 5:24am.  I wish I could say that was atypical, abnormal, a fluke, but alas- it is my new normal for about the last six months.

I need to start by complimenting my boys on the things, sleep related, that they do SO well. My boys have never fought going to bed- our bedtime routines have been consistent, positive, and a well-oiled machines since they were very very small.  They go to bed, fairly early, willingly.  They do not come into our room to sleep with us in our bed... ever.  They do not wake up in the middle of the night.  They have never fought taking a nap.  I'm knocking on wood as I write all these things... 

Nolan and Judah have always been earlier risers- they've never slept past 7:00am... like ever.  But, something happened to Nolan and Judah where they began waking up about an hour earlier than they had previously done for at least the last two years.  Their 6:30-6:45 wake up times have now turned in 5:30am wake ups.

I said I was embarrassed writing this post because if I truly admit the amount of articles I've read on sleep, the amount of data I've collected, the statistics I've analyzed, the hypothesis I've gathered, and the amount of case studies I've ran to try to "fix" this problem to get us all more sleep, you, my reader, would start looking at my funny and I won't blame you if you do.  I seriously have done enough field related work and research to have earned me, I believe, a doctorate in youth sleep studies.  I may only currently have two patients: Nolan and Judah, but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who knew more about youth sleep patterns and the latest research, findings, and studies than I would.  You'd also be hard pressed to find anyone who's tried as many things as I've tried to learn about and analyze sleep.

I happen to firmly believe that starting your day in the 5s for anything other than leaving for a vacation is ridiculous.  I'm sorry.  I'm not asking for my small humans to wake up at 8:00am or anything- I'm merely asking for my day to start with a 6 in front of it.  I used to want the start time to be 6:30 or later for my boys, but now, I'll take 6:01 and be perfectly content.  Is that too much to ask?!   

I'd be a lot better at accepting that this early wake-up time is my new normal if Nolan and Judah could prove that it's all the sleep they needed.  However, when Judah is having meltdowns at 7:15 in the morning and Nolan is falling asleep on the way home from school at 2:45pm begging for a nap, and they both are disastrously cranky at dinnertime, I know what they are getting is not enough.  Period.  They show, often, that they are tired.  

I also know that Josh and I cannot parent to our best ability when our day starts before 5:30am most days.  My fuse is short, my patience is thin, my energy is low.  Every time Carter goes down for a nap, the struggle in my head of whether I should be productive or just take a freaking nap has turned into a moral dilemma, which has lowered my productivity for both my professional work life and my home work life.  On the weekends, one of Josh and my biggest priorities is how to squeak in extra opportunities to get each other some extra sleep.  We, he and I, have not handled this well.  No matter how early you try to go to bed (after tidying up for the day and trying to spend a little time together after people go to bed), 5:30am is early- let's be real. Josh and me are not getting enough sleep.  We also show, often, that we are tired. 

When this first began, we thought it had something to do with the nicer weather coming in spring/summer especially the freaking birds chirping VERY early in the morning.  We already had blackout curtains, but invested in sound machines hoping we could get back on track. Nope.  Summer does offer so much more daylight so we rolled with it a little bit keeping our fingers crossed that more darkness would trigger more sleep.  Then the time change happened in the fall, making our wake up times more like 4:30am and that's when I really started to lose it.  I also happened to be in my first trimester of pregnancy and was in desparate need of extra sleep and wasn't getting it.   

I did what any researcher would do: I collected data... a lot of it.  I studied naps, bedtime times, first wake up times, moods, locations of sleep, bathroom patterns, etc.  Then I hypothesized like crazy making all kinds of conjectures about what was causing this change.  After making these, of course, I needed to change some things up and see if it helped any. 
Just one example of data I collected
 I messed with naps: no naps, shorter naps, longer naps, different nap time start, different nap time end, quiet boxes.  

I messed with bedtime: later bedtime, earlier bedtime, yoga before bed, essential oils, classical music, deep breathing exercises, no drinks, extra potty trips, Nolan and Judah sleeping in separate bedrooms.

I messed with wake ups: alarms set, post it notes, non verbal communication, quiet morning choices, morning walks, morning rest time. 

I read article after article on toddler and preschool sleep written by doctors, pediatricians, other moms.  I offered rewards, punishments, praise, constructive criticism. 

Do you want to look at me funny yet?  Again, I don't blame you. 

Here we are, on the last day of 2017, still tired... all of us.  Well, except Carter... somehow he sleeps blissfully unaware of our struggle until at least 7:30 in the morning. 

My sleeping Bing, blissfully unaware of our sleep woes
I can't say that I'm also not worried about how this early wake up factors with a new baby in the house.  Nolan and Judah yelling that they have to go poop at 5:40am will certainly wake a sleeping baby.  I.Will.Loose.It. Starting my day before 6:00am when I've been up every 2-3 hours feeding a new baby will certainly make Josh and I deliriously sleep deprived. I.Will.Loose.It.  

I am not the type of person to give up on things I want to be different, which is why I'm tackling this thing six months later.  Feel free to offer suggestions to me- I've probably already tried them, but maybe there's something I've missed.  You will be my hero.  I'll also take suggestions on how to function, happily, productively, positively, and patiently on a day that starts at 5:30am.  Please send help.  

Don't worry, I may be exhausted and very perturbed, but I haven't lost all my perspective- I'd much rather be waking up at 5:30am hearing Judah call down the hall that he can't sleep anymore than be waking up at 5:30am to drive to Ann Arbor for yet another doctor's appointment at U of M Center for Reproductive Medicine.  I am tired and I would like more sleep, but I will take this any day.  However, I will keep pushing, trying new things, reading, and researching on this topic because that is my way.  

2017: I leave you grateful and tired, my belly a lot bigger, circles under my eyes a lot darker.  I'm about to walk down the stairs after hearing Judah's second or third meltdown of the day- it's 8:48am.  We have already showered, folded laundry, cleaned bathrooms, built train tracks, ate breakfast, read books, and I've wrote this blog.  I will likely not make it to midnight tonight to see 2018 start, after all, 5:30am comes early...

Thursday, December 28, 2017

"Are you sure you're not having twins?" and other questions for #HundtBaby4

Since being "out" with the pregnancy of our fourth child, I've received all kinds of questions, comments, and reactions.  Some of them have seemed typical things people say such as as wondering when I was due.  Others have seemed a little more specific to this particular pregnancy.  Either way, because of "My Crazy," I always feel a bit awkward talking about a pregnancy out loud as if I'm jinxing it in someway.  

Please don't misunderstand, I am SO over the moon excited, grateful, and completely in awe of the honor of being pregnant.  There have been many moments where I didn't think I'd ever get pregnant, even more still where I didn't think I'd ever stay pregnant, and just as many where I didn't feel like Josh and I could ever do this pregnancy thing on our own without lots of medical interventions.  You don't go through all the infertility and miscarriage heartache without being one of the most appreciative pregnant people on Earth.  I can tell you, being on my fourth baby, that stays with you- that fall-to-your-knees in praise type of gratitude.

BUT---> my fear... oh the fear...that really stays with you too and it does cripple my experience of being a pregnant person and makes me uncomfortable to talk and plan for a baby that isn't in my arms yet.

I explain all this just to help people understand me and know that I am grateful of how many people care to talk to me about this baby even if that conversation is hard for me to have.  Please don't stop asking me questions or inquiring about this baby; I appreciate you. 

Anyway... here are some typical questions I've been asked with some answers for all who might be on the edge of their seat wondering..

- When are you due? I know I look like I'm due tomorrow, but am not until May 8th.  And yes, if you're doing some numbers in your head, Nolan and Judah's birthday is May 7th and Carter's birthday is May 3rd. NO, WE DIDN'T PLAN THAT.  See below... ;)  

- Are you finding out what you're having? Nope- we've enjoyed not finding out with any pregnancies.  It's worked for us and if it ain't broke, don't fix it :) Having Josh see the baby first and be able to tell me who this beautiful miracle is has been a wonderful experience.  

- How have you been feeling? Mentally, exactly the same as the others- mostly a complete basketcase ;) Physically, first trimester wasn't easy... I didn't want a single food.  Yuck.  But now I'm kicking it and feeling just great.  Very winded this time (I can barely walk up the stairs without breathing hard.  I am so out of shape).

- Are the boys excited to be big brothers? Yes! Especially Nolan and Judah.  Carter isn't totally there- I think he likes being the baby.  All the boys would love a sister- they can't imagine having FIVE boys in the house with just me as the only girl. 

Here are some additional questions that seem specific to this particular pregnancy...

- Is this baby 'planned'? Yes! We've always hoped to have four kids. 

- Are you trying for that girl? The short answer to that one is no.  In fact, absolutely not.  I'll be so clear that Josh and I are not trying for a girl.. we will not have five or nine or twelve kids until the baby girl pops out.  We've always wanted a bigger family- always talked about having four kids.  I am at such peace no matter what gender pops out!  If it's a boy- that's incredible! I know what to do with boys, I'll also have three other boys born in May, which means I'll want or need for nothing for this baby.  If somehow we squeak a girl out- what a wonderful surprise.

- Are you sure you're not having twins this time? Don't you think me, a mom of twins, would know if I was having another set?! They do check for that.  And look, I know I'm huge.  I popped right out with this one- that'll happen when your abdominal muscles are near your hips... I've got NOTHING to hold anything in people! My skin is the opposite of firm and tight, thank you, kindly, for pointing that out to me.  And another thing, if you think I've got a big belly now, you should've seen how huge I got with ACTUAL twins ;)  I've been asked this question several times, can you tell? 

- All your babies born within a week of each other? How did you plan that? My answer to that is that you must not know me very well.  Someone who's had as much trouble as we have getting pregnant and staying pregnant cannot plan things like this.  This is an incredible coincidence.  God, you do make me giggle.     

Regardless of what else I might be asked as this pregnancy continues, #HundtBaby4 needs to know nothing else except that he/she is incredibly loved, was incredibly planned for and prayed about, and will be a perfect addition to our family. 
20 week ultrasound