9

Mom Life: An Update

Wow, I cannot believe it has been a MONTH since my last post!! &, at the same time, I am laughing at myself for being half shocked at this. Since it has been a hot second since my last post, I wanted to give a bit of an update before I, hopefully, get back to posting more frequently.

Mom life is a busy life, to say the least & put it ever so lightly. We’re, at the end of this month, HALF WAY THROUGH OUR FIRST YEAR, & I am just now getting to the point where I can sneak in a shower…this shower looks like me sitting one of E’s activity chairs outside the shower beside me while I, more frequently than I’d like to admit, rip back the curtain to make sure he’s still doing just fine. Yeah, I’m a crazy person lol

Eli has also newly started entertaining himself for a few bits of time & babbling away. He cries for people & puts his little arms up when he wants to go to them (which is pretty intelligent, if I do say so myself lol), & loves Peppa Pig. He had his first cold starting last week & it has been the saddest thing to watch because I just want to fix it & make him better in an instant…& not give him the breathing treatments he so hates with a passion. Unfortunately, we are still not sleeping through the night yet. We sleep quite terribly actually. lol Feel free to bring me all the coffee!!!

We are still living in Eastern, KY & also still hate it. We’ve came to the conclusion, a few months ago actually, that this just isn’t where we are suppose to be. Our old town felt like our home, despite the fact that we are actually both from here originally, & we’ve been homesick in the worst way. Because of this, we’ve never gotten settled into the new place, are tired of feeling unsettled, & want to go home. We are both  looking for jobs there & hope to get moved back ASAP. We know we will be much happier there, as we were never dissatisfied living there before, & saying Eli will have so much more to do is an understatement. There is literally nothing for children to do here….they have a Gatti Land, for older kiddos, & A FEW parks that hail in comparison to the ones in Lexington….that’s it! No Gymbroee classes, no baby swim classes, no mom/baby groups, no family days, nothing! If I want to run now, I literally have to drive 35 minutes to get to a place to do that. It takes about 20 minutes to get to a grocery store. It’s insane when we were both accustom to being 5 minutes away from everything we needed, or wanted on any given day.

Other than that, I feel like I’m still trying to find some balance in this whole mom thing to find some time for myself. As a social worker, I know self-care is so important but, as a parent, those moments are few & far between. Even so, I think we need to prioritize ourselves sometimes, too. For me, I think going out to dinner with a friend, date night, & a girl day on occasion (&, lets be honest, going to Target because who doesn’t love that? LOL)  will be my go to self-care days. We shall see how that goes since I also never want to leave my tiny human.

To my followers: How have you been?? What’s new??? I know I’m so behind on your posts & feel out of touch with my WordPress fam. Sending love to all of you! Xo

Also, does anyone have any tips on how to sneak in some self-care as a parent, or on improving baby sleep? I’d LOVE to hear it! 

Until then, Iโ€™ll leave you with a few pictures of little man ๐Ÿ™‚  

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0

Pregnancy Update

After our regular scheduled programming-I mean Dr’s appointment yesterday :P- I thought I’d do another pregnancy update. Looking back for the other I did, I quickly realized it’s been a good while since I’ve updated (oops!).ย ย So, without further ado:

How far along? 26 weeks & 5 days

Weight Gain? Around 13 pounds

Maternity Clothes?ย All of them. Just all of them lol My favorite thing is my Jessica Simpson top. I can still wear some of my stretchy tops & dresses, though.

Stretch Marks? On my sides

Belly button in or out? Still in…miraculously enough ๐Ÿ˜€

Sleep: For the most part, this is still okay. It is starting to get a bit interrupted with random bouts of insomnia, back/hip pain, & trips to the bathroom.

Best moment this week:ย Hopefully, this will be passing the gestational diabetes test we took yesterday *fingers crossed. Until this can be confirmed later today, it was our appointment going well yesterday & hearing everything looked fine &, again, being told he’s a, “big boy.”

Symptoms: My heartburn & nausea is back

Miss Anything? I still miss sushi & wine. But, again, I’d happily give that & anything else up for life if it meant I got to have this.

Movement: LOTS!!!

Cravings? Again…SUSHI!!!! &, oddly, rum…this baby is a pirate! ๐Ÿ˜› Also, anything sweet.

Food aversions? Chicken!!!

Queasy or sick?ย Sometimes

Looking forward to? Our baby shower I never thought we’d get to have tomorrow!!!! We are having one near our hometown for our family & friends there & another at our home near the end of the month.

Anything new? Instead of monthly appointments, I’ll now be having biweekly appointments….which is exciting & mildly scary at the same time since that means we’re nearing the end & we aren’t anywhere near ready yet. We also signed up for hypnobabies & begin classes on the 12th of this month!

Complications / Medications? Still taking Lovenox injections, baby Aspirin, & Methylfolate daily. Complications:ย None since whenever ending infections have ceased!

Nursery Update: Yeah, about that….we haven’t done anything since the last update ๐Ÿ˜€ Another oops! We have what we plan on hanging above the dresser & decorating, just need to mount it to the wall so I can decorate it. Also still on the list: finding what I want to hang behind the crib/decorate, finding bedding I want, & curtains, & either having the carpet in his room professionally shampooed or putting down the rest of the laminate flooring we have left over down in there.

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5

A Late Update

My apologies for updating everyone a bit late! I had planned to right after our appointment but we didn’t find out the results until late that evening & I was on the road.

Our ultrasound was at 10 yesterday at the hospital, which totally helped with the whole anxiety element. Scott met me there. Surprisingly, I even had to wear one of those fun/itchy hospital bands for it that he later cut off with his pocket knife.

When we were called back, the tech asked why I was getting the ultrasound so I filled her in & also told her what the Dr. had told me in regards to what they were looking for. She nodded & then informed me I’d be having two ultrasounds done, an abdominal one & also a transvaginal to check the cervical length. First I’ve heard of this, I thought. Even more fun.

Baby had, we think, just woken up when she started because his heartbeat was 132 (it’s usually a lot higher) & he wasn’t moving around quite as much as he normally does…this soon changed when he realized what was happening & she struggled getting him to hold still. Kid hates ultrasounds…& dopplers, apparently. Always moves away! She even called him rotten. She took a bunch of measurements & pointed out a few things to us in regards to where certain body systems were. We also got to hear how much he currently weighs for the first time, which was exciting. One pound & 10 ounces as of yesterday, I believe. He measured a week ahead on height, which isn’t surprising given my husband & father in law’s stature.

Then came time for the fun part, another round with the dildo cam! Which, just let me say, is even more fun when you have a bigger baby floating around inside you. We were not amused. While she was moving it around she told me she needed to check my cervix so she’d have to push on my abdomen & it would probably be uncomfortable. Yep, no questions asked about the uncomfortable. She did this twice, then it was over.

We were on our way to the OB’s office….where we’d wait, & wait, & wait.

Apparently, thanks to some idiotic new system the company has as a whole, my Dr. couldn’t get the results of the ultrasound to interpret. We waited an hour & 30 minutes &, at that point, the Dr. came in to apologize that they still couldn’t access the ultrasounds. We were told we’d get a call when they did on those.

She ย explained again what they were looking for on the ultrasounds & said she could do another exam since we were there. At that point, we both felt like, since we were there anyway, we may as well in case anything else came up. She noted my discharge still looked better & then checked my cervix again (ouch) to make sure it was still closed. She said that it was still thick & closed.

And then we waited…….until 4 that evening for ultrasound results. Finally, the nurse called me & said that the cervical length was 4 & that was good. Cervix also appeared competent & the placenta was no where near the cervix, just like they were hoping for.

So all is, thankfully, good. We are guessing the brown spotting I had this week was just old blood from my cervix being irritated from the meds I’d just finished.

THANK YOU, TO EVERYONE WHO SAID PRAYERS FOR US, SENT GOOD THOUGHTS, & ASKED ABOUT US!!!!!! I am so sorry it took me so long to update. I was driving when I got the call & then my friend took me out for my Birthday a day early so I didn’t get home till late & then was exhausted by the time I did.

We appreciate you all more than you will ever know. โค

2

Favorite Things Friday: Free Stuff

Special Thursday edition! ๐Ÿ˜„

I love getting things in the mail, there I said it. Judge me. If you buy something online, it’s like Christmas all over again when it finally arrives. What I love even more than this is when said stuff is FREE!!!!! You read that right, free! 

Take a look at this sweet welcome box I got from Amazon: 


Included was an 80 pack of sensitive wipes, a teether/toy, a Philips bottle (natural bottle), wipe case, Muslin swaddle, nursing pads, & some samples!!!!! Expectant mamas: all you have to do in order to get all of this FREE is create a baby registry at Amazon & make a $10.00 purchase from it. 

Target also gives out a free welcome box of some sort but I’m not sure what is included as the store has been out of them when I’ve checked on it. When I find out, I’ll let you know ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Also, if you plan on formula feeding, Similac mails out free samples as well. I use to get them when we were going through the throws of Infertility treatment & be so mad so I remember getting those samples well. 

Are there any free samples that have been a favorite for you (baby or otherwise)??? What were they??? 

0

Becoming Mama

Not much in my life has happened the way I planned, the way that I thought it would. Becoming a mama was no different.

Growing up & well into my adult life, I thought it would happen the way it usually does. I’d meet someone I loved, we’d get pregnant, &,  you know the rest. As it turns out, for me anyway, that’s not the way it happened at all.

Three years ago, I miscarried. Until that moment, things had went according to plan. When I looked down at the squinter of the only pregnancy test I’d ever seen with two pink lines (minus the other I took the next day just to be sure),  it was, in that moment, I thought I’d become a mother. And then I had a second blood draw at the gynecologist to hear that my levels weren’t rising. While they were suppose to be doubling daily, mine were remaining stagnant. Soon after, I started bleeding during a night class. I went in the next day for more blood draws &, later that day, I’d hear it. I’d be told that my levels were dropping & I was having a miscarriage. My heart literally sank to my feet while Oceans played in the background. I use to love that song….until it sang silently in the background while I was being told my world was falling apart.

Fast forward to meeting & falling in love with my husband. While we’d thought we would get pregnant fairly easily, it seemed we were mistaken. After some testing & several very invasive treatments, our journey to parenthood remained a flashing access denied.

When we embarked on this journey toward fostering, we never dreamed that a child would come into our home & so quickly become attached to us. Never dreamed that, after twenty four hours, they’d look to us as parents & refer to us as such. I believe it was the second day kiddo was with us when I heard it. He looked up at me because he wanted something &, before I noticed him doing so, let it out. “Mama!”

I froze. Initially, I was sure I’d have to create an age appropriate explanation as to where mama was….& then I realized it…he wasn’t asking for his birth mom. He was referring to me.

It was in that moment that I feel like I became a mother. In the worldly sense anyway. Having a miscarriage & then losing 4 embabies is a funny thing…you’re not sure what you’re any more. You were almost a mother but not quite…something got in the way. There was a wrong turn & you never really arrived there. Until now.

“A child born to another mother calls me mama. Both the tragedy & the magnitude of that is not lost on me.”

As a foster parent, you never now how long a child will be with you. You never know how long you will be there to keep them safe, or how long their time with you will be. What you do know is that you love these children & you want to do so for as long as you can.

Not much in my life has worked out the way I’d planned…but a few of those unexpected moments have worked out in the most beautiful of ways. I may not have been able to get pregnant naturally, through IUIs, or even IVF’s so far….but it did lead me to fostering. Although I’m new to the game & have much to learn, I am truly thankful for that & excited to give kiddos in great need love in the most challenging of times.

Fostering has not only, after great struggle, made me a mama but also makes my heart beat & sets my soul on fire. I never dreamed I’d say this but I am thankful for the way things have worked out up to this point.

I’m definitely not the person I was three years ago…I hope you aren’t either โค๏ธ

4

Visitation

They’re one of the most awkward & daunting things we as foster parents go through. Taking place at the DCBS office & all the galore that it is doesn’t help matters.

Being a smaller county away from our own, the office was incredibly small. So small, in fact, that I almost didn’t find it entirely. A few chairs lined both sides of the two walls that were a little too close for comfort. There was a, “children’s area,” (& I use that term very loosely) in the corner that held one rackety toy that appeared it was about to fall to the grimy floor. A police officer sat in the far corner to my left, gun on his side & suited up in his uniform. His presence became even clearer to me when the child in my care noticed him, got wide eyed, quickly averted his gaze, & seemed to go somewhere else.

I introduced myself to the birth parents awkwardly, explaining who I was & stating I wasn’t sure I’d get to meet them. I slipped his birth mom a letter detailing what he’d done the past few days, along with a few pictures I’d taken over the weekend. They were mostly friendly with me & thanked me for the pictures.

All the while my eyes are stuck on the small toddler who quickly started calling me mama. He wasn’t smiling. He never once referred to his parents as mama, or dad. In fact, the only word I heard him say in that cramped waiting room at all was, “sip,” in reference to the large fountain drink birth mom had. And then his siblings walked in yielding the same expression the kiddo with me had. Blank. No smiles. No words. Blank.

When they all went back for their visit, excluding the inevitable goodbye, I thought the awkward part was over. I thought wrong.

It’s an incredibly odd thing to raise someone else’s children. After a while, they inevitably begin to feel like your children. You’re the one who gives them their nightly baths, feeds them, kisses their boo-boos, & gets up with them in the night. You’re the one they run to when they feel scared, confused, & *insert wide plethora of emotions kiddos feel here. You begin to feel like their parent because you’re the parent….until further notice.ย 

So I sit in the cramped, dimly lit office twiddling my thumbs. I’d never been to a visit before & didn’t know what to do with myself. One of the workers came to the window & asked if I was a foster parent (apparently, in addition to social worker face, I have one of these faces too). After I confirm, she tells me, “they usually go get something to eat or something like that. It will be a while.” I tell her I’m not from the area & don’t mind to wait here. She nods back, walking away.

While I sit there awkwardly the police officer in the corner makes conversation with me about the drink in my hand, telling me how much his wife also loves Starbucks refreshers. I tell him about the new Pink Drink just before someone swings open the door to request he come back to the visitation area in case someone tries anything.

Sitting there I hear the kiddo that’s with me crying. I know it’s him because I’ve become acquainted with his cries. I know that the one echoing through this ancient office means that he’s hungry & ready for lunch. Soon after I hear another from him that I know he does when he fake hurts himself & wants me to, “tiss,” it.

When the visit is over, all the kiddos come out in front of their birth parents. Kiddos older brother walks up to me pointing at the snacks hanging out from the top of my bag. I shake a few Puffs out for him & his parents tell him he didn’t even say hi but was asking for my food. They instruct him to say thank you & he looks through me to squeak, “thank you.” I tell him he’s welcome, dropping the snacks back in the bag.

The social work asks this kiddo if he’s ready to go & walks out with him and the youngest brother. He never says goodbye to the parents. Doesn’t cry. Just looks ahead, grabs the social workers hand & walks to the car with her as she carries the baby. My kiddo is the only one who cries. He watches birth mom walk away & loses it. He starts reaching for her & screaming. She stops to look back at him and time stands still. I’m not sure what to do. She tells him bye again & I tell him he’ll see her next week. When we’re back inside getting him in his stroller, she comes back inside behind me. Now she too is crying. She tells him she’s sorry and she’ll see him again. He cries harder again now that she’s back in his line of visionย With that, she walks away & try to tell him it’s okay before we walk back out to the car. Back out to what has become the security that he knows.

For the rest of the day, we lived in toddler nightmare land. Nothing was alright. Tantrums dropped like heat in deserted lands. Our usual routine of sitting quietly, bath time, screen time, & lights out in upheaval. And who could blame him? He’d just been reminded of how his entire life had been completely torn upside down. Before experiencing this firsthand, I’d heard how incredibly devastating these visits could be for these kiddos. But I hadn’t seen it. I hadn’t taken a child I was parenting until further notice to one of these. I hadn’t watched them stare blankly at their parents & then completely crash into disarray for the remainder of the day/days ahead.

I hate it for them. In the future, on visitation days with this kiddo & our future placements, I think I’ll defiantly plan to either A) do something extra fun that day after the visit or, B), return home to the temporary security that these kiddos come to know. I will do something, anything I can, to ease the upheaval that these visits bring.


What have you done to make visitation days easier for your kiddos???? What has worked?? What hasn’t???

4

Parent Shaming

It happens all the time.

It starts early in deeply personal choicesย like are you bottle, or breast feeding?

“Breast is best,” you know.

What diapers are you buying, regular or cloth?

Are you going to be cognizant of our environment, or are you & your kids literally not going to give a shit about it?

As children evolve into twonagers & beyond, an even more overwhelming dose of shame comes along with it.

“I would never let my child behave that way.”

“Ugh, did you see what that mom packed?? Nothing is organic, or even remotely healthy!”

“Those tree huggers threw a bunch of weird s*&* in here, what am I suppose to do with this??”

“Look at that parent just ignoring that brat throwing a complete fit!”

“OMG, they spanked their child! They’re the worst parent ever!!”

You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

As a foster mom, I’m new to this judgment game. What I’ve realized so far, however, is that, number one, it unfortunately exists. Two, those who are judging your every move don’t take into consideration why your child may be acting a certain way. They have no idea. None. What they do know, & I use that term loosely, is that they have time to judge you.

My first trial was in a doctor’s office. I’d had an appointment scheduled for over a month. Thankfully, a friend of mine agreed to meet me there & watch kiddo while I went back. We got there a bit earlier than planned so my friend hadn’t made it yet. We’d been in the car all day, literally, up to this point. He was sick with a double ear infection & had just had visitation with his birth family earlier that morning. Afterwards, he was a literal mess. Everything was wrong in his little world & nothing seemed to come close to repairing it at all.

I’d heard how much visitation effects kids in care in our fostering classes. How much it grabbed hold of their world, shook it violently, & threw it back down. It was until this moment, however, that I saw it live. He was pulling everything out of the diaper bag, snagging disposable coffee cups from the drink station. He was pushing his stroller everywhere, which eventually led to him picking it up backwards & nearly cracking his head with it. In telling him we couldn’t do that because he’d get hurt, I folded the stroller up & all hell broke loose. Violent screams erupted as he threw himself backwards on the ground wailing. Everyone in the waiting room-scratch that, office-was staring at us. The people in the waiting room, the people behind the glass window (especially the people behind the glass window!!).

& I knew what they were thinking. My child was a terror & I was just another mom who let him run a muck in a doctor’s office. Never mind what he’d been through in the last month. Never mind he was very sick & not feeling well. & never mind he had JUST had visitation and was reminded of just how much his life had been, “flipped-turned upside down.”

We as a society have became entirely too judgmental. Nowadays, we can sit behind a screen & pass judgment on the people we scroll past. Or we can look upon a screaming child throwing a tantrum without entertaining the thought that they may have a reason for doing so. We don’t think about the fact that his caregiver may also have reasons for just letting them be.ย 

In the words of that 90’s rap song from some random dude, “Where’s the love?”