Mama’s Got Her Hands Full

Mama Mama

It’s been a little over five weeks since our journey into parenting three tiny humans has began. To say our world has needed adjusting is an understatement. Though I found myself very fortunate to have my husband home for the first two weeks after having our third baby, what followed was chaos, uncontrollable emotions, stress beyond management and doubt.

You see, raising two munchkins with our crazy, eventful lives, was already a challenge. We knew bringing a third into the mix would be tough, and we expected changes and challenges. What I didn’t want to dwell on was the fact that I’d be doing a lot of the hardest, most time-consuming, and exhausting parenting on my own.

My husband is an extremely hard worker. There are times I’d actually say he’s a work-a-holic. It actually takes convincing to get him to just relax and snuggle, and be low-key and just present a lot of the time. In his defense, we have a never-ending list of projects to tackle and money is always an issue, so the overtime work is a blessing even when it doesn’t feel like it. And every single day it feels like the exact opposite for me.

I am a stay-at-home mom, and I am very hands on. I have always wanted to be the one who raises my kids, as well as be the one who helps build them up in education and schooling. I have controlling qualities, which enables me to provide healthy meals every day, produce creative school worksheets, and be the monitor to manners and attitudes. Those qualities also make it nearly impossible for me to ask for help until I’m already in full-blown fall-apart mode. And when that time finally comes, the guilt and doubt sets in, which makes it even more impossible for me.

In any normal week, my husband works 5 days, but in addition to that, there are three nights a week I have the kids to myself while their daddy works call and stays out of town, or works late; until bedtime. That’s three full days of cooking and preparing breakfasts, snacks, lunches, dinners and food thrown, spilled, and played in over hours of repeating “just eat”! That’s three full days of potty struggles, accidents, wiping butts, and wet pants. That’s three full days of fighting nap times, and bedtime routines that exhaust mommy more than anything. That’s two full nights of breastfeeding alone in a king sized bed, and unlatching when necessary in order to get out of bed and comfort the big kids in their room when they wake and cry, only to then have a screaming newborn as well. That’s two full nights of no sleep at all

So today, I decided the exhaustion had built up long enough. It was time to begin a pumping routine in order to hopefully build a small stock-pile enough so that mommy can find a time in the near future to get away.

Take a break. 

Escape.

The plan was supposed to be that I pumped first thing, and allow Eason to be fed by daddy via a bottle using breastmilk I had pumped (as strictly a release for comfort) a couple weeks ago. It was supposed to be done simultaneously so that my re-fill schedule was consistent with Eason’s belly getting hungry again. I got out the pump, heated the frozen breastmilk, and got all hooked up.

And then we got a call from an electrician saying he was on his way over.

Frustrated, and almost in tears because of the fact that literally NOTHING seems to go as planned or in my favor when it comes to the house progress, and there is constantly someone in our personal space, I told Javin to hand me to the baby while he went and dealt with yet another project.

So I bottle fed while I pumped.

I kept telling myself that I should just remove the pump and allow Eason to attach to me, and make things a little easier, but I was also desperate to be able to sneak away at some point in time. Which meant I had to follow through with the plan.

Alone. 

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Motherhood is hard.

It is messy.

It is chaotic.

It is unpredictable, and at times overly predictable.

It is exhausting.

It is precious. 

And it is busy.

Pumping only adds ONE MORE THING to our already busy days. I’m not exactly sure when or if it’ll get done most days, to be honest. It’s going to really just be one more inconvenience. All I know is there’s not another way for this mama to be able to get out of the house 100% kid free, until we have a milk supply on hand. Until then, all the grocery trips, library adventures, and all other errands will always include at least one baby. It’s now been a little over five weeks since I’ve had any time to myself. It’s been a little over five weeks now that we’ve been raising our growing Fleshman clan. Three of those five weeks, the challenge has felt almost that of my own. The exhaustion I’ve been feeling will back that up.

But when it comes to self-care, the biggest challenge of all is convincing myself I need it more than my kids need me. Every once in a while, it would be nice to feel like instead of needing more hands, that maybe my hands weren’t so needed. But they are needed. And they are full.

 

 

 

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Having Our Baby at Home

Mama Mama

Almost five years ago, when my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our first child, having a home birth was something that crossed my mind, but my husband was NEVER on board with the idea, so I never pushed or researched the concept. At that time, we decided we wanted a fully natural, hospital birth. Our son had other plans, however, and was born 10 weeks early, which drastically changed our birth plan.

After that experience, I decided there was no reason to make a birth plan for any future children, but just be prepared and know what we want.

We had our second child, our daughter, in the birth center of my home town, where she was born in the tub. I labored in the shower, and was able to move freely which was a big change from my first birth experience. My labor was so fast with my second that I didn’t really have much time for anything but a few pushes and there she was.

This baby, our third, and our last (unless God has other plans) we knew we wanted to have at home. Despite a lot of questions and doubt or worry from others. The thing is, we were finally not living with family, or far away from family like the previous pregnancies. We were in our OWN HOME for once, while still close enough to family, that both our moms were able to join us as soon as we asked them to. We worked hard to get our house construction under control enough to have the third floor be move in ready, just in time, I might add. Though still a mess, I felt comfortable enough knowing we would be bringing a baby into the world in our home.

I almost get emotional when thinking about this birth. My husband and I followed our guts and hearts and did so much research when it came to doing what we thought was best during this pregnancy. From making medical decisions about not taking progesterone, and listening to my body closer than before, and talking about every little change I felt, all to be certain we did everything in our power to have a healthy term baby without a hospital or medical intervention.

I was told at 35+ weeks to take it extra easy, because I was starting to notice changes in my body. At 36 weeks I began losing bits of my mucus plug, and I got nervous at this time. I truly did NOT want to go into labor before 37 weeks, I knew I had to make it to that magic number in order to be able to birth at home with my midwife. So I did. I somehow managed to do as little as I possibly could, with help from my mother-in-law especially, she spent extra time with the big kids so that I could rest more frequently, as difficult as it was for me.

The next Monday, I made that 37 weeks, and a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I knew, I just had a feeling, it would be any day that our little man would be joining us.

Come Wednesday, I had been having contractions the previous few days, but they were incredibly inconsistent. Very mild contractions as well, some were 30 seconds, some were longer, but they varied between 7-13 minutes apart, so I went to bed.

There was a huge storm that night, and I woke from the ferocious wind, and worry for my chickens and goats. At least I think that’s why I woke, it’s how I remember it, but I began contractions instantly, so there’s that as well. The contractions were a little more intense than they were earlier that day, so I decided to time them right away.

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Four to five minutes apart. 

Shoot! My midwife had wanted to know when they were consistently 10 minutes apart because she wanted time to prepare and make the drive to my house from hers. I went to the bathroom, and noticed I was spotting, so I called and updated her.

My mother-in-law lives less than a five minute drive from our house, so we called her, to see if she wanted to come over and be here with the big kids in case they woke up, and also share the birth with us. She didn’t waste any time, and arrived a few minutes later. 

Over the next hour, my contractions only grew with intensity, and became shorter together. They got to every 2-3 minutes apart, but I could still distract myself from the pain when they came, by talking, or concentrating on something else. My second delivery went so fast that I was hoping my midwife made it to before the baby, but I also know that even if she didn’t, I was in good hands, I trusted my husband and myself to get the job done need be.

Fortunately, our midwife arrived shortly after. As well as did my mom, and a second midwife, some extra hands.

I was checked, to see how things were progressing, and at this time I was 7 cm dilated. I was so hopeful things would move right along, but I was also nervous because my water hadn’t broke yet, so I was worried that might hold me back. I had in my head that my water breaking was what kicked my second labor into gear, so I was waiting for that. we had towels everywhere just in case.

I took comfort in my exercise ball during contractions, though when the intensity stepped it up a notch, I got into the bath tub where I knew I would be a little more soothed.

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*Note: We didn’t use the birth tub, for a couple reasons. First of all, there wasn’t an easy way to fill it being as we were on the third floor and didn’t want to run a hose throughout the house. Second, our bath tub was big enough to fit me, and my belly, and a baby, so I didn’t see the need in adding an extra challenge. 

Javin was sitting on the toilet, lending his hand, as I squatted, leaning over the edge of the tub. I was feeling so tired between contractions that I was almost able to doze off for those couple minutes of relief. I must have relaxed too much, because my contractions stopped progressing, and the midwives suggested I get out of the tub for a little movement.

Movement. Not exactly comforting when after a step or two you find yourself hunched over breathing through another contraction, but I took to the stairs. I needed my husband for support, and was a slow moover, but I also was anxious for our baby boy to join us. I was only able to make it down the the main level, and back up before returning to the ball.

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After only a handful of contractions on the floor and ball, a slight urge to push with each wave hit me, and I wanted back in the bath. I felt like I needed in the bath…ASAP! 

Once in the bath again, I checked myself and with the next contraction felt my water break. I was still squatting at this time. My midwife began monitoring the baby’s heart rate, and into the next contraction. Just after that I checked myself again and felt his head. Being my third baby, I knew what to expect, but that didn’t make the pain any easier.

I rolled onto my back, not only for more comfort, but so I was in a better position for delivery. Our bathroom is small, but somehow we fit myself, my husband, my midwife, a second midwife, and my mom at the doorway. I pushed him down in a couple contractions and I knew he was almost ready, but my mind told my body to temporarily halt. I cried out “I can’t! I can’t…” as I felt pain like never before. My scream woke the kids, and made my dog go crazy. I caught my breath, and gave two more big pushes, and our baby boy was delivered directly onto my chest. My big kids got to come into the bathroom to see Mommy, and their new baby brother first thing which made the whole experience more heart-warming.

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As it turns out, Eason’s arm came through with his head, so maybe that’s where the extra pain came from. I did end up tearing, and was offered stitches, but I declined. I didn’t want anyone to touch me, and I was assured the tear was actually in an ideal location, I just would need to take it extra easy.

Deal.

I went straight to bed…my bed, not a hospital bed…and watched as my oldest got to assist Daddy in cutting the umbilical cord. And while I snuggled and nursed right away, the kids got to take a look at the placenta while it was examined. 

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It made for a long night, and early morning, but everything went perfectly. I knew I shouldn’t complain since the whole event took only five hours, but it felt much longer than that this round.

Looking back now, a month later, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I only wish more women trusted their God given ability to birth naturally, and in the comforts of their own home at that! It’s truly such a blessing being able to bring a beautiful life into the world. It’s also incredibly empowering. 

The healing process…now that’s another story.