Posts in Motherhood
Things to Remember the Next Time You Have Mom Guilt
3 Things to Remember the Next Time You Have Mom Guilt

This weekend I had somewhat of a revelation, a realization really, and it all has to do with mom guilt.  If you're anything like me, you feel it all the time. 

I feel it every time my child gets sick. When my child misbehaves or hurts someone. If my house is filthy and I binge watch Netflix instead of cleaning it. When I lose my patience and react out of anger. Anytime I make a choice that isn't the best choice, in comes mom guilt. Sometimes the guilt and weight of parental responsibility becomes so overwhelming I completely breakdown. Sobbing ensues and there is little that can be done to stop it. On Saturday I laid in bed, and did just that.

Earlier that day I felt my son Grey's forehead to find he was running a fever, again. Our boys have gone from one illness to another this winter and I was beginning to believe that they'll never have noses that aren't running and throats that aren't sore from coughing.  My patience was thin and my energy low. Matthew was trying to talk to me about planning a vacation, which distracted me for a while. Until I heard Grey coughing downstairs. 

That's when all the guilt flooded in. Why can't I keep my children from getting sick? What am I doing wrong? Which lead to more and more thoughts of guilt, unrelated to illness. Why am I not motivated to do the laundry? There are so many things I can do better. I don't play with Turner enough. We don't leave the house enough. We watch too much television. I look at my phone too much. All followed by the thought that I am a terrible mother. 

My sweet husband could instantly tell something was weighing down my heart and asked me to talk to him. In a flood of tears, I told him what I was feeling. The weight of being a parent and raising competent, respectful human beings is too much to handle at times.  I felt that weight lifting slightly as he comforted me and said just the things I needed to hear.

As I continued to reflect on our conversation in the days following, my perspective became more profound and clear. These are some of the things I've come to understand and hope to remember the next time I feel mom guilt, or guilt of any kind.

  • Guilt comes with caring. The fact that you feel guilt about something is because you care about how it effects those around you. The next time you feel guilty, remind yourself that you truly care and let it motivate you to keep improving yourself. If your children are fed, safe, and loved, you're doing great! 
  • You can always be better. No matter how perfect we try to be, or how much we do, we will always have room for improvement. That's just how life is. You won't get anywhere for beating yourself up about the mistakes and the what if's. Forgive yourself, and just keep giving your best. 
  • Your best is enough. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else's seemingly put together and perfect life. I promise, it's not. Mine DEFINITELY is not. Do your mama thing the best way you know how, and then try to do a little better each day. That is more than enough. 

I love my children, I can improve, and my efforts are enough. That's a phrase I need to tell myself more often.

These things may not be a revelation to all, but it definitely came at a time that I needed it most. I'm so grateful for a wise, loving husband who holds me and reassures me while I let ALL the emotion out. If you've ever felt this way before, please know you're not alone. And if you ever need someone to talk to about it, I'm here for you. ;) I hope you all have a great week!


Oh, and if you are interested in entering my Re-Play Toddler Feeding Set Giveaway with Re-Play Recycled go to my previous post, or click here! There are still two days left to enter! Good luck!

 

 

Some of the Greatest Tears I've Ever Cried
Some of the Greatest tears I've Ever Cried || ADOS || Blog, lifestyle, motherhood, meaningful moments

The day after Thanksgiving, after what feels like an eternity, we pull out the Christmas decorations. After lugging all of the boxes upstairs, I realized that we still had the old four foot Christmas tree that I grew up decorating in the room I shared with my little sister. That's when I had, what I would say was, a brilliant idea. I thought to myself, I should set up the tree in the loft and let Turner decorate it all by himself! 

I had him follow me as I carried the tree upstairs along with all of the sentimental ornaments I had acquired over the years. I wrapped it with lights and his eyes filled with wonder as I plugged them in. I opened up my box of ornaments and showed him how to hang them on the branches. Then I watched as he proudly put ornaments on this Turner sized tree. I sat there as he put 5 different ornaments on the same branch, while trying to tell him to put each ornament on a branch of its own. But his pure joy in that moment was all I really cared about. 

I got out my phone and took a short video of him adorning the tree with trinkets and keepsakes of my childhood years. Stitched plastic canvas ornaments that remind me of my grandma, an angel the color of my birth stone and wings of gold, and birds I crafted from paper the first, humble Christmas Matthew and I shared together as husband and wife.

That's when it hit me just how incredibly blessed my life has been, and how especially blessed it is now. It came like a wave of emotion as Turner clapped and cheered while he decorated what he called, "the greatest Christmas tree, EVER." As I saw the endless amount of joy in his countenance, I felt overwhelmed with love.

So overwhelmed that I began to cry.

It was the most tender feeling of happiness. And that happiness has been a light every moment since. I'm so grateful I took the time to sit and be present with my son that night. I never ever want to forget how meaningful it was to experience that moment. Those were some of the greatest tears I've ever cried. 


I'm excited to share one more thing with you tonight. Tomorrow is the kick off of #LIGHTtheWORLD with 25 days of serving others, as Jesus Christ did, every day until Christmas. Doesn't the idea of that make you so happy? It makes me happy, and I'm hoping through this challenge I can make a habit of serving others more. Watch this video, find a service calendar and other free printables at The Small Seed, and join me in lighting the world with service! 

Birth Story || Grey Matthew
BIrth Story || Grey Matthew || Second baby

Since Turner's birth was a little traumatic for all involved, we decided around week 36 of my pregnancy to schedule an induction for Grey's birth. My doctor would be out of town the weekend before my due date, so it was scheduled for Monday, April 11th at 9 am. 

That morning we received a call from the hospital that they would be pushing my induction back to 10:30. I was bummed at first, but it was nice to take it slow that morning getting ready, drop Turner of at Grammy's house, and pick up some breakfast before the main event.

We checked in at 10:30 and they escorted us to our delivery room, which happened to be the exact same room we delivered Turner in. I got into the hospital gown and they started to prep my IV for the penicillin. Two different nurses poked me a total of 5 times on my left arm resulting in stinging pain until finally they tried my right arm with no problems. By the time they started the antibiotics (for the Group B Strep), it was 11:30 am. That meant the earliest they would want me to have the baby was after it had been in for four hours, around 3:30 pm. 

Shortly after they started my IV fluids, they added the Pitocin (Oxytocin) to induce my labor and start giving me contractions. The nurse told me to let her know when I was ready for the epidural, but she also told me that at 1 they had a scheduled C-section and I would have to wait until after it was finished if I didn't have the chance to get it before. Around 12:15 I asked when it would be possible to get the epidural, knowing I might want it in between then and when they would be done with the c-section. Unfortunately, they had been called to an emergency c-section so the anesthesiologist wouldn't be available until 1:30-2:00. 

The pain was pretty manageable so I wasn't too concerned, but still a little nervous. My doctor came in several times throughout the day, which I wasn't expecting and absolutely loved. He came in around 1:30 to break my water and asked if I was ready for it. With fear in my voice I said, "But...I haven't had my epidural yet?!" He said it'd still be a while before he could make it in, but the sooner we got things moving, the sooner my baby would be here. That was all he needed to say to have me convinced.

After he broke my water I was glad I hadn't had the epidural yet, because I could feel the sensation that so many woman talk about. I never felt my waters break with Turner and so it was amazing to get to experience it this time around. With every contraction I could feel the warm water that had been surrounding and protecting my chid slowly gushing out of me. Many times I had to remind myself that it was my waters and not urine leaking out of me. Although when the anesthesiologist finally arrived to give me my epidural and I was bending over my belly, putting pressure on my bladder, I'm pretty sure it was a mixture of the two. 

They told me to push the button for another dose every 10 minutes, and so I did. What I didn't hear them say was to stop after I stopped feeling pain. I don't know why I kept pushing it, but I kept pushing that button every 10 minutes for 2 whole hours. Just eating my lemonade flavored pebble ice and pushing that button like an addict. I was SO NUMB. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to be numb, but I couldn't even wiggle my toes!

Around 4 when the nurse came to check how I was progressing, I asked her how often I should be pushing that button. And she said, "Oh, you should only be pushing it if you are feeling pain." I was thinking, good to know, good...to...know. Coolcoolcool. HAHA! I felt like such a dork. So for the next two hours I didn't push the button again.

During that time I had progressed from being dilated to a 6 when he broke my water, to a 10 around 5 pm. That was when the nurse coached me through a few practice pushes. She helped me more in 2 minutes than the whole fleet of nurses and doctor did during my four hours of pushing with Turner. 

When she saw my pushing was helping the baby progress further down into the birth canal, she called the doctor and they prepped me to have my baby boy! They removed my catheter, adjusted my bed, and got everything ready for my doctor. 

At 5:30 my doctor walked in the door and said, "Are we ready to get this party started?" and we both shouted, "YES!" After the doctor had suited up, they set up the mirror for me to see Grey's decent. I looked around and it was just 5 people. My husband, my doctor, the nurse, the pediatric nurse, and myself. The room was quiet and calm. My husband was by my side and we were both at peace. At peace and yet so excited to finally meet our second little boy! It was the opposite of the mass chaos the ensued as Turner entered the world, and I was so grateful. 

My doctor watched the monitor and waited for the signal of my next big contraction. They told me to take a big breath, hold, push, and repeat that three times through my contraction. After the first contraction and only three pushes, I could see Grey's head crowning in the mirror! I was in shock! The doctor told me to do that same thing one more time and my baby would be here! We waiting a minute or two for the next contraction and then I took a big breath, held, pushed, and repeated three more times.

At 6:09 pm, suddenly one by one his head, shoulders, torso, bum, and legs exited my body. They laid him on my belly and I cried tears of pure joy. He was perfect, an angel, everything I had dreamed he would be and more. He let out a few short cries as the suctioned his nose and mouth. They wrapped him in a towel and Matthew cut his cord. They laid him on my chest and I was in heaven. I live for that moment. Holding him so close to my heart and kissing his head after carrying him for so long. They let me keep him there until I was ready to know his specs. It didn't take long for us to be curious enough to have him put on the scale.

7 pounds 12 ounces, 20.5 inches of perfection. No dimple in his chin like his older brother and what seems to be mama's nose. They swaddled him up and put on a little hat before handing him to Matthew. He is the most tender father to our boys. Watching him hold them for the first time is high on my list of favorite moments of all time. I don't know what I'd do without him as their example. He is the most thoughtful, caring, and hardworking man I know. 

Since the delivery seemed like a cake walk and I only received a first degree tear, I thought my baby was going to be in my room with me this time. I thought we were going to have a quick, normal, routine hospital stay. But we still got hit with a curveball.

That night my parents came to see him as well as my sister and brother in law. He sounded a little snorty, but perfectly healthy. He had latched on to breastfeed for 15 minutes on each side like a total champ. We passed him around and talked about his perfect little features. I ordered dinner just before room service closed. I couldn't believe how different my delivery was.

Around 10:30 we were ready to go to bed and Grey was asleep in the bassinet next to my bed. We were exhausted, and yet I couldn't seem to fall asleep. I just kept staring at Grey. Almost as if to read my mind, my husband says, "Maybe we should have them take Grey to the nursery tonight? To keep and eye on him while we get some rest." I wanted him by my side, but I felt that would be best for all of us.

I'm so glad he was prompted to suggest that, because who knows what would have happened if he had stayed in our room that night. Early the next morning they came in to have me feed him and told me he was having a little trouble breathing so they were going to move him to the TLC. 

My heart sank. Not again, I thought. My heart couldn't take it. I held onto the hope that it wouldn't be as bad as what Turner went through

However, the rest of the morning we asked question after question about how Grey was doing and they didn't give us any answers. We knew he was alive, but we didn't know to what extent his breathing was improving or if it had worsened. Finally around 10:30, the TLC nurse called us in to meet with her. She let us know he was struggling to breathe and keep his temperature up, so they would be moving him to the NICU. 

Before I could do anything else, I was sobbing. I never saw Turner as fragile as Grey looked in that moment. His chest was convulsing as he struggled to capture his breath and with every wheeze my heart was breaking. I couldn't do this again. I wasn't strong enough to go through this again. For 20 minutes I sobbed as the nurse tried to comfort me, my husband put his arm around me, and I couldn't stop the tears from streaming or my chin from quivering.

That sweet nurse had no idea the emotions I was feeling in that moment. This reoccurring nightmare coming back from the past to taunt me. When I gained my composure I was able to explain to her how this was our second time watching our child struggle for breath, the most basic necessity of life. She felt so much sympathy for me. I could see it in her eyes. Yet there was nothing she could say to comfort me in that moment. 

A few minutes later the NICU charge nurse arrived. We described to her in detail the nature of his situation, and what we learned from Turner's almost identical experience. She agreed that the bulb syringes had caused swelling and vowed to prevent further use of them. Then she assured us that she would start the same nasal steroid drops that had helped reduce Turner's nasal swelling. Her listening ear and trust in my words gave me my first wave of comfort. As she rolled him away in that incubator, I knew he was going to be in the best hands. 

One of the hardest things about having a baby in the NICU is the nurse in charge of your child's care changes every 12 hours. And at every shift change you pray that the new nurse knows every detail of their situation. Bless the angel nurses who worked with my son. All of them were doing their very best to get my son back on track. They listened to our concerns, and patiently answered all of our questions. 

Within 48 hours he was doing significantly better, and the morning after we were discharged they called us to say we could take him home! I know it was through the faith and prayers of us, family, and friends that he was able to recover as quickly as he did. Going to pick him up from the hospital to bring him home was one of the happiest moments of my life. I was so excited to have him home. All together. As a family. Like it was always meant to be.

Grey has been happy and healthy ever since. He is a complete angel. Breastfeeds like a champ, sleeps 3-4 hour stretches at night, and hardly ever cries. We love him. And we can't imagine our lives without him in it. 

xo, 
Cheree

Pregnancy Diary: 38 Weeks
Pregnancy Diary || 38 Weeks || ADOS || the final countdown to labor and delivery with baby number two, Grey

I can't believe I'm already to 38 weeks.

The last half of this pregnancy has FLOWN by. Honestly, ever since the unbearable sickness faded away, it's been an amazing pregnancy. This week I've been feeling cramping, increased discharge (TMI), and some minor swelling in my feet. I've gained less weight this time around, which has me feeling really accomplished. The best part? I found out at my appointment on Wednesday that I am already dilated to a 3 and 50% effaced which was extremely comforting!

The fact that my body is progressing more already than it did before going into labor last pregnancy is such a relief. I finally feel the comforting feeling, my husband has been trying to convince me of for months now, that this labor is going to be a much more pleasant experience. The biggest comfort of all is that I know what to expect. I know my body has done it before and is already preparing for the big stretch. (Baby Mama, anyone?) And last but not least, I know that I can do it regardless of how it turns out! 

I'm scheduled to be induced on the 11th at 9 am, but it could still happen on it's own before then. I did test positive for Group B Strep again, so that was kind of a bummer because I need to be on penicillin for a certain amount of time before pushing to make sure the bacteria doesn't spread to the baby. It's nothing I haven't been able to handle before though! Bring it on!

Starting today I'm doing all the squats, long walks, and other natural labor inductive behaviors to welcome this baby here as soon as he wants to come! (Find out on my previous post why I have been hoping he didn't come until April) The bags are all packed, Matthew is driving the car to work instead of taking the train, and the renovations on the big boy room and nursery are complete! 

I often find myself sitting in the rocker of the nursery, dreaming of holding our sweet baby in my arms. I couldn't be more anxious to meet our little moon boy and compare his uniquely perfect face to our not so little Turner. Did I mention already that the doctor noticed hair in his ultrasounds? Turner was completely bald, and I'm freaking out that I might have a little guy with some hair! 

The thing I look forward to the most is that moment you see them for the first time. It's like time stands still and all you can do is smile, laugh and cry at the same time. You feel so much love in an instant it completely overwhelms you. It's magical, in the most spiritual way.

Bearing children is such a wonderful gift. I'm so grateful to be a part of it all. It's at this point of my pregnancy that I feel conflicted with emotion about this sweet baby exiting my womb that I've carried him in for so long. I am one of those mama's who misses that feeling of being a vessel to life. When it's empty I struggle with it at first. Luckily, a sweet newborn to finally hold and cuddle and love makes up for a lot of that. I'll never stop loving the beauty of pregnancy. Never. But boy am I ready to hold an innocent little one from heaven in my arms again. We love him so much already. 

xo

Signature || Cheree || ADOS
 
Pregnancy Diary: 36 Weeks
Pregnancy Diary: 36 weeks || shameful mom moments || forgiveness || waiting game

For the last week I've been having shameful mom moments. I've been sick with a nasty cold, and just found out that Turner most likely has a sinus infection causing all of his awful symptoms (puking, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, and ear ache). Lacking sleep, we're both irritable and not our normal selves. But I don't feel like that's a good excuse. I've been neglecting Turner to work on all of the baby projects on my list. I've lost my temper so many times and I'm ashamed to admit it. I'm ashamed that I yell sometimes. I'm embarrassed that I get upset about the most trivial things.

One moment in particular, I reacted to Turner dumping a container of bubbles intentionally all over the floor. I reacted so suddenly and furiously that he started to cry. I felt instant guilt and regret as I watched his tears stream down his precious face. I wanted to take it all away. I was ashamed of myself. I found myself breaking down in tears as I apologized to him for allowing myself to get so upset. We both continued to cry as I held him tight in my arms. As I tried to comfort him, he slowly stopped crying, but continued asking me to hug him. 

I knew he had already forgiven me, but I couldn't forgive myself. I knew that I should never react so uncontrollably. I should never let myself get so stressed/anxious/annoyed that I react in anger instead of patience and love. I continued to tell myself how I was a terrible mother. Then I remembered an article I read recently.

I remembered that I'm not perfect, nor will I ever be. I realized I'm not a terrible mom, I'm mom who is sleeping less, feeling sick, and stressed about managing two. I got so caught up in the worry of nurturing our ill son and preparing for the arrival of our second one, that I completely neglected my own needs. I have been skipping my daily study and reflection. I have not been exercising or spending time outside. I've allowed myself to lose sight of things that really matter.

I'm so grateful that my son is so willing to forgive. That he sees me as a comforter even when I'm the one who caused him to need comfort. It's such a blessing to have such special children. I want them to remember the best parts of me, not the worst. I want to become better every day for them. I pray every day that I can adjust well to two children. That I can give my all to both of them and still find time for my husband and myself. I want to be that for them so badly.

The scariest part is, it's coming soon whether I'm ready or not.The carseat base is officially installed. Turner's room just needs baseboards, trim, and one more coat of paint, then it can be filled with big boy things. The nursery can be set up once Turner moves downstairs. All of our necessities are purchased and being shipped to our home. Once they arrive I'll have the items we need to pack our bags for the hospital. Then it will just be the waiting game.

Even though it's been a rough week, the spirit has granted me so much peace that things will be smooth once baby arrives. I know I am not alone during my daily struggles. That knowledge is such a blessing in my life. 

Any day now...We can hardly wait to meet you, Grey. 

xo

Signature || Cheree || ADOS