Friday, September 5, 2014

To the mama who “ended up” with an epidural

To the mama who “ended up” with an epidural,

You are not a failure. Let me repeat. You. Are. NOT. A. Failure. Stop rolling your eyes, grab a tissue for those tears welling up, and exhale. You are not a failure. Now, I know, I know… you read and read and studied and studied for your labor. You know more about the birthing process than you even knew existed 10 months ago. You and your husband planned and processed and decided. You worked for this, you prepped for this, you ate for this, you exercised for this, and you even took more vitamins, supplements and herbs than you can count for this. You lay awake at night thinking about it. You practiced relaxing and breathing, you took classes, and you knew just what to expect. And yet you still ended up with an epidural.

You’re still not a failure.

I get it. It happened to me too. And for years, literally years, Satan whispered my failures and shortcomings in my ear- and I listened.

I didn’t have what it took.
I wasn’t as strong as those other moms.
I didn’t fight hard enough.
I gave in.
I had disappointed everyone.
I was a wimp.
I couldn’t handle it.
‘She’ was better than me.
I needed to make up for it elsewhere.
I would never be ‘mom’ enough.
I was a failure.

With my first born, I read it all and took the class and had the greatest birth plan… my due date came and went and then, finally, at 2am on a Monday morning, my first contraction. And like I could sleep after that… I crept down to the couch and timed every single contraction… 10 minutes apart… then 9 minutes apart… then 8 minutes apart…. By morning I was walking the neighborhood, dreaming of meeting my little man in a matter of hours… but at 9pm that night, when I went to the hospital and found out I was on 2cm, I literally crumbled. 19 hours of labor to get to a 2??? So we went back home… more labor… more walking… hot showers and cold showers and snacks…. And contraction after contraction…. We went back to the hospital the next night, 43 hours into labor… I was a 4. I kid you not. But this time, I wouldn’t leave the hospital. I walked around, I went up and down the steps in the lobby, pausing every 2-3 minutes for a brutal contraction. I finally made it to a 5 and so the nurses filled up the pool so I could have a water birth. But let me tell you what I hate- laboring in water. So back out of the tub I came, after 50 hours of labor, with no end in sight, and I started sobbing… “I’m so sorry” I said to my husband and my midwife, “I can’t do it.” I cried like there was no tomorrow. I finally “caved” and “ended up” with an epidural. 5 short hours later, after a good nap, my little man came into the world. 55 hours from start to finish and I was exhausted, but my Max was in my arms.

With baby #2, my water broke at 35 weeks to the day, only God knows why, so not only did I “end up” with an epidural but also a big dose of pitocin… you know the drug I had vowed “never” to get… And my sweet Jack, all 5lbs of him, was in my arms before the day was over.

With baby #3, my water broke around 9:30pm, and my midwife was at my house by about 10:30pm for a homebirth. It was only a matter of an hour or two before those contraction were radiating through my body every few minutes. I walked and swayed, I was in and out of the shower, I worked and labored and threw up and whimpered, and then I met my 3rd little man, Sam my sunshine… 16 hours later. So much for a “quick” labor your 3rd time around. It was my ­first unmedicated birth. 3rd times the charm, I guess?!

All three of those babies made me a mama… one no more than another. All three of those babies took perseverance, wise choices, hard work, and lots of heart. Little did I know, labor was only the beginning of that process. 

So, you “ended up” with an epidural. You are not a failure… you’re a mama. You worked and labored for what you thought was best for your child, and in the end you had to go a different route… you are a mama. You fought until you couldn’t breathe, literally, you are a mama. You had to change the course, veer from the original plan even when you didn’t want to… you are a mama. It was grueling, arduous, sometimes crippling, full of love and devotion… you are a mama.

Motherhood is unknown and hard and ever-changing. It is never what you plan for, more unexpected than you care to recount, and a lot of work. It takes your breath away, knocks you to your knees, makes you weep, and does things to your insides that you didn’t know was possible. It’s the very best thing you’ve ever done… and you got a crash course during labor. You are a mama. As I sit here with baby #4 wiggling around in my belly, can I just say, “Welcome to the best club, ever!” You’ll never be the same, nor will you ever want to be. No, you are not a failure, YOU ARE A MAMA!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Surprise! Happy 30th to Me!

For the most part, you can find my birthday weekend on the same weekend as the GA/FLA game and the time change.... as in getting an extra hour of sleep. When I was in college, it also coincided with fall break. It was a win/win/win/win situation and truly one of my favorite times of the year. I already explained my obsession with fall. And this particular weekend encompassed it all. And that was even true for years after I had kids.

But on this particular year, not so much. Let's start with the time change. For the first time, it has really messed up my kids and by 8:30 last night, Chad and I were literally both in bed, feeling like we had been hit by a Mack truck. It started with an early wake up call because the kids didn't get the memo about an extra hour of sleep, so by 9am we had already cleaned the whole house and I had made some baby food. So Chad went to mow the yard- before church- naturally. The kids' stomachs were all whacked out too-- they were literally hungry all day and thought they were being starved... until dinner time, when they were no longer hungry. I guess their stomach was off-duty by that point?! They were so tired by the time we made it home for naps that 2 of the 3 didn't nap and Jack napped so long that I had to wake him up and he woke up a grumpy ole poot. And to top it off, the baby slept from 6pm last night til 7:30 this morning. Today has been a little better, but barely. And I won't even mention the Dawgs and the GA/FLA game- we came out with the W, barely, which was just all kinds of wrong. AND somehow, it was all messed up enough that my birthday actually fell the weekend before. Which turned out to be the silver lining... and it was the reason I found myself standing in the middle of a pizza place surrounded by about 30 of my friends and family on my actual birthday.

Let's rewind. Last weekend, I turned 30. And the Dawgs were not playing at all. And somehow, my husband managed to pull off a completely surprising surprise party. You know how after the fact, you usually remember some things that should've been red flags? Well, there weren't even any of those. And I didn't even know Chad had something like this in him, honestly. But the man conspired with my mom and Danielle and the rest is all history....

I had requested that we keep our kiddos with us for the night of my birthday so Chad suggested a picnic with my parents, and that would be that. Or not. Due to an out-of-nowhere cold snap, we decided to pick somewhere to eat on the Marietta square instead of an actual picnic My Dad said he was hungry for pizza and I fell right for the bait with an "oh, there's a great pizza place right there- let's do that." As Chad pulled open the door, I rounded the doorway and found myself in the middle of lots of my friends screaming "surprise!" Then I did what any normal human would do... cried?!??! Ha!

We had pizza....

A balloon guy stopped by....

And Danielle had picked the perfect "cake" for me....


The room was full of my favorite people (most of them anyway!) my favorite kids, lots of cards, and everyone there to celebrate. To say I left feeling loved would be an understatement-- my heart was overflowing! I'm so thankful for my husband- working to pull it all off- he said it was so hard and had him super stressed out! And apparently some of the ladies were a bit concerned because a lot of the communication went through the men, ha! But I was so grateful- actually I still am! Thank you!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Awards Day...

On Monday morning, while I was getting the boys fed, Chad said that my phone was ringing from a number I didn't know... a few minutes later my voicemail beeped and it was a little Gabe voice saying 

"Hey. It's me. Today is awards day and I forgot to tell you. I'd really like it if you could be there. Thanks bye."
Ummmm.... so around 1pm, me and my 3 little people showed up at Gabe's school, OBVIOUSLY, because who wouldn't after that??

Now let me tell you, it's less than ideal to take a 4 year old, a 2 year old, and a baby into that AT NAP TIME.... yucko. But luckily Laura from our church was there and made sure Jack didn't fall off the chair and crack his head open :) And I may have let them eat 3-4 pieces of candy. Each.

But it was all worth it because Gabe received 2 great awards...
Perfect attendance:

And Honor roll!

This is a really cool awards thing that his school does every 9 weeks- and I loved what the principal said-- she said "you all are my 5th graders, so when I call your name, you come up and give me a good hand shake, look me in the eye and say thanks". I love that she is worried about teaching them this stuff- because honestly, we care WAY more about that than grades anyway!

We also had Gabe's conference last week and he got rave reviews-- more than once, his two teachers said "Oh, we love our Gabe!" And they spoke about him being kind and helpful and aware of his classmates. Oh my heart-- way to go Gabe-- those are the compliments and comments that make us so so proud of you!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Trick-or-Treat 2013

Halloween was a whole new ballgame for us this year.... mainly because Max and Jack decided that they would actually speak this year-- you know a "trick-or-treat" at the door, screamed in sheer ecstasy, followed with a "THANK YOU!" that was genuinely filled with gratitude, because a holiday that includes getting oodles of candy? Why yes, that is the best idea ever, for which they are most certainly thankful!

Meet our baby bear:

And Mickey Mouse:

And Peter Pan:

And our Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Donatello:

And we tried for some family shots, but..... this was the best one of like 10000! Sam thought he should eat that weapon.... yummmmmy!

But of course when I was trying to take a picture of Gabe, then all of a sudden, a picture sounded like a great idea.... and they appeared right behind the tree :) And it ended up being a super cute shot!

We started out in Downtown Woodstock because I knew Gabe's mom would want to see him all dressed up and Gabe would love seeing his sister... they were cute as can be and Kimbrel did NOT understand why Gabe wouldn't be joining her in her wagon- so adorable!

There were tons of games and fun set up in downtown Woodstock but it was a total zoo- like might lose your children among the throes of costumed kiddos which just wouldn't be good. Anna and her girls met us there too-- once again, our children had themed costumes... Max and Lizzy were Peter Pan and Tinkerbell and ABSOLUTELY adorable! I got Gabe a really great Captain Hook costume, which at one point he said he wanted, but it turns out he completely did not want to be that and tried to pretend like I wasn't standing in front of him holding it. I picked up what he was putting down and offered to take it back so he could pick another- obviously that IS the direction he decided to go!

Man oh man does Max love his Lizzy. They are such good friends!

Jack and Evie were Mickey and Minnie and quite the adorable pair as well, BUT Evie was sick, poor baby, and spent most of her time in the stroller, not smiling. BUT she didn't want to miss the fun altogether and go inside.

Uncle Eli joined us too- which with wild man Jack, we seriously needed his adult help. Speaking of Jack.... this was the BEST thing that ever happened to him. He strutted down the street as people shouted about how adorable he was, he ran up to a house, said "trick or treat" was handed candy and preceded to immediately pop it in his mouth if he could get the wrapper off before I could get to him. He was so elated after every single house. Which would sometimes send him running with shouts of glee... into the street! Thankfully, I could be on candy-to-bag duty, Chad could be on stroller duty, and Eli would be on street duty/ save the child from being ran over. Then we would switch. Max also informed me that we would not need a wagon because "actually Eli would like to hold him and Daddy could hold Jack," It also helped having Gabe there to show the kids the ropes- it took no more than 2 houses for them to understand that speed was their friend and if they ran fast enough the adults would give up shouting for them to wait and just keep up.

Now all of this fun wore the baby smack out. He was sound asleep before we even made it out of the Prusa's yard. It's rough being the 4th boy....

Happy Halloween from the cutest boys around!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

It's Fall Y'all!

Fall is my favorite time of year- for many reasons-- I love the crisp weather and the smells and the colors. I love the activities that go along with this time of year, and the clothes, and the food too. I love football on tv, and for some reason, fall just gives you more reasons to get together with people.

The beginning of fall is marked by football season-- and I really do love my Dawgs. This season has been a bit rough- we were flying high and then plummeted, but red and black nonetheless, woof woof! And it's been fun celebrating and watching with friends too, and making sure my boys know that Saturdays mean it's time for our jerseys.

The North Georgia Fair was also on our list for this fall-- Gabe earned it after reaching some goals at school and so we dropped the baby off with Annie and headed out for a family night. The boys loved it- even Chad- but I've got to tell you, the food used to be "good" me-- and now the smells alone make me nauseated... I'm getting so old. And when you break down the actual seconds you spend on rides with how much it costs, it ain't pretty. But again, I'm old. The BOYS loved it- grinned all night and talked about it for days afterwards, which of course makes it worth it.

We visited the pumpkin patch and corn maze-- it's our annual tradition with the Spivas-- this is our 4th year and we've managed to add a new pumpkin each year... and next year will be no different! They're expecting punkin number 3 in May, yayyyyy!!! We saw lots of pumpkins, shot a corn cannon, fed goats (nasty!), did the corn maze and the hay ride, but the boys had the most fun on this big pile of tires and a kiddie maze made from soy bean plants- they ran around that thing like nuts. It was so cute. And then of course Jack was covered in mud by the end....

We also got to go to the fall festival at Gabe's school. It was extra fun because it was put on by our church- so we got to work the hayride and meet and talk to people, as well as bump into Gabe's classmates. They decorated pumpkins, Gabe did the cake walk until he won, which was like 100988 times, they rode the hay ride, passed out candy, loved on the animals in the petting zoo (again, yucko!) and of course had to play in the jumpy. By the time we got home, we were all worn smack out. Just how I like it... there is nothing quite like a good Saturday afternoon nap!

And we're closed out "fall festivities" by carving and decorating pumpkins tonight. This has always been something for Chad and the boys and I just stand back and take pictures-- I get to stick my hands in enough goo between all the diapers, snot noses, and spitting up going on in these parts, so it's the least I can do :) This year, Gabe was our designer, Chad is still the only one yielding knives, Max was all about scooping out the guts, Sam watched and laughed, and Jack was all over the place in typical Jack form.

(Man I love these boys!)

I'm so thankful for this time of year-- you can see God's creativity, beauty, and love everywhere you look.