Monday, March 25, 2013

Tips From A (very) Pregnant Mom

You've all heard that the pregnant lady doesn't really appreciate being touched by strangers. It's true- she doesn't. It's weird and awkward, mainly because the belly is still attached to the body- something you wouldn't normally touch. 

But let's be honest, I don't know if it's because of word of mouth or if it's because people started thinking, but this doesn't really happen that often. It's usually someone you know and they usually ask first, and if you're a mom already, you're used to little hands all over you, so what's a little ohh and ahhh and pat on the belly from someone you know? 

Not a big deal.

But what is a big deal are the questions I get asked regularly this go around... at first I laughed, because who would really say these things in public to strangers? And now it's happened so many times, it's all I can do to keep my hormonal, smart mouthed self from saying things that would scar us all for a long time. So here's a list of things you should NOT say to a pregnant lady...

Obviously, I have 3 boys in tow with me 90% of the time. They're blond and really cute and they're all boys, I know.  And then at least once a week, if not more, I add another Spiva boy or two to my crew. I like it that way. I doesn't stress me out and the "chaos" that you see doesn't even make a blip on my radar. I prefer to keep them buckled in and wrangled in some way or another at all times, but I do totally understand that the noise alone can cause outsiders to peek... and then stare and gawk as they count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 boys... and she's pregnant. But regardless of how many children a pregnant lady appears to have the following is not acceptable:

1) "You do know how that happens, right?"
.... umm yes, I do, as does my husband. All of these boys have been planned down to the exact month they were conceived and we're overwhelmed by the blessing of being their parents.

2) "You hope that one is a girl, right?" (while pointing to my belly)
... not as much as you do! Being a boy mom is super fun, and if we were insistent on a girl, we would've gotten a puppy, which you can pick... but instead we've left it up to the Creator of the Universe. Ruffles and bows will be super fun, but so will raising 4 boys.

3) Upon being told that we're not finding out the gender "but don't you need to prepare yourself if it's another boy?"
... actually no, we're all stocked up on the boy stuff, it's the girl that will really throw us off!

4) "What will you do if it's a boy?"
... be thrilled to death, just like we will if it's a girl

Now you're probably having a hard time believing that strangers are saying these things to me, but they are-- I've heard them ALL more than once!!  And I know that some people think they're funny- but really it's not funny. It's my real life and I really love it. 

Feel free to add to the list if you've got more... maybe this list can help protect unsuspecting strangers from getting pummeled by a nice sweet pregnant lady!

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Little Pre-term Scare

This happened way back at the beginning of the year on January 22nd,  but I most certainly do want to remember these details so that someday I can tell our little nugget what I went through on his/ her account.... isn't that what mother's are supposed to do?

It was late January, and it was finally my turn to take dinner to our friends Brian and Wendy after they brought home sweet baby Joni. I had been looking forward to the excuse to see the baby again and Max was dying to see her-- he loves babies, for real, I'm not just saying that, and when we get a new announcement in the mail, he'll carry it around with him and ask me endless questions about the baby. We had planned all day to head their direction after naps, and Max would get to go in a peek at the baby. I got the car loaded with boys and food and ran in the potty once more before the 20 minute trek down the road... hey, I'm pregnant, remember?

We get about half way there and all of a sudden I HAVE to go again-- like not sure I can make it to their house. I even contemplate pulling into a gas station, but decide against unloading the boys, and letting them run their hands along only-God-knows what germs. With a little self talk, I make it to Wendy's, run to the door with the food and run into the bathroom. And I barely went. Like barely. AND right then I knew it-- I had a UTI. This wasn't my first UTI rodeo... somehow the stress and bad eating around finals time always caused me to them in college, and I got another when we first got married. Now granted, that had been almost 5 years ago, but this is something you don't forget.

I briefly talked with Wendy and then ran back out to my car where my boys were still buckled in-- and I proceed to crush Max's dreams of seeing the baby. I said something about the baby sleeping and next time, and left him in a heap of tears, but I knew that time was ticking to get to a clinic and get some meds before it would be a night of hell. I looked up the nearest minute clinic on my phone, learning that it was just minutes away and that we still had an hour and a half before closing and I sighed with relief. I pointed the minivan (megafun) in the direction of the clinic and called Chad who was on his way home to let him know what was happening. He was coming from the opposite direction of me and he had Gabe with him, so I talked them through putting the rest of dinner together and said we'd be home shortly.


When I got to CVS, they were all out of appointments for the day. I moaned aloud in agony, not sure what to do next. Over the course of the 12 mile drive back to my house, I literally had to stop at 5 public restrooms, unload my boys and carry them in, sit on the pot and NOT pee, while  have weird bladder contractions, and yet still managing to feel better, at least for the next 4 minutes- which allowed me to get the boys back in the car, get 2 miles further down the road, and do it all again. And there was nothing anyone could do to help me. I called my friend Anna, asking for advice. And then I called my midwife who mentioned that this could get hairy pretty quick when pregnant and that it was necessary to get to an urgent care or ER right away. Really? Who wants to do all that when you dying in pain and just need an antibiotic. I could feel myself losing my cool more and more by every second... the pain was too much, the lugging of boys and the public restrooms, the constant stopping, and the hour is took me to go 12 miles was quite possibly pushing me into the looney bin. It was all I could do to stay calm and kind to my kids and the people I was talking to on the phone. By the time I got home, I literally ran in the house, leaving the boys in the car for Chad to come rescue.

I just went and sat on the potty and cried and moaned for a bit. Then I gathered what was left of my sanity and proceeded to get in touch with the Obstetrician at my office, hoping that she could just call in an antibiotic to get me through the night. But no... because they have to know what strain it is to know what antibiotic is necessary to treat it and if they start an antibiotic that isn't the right one, it still has the ability to mask the infection and therefore let it get worse and cause major damage before you know that it's even happening. Joy.

Did I mention that we were just days from moving at this point? And so Chad had to make a run to pick up a dresser I had bought and due to a couple unforeseen conflicts, it had been rescheduled several times, so I was insistent that he go. But of course he was already gone by the time I got word that I had to drive 40 minutes to the only urgent care clinic that was open in our area... that would be closing in an hour. So Anna had to rush over to sit with our boys, so that I could leave immediately and hopefully get there in time. I backed out of the driveway as she pulled in. That's what friends are for!

The drive to urgent care was ridiculous... I had my mom on the phone with me the whole way to keep me calm and talk me off the cliff.. and also to distract me... and probably to make sure I got their safely too. I stopped multiple times for bathrooms along the way, of course, but this time with no boys, making the trips quicker thank goodness! I was literally racing the clock to try and get their before they locked their doors. At one point, the gas station attendant, a lady, asked me to watch the store so she could go to the bathroom herself. I just felt like my patience and stamina were being tried in a way they never had before.

I finally made it to urgent care, got everything filled out, and got called back pretty quick-- what a blessing. But that's when things took a turn for the worst-- I had to leave a urine sample which tested positive for some pretty serious things, and by then there was bleeding and contractions as well. I was only 25 weeks pregnant at the time and literally, felt myself losing it as all this unfolded. The urgent care doc wanted me to get checked there, my midwife was saying no way, Chad was at home with the boys telling me to listen to my midwife and I was sitting in this little clinic room all alone crying. And then within 4 minutes, I was being sent to triage in Labor and Delivery. Without my husband. Or any support for that matter. I managed to walk myself to my car before losing it. I told Chad what was happening, and then I called my midwife and told her I was being sent to the hospital and she was elated. Apparently she was hoping that would happen because she thought it appeared to be more serious than I knew at the time. So I'm driving and crying and she just starts praying over me and the situation. (More to follow on my midwife, but dang, she's awesome). Then I called my mom to see if she could come meet me since Chad couldn't leave the boys. And then I texted a couple girlfriends asking for prayers.

After a potty stop, a quick pick up of an RX en route, and a brief stop to gain control over the tears, I managed to arrive at the hospital about 7 minutes before my mom got there. I got all checked in and was being taken to my room when she walked off the elevator. When I first got their, the nurses didn't seem too worried and just went about protocol, but something happened at some point, no one really ever told me what they found that escalated things, but all of a sudden, I was multiple bands around my belly, and IV in my arm, fluids in another bag, and this huge cup that I was told to drain every 10 minutes. Which let's pause for a second to point out the obvious-- I was already making crazy repetitive bathroom stops and then they start pumping all this into my system and I could barely sit in the bed for 2 minutes before having to unhook everything and go AGAIN. But my contractions were kicking across the screen, which at 25 weeks is the exact opposite of what should be happening, and I was told it would either be completely better in 30 minutes, or it would be bad and they would have to begin to stop labor.


Did I mention Chad was at home? And that my phone was dead? Yep. So my Mom kept him and my bro updated, and helped me in and out of the bed 47 million times, and then before we knew it, all was calm in my belly and I was no longer in pain. Now that's what I'm talking about-- that's why we love antibiotics!!! And just like they predicted, within 30 minutes I was in the clear- thank you Jesus! I had to finish both IV bags, and drink a certain amount of fluids, and the midwife had to come by and check my cervix before I could be officially discharged. And then I was sent with another full prescription of antibiotics. And just to think that all this started at dinner time and I managed to get myself in my own bed by 1:00am. Usually Chad has the ability to sleep in any stressful situation, regardless of what or who is in the midst of it-- but not this time-- he was waiting in bed with the tv on and not even close to sleep. As I got myself, my meds, and my fluids situated, he looked at me and said "It has to be a girl, because she's already a pain in our butt!" :)

We shall see if the 2 uneventful pregnancies compared with this whacko one really does produce a high maintenance little lady that already has her Daddy wrapped around her finger, or if it's just another boy trying really hard to make a name for himself so he doesn't just blend into our blonde brood... regardless of the outcome, I would like to say that 1 evening of high drama is quite enough, and I'm so grateful that it ended there, with no long term ramifications or bed rest or a NICU baby.... oh my Jesus, thank you! And I'm also incredibly grateful for my jump in the car at a moment's notice mother, and friend Anna, and for my praying friends too. My support system is such a blessing.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cancel ALL Productivity

Today I cancelled all productivity. It wasn't even a thought in my head upon waking up, but as things got going, it became a must. We kept our pj's on for an extra long time, Gabe didn't even wake up until 9:30 and didn't eat breakfast until 10... which made the little guys think they needed a second breakfast. We all put on sweat pants and t-shirts for the day... once we actually got out of our pajamas, and we made it to noon without brushing our teeth.

This is the first time in a long time where I actually sat down with my kids and did what they did... we had Disney Junior on all morning, I helped them skate on the rug, they messed all my pillows and coasters and scattered them around the living room, and I didn't even pick them up. We played games with shapes and patterns and my favorite part was of course the cuddling which I never have "time" for on a normal day... because who can stop laundry and kitchen cleaning and picking up and running errands and such?

And I just couldn't help but to love it-- I got to watch their cute faces and hear their laughs right next to my ears... not from across the room or across the house as I ran around making order. Instead, ordering myself to sit and bask was just what this super pregnant mama needed. I am so full. They are so fun. My house is such a wreck. And I canNOT wait for baby to arrive.

I suppose that while they're napping, I should try to regain some order and potentially think through dinner, because as odd as it sounds, Chad does like to eat most evenings-- picky picky! And this morning will probably cause more work in the long haul, but let's just say it was totally worth it and that's an understatement. The pace has been easy going and relaxed all day... everyone seems to have an extra bounce in their steps, a little more mischief in their eyes, and brighter smiles on their faces-- even more than normal. Gabe is still leisurely finishing his school work, and Max and Jack are snug under blankets in their own beds... I even caught a 20 minute catnap with Max... ahhhh, refreshing!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Gabe's 1st Sleepover

On Saturday night, we had 3 other boys Gabe's age over for a sleep over and other fun birthday adventures. This is the first time I've hosted a sleepover for one of our boys... sure I went to many, and I've had youth kids over many times, but to actually have Gabe's friends over to spend the night, it was a first!

At one point, in the midst of keeping them all fed, Chad looked over at me and asked if I realized that this was going to be our life in a few years... it was like our own Bowman fraternity house :) They were all so good-- I mean they were boys-- wrestling and forts and lots of laughing and giggling over farts and such, but the only thing I can truly complain about is that one of them dumped the cereal milk over the clean dishes, thinking it was the dirty side. So really, can you escape anymore unharmed from a sleepover? I think not! I mean, whoever it was, was trying to clean up their own dishes!

So when they arrived, after their first lightsaber fight, we had pizza and cookie cake for Gabe. Then it was time to load up and head to cosmic rollerskating. Gabe loves skating and he's really good at it-- especially for his age, it's totally his "thing". So everyone skated for a bit at their own pace-- it cracked me up because a group of 4 girls all spending the night together would've done each lap right beside one another, but these boys didn't skate together once. Before long they were enjoying the video games and then by the end of the night, Gabe had Chad talked into a game of laser tag-- I think that was the highlight. Me and the little boys joined them for a bit, before heading home for bed. Both Max and Jack think they're as big as Gabe and have to be reminded often that they don't have the same privledges that he does... for Max, that's a hard pill to swallow. Reminds me of his mother... always wanting to be older than she was...

They came home and had snacks and movie time before being sent to bed around 10:15. They told Chad they'd tell stories for a bit, then they'd go to sleep. We had to make 2 more quick visits reminding them that it was bedtime and they were all out around 11ish... not bad! And no fussing required! Now they were also back up again by 7am, which totally caught us off guard because they slept in the basement where it was dark.

They gobbled breakfast, finished their movie, wrestled and played and had more lightsaber fights, and even all got showered and out the door for church by 11am. About 30 minutes before it was time to leave, I asked them to gather their stuff and pick up and it was spotless before we left. I was rather impressed!!

We're thankful for our 10 year old and sweet friends-- God has blessed us all so much!