Friday, June 29, 2012

How dull my life would be without Olivia's hilarity..

So I'm sitting around, procrastinating and Aaron says, "Okay c'mon you have a lot to do. Cookie dough, shower, make up... it's already after 6:00."

Olivia, who never misses a thing, jumps up from where she was sitting, wide eyes and exclaims, "A COOKIE DOUGH SHOWER?! WHAT IS A COOKIE DOUGH SHOWER? I WANT ONE!"

I just couldn't stop laughing. Which irritated her and she kept insisting, "MOM! What is a cookie dough shower??"

"The best thing in the world, Olivia... the best thing in the world... if it existed." Replied Aaron, because I was too busy laughing.

Finally I was able to explain it was a list of separate things, and there was no such thing as cookie dough shower.

Disappointed, she sighed, "Well I wish there was!"

Me too, little girl. Me too.

Blogger Problems

Blogger Problem #27 - People read your blog so then they think they don't have to talk to you in real life.

I have heard from a few friends, "Oh sorry I never call you anymore-- I just read your blog all the time so I feel like I'm all caught up on your life!"

Well for one, you are probably right. You are pretty much caught up on my life. Not much goes on that I don't write about here on my blog... except for all the good stuff!! You are totally missing out if we don't have the occasional phone call, text or email.

 And for two, I don't get to hear about YOUR life. So either you need to start a blog as well (AND UPDATE IT REGULARLY *ahemSwiney*ahem) or call me! Or at the very least email me.

This is directed at absolutely no one in particular, I just can't sleep and got to thinking about some old friends who I miss hearing from.

I also feel like I "know" people whose blogs I read. One person - I only knew her by her blog -- but I saw her in real life, and forgot how I "knew" her and I totally said hi and quickly realized she had no clue who I was. Sometimes I've even gone up to people and introduced myself and been like, "Heeyy so yeah... I read your blog... and I know all about the intimate details of your life even though I've never met you, I feel like we could totally be best friends!" And then I feel all awkward and stuff. Sometimes I don't know why I talk.

Anyway all I'm sayin' is all ya'll need to start some blogs of your own and update them at least once a week. Or shoot me an email about what's going in your life. Or even, if you really love me hit me up on my cell piece. (I can not even type this with a straight face.. who talks like this? I am debating on deleting this paragraph all together, but picturing Aaron's face when he reads it is enticing me to leave it...)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Should be putting away laundry...

I really should be putting away laundry. Or unloading the dishwasher. Or mopping my floors. Or at the very least watching Super Why with my kids. But this blog that hasn't been updated in a few days has been calling to me louder than all those things.

I've wanted to blog about our awesome day at Port Farms. I signed the girls up for a little day camp type thing at one of our favorite places in PA - Port Farms. They learned about seeds and compost, and weeding, and they played lots and lots. They picked a salad that they got to take home in a cute basket. They also brought home compost buckets full of fresh compost and worms. They seriously loved every minute of it. And later that day when they were out looking for more things to add to their compost, Olivia fell off her bike onto Abigail. And Abigail was laying on the ground, under Olivia's bike, and she cried out, "MY COMPOST!" Despite the scrape on her leg (which was minor) or the handlebars on her head, her only concern was that compost. Cracked me up.

Abigail was also quite hilarious on a wooden horse they have there at the Farm. She loved sitting on it. It doesn't move. At all. So she just sat there pretending. I tried to take a picture and she said, "Slow down horsey! My mom is trying to take a picture!" Again, cracked me up.

I have also wanted to write about the screen addiction that effects my family. Seriously, the kids, myself, my husband, we always have our faces in front of a phone, tv, computer, DS. I guess not always, but at least enough for my 6 month old to now want to hold electronic devices in front of his face. Seriously. This morning I was snuggling him (while looking at my phone, of course) and he was reaching for Aaron's DS that was in our bed. He got it and held up above him, looking at it, while I looked at facebook (or something equally unimportant) on my phone. For a moment it was like I able to see this scene from outside my body. I was imagining watching it on a tv show, or a documentary about how we have all turned into zombies, or something. And I saw the mother with her infant staring at her, trying to get her attention by pulling at her hands and hair. The mother absent-mindedly trying to distract  him by wiggling her fingers or something, all the while keeping her eyes on her phone. The infant losing interest in wiggling fingers, and reaches for electronic device of his own. Holds it up in front of his face. And he is learning that this is just what people do. And as I watched this scene play out in front of me - my heart broke. I do not want my babies to grow up thinking this is okay. When we are around real people we interact with them!! We don't ignore them for some virtual people. So I vowed - I am going to be on my phone, and computer less. Much less. I am thinking when we get new phones I'm not going to get another "smart phone" because I think it's making me dumb. I don't know that I have the self control to only use apps when my kids are napping or during designated "me" time.

But I go back and forth. I mean - is it really that bad? Yes I look at my phone in the morning, and then again at night, and probably a dozen times in between.... is that so bad? I still play plenty with my kids. Am I making too big of a deal about something?

But that scene ... Nathan holding the DS in front of his face... yeah that tells me that maybe I need to lay off a bit.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Still working out some kinks...

So I wrote the post below like a million years ago... when I went through and published all the ones I took over, somehow this one got bumped to the top. Oohh well.

Also - could I ask a favor of all the awesome people who link to my blog? Could you pretty please update the address? That would just be swell. Really, thanks.

In other news, my brother was here for a few days and it was awesome. The kids were in heaven having a fun uncle to horse around with. Plus he did dishes and helped clean the kitchen. Seriously considering hiring a Manny....

In other, other news, last night I let the girls stay up late to catch lightning bugs. It was awesome. When Olivia is genuinely, truly happy, her smile is the best thing in the world. There is not much that compares to the pure joy of seeing a lightning bug for the first time. Of course now I'm sure every night she will beg to stay up to see them... and they don't come out here until after 9:00PM! That is just way too late for my little girls. As much as Olivia's genuine happiness is the best thing in the world - her tired, cranky meltdowns are probably the worst thing in the world. So it won't happen every night, but last night was pretty perfect.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Our house at 3am

The scene: The girls' bedroom, 3:06am. Abigail crying for 20 minutes straight (highly unusual for her) in her crib, wearing a soaked diaper and she's gotten her pajama's halfway off. Cut to Olivia in her bed across the room, sitting up wide awake.

MOM :  Changes baby's diaper, not saying a word.

OLIVIA : Mom, I want you to make a pie. Acawully I want you to make me dis many pies. holds up three fingers. I want a raspberry pie. Have you ever had a raspberry pie before, Mom? Dem are so good. And I want... a .... uhhmm... Mom? What's your fabrit pie to make faw us?

MOM : mutters sleepily Pumpkin.

OLIVIA: Okay Mom! You can make me a pumpin pie! Aaand.... uhhhmmmm.... what else?... Oh Mom! A strawberry pie! That's my fabrit. Okay tomorrow when we wake up you can bake us free pies.

MOM : Puts baby back in crib. 

OLIVIA: Okay, Mom? You can make us free pies. Okay? Mom! Okay. Mom, lay wif me a tiny bit.

MOM : Goodnight, Olivia.

Mom walks out the door praying that she won't see those precious faces again until daybreak. Climbs back into her bed and realizes after 2 hours of sleep she is wide awake. Scene closes as Mom "blogs" about it.

random, random, and more random

My phone is filled with pictures of stuffed animals in poses like this. Thanks to Olivia-the-photographer. Pretty sure the idea came from THE cutest library event ever. There was a stuffed animal sleep over that the girls took their stuffed animals too. We went to the library at 6:30PM and the kids read books, and sang songs to their stuffed animals. They did a little craft, and then tucked in their "friends". Then we went home and went back to the next day to see what kind of adventures the stuffed animals had overnight in the library. The librarians had a slide show running of literally hundreds of pictures of all the stuffed animals doing things like watching a movie, reading books, making smores, doing a craft, causing mischief.  Seriously so cute.  They had a goody bag to bring home as well. It had a craft that their stuffed animals made, printed pictures of the night, a picture frame, and a bouncy ball. The girls loved every second of it. So did I! Olivia asked where the magician was. Confused, I asked what she meant. Then she said, "The magician who made all the animals come alive! Where is he?" She was so sure a magician was the only logical explanation as to how her stuffed animal came to life. Seriously! Cutest library ever.
Super concentration face. If your tongue is in your mouth you are not thinking hard enough.

This is something I came up with all on my own. I'm sure someone else has done it before but I didn't get the idea from pinterest or anywhere else on the internets. I wrote the number then we glued beans on the touch math points. Then we practiced addition, and counting, and it was just good to help her learn to write her  numbers as well. She loved doing this.
I couldn't get a good picture but this was on the way home from Niagara Falls. We stopped in Buffalo, NY for the ORIGINAL buffalo wings. They were seriously so delish. I should have taken a picture of the could-be-celebrity smoking his pipe. Oh well.

These are all pictures Olivia took at Niagara Falls. Love her eye for photographic material. These pictures crack me up!
Presque Isle. This is Lake Erie at about 9:00PM. I am going to miss this place so much!
Oh and this little man is 6 months. SIX MONTHS! He can sit up and he eats a lot. He has no teeth. He wakes up to nurse in the middle of the night - after about a month of sleeping a solid 12-13 hours... this past week all of a sudden he started waking up again. Darnit. Why do they have to sleep in spurts like that?  He is beyond adored by his sisters. He likes to be rocked to sleep, but sometimes has to settle for a quick kiss and his blanket because there are 2 other children in need on my arms. He is trying to learn to move - and Olivia is determined to teach him to crawl. I'm afraid he'll figure it out sooner than later. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Olivia says...

The other day walking home from the pool, Olivia was holding her friend's hand and pretty much word-for-word this is what I heard,

Did I ever tell you about my mom's grandpa? We called him "Great-Poppy" and he sure was great! He was THE best! He fought in a war, and has so many medals. He was a real hero!
And then I have another great-grandpa. I call him "Grandpa Opie" and when I was a baby in my mommy's tummy I tricked him! He got my mommy a suit because he thought I was a boy! 
But I'm usually a girl.

Ya know, usually... So funny. And both stories are true. Poppy was a hero. And Grandpa Opie was certain I was carrying a boy when I was pregnant with Olivia. We didn't find out the gender, and Grandpa was so sure he purchased a suit for my baby before she was born. He later exchanged it for a beautiful blue dress, which I cherish.

Monday, June 18, 2012

An explanation of sorts

Hey -- so your computer is not broken. If you are looking for "wonderful life of lauren opie" this is it. Aaron redirected the website to come here. Not sure if old links will still work. And it looks like all my old posts are gone -- they're not. They are here, just not published. So do I go back and publish all 500ish posts? I don't know. I'll figure it all out eventually.

Aaron wanted to know why I wanted to change the name. "You don't think your life is wonderful anymore?"

That just made me laugh out loud. No. I still think my life is wonderful. However, when I first started my blog I had no idea I'd stick with it for 5 years. And so I was just sitting there and I typed the first thing that came to my head. It's always bugged me though. Those double l's for one. And it's long. And cumbersome.

Then one day I was thinking about words. Like I don't like the word blog. It looks funny and it sounds like blaaah-guh. And in TV and on movies people with blogs are weirdos. But I like my blaahhg so it's not going anywhere. Anyway - another word I thought about was .com.  I like com. Like calm. And then I thought about how my blog is like my little calm place. My place to go to get a break from everything going on in my life at that moment. Hence - my dot calm.

I won't lie. I really want to have a blog that makes money. Is that superficial and annoying of me? I don't know. Possibly. I love writing. And I love reading blogs. But some blogs are SO boring and they have like 5,000 followers. Seriously?! People care that much about what you're wearing every day? I really hate looking at pictures of people's weird clothes and weird food.

But I would love to make money writing. I just have no clue how to start. Anyone out there want to pay me to write this stuff?? Well for now I'll keep dreaming.

Also - I love comments. Could you comment on this post to let me know you found your way over here? That would be just swell... and would make this dreary, lonely Monday a little happier. (Yes I'm begging here people!)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

How to have a perfect day.

First find three perfect children. Too hard to find? You can borrow mine. But only for a day or two. Then they start to turn. Trust me, you'll want to return them before that happens. Okay my kids are far from perfect. But I can't tell them that. I'm their mom. Pretty sure it's my job to make them know how unconditionally loved they are. So as far as they are concerned, I think they are perfect.

So wake up in the morning and decide to take your three perfect children to someplace magical. Someplace unforgettable. No, not Disneyland. Too far and too expensive. We're talking about Niagara Falls.

Pick a day that you think might not be too busy. Like a random Friday in June for example. Be completely oblivious to the fact that world history is being made there that day, by some tightrope walker and just show up.

Listen to personalized CD's for the two hour drive. Stop for candy.

Get lunch at Chili's. Aaron got a new soup of theirs and proclaimed it his favorite soup from a restaurant ever. On a Friday. In New York. I enjoyed a Quesadilla Explosion Salad - or just an EXPLO to us former Chili-heads.

Let those perfect kids play under the table while you enjoy each peaceful bite.

Save two of three kids from choking to death. Abbi needs to learn to CHEW her FOOD! Seriously. And Natester needs to pop out a few teeth.

Then load everyone up and follow signs and GPS to The Falls. See parking lot full. Drive around and find alternative parking. Find out alternative parking wants FIFTY BUCKS!! 5-0. Fifty smackeroo's. Half of a hundred. Fiddy bones. To park your car in their dirt. Apparently this tight-rope walker is drawing quite the crowd, and these guys want to profit. I was appalled. Really appalled is the only word. The kid couldn't even keep a straight face when telling us the price. Aaron was positive that he was joking. So was I. Apparently another lot was asking $75! These people should be put in prison. I could not believe it. I was so outraged. I mean I guess they have to make their money. So whatever. But they are not making it off me!  We found a lot for $10, because that's how we roll.

Take a ride on Maid Of The Mist. It will be the best money you spend all day. Olivia stood by the edge of the boat with head peaking between the rails the entire 16 minute trip. Only reluctantly turning her head when, as I begged for pictures. Abbi was fearful the first few minutes and clung to her Daddy for dear life. Nathan fell asleep on my shoulder.

Don't forget to smooch your amazing husband while being blasted with water spraying off The Falls.

Roam around a gift shop and buy a $3 magnet/snowglobe. Is there a more perfect souvenir? Serves a purpose, reminds us of our trip, and entertains small children. Perfect.

Sit on park bench and let kids run around the grass, while the Baby finishes his nap.

Promise kids ice cream if they walk nicely back to the car. Talk up ice cream place with 50 flavors. Ignore the hubby's words of wisdom as he says they might only take cash, and we only have $2 left. Walking half a mile with three kids is like pulling teeth. Especially perfect kids who like to stop and pet every single dog, pick up every single rock, pick every flower, and walk on every ledge.

Keep mentioning that ice cream to get the moving. Finally arrive at ice cream shop, to find that husband was right the entire time. Cash only. And the cheapest thing on the menu is $3.50. Ya know what, actually you might want to just skip that part.

Drag screaming, crying children away from promised ice cream to the car. Try promising different ice cream, but now your word means nothing since you just pulled the rug out from under them.

Eventually make it to Dairy Queen and let them get anything they want - since it now seems like a bargain. And you feel guilty about the whole Twist of the Mist fiasco. When they end up happily sharing a medium chocolate milkshake, that the employee so kindly separated into two small cups, silently celebrate your victory of money-saving.

Enjoy a peaceful drive home with two sleeping toddlers.

Don't forget to stop at Anchor Bar on your way through Buffalo, home of The Original Buffalo Wing, and pick up some wings. Spot a possible celebrity standing outside smoking a pipe. Argue with husband about whether or not it was someone famous.

Come home and forget all rules. Eat dinner in front of the TV. Let the kids stay up late. Skip baths. And then when they don't want to sleep, even after 9:00PM let them come watch Niagara Falls on TV with you.

Also - when putting the baby to bed - if he wants to be rocked, rock him. Nathan rarely wants to be rocked to sleep anymore. He usually fusses until he's wrapped with his favorite blanket, and placed just so on my bed.  Tonight he whined and cried unless I was holding him. So I held him. And he clung to my necklace for dear life. I couldn't find it in me to pry those little fingers off the charms dangling from my neck. So I waited and just stared at his sweet little face. I wasn't looking at facebook on my phone. Or wishing I was downstairs on the couch watching TV. I wasn't worrying about the girls, since Aaron was tucking them. I was just enjoying every second of this perfect moment.

After baby is as asleep as can be, tiptoe downstairs to watch Niagara Falls on TV. Marvel at the coincidence that you have never been there before, and you've also never seen it on TV before, and now you're seeing both in the same day. Strange. Ignore the running around and laughter coming from the girls' bedroom.

Until you can't because laughter has turned to screams. Go up to yell at the girls and tell them to go to sleep or else -- but change your mind half way up the stairs and instead pick them up out of bed and carry them downstairs so they can watch Niagara Falls on TV too. Olivia was so shocked and so smiley. She was expecting to hear the usual "Go to sleep" and instead got to come downstairs and watch TV. Abigail ended up wanting to be back in her bed. So she went to sleep. And Olivia and I sat on the couch and watched all 22 minutes of Walenda crossing The Falls on tightrope. In the middle of it she looked at me and said, "Mom you know how sometimes you cry when you're really happy? Well look at my eyes. Do you see these tears? They are because I am SO happy."  It warmed my heart, made me laugh, and I had to ask just because I wanted to hear it - "Why are you so happy, Olivia?"  "Because it's the middle of the night and you're letting me watch TV!"  

Sometimes to have the perfect day, you have to forget about all the rules. Aaron and I are sticklers for bedtime and routines. It keeps peace in our home. But every once in a while it is good to just forget about all the rules and just do what feels right at the time. Not always, of course. But yesterday it was a recipe for success.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Is Flag Day a forgotten holiday?

Certainly not in these parts! My Poppy loved this country - and always proudly flew a flag in front of his house (until Obama took office anyway..). A flagpole was a requirement in home ownership for him. I have memories of staring at the spotlight that shown on the flag at night - and completely blinding myself for minutes at a time. I also know that I thought it was "Poppy's flag" well into Elementary school. I learned to salute, and honor the flag from a young age.

So I'm trying to use Flag Day to educate my children on these principles that I hold so dear.

This morning Olivia and I made our own recreation of the American Flag. We talked about Betsy Ross, and colonies, and England. It was a lot of fun. But Olivia really wanted to make her own flag, her own way. So I had the idea of letting her design her own flag for "Olivialand". Which she decided to name, "Texas".

In "Texas" there are no rules. You can do anything you want. And if you want money you just say, "Money please" and money falls from the sky. If you want hot dogs, you just say "Hot dogs please" and hot dogs fall from the sky. She went on and on with every thing you could think of, and that it would fall from the sky. If you want it to be sunny, then it will be sunny. If you want it to rain (so you can go to Chuck-E-Cheese) then it will rain. If you want a rainbow, that you can touch and hug and take to bed with you - then you can have a rainbow. I thought it was hilarious and so innocent. I tried to make her see the challenges that could come up in this type of scenario - like what if I wanted a piano and said "Piano please"... and she said, "Oh! When that happens the fire-fighters come, and they will catch it for you and put it down carefully, so no one gets hurt, and the piano doesn't break" I then addressed the weather. "What if someone wanted rain and someone else wanted sun." And she explained it's only the weather around you. If Abigail wanted rain, then it would rain on her. And be sunny on Mommy. Also if you want to be president, then you can be. Anyone can be, who wants to.

I just wanted to write about this little moment because I remember thinking like this as a kid. Just so innocent.

I think I want to move to "Texas".

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Nathan -and the rest of us - at a glance

Olivia took the above video with my cell phone. The beginning is cute sounds Nathan makes. The end is Abigail singing. The middle is a jumble of getting inside the house. I just wanted to include for the freeze frame at the beginning. Every once in a while Nathan makes this face and it just cracks me up.

Other quirky things Nate does right now - is suck on his bottom lip almost constantly. He also goes out of his way to pull hair. My girls would pull your hair if you were holding them and they happened to get a hand full or something. Nathan would move heaven and earth to get to some hair to pull. His sisters are never safe from his grasp. On Sunday at church, Aaron had to pass him to me, because the lady sitting in front of him had long, thick, wavy hair and Nathan was going crazy trying to get his hands on it. He will be 6 months old on Sunday. I can hardly believe that. He is starting to get somewhat mobile - but not quite by crawling. He rolls, and maneuvers himself in every kind of crazy way to get to what he wants. He can sit up for a little while by himself, but usually plops over to get something after a few seconds.

I have been blogging about him kind of a lot lately - hmm. I think it's because I really don't remember Abigail's first year of life.  I keep going back to my blog trying to remember when she did certain things and I didn't write it down! So this time I'm writing it down. Sorry, Abigail!

Maybe I should take a minute to write about what Abigail is up to right now. Aaron and I hear about 50 times, "Can I pway a game on yo phone?" She is obsessed with preschool apps on our phones. I went into Nursery to get crayons for Sunbeams, when I found her playing a game on her teacher's phone. She has been a stubborn little thing the past couple of days. She's always so easy going that I am surprised when she acts like this. Yesterday she didn't want to leave the pool, and so she stubbornly stood there not moving an inch. I did the whole, "Okay well then I guess I'll see ya later." And walked away. I hid behind a tree and watched her. She still did not move. I waited, and waited. Then she finally started to walk towards me, but then she saw me. And as soon as she saw me she ran back to her spot and stood. I had to pick her up and drag her away kicking and screaming. I ended up throwing her on my shoulders so I could push the stroller. Thank goodness Olivia was in a good mood and was walking happily ahead of me. I must have looked like an insane person with a screaming toddler on my head, pushing a stroller loaded down with all the pool necessities and a sleeping baby.

What else can I say? She is mostly the sweetest girl on earth. She sings a lot. Oh! She learned to "monkey walk" around the pool this week. And she is a monkey walking machine. She can go all around the pool and she loves it.

And the pool is where I plan on spending many-a-morning from now until we leave in August. We love it.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My Ode To Erie, PA

The plumbing of this old apartment
 is one thing I will not miss
But there are lots of things that I will
And they go a little something like this.

Cute, furry woodland creatures,
The Erie Zoo and all its features,
Living so close to my parents' door
And of course Wegman's my favorite store.

Swimming at Presque Isle
And my neighbor Rusty, who always has a smile.
Spending time at the YMCA
Port Farms, where we could stay all day

I'm going to miss the small town feel,
Our tiny kitchen where I prepared each meal.
Our apartment complex's frigid pool,
and our neighbor Troy, who thinks he's so cool.

Story time at our local Chick-Fil-A,
And how the weather can change in a day.
Playing at the awesome Children's Museum
and catching games at SeaWolves' Stadium.

All the dear friends we have made
And all the times we played.
Girls nights and many-a-play-date,
These are what we'll miss the most -- no debate.

Being part of the greatest ward,
living so close to where the Gospel was restored,
Visiting church history sites,
having to leave really bites.

The room where I birthed our son
All the pretty places to run
Being where everything is so green
Each picture looks like a post card scene.

The desert has its beauty too
And friends there are not a few
But still - leaving this home will be hard.
Although I won't miss a certain prison guard.

I've grown to love this town called Erie,
Even though the weather can be dreary,
It really has a beauty all its own
I'm grateful for a short time I could call it home.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The stars have aligned...

All three of my kids are asleep. At the same time. In the middle of the day. This is a rare moment to be savored. Or used to do something that really needs to get done ie, dishes, laundry, packing, or most importantly blogging.

I have written approximately 20,000 blog entries about my home birth. All of them are sitting as drafts in my little blogger account. I get interrupted, or don't know how to finish my thoughts, so it never gets published. Today, right now I am determined to tell my story!

Every time I take a shower in the downstairs bathroom I think about being in labor with Nathan. I relive each moment, without the pain. Just the excitement. I can literally feel the excitement all over again. I love the fact that I had him at home. There, I'm owning it. At first I really didn't want to seem like I was in some super mom competition, and thinking I was better than everyone who has babies in hospitals. I absolutely don't feel that way. I also didn't want people to think I was a complete idiot for choosing to have my baby at home. Some people do. They think I just decided on a whim, hey let's forget about medicine and carelessly have a baby in my playroom. My decision to give birth at home was thought out, planned, and researched more than you could believe. I think I could have earned a PhD in google research, seriously. And I know I made the right choice for the right baby, at the right time. I may not have my next baby at home, if it doesn't feel right. I honestly do believe, if we listen we will be guided in these decisions.

I had my first baby with an epidural. I had my second naturally in the hospital. And I had my third in a kiddie-pool in my playroom. Have I told you before that it's a kiddie-pool? Covered in colorful sea creatures, and drowning warnings in several languages?  Yeah it was. And it was like heaven. It was inflated on the bottom, and the sides, and it was full of hot water. It was seriously perfect. And then Nathan was all like, "Yeah I'm not coming down this way." And I was all... "I'm going to be in labor forever, I know it." And then my midwife helped me find the courage to roll over onto my knees, and with the next two contractions my body literally pushed my baby out. It was the craziest feeling in the world. With Abigail I was too panicked to think about feeling anything. I remember literally thinking, "Just focus on screaming. Don't think about anything else." And that's what I did. I screamed my lungs out. With Nathan, I was loud. And I may have sworn. But I don't remember screaming. It was all really peaceful. Oh, until we took Nathan out of the water. Then he screamed. For like an hour. I thought I was going to have this calm, peaceful baby since I chose to birth him in such an environment, but no -- I think he cried more than my girls did. He did not want to be out of there! Or maybe I was too out of it with my girls to remember them crying. Or I was expecting it so it wasn't such a surprise. I really remember feeling like "What the heck! You aren't supposed to cry! All those babies on youtube born in the water didn't cry!" I also remember thinking, "Holy crap - I have three kids!" And immediately feeling overwhelmed.

Now here are a few thoughts of things I learned from my home birth experience.

Almost every woman who has given birth naturally reaches the point where they feel like they can't do it. They can't go on. This always happens at the very end. Right before the greatest moment - it is complete despair. Some women report feeling like they are going to die. I absolutely experienced that. And I pushed through it. I was afraid and wanted to give up - but I couldn't. There is literally no way to give up at that point. So you dig within yourself for strength you are sure you don't have. And somewhere you find it. And you make it through that despair, into utter ecstasy. You hold that newborn baby against your chest, and instantly the thoughts of death are gone and you are filled with life. Heaven feels close, but in a different way now. Just writing about this moment, fills me with such emotion.

With Olivia this moment was different. I really just remember thinking I had to nurse her right away. It was awkward and uncomfortable and I don't know. I was so tired. And drugged.

With Abigail I was in complete shock. I couldn't believe I had gone through my whole labor without ever thinking I was really in pain. I was in shock that I just pushed out an almost 10lb baby. In like a single push. I held her, under bright hospital lights, and she didn't cry. And she was blue-ish. I was pretty sure she was not alive, and these nurses were just letting me hold my dead baby while the doctor stitched me up so I wouldn't freak out. With Olivia they took her and cleaned her and wrapped her up and all that so fast. They just let me hold Abigail as long as I wanted. I thought that meant she was dead. I was not completely with it. Once the nurses checked her and told me she was perfect, then I was just filled with emotion.

With Nathan - I lifted him from the water myself. Oh that screaming little boy. Who was certainly still a boy. And it was just glorious. My midwife helped me onto the futon we had set up in the playroom. I laid there and held my baby. No one was in a hurry to do anything. She gave me a couple of stitches. Right there in the playroom.

My biggest regret about the home birth -- and all my births really - is that we didn't take enough pictures. Next time I will be sure to arm Aaron with a camera. 

Oh and some random concerns I had -- what about the mess? What about the placenta? What about those awesome giant diaper like pads they give you in the hospital? What about having a nurse take care of you for 2 days?

It really wasn't that messy. Since I had him the pool, all the mess was contained to there. And my midwife took care of all the clean up involved with that.

We threw it away. Unceremoniously wrapped in newspaper and a plastic bag - straight into the dumpster.

One word - Depends.

As for being taken care of - I told my husband the pay for him for being able to sleep in his own bed after having the baby, and not some couch/bed thing in the hospital is that he had to cater to my every need. Plus I have an amazing mother who took my other children for me. So I had 3 days of my own house - all alone with my husband and baby. No one coming to check my blood pressure as soon as I fell asleep. Or whatever else they check as soon as you fall asleep.

Anyway - so would I have a home birth again? Absolutely. Do I think everyone who chooses to have their baby in the hospital with an epidural is a wimp? Absolutely not. Do I think they are uneducated? Nope. I like to assume we are all doing our personal best. I do hope that people question what doctors tell them. Do their own research. It feels good. And some doctors don't tell you everything. I would recommend anyone who's not at high risk to consider a midwife. I absolutely loved my midwife experience, and don't think I will use an OB again. But that's just me. ... and here I am again not sure how to finish my thoughts.

So yeah... that's my story. No I'm not better than you, or dumber than you, I just did what I thought was best for my baby.

Sunday, June 3, 2012