Tuesday, May 31, 2011

You sure have your hands full!

Ok if you are a mom at all, I am guessing you've heard this. As I approach having 4 kids instead of three I find myself getting kind of self conscious about the whole 3 going on 4 idea. I guess I hear "You've sure got your hands full" so regularly when I've only got 2 with me (I hardly ever go anywhere with ALL of them) that I think to myself what they might think if they saw me with all my kids, and even better, when this baby comes, what they'll be thinking as they pass me in grocery store aisles on those days the kids are giving me a run for my money. I guess I just feel like 3 or less kids is considered normal and once you break that number, people start to wonder if you know what birth control is. I think maybe I should just wear a name tag that says "I'm a Mormon" so people won't have to wonder and I won't have to explain.
However, today I was thinking about just that... being "Mormon" and having a lot of kids because people do associate large families with Mormons so it comes as no surprise when they find out you actually are Mormon as if that's an explanation for why you are carting your excessively large brood around. Unlike orthodox Catholicism (I made that term up myself) Mormon's are "allowed" to use birth control but at the same time the culture encourages large families because of the commandment "multiply and replenish the earth." I think most people think we feel we have some duty to fulfill that commandment to the letter and thus produce numerous children, I actually don't believe this is the reason there are so many large LDS families. After all, the commandment doesn't actually specify number of children. You could have one kid and still be fulfilling the directive. So I found myself analyzing why exactly we do have that many children. For one thing, large Mormon families have been around so long that large families are "accepted" and "normal" so people who want large families don't have to feel self-conscious about having them. I don't think that's entirely it though. I think it is more a result of the LDS focus on family in general and how we are taught to believe that our greatest joys in life come through our relationship with our family. LDS women, especially, more than any other religious or secular culture, believe in their purpose as the bearers and nurturers of children. We believe and are told over and over how important our work is so I think there's a greater sense of fulfillment in motherhood if you are LDS. It's natural, if you feel that way about raising children, that you would want to have many kids. When you associate yourself with a culture of people who see raising children as a divine work and the people around you encourage you to see and appreciate your children SO much, and you do it, you just want to keep doing it. It really is all true which is why I think large families continue to be found in our church. We've got something special I think, as LDS women and LDS families. And it's not something you find often anywhere else. So despite getting those telling looks from old ladies at the grocery store and feeling like everybody is watching me sit my youngest down in the shopping cart for the 5th time while the other ones are whining at me to let them get this or that, I love being the mother of almost 4. I get to share my life with 4 more spectacular people and when I'm old and gray, the chances of some of them living near me is fairly high. They will always be in my life in some fashion and the more the merrier I think when it comes to family. I'm so grateful for mine.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I might have created a monster!

Apparently Brad informed Beya at some point in the recent past that she's going to have to move out of our house one day and get her own so lately Beya's been telling us, "I don't want my own house! I want to live with you!" No matter how much I try to assure her that it's in the far far distant future and one day she'll probably be counting down the days until she can leave our house, she was not convinced. So I tried a different approach.
I pointed out all the things she will be able to do on her own like make her house look like whatever she wanted and how she'll get to find a boy she really likes and marry him and have her own babies. She points out, "But I'll have the new baby(referring to mine)... I don't need my own baby."
So I said, "But you'll want to marry a boy. Just you wait." 
After a moment of consideration, Beya replies, "What kind of boy?"
Me: "Whatever kind of boy you want. What kind of boy would YOU want to marry?"
Beya: "I don't know. What kind of boy will I marry?"
Me: "Well...." thinking carefully, "I hope you choose someone who's really nice and can be your best friend."
Beya: "But I want YOU to be my best friend!"
Me: (sighing and trying to think of a good way to convince her) "I'll always be your friend but what if you could marry a boy that was really nice to you and did fun things with you and lived with you in your house. I bet he would buy you presents to show you he loved you..."
Beya (responding immediately): OK, I'll have my own house.
OK, waaaaaait a minute. That was a really quick turnaround and then I realized my mistake. I said she could marry someone that would buy her presents and apparently that sealed the deal. Kids are so fickle aren't they? I wasn't really sure how I would undo that or whether it even needed undoing so I laughed it off and said, "But don't worry, you don't have to get your own house for a really long time."
Beya responded, "No, that's ok. I'll go to my own house."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A milestone I could do without right now...

I never thought I would dislike my child actually WANTING to potty train.

I just keep thinking it's just a bad time... new baby almost here, Iyov being hardly 2 years old, not being able to pull pants up and down, etc. Furthermore, he absolutely REFUSES to use the training potty. No, he simply MUST be allowed to use the big potty like everyone else. The problem is he's so small that he has to completely de-clothe the bottom half of his body so he can straddle the seat without falling in. And I can't seem to get him to stand up to pee instead which might have solved that problem. So he spends most days pantless because it's just easier for me if I'm in the middle of something to not have to come help him take his pants off and then put them back on.
He's doing quite well despite my lack of encouragement. He poops both on and off the potty and sometimes pees his pants if he's distracted. I can't REALLY complain, can I, that he has pretty much taken the whole potty training thing upon himself without any encouragement at all? He just decided he wanted to use the big potty one day and he'll scream at you if you don't let him. So, knowing Iyov's determined stubbornness, I conceded and decided I better solidify his efforts and dedicate these next few weeks before baby comes to getting him as potty trained as possible. One thing is for sure, once the kid can handle his own pants, we will be in business!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Some things I look Forward to

Labor. As strange as that may sound, I love going into labor. I love most of being in labor. Transition is pretty rough but it's so short that it's hard to remember sometimes, and when you are in it, you know it's almost over. The whole laboring period before transition is pretty easy I think. It's painful at times but it's not an unbearable kind of pain and I like that there's purpose to it and it has a beginning and an end. It's exciting though and I really love the contractions where you actually FEEL dilation, and the pressure of the baby's head moving lower is quite invigorating. With every contraction I love knowing that I am closer to pushing which is my favorite part of birthing.

Pushing is the part where I am in the most control and the part that I would never in a million years drug myself to get through. It's when you finally get a break from the pain and when you can actually DO something.  I can understand transition and why people would wish to avoid it but I guess I feel like I would miss out on the best part. Plus, it's so short compared to labor as a whole! All of the passive enduring that you do the whole time beforehand builds up a lot of energy and when I finally get to push, I have to control myself from doing it too fast. I fathom that I could easily do it in one push but I would probably pay for that one afterwards. I guess all that's why I don't birth with drugs. I would dislike immensely not being in complete control of that part.

The next hour after the birth. I look forward to this even more than pushing. Once the pushing is over and baby is plopped right on my chest, there's a helpless awe I feel for the next hour. I always have a hard time remembering pushing the placenta out, who's checking out my body parts, when I moved into a chair, when the cord was cut, how many blankets are on me, whether I'm naked or clothed, whether I'm thirsty or hot. All I see is this new person I've grown and birthed. I meet the soul I've grown to love over the previous months and fall in love even harder than before. It's like gravity and I am helpless to stop it.

Some things I DON'T look forward to:
After birth contractions. Why on earth you aren't offered an epidural AFTER the baby comes out is beyond me. To me, that's the most painful part of the whole thing and I would be hard pressed to refuse drugs at that point. In fact, I pretty much DON'T refuse drugs then. In my last hospital birth with Beya, I would count down the hours before I could get another Tylenol with codeine. After birth contractions are the WORST. Someone knock me out and don't wake me up til it's over, PLEASE! Unfortunately, with a homebirth, you'd probably get a whooping by the midwife for taking any drug other than plain old Tylenol. Yeah.... like THAT stuff works. EVERY time I have to nurse that baby for the next day and a half or so, WHAMMO, contractions that make me wish I could shove the epidural needle in myself. And it only gets worse with each successive child.

No Sleep.  Oh baby, why do you come out with days and nights mixed up? I think I should get a job on a graveyard shift so I can adjust beforehand.

Painful Nursing. Oh God, why did you design women to only produce weeeeee amounts of colostrum for days resulting in practically endless and painful nursing until the milk supply comes in? Furthermore, shouldn't my nipples be made of sturdier stuff so they don't want to bleed and fall right off? Lucky you if you have nipples of steel. I do not. In the first week I cling desperately to my beliefs on why breastfeeding is better...... It IS better right?...... Oh please, let it be better. Let not this torture be in vain!

When I think about labor and delivery vs. the first days, I am hard pressed to understand why LABOR is considered the worst pain women endure. Contractions in labor are a joke compared to what is to come. So combine excessively tired with almost constant pain in my uterus and my poor nipples and I'm a mess. Again, why is there no epidural for THAT may I ask?

And so I look forward to birthing with both excitement and dread. Thank goodness it really is all worth it in the end.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Conversations with Beya

Novan and Beya are like night and day developmentally. It's hard to believe that they are almost 2 years apart and it seems that Beya is more self-sufficient than Novan in almost every way. One way you can immediately tell is Beya's communication abilities. She has a much broader vocabulary and more complex sentence structure. Possibly the only thing she lacks in ability to communicate is a concept of time which Novan seems to get.
Anyway, I love that she is entering the realm of being a 4-year old because 4-year olds are just better behaved than 3-year olds and also she is an interesting person to talk to. We have conversations on a daily basis about things she thinks about and has questions about. It's quite gratifying to have a child that actually WONDERS about the world around them. Novan is not the kind of child to ask why and as a consequence, we rarely have conversations that are instigated by him. Usually I am poking and prodding just to find out what he did at school.
Beya cracks me up a lot in these conversations. For example, just the other day we were eating lunch and heard a firetruck in the distance. She then started asking about firetrucks and firemen and what they do. She started off by saying, "I don't want a firetruck to come to my house and start a fire." Apparently she was under the impression that firetrucks START fires. She was quite surprised to find that they actually put them out and they do that by spraying water. Then, of course, she was concerned about WHERE they spray the hose. It's quite ridiculous, she thought, that they would actually spray INSIDE the house and get everything wet. It's so fun to me to see her sit pensively considering the implications of that and readjusting her world to the newfound knowledge.
We've had lots of conversations about the new baby. She actually  asked the question, "Where did the baby come from?" and it took me a minute to figure out WHAT exactly she was asking because I was certain that what she was asking wasn't what I initially thought. Kids do that sometimes. They ask something and we interpret their question as something else. Anyway, so I figured, since we had talked about how the baby and all of us had lived with Heavenly Father, she must be asking for details on that. So we had a conversation about how we're made up of a Spirit and a body and where each comes from. The body, I explained, was made inside my uterus. We then talked about body parts and how a baby grows. I explained the umbilical cord and the amniotic fluid. What she found most intriguing was the fact that the baby is naked. I would never have thought of explaining that except that she asked what the baby was wearing inside my tummy. It always amazes me what she tends to assume in her head that is totally erroneous. And I swear she makes me laugh all the time with some of the things she says.
Beya will ask about anything that occurs to her like if earthworms have families and which part of the fish she's eating for dinner.
I enjoy witnessing her natural inquisitiveness. It makes me smile. It makes me love my job.
This is a picture of her dressed up for the birthday ball for her friend Ellie. I let her go all out and put makeup on. I even curled her hair and she got to wear her "Ariel Dress" which I made for her as a dress-up type dress because the thing is mostly glitterized tulle which is a pain to wash.  She loves it though and was sooooo excited to be able to wear it to the party.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

34 Weeks

Four weeks to go!
Wow, that seems a lot shorter on virtual paper. And I am more than ready for this to be over. This pregnancy has been completely different from my other ones and if I haven't made that abundantly clear, there are a few other pregnancy symptoms to add to my complaint list:
fat feet: in case you missed my facebook post on that one. That kind of brought a tear of frustration to my eye that morning that I put on a pair of shoes for church and they didn't fit. So I threw them back in the closet and grabbed a pair of flip flops in defiance. I have never had that issue before, and it's not swelling either, it's that ligament stretching sometimes permanent shoe size change that they say happens often.
groin pain: I've had this for a while now. I had no idea groin pain was a common pregnancy symptom until I looked it up. And it only seems to be getting worse.
Lower abdominal/uterine pain: This is a weird one and it's usually only when I am laying down and/or shifting positions as well as getting up at night to go to the bathroom. It's quite painful at times especially when I move too quickly. It's not round ligament which I had with pregnancy # 1. It too has gradually increased in severity.
Heartburn: Yes, I have been lucky enough to have escaped this in pregnancies past although I hear it's very common. I had it once or twice with Iyov but not enough to even notice. This, on the other had, seems to be daily and increases and decreases in intensity throughout the day. VERY annoying.
I used to feel like my body was made for pregnancy. I didn't mind being pregnant except for maybe the very end and that was only because of the difficulty sleeping due to waking up 10 times to pee at night. I had such an easy time of it compared to other people but for the first time I DETEST being pregnant.
I'm sort of worried that this odd pregnancy will mean odd labor and delivery and that instead of my usual 38 1/2 week self-induction working, I'm going to go overdue for the first time ever. *shiver* Ok, so I don't REALLY think that will happen. The only thing that HAS been similar in this pregnancy is that I've had contractions just as consistently. In fact, I had them even earlier than usual, at 18 weeks instead of around week 25.
I find myself soooo curious about the baby itself. I feel like I'll be able to look at him/her and be like "oooooh ok I get it now." But either way, I'm excited for the pregnancy journey of motherhood to be over and to move on. Eventually, sometime soon, I'll have nary a diaper in the house and 4 children who can feed themselves. That will just be so fantastic!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Why I don't donate to cancer research

There seems to be an influx lately of all kinds of cancer treatment research fundraisers among individuals who I know and I feel like a yutz sometimes always ignoring them and not having people understand why exactly I am ignoring them. I hope that what I am about to say is not offensive to anyone and I say it, not to try and make people feel bad about their fundraising efforts, but more to give an explanation for myself so that people don't think I'm sheisty when I don't give them money for their cause or don't participate in such fundraisers myself. After all, just about everyone has been touched my cancer in some way and we'd all like to see a cure. I lost my own father to cancer a few years ago which is probably when I started openly rejecting cancer treatment research in general.
So what possible reason could I have for my distaste for foundations such as the National Cancer Society? You all will probably think I'm crazy, but hey, this is my blog right? I just don't agree with the focus of cancer research these days. I hate the fact that cancer research continues to focus on treatments like chemotherapy and invasive procedures that have clearly been proven not to be a cure in so many cases. I feel like cancer treatment, and really many disease treatments in general, focus on the symptoms of the disease rather than the cause which is where real cure lies. Cancer treatment (and "treatment" it is since there's no real guarantee of cure) is like putting a pot under the leak in your ceiling to catch the water, thereby preventing further damage but not actually fixing the roof which would truly solve the problem. You never know when that roof will cave in. It might last a few more years if it doesn't rain too much but you just never know. The pot's getting the job done. It's keeping your carpet dry and the floor from rotting. But it's not really solving the problem.
I hate that, because of lobbying of cancer researchers, government grants, pharmaceutical companies and the medical community at large, there has never been any significant or recognized research on the effects of radical diet change as a cure for cancer because there's no money in treating people by way of food. I feel that, if I give money to a cancer research fund, I am giving my money away to individuals who want to continue to keep Americans unhealthy because of money and charge outrageous amounts to patients for drug treatments when I truly believe the answer to the cancer problem is much simpler and far less expensive. I acknowledge that there are people who have been cured of cancer, even some of the more aggressive cancers and I'm happy for that. At least all this cancer research money has gone to help someone. But there are far too many who aren't helped. There are far far too many who never see the benefits of that money and they should. So that's why I don't give my money to cancer research and never will until I see real change in cancer research and far less focus on how much money can be made on people suffering from cancer. Because money is made. Cancer research is a business, not a philanthropic venture.
I know a lot of people don't see it this way and by golly everyone is entitled to an opinion on the subject. When I see someone working hard to raise money, I know they are doing it with a desire to serve and to help their fellow man and no matter the outcome, that is ALWAYS admirable and it makes me smile and it makes me happy to know them. So keep on keepin on, I say, and do what you think is right. There's no more desirable quality than an charitable heart.