I Never Had to Split My Heart in Half

When I got pregnant with E, I was ecstatic. But almost as soon as I saw that positive sign, another weird, unexpected feeling rushed over me along with the joy. That was guilt. It instantly hit me that H would no longer be an only child and his world of near constant attention and having his parents all to himself would be over in several months. I knew having more than one kid was absolutely right for me. I knew I was going to have more than two kids even. But I never knew how part of me would feel guilty for growing our family. I never thought about that when I was younger and to be honest I never really thought about it much until I learned I was pregnant with my second child.

The feeling of joy was a million times stronger than the guilty and sad feeling. But when I let myself really dwell on those two words, it got worse and worse. I knew how much I loved H. SO MUCH. So how on earth could I possibly love another human as much? Was my heart even capable of somehow dividing such a strong, powerful, fierce love to two kids? How would H not just always be my favorite because I’d had him and known him the longest? Would my second child feel neglected? Would he see that I had a ‘better’ relationship with his big brother? Fear and worry would creep over me easier each time I allowed myself to think on these scary thoughts.

I did my best to ignore them. People add children into their families every day and guess what? The other kids are ok. The new babies are ok. The family is ok. The mom…I hope she is ok. I would switch my focus back to joy. Adding this new little brother to our family was perfect. He was going to be so sweet and handsome and I couldn’t even handle the thoughts of how cute his relationship would be with his brother. Having two sons was absolutely going to be the best thing ever. It was right. It was good. It was perfect. I was going to figure out how to split my love.

Split my love. I hated that phrase, but I thought it all the time. Somehow I’d have to figure out how to take half the love I had for H and give it to his brother. Thats where the real guilt came in. Would H notice I had to share my love? Would he feel like he was less loved and less important? Sure he wasn’t even two yet – but even toddlers notice change. Was he going to be sad? Was he going to be mad at me? Was he going to resent his brother for this big life change?

I never told anyone these fears. No one. I was worried saying I was worried I couldn’t love them both as powerfully, equally and strongly made me a weak mom. I thought it would make me a bad mom. I kept it to myself and I tried not to worry and focus on the joy. I prayed a lot. I tried to have as much faith in myself as a mother as I could.

Then the day came. November 10th happened and I had my second son that night!

I learned something incredible. The second my c-section started I started praying in my head. I prayed that the operation would go well and that my new baby would be safe and healthy. I prayed I would be healthy. I prayed that H was happy back home with his grandparents.

I prayed that my heart could figure out how to be a mom of two.

Something pretty cool happened then. E’s delivery was a little bit scary. As soon as he was out, he was taken immediately to a NICU team in the next room and my husband went with him. I was alone on the operating table with medical people around me. They were talking to me, trying to distract me from the scary thing that had just happened. They were trying to distract me so I wouldn’t dwell on the fact that my new baby still hadn’t screamed or cried or taken a very good breath. I was terrified. Their distractions didn’t work. All I knew is I had only seen my sweet son for a split second and he was gray and silent. I just wanted to hear him cry. I needed to know he was ok. Nothing else in the world mattered in those unknown moments.

Thats when it all dawned on me. I loved him with my whole heart. I loved him just as powerfully, equally and strongly as I loved H. But it wasn’t because my heart split in half. It was because my heart doubled in size in a way only the heart of a mother can do. My love didn’t change, it didn’t shrink or alter for H. It stayed big and the same – maybe it even grew. My love for my new son matched the love I had for H perfectly. I just knew all those worries and fears I’d had most of my pregnancy were all a thing of the past now. I knew that both of my sons had equal, huge love from me. It was such a calming, overwhelming feeling. I was so gracious.

It felt like forever, but not too much longer there were finally some loud and glorious screams from the room next door. My doctors all sighed with relief saying, “there he is!” or smiling really big at me. My anesthesiologist energetically patted my shoulder. My nurses cheered. He was ok. So was I. I loved that little boy I hadn’t really seen so, so much.

He was finally brought out to me where we had our little post c-section face snuggles. It was so spiritual and perfect. He was snorting in my ear and seemed to be telling me he loved me and he was comfortable and happy to be back with me. It was perfect. I told him I loved him and I felt that. I truly, truly meant it.

My heart never had to change its love for H. It knew what it was doing. Maybe all the while my belly was growing, preparing to deliver a child, my heart, too, was growing – preparing to love another sweet little baby.

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E’s First Trip to Disneyland

Last week we went to Disneyland. Pure magic. As always. This was E’s first trip (outside of my belly) to Disneyland. It was his first trip anywhere, actually. There is no better way, in my mind, to introduce him to family vacations than by taking him to the happiest place on earth. I am not joking when I say it was magic.

H is a little older now than he was last time and gets it a little more than he did last time. His obsession with the carousels is still strong and fierce and he also has a deep love for the ‘Pww” and “Fis” rides (Winnie the Pooh + Voyage of the Little Mermaid). He was a great listener, he was shy and timid but also wild and crazy – which is a perfect description of who he is. He ate terribly but slept great. He rode in his stroller without too much complaint and when he walked, he stayed by us. I was proud of him. He was so anxious to take the whole park in he couldn’t seem to get to the next thing to look at quick enough. Disney magic through a childs eyes magnifies the magic significantly.

E was true to himself. He was happiest if I was in view and especially if I was holding him. If I was on a ride and he was left with someone else, he…lost it in most cases. That boy is a mama’s boy through and through. He ate great, he napped often and the loud noises of Disney didn’t wake him. He loved watching his brother run around and peek at him in the stroller. He was mellow and happy. He had a lot of blowouts but somehow managed to keep the mess of most of the blowouts just on the onesie he wore under his outfit. He slept through the night and was very go-with-the-flow. I know he’s only three months old but I’m going to go ahead and say he enjoyed his first trip to Disneyland.

Lots of Feelings

You guys!

I have all the feelings and emotions and my heart is so full.

A couple days ago I posted about our little H and his newly diagnosed Speech Delay. (link to that post here) The response I have got to that post has blown my mind. I really hoped it would be a post that was helpful even to one other parent out there, but this post reached so many more people than I anticipated.

I have received more messages and private comments on that post than I ever have before. So many parents have reached out to me and have told me about their experience with their own child/children with speech delays. I was given so many words of encouragement, advice and well wishes. You have no idea how much it means to me. Honestly, I’m not that stressed out or concerned about H’s speech delay. This is a common ‘issue’ and I know we have taken the correct steps in helping him catch up on his speech. I feel really good about where we are at and I feel so much peace still since getting him screened and finding out he would benefit from speech therapy.

Not only have I got a lot of comments from parents who have been through this, but I have got even more comments from parents who have been where I so recently was. I have had so, so many moms reach out to me telling me how they’ve been concerned that their child has a developmental delay. Lots of wonderful, stressed out mommas have sent me messages saying they have been suspicious for however long that their child has a speech delay. I’ve been thanked for posting about our experience and helping instill some confidence and bravery into other parents so they will reach out to their pediatrician about their concerns.

I have also been asked for a lot of advice. I’ve tried to answer everyone, but in case I missed you – I will post more advice. But it will be later. We are still at the beginning of this journey. We have only barely began speech therapy and I’m still pretty clueless. But I know how it feels to feel alone and stressed out, so I promise you that as we gain experience and knowledge, I will share more advice with you. For those of you sweet women who asked me if I’d start doing videos about H’s speech therapy – yes, I will. I have actually been dabbling with the idea of starting a YouTube channel (is that embarrassing?) for a while and I think this is kind of my big push that will get me to really start it. Again, it likely won’t be for a little bit though. So stay tuned.

So thanks you guys. Thanks for the kind words and advice. Thanks for the encouragement. Thanks for telling me that post helped you. Thanks for being brave and putting your child first and planning to talk to your pediatrician if there are things about your child that worry you. Thanks for loving H and giving him your best wishes. You guys are amazing.

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

Speech

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It was a few months ago that I really started to realize that H wasn’t talking as much as other kids his age. He wasn’t even talking as much as kids several months younger than him. You hear all the time about kids who just start speaking later than ‘normal,’ and I just assumed that was what H would do. Just to get some help/ideas to assist him in maybe even trying to speak a little more, I talked to a friend who is a speech pathologist and got some advice from her. She gave me great advice that I immediately started implementing into our daily life. I didn’t tell anyone about my suspicions that he was a little behind in language. Not even Wild Man. I’m so quick to worry and blow things out of proportion and I was sure that was what I was doing so I didn’t want to drag anyone down with me. I used the advice my friend had given me and hoped and prayed I was just overreacting. I kept waiting for that thing you hear moms say all the time, “one day he just started talking like crazy!” I waited and waited..

As time went on and I kept on worrying I did something I very much regret. I went to the internet and went down a rabbit hole. A terrible, evil rabbit hole. I started doing research on toddlers with speech delays and how to identify if they do in fact have one. This ‘research’ led me to several hundred other articles (not exaggerating here) that sent me into a scary downward spiral. I was reading articles about how a speech delay is also a sign of several other much bigger issues. So then of course I start reading about those other issues/delays and next thing I know, I’m 100% convinced that not only does he have  some kind of speech disorder, but he also has this, this and this. It was the crappiest, scariest feeling. I physically and emotionally was hurting like I never have before. It was such an alien feeling. The thing was, I knew nothing would change if I did find out he had a delay or two – I would still love him and my opinion and attitude of him would not change. I just hated not knowing for sure. I still kept it quiet for several more weeks. I was probably overreacting. Thats what I kept telling myself over and over again. But I could never shake the aching feeling.

Finally, I decided to be brave enough to talk to Wild Man about this. One morning I just sent him a text addressing my concern. Come to find out, he was just beginning to be slightly suspicious that he was a little behind with speech. But then his crazy wife texted him and he too went down the dangerous rabbit hole – also becoming terribly stressed out and worried – stuck in this yucky rut of feeling completely helpless and confused.

It felt so good to not be the only one worried anymore, but I also felt bad for dragging Wild Man down with me. It wasn’t a fun place to be. So we quickly decided we wanted to talk to our pediatrician about our many concerns about H. Our little E had his two month check-up coming up the following week. I texted our pediatrician (he’s a family friend) and asked him if he’d have time to talk about these concerns or if we should schedule a separate appointment. Thankfully he was able to make time during E’s appointment to address our questions. The day of the appointment came and I was so anxious! Our doctor told us he didn’t really think we had anything to worry about. Boys apparently statistically speak a little later than girls and since H wasn’t even two and a half yet he said it wasn’t really anything to stress about. Except he knows us and he saw it in our faces and actions – we were stressed. So he gave us the information of a highly rated company in our area that screens children three and under for speech delays (and other developmental delays). We weren’t even out of the parking lot and I’d already logged onto their website on my phone and was filling out the form to talk to someone about getting H screened as soon as possible.They would even screen him for some of the bigger delays we’d worried ourselves about – not just speech. Our doctor didn’t think he necessarily needed those particular screenings but he knew it would give us peace of mind. We just needed answers.

We had the screenings. We said 8 billion prayers. Our testimonies of prayer and faith grew incredibly. A few days ago the answers came back. H has a speech delay. Thats it. (I hope you’re learning from my mistakes – don’t let the internet diagnose your child. Talk to professionals – they know way more than you/the internet. Also if something is worrying you, don’t keep it private for months. Its toxic and painful.)

We have just begun Speech Therapy. Right now I really have no idea what the future holds. I don’t know how fast H will catch up on his language and communication. I don’t know if it will be pretty simple, I don’t know if it will be hard, frustrating and stressful, I don’t know if it will be somewhere in the middle. We are just at the beginning. You know, maybe he is just a late talker – turns out Wild Man didn’t really start talking until he was three. H could just be following in his dads footsteps. Maybe one day he will wake up and be a chatterbox. There is no way to tell. What I do know is I’m grateful I talked to Wild Man and we talked to our pediatrician then talked with the company that is helping us with Speech Therapy. I feel good about the decisions we made once I finally opened up. I feel good about the help he is getting and I am so confident in H. He is smart, attentive, curious and a good, good boy. He’s going to rock speech therapy. I’m already so proud of him and the progress he has made. He has a family that loves him unconditionally and is very supportive. We are his greatest cheerleaders.

There is nothing this boy of ours can’t do.

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Happy 2nd Birthday, Buddy!

Two years ago our worlds changed forever and for the best when our sweet baby H was born – making us parents and making us the happiest we have ever been! I always, always knew I wanted to be a mom and was constantly dreaming about the day that those dreams would come true. I had high, high expectations and knew I’d love it. But wow. H exceeded those expectations by so much and I love being a mom much more than I ever could have imagined I’d love it. He has always been so easy going and calm. He is genuinely good and as he’s got older, he actually tries to do good too. I am forever smitten by this precious boy and am forever grateful that he is my son and I am his mom.

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Wild Man and I are already happy people but when we had H he brought a joy to our family we never knew we were so terribly missing. He was truly the puzzle piece that completed our little starter family that we weren’t aware we so needed. He has given light to our bummed out days. He has been a constant reminder of whats actually important and what should be a priority and what should have a lot of our attention. He is our pride and our joy.

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Being this sweet boys mom has given me so much purpose and so much knowledge. I guess in my mind, motherhood would just be me teaching my children, but I had no idea just how much I would be learning from him – even when he was teeny tiny. I think the greatest thing he has taught me is about unconditional love. He showed me parts of my heart that only he could have. He showed me a new side of myself that I never could have found myself. He has also taught me a lot about self-love. I easily can feel like a not-so-great mom, but the way he treats me and loves me no matter what has helped put things into perspective and helps me realize I’m doing a good job and he loves me and thinks I’m a great mom.

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Happy Birthday to our big, new two year old! These past two years with you have easily been the best two years of my life and I’m grateful to know that my life will always be good and have positivity in it because you are my son and I am your mom. You are my light, my happiness and my reason. Thank you for being you and creating a new, wonderful life for us. Have the best, happiest, most magical birthday, buddy. No one deserves it like you do. I love you to infinity and beyond – forever and ever.

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xoxo

ceeceesparkles

Disneyland – October 2017

*WARNING: Also no surprise, this is a picture overload post. It was impossible for me to choose only a couple pictures I wanted on this post.

I really, really hoped that we could squeeze in a Disneyland trip before baby was born. Initially I was thinking September would be ideal but as it turned out, October was the only thing we could really make work. I knew it would be a little risky because in October I hit 8 months pregnant, but its gonna take a lot more than that to keep me and my family away from a Disney Park. We spent five days there and I can safely say that all five days were pure magic and happiness. They were also full of exhaustion and very swollen feet, ankles and legs – but thats besides the point.

We had Mickey’s Halloween Party the first day and it was great. Although can I say something slightly negative? I don’t feel like Disneyland’s candy was as good this year as it usually is.. If you ask Wild Man about this he will be very vocal about the lack of Butterfingers in our trick-or-treat bags. Besides that, no complaints. Disney knows how to do a Halloween Party. One of H’s current favorite movies is Monsters Inc and Monsters University so we decided that would be our costume theme this year. Wild Man was Sulley, H was Mike and I was Boo – which also meant I got to wear pajamas to Disneyland! What more could a giant pregnant lady ask for? Usually we make our Halloween costumes. I love handmade costumes because they are so personal and they are one of a kind. But this year we were just a little too busy and a little too sick so we reluctantly purchased these costumes (mine was pieces I found from Amazon). I was bummed about it at first, but they really didn’t turn out too bad. Wild Man’s costume cracks me up and H felt like the star of the show in his – so it was a success.

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My cute sisters dressed up too. One was Jane Goodall and the other was Mia Thermopolis (Princess Diaries) and HOW CUTE ARE THEY?

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There were four huge highlights of this trip for me.

  1. H’s love of Carousels. King Arthurs Carousel was an instant hit. He loved riding his “howa,” (horse) and you could not wipe the giant smile off his sweet little face. He would laugh and laugh and squeal with excitement and his reaction was contagious, as he made everyone else around him laugh and smile. It was so happy. Pure. Magic. There was nothing more exciting to him and it was so special to me. I love my happy, Disney boy.
  2. The second highlight was watching the Disney Junior Live show in California Adventure. Just Wild Man and I took him to this. Its a show where you sit on the floor and watch as Disney characters dance on stage and put on a little show. Things fall from the ceiling, there are fun songs and lots of dancing. H was in heaven. It was so special. Then when Mickey and Minnie came out on stage at the end, H squealed, jumped and covered his mouth with pure excitement and I couldn’t help myself from the flood of tears that came over me. There is nothing like seeing Disney magic through your little ones eyes.
  3. Third, our last day in Disneyland Wild Man and I were doing some shopping and a girl that was probably in her early twenties approached us with a Mickey Mouse balloon that lit up and asked if H wanted it. She had apparently bought it but then decided she didn’t want it. Another very magical moment. Every time we passed the Cast Members who would hold the large bunch of balloons H would excitedly point at them and reach for them. Maybe I am a lame mom but I never wanted to get him one because they are pretty pricy and I’d rather spend money on something that won’t deflate after a while, you know? So this was kind of a once in a lifetime opportunity for H haha. The way his little face lit up when she handed the balloon to him was so special. He hugged the balloon and was so proud of his new souvenir.
  4. The last highlight is the biggest highlight and the most magical, special thing that happened and I have a hard time believing that anything could top this. I am tearing up just preparing to type this. Ok. One of our days in California Adventure we were in Cars Land and our group went on Radiator Springs Racers. H and I couldn’t join in on that ride so we decided to just wander the streets of Cars Land. We went into a small shop to look around before being in the store for a full 30 seconds, a tiny, frail, little old man approached me and asked, “could I buy a gift for your son?” Before I could answer him he kept on speaking and told me that he was never blessed with grandchildren but he loves kids. He comes to Disneyland once a week and every time he does he adopts an honorary grandchild and buys them a gift to remember their vacation to Disneyland and also him – Grandpa Perry. He told me that he and his wife used to live about an hour away and would visit the park as often as they could. She died 14 years ago and when that happened he moved to Anaheim so he could be in Disneyland, his happy place, more often and its been that long that he’s come once a week and made these magical moments for his honorary grandchildren. How could you not hear this sweet old mans story and not sob? It was impossible for me and I don’t think it was just pregnancy hormones, either. Together, he and H chose a pair of Cars Mickey Mouse ears and a Cars pinwheel with candy inside of it. I thanked him a million times. He gave me his email address so I could email him pictures of H in the ears, then he kissed H’s head and went on his way. I will never forget Grandpa Perry and I am so grateful that H gets to be one of his many honorary grandchildren.

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I ate an absurd amount of treats on this trip. But thats what you’re supposed to do in Disneyland so I have absolutely no shame.

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Because I was 35 weeks pregnant while on this trip, we decided to stay on the side of safety and have me use a wheelchair. It was kind of embarrassing, but it also saved me. My cute sisters were my chauffeurs most of the time and they are troopers!

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Meeting characters was different this trip. In our past several trips to Disneyland H is all over the characters and very excited by them. This time he was much more timid and shy. He was still totally excited, but also needed to have a good grip on me the whole time while meeting them and wasn’t too keen on giving the usual big hugs that he has given them in the past. I thought it was so cute.

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The picture below is one of my very favorites. H has this new thing where he roars at everything. A ton of our pictures from this trip include H roaring. My dad took the picture below and was standing under a monster decoration in Cars Land and H could not stop roaring at it and my dad. It cracked me up and the picture turn out so good!

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It was such a fun, magical trip. I know this post is a little spacey and all over. But I have some plans of doing more specific Disney posts in the future (maybe the far future because hopefully baby comes soon!!) but for now, here is my picture dump. Right now we are focused on finishing the last couple things up before little brother makes his arrival, but after those first few weeks of newborn heaven you better believe I’ll be chomping at the bit to get back to our happy place with our new family of four!

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

The Captains Top Disney Reads

It will likely come as no shock to you that we have a lot of Disney books in our home (but of course we never have enough and our collection is always growing). H and I read several books throughout our day and at night H loves when his dad sits and reads to him before bed. Today as I was trying to brainstorm what I could blog about, H approached me with our newest favorite Disney book to read and thats when the idea hit me. Today I’l show you H’s favorite Disney books (for the time being).

The Captain’s Top 7 Favorite Disney Reads

Disney in Details: This is basically a bunch of hidden gems around Disney World. Our family already knew about the majority of these, but its still a fun book to have around the house and H loves the pictures!
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My First Words: Its a whole bunch of images and some are Disney characters! Whats not to love?
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Small Disney Board Books: A few Christmases ago my aunt H this pack of small Disney board books. There are tons of them and I don’t know that H necessarily has a favorite, but he loves them. There are so many different characters and short little stories and books that talk about characters, shapes, etc. These are a big hit.
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Who’s Who: This one is probably our very favorite right now. Or mine at least. This book is the perfect tool for teaching your little one all the Disney characters – even some of the more obscure, less thought of characters. Its so much fun, there are little bios on each character and colored pictures. This book wasn’t released very long ago and H and I have already spent hours in these pages. I highly, highly recommend this book to all of you.IMG_7660

My First Colors: Ok, this one is probably H’s favorite. Its his newest Disney Baby book and its a fun one. The pages fold out which is definitely his favorite feature. Its been really nice right now too as we are working on identifying colors.IMG_7661

Hello, World!: All the It’s a Small World books are very loved in our home but this is the one we read the most. If you want to challenge yourself as a parent and try and figure out how to say ‘hello’ in a whole bunch of different languages – this ones for you!! Its a short read, but H is never disappointed by it – even though his mom surely slaughters the different languages featured inside.IMG_7662

Disney/Pixar Look and Find – Toy Story: He got book in a set of four. I don’t know if this one is his very favorite of the four but its the one we’ve looked at about 100 times already today. Look and Find is a little too advanced for him right now but he’s picking up on it more and more each time we read it and even if he isn’t in the mood to find the certain characters/things, he enjoys looking at the pages nonetheless. IMG_7663

xoxo

ceeceesparkles