Sleep Saga part 1

I’m not gonna lie, I’m hoping that in the future this saga will have a happy ending. I don’t care how many ‘parts’ there have to be to this, but I am determined that sometime soon (oh i hope, i hope, i hope) I will no longer have to be worrying about this so much. What is this you ask?

SLEEP TRAINING MY (ALMOST) 1 YEAR OLD

I have been scouring the internet for success stories, amazing advice and tips and tricks and I’ve found quite a bit. I’m ready to start. I’m ready to share my story step by step in hopes that maybe somewhere along the day I sleep deprived mom can find my blog and learn something from my experience and feel motivated and pumped up to get her baby to sleep better at night.

CURRENTLY

So where are we right now on day one of this? We are in a very frustrating, overwhelming and sleepless spot, thats where. My dearest, darlingest little E is a wonderful tiny human, but a terrible, awful sleeper. Right now he wakes up 10-15 times a night – maybe more. Sometimes he falls back asleep quickly, but sometimes he doesn’t. 99.9% of the time he has to nurse to fall back asleep. Because of the frequent middle-of-the-night-wakes, he sleeps in between Wild Man and I in our bed (don’t shame co-sleeping here, parent-shaming is a no-no on this page) which has been just fine for months and months, but lately…its time for a change. He’ll be one in a couple of weeks. Its time he learns how to sleep in his own room, in his own crib and its time he learns that he doesn’t have to nurse all night long (seriously, thats what he wants – the second my boobs gone, he’s livid).

What I don’t need is any comments telling me that I’ve brought this upon myself and created this little non-sleeping monster. This is exactly what I did with H and he’s an amazing sleeper. But clearly, every child is different. With H, around 8/9 months old I got him totally comfortable and happy in his crib/bed. I’ve tried with E – its just not working. He’s stubborn and persistent. He will scream all night long until someone holds him. Until he’s nursing. Because I’m so tired at night, its easier not to fight it and just let him sleep in our bed all night – nursing what feels like every 30 minutes. But I just can’t do it anymore. I need my bed back. I need to not be nursing all night. I need to have my baby sleep in his own bed and sleep all through the night, which is something he has never ever done in his life, just so you know. I am ready. I’ve been patient for nearly a year but that hasn’t worked. Its time to buckle down. I’m going to be persistent. I’m motivated. I’m going to get E crib/sleep trained. Boo-ya!

THE PLAN

Last night I ordered a sound machine off Amazon. It should be here tomorrow or the next day. So much of what I’ve read has said that a sound machine is a must. I’m banking on this to help us greatly. I’m debating if I should start the sleep training tonight or if I should wait a day or two until the machine comes. Either way, I’m excited and hopeful for this.

I’ve read a lot of ideas and I’ve literally made pros and cons lists of all these different techniques I’ve found. Here is what I, as of now, have planned to do.

Bedtime is at 8:30/9. Before bed we’ll have a bath, then a snack/small meal to ensure his tummy is full, then we will read books, read scriptures and say a prayer (with an emphasis on E’s sleep schedule) and then I’ll sit in the chair in his room and nurse him until he’s either almost asleep or fully asleep. *I’m not sure if I should make him be all the way asleep when I lay him down – I’ve read that its good to put them in their crib awake, but drowsy so they learn to self-soothe, which totally makes sense. We’ll see what I end up doing. I’ll keep you posted. Then I will lay him in his crib, tell him that I love him and goodnight, make sure the nightlight is on and leave the room and shut the door.

I am 100% sure he’ll scream and cry. At 5 minutes I will go in and comfort him. I won’t pick him up, but I’ll lay him back down, pat his back, sing to him, whatever. Then I’ll leave again. I can go back in every 10 minutes as needed for the remainder of the night.

I’m anticipating not sleeping at all the first few nights because if I know my son (and I do), he’s not going to fall asleep without a feisty fight. But everyone who has tried this has said to stay strong and not cave and all the sudden it will click and your baby will figure it out. I’m banking on that.

MY PREDICTION

Full disclosure, I’m not sure how I’ll do the first night. I’m going to feel guilty and sad. I’m going to feel terrible for E while he cries alone in his room. But I’m also going to feel good, because I know its time. Its past time.

I think he’s going to fight it hard core. I’m not sure if he’ll really sleep at all those first nights. Its going to be a struggle. Its going to be hard. But I am wanting to put in the work.

However, if we start this and it just feels wrong and uncomfortable I am allowing myself the freedom to quit. Its possible this isn’t the right technique for us. If I feel that way, then we’ll start back at square one and find a different way to sleep and crib train. In the end, its whatever is best, safest and ok-est for E.

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Wish us luck as we start this journey! I’m nervous, sleepy and excited! I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes! Stay tuned for the Sleep Saga part 2!

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.

24 Week Update

Just like that I’m 24 (actually closer to 25) weeks pregnant! This pregnancy is flying. I’m assuming things will start slowing down once I get closer to my due date, but as of right now I feel like November is going to be here after just a few more blinks. I think I’ve said this before, but I’m really torn on how excited I am for November. Obviously I’m thrilled because November is baby time – but its also the month H was born which means he’ll be turning TWO! What? I’m going to have a two year old? We’re stopping there. I can’t dwell on that too much.

On Monday I had my 24 week appointment and everything is looking, sounding and feeling great and Baby Boy is doing awesome. The results of our big 22 week ultrasound came back and all is well. Again, I was nervous because with H’s 22 week appointment they found that there was a possible issue with his kidneys so I had to get another ultrasound at 30 weeks to just ensure everything was fine. And everything was fine, thankfully, but those were a lot of weeks to sit and worry about my baby. I really was hoping I wouldn’t have to do that again this time around – and thankfully we don’t have to.

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Now on to the bullet points

  • I’m going to start with this. In a couple weeks I’m taking my final glucose test to see if I have gestational diabetes (i had it with my 1st) and even though people are being so kind and sending tons of positive vibes, I am terrified that I have it. My levels haven’t been super this pregnancy but not bad enough to be diagnosed. So I’ll keep my fingers tightly crossed until I know for sure. Wish me luck.
  • I’ve started feeling really heavy lately. My belly must be really growing because I feel like if I’m not careful I’m going to just tip over and fall on my face – which can’t be good for me or baby.
  • A few weeks ago I did something to a stomach muscle and its been feeling pretty awful ever since. My doctor said that unfortunately there weren’t great chances of it healing before baby is born since my stomach muscles are thinning and aren’t very strong (were they ever?) so I’m gearing up to feel this the rest of my pregnancy. I also found a fancy, supposedly really amazing belt/band thing thats supposed to help a lot and also help my back pain. I have high hopes.
  • This isn’t new news, but my body still kills. Nothing has helped so far.
  • I’m still sick, but still doing way better than my first pregnancy. I haven’t put on much weight, but if you compared my numbers this time to last time, you’d be giving me a standing ovation.
  • H has started noticing that my belly is getting big. Sometimes he’ll come up to me and just pat it or lay his head on it. I know he’s too young to understand he’s got a little brother in there but it still makes me excited (and sometimes a little emotional). The best is when Baby Brother kicks back when H pats my belly. I hope they’re such good friends.

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

My Little Boy

I have been hit pretty aggressively with the realization that we are down to just a few months of having just one child. Our sweet baby H. The perfect little bundle of joy who made us parents and introduced us to a happiness and overwhelming feeling of pride we never could have known if it weren’t for him. 

My heart is feeling torn in so many different directions. Of course I am beyond thrilled to have our second little boy in November. I’ve dreamt my whole life of having several kids and that’s still my dream! I am so excited to see H become a big brother and to finally meet this little brother of his. I am so anxious to see his face, to learn his personality and to soak all of him in. I actually feel more excited this time around, probably because this time I’m not so clueless. I know how special my children are now. I know how much I love them and how much I love being a mom. I can’t let myself dwell too much on this or else I turn into an emotional puddle. 

But then there is the part of me that knows how much H’s world is going to be rocked. Life as he knows it is going to drastically change and a part of me, in a weird way, feels a little bit guilty. People who often joke about how H is going to be second place, etc certainly don’t help the way I feel either. He is very accustomed to being the one and only. He’s used to undivided attention and snuggles on demand. I know it’s good for him to learn that the world in fact doesn’t revolve around him…but there’s still guilt!! 

I hope he can figure out quickly that he’s still so loved. Our love isn’t going to lessen for him even in the slightest. In fact I’ve heard the love we have for him will even grow! Our hearts are just going to get bigger so we can have the same amount of love for little brother! I hope he sees that he’s still our world, our joy and our tiny best buddy. Because he is – he always will be!

I know that especially once the baby is here I will feel differently. I’ll just know our new family of four is perfect and meant to be. I know that now, come to think of it – I’m just.. I don’t know. Am I even making sense or do I just sound crazy? I am so in love with this crazy 20 month old and I want him to never feel that his value has decreased just because another baby joined our family. It’s giving me so many emotions I honestly wasn’t anticipating. It’s funny how I am so far past elated for this new addition but at the same time feel a tinge of guilt. 

Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s ever felt like this? Also please tell me it’s just hormones or a phase or something and I’ll get over this before November?!

xoxo

ceeceesparkles 

So You Want to Have a Dance Party?

Since I am a SAHM and I have a very busy husband, I have a lot of one-on-one time with my little man. I super love planting our bums on the couch and watching a movie or two, but I try to make sure that we have a lot more time playing and being active than we do being potatoes. One of our most recent favorite pastimes lately are having full-blown dance parties. We hook the music on my phone up to our AppleTV and turn our music up loud and dance dance dance! H has some killer moves consisting of small squats, thigh slaps, hand claps and gentle head banging that blow my moves out of the water, but we dance hard nonetheless. Bonus: If you actually dance (or attempt to) it also counts as cardio!

Seeing as these dance parties happen at least once a day and H and I are kinda feeling like pros at this, we consulted and decided to share with you our favorite dance party playlist! Spoiler Alert: Its all Disney music. Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be..

OUR DANCE PARTY PLAYLIST

  • Try Everything (from Zootopia): A classic dance song. I don’t think anyone can listen to this song without at least tapping their toes to the beat.
  • I Just Can’t Wait to be King (from Lion King): Why is this such a little boy song to me? It makes me so proud that H loves this one so much.
  • Be Our Guest (from Beauty and the Beast): I really didn’t think this would be such a dance song but H lights up when he hears it so I can’t ever skip past this one when it comes on (not that i’d want to – its a great song!)
  • Sugar Rush (from Wreck It Ralph): Oh we have fun with this one and according to H, this is a great one to thigh-slap to.
  • The Bare Necessities (from Jungle Book): Wild Man sings this song all. the. time. so it seemed like a necessity (see what i did there?) to add this to our playlist.
  • You’re Welcome (from Moana): We are big fans of this song here. And we are sooooo excited for this movie to come out super soon!
  • Winnie the Pooh (from Winnie the Pooh, duh): I can’t hear this song now without picturing H doing this cute little squat while clapping his hands and smiling. He is a big fan of Pooh Bear.

And by that point I am exhausted and H is ready for a snack.

Think there are any songs we’re missing on our go-to Disney Dance Party Playlist?

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

Our Favorite Books

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Christmas is coming and I feel like everyone is looking for that perfect gift for the different people in their lives. Well I’m here to talk about the perfect gift for you little ones. My little guy LOVES books. We read them in the morning, the afternoon and at night right before bed. Its not uncommon to find H sitting in a corner somewhere with a book or two, turning pages, ‘reading’ and pointing at the pictures. Something really cute about him getting a little older is that he’s starting to get some books that he gravitates towards and are definitely his favorites. We have put in a good word this year and are really hoping that Santa will bring H a few new books that we can add to our collection. But for now with what we have – these are our favorite books and we highly recommend them.

SOME BUGS: I think this is H’s current #1 favorite book. When he’s going through his boxes of books this is the one he grabs first. I guess I should have known that a one-year old boy would love the book about bugs. The pictures are so cute and the wording is clever, so I don’t mind reading it 1,000x a day. IMG_2364.jpg

YOU ARE SPECIAL: I cry every time I read this book. Its a sweet story about learning that you’re special just the way you are and its ok to be yourself and there is no need to compare yourself to others. Every little one needs this book and this message in their life. IMG_2358.jpg

BABY TOUCH AND FEEL BOOKS: H loves any book that has things to touch and feel. It pretty much ups the books cool factor by 100 in his opinion. IMG_2357.jpg

HEDGEHUGS: H got this for Valentine’s Day and I’ve been obsessed ever since. If you ever have wondered why you have socks that go missing I suggest you get this book and you’ll find out why. IMG_2359.jpg

IF ANIMALS KISSED GOODNIGHT: This is one of my favorite bedtime books. A book about parents loving/kissing their babies goodnight. Sweet and simple and cute.  IMG_2360.jpg

IT’S A SMALL WORLD BOOKS: We have all the Small World books and they are so fun. Our favorites are Hello, World and Color Our World. Some have flaps to open or pull, some have touch and feel, one has a mirror. They’re all different and all cute.img_2361

DR SEUSS BOOKS: At one of my baby showers before H was born I got a few big packs of Dr. Seuss books. These books are so fun and take me back to my childhood. A lot of them are pretty weird and get you tongue-tied but they are entertaining for sure. img_2362

HAPPY HIPPO ANGRY DUCK: We are a big fan of all the Sandra Boynton childrens books but this is our favorite. It has a cute message and I really love the pictures. This is one that H will often look at on his own too. img_2363

OLAF’S NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS: To end this post I figured we’d end with a Christmas book. This is pretty much the Night Before Christmas but with Olaf’s take. Its cute and if you’re one of those families that really like reading Christmas books in December (or year round, I don’t judge) than this is a perfect option.  img_2365

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

H’s Birth Story

My sweet baby H is almost one (can you believe it?) — so I guess now is as good of a time as ever to finally share his birth story, right? I have a private blog where I typed out his story in full detail and I had every intention of sharing it here as well but obviously I didn’t. But alas, here I am finally blogging about the most special, incredible day of my life.

On November 18th I started not to feel well. It was different than the usual discomfort I was used to and ::not to get too graphic:: that day I had passed my mucous plug. My body was getting ready for a baby!

On November 19th I was in pain all day but there wasn’t anything that stood out to me as signs of labor. Plus I had myself 95% convinced I was going to go over my due date (the 24th) so I was pretty sure it was nothing. We went to bed and not too long after falling asleep I woke up to the most excruciating pain in my hips — and it wasn’t stopping. We downloaded a contraction timer app and started timing the pain on the chance they were contractions. I had all my Braxton Hicks contractions in my stomach/hips/back and I’d always heard contractions happened in your stomach, so the fact that the pain I was feeling was only in my hips made me think it was just pain and not really contractions. As time went on the pain spread to my back and lower stomach and it was the same time that the pain AKA contractions were getting closer together and more intense.

I was awake all night and I kept Wild Man up all night with my restlessness and constant moving, whining and panicking. It was time for Wild Man to get ready to go to work and the entire time he kept asking if he needed to stay home and I kept insisting I was fine and he should go. He kept trying to help me find a comfortable position in bed but before I could take a deep breath, the pain would return. After a while I kept throwing up with about every other contraction and was miserable, but still sent Wild Man off to work. As he left I remember sitting on the coffee table and just thinking what the heck is this?!

A lot of the night and into the morning I had been texting my mom and one of my sisters in law about what was happening. They both were giving me advice and such and my mom kept telling me “the only way you’ll feel better is to have that baby!” …she knew I was in labor but I was being stubborn and not accepting that.

Wild Man hadn’t been at work a half hour before I called him and told him I needed to go to the hospital. He came straight home (luckily he worked really, really close to the house we lived in) and he came home and we grabbed our bags, he put a few things away and we left.

I was terrified I wouldn’t be admitted into the hospital and maybe this wasn’t really labor and I was just a baby. After trying to figure out where we were supposed to go we finally got to the labor and delivery area and they checked me. I was at a 6 and my cervix was ‘paper thin.’ HALLELUJAH! They hooked me up to the monitor to track babies heart beat and my contractions and we were admitted around 9:30am.

My contractions were coming every 45-60 seconds when we got there and the nurse strongly suggested if I was going to get an epidural to get it quickly so I wouldn’t be completely warn out when it came time to push. Even though my plan was to feel my contractions for a few hours, I was in a lot of pain and agreed to the epidural.

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After a little while the families started showing up. My mother-in-law, then my mom and sisters, then my dad, then my father-in-law and one of our cousins. I was progressing pretty decently and never had to be given Pitocin! At one point they decided to call in a doctor to break my water because it wasn’t breaking on its own. The doctor came in and had that tool to break my water, but before he used it he wanted to check me and ended up breaking my water with his hand. Also, the rumors are true – that is the strangest feeling.

As I said, I was progressing great but our baby boy wasn’t descending very quickly so they didn’t want me to push quite yet because he was so high so I’d be pushing for a long time. So we waited and waited and waited.

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During this waiting I started to notice something terrifying. My epidural wasn’t working anymore. I could feel everything again. Everything except my thighs down. I really needed it to be working a little higher and it wasn’t. Cue the panic. I told my nurse and she pushed the button that was supposed to give me another dose. But guess what? Nothing. It didn’t help.

Around 3ish I was informed it was time to push. I have a vivid memory of looking at Wild Man and my mom and saying “I can feel everything!” Wild Man squeezed my hand and my mom just said, “Yep!” I mean, what could she do?

So low and behold I had a natural birth. As scary as it was in the moment and as intense the pain was – it was actually pretty incredible and empowering and made me feel tougher and stronger than I’ve ever felt in my life.

Anyway. I pushed for about an hour. I had my family surrounding me and most importantly, Wild Man by my side holding my hand and my leg. Having him beside me was incredible. He was so supportive and I noticed during the pushing a lot of the time I would zero in on Craig and listen to his support and cheering and coaching and it was how I was somehow able to zone out the pain. Thank goodness for that great man.

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At 4:12 pm on November 20th on a Friday, our sweet and perfect baby boy was born. He weighed 8 pounds 12 ounces and was 20 inches long. That moment was so spiritual and perfect and raw and one I will never forget. Our sweet baby was perfect and healthy and we couldn’t have been happier.

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I had a major episiotomy (woof!) and the stitches were pretty painful to get. For the beginning half of getting them, my son was getting weighed and a basic cleaning and it was so hard to sit there and feel everything (stupid not working epidural) but as soon as they gave me my baby and I got to hold him and snuggle him again, I was able to look past the pain again. Thank goodness. You know those sweet babies are special when they can mute all pain.

Holding this fresh, tiny baby was so incredible. This little squishy, beautiful baby boy filled my heart so full and he put a happiness into our life that nothing else ever could.

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We spent the next few hours in the labor room while our family stood around us and stared at our sweet little guy. It was very special. After a little while everyone started leaving and it was just the three of us. Our little family of three. I can’t begin to describe the feeling we felt as it was just us. Everything became so real and raw. Our family felt whole. It was such a terrific moment.

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I was so excited when I learned I was able to go into the nursery with Wild Man and our newborn. They were very cautious about if I would feel ok and told me what to look out for but I knew I’d be ok to accompany my boys to the nursery. It was interesting. It was the first time I was really able to study him and take him all in. He was very red so they had to run a couple tests on his red blood cells (all was well) and then they cleaned him and bundled him up and put him back in my arms and we were taken back to our room.

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We didn’t name him until the day after he was born. We wanted his name to be absolutely perfect for him so we had to think on it a little longer than most people, I guess. It was fun though for a while to be the only two people who knew his name.

We were released on Sunday. We would have been able to leave sometime in the morning but they wanted us to stay until evening because they were keeping an eye on my episiotomy and bleeding. Sometime around 5pm we were released. Going home with our sweet new baby boy was the most wonderful and exciting thing I think we’ve ever experienced. It was all so real and beautiful. We are so, so very happy to be this perfect little boys parents and feel that Heavenly Father has blessed us tremendously with this sweet little one.

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xoxo

ceeceesparkles