Friday, December 23, 2011

There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays

I have really been struggling with the idea of home versus home recently.  I have lived in Texas six and a half years. I have a house and a family here. Yet, I still can't accept this place as my home.  To quote a little  country music here, "My home's in Alabama."  I guess it's the Southerner in me.  I will always be an Alabamian at heart no matter how long I live away from the state and I will always be a native Mobilian.  That is where my roots are and I want to make sure my son knows where he came from.

We aren't going to Alabama for any part of the holidays this year. It's killing me.  Last year we went the weekend before Christmas for a long weekend so we could still be in our house Christmas morning.  But the whole crew from Alabama is coming here this year to celebrate with us since Jenny is 8 months pregnant.  I'm excited about not having to travel with a 5 month old but still sad about not going home.  I haven't been for a visit since April and I won't be back until this April.  I miss my home.  I miss my family.

The first time I heard "I'll Be Home for Christmas" on the radio this year I cried a little.  It just makes me sad.  Sadder even that I have such a little amount of family near by so it isn't like the old days when we used to make the rounds of visiting everyone on Christmas. That tradition died out over the years as we all got older but I still miss it.  This year I will be home by myself with the boys most of the day since Chris has to work.  So, all in all, it's going to be a quiet Christmas. Not really what I had hoped for but it will do.

Friday, December 16, 2011

My Obsession

A few weeks ago, there was a post on Style Lush about makeup worth repurchasing which got me thinking about the makeup I love and the fact that I have a mild obsession with makeup.  For someone who really doesn't wear a lot of makeup, that is an odd obsession to have.  But I have always loved to shop for makeup and it is nothing for me to drop obscene amounts of money in Sephora, Ulta, or at the department store makeup counter of my choice.  I will buy new skincare and face products, use them for a few weeks, and toss them aside but not get rid of them because I might use them one day.  What I found in most instances was that I kept going back to the same products.  That should tell me something so I made a deal with Chris.  It was time for me to clean out the makeup collection and get back to the basics of the products I love and only purchase items to replace what needs to be replaced.

So tonight I went about the near impossible task of sorting out the excess makeup and bagging it up to be tossed.  That was the hard part because I couldn't bring myself to toss the bag of perfectly good makeup that I just didn't use.  There was a lot of money in that bag!  So I made Chris do it.  And he didn't just toss it, he took it to the big can in the garage so I wouldn't be tempted to try to salvage anything.  It was painful to watch him walk out the house with that bag but I knew it was a good thing for us.  Now I just have to resist the call of the cosmetics section, avoid the lure of the makeup counter, and keep myself out of the makeup stores.  This is going to be tough for me to do but it is a must.

So now instead of shopping for new beauty products, I will just satisfy my craving with my monthly Birch Box. This way I get to have the fun of trying new products without spending a lot of money.  Ten dollars a month I can handle.  Plus I'm not upset if I don't like something since it is just a sample.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Stuff I have made from Pinterest

Thanks to Jackson waking up early this morning, I actually have a little time to blog.  (He's currently rolling around on the floor...yes, he's rolling!)  So I decided to post a couple of the dishes I have found on Pinterest recently.  (If you are not on Pinterest yet, get thee to Pinterest!)  I have a ton of recipes pinned (and lots of other things as well) but I have only made 4 so far.  Two we loved and two we were meh about so here are the two we loved:

Crockpot Potato Soup
Y'all, I loved this so much the first time that I have already made it a second time.  When I was sick two weeks ago, this is what I wanted.  The soup is quite tasty but not too heavy.  It is also a great base to be played with.  Add cheese, bacon bit, sour cream, whatever you want!  Chris and I have already discussed ways we can expand this soup to make it more interesting.  Plus, it's easy!  Dump everything in your slow cooker for 6 hours.  Add in the cream cheese for the last hour and you are done.  After all, that's the point of the slow cooker, right?!?

Pizza Casserole
I have two boys in my house that love pizza so trying this casserole was a no brainer for us.  It makes a lot.  We ate off of it for 2 days and still had leftovers.  I was fighting a nasty stomach bug when Chris fixed this so I only tried a little bit but what I ate was fantastic.  Sean especially loved it since I think he would eat pizza everyday if we let him.  We will definitely make this again.  Since it fills up a 9x13 pan, I would recommend this if you are cooking for a crowd to.  I think you could easily feed 8 off of this especially if you add a salad or something else green to go along side this dish.

I don't even have the links to the other two recipes we tried because I was so disappointed I knew I wouldn't try them again.  One was a slow cooker pull pork recipe.  I thought BBQ sauce and a can of soda (Dr. Pepper of course) and you couldn't possibly go wrong.  Well, it did.  The pork wasn't tender and it didn't absorb the sauce at all which left the meat just tasting weird.  I don't know if I purchased the wrong cut of meat or didn't let it cook long enough but it just didn't turn out at all like I expected.  The second was called chicken alfredo bubble up (or something like that).  It called for jarred alfredo sauce, chicken, and can biscuits...all things we had on hand at the time I found the recipe.  And it was just bland.  Too much biscuit, not enough chicken and alfredo.  We ate it but didn't save the leftovers.  Not really bad but not really our cup of tea either.

I have many more that I plan on trying in the near future.  I just have to add them to my menu plan.  So, what about you?  What have you tried?  What have you liked? Not liked?  Interested readers (OK, me) want to know!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Year Later

I decided to take a pregnancy test a year ago today on a whim after watching the episode of Life Unexpected where Shiri Appleby's character found out she was pregnant.  Something about her symptoms struck a cord with me.  I had been feeling off but didn't think much about it. Imagine my shock when I took the test (alone since Chris was at work) and it was positive.  (I took 3 more before it was over it just to reassure myself.)  I read the directions about 5 times to make sure I was reading the test right and then I took a second one to make sure.  It was so hard not to be able to share my excitement with Chris once the initial shock wore off.  Trying to sleep after learning that news was awful. I could barely wait till he got home the next morning.  I called him as soon as his shift was over to see what he had to say about the numerous texts he had received over the evening.

I was always on the fence about becoming a mother but I feared I would miss out if I didn't at least try.  I wasn't sure if I had what it took.  I have surprised myself.  I love that little boy more than I could ever imagine I would.  I'll admit that I had a tough time at first when I found out I was expecting a boy. I wanted a little girl so badly that my heart broke a little.  But then he became real to me and now I can't imagine it any other way.

After I found out Jackson was on his way a year ago today, I couldn't wait to meet him.  I wanted to know who this little person was going to be. I worried something would happen to him every day of my pregnancy.  I worried through my delivery and now I worry every day.  I can't wait to see the man he will become.  But for now I will snuggle and love on him while he will still let me.  I miss him when he is not around and I realize my life would not be complete without him in it.



Sunday, November 20, 2011

4 Months

This little guy is four months old today!

Some days it is hard for me to believe that it has been that long and some days it feels like he has been a part of my life for much longer.  I am having such a fun time with him right now.  He is really starting to interact and react to us.  I love his smiles and laughs.  Knowing those are waiting for me when I get home gets me through the day.  According to his check up this past Tuesday, Jackson now weighs 15 pounds and 5 ounces and he is 26 inches long.  He is pretty much average (50th percentile) for weight but he is on the tall side (86th percentile).  Not sure how my kid ended up tall.  We will see if that lasts.  

I realized I didn't do a 3 month update so I will cover some of those highlights here as well.  J started daycare just over a month ago and has done really well with it so far. I get a little jealous when I see him snuggling with his teacher, Miss Jordan, but it makes me feel better that he is comfortable and in a good environment.  We dressed him up as Robin for Halloween to go along with his big brother's Batman (the Adam West version) costume. I don't know that he really got much out of Halloween but he sure did look cute dressed up with his tiny cape.
He also started rolling over a couple of weeks ago.  That has been funny and frustrating.  Since he isn't much for being on his stomach (not a fan of tummy time!), he will roll over and get stuck and then start screaming until we flip him back over.  He is scooting a bit once he gets to his stomach so I suspect we will have a crawler pretty soon.  Jackson can also sit up with a little help and loves to stand up and dance.  I think his favorite place right now is sitting in his Bumbo watching TV and playing with his ball.  He also likes me singing to him (even though I can't sing very well).  I am just so glad we have a happy baby who loves us very much.  If we never do anything else right in this world, Chris and I definitely got this one right.



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Finally Someone Gets It

You won't find me talking about stepparenting on here very often for a variety of reasons.  I am concerned that things I say might be taken negatively when they are intended to be as well as the boundaries of discussing a child that isn't mine on the internet.  I know as Jackson's mother, I wouldn't want him being a topic of conversation on the internet by someone else.  I can only hope that Sean's mother feels the same way.  However, there are times when I will lift the censor long enough to address something I really feel like I need to share.  This is one of those times.

A couple of weeks ago, someone posted a link to this post on Twitter: This is not a Bonus Mom.  Obviously my curiosity was peaked so I had to check it out.  And boy, was I glad that I did.  For the first time since becoming a stepmom (and even while we dating/engaged), I felt like someone actually got it.  This is what I had been trying to explain to Chris this whole time.  I am not Sean's mom.  And as mean and harsh as that can sound, it is the truth not only in the fact that I didn't give birth to him but as in the fact that he doesn't want me to be his mom.  He knows that I am not his mother and he has a mom who he has a relationship with even though it is limited due to distance and her own lack of attention.

Early on, Chris expressed a desire for me to fill the role of mom in Sean's life.  It has taken several conversations to get across to him that I cannot fill that role.  I will love him and care for him but mom I will never be.  Chris doesn't understand this completely because he will never be in the same position I am in.  Nor will he ever understand that at times I have to put a bit of a wall up because it is hard raising someone else's child as your own and knowing the whole time that child would rather have someone else standing in your place.  I think the best way to look at it is that I am part of the village that is helping to raise Sean.  One day he will understand what all has been done for him.  But until then, he is just a child who wants his mother and that just breaks my heart.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Me On Cooking

My last post talked about our crazy busy days which led me to thinking about cooking for my family.  Now, I am not one of those people who hates cooking.  I won't say I love it but I do enjoy it.  However, I don't cook a lot.  Chris does most of the cooking in our household, which is actually quite backwards.  But he does it because he is the one that is home.  Because of my hours and commute, it is almost 6:30 each night when I get home from work.  If we waited till I got home to start dinner, we would either eat junk or not eat until it is time for Chris to walk out the door for work.  There are nights that happens but we try to keep that down to a minimum for the sake of both our waistlines and our pocketbooks.   Instead, I text Chris on my way out of the office and he starts dinner so that it will be close to completion when I get home. If there is still stuff to do when I get home, I will help out.  Otherwise, I save most of my cooking for the weekends.

For this reason, I tend to pick out simple, quick meals for us to have during the week.  While Chris was on nights, the crock pot was our friend since he could set it before going to sleep for the day and dinner would be mostly ready by the time he got home from picking Sean up.  The day shift really cut into our crock pot opportunities as I left too early and arrived home too late for most of the meals to work.  I am excited about being able to use it more now that Chris is back on nights.  But for the most recent past, we have been struggling to find decent meals that can be completed in 30 minutes or less. (Don't get me started on Rachel Ray either.) That is why I will look at recipes and decide it is too complicated just based on the number of ingredients.  Five ingredients or less and we are good to go.  Between five and ten and that will be a weekend meal. More than ten, probably not going to happen except for a special occasion and I have to be feeling ambitious.

Call me lazy if you want but that is what works for me.  I have been having a blast on Pinterest pinning recipes that look fantastic but then I will actually look at the recipe and determine it is something that I will most likely never make because it has too many ingredients or too many steps and I would much rather spend my time doing something other than standing in the kitchen trying to complete this meal.  I will say that I have found quite a few recipes on Pinterest that fit my criteria that I am looking forward to trying.  I think I just need to split up my boards a little better so that I don't keep scrolling through the same recipes trying to find one that will work. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Trying to Catch Up

I have so many things that I want to blog about right now (Penn State, Halloween, step parenting) but I am having a hard time finding the time to squeeze in blogging.  Our days are just insane.  And, every time I say something, I feel like I am whining because I know I am not any busier than anyone else.  Please know that I am not trying to complain. This is just something I feel the need to talk about.  We are completely running ourselves ragged right now and I am praying it will stop soon.  How is having 2 kids so much harder than having one? Is it because Jackson is still a baby and needs our full attention?  I finally realized how much I needed a break today when I was talking to a coworker about some upcoming events at work and she mentioned how tired I looked. Suddenly I was in tears for no reason other than the fact someone noticed and told me I needed to take a day to myself.  Something has to give.  I am just not sure I can figure out what that something is.

One thing that has been a major factor in the last nearly 4 months (gah!) since Jackson's birth has been Chris's training.  We found out in June that Chris was getting picked up for patrol starting July 1.  As excited as we were about this change, the timing couldn't have been worse with me due to have the baby at anytime.  The entire three weeks Chris was in class, his instructors were waiting for a phone call that I was in labor.  I ended up being sent to the hospital the 2nd day of his last week in class.  Plus, this effected his FMLA that had already been approved on the corrections side.  We were lucky that his patrol sergeant allowed him to take the first 4 weeks of my maternity leave off so that he could be home to help me with the baby.     

Where things have gotten complicated is the set schedule we were used to no longer exists.  Instead of 9:45 PM to 6 AM night shift on corrections, the midnight shift for patrol is 9-7.  Not a major problem since the boys both go to bed around 8 but I am supposed to be at work at 7:30 in the mornings and Sean cannot be dropped off before 7:15. Oh and have I mentioned my 45 minute commute to work recently?  Fortunately my boss has been great and wonderfully understanding about our time constraints and has been OK with me coming in late.  In turn, I typically work through lunch so I can still leave at 5:30 Monday-Thursday and 11:30 on Fridays.  (That is also where part of the exhaustion comes in.) Chris just started this shift, which will be his permanent shift, last night after 3 months of changing shifts from evenings to days.  The changing shifts has been difficult because it is not the norm for us and now I am used to having him home at night and on the weekends, things that never happened before.  It wasn't till I went to bed last night that it hit me.  The nights Chris works we will see each other for 2 hours and those will be 2 busy hours of feeding and bathing kids and preparing for the next day.

So why didn't we try for a different shift, you ask? Well, days are nearly impossible to get as a Rookie even though Chris's day sergeant wanted him on the shift because he thought he'd be a real asset to the shift.  That left us with midnights or evenings.  Truthfully, none of the shifts really work well with the schedule we have but midnights is the most doable.  The true upside to patrol is the 4 10-hour shifts a week versus the 5 8-hour shifts on corrections.  This gives Chris a little more time at home.  Plus patrol rotates weekends every month.  Four weeks Chris will work during the week with weekends off and four weeks he will switch.  So, in essence, we will get more time together.  It just doesn't feel like it right now.  Soon we will be adjusted to this new way of working and this will be the norm for us again.  In the mean time, it is stressing me out.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Roll Tide Roll

So, there's this football game this weekend that it seems pretty much every college football fan in the nation will be watching.  No, not the one that will take place in Austin between Texas and Texas Tech.  Not even the Aggies and Sooners are garnering this much attention.  It's the Tide and the Tigers.  Alabama and LSU that is.  A game that will surpass all other games this year.  Number 1 versus Number 2.  Anyone who knows me knows which side of the ball I am on.  I have tried to be very careful about what I have said about this game.  I will admit that I am nervous.  I want Alabama to do well.  I want to see them win but I don't want to do a lot of smack talking and have it come back to bite me in the end.  So instead I will just support my team and wear my colors proudly and say what I know to be true, "It's going to be a good game."  With that, I will leave you with an article I read this morning.  I can't say that I disagree with the article.  I do believe that Alabama is one of the best teams to ever play the game and not just this team this year but every year through the good and the bad because of the history, tradition, and legacy associated with being part of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

13 Things to Know Before You Meet Me

So, The Blathering is this weekend and 50 fabulous ladies are going to be converging on my city to take it by storm for 3 days.  I am terrified and excited all at the same time.  I do not know any of these women in real life and most of them I have only meet over the internet in the last couple of months as the attendee information has been posted.  Several have shared 13 things to know about me so I figured I would jump on the bandwagon as well.  Here it goes:

  1. I live in Round Rock and work in Austin.  However, I have only lived here for 4 years so I still have no idea where anything is.  I rely on my GPS for that reason.  Please don't laugh at me for this. But I am willing and able to drive around those who need transportation this weekend. 
  2. For the same reason listed above, I also have no idea what is really fun to do in Austin.  There are still a lot of tourist-y things I want to do like tour the Capitol and see the bats fly from the Congress Street Bridge.  If anyone is interested in that, let me know and I will gladly join you.
  3. While I live in Texas, I am not a native Texan.  I am from Alabama and I sound like I am from Alabama.  I am extremely proud of my Southern heritage.  Nothing pisses me off more than when Texans make fun of Alabama.  So if you have something bad to say about my home state, please just don't say it in front of me.
  4. I am also I die hard Alabama fan.  No, not the country music group.  Not even the state.  I am talking about the school and the football team in particular.  I know more about football than some guys do.  I love the sport and I love my team.  That being said, I am missing the Alabama v. Tennessee game Saturday night to come to dinner at Z'Tejas.  This is a big deal for me.  I don't miss games. Ever.
  5. I love houndstooth.  It's an Alabama thing.  It is nothing out of the ordinary to see me sporting at least one item of houndstooth something on my person at anytime.  However, I do believe that Lady Gaga proved there is such a thing as too much houndstooth.
  6. I am so glad I don't have to pack for the weekend as I have no idea what I am going to wear.  I am still trying to figure out what fits my post-baby body and I really have not had the time or energy to do a lot of shopping.
  7. I am secretly jealous of all of you who are getting a weekend away from your families.  Not that I want to get rid of mine but the thought of the bed to myself, no dog, baby, kid, or husband waking me up before 8 makes me want to crash at the hotel just to relax for a few days.
  8. I have not had time to get my eyebrows done or my hair cut so please don't judge my fluffy brows or split ends.  There is just no way to fit it in between now and Friday.
  9. I usually wake up some time between my husband's 4:30 alarm and my 5:30 alarm so 9 PM is really late for me and I am usually heading to bed shortly after that.  Don't be surprised if I am completely exhausted and no longer fun by the time it rolls around.  
  10. I so want to be one of the cool kids that everyone likes but I fear I am more like the annoying little sister that won't go away.  Maybe it's because I grew up as the annoying little sister who wouldn't go away.  Somehow I always feel like I am more on the outside looking in rather than part of the group.
  11. My husband is worried that I am not going to have fun this weekend.  He so wants me to relax and enjoy some time away from the house because I have had very little me time since Jackson was born 3 months ago.
  12. I am secretly worried about the same thing.  I also know that it is going to kill me to be away from Jackson all weekend since I don't get to see him much during the week now.  I might just have to bring him along for part of the weekend.  (And yes, Sarah, you can hold him.)
  13. My husband works for local law enforcement and therefore is extremely paranoid about something happening to me when I am out and I have a drink or two.  Don't be surprised if he calls to check up on me and see if I need a ride home.
I spent all last night and my drive to work this morning trying to figure out what to post as my 13 things.  I am sure I forgot something I had thought of but that's OK.  You guys are going to meet me soon enough and I am sure you will learn much more than you could pick up here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Random Thoughts and Observations


  • I am extremely easily annoyed these days.  It doesn't take much to get under my skin which makes me an unpleasant person to be around.  Knowing this, I've been keeping to myself a lot so I don't just completely go off on someone.
  • I am also more emotional.  I almost cried in a meeting this week when one of the PMs welcomed me back to the office and commented that I looked thrilled to be there.  The comment didn't bother me because it was true.  It just re-emphasized how much I want to be home with Jackson.  And then I did it again the next day driving to work just because I really didn't want to go.
  • The daycare situation is really stressing me out.  We have just over 2 weeks to find someone to watch Jackson while Chris and I are at work since our perfect in-home daycare fell through last week.  I am really not happy about this.  I never wanted to put my kids in daycare but I have no other options.  Nor do I have any idea how we are going to pay for this.
  • My feet still don't look like my feet.  I guess I got used to how they looked swollen and puffy.  Now they look so skinny and long and like they belong on someone else's body.
  • I've lost all my pregnancy weight plus about 10 pounds which should be great but it isn't.  While my old clothes fit, they aren't comfortable because I am flabby and everything has shifted so nothing fits right.
  • I have one pair of jeans out of about 5 that fit me properly.  So I decided to order a couple of more pairs of the same style.  Wouldn't you know, Lee no longer makes the style I like so I can't find any to purchase.
  • Is it ever going to cool off in Austin, Texas?  The first day of fall was last week and we celebrated by having a high of 104 on Monday.  We are well over 80 days of triple digit temperatures for the year.  I am ready for it to drop below 90 for a few days and to get some rain.
  • Explain to me how 1 gas station out of 5 in a half mile radius can charge $0.50 more than all the others and still have business.  Two of the stations were $3.27 and 2 were $3.29 but the last one was $3.71.  How does that happen?
  • Somehow I have become a mommy blogger.  That wasn't intentional but, since I write about myself and my life, I guess it was bound to happen when I got pregnant.  
  • I still hurt quite a bit more than I expected to at this point.  I pretty much always feel a slight throb around my incision and, at least once a day, I will get a sharp, stabbing pain in that general area.  It's been 2 months.  Is this normal?
  •  I am attending The Bathering in a few weeks and I am excited and terrified at the same time.  A lot of the bloggers attending have "known" each other for ages and I am so of the new kid on the block.  And, yes, I am that person who wants to be cool and well liked but I know in reality that I am not cool so all my anxiety is coming out over this one.  It is being held here in Austin so that is great but I am also afraid of missing out on a lot of the fun because I won't be staying in the hotel with the other ladies.
  • I think I have rambled just about as much as I can ramble on one post for today.  Just had to pass on some of the thoughts floating around in my head.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

THE ABCS OF ME


I borrowed this from the fabulous Sarah Lena since I accidentally deleted the post I started writing earlier today.  I intend to finish that post but this will have to do for now.

A. Age: 34
B. Bed size: Queen which was fine for me and Maverick but Chris, Maverick, and I need a King.
C. Chore that you hate: All of them but particularly cleaning the bathrooms especially the toilets with all the boys in my house.
D. Dogs: Yes, Maverick, the fat beagle
E. Essential start to your day: Now that I am back at work, I must have my coffee.
F. Favorite color: Crimson red...is there any other color?
G. Gold or Silver: I am more of a gold person but my wedding rings are white gold so I have been leaning towards silver since getting them nearly 2 years ago.
H. Height: 5’2" on a good day if I stretch
I. Instruments you play: I played alto clarinet in high school and I wasn't very good
J. Job title: Financial Analyst
K. Kids: Jackson - 2 months old; Sean (stepson) - 7 years old
L. Live: Round Rock, Tx
M. Mother’s name: Marian
N. Nicknames: Jules
O. Overnight hospital stays: 5 nights to have Jackson; 1 night after having Jackson left my blood pressure wonky
P. Pet peeves: text speak - I cannot stand the abbreviations people use when texting or chatting
Q. Quote from a movie: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." ~ Ferris Bueller
R. Right or left handed: Right.
S. Siblings: Two brothers, both older: Vincent and Clay
U. Underwear: Victoria's Secret cotton 
V. Vegetable you hate: onions and tomatoes
W. What makes you run late: Having a newborn and underestimating the amount of time it will take all 4 of us to get ready
X. X-Rays you’ve had: lungs
Y. Yummy food that you make: I have done a pretty good job of copying my mom's spaghetti.
Z. Zoo animal: not really into animals other than my dog

Monday, September 26, 2011

This Little Thing Called Life

I fully intended to write 2 blog posts last week.  One about Jackson turning 2 months old and one about returning to work.  That did not happen.  That nasty thing known as my job really got in the way last week.  Along with trying to keep my household together, there was just no time.  The post-work evenings felt like I was running a marathon.  There is just so much to do in the 3 hours between getting home from working and getting everyone settled in bed.  That meant that my internet and TV time was extremely limited.  So, I will make up for it now by talking about what I was going to talk about last week.

Jackson hit 2 months old last Tuesday.  It was also Maverick's 6th birthday.  I cannot believe how big both of my boys are now.  I remember bringing Maverick home as a tiny little 6 pound puppy 6 years ago.  He was so adorable and so tiny and would fall asleep on my chest.  Now he is my loving, crazy, rambunctious, fat beagle.  He will still curl up in my lap and go to sleep when I let him and he loves my baby more than anything.

I still can't believe how much my life has changed in 2 months.  Jackson is truly my world now.  Leaving him each morning before work is killing me.  I just want to stay home and snuggle with him all day.  My boy is up to 12 lbs 4 oz as of his 2 month checkup a week ago.  We also got good news from the cardiologist 2 weeks ago.  The heart murmur and irregular heartbeat they heard at Jackson's birth have corrected themselves.  The tiny holes have closed and my baby is as healthy as can be.  Even though I wasn't worried, it was still a huge relief to know everything really was OK.  I get lots of smiles and giggles from Jackson now that just absolutely make my day.  This is what I am missing when I sit at my desk everyday.
My return to work has been hard on all of us.  We would really be struggling if Mom wasn't here right now.  Jackson is really missing me during the day and is extra clingy when I get home.  (OK...so Mommy needs the snuggles too.)  I love that he wants to be with me but it does make it hard to accomplish anything when I can't put the baby down for fear of screaming.  I am sure it will get better once we all adjust to the "new" schedule.  On top of that, I know my focus is not on work.  I find myself staring at pictures of Jackson because I miss him so much.  I also feel like I am having to re-learn the job I have had for 2 years.  It is amazing what you can forget in 2 months.  Hopefully everyone will be patient with me until I adjust to the life of a working mom of a newborn.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

One Step Closer

I am currently laying on my couch bored out of my mind praying that Jackson will sleep until it's time to go get Sean from school.  He was cranky this morning because he was fighting sleep.  So now that he is finally napping, I don't want to turn on the TV or do anything else that might wake him up because I need to enjoy my last quiet afternoon before all hell breaks loose in my house.  My short term disability officially ended on Tuesday so I took 3 days of vacation to finish out the week before I return to work on Monday.  The only good thing about the c-section was that I was able to get 8 weeks of disability instead of the 6 I was expecting.  While 2 months should seem like a long time, it really isn't.  I am still sore and some days I think I must look like I just got off a horse with the way I walk.  I also know it hasn't been long enough to mentally prepare for leaving Jackson behind.  Mom gets here Saturday to keep Baby J for us while I go back to work and Chris will be on days.  I am so gratefully for her help but I know it is going to be stressful having an extra person in our already packed house and with our sometimes conflicting personalities.  I started off this week snuggling Jackson who woke up with the biggest smile for me Monday morning.  It was my intention to make the most of this last week home with him and, of course, it has just flown by.  Chris will be off tomorrow and we will be busy getting ready for Mom's arrival (cleaning!).  So I am trying to take advantage of the last little bit of "me time" I am going to have for a while.  I probably should have done something more productive but at least I got a nap out of it.

Bama Baby

It is Jackson's first football season and I am enjoying dressing my boy in all the crimson and white I can get my hands on.  I found out I was pregnant after the regular season was over last year so I didn't get the fun of dressing my bump to cheer on my team.  Instead, I get to dress my baby and that is way more fun.
I am not sure how my boy feels about having his team allegiance picked so early in life but I figure I better start early since he isn't surrounded by all the Alabama fans I was growing up.  It is my job to raise him right and teach him that even though we live in the land of the Longhorns, Tuscaloosa is the place for him.  Jackson's first game was two weeks ago when Alabama defeated Kent State.  
As you can see, he could barely contain his excitement for the game. Jackson slept through the whole first half of the game.  We watched the game at the house of our friends, the Heards, and the guys fixed us breakfast for lunch.  We chowed down on Conecuh sausage and bacon (imported from Alabama) along with pancakes, eggs, and biscuit.  What a feast!  The whole family got into the spirit for the game.
Well, everyone but Chris that is.  I haven't gotten him into an Alabama shirt yet but trust me that will happen one day.  Even Maverick sports a houndstooth collar on a regular basis.  So Daddy can't stay the odd man out forever.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

All Clear

Today was my 6 week postpartum check up.  I have been dreading it.  Just the thought of having someone mess with me down there knowing how tender I still am around my incision did not excite me.  Fortunately the appointment went better than I expected.  My blood pressure was finally back down to the normal range.  Yay! for 120/82.  I think my doctor and nurse both did a happy dance.  They kept commenting on how much better I looked and how they could tell I felt better so I asked Chris if I really looked that bad.  His answer was yes, I looked pretty rough for a few weeks.  That's good to know.  I blame the pain meds because they made me feel like a zombie.

The doctor says I am all healed and released to return to all manners of normal activity.  I have also lost all of my baby weight and then some.  (We won't talk about the additional 30 pounds I need to lose.)  So I guess that means I am good to go back to work in a couple of weeks.  (Boo!)  The weird part is I don't have to go back to the doctor for a year.  That seems so strange after seeing her and her office staff so much over the last year.  I won't know when the receptionist has her baby in a couple of months.  They probably won't recognize me when I walk in the door anymore.  After all, I was in the office once a month since December and almost once a week since June.  I can't say I am going to miss going to the doctor so often but it will feel like I am forgetting something for a while.

Here is some baby cuteness to celebrate passing the 6 week mark:
Jackson and I were snuggling while Chris was getting ready for work and Chris just had to get a picture because this baby couldn't be anymore adorable if he tried.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Boy and His Dog


I heard many people say that their pets could sense when they were pregnant and paid special attention to them during that time.  I was actually surprised that I didn't receive a similar reaction from Maverick.  It wasn't until the end of pregnancy that he started paying closer attention and could sense something was up.  I don't know if it was rearranging the house and his living quarters or what but he definitely knew something was up and would get antsy whenever Chris and I would leave the house.  He also had his own way of greeting the baby.
I was hoping that there wouldn't be any drama between the dog and the baby when we returned home but I wasn't totally sure how Mav was going to react to yet another new person in his house.  I had confidence that Maverick would adapt well and I was right.  Having the baby in the house has actually calmed my rowdy pup a bit.  He has become quite the protector for Jackson.  He has to check on him when he is crying and he even sits in the door of the nursery guarding the room whenever I am in there changing the baby.
There is definitely a lot of love between my two boys.  I really believe that Jackson will grow up thinking Maverick is his puppy.  I am just happy that my fears where unfounded.  Well, all except the one about Maverick licking the baby to death.  That still might happen!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Jackson's Newborn Photos

For some reason it didn't dawn on me to check out photographers before I had Jackson to setup newborn photos.  I had no desire to take maternity photos so researching photographers never crossed my mine. I used a photographer that my brother and his wife recommended from their Sunday School class.  That meant Jackson's newborn photos were closer to 1 month photos because they were taken when he was 4 weeks old.  I just wanted to make sure I had something to document my baby's early days.  J-Man was not a fan of having his picture taken either.  However, Jenni did a great job of capturing a few sweet moments with my little man.  Here is a link to her blog highlighting Jackson's photo shoot: Jenni Roberts Photography

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tiptoeing Back to Reality

Chris went back to work this week.  I was pretty anxious about being left at home with both of the guys for the majority of the day but it has been a relatively smooth week.  Jackson has been pretty easy to handle and Sean went back to school today so that has made the week go by faster than I expected it would.  However, this turn of events means that it is only a matter of time before I head back to work myself.  I am scheduled to have about 3 more weeks off work.  The sheer thought of going back is tearing me apart.  I don't want to leave Jackson even though I know he will be in the safe and loving hands of my mom for the first couple of weeks after my return to work.  But still it is going to kill me to feel like I am missing out on my time with my son.  I just love watching him sleep.  I love the adorable faces he makes when he is dreaming his baby dreams.  It's going to be so hard to leave him and be away from him for the better part of 10 hours a day.  I knew it would be difficult but I had no idea how much I would dread it.  Chris caught me crying last week because I found out my co-workers are counting down the days until I return to the office.  It just really upset me.  Jackson is already growing so fast that I just know I am going to miss some important parts of his life if I am not with him every day.
I snapped this picture of Jackson with my teddy bear, Trevor, this afternoon while Chris was getting ready for work.  The outfit is a newborn outfit that he has worn a couple of times before.  The shorts were too big initially but now he can actually wear them (although I still think he looks like ghetto baby in shorts).  He just isn't listening to my instructions to stay tiny forever.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

One Month Later

Jackson turned a month old on Saturday.  It's hard to believe that a month has gone by already.  Time really does fly.  I am amazed at how much our lives have changed and how much I enjoy being a mom to this sweet little boy.
I keep trying to figure out some way to get paid to stay at home and watch Jackson sleep all day.  I just love his little antics and expressions.  I constantly want to know what he is thinking and why he looks like he has the weight of the baby world on his shoulders.  I still have a lot to learn about this parenting thing but I feel like I am getting the hang of it.  I'm so glad I get to see this face each day and to hold him and love on him.  I know I had my doubts about having a child in the past but I truly wouldn't change it for the world now.
After all, how adorable is this little boy?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Aftermath

All total I was in the hospital almost 6 days for Jackson's birth.  That included 2 days for the induction, 1 day of bed rest, and 2 and a half days of postpartum.  I was a lot worse off after the delivery than I expected to be.  Having an epidural for a full 24 hours plus pushing for 3 hours plus 24 hours of bed rest meant my legs couldn't function when I was finally able to get out of bed on Thursday night.  It took me several days to feel comfortable walking without Chris nearby to help me.  I think I was home for a week before I really felt like I could get around on my own and walk for more than a few minutes at a time.

They aren't kidding when they say 24 hours either.  Once 10:30 Thursday evening rolled around, my nurse was in my room with a wheel chair to take me to the postpartum wing.  Bye-bye nice giant labor and delivery room,  Hello tiny, oddly shaped postpartum room.  The best thing about moving at that time was that we requested to leave Jackson in the nursery for the night so Chris and I (mostly me) could get some sleep.  I literally hadn't slept in almost 3 days at this point and I was delirious.  I couldn't see straight because I couldn't focus using both my eyes (I later found out that was a side effect of the morphine used in my surgery) but I was still trying to entertain family and friends who had come to see me and the baby.  I requested an ambien once I got settled into my room and that was probably the smartest decision I made the whole time I was there.  That coupled with my pain meds meant I was asleep in less than 5 minutes.  It was the best night of sleep I had gotten since I stopped being able to sleep on my stomach.

By Friday, I felt more human again.  I was able to get out of bed on my own and sit in a chair if I wanted to.  I took a shower and got a fresh gown to wear.  I no longer sounded like a drunk person when I tried to talk or smelled and looked like a homeless person.  Plus I was finally able to get some pictures with the baby.  I wouldn't allow anyone to take my picture until I was clean.  You could tell I was still tired but I felt so much better by this point.  I was also really getting to spend time with Jackson.
Saturday brought more visitors and my parents decided to head back to Alabama.  It was also the day I freaked out about going home and having to take care of the baby on my own.  Chris was scheduled to start his patrol training on Monday morning after I got out of the hospital.  I knew I was still having too hard of a time getting around to be able to take care of Jackson on my own all day long at first without having some help.  So he was able to work out his schedule to take the first four weeks off with me. (He actually goes back to work tomorrow.)  That was a huge relief because I really did panic at the thought of trying to do everything on my own.  Finding out I wasn't going to be able to drive for at least 2 weeks also sealed the deal because I would need someone to take me and Jackson to our followup visits with our doctors.

As nice as it had been to have all the help from the nurses at the hospital and knowing we could send Jackson to the nursery if we needed a break or to get some rest, we couldn't wait to be discharged on Sunday.  Because of the issues with my blood pressure, my doctor told me to stay until at least Sunday with the possibility of being extended to Monday if my BP didn't come down enough.  Fortunately, my last few readings before leaving the hospital were in the OK range so I was able to go home.  Chris was so ready to get out of there, we didn't even stop long enough to get any pictures of Jackson in his going home outfit (an Alabama onesie and the blanket my mom took me home in).  I didn't mind much though.  I was tired of the uncomfortable bed and the constant interruptions from the nurses which kept me from resting well.  I just wanted to be in my own house even though it would be a couple of weeks before I could get in my own bed again.

I noticed something strange when I got home.  Everything looked different.  I can't really explain it except I felt like I was viewing things with new eyes.  Nothing had actually changed except I had a baby now.  I was a mom but everything felt different all the same.  Even Maverick looked like he had changed during his week at the kennel.  I guess I had a new perspective on everything.  Either that or I had just felt really out of touch with everything while I was in the hospital for a week.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Birth Story: The Final Installment

Around 6:45 on Wednesday evening, the time finally came for me to push.  And push I did for the next 3 hours with my nurse, Lauren, and Chris encouraging me the whole time.  The on-call doctor came in around the 2 hour mark to check on my progress and told me that we would have a different conversation the next time she came in if the baby still wasn't here.  That's exactly what happened.  At the 3 hour mark, it was determined I had not made enough progress to continue.  The doctor gave me the option of forceps or a c-section.  Since there was no way I was going to let them try to yank my baby out, I went with the c-section.

At that point, things started moving quickly.  Suddenly there were more people in my room and things were happening.  They were stopping the pitocin and stopping my contractions.  Chris was given scrubs to wear and told to wait outside the operating room until they came to get him.  Everyone was moving around me but I was only slightly aware of it.  I was so exhausted at this point, I decided it would be a good time to nap.  So I nodded off quite a bit over the next 30 minutes while they moved me and prepped me for surgery.  I vaguely remember them throwing a bunch of things on the bed and wheeling me down the hall and moving me from the bed to the operating table.  Next thing I knew, I was prepped and ready to go and Chris was sitting next to me.

At that point, the doctor did the pin prick test to see if I was numb so she could start the surgery.  I felt the first prick and let her know so they increased my anesthesia and started the surgery.  Only the anesthesia hadn't taken full effect yet or something because I felt it when the doctor started the initial incision.  At least I was aware enough to let them know so they were able to correct the problem and continue on.  After that, I felt a lot of tugging and pulling which was pretty uncomfortable.  I know I let out a few audible moans because the anesthesiologist kept checking on me to make sure I was alright.

At 10:33 on July 20th after 34 hours in labor, Jackson Christopher Short finally made his arrival into this world.  Complete with big feet, long toes, and pink skin, he weighed 7 pounds and 4 ounces and was 20 inches long.  I would like to say I was excited but I was still drifting in and out of consciousness at this point while I waited for them to finish stitching me up.  Chris was able to get some pictures of him and the anesthesiologist kept holding back the corner of the curtain so I could see him while they were working on him.  Once Chris was finally able to bring him to me, I gave him a kiss and apologized for not being able to stay awake.  To say I was tired at this point would be an understatement.

Jackson and Chris then headed to the nursery for his bath and to continue checking all his vitals.  I was sent to recovery for the next hour for monitoring.  Once Chris was done in the nursery with the baby, he came to sit with me until I headed back to my room.  I was immediately put on 24 hour bed rest with a continued magnesium drip because of the preeclampsia.  My mom and dad were still there when I got back to my room and they finally brought Jackson to me so we could spend some time with him before we went to sleep for the night.  Because of the bed rest, Jackson couldn't be left alone in the room with me unless someone else was in there awake.  Since Chris hadn't gotten much rest either, we sent the baby back to the nursery to settle in for the night around 3 AM.

A couple of hours later, I was awoken by a lab tech entering my room to draw more labs.  Considering that I had barely gotten 2 hours of sleep at this point, I was none to happy especially when she ignored my concerns over my difficult veins and proceeded to stick me anyway.  She missed and I completely lost it.  Chris made her leave the room only to have my nurses show up a few minutes later.  They calmed me back down and drew the necessary blood for the lab work and let me go back to sleep.  Unfortunately, I had a new contraption, compression cuffs on my legs, to keep me awake.  So sleep still wasn't to be had.  It didn't matter though because once Chris woke up, they brought Jackson back to the room.  And I have to say, through all of it, he definitely is worth it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Birth Story Part 3

With the epidural in place, I was more comfortable and thought I would be able to get some rest.  Unfortunately, the cervidil wasn't doing anything more than make me contract so it was time to bring in the big guns.  Two hours after getting my epidural, they removed the cervidil and started the pitocin.  I was in for a long night.  With the pitocin in place, Chris and I tried to settle in for the evening.  However, with nurses checking on me periodically and the blood pressure cuff going off every 15 minutes, sleep was not to be had. One of my night nurses even asked if I ever slept to which I responded that I was resting but the noise from the BP cuff was keeping me awake.

At some point during the night, I got quite a scare.  The nurse had come in to make some adjustments to my IV and I started to get a tightening in my chest.  It felt like I had something sitting on my chest and I couldn't breath.  Since I was still on the potassium, I freaked out thinking it was messing with my heart.  So somewhere around 1 AM I received an EKG to see what was going on.  Fortunately everything came out OK but I was still worried.

My doctor showed up around 8 AM the next morning to check my progress.  After more than 7 hours on the pitocin and a full day on the cervidil, I had only made it to 2 cm.  I was annoyed.  So she decided to break my water and see if that improved my progress.  She told me she'd be back around lunch to see where I was then and to decided what to do next.  At her next visit, I had still only made it to about 3 cm so they decided to reduce the pitocin levels and then slowly bring them back up to see if that would kick start my labor.  By this point, I had been in the hospital in early labor for 24 hours.  I still wasn't in active labor.  The doctor said if I made it to 4 cm and didn't go any further then we would start talking c-section.  At that point, I reminded her that my mom had 3 c-sections and I fully expected things to go the same way for me.  However, my doctor didn't remember us having this conversation before so this was news to her.  She then told me she would see where I stood at 5 when she made her rounds again.

I have to admit I was praying I would stall at 4 cm because I was tired and I was ready for Jackson to come out.  I was perfectly fine with the idea of a c-section because I had always suspected I would need to have one.  I also didn't have my heart set on having Jackson delivered naturally.  I just wanted him to come into the world safely and healthy.  So you can imagine my disappointment when I was checked again and the nurse determined I was between 5 and 6 cm.  However, she also commented on the small size of my pelvis which would indicate that it would be difficult for the baby to come out that way.  Unfortunately, that particular nurse went off duty shortly after all this and wasn't there when the time came for me to try to push.

My parents arrived from Alabama somewhere around 4:30 that afternoon and brought my brother and his wife with them to the hospital.  Chris's parents also showed up some time that afternoon.  I am not really sure when everyone got there.  I just remember them having a lively conversation in the corner of my room while I was in pain on the bed.  I was none too thrilled about this at all but I was way too out of it at that point to tell them to do anything different.  However, they did finally get kicked out of the room when it was time for me to start pushing.

I should also mention that sometime during the night, I realized that my epidural wasn't working properly.  My legs were pretty much numb and my upper abdomen was as well but nothing in between was numb.  I could still feel all the contractions.  It was miserable.  I had to have my epidural increased twice before I started pushing.  Even that didn't help though.  By the time I started pushing, I basically couldn't feel the epidural anymore.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Birth Story Part 2

Chris didn't show back up at the hospital for another 3 hours.  I knew I had given him quite a list of things to accomplish on top of getting my stuff and getting Maverick to the kennel.  Since we were completely unprepared for Jackson's pending arrival, I had also told Chris to wash all the newborn clothes and sheets and anything he thought we would need as soon as we got home.  Needless to say, by the time Chris got back to the hospital, I was beside myself.  Here I was in labor in the hospital alone.  I was not happy.

The rest of Tuesday went on pretty much the same.  I had contractions.  I was uncomfortable and I was tired.  But nothing was happening.  I wasn't dilating so the labor was progressing.  Even though I wasn't in a lot of pain, I was uncomfortable enough that they gave me a couple of sedatives so that I could relax and get some rest.  After the second sedative wore off, I told the nurse that the contractions were stopping.  She thought I meant the pain until I explained to her that no, it wasn't the pain so much as the contractions were coming one right on top of the other.  There was no break in them.  At that point, she ordered the epidural.  That was somewhere around 9:30 Tuesday night and they still hadn't started the piticon yet.

Getting the epidural was no walk in the park.  I was having what they referred to as labor shakes where I was shivering like I was cold only I wasn't cold and I couldn't control it.  There was nothing I could do to stop shaking which is bad when they are trying to insert a needle into your back and you need to be still for it.  Apparently the anesthesiologist had a hard time getting the epidural lined up properly because I kept feeling a stinging sensation above my left hip.  Once it was in, I started to feel relief from the contractions and I was much more comfortable than I had been.  I would later learn, however, that the epidural didn't work properly for me and only numbed portions of my body, not the area that needed to be numbed.

I should also mention that I was having other issues while all of this was going on.  Because of the preeclampsia, I was placed on a magnesium sulfate drip immediately upon entering the hospital to reduce the risk of seizure from my elevated blood pressure.  My labs also revealed that my potassium level was really low so that was added to my IV as well.  I had to have a drip of potassium for 4 hours and then my blood would be drawn 4 hours later to check my levels.  I guess they never got high enough because I ended up having 3 potassium drips during the time I was labor.  I also apparently don't breathe well while I am asleep (I blame that on the swelling because I also snored while I was pregnant) so I had to have oxygen on top of everything else.  Between the IV in one arm, the blood pressure cuff on the other arm (that took my BP ever 15 minutes), the oxygen mask, and the baby and contraction monitors, I was covered in stuff.  It was no wonder I couldn't get comfortable or get any rest.  Every time I moved they would have to reposition the baby monitor to make sure Jackson was OK.  I definitely didn't like having all of these contraptions attached to me.  It required an act of congress every time I moved which was often because they kept making me lay in different positions in order to help things progress or to get a better reading on my BP.

The Birth Story Part 1

Disclaimer: I wasn't sure if I would want to share Jackson's birth story with everyone.  If you aren't interested in reading all this then by all means, skip this (and any related posts). However, I want it documented for my sake because there are things I have already started to forget and it just happened 3 weeks ago. This is going to be long and it might have to be broken up into several posts.  So I apologize in advance.

I went in on July 15th for my 38 week appointment.  This was the first time I was going to be checked for any progress towards having the baby so I was cautiously optimistic about what the results would be.  I also felt like crap.  It was one of the hottest days we had had so far in the summer and I (wisely) decided to go shopping with my coworker, Jennifer, after we got off work that day.  (Yay for half day Fridays!)  The thought was I needed to be up and walking around to get this baby moving.  Well, apparently that did something.  While I was only dilated 1cm, my blood pressure was high enough for the doctor to actually get concerned so she decided to do some further testing.  I was sent home with a jug to do a 24 hour collection (yep, you know what I am talking about) and orders to have blood drawn at the lab on Monday morning.  So I took it easy for the rest of the weekend because the crappy feeling only continued (and actually got worse) as the weekend progressed, only heading out on Saturday night for my belated birthday dinner and to see the final Harry Potter movie.

Monday morning I took my jug to the lab and had the blood work done and was told I would have results in 1-2 days.  That seemed odd to me since I figured what they were testing for was pretty pressing but who am I to question how this stuff works.  I had also told Chris that morning that I didn't care what happened that week, it was going to be my last week at work.  It was getting to be too difficult to get up in the mornings because I was exhausted and felt terrible.  The heat was really getting to me and I was just over a week away from my due date.  It was time to focus on me and the baby and to take it easy.

That whole discussion didn't really matter because I got a call from my doctor at 8 AM Tuesday morning that pretty much changed all of that.  As she said, a call from your doctor that early in the morning is never going to be good news and she was right.  I had tested positive for mild preeclampsia and that meant the baby needed to come out.  Since I was 39 weeks and considered full term at that point, there was no need to wait.  I had to get to the hospital immediately.  They were going to induce me.  I hung up the phone, tried to call Chris, and started to cry.  I was scared.  I didn't want to be induced.  And even though I had spent 9 months preparing for Jackson arrival, the reality of it terrified me.  While I waited for Chris to call me back, I went into my boss's office to let her know what was going on (yes, I was at work as this all was happening) and to figure out what needed to be taken care of there.  Fortunately, Chris was only 10 minutes away because he was in patrol training rather than being at our house 45 minutes away and was able to come get me once he got my message.

We made it to the hospital in record time that morning.  The whole way there I was making phone calls to my family and friends to let them know what was up and that we would definitely be having a baby within the next 2 days.  My Mom and Dad started figuring out how they would get from Alabama to Texas.  We also made arrangements to drop Maverick off at the kennel since we knew we would be at the hospital for the next several days.  It seemed like everything had just kicked into hyper mode.  Once we got to the hospital, the nurses were waiting for us and took me straight to my room.  I guess they had received notification from the doctor's office that we would be there so they could be prepared.

I started getting settled in my room while we got a run down of what was going to happen.  They would start the cervidil immediately, which I would be on for 12 hours, to help with my progression.  Once that was done, it would be time for the pitocin.  It was going to be a long night.  I gave Chris a list of everything I needed from the house and sent him home to change while the nurse started all my labs and inserted my IV.  I can just imagine what they thought when he walked in dressed in full Sheriff's gear complete with duty belt and everything.  At least I was well protected at the hospital.  

Shortly after I ordered my lunch, the nurse came in with the cervidil and informed me I couldn't sit up for an hour after it was inserted.  So I got to stare at my meal for a good 30 minutes before I was able to eat it.  I had been having mild contractions for a couple of weeks at that point so the cervidil took those and ran with it.  Within 15 minutes, I was starting to have regular contractions.  We were on our way and I was optimistic that I follow in the footsteps of one of my friends who only needed the cervidil to induce her labor and had her baby less than 24 hours after starting on it.  I should have known better because I should have known that child birth was not going to be an easy process for me.

I'm Not Superwoman

One of my friends had to remind me on twitter yesterday that I am not, in fact, superwoman.  That is something I guess I am having a hard time with.  I had a baby just over 3 weeks ago via c-section (more to come on that later).  A c-section is a major surgery.  It takes time to heal and recovery.  You cannot resume normal activities immediately after.  Somehow, I cannot get that message through my head.

I feel like I have gotten mixed messages on how to handle recovery.  Some say get up and get moving while some say take it easy.  I went with get moving which meant going to the store, going to the mall, going to church, anywhere we needed to go I went.  Mom was worried I was over doing it and kept telling me I didn't need to be taking Jackson out this early.  Apparently, she was right only Jackson wasn't the one we needed to worry about.

I ended up back in the hospital.  As if 6 days at delivery wasn't enough, another 24 hours was just what the doctor ordered (ha!).  When I went to the doctor Thursday for yet another blood pressure check, they got concerned because my BP was elevated again and I mentioned the persistent headache I had been having for about 2 weeks.  I tried to tell them it was either stress, hormones, or the heat (it is after all 107 here!)  But they were worried I was still feeling the effects of the preeclampsia so back to the hospital I went for 24 hours on magnesium to see if that would help the issue.  I was not happy.  Chris and I ran home from the doctor's office (which of course is across the street from the hospital) to gather our things and make arrangements for Sean for the evening and then headed back to the hospital with Jackson in tow.  Fortunately it didn't take too long because I still had my toiletries and a few other items packed from my last trip to the hospital.  The difference this time was that I wasn't 9 months pregnant.  I was 3 weeks postpartum.

The whole experience was miserable.  The only redeeming factor was being placed in a labor and delivery room which is larger and nicer than the other rooms in the hospital not that I was able to get up and move around and enjoy it.  After a couple of hours on the magnesium, I felt worse than I did when I entered the hospital.  I had a full blown migraine and I was completely nauseous.  Nothing they were doing was making me feel any better.  There were a lot of tears shed in 24 hours.  I couldn't hold Jackson because of everything hooked up to me and I couldn't be left alone with him so Chris had to take him whenever he left the room.  And to top it all off, I'm still not 100% certain what was wrong with me.  I left the hospital with more pain meds, some for incision pain and some for headaches, and orders to basically do nothing.  I've been told housework can wait.  I need to focus on taking care of myself and Jackson and that is it.  The crappy thing is Chris goes back to work in a week so I will have to start doing more around the house then.  I guess I should have taken more advantage of having him home instead of trying to accomplish every possible task while I had him here.

So here I am kicked back on the couch staring at my messy living room wondering which maid service would be the best one to call.  (My mom has offered to hire someone to clean the house for me.)  I feel bad because I feel like I am ordering Chris around but he keeps catching me grimace if the pain gets a little bad and telling me to go sit down.  I don't like feeling helpless.  But I guess I have to get it through my head that I am supposed to take it easy right now.  That not only is it necessary but it is OK.  It's one of the few times in my life I will get to do this so I should enjoy it while I can.  It's just hard when you are used to being the one running the household.

The irony of the situation is that I walked into the hospital on Thursday and was told how great I was walking for someone who had  c-section 3 weeks earlier only to be wheeled out of the hospital the next day because I could barely stand up.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Jackson is Here!

I guess it is time that I finally updated everyone on Jackson's arrival.  Baby J is 2 and a half weeks old now.  And because I have to share, here is a bit of baby cuteness for you to enjoy.

As I am sure you can imagine, my life has been turned upside down.  It is amazing how quickly my focus has shifted away from budgets and invoices to dirty diapers and feeding times.  We are still trying to get adjusted and get into a routine.  Right now, Jackson seems to have no problems sleeping all day only waking up for diaper changes and bottles.  The nights are a different story.  He apparently thinks 1 AM is a great time to wake up and party for a little bit.  Fortunately for me, Chris has been taking the night shift so I am able to rest at night.  That is going to change soon though when Chris heads back to work in a couple of weeks.  For me, I am dreading going back to work.  Mostly because I don't want to put Jackson in daycare but I am not sure what other options we have at this time.

Recovering from the delivery started out quite a bit slower than I expected.  Thanks to some late pregnancy complications, I was in the hospital for 6 days.  Since I have been home, I am doing better than I expected I would be at this point but I still have a long way to go.  I am also still having a few issues with my blood pressure but hopefully it will resolve itself soon.  I plan on going into more detail on Jackson's birth in a future post.  Trust me, that's going to be a long one.

I will also say that it feels a little weird not being pregnant anymore.  I got so used to the big belly and everything else that went along with it that I haven't quite adjusted to it yet.  I missing being able to feel Jackson move.  At the same time, my body is starting to return to normal.  At my last doctor's appointment on Thursday, I had lost 22 of the 25 pounds I gained while I was pregnant.  My belly has pretty much returned to normal as well even though I am afraid to try on any of my pre-pregnancy pants.  I will probably start pulling out my clothes this week and determining what fits and what doesn't.  I am sure this will depress me because I was heavier than I wanted to be when I got pregnant so I know I will probably have to do some shopping before I return to work.  It's either that or go on a crash diet to lose 20 pounds in 4 weeks and somehow I think that would be a bad idea.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

State of Confusion

My house is in utter chaos right now.  I have been saying since May that we needed to start clearing out the office to make way for Jackson.  Thanks to conflicting schedules and constant activity, we haven't gotten around to that until now.  So here we are 9 days away from my due date boxing stuff up for storage and rearranging furniture to make room for a crib, dresser, and glider.  Part of this move means relocating Maverick's "home" to other portions of the house.

Up to this point, Maverick had a corner of the office where his bed and bowls were located.  A space to call his own.  While we are away from the house, he would hang out in there behind a baby gate and nap all day.  Since the office is now going to be the nursery, we couldn't leave him in there.  A few nights ago we moved his bed into our room at night so he could sleep in there with us.  This transition was fairly easy since he was already used to sleeping in the room with me.  However, I am trying to break him of the habit of sleeping in the bed with me especially since Chris is home at night now and there just isn't room for the 3 of us in the bed.

The bigger problem is the relocation of his space.  The best solution we could come up with for his quarters was to move his bowl and such to the kitchen and leave him in there while we are away from home.  It isn't the ideal solution but it's the only one we have at this point.  Maverick isn't crazy about being left to roam freely during the day.  The few times I have tried it, it upsets him when he leave and I come home to accidents.  It's just not fun for any of us and it breaks my heart to hear him cry when I leave him out like that.  So we just don't do it.  Maverick is more comfortable and I have less of a mess to clean up when I come home.

The problem is my poor dog is confused.  This morning I let him in to feed him and he ran straight to the office like normal.  But his bowl wasn't there and he didn't know why.  I had to actually take him into the kitchen and show him where his food was.  The same location it was in last night when we fed him but still not the norm.  This confusion is leading him to be a crazy dog.  He is getting into everything right now.  I know he knows something is going on but he hasn't figured out what yet and that is causing him to act out.  I actually don't worry about him adjusting to the baby that much.  He did pretty well when Chris and Kiddo moved in but I do think changing his routine is throwing him for a loop.  He's snoring away next to me on the couch right now.  I know all I can do is love him and reassure him and he will get the hang of it soon enough.  Until then, I get to suffer with crazy pup.  I still wish we could have done this earlier so the adjustment would have been easier but that just didn't happen.

Friday, July 8, 2011

But Who's Counting

I have 18 days until my due date and all I can do at this point is wait until Jackson decides to make his presence known to this world.  We had an ultrasound last week to see how big our boy is and we were surprised to find out he was only about 6 and a half pounds.  My doctor had said she would schedule a c-section if he was measuring 8 pounds or more at 36 weeks.  At this point, they are estimating he will be a nice average 8 pounds at full term.

I actually started feeling some contractions a couple of nights ago.  Hopefully that means we are starting to make some progress.  I just want Jackson to be the July baby we have planned on him being this entire time.  For the most part, I am just tired, hot, and uncomfortable.  Some days I just feel down right crappy.  I am really starting to understand why some women hate being pregnant.  These last few weeks are definitely the worst part of the pregnancy.  My feet and hands are so swollen right now that I can't feel my fingertips (which makes typing difficult) and the skin on my feet feels stretched to the limits.

Maverick must be sensing that something is going on.  He will barely leave my side.  As a matter of fact, he is sitting on the armrest next to me right now.  If I leave the room, he will either follow me or sit outside the door and wait for me.  I have heard people say their dogs can sense when they are pregnant and try to take care of them.  Maverick hasn't seemed to notice until recently.  I am just hoping he doesn't get to upset when I go to the hospital.  We are planning to take him to the kennel so he won't be left alone at the house.  Hopefully that will help ease any anxiety he might feel.  I don't really worry too much about him and the baby.  After all, the most harm I expect him to do is lick the baby to death.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Looking Back Part 4: The Honeymoon

Sunday was our last full day in Tennessee before we flew back to Austin Monday morning.  I definitely didn't want our trip to end but neither one of us had much time off work and we already taken care of the important part of the trip: getting married.  However, I realized that Sunday morning as I handed Chris his Father's day cards from Kiddo and Maverick that I was going to be faced with a dilemma in a year.  Indeed, our first anniversary would fall on Father's Day.  So I would have to share the day with a celebration for Chris.  Little did I realize at the time that Mother's Day would also fall on Chris's birthday.  I have been so cheated this year.  At least I get my birthday all to myself unless Jackson makes his appearance early but I digress.
Since we finally had time to relax a bit now that the wedding was over and we had finished all the running around related to the festivities, we were finally able to take in the scenery around the lodge.  Just a short hike down the trail from the main lodge and our cabin were two lakes and clubhouse where they stored canoes and bicycles that could be used around the grounds.  If it hadn't have been unusually hot for the area, we might have taken advantage of the down to explore a bit more.  However, Chris did find something he would like to have at our house once we have the proper location to place one.
After our hike, we headed down the mountain to experience Dollywood.  Now as a Disney snob, I have high standards for theme parks.  Of course no park outside of the Disney experience can usually live up to those standards.  Dollywood was nice with a few neat shows and some enjoyable rides but it was no Disney park.  They were celebrating their 25th anniversary and it was obvious that some parts of the park need work after 25 years.  However, we had a good time especially since the park wasn't crowded thanks to Father's Day.
After our trip to Dollywood, we headed back in to Pigeon Forge to complete the Rocky Top Wine Trail at the Hilltop Winery and to receive our wine glasses.  Then it was off to dinner at a local Italian restaurant before heading back to the lodge to pack for our trip home.  I was so sad when it came time for us to leave the next morning.  Our little escape to the mountains was much needed and the perfect way to celebrate the start of our lives together.
Once we were back in Austin, we both had one last day off before returning to work on Wednesday.  We celebrated the last night of our honeymoon by having dinner at Trio at the Four Seasons in downtown Austin. It was a great way to complete the long weekend and send us back to work two happy married people.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Looking Back Part 3: Our Wedding Day

So the big day had finally arrived.  I can't say I was nervous or anxious because I was pretty comfortable with my decision to marry Chris.  I was just excited and ready for the ceremony.  As with the rest of our trip up to that point, we hit the ground running that morning.  First it was breakfast at the lodge and then it was time to start getting ready.  While I was getting my hair done and a pedicure, Chris was enjoy a massage at the salon.  We then had to swing by the dry cleaners to pick up my dress which had been dropped off the day before to be pressed before heading back to the lodge for the picnic lunch we had ordered.  Once again, I can't say enough great things about the staff at Berry Springs Lodge.  Lunch was waiting for us in our cabin when we got back along with the flowers my mother had ordered for us for the ceremony.

I mentioned yesterday that my parents came to Pigeon Forge for the wedding.  What I didn't tell you is that they intended to surprise us by showing up the night before and letting us know they were there.  However, I spoiled the surprise about a week before we left Texas by asking my mother point blank if they were planning on coming.  They had decided to make a weekend of it and drove to Anniston, Alabama so my dad could check out the stock of M-1 Garands they had for sale.  In typical fashion, my father purchased one of the rifles while they were there and proceeded to show it off to my (new) husband he had never met before shortly after the ceremony.  At least Daddy was there to give me away.

Mom and Dad arrived at the lodge around 1 while we were finishing getting dressed for the ceremony at 2.  It was about that time that the rain started.  We had had beautiful weather all up to that point.  But it proceeded to rain through the entire ceremony and most of our pictures afterwards only to be a gorgeous evening once everything was said and done.  The ceremony itself was quite lovely.  The rain had cooled the air off a bit and we had a nice breeze blowing the whole time.  Plus we had a fantastic view of the Smokey Mountains in the background.  The only issue I had was trying to keep my heels from sliding between the cracks in the boards on the porch of the lodge.  Well, that and the horribly ugly tie our minister was wearing.
I still think choosing to elope was one of the greatest decisions we could have made.  We got a wedding we could enjoy without all the stress of a lot of planning.  We still had a Christian ceremony which was important to us and we were able to have some fantastic photos taken as well.  The owners of the lodge made most of the arrangements for us, providing the cake, the minister, and the photographer.  Mom got our flowers and brought our toasting goblets (which we will use today with some sparkling grape juice since I can't have any wine).  And we picked out our attire and the wine to toast with.  The whole day couldn't have gone easier.
I am still upset though that no one got a picture of me walking from our cabin to the lodge in the red and black lumberjack checked bathrobe the lodge provided so my dress wouldn't get wet.  Nor are there any shots of me in my flip flops as soon as we were done with pictures.  My shoes were fabulous but they were also fabulously uncomfortable.  I couldn't wait to get them off.  

We rounded out the evening with dinner with parents and seeing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  For dinner, we decided to pay homage to our home state of Texas and hit up a place called the Alamo Steakhouse.  The food was pretty good and the outside was designed to look like the Alamo in San Antonio.  The show that night was great as well.  I have performed in Joseph several times and it is one of my favorite musicals because it is just fun.  The cast did a great job although they were able to pull off a lot more than we ever could have gotten away with at a Baptist college.

In the end, it was a great day that I think Chris and I both enjoyed far more than we ever would have if we had decided on a larger wedding.  We can look back on it and actually remember what all went on that day as well as the weekend around it.  Plus we were able to share the day with my parents which meant a great deal to me.