A Tour of our Home {What It Really Looks Like}

5.15.2015

Life with three little kids is messy. If you showed up at my home on any given day I'd probably spend the first 10 minutes apologizing for the mess.  

I've kind of come to accept it. One of the blessing of the little years is that my kids are little. They love running and playing and making messes.

But just recently I was talking to some ladies with young children, and the question came up, "How do you keep your house clean?"

We talked about chore charts, daily routines, cleaning schedules and in the end, this is the answer I came too.

I don't keep my house clean. We live here, and as long as I'm blessed to stay home with my kids, we're going to constantly be making a mess! But there are things we can do to keep thing under control.

1. I have one BIG cleaning day a week, usually Monday because I have a few hours at home without the kids. Otherwise, I just clean as I have opportunity. I clean the bathroom anytime the kids take a bath because I'm just sitting there supervising anyway. I wash dishes during snack time and fold clothes during movie time because again, I can supervise while being productive.

2. I turned vacuuming into a game instead of a chore. In fact, some days my kids come to ME asking if we can vacuum. I have them help me clear the floor, plug in the vacuum, and push the button. Then I chase them around the room while cleaning the floors. They all love it, running, jumping, hiding, and trying to sneak around so the vacuum doesn't get them. I probably vacuum three or four times a week easily. I don't mind the toys all over the floor when I know the floor itself is clean. 

3. I make picking up toys second nature. When I'm sitting on the floor playing with the kids, I straighten books on the shelves and find missing puzzle pieces. There are always more toys around than we need, so I take those few minutes in between sips of pretend tea to pick up a bit. I'll admit my biggest challenge these days is Little Bears love of scattering things.

4. I keep our stuff to a minimum. I LOVE throwing things away and getting rid of stuff, so if there is an area of my house that is getting too messy too quickly I will gladly take an hour and sort through the stuff, reorganizing and getting rid of things. Less stuff means less picking up and more time to play! 

So with that said, here is my house EXACTLY as it looked at 4 pm yesterday.

This is my living room: couches, piano, and lots of toys. We chose to have no shelves or storage in this room because I like it to be clean and simple. When the toys are put away (which would take a whole two minutes), my living room is perfectly empty and it's wonderful!


This is the big kids' room. Their beds are behind the camera. As you can see, most of the mess is puzzle pieces and stuffed animals. The game of the morning involved rolling around in the big green bin and chasing each other around with stuff animals. 


This is Little Bear's room. Most days this is the cleanest room in my house. Usually when the kids play in here they are more interested in the three bean bags in the corner than the toys in the box. We have the crib pulled out from the wall just far enough that they can run behind it and hide in the corner. You wouldn't believe how fun it is to hide under a pile of bean bags! 


And this is the master bedroom. I was in the middle of cleaning this room when I got the grand idea to take pictures of our mess. Sorry you missed the shot of all my clothes on the floor. I can't blame that on the kids. It's all me. 


This is the kids' bathroom. Notice the pull-up someone took off and just left on the floor. I don't know who that belongs too, but it's probably one of the bare bottomed kids that are always running around my house. Why is it so hard for them to keep their clothes on?!?!


If you step out of our bathroom, you'll find this lovely view of our hallway. Notice the suitcases sitting in the corner. They've been there for over a week now. I hate putting away little kids clothes. They are just so small, and there are so many!!!


And finally, I bring you my dining room and kitchen. These rooms tend to be the hardest to keep clean.  It wouldn't be so bad if my kids didn't insist on eating every three hours and throwing their food on the floor and then not cleaning up after themselves. My only saving grace here is that banana smeared all over the floor doesn't really show up well in pictures. 


And since I'm being completely honest, I'll show you a picture of my kitchen. This mess has nothing to do with my kids. They aren't the ones who constantly leave cabinet doors open and forget to put the top back on the olive oil bottle. They also aren't the ones that insist on getting a new cup out of the cabinet every time they want a drink of water. That's all me. This is my mess, which is why I will be the one to clean it up. Eventually. 


So there you have it. This is my real house, with our real mess. This is what life with little kids looks like. At least this is what MY life with little kids looks like. 

I kind of like it. 

Miscarriage Part 2

5.09.2015

Before we get started I feel like I need to be a disclaimer at the beginning of this post. It's kind of messy is that gross medical way, and it's long because I decided to just write everything and not spare any details. I wanted to write it all down so I would remember. I've written all of my other birth stories here and it only seems fitting to share this story as well. 

So here we go...

We found out that we lost the twins I was carrying this past Tuesday. Before we left the doctor's office, she went over all of our options, the pros and cons of a D&C (a surgery where they put you under and clean out the uterus) and of simply waiting to let nature take her course.We left the doctors office with three prescriptions, one for pain, one of nausea, and one to induce a miscarriage. We knew our options, and knew that we had plenty of time to make a decision.

I also felt strongly that things would naturally pass on their own. I had been cramping all weekend, and all day Tuesday and Wednesday I felt constant low back pain. I knew that my body was ready to miscarry, and I prayed it would be soon.

I felt at peace with out situation, or it could have been denial. Wednesday was a normal day. I just wanted to be happy and not cry anymore! I was ready to move on and focus on something else. I thought I must be stronger than the average mom because I just didn't feel "heartbroken". I can't tell you how many times in the last few days I've heard that word and wondered if maybe something was wrong with me. My heart didn't feel broken, just disappointed and ready to move on.

However, getting ready for church Wednesday night changed things. I stood in front of my closet and pulled out one shirt after another and with each outfit I got increasingly angry. This was my fourth pregnancy in a very short time, and I happened to be carrying twins which means I started showing much earlier. I wasn't comfortable in my regular clothes to I packed them away and pulled out my maternity outfits rather early on.

Except now I wasn't pregnant. There were no little babies growing inside me, but I looked exactly the same as before. Every outfit catered to my belly, and I just couldn't stand the reminder staring me and everyone in the face. She may look pregnant, but she's not, not anymore...

It's a complication I never really thought about until now. No one cares if you wear maternity clothes after giving birth. You have this sweet baby to carry around to distract everyone! But with a miscarriage there is no distraction. It just feels like a lie.

It was then that I started having this intense feeling that I just wanted this to be over.

I finally found one shirt that I was comfortable in. I dug it out of the dirty clothes basket and threw it in the dryer to fluff it up. I went to church and smiled and laughed and did my best to forget all of those emotions I didn't want to feel.

However, I woke up Thursday morning and things just weren't okay. I wasn't okay. My kids were in a great mood and very playful. I tried to hold it together but things kept falling apart. I used all my energy holding back tears, until finally I couldn't anymore. I sat on the couch surround by my children, and I just cried big, loud, ugly tears. My kids were so confused.

My two and three year-olds tried to comfort me in their own sweet way, but I must have scared them because soon they were both crying too. It was sweet and in a strange way really funny. I wiped my eyes and gave them hugs and kisses, and we sat down to read for a while together.

That's when I made the decision to go ahead and take the medication the doctor sent home with us to induce miscarriage. I text my husband and told him my plan. I just need this to be over. I didn't want to worry about miscarrying on Mother's Day or having to deal with the stress of living in limbo anymore. I wanted this story to come to a close. I just wanted it to be over.



I took the first dose of medicine at 1 pm on Thursday. Then I did the dishes, mopped the floor, and laminated some Animal ABC cards for my preschoolers. I tired to keep myself busy. I did start feeling some cramping, but nothing major happened. I didn't really expect that.

For the most part I've stayed off the internet during this time. I didn't want to read other people's miscarriage horror stories. However, when the first dose of medication didn't really have an effect, I wondered if that was common, so I googled it and learned that this was apparently the medication given when women have an abortion. One of the reasons it may not have an effect is if you have "a continuing pregnancy".

Y'all, I had a freak out moment right there. I dug out my ultrasound photos and made myself remember every detail that I could. I remembered the blob of Baby B that no longer looked like a baby. I remembered the still and unmoving Baby A, no color and no heartbeat. I remembered the doctor telling me it was okay if I had doubts, but she was absolutely sure. I wasn't killing my babies. I wasn't. It wasn't possible. I just needed this to be over.

I took the second dose of medication at 7 pm, and I finally started bleeding at 8 pm. The cramping was intense and constant at first, but once I started bleeding it become more contraction like. I would have ways of pain followed by a period of rest and relief. For several hours I hung out in the bathroom watching a movie on my laptop, but soon I started getting really tired. I wasn't comfortable (obviously), and things just weren't happening very quickly, so I decided to go to bed. The cramping came is predictable waves, and I felt like I could rest better if I could lie down.

I started trying to sleep around midnight. I would drift off only to be woken up needing to run to the bathroom. Things were slowly getting more intense. I was constantly worried about bleeding on the bed. Every time I got up I had completely soaked through several pads and my underwear. However, sitting in the bathroom wasn't an option. I could barely hold my head up.

Around 2 am, I started to get the feeling that something wasn't right. I started feeling cold, clammy, and dizzy. I called for my husband to come help me back to bed. I felt panicky, like I could breathe. I desperately wanted to lie down, and I instantly went to sleep only to have to get up again a few minutes later. 

I wasn't sure if this was normal, but it didn't feel right to me. Most of the people I talked to mentioned things lasting for several hours, but this had been going on for 10 hours and I just didn't know how much longer I could hold out. 

Then around 9 am, I passed out for the first time. I didn't really know what happened. My husband was taking care of the kids, and I was trying to make my way back to bed. The next thing I know I woke up on the floor cramping again. I went back to the bathroom, and called for my husband.

I was panicking. I couldn't think straight or breathe or hold my head up. I just wanted this to be over!

I passed out again while my husband was taking me back to bed. I woke up on the floor with him leaning over me and saying my name in the sweetest way I can imagine. I'll say if you have to pass out waking up to the love of your life is pretty awesome.

Talking about it later he said that watching me lose consciousness wasn't anything like he expected it would be. He said I went rigid and stiff, and even when I laid down my head wouldn't relax. I was only out a few seconds, but when I came too I felt a million times better. I felt like I'd slept a good hour. I can even remember the things I was dreaming about. I told him later if I passed out again not to wake me up so quickly!

He decided we should go to the ER. He helped me dressed and called my dad to come stay with our kids. I still don't know how we made it but by the grace of God. I had a momentary burst of strength and a break from the intense pain. I walked into the ER and filled out the paper work while my husband parked the car. My mom met us in the waiting room. 

Looking back our time in the ER wasn't much what I expected. It felt like we were there forever, but I know it couldn't have been much more than a couple hours. Everyone was kind, but there was no continuity of care. The nurses didn't help me undress and no one examined me. They took my vitals, drew blood, and took my history but offered me any assistance with the constant bleeding.

My husband took me several times back and forth down the hallway to the bathroom. We eventually got the idea to snag a wheelchair so I wouldn't have to walk. I passed out for a third time while in the hospital bathroom, and he stayed with me and got me back to bed.



I also had to explain to everyone I met what was happening to me. I kind of thought they would write that in a chart or something, but everyone who came into my room asked, "What brings you here today?"

When I said, "I'm having a miscarriage..." they immediately interrupted with, "What makes your think you are having a miscarriage?" So I would explain the entire story from the very beginning. 

I even had one nurse comment that they see a lot of this, and I just wanted to cry. I felt so unprepared for this process. I didn't know what was normal and what wasn't. I was scared but I still  wondered if maybe I was just being weak and I should have stayed home and worked through it myself. What if this is normal, and I'm just over reacting? 

About an hour after we got there they decided to get me ready for an ultrasound and let me put a gown on. They put pads on the bed, and I could finally just rest. I didn't care what happened next. At this point I had been miscarrying for about 14 hours, and the stress of trying not to make a mess and not pass out was too much for me. I just wanted to rest. 

After our ultrasound we got to see my OB, and I could have cried with joy when she got there! I trust her, and she cares about me. She was wonderful through the whole process. I knew as soon as I saw her that things would get better. The ultrasound showed that the placenta was trapped behind my cervix. I kept bleeding so much because my body was still trying to get it out.

She assured me that this wasn't normal. I wasn't supposed to be bleeding for 14+ hours and passing out. We did the right thing. She checked me and concluded the placenta wouldn't come out on it's own. She made a few calls and got us up to pre-op for a D&C in less than 30 mins.

The surgery team was fabulous. I loved my pre-op nurse. She brought me warm blankets and was so friendly. Several people came to talk to me about what was going to happen and what to expect.

One complication we had preparing for surgery though was getting a good IV. The nurse in the ER had to use a baby needle to start an IV in my hand for fluids. I was dehydrated when I came in and it was the only vein she could find. However, it wasn't stable enough for surgery. They wanted a better IV just in case they needed it, and of course, I have small, rolling veins that are impossible to find.

In total with blood draws and IV attempts combined, I counted at least nine needle sticks in different parts of my arms. They ended up putting me to sleep in the ER and then starting an IV in the fleshy part of my upper arm. By the amount of bruising you could tell it wasn't easy to find.

I woke up in the recovery room almost as soon as I was out of surgery. I felt a mixture of joy and sadness. I was so glad that this ordeal was over, but my mind kept going back to memories of Little Bear's birth. The last time I woke up in the hospital all I could think about was holding my baby, but this time was different. There were no babies.

The nurses were very comforting. They hugged me and assured me it would be okay. They understood my tears, and I was very grateful.

I waited about an hour before I could see my husband. The nurse who discharged me was very talkative. She asked if I had any other children. I told her I had a 3, 2, and 1 year old, and her eyes got big. "Are you Catholic?!?" she asked.

My husband and I just smiled and said, "No, we just like children."

Coming home was wonderful. I felt instantly better after my D&C. I still think it will be a few days before I feel like my normal self. I'm sore all over and still very light headed. My throat and neck hurt from the breathing tube (a precaution since I didn't have an empty stomach going into surgery), and my wrist is swollen and sore from the IV and multiple needle sticks.

But I'm home, and it's over. Praise the Lord, it's over!

My prayer is that I'll feel much better tomorrow. I really want to be at church for Mother's Day. I know I have every reason to be sad, but I also have three wonderful reasons to celebrate. We know the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, and while I'm still sad at what we've lost, I am more in awe of what He's given, these three beautiful blessings that call me mom.


Miscarriage

5.05.2015


The past few weeks have been a whirlwind for me. Good and bad. Joy and heartache.

We found out 5 weeks ago I was expecting a baby. It wasn't a surprise, but I still didn't believe it, probably because I took a pregnancy test the day I missed my period and got a big ole' negative. That's usually conclusive, and I was just left to wait. 

However, five days later I opted to test one more time. Two more times actually. The faint pink line was almost imperceptible, but it was there on both tests. I was pregnant, but just barely.

We sat on our secret for a couple weeks, not even telling our families at first. I honestly wasn't sure how people would respond, and I didn't want anyone to ruin those first few weeks of dreaming and adjusting. 

Plus, things were different this time, harder. Almost instantly I started feeling sick all day long. The sickness would come in waves forcing me to stop and just sit, praying not to pass out or throw up. I was lightheaded and exhausted. I've never struggled with morning sickness in past pregnancies, at least not like this! 

The other thing I noticed was my waistline started growing overnight! I knew things would start to show sooner with this being my fourth pregnancy, but this was more than I expected. 

Then one day as I was sitting and trying very hard not to be sick, I just knew. I was having twins.

Two weeks later an ultrasound confirmed it. There were two babies!

My husband didn't believe me when I called him Monday morning with the good news. For the next four days I lived in a state of crazy disbelief and thanksgiving. This was the scariest and best thing that had ever happened to me. We started telling our friends and family, who we knew would rejoice with us, our good news! We were going to be parents of five wonderful children.

However, there was one hiccup in our story. I really didn't even pay attention to it at the time. 


At our first ultrasound Baby B was hiding at the top of my uterus, so far at the top that getting a good ultrasound picture was difficult. The tech requested we come back for a follow up a few days later so we could try one more time to get a good measurement. She told me twice not to worry, that this didn't mean anything bad. We just needed a better look. 


So Thursday morning we went back in for another ultrasound. I took my husband with me, eager to show him our two precious babies.


Except it wasn't good news. We did get a better look at Baby B. She hadn't grown. There were no heart tones. She had no color. 


The ultrasound techs whispered to each other and excused themselves from the room. My husband asked if that meant they were going to try and look again, and I said, "No. I think it means we lost the baby." 


I've gone over those few minutes in that ultrasound room a dozen times in my head. There were two babies there. One was active moving and had the most beautiful heart flutter I have ever seen, and then there was another baby, a lifeless ball, smaller and not moving. 


There was such joy and great sorrow in that one moment. It might be the most confusing thing I've ever felt in my life! 


The doctor called Baby B our a vanishing twin. It happens in about 20-30% of twin pregnancies caught with an early ultrasound. Baby B stopped growing at 7 weeks 6 days. It was a Sunday. The day before we found out she existed. 


The doctor also told us that while we would probably be nervous, it was very unlikely for us to lose Baby A. In all her years of practice (which are a lot!) she couldn't remember a mom in my circumstance losing both babies. 


Except we did. Ten days after losing Baby B, we went in for a third ultrasound. I expected everything to be fine, but I knew from the moment I saw Baby A that it wasn't. She was too small and not moving, and there were no precious little heart flutters like before. 


Two babies gone in less than two weeks. 

The loss is so fresh, I'm not completely sure how to process it. When we lost Baby B, I was shocked and angry. Why would God give us twins only to take them away a few days later? What purpose could that serve? 


But today I feel peace. When I realized Baby A was gone too, I felt disappointment mixed with relief. They were gone. It was over. I could get closure, and we could move on.


I know the grieving process is different for everyone, and although thousands of women have been in this same place, it's uncharted territory for me.


But I do know this: God is good to us. Even when we don't understand. Even when we understand, but we just don't like it! 


And God is sovereign. He is the one holding our lives in His hand, and He knew these babies even before He gave them momentarily to me. 




I have faith that His plan for our family included these precious little girls. We only knew them for a moment, but they will forever be on our hearts as a reminder that life is precious and that God is good. 

*I referred to the twins as girls. Of course, they were too small to confirm that by ultrasound, but I just have a feeling. And who is gonna argue with a mom's feeling?*

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