Tooting my own horn

I’m just proud of myself – the big girls and I ran the Colin Cancer Coalition’s Get Your Rear in Gear 5K this morning. 


And I actually managed to jog the whole thing! I finished in a little over 39 minutes, which isn’t too damn bad considering I was pushing a double stroller with nearly 80 lbs of kid. 

(For reference, my first post-Itty Bitty 5K on February 12 was about 31 minutes.) 

Everyone was super supportive and cheered when they saw us coming, which was so nice. 

I am working on updates for all of the kids and the garden and the brewing – or lack thereof- but it’s a slow process. Stay tuned! 

It’s the final countdown!

It absolutely boggles my mind to say it out loud, but I go back to work a week from today.

I have no idea where my maternity leave and the first twelve weeks of Itty Bitty’s life have gone. It truly seems like it was just yesterday that maternity leave stretched infinitely before me and I was never going to get to go back to work and I was going to lose my mind before the end. Don’t get me wrong – I am so very glad and grateful that I have been able to stay home with my babies for 12 weeks each time. I love not having to put them in daycare until they are a little bit older and sturdier.

But having spent time as a stay-at-home mom and spent time as a working mom, I can tell you that I think being a working mom is much easier than staying home with my kids. Being a stay-at-home mom is, in my opinion, the most difficult job on the planet and one which I am not mentally equipped to undertake. Perhaps it would be easier if my children were older and I wouldn’t find it to be so excruciatingly isolating and difficult if I stuck at it for months and years, but I doubt it. When patients frequently tell me that they’re sorry I have to work and that my kids go to preschool, I always want to reply, “Why? I get leave my girls with people who have nothing to do all day but interact with them and teach them and care for them while I get to come and do a job that I absolutely adore and I’m actually pretty damn good at. If we were all home together, they would not be getting my undivided attention because I would still have laundry and dishes and cooking and cleaning to do, in addition to taking care of them.”

But I digress. This wasn’t actually supposed to be a foray onto my soapbox of “Staying at home with kids is really hard and those parents don’t get enough credit.” This is supposed to be a brief update on Itty Bitty and life in general with three amazing girls.

Itty Bitty is, without a doubt, the smiliest baby ever.

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She gets so incredibly excited anytime anyone comes and talks to her or interacts with her. She particularly adores the Littlest Brewster, a feeling that is mutual as LB thinks that her littlest sister is the bee’s knees. Itty Bitty is pretty laid back for the most part, cycling through eat, be awake for a bit, sleep for a bit most of the day without much crying or fussing. Like most babies, she gets pretty frotchety from 4:30 or so onward and doesn’t want to be put down; though as long as she’s being toted around or is on someone’s lap, she’s a happy camper.

I feel like we have been exceedingly lax at trying to get her on a schedule re: naps and bedtimes. I need to go back and look at the monthly updates I did for LB and BIT (something you’ll notice I did not do for IBB) and see if they were on more of a schedule by now or if I’m misremembering. Granted, I know I haven’t really pushed the schedule issue because 1) with the bigger two being in school and having to get picked up and dropped off daily (I don’t do both but I do at least one or the other every day), Itty Bitty and I were rarely home for an entire day, 2) with the holidays and travel, it’s super difficult to maintain kids’ schedules and 3) I knew that whatever schedule I managed to get IBB on would go to pot as soon as she went to daycare. So I sort of went with the “sleep whenever you’re tired for as long as you feel the need” schedule during the day. Nights, we mostly try to do bath, bottle, bed between 6 and 7. She will typically be up once or twice a night and then up for the day between 6 and 7 in the morning. I’m usually pretty accepting of still being up with her during the night, though I get kind of frantic when she has the occasional “bad” night and is up more than that and I convince myself we are doing something wrong and she will never sleep through the night, ever, and I will never be well rested again, ever. Thankfully, she rarely has more than one difficult night in a row and I breathe a sigh of relief the next night, secure once more in the knowledge that we haven’t ruined her sleeping forever through our erroneous attempts at parenting.

On the whole, I feel like life with three kids is going pretty well. It helps that the Littlest Brewster is now old enough to be sort of helpful and sort of autonomous. And both LB and BIT really love Itty Bitty and we’ve been blessed that there has been no actual anger or malicious jealousy over how much of my time and attention she gets. The DreadBrewer, while always an incredibly involved father, has started doing even more with the big girls (if possible), which has definitely helped with the transition. He does baths about half the week and bedtime most of the week for them. They love doing things with Daddy as he is definitely more fun and rough-house-y than Mommy is. (I just don’t play like that. I’ve tried and I can’t do it. I also have serious guilt issues that I can’t take care of everyone in the family all on my own but that’s just my own insecurities talking.) All in all, I feel like we’re settling into our groove as a family of five. Though I’m sure that will all go out the window when I go back to work next week and we have to establish a new routine all over again.

But it’ll be worth it. I could use a break. 😛

Let’s Be Cliché

Indeed, let’s be cliché and put our New Year’s Resolutions out there for all to see. Actually, since you all have no way to amend this blog (barring comments, which I would LOVE to see containing your New Year’s Resolutions), this will just be MY list of resolutions. Or goals, as I have decided to call them this year.

Goal #1: I will exercise 3 times a week for >30 minutes and will ultimately be able to run a 5K without stopping.

HOW: (This is how it’s different this year, pardon the idiocy factor. I am making plans for how I’ll succeed, as opposed to just making broad generalizations of what I would like to accomplish.) I am halfway through the Couch to 5K program, so I need to keep up the momentum. And I need to recommit to getting out for runs in the morning, before 5 am, since that is the only time I really have to myself. (Though not tomorrow as it’s a 100% chance of rain. I can run down to 37° or so, but I can’t run in the rain. Yet. Give it time. And awesome run gear like I got from Jessie for Christmas.)

Goal #2: I will eat 3 balanced meals a day and I will focus on choosing healthful foods.

HOW: I know I am going to have to seriously work on weekend prep once I go back to work (less than 2 weeks!) . If I don’t have healthy options easily available, I won’t pick them – so a big Sunday prep for the week may have to be the new normal. BUT I think if I can get into the habit of doing so this will be my easiest resolution to keep as I actually like healthful foods and how they make me feel.

Goal #3: Cut back to one glass of wine during the week and two on weekends (defined as Fri/Sat/Sun).

HOW: No idea – it’s impossible. Just kidding… kind of … … I know it can be done as I’ve obviously cut back even farther while pregnant without deleterious effects. I think it will be a two prong strategy consisting of 1) Get fancy teas and other no- or low-calorie beverage alternatives so I don’t blow up like a blimp with non-alcoholic beverage calories and 2) Put off having said glass of wine as long as humanly possible, i.e. after kids are in bed. Which, as you all know, is an eternity, particularly when they are being very kid-like (read: absolute shits).

Goal #4: I will floss daily, with a minimum goal of 5 days/week.

HOW: Just do it. Actually, I should maybe start doing it in the morning and get that box checked for the day. Or at anytime of the day besides bed time. Because 45 seconds to floss when you are damn near dead on your feet after 9 pm is 45 seconds too long.

Goal #5: I will adopt a cash-only attitude and stick to a budget of $20 a week.

HOW: I will actually get cash out! And I won’t use my cards (except for gas or other crazy big purchases, like groceries). And I will stop going to Starbucks or Target just because I am bored and lonely and I would like to interact with someone besides the Itty Bitty Brewster, no matter how briefly. We have a latte maker at home if I get the itch and we certainly don’t need any more crap from Target. Cash only, Starbucks only with the Littlest Brewster as a “Friday Morning Tradition.” No deviations.

And there you have it. My list of 5 achievable, with effort, goals for 2017. Sure, I have a ton of other goals – yell at my kids less, write to mom twice a week, keep in better contact with Elise, Kristen, and Anne, text Jessie every day, don’t take out my random frustrations on the DreadBrewer, – but those are all vaguely nebulous and not necessarily achievable. And if there is one thing I have learned, the whole “Make sure your goals are SMART” (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timely) nonsense is actually not nonsense. So while it may make me feel virtuous to say “I’m going to yell at my children less!”, unless I can actually check a box or measure progress towards it, I’ll just get frustrated and give up. And probably yell more in the process.

So let’s start with some SMART goals for the year. And if by achieving these, I can perhaps yell at my kids a little less and email my friends a little more, I will be one happy camper. And if not, well, I’m human. And I’ll try to do better tomorrow.

Working On Acceptance 

This is me and the Itty Bitty Brewster this morning: 


I look like crap. (At least in my opinion.) 

And the reason I look like crap is that I had just spent a good 15-20 minutes crying hysterically. 

Why was I crying when I had such a cute armful of baby? Well, I’ll tell you. 

I was crying because I get angry and frustrated at being stuck at home with a tiny tyrant when I’m used to being able to go to work and do productive, adult, nurse-y things without worrying about anyone but myself. Because IBB has been really grumpy the last few days and I’ve essentially been living for when she’s napping or eating because otherwise I have no flaming clue what to do with her. Because I have no motivation to get anything done and I don’t want to bother anyway because the clean stuff will just get dirty and the clutter will just reappear and the clothes will just need to be washed again. And because I’ve been trying to run and eat right and I haven’t lost any weight beyond my pre-pregnancy level. 

And I was crying because I get myself so freaked out that Itty Bitty is going to be needy and whiny and bossy all the time. And that not only did we ruin things by having another kid but we extra super ruined things by having one who is hard. And it’s somehow my fault and if I were a better mother I could fix her and make her an easy happy baby. Which is crazy, I know, because she’s 7 weeks old. She’s still brand new. 

And I was crying because the last straw was that I baked something in the oven and some grease on the bottom burned off and it stunk up the house. And that’s just the universe being cruel. 

The problem – as I see it when I can step back to see it (or when it is pointed out to me) – is that I’ve not really accepted where the Itty Bitty and I are on our journey. She is little. And she does need lots of cuddles and holding and time with me. And I need to accept that my days right now are drastically different than they used to be (and how I would prefer them). Maybe I spend most of the day on the couch, with a sleepy baby on my arm and Best Fiends on my phone. Maybe IBB has a day where she’s content to watch me sweep and mop and fold clothes from her bouncy seat and I get to feel more traditionally productive. Maybe both scenarios are good ones and I need to be a little easier on both of us. 

Motherhood is hard. And I don’t care if this is your first time, your third, or your tenth. Mothering a teeny tiny baby is really hard. And social media and society and my own inner voices telling me that I should be able to do it all and have a clean house and a fit body and a perfect family 7 weeks postpartum need to shut the hell up. 

So my goal for today is to work on acceptance. And cuddle Itty Bitty without acrimony. And beat the next level on Best Fiends. 

I think that would qualify as a productive day. 

Hello Baby!

The day after posting my Pregnancy #3 Update – Hello Due Date! I went into labor. Crazy, huh? Actually, crazy is my labor & delivery story but I’ll get to that after I tell you guys what you really want to know – Wally is….

… another daughter!!! 🙂 We now have three amazing girls and DB and I couldn’t be more excited.

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Introducing the Itty Bitty Brewster!

And for a fairly quick (for me) rundown of the craziness of the Itty Bitty Brewster’s birth:

As you guys know, I decided to go ahead and start my maternity leave on my due date, Wednesday 10/19. I spent the day futzing around the house and ran a few errands (which DB yelled at me for, calling a Target run “not relaxing” but we all know that’s madness…). I had been having intermittent contractions for a few days, but nothing really painful or timeable or even consistent. Well, Thursday morning, around 1:00, I woke up with a legitimate contraction. I waited, and 5 minutes later, there was another one. I lie in bed for about an hour before telling DB that I was having contractions and that I was going to go downstairs to watch TV (since I wasn’t sleeping) and have some tea. I told him to stay in bed and get some rest.

From 2 to 3, I watched The Princess Bride and continued to have contractions every 5 minutes or so. Around 3, I went upstairs, told DB I was still contracting, and hopped in the shower to see if that changed my contraction pattern. After my shower, I was still having contractions so DB came downstairs with me and we discussed what our options were. Did we go ahead and call my mother-in-law to come over so we could go to the hospital and get checked out? Could I wait until the office opened at 8 so we could drop the girls off at school first and avoid making his mom drive in the dark? I really didn’t want to go to the hospital only to be sent home. Ultimately, we decided we’d wait until 5 to call his mom to come over, seeing how I felt at that point. DB went back upstairs to get some rest while I finished The Princess Bride.

By 4 am, my contractions were suddenly a heck of a lot closer together and a heck of a lot more painful. I texted DB that we needed to go ahead and call his mom so we could head in to the hospital. He asked if I had timed the last few and I hadn’t, so we timed a few to be certain and yep, they were every 2-3 minutes like clockwork. He called his mom and I called the OB on call and we got ready to go.

I wanted to wake up the girls and kiss them goodbye before we left, which was a good and a bad idea. The Littlest Brewster started crying because she was worried it would hurt for me to have Wally and because she was worried I “wouldn’t look like me” after I had the baby. She calmed down pretty quickly and was fine until it was time for us to go, at which point the Brewster-In-Training started to freak out. In fact, she’s sobbing hysterically in our last picture as a family of four.

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We didn’t end up leaving for the hospital until 5:10 and it was a loooooong 30 minute drive to get there. Every time I would have a contraction in the car, I swear I felt every bump or ripple in the pavement. The DreadBrewer was great and talked to me the whole time, even managing to make me laugh a few times. I told him on the way that I was hoping I’d get there and be 8 cm, but that I was scared I’d get there and still be 2 cm like I was at our MD visit and get sent home.

Around 5:45 we went in to the Emergency Department entrance and were immediately wheeled up to OB Triage. Surprisingly enough, the RN who checked us in was a former patient of mine who was on duty the night the Littlest Brewster was born (though she wasn’t my nurse that night, as much as I wanted her). I got my gown on and got up on the stretcher and hooked up to the baby monitors and we started going over the admission questions. I had sort of been hoping she’d check me right away but instead we talked about past medical history, due date, how my contractions had been going. My first recorded set of vital signs was at 6:00 am (remember that).  Finally, I said, “I’m having a lot of pressure with contractions. Can you check me?” So she gloved up and got ready and…

The guy from patient registration walked in to get my ID and insurance!!! Gah! Luckily, DB took care of that stuff pretty quickly, the guy left, and the nurse was able to check me. And I was 8 cm dilated, 100% effaced, with a bulging bag of waters and Wally at 0 station. At that point, she started moving fairly quickly. She called Dr. Smith and the L&D nurse to let them know where I was labor wise and that she would be wheeling me right over to a delivery room.

I had a few more contractions on the stretcher on the way over to L&D and, as best I can figure, we rolled into that room around 6:15. There were about 4 nurses in there getting things all set up and they helped me over to the delivery bed. Dr. Smith came in and did one quick check and I was complete (10 cm, 100% effaced), Wally was at +1 station, and my water was still intact. So the MD broke my water, I had about 2 more contractions, and then we got down to pushing.

I started pushing at 6:25 and pushed really, really hard through 2 contractions and Wally was born at 6:31. Once the baby’s head was out, Dr. Smith had to cut the cord because it was wrapped around the neck so tightly, but he left it really long so DB could still trim it. And once the rest of the baby was out, DB investigated and told us we had another daughter! Hooray for girls!

(Quick side note: I could not have done this without the DreadBrewer. He was so good throughout the whole whirlwind process, staying calm and positive. He rubbed my back when I wanted and stopped touching me when I wanted and was just generally awesome. I don’t think I could ask for a better labor partner.)

A few minutes later, the placenta was delivered (which I anxiously made them assure me was intact, so thank you Elise for that deep and abiding fear of retained placenta) and Dr. Smith made sure that I had no tearing and didn’t need any sort of fixing up post-baby.

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We got a whole hour of skin-to-skin before they took the Itty Bitty Brewster (IBB) to weigh and measure her. DB and I both knew right away that she wasn’t as big as the other girls had been – I guessed 8 lbs even and he guessed 8+3. She surprised us both and clocked in at 8 lbs 8 oz and 21″ long. Making her my longest, fastest, skinniest baby.

We’re both still in total shock that it went so quickly. Roughly 46 minutes from the time we arrived to the time I delivered her. If we ever have another, I think we’ll have to head in to L&D with my first contraction.

There’s still more that I could write, about pretty much insisting on being discharged 24 hours post delivery to the differences between 1st and 3rd baby post-partum to how the big girls are handling the transition, but I’m out of time for the moment. But I’ve got plenty of maternity leave ahead of me, so stay tuned!