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Darcy's Journal

Software engineer turned suburban housewife tries to make sense of it all.




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October 5th, 2010

A day with 3

People keep asking me, wherever I go, what it's like to have 3 kids. Many of these people are moms with 2 kids either contemplating or inevitably facing the addition of a new bundle of poop and spitup to their family. I never really know how to answer. The truth is that Julia is a pretty easy kid on this side of things. She was a terror to make, but now that she breathes and stuff she's much less of a handful. She nurses well. She sleeps pretty consistently. She is fairly easy to soothe when she gets fussy. She enjoys laying on the floor and watching her siblings play. All in all - she's a joy.

The difference between two and three children is all in the logistics. When you have two you can kind of bounce back and forth between them. Take this approach with three and the likelihood of missing someone's needs goes up significantly.

Take for example, my Monday schedule:
7:30 AM
Up and at 'em.
Feed the kids breakfast.
Make sure Naomi goes pottie BEFORE she eats.
Ask Joseph to please get dressed for swimming.
Dress Naomi.
Swim trunks, Joseph.
Naomi, please put your shoes back on.
8:30 AM
Get everyone in the car.
9:00 AM
Drop Naomi off at preschool.
9:30 AM
Joseph's swimming lesson.
10:00 AM
Swimming is done.
10:15 AM
Home from swimming.
Give Joseph a snack and have him get dressed for school.
Squeeze some homework in if possible.
11:00 AM
Leave for school.
11:15 AM
Joseph starts school.
11:30 AM
Head over to preschool.
11:45 AM
Pick up Naomi from school.
12:15 PM
Give Naomi lunch and do some reading with her.
12:45 PM
Put Naomi down for a nap.
Tantrum ensues.
1:00 PM
Work while Naomi naps.
2:15 PM
Wake up Naomi.
Tantrum ensues.
2:20 PM
Leave to pick up Joseph.
2:35 PM
Joseph done with school.
3:00 PM
Arrive home.
Time for snack, homework, reading, playing, cleaning up, laundry, etc.
Break up epic fight between Joseph and Naomi.
Give up on children playing and plug them into television.
Get dinner ready.
4:30 PM
Get everyone in the car to take Joseph to occupational therapy.
5:00 PM
Joseph at OT.
Try to occupy Naomi for the 45 minutes until we have to pick him up. Tantrum ensues.
6:00 PM
Joseph done with OT.
6:15 PM
Finish up dinner.
6:30 PM

But wait.
What is missing?
The baby.
Somewhere in there I need change diapers, nurse, play and (hardest of all) provide quiet space and long enough blocks of time for adequate napping. On paper, it doesn't look that hectic. I mean, sure, there's a lot of stuff, but there are spaces in there. I never have to drive excessively fast and there's time for meals and such. But, throw a not-quite-four-month-old baby into that and it goes from busy to chaotic pretty quick. I find myself doing things like smelling a stinky diaper on the way out the door, grabbing a clean one to put on her "when I get a chance," and having that opportunity only after she has been sitting in her own poop for an hour. Julia is nursed more often in the minivan than anywhere else. Julia's naps are almost always interrupted so that I can move her into the car seat to go _somewhere_.

So, to answer your question, my friends and that one lady behind me in line at the Starbuck's - having three kids is not necessarily _harder_, but my life feels much more crowded. One woman who asked me this question followed up with, "When do you have time for _you_?" It's all time for me. They're my babies and everything I do for them is part of fulfilling my goal of having a happy and healthy family. Yes, I get cranky and tired and I think I screamed at Joseph last week for putting his sandals on the wrong feet (I'm telling you - he just does it to get me riled up), but I do try to remember that I chose to be a mom of three - and I'd do it again.

July 13th, 2010

So much to say

Julia was 5 weeks old as of yesterday. She is rapidly approaching the "not a newborn" mark. I have so much to write - including her birth story - and very little time that I want to spend away from any of my kids to do so. Hopefully you'll see a bunch of entries pop up over the next day or two. In the meantime, I give you this:

(This was taken by my friend, Daniele, a photographer who had just completed a training in newborn photography and asked if Julia would be a test subject for her. Julia is 5 days old in this picture.)

June 16th, 2010

Pictures of Julia

A friend from my mom's group does newborn photography and asked if she could do a practice session using some new poses she's been working on with Julia. You can see the some of the pictures here:


In the meantime, we are doing very well. My body is so happy not to have an extra person in there. Joseph is doing great with the baby. Naomi is definitely having a bit of a time with it, but nothing I would consider abnormal. Matt is starting back at work today and I braved my first outing with 3 kids this morning (Joseph's last day of preschool party).

June 7th, 2010

Julia Grace is here

She was born this morning at 6:57 AM. She weighed in at 9 lbs 9 oz. I had her in the tub (a first for me). It was hard - it always is. We're resting and recovering today. I'll try to post pictures soon.

June 5th, 2010

health dramarama

First of all - I am fine - baby is doing great. No birth yet.
Yesterday I woke up feeling a little more nauseous than usual. I took my zofran and ate something and had a typical, lazy morning. Maybe even a little more lazy than typical because a friend drove Joseph to and from school for me. At noon-ish I made lunch for the kids and Matt (who was working from home) heated up leftovers for us. I was sitting on the couch finishing my lunch and watching the news (so depressing - but that's a whole other story) and I started to notice that I was feeling really spinny. I tried to get up and I _think_ I might have passed out. It feels like I lost a minute or so in there. When I came to I told Joseph, "Mommy is sick. Go get daddy." Well, Joseph is not exactly my direction follower. I think he went and told Matt I was sick but maybe didn't make it clear that I needed him. I felt a little too dizzy to shout or anything, but I felt like I could get up.
I was wrong, of course. I stood up and the dizziness got much worse. I laid down on the floor. It was strange - I felt totally fine - just dizzy. I wasn't shaky. I wasn't seeing black. I was just really darn dizzy. I managed to call to Matt. I had him bring me a pillow and decided I would just rest on the floor until I felt ok. I had Matt bring me my phone and I paged my midwife just to let her know what was going on. After a while I wanted to move to the couch (porcelain tile is not exactly comfy). Matt helped me up. Immediately I felt _awful_. I started vomiting and sweating profusely. I was still dizzy and began to feel very disoriented. After a few minutes on the couch I rolled back onto the floor which just seemed like a much better place to be for some reason. In the meantime Sue (my midwife) called back. Matt talked with her and she advised him to call 911.
The arrival of the paramedics is all pretty blurry to me. They asked why I had not had a c-section yet (you were due Tuesday!) and spent the ride to the hospital doing everything they could to prep me for an emergency C. I remember trying to decide if I wanted to be conscious for the C-section. I was actually leaning toward "no" because I felt so incredibly crappy. I was terrified.
In the meantime, Matt brought the kids next door and we called Janelle - our go to parental substitute - and asked her if she could come take care of them. Seriously - I do not know what we'd do without her. There is nothing like having someone you _totally_ trust with your children. Matt followed me to the hospital.
Everything slowed down once we got there. I laid on the gurney in the ER while they waited for a room for me. The ER was busy and full of really sick people. I felt nervous being there. Soon, though, the paramedics were told to bring me to L&D. Matt met us on the way there (he had been registering me) and as soon as we got there I was greeted by the face of a woman I know from my mom's group - a fabulous L&D nurse by all accounts. Not long after, one of my midwives arrived.
Their primary concern was hypertension, but my blood pressure was very normal - even a little low. The baby was checking out fantastically. My vitals were all fine. They started hydrating me. I peed for a urine test and my urine was highly concentrated. The test came back not so good, so they ended up drawing blood and taking a second urine test. The blood tests were fine as was the second urine test. The doctor theorized that I either had an inner ear infection or was dehydrated. There was not much more to do in L&D so after 2 1/2 bags of fluids and a long afternoon of rest they sent us home.
Sherilyn met us here and checked my ears for infection. She saw lots of fluid in one ear and thinks that debris in that ear could have set off the incident, but dehydration still seems to be the main culprit.
I'm home and fine now. Still anxiously awaiting this little girl's arrival. I am _so_ glad I did not have to be induced or have a c-section yesterday. Once I was in L&D no one even suggested it. I would not have wanted to go into birth feeling that cruddy. I'm hoping for a nice morning of rest today followed by going into labor this afternoon.
Today is Joseph's fifth birthday. My _baby_ is five! He was awesome yesterday. When I was throwing up really badly I heard him say, "Come on Naomi, let's go play somewhere else," and when I got home from the hospital he said he was really glad I was feeling better. Both kids were curious about my band-aids and Joseph was, of course, fascinated that a fire truck and an ambulance had come to his house, but neither of them seemed freaked out. I'm hoping we'll be able to do something special for him today. We had his party a few weeks ago, but I did reserve a couple of presents from us to give to him today and it looks like we have a couple of things (one of them frighteningly big, God help me) from the grandparents.

June 3rd, 2010

Baby update

I'm 40 weeks and 2 days now. I had a checkup on Monday and everything looks good.
This baby is sitting lower than either Joseph or Naomi did. Most notably, in Naomi's birth video there is a shot of me standing in the shower about 20 minutes before she was born and she is sitting _much_ higher than this baby is now. I'm hoping this means good things for labor. Maybe a smaller baby than I've had in the past? Who knows.
The midwife who came Monday (Davie - a student midwife with the team I've worked with for both other births and also the woman who taught my birth class my first time around) did a cervical check. I was still pretty high and she was not able to strip my membranes. If I'm still pregnant tomorrow (very likely) I might ask Sue to come do a membrane strip - she has longer fingers than Davie and is also more aggressive with such things.
In the meantime, we're worn out here. Matt has been doing, well, everything around the house and working late nights as well. My back pain is getting prohibitive. By the evening I feel pretty useless. More and more I feel like it's pretty important for us to take measures to see that I never get pregnant again.
Still, I'm excited. I can't wait to meet this little girl. Joseph is very excited to meet her and is constantly talking about how he wants to help take care of her. Naomi, well, she's gonna be pissed, but I'm sure in time she'll be stoked to have a little sister to boss around.

April 22nd, 2010


This has been a long time coming and I just haven't figured out how to put it down. I still don't know exactly, but I wanted to take a stab at it before newbaby comes.
Joseph is in his second year of preschool. His first year was phenomenally fantastic. It was a small group of kids with a nurturing but well-structured teacher. She and I hit it off and she always kept me in the loop WRT his behavior, successes and weaknesses so I felt very tied into what was going on while he was at school. He brought home projects and made friends.
This year was a different story. There were a lot of factors. We had registered him for a Reggio Emilia program at the same school he was at last year. We love the school and the program has been in place for more than 10 years. I spoke with the teachers who had met Joseph and we all felt it would be a good match. Just before the end of the school year last year, the two teachers who had been running the Reggio program left the school. I had to choose either following them to their new school, or staying with the school we loved but having less experienced teachers. One of the new teachers was to be a friend of mine - a woman I like very much and who has a relationship with Joseph. The other was new to the school and a totally unknown factor to me. Each day the children got to choose which of their two classrooms they spent the morning in. Joseph always chose the second teacher and, I learned by observing, did not engage in any activities, choosing instead to sit in the corner and play by himself. Where I think his first year teacher would have coaxed him into participating, this teacher seemed to have her hands full and left Joseph to his own devices most of the time. When progress reports came out Joseph was described as a child who "cries easily", "does not handle transitions well", "is not friendly with other children". These descriptions were totally opposed to what I had seen last year and what I see at home and I became very very concerned. One of his teachers recommended I take him into the school district for assessment and I took her suggestion.
The school district is concerned most with two things: Can the child speak at an age appropriate level? Has the child met age appropriate academic milestones? Joseph is fine in both of those areas so he does not qualify for any services from the district, but there were some interesting points that the assessment brought out. None of these things are things I did not know before, but it was interesting to see them corroborated by a professional.
o Joseph does not handle transitions from one activity to another very well.
o Joseph does not like his face, head, hands, or feet to be touched. (Anyone who has seen me try to clip his nails will agree with this one.)
o Joseph is very sensitive about how clothing touches his body. (This has been a HUGE issue for us this year - he only wants to wear very soft t-shirts and jersey cotton shorts.)
o Joseph's gross motor skills are a little behind for his age.
o Joseph can not easily hold a reciprocal conversation, preferring instead to recite information he has already organized for himself.
The preliminary "diagnosis" is "sensory integration disorder" and they have identified some markers for asperger's/autism. We have a referral to a occupational therapist, which I have not pursued only because I keep forgetting to call during business hours and have been overwhelmed with this pregnancy.
For me, the most concerning thing (maybe the only truly concerning thing) is Joseph's inability to hold a conversation - to listen to what someone says and respond. It reminds me far too much of adults I know who are very smart and totally unable to relate to their peers. Most of the time people think of these folks as being assholes and relating to them can be very difficult. I want Joseph to be able to learn from other people and have meaningful relationships and to not walk around like a superior pain in the ass all of the time.
The thing is, Joseph has always been "weird" and I've always known that. For the most part it does not bother me. Matt and I are not exactly sitting in the middle of the social spectrum and I wouldn't expect it of our children. I noticed some social strangeness when he was a baby (like this and here), but nothing that ever upset me - just stuff that seemed worth noting.
Looking back, the most striking thing was my inability to connect with him in ways that other moms seem to be able to connect with their kids. I tried desperately to do any kind of mommy and me class with him. We tried gymnastics, music, swimming, and playgroups. He was sometimes ok just playing by himself at these events, but he never wanted to sit on my lap or be with me for the activities. When I had Naomi I tried one last mom and me thing with him. We went for 4 weeks while Naomi was in child care at the YMCA and it became so frustrating that I simply gave up. When Naomi was 16 months old we started Kindermusik. After 2 weeks she was totally into it and we were both really enjoying the time together. I remember sitting on the floor singing with her and just crying. At that moment (and really not a minute before) I realized how much I felt like I had missed doing this kind of thing with Joseph. I had this very distinct idea of what being a mom would be like and when Joseph and I did not have that relationship I was very willing to write it off and it didn't really sting until I found that connection so easily with my daughter. Even now I work really hard to find ways to connect with him and it is a little hard. Naomi just seems so easy in comparison. Sometimes I am afraid that I've almost given up on Joseph in some small way, because I'm just not sure what to do with him. Still, we do fun stuff together and I certainly feel a bond with him, so it's not something I dwell on too much - just something that crosses my mind here and there.
Joseph is doing better in school. I've moved him to a smaller class and his new teacher says he's making friends and participating more and more often (with some coaxing from her). Next year he starts kindergarten and I wonder how he'll do in a group of 20+ kids. I hope he connects with his teacher and that the environment is one that makes him want to participate. We shall see, I guess.

April 6th, 2010

Pregnancy update

Yes. I'm still pregnant - 32 weeks. I haven't done much updating, but there are a few things worth sharing.
I did the glucose tolerance test this time around. I refused it with Naomi because it made me so sick with Joseph. While I was pregnant with Naomi I got a glucose monitor and tested myself an hour after eating for a week. My levels were fine.
So, anyway, I did the test and I failed it.
But then I did the "follow up" 3 hour test and passed with flying colors.
The interesting part is that I learned I was very anemic. My iron levels were "not quite 10". Honestly, it was great news because I was beyond exhausted. I was having a horrible time staying awake for most (let alone all) of the day and I was super weak.
I've been on Floradix (iron supplement) and some additional complementary supplements for 4 weeks now and I'm feeling more energetic. I gave a blood sample today and hope to hear that my levels are up.
I had a follow up ultrasound last week to check my placenta. It was low at my 18 week ultrasound. It is up and out of the way now.
Babygirl is breech - tushy in my cervix. She is much easier to locate than my other 2. I can find her head easily and can identify limbs fairly easily. My other two were much harder to figure out.
I am excited for Naomi and Joseph to have this little sister. I love watching Naomi and Joseph's relationship develop. It is funny how little it has to do with me - how very much they are their own little people in their own world. It will be so fun to see that world grow.

February 21st, 2010

Naomi and Daddy

Matt: Do you want to go to the grocery store?
Naomi: Wonder Pets Wonder Pets we're on our way!
Matt: Do you want to go to the grocery store? Yes or no?
Naomi: Help a friend and save the day!
Matt: Can you say "yes" or "no"?
Naomi [gleefully]: YESORNO!
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