Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Silence.



Now that I’ve posted something happy and finally broken the silence since the birth of my baby boy I felt like I should mention a little of what life has been like. I’ve dealt with some PPD since Emmitt’s birth. It’s such a taboo subject I haven’t wanted to mention it but it’s also something I feel needs normalized. Women shouldn’t feel like they’re struggling through this alone.I don’t want to go into the dark details, but I’ll admit the struggles and if I could help another amazing mom out, I’d open up and be venerable to you, talking it out, the deep dark, scary, raw stuff, admitting it, accepting and acknowledging it’s irrationability, it helps, I promise.

The moment Emmitt was born I knew I loved him but I didn’t feel connected the way I had with both the girls, he entered life on this side of the womb and for the first time after what was my easiest labor and delivery, I just felt worn out. I talked it through with my midwife. It wasn’t PPD, I was just slower at recovering this time, he was a higher maintenance baby, but it was all okay. I loved on him, our bond grew. Now, he thrills my soul. I look at his smile and hear his gasping giggle and can’t imagine a day he can’t brighten. My heart absolutely bursts with admiration for my little dude and all his adorableness. 
BUT. 
And a big But. In the days following his birth, as we settled into a schedule, slowly, but surely I was no longer okay. It took until he was about 6 weeks before I started really struggling. Then another 6 weeks before I was forced to face it. Now, he’s three and a half months and we’re doing okay. My love for him was never my struggle. I had a hard time coping with being a mom to three, I failed a lot with patience towards the girls. I ended up seeing my doctor and after eliminating thyroid disorders he did give me a prescription for Paxil, an anti depressent but so far, after admitting I needed help, and accepting much more help from the strong women around me, I have been able to find joy and peace without taking it. Now if I have a rough moment or day I’m better at controlling myself and thinking things through. . I took some advice and let my walls down. I have conditioned myself to allow more help. I’ll go to my moms more than twice a week if I need, if I’m feeling overwhelmed and unable to handle life, I’ll call someone and chat, I’ll pack up and go to my moms. I’ve realized and accepted that this struggle is a chemical reaction, it’s not from sin in my life, it’s not because I’m a bad mom, it’s not because I’m a failure, it’s from something going wrong in my body. Hopefully though, with being open about this struggle, with knowing I have people I can reach out to in times when I’m feeling weak and overwhelmed, with offering myself more breaks from home, with lowering my standards for myself my house, and my chores; I’ll be okay and be able to continue maintaining peace.
I have a friend who dealt with this after her first baby and was able to offer some great insight, my mom who will drop everything to help me out, my sister who is only a phone call away every time I just need a break or some encouragement, and my pastors wife who prays for me constantly, texts me encouraging words and scriptures; these are my back bone women and I’m sure there are even more in my life if I but asked. So if you find yourself struggling with this, please please be willing to reach out to those around you, or me, wether I know you in real life or just here in the blogging world.
If you know me, pray for me, if you know someone who struggles with PPMD reach out to them. If I know you but don’t know your struggle, open up, let me in. Together we can get better, maybe it’ll take medicine, maybe not, but we are amazing women, we are good moms and together we can be okay.

Love,

Haley


P. S. I’m sorry this might not flow well. I wrote and re wrote, and copied and pasted from past drafts but finally settled on this, fewer raw details, but honesty, and a true desire to be helpful if anyone else is, or has struggled.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Shopping

Today, for the first time since I gave birth to Emmitt, I went grocery shopping with all three kiddos, ALONE. That’s 3 three and under and I did have available babysitters, but no, I wanted to give it a try and see what I was made of.
Stickers. That’s what I was made of.

The plan was Walmart, one stop shop. The reward for good behavior: stickers. I made a detailed list, we’re talking sectioning out items by their store location, detailed (but seriously, that’s how all lists ought to be made).

On the drive to town I told Jerusha “if you behave you will get to pick out stickers. If you won’t obey me and are bad at the store, mommys not buying you stickers.” Then I’d ask “what happens if I tell you to hold onto the cart but you run away?”
“I get a spanking?”
“No, you don’t get stickers. What happens if I tell you you have to ride in the cart and you get in just like I say?”
“I get stickers”. Okay. So she did understand.

Jerusha was somewhat of a pill but honestly behaved better than I expected. She picked out a Father’s Day card, her aunts graduation gift, and some of the grocery items which made her feel important and kept her attitude positive. She had a few rough moments but we got through them with reminders “Do you want stickers? Mommy will only get some for Éowyn and none for you” and etc.

The whole trip went pretty well. Éowyn was a peach most of the time, she happily rode in the cart. She only screamed once to get out but was bribed with holding pickles. When I did get her out as the cart was running out of room she did awesome holding onto my skirt or the cart to keep close. Her only altercation was popping a cherry from a display into her mouth as Jerusha shouted “look! Snacks! That’s nice of them!” Why do they even leave those bags open? They’re totally asking kids to graze..

Emmitt.. I chose to wake him when we arrived opting to carry him as to having to fit his seat in with the groceries as well as possibly his sisters. A decision I still stand by. He had to alternate between sitting propped up with blankets buckled in, laying sideways in the “seat”, being held, and being in the sling but he survived with few bouts of crying and never having to stop and nurse and fell asleep right as we were checking out.

All in all, we spent one and a half hours in Walmart so for $95.78 worth of product, I’m calling that a successful shopping trip with kids.

Sorry to all the people we cut off while Jerusha pushed, or the folks who got slowed up as my distracted child walked, eyes locked on a display, into their path. I’m also sorry to everyone who tried being friendly and wave or say hi to my girls. I promise I’m not trying to raise them to be rude. We’re working on it.

Thank you to that brave lady who put herself out there by offering to help me in some way. I wish we lived in a world where my first thought would’ve been “thank you!”, and truly, thank you. You looked like a perfectly nice lady and I’m impressed you were willing to be rejected, if it also meant the possibility of being helpful.

So, I know this isn’t interesting but my life is made up of mundane little things and this is as exciting as it gets.
~Haley




We survived and they got their stickers!

Cute baby bananas I let the girls pick out. 


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Emmitt Wesley Smith

I posted the birth story but if you’re uninterested in all those details this is just a post of pictures 😉
Emmitt Wesley Smith
02/23/18 - 6:30PM
8lbs 2oz, 20 3/4”








Emmitt Wesley’s Birth


Emmitt Wesley Smith arrived Friday, February 23rd, 2018 at 6:30PM. He weighed 8lbs 2oz and was 20 3/4” long. 
I was so nervous that I would think I might be in labor and call Wesley home from work 2 and a 1/2 hours away in IL only for it to be a false alarm. So Thursday after having pretty regular contractions throughout the day I told him I thought he should come home and I hoped and prayed it would turn into labor. Disappointingly enough I was able to fall asleep and sleep pretty well in spite of now inconsistent contractions through the night. 
In the morning Wesley took me to my already scheduled midwife appointment. I was back to  having regular contractions and was dilated to 4 so I was hopeful it could turn into labor and had a membrane sweep in the hopes of turning the corner to true labor.
Between one and two the contractions really picked up and I decided it was labor but kept bouncing on my ball, walking around, and leaning on Wesley’s support through them, holding off on calling the midwife until, I hoped, closer to delivery time. I had chosen to try a water birth this time so at the time I decided I was in labor I had Wesley start filling the pool. I kept holding off on calling my midwife because with both my past labors I feel like everyone was here waiting far too long. At 4:15 I called and told her my contractions were still manageable but getting really hard and I was hoping to start laboring in the pool soon. She and her assistant were here by 5 and said I was almost to 9.  I didn’t really believe her because in the past by the time I reached 9 I was fighting the urge to push. I got in the pool and really enjoyed it for the rest of my labor. Shay, my friend who is equal to a sister and now training under my midwife arrived  and started serving me snacks, juice, and water on my whim and demand. Wesley sat on the edge of our bed and could hold my hands or let me cling to his arms through each contraction. Soon our moms were called and arrived.
My midwife checked me again and I was complete but my cervical lip was still hard, the same problem I’ve had with each of the girls. She said to just holler when I had the urge to push, which I still wasn’t fighting so I nodded and continued to labor. The very next contraction as I visualized my uterus squeezing my baby down through my pelvic bones I realized the baby was coming. I believe I screamed “it’s coming, I’m not even pushing, its coming” along with a lot of other inaudible noises. My midwife was beside me and said “I’m just going to help hold back the cervical lip, keep pushing”. With my next contraction I heard her saying “crown” “head” “it’s tight, really tight.” I missed the part that the cord was the issue and thought she was just referring to the fact that a whole baby coming out of me was really tight and well, heck yeah, time and time again it’ll seem like a miracle. But no, the contraction stopped so I stopped pushing but she yelled at me to keep pushing which was confusing to me because I’d struggled with my last two deliveries when it came to pushing because in my logic the more I pushed the faster the baby would exit but my midwife would continually tell me “you’re not contracting any more, stop pushing.” So here she was telling me to push while not contracting.. push I did and out came my baby at 6:30PM. Merely an hour and a half after my midwives arrived, and less than forty minutes since the moms came.
I gave birth on my knees, holding Wesley’s hands, but as soon as the baby arrived I turned over and sat down holding my lifeless baby, a fact I still didn’t note. Wesley has said that the instant transformation that takes place in me at the point of birth is a mystery to him. I go from agony and pain to simple childlike joy. I repeat myself and use simple words, and just sound giddy and in awe. I immediately noticed the baby was a boy and I vaguely recall repeating “it’s a boy, we have a son, Emmitt, our little Emmitt, we have a boy.” Over and over and leaning back to kiss Wesley and say “thank you, he’s perfect, isn’t he perfect?” All the while I noticed my midwives stimulating our little Emmitt and trying to get him to cry although I took little note of it. He was here, his eyes were wide open, nothing seemed wrong to me, and in the end nothing was, he perked right up within a minute and was happy to join our world. Apparently his cord was wrapped tightly around his neck and arm, so tightly in fact it had already collapsed and was therefore not delivering blood to him but it doesn’t seem to have caused any problem.
Following delivering the placenta and  my moving to the bed from the pool and getting us both dried off I kept saying “I’m bleeding a lot” and my midwife checked and said it was a normal amount but I kept insisting that it was a lot and it was pooling up under my back, so my midwife checked again and sure enough it was too much. She stuffed some pills into my mouth (that I signed a consent form to early on in my pregnancy)  to be dissolved and absorbed under my tongue then she poked my uterus and it was filled with blood clots. She tried to encourage them out on their own but it wasn’t happening so she had to manually remove them. It was a pretty uncomfortable experience but worth saving my life. So not only have I now survived birthing three children but also hemorrhaging. It has caused me to be a little slower at recovering but I am finally starting to feel back to normal.

Emmitt weighed in at 8lbs 2oz, and was 20 3/4” long.

Emmitt hasn’t been my easiest baby but at the price of easiest Labor and Delivery, I’ll take the rough start we’re having. He struggles with breathing, could be genetic from his daddy, or he may have caught his sisters colds right out of the womb. He also throws up. A lot. I try to burp him after even the tiniest little feeding but even then sometimes he’ll throw it all up. I also have way too much milk so I may be over feeding him and causing the throwing up issue. Some nights he sleeps okay, some nights he likes to sit up for a couple of hours with me and stare at the bedroom wall. He rarely cries but does need more of my attention than I remember the girls needing this early on.

So there you have, in probably too much detail, little Emmitt Wesley’s birth story. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Before Baby

(Written Thursday, February 23rd during what turned out to be predominal labor)

I've been trying to stay busy, partially to be productive and accomplish things before having three kids to work around, and partially to keep me preoccupied from just sitting around waiting on this baby.
Leading up to the actual “waiting” time period I made a few freezer meals; 6-8 meals of Salisbury Steak, a couple containers of mashed potatoes, several meals worth of Chicken Parmesan, a ton of Miner’s Griddle Cakes for quick easy breakfasts, some BBQ Chicken and some Taco Chicken, and some muffins and cookies. We’ve already started using my meals because at 40 weeks pregnant, home alone with a 1 and 2 year old I’m pretty worn out by dinner time.

I had a couple of projects I wanted to do before I have three children to split my time between. I made a traditional BengKung wrap to use for postpartum healing. I had been working for awhile on a canvas growth chart which I finally buckled down on and finished (that will get its own blog post shortly, I hope..). I needed to make out 2017 Family Photobook.. which I still need to make but I’ve gotten started and made it to May so.. there’s something. I’ve picked out baby announcement cards for when this one does arrive (we’ve only sent them to grandparents, I really do it for myself because I think they’re so cute and want to keep one in my children’s keepsakes). I had a few gifts for friends and family to purchase or make.

I also had some general household work to do; closets to organize, kids clothes to switch out, some declhttering and deeper cleaning to do.

I also had a couple away from home things I hoped to do pre-baby. We went to the Children’s Museum of Terre Haute with the girls one Saturday, I’ve visited the chiropractor regularly, and some Goodwill shopping trips before the hassle of a baby to carry around, well, the hassle of carrying it in my arms ;)

I’ve eaten lots of pineapples and dates in hopes that would prepare my cervix for labor.. I’ve been drinking two cups of pregnancy tea and two cups of red raspberry leaf tea a day. I’ve become reliably regular with my iron, alfalfa, prenatal, vitamins E, C, and fish oil taking, thanks in great part to my girls who have gummy vitamins that the always remember need taking.

Thanks again to my sister-in-law Suzannah for walking three miles with me along with a walking video most weeks, I hope I have endurance for labor and delivery.

I have everything done I intended to get done, so, now we wait..
~Haley






Thursday, February 15, 2018

{Foodie Post No. 14} Cranberry Relish

I love cranberries, ever since Thanksgiving season I had been waiting for their price to drop so I could stock up for the upcoming cranberry-less season. Finally, two or three weeks ago, it did. I bought 3 32ounce bags for $6.00. Most of them went straight into the freezer or into recipes I’d been waiting to try but I kept one bag out with the intention of making jellied Relish.
My family’s only traditional Cranberry Relish recipe involves jello. I’m not really a fan of hello. I always eat it on thanksgiving because, well, tradition, but Wesley’s family’s traditional Relish is what seems to be the more popular among “my group” as well as on Pinterest. It’s the one orange, one bag of cranberries, and a cup of sugar ground together. I love that stuff, I’ve even taken to adding pineapple, coconut, nuts, or whatever I’m in the mood for to it.
But no, I wanted to try making and canning jellied Relish. I’m not a huge fan of the canned stuff, it’s odd to eat jelly by the disc? Scoop? But I thought homemade would be better. I searched Pinterest, got a few ideas, and tried my hand at it. The result was super yummy, even Wesley who straight up hates the store bought canned version, sang it’s praises. But that could be because it didn’t turn out a whole lot like the jellied kind. ;P

I boiled my berries in sugar water until they popped and got a little syrupy. Next I puréed them in my ninja blender then added a few essential oils and boiled it down a bit more before putting it into pint jars for water bathing. From my research it would appear it (1) didn’t reach a high enough temp to “gel” or (2) needed more sugar and more boiling to make it gel like typical jams. Either way, it didnt gel. It did thicken nicely and could be served in a puddle and eaten but we’ve enjoyed it more like jelly. We’ve put it in yogurt, on biscuits, and spread over creme filled crepes.

32 ounces Cranberries
4 cups water
3-4 cups Sugar
2 drops Orange EO
1 drop Clove EO
1 drop Nutmeg EO

Boil cranberries in water and sugar until they pop. Cool slightly. Purée in blender if you want smooth jelly, smash with potato masher for more texture.
Add essential oils.
Boil until desired consistency. Boil to 220 to gelling point if you have a candy thermometer and want to attempt to get the bellies version that I didn’t succeed in.
Fill jars.
Water bath for 15 minutes.









Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Goodbye 2017

2017 really was a good year for us. When I contemplated sending out holiday cards I couldn’t come up with enough interesting details to enclose a note, it was a sort of mundane year with just a few blips of excitement.
A few of my favorite memories are:

Having my kitchen floor tiled, an outlet added, and the cabinets and counters leveled and anchored. That is something I still appreciate each and every day and will until we move on to a different home.

Celebrating Jerusha’s 2nd birthday. She was so excited and adorable both on her actual birthday and a couple days later when her daddy was home to celebrate.

Our 3rd anniversary. Wesley was on the road for work but still managed to make me feel loved and cared for. We had a fun fun get away to Indy which fulfilled what my expectations for our honeymoon had been; he surprised me with a cruise so no complaints. ;)

Finding out I was pregnant with our third child. I was so longing for another baby and was extra thrilled that I found out on Wesley's birthday and could share the news with him on a special day :)

The week we spent with my family exploring the Upper Peninsula.

Our grand adventure out to Colorado. Looking back it seems like that was such a huge endeavor but I'm sure that's just because of my incredibly pregnant state as I don't remember it being too overwhelming at the time. It did take a lot of planning and work but we had such a fun time! I also loved doing my review of it for the blog :)

My birthday was so full this year and I certainly count that as a highlight of the year.

In September of this past year one of my oldest closest friends got married and I was honored to share in that day with her as a bridesmaid. It was her heart's desire to join the wife-club so I was very happy for her and rank those wedding prep and wedding day memories on this list.

Thanksgiving season will each and every year make this list. It doesn't even matter how many things might go wrong or how hectic and stressful the week of Thanksgiving may end up, dedicating so much time to loving family, rejoicing and reminiscing over God's blessings will always be the best.

As I've tried compiling this post I've had to narrow down the memories.. I'm such a nostalgic person and loved the whole year! I am just loving this life I am living, most of all because I love the Leader of my life and the one's He has given me to love and care for (or be cared for by!) along the way.

The day after Thanksgiving my brother Daniel took some family pictures for us so I'll share a few of them here.












 Happy 2018! I hope this year is filled with blessings, the grace to overcome the trials you'll face, and the strength to trust God during those times. ~Haley