When $20 makes you angry….

Bridesmaid dress shopping

So I’ve been thinking about this post for a week now…. Let me first tell want you that this might be a trigger for some of you. Then let me you I don’t take this post lightly. I don’t think I’ve ever been more angry about $20 in my life.

Let me begin….

Last Thursday was my DREADED dress fitting for my sister’s wedding. Now when I say dreaded I mean AWFUL. No one postpartum wants to be in a formal dress fitting at some bridesmaid dress boutique 8 weeks after having a baby. Let alone someone who gained 75 pounds in that pregnancy and still having complications from the delivery.

However, I was feeling pretty good that day. The scale showed 2.8lbs lost over the last week and well, I had to do this thing so might as well TRY to be okay with it.

When we arrived, the nerves set in. I just wanted to get in and out as soon as humanly possible. The lady doing my fitting was super nice. She gathered all the dresses for me that my sister had chosen and told me this was the ONLY size for each of these dresses. She didn’t tell me the size but talk about a RED FLAG. Instant worry. She told me that if the dress didn’t fit right that she would clip it for me if it was too big. 😂 I told her that’s probably not going to be necessary. I mean, she had to have known I wasn’t going to fit in the dresses but she was doing her usual thing and saying her usual stuff.

Sooooo, I got into the fitting area. I looked at the size of the dress – size 10. I’m usually a 10-12 but even my sister said the sizes ran small so I KNEW we were in TROUBLE. Like BIG TROUBLE. I tried putting on the first dress by stepping into it – uh that didn’t work. RED FLAG #2. I managed to wiggle it over my head and into my body. But it definitely didn’t fit right. I took one look in the mirror and I looked like an Umpa Lumpa. I told my sister she had to get into the fitting area because there is no way I’m looking into a mirror again or fitting into the rest of these dresses. She had to help me take the dress off. 😭

We tried on the second dress – the one she thought might be more flattering on me and it didn’t go past my shoulders. 😭 I literally had to hold it over my head so she could MAYBE see if it would work on my body 4 months from then. And it’s no slam at my sister, she was very kind and trying to keep me calm by reminding me I won’t look the same in 4 months but I couldn’t help but feel humiliated when she asked if they had bigger sizes. It just sucked. I knew this was going to happen. I was over it.

We were given a dress that was slightly bigger and similar style and it LOOKED HORRIBLE. We decided that she would have to pick the dress and hope to God that it would look good on my body come her wedding day.

Now, it was time to get measured. 😭 I survived that but then the lady had to tell me what size to order based on my measurements. My bust was sized 18-20 and the rest of me was recommended at a 20-22. 😱 She recommended the 20 since I’m actively trying to lose weight. I just had to suck that conversation up. It just sucked.

Side note: I want to be clear that the losing of the baby weight is important for me. The wedding definitely motivates me but for me to feel healthy and comfortable, I like being in a certain weight range. I may or may not make that by the wedding date and I’m okay with that as long as I’m trying and doing what I can, it will be what it is going to be. I’m thoroughly enjoying my activity and I feel overall it helps me be a better mom (once I get past the major tired). 

So because Madison needed to eat, we hung out and I decided I might as well order the dress while we wait. It’s not something I wanted to do so if I left without doing it I would probably forget as it’s not exactly on my priority list. I go to order the dress online and not only did I have to pay for the dress and taxes, I was being charged an EXTRA $20 for being PLUS SIZED!

Now let me tell you, I was fuming!

Here’s why: I’m most likely going to lose somewhere between 30-50 lbs between now and the wedding (hoping 50lbs but let’s try to be realistic 😉) so that EXTRA $20 might not be necessary. And in fact, I’ll be cutting some of that dress off in alterations so it’s like I’m paying double!

Side note: If I ordered a size 18 it would still be plus size. I would have had to move down to a size 16 to not be charged and I frankly wasn’t comfortable with that considering their sizing. 

Another reason and really the most important reason I was fuming was because WHO DOES THAT!?! Maybe it’s common practice at places and because I’m not normally plus sized I haven’t experienced it but what the hell is wrong with the clothing world?! Seriously, who charges people EXTRA for being a certain size?! Or charges people LESS for being the “right size”?  That’s just plain inconsiderate, horrible, and frankly discriminatory. And I know some of you are thinking, well extra fabric… Extra fabric my ass. It’s just plain dumb and no wonder we have eating issues in this country. Seriously.

To the women who have experienced this or experience this on a regular basis, I am SORRY. I am sorry the clothing world doesn’t value you the same as those in the “right size”. I am sorry that you were ever made to feel like you’re extra and needed to pay extra. I am sorry if you were ever made to feel so different for being YOU.

I have never been so appalled in my entire life.

Rachel

A long awaited update….

The past 5 weeks….

It’s been over 5 weeks since I’ve sat down and wrote. Boy, my heart and head needs this outlet. But how? How does mommy find the time? How does Rachel find the time?

Well for one, I’ve started this post one-handed while rocking a baby to sleep, the twins are coloring (hopefully just their papers – FYI, they colored their table) and Sesame Street is on. And realistically it might take several start and stops just to get it finished but that’s life these days.

So here’s a little update!

The twins: Well, now the twins are 2 years old! How did that happen?! We celebrated their birthday the first weekend of October. Right after their birthday we’ve been battling sickness: respiratory, ear infections, and nasty colds for all! I think we are finally on the mend there. They’ve continued to adjust well to their sister which is such a blessing. I really don’t think we’ve dealt with outbursts related to her, specifically. But they are 2 and boy, dealing with their own developmental growing pains can be particularly frustrating for Nick and me. I feel like some days the words of the day are NO, DON’T DO THAT, STOP TOUCHING THAT, QUIT CLIMBING, STOP HITTING, SAY SORRY, YOU’RE IN TIMEOUT, etc. Then other days I just tell them they will get hurt if they do X, Y, and Z and walk away praying they don’t actually get hurt. But just some days natural consequences are the best teachers. Right? Two 2 year olds are no joke and not for the faint of heart. Then couple a trying day with the twins with a fussy, refuses to sleep baby and you’ve got a recipe for wine by 5 o’clock or a Grand Gold Margarita from Pappasitos, especially if it’s a Wednesday (if I’m not so exhausted by then and I usually am). The best thing we did was give them this small playhouse for our backyard for their birthday! Now with the weather cooling down, we are using it more and more, like today.

Nick: He is so busy at work! David Weekley Homes keeps him busy but he was a champ altering his schedule while I was on c section restriction. It was a tough 6 weeks but we made it thanks to our tribe! My sister and my mom continually step up to the plate for us which we will always be so grateful for!

Madison: She is so amazing! It only took us 7 weeks to discover that she’s a tad caffeine sensitive so overall she’s sleeping much better during the day. She usually gets up just once at night, sometimes twice. Overall the girl gets a medal for giving us the best transition to a family of 5 as possible.

Then there’s me: Juggling the kids on my own is tough. I tell my mom I don’t know how she did it with seemingly effortless grace when I’m here feeling like a basket case. But isn’t that how it goes? I don’t remember my mom being super frazzled 24/7 but I do remember her being there. That’s what I want my kids to remember: me being there. I’ve officially been taking over taking the boys to school by 8am Tuesday and Thursday and picking them up by 3pm! I happy to report the latest we’ve been late was by 20 minutes! Other days we’ve been right on time and I’ve been on time for pick up! Talk about a mom win! 🙌🏻

I’ve been finally able to start working out and I’ve stayed pretty dedicated to getting back into the swing of things (slowly) and staying consistent. I’ve been really working on my eating and that’s stayed fairly consistent as well. I’m 7 weeks postpartum and down almost 25 pounds with about 50 more to go to pre-pregnancy weight. 😳 Can’t believe I just wrote that but it’s true. I would preferably like it to be gone by my sister’s wedding at the end of February so will keep you updated on the progress. I believe switching up my workouts and continually working on better eating habits will help me!

In other news and to slide into your prayers, I’ve also continued to have some postpartum bleeding complications. I feel like I’m finally on a road to getting some resolution but it’s been overall frustrating and stressful as I know this is not the normal progression after having a baby. I don’t want to go into super detail here but if you’re curious, feel free to message me!

Overall, life with 3 under 3 is so incredibly challenging.

So let me answer some of the most asked questions:

1. How is it taking care of one baby? EASY! And it helps she’s pretty laid back. But I rarely just have the baby so it’s still hard! Haha

2. How do you do it? LOTS AND LOTS OF THE SERENITY PRAYER but in all seriousness, you just do.

My side note to these questions: the twins are and probably will be constantly be challenging as we have two in the same developmental stage of life but definitely not two of the same people. It’s incredibly challenging and really, so much fun. But as they are learning to communicate more and more, things are getting “easier” but when that communication breaks down – SERENITY PRAYER IT UP because that’s all that’s going to save you!

3 under 3 is the way to be, 😂😂

Rachel

 

A letter to my boys

Before your sister arrives….

Dear Andrew and David:

I have been thinking about this letter for a while now. I get choked up even thinking about it. I’m not really sure what to even say, exactly, but THANK YOU.

**Thank you for sticking in my womb when I wasn’t sure it was ever going to happen. It was beyond scary and exciting to know you both were in there.

**Thank you for growing in my womb amazingly the entire 34 weeks we spent intimately together. We didn’t have one major complication besides an early birth.

**Thank you for trusting me (and your daddy) to take care of you in the most scariest days of our life after you were born.

**Thank you for forgiving me when I was suffering from postpartum depression/anxiety and didn’t know if I could do this. Sometimes I still don’t.

**Thank you for teaching me how to overcome some of the hardest and darkest days of my life. I am stronger now because of you.

**Thank you for smiling at me even when I don’t feel like I deserved it.

**Thank you for loving me after I painfully have to discipline you.

**Thank you for your strength and relentless spirits because I know one day those will drive you to reach whatever dreams you have in your life.

**Thank you for being my first babies, my hearts. I will always treasure this time we’ve had together before your sister.

**Thank you for being born together. Watching you together is something magical. A privilege. You will make amazing older brothers.

Thank you for it all. The good, bad, and ugly that has come because of our new adventure as a family. I want you to know that no matter what happens in the next few weeks, you are my boys, my hearts, and the loves of my life. I have learned so much from you in the past 3 years that I ever could have imagined (and we are only beginning).

Just please continue to be patient with me (and your daddy). We have absolutely no idea what we are doing but we know we love you.

 

With all of my heart,

Mommy

The NICU

Part 2

***Side note: This one is a long one. It’s taken me awhile to write this post because of its vulnerable content. Reliving these moments are bittersweet. But it’s the bitter I hate to be reminded of. I’m reliving it because I need to for myself, for my daughter, for my boys and especially for my husband. I need to get this out because if we have to go through this again, I need to remind myself that we survived. That we are strong. And that we will be okay. We will all be okay.***

The next 12 hours after the boys were born were some of my worst (so I thought at the time). When you have a c-section, they insert a catheter to make sure your bladder empties appropriately. Well, mine wasn’t. All I kept asking for was this thing to be removed so I could see the boys. Now yes, I could have been wheeled down while the catheter was in but it was SO UNCOMFORTABLE! I wanted it out and I wanted to see the boys. And these nurses don’t waste any time teaching you how to pump for your milk. I got no sleep that night. I was up every 2-3 hours pumping away. Nick was checking on the babies. It was crazy. I literally felt like I was in a twilight zone just moving and doing but not really processing what was happening.

My block was wearing off by the early morning so it was getting pretty annoying. My night nurse was really less than helpful. It wasn’t until the morning shift of nurses that they discovered I didn’t have the proper locking on my leg so the catheter was pinched and therefore I couldn’t go. By the time the nurses had discovered this, I had already had 2 bags of IV fluids in me and had drunk a ton of water. My stomach was hurting so bad. I thought it was from my incision but nope – it was my bladder on the verge of bursting. Once they figured this out, I was fine! I could PEE! Praise the Lord!

**Side note: I loved my hospital minus the catheter experience. Who would like that anyway?**

I was so anxious to see the boys. Nick had been going to the NICU all night long, bringing me back pictures, but I needed to see them. I needed to know they were okay with my own eyes. Leaving my hospital room for the first time, headed to the NICU, was when I realized a little more how my birth experience was going to change me. I was surrounded by a bunch of new moms who had their babies in their rooms. I could hear them. The babies. Crying. Being with their mothers and fathers. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, I guess. It’s not like they have a wing dedicated to freshly cut open NICU parents who have no idea what’s going on or what will happen. I envied them and I didn’t know it. I actually hated them if I’m going to be honest. Why did they get to have that experience and I had mine? How was that fair? I may still hate them.

Although the boys were breathing on their own, they were temporarily placed in a level 3 NICU pod. This meant that they were with much sicker babies then they were. Talk about a humbling experience. And slightly scary. Have you ever seen a baby with spina bifida? We did. At the time, that mom looked so strong to me. And I’m sure she was. You have to be in the NICU – there’s not really another choice. But her strength came from a long time of being there. It’s not exactly a strength I wanted if that was the price I paid for it.

 

I was terrified. We were terrified.  We just had two babies that now needed hospital care for, God knows, how long and now we had to make decisions for them, medical decisions for them. The boys were born late Friday evening and the hospital had them on a feeding tube essentially giving them nutrients until my milk came in. By Sunday or Monday (this is a tad hazy) I could tell the boys were HUNGRY. Their calm demeanor shifted and I could tell. I wanted my babies fed and it didn’t matter to me HOW. It never really did matter to me but I was going with the flow (haha no pun intended) and trusting the nurses and doctors knew what they were talking about. There was one thing I knew for sure by Sunday (or Monday) – they were hungry and they had to gain weight to leave the NICU and waiting for my milk to come in wasn’t going to help.

image

Something inside of me shifted when the boys became hungry. I could tell something was different with them and with me. That MOM instinct was kicking in. We waited for the doctor team to come to the NICU. Umm wow. Another crazy experience. Here a lead doctor comes in and assesses each baby MEDICALLY. I capitalize this because it was so STERILE and NOT PERSONAL. They don’t come alone either – like 10 other people, doctors in training, join in. It’s a big teaching hospital in the Med Center so I understand but it was nuts. I don’t blame them for their sterility (is that what I mean to say here?) but as a first time parent, fresh into the NICU, it was overwhelming, to say the least. Now, my hospital is great – BREAST IS BEST – BLAH BLAH BLAH. I get it. And it’s great and all. I was pumping and giving them what I could when I could but there’s not time for that shit in the NICU. No time when my babies were hungry. No time to wait. And definitely not a time to be prideful. Every calorie counted. Every ounce of energy the boys wasted on being hungry and upset burned calories. And if you burn calories without getting very many, you lose weight. Not good. **If you disagree with me, fine. I’m not about to get in a boob war with you about it.**

I was still overwhelmed about all that was going on but the NURSE in the pod helped me voice my opinion for the first time. She helped me voice my mothers instinct. What I would have done without that nurse, I do NOT know. Nor am I glad I never found out (I hope that makes sense. My emotions are hard to sift through here). I essentially had to DEMAND them to start feeding the boys formula (GASP!). My boys got put on a feeding regimen and they instantly changed. I still pumped and began producing some milk that I split between them throughout their stay there. But overall, FED IS BEST.

image

Nick and I spent as much time as possible with the boys between my medication times and my own check ups. We did kangaroo time as much as we could. The problem with skin-to-skin with a premie is that sometimes it can hurt more than help. In our case, the boys had a hard time regulating their body temperature so initially we couldn’t hold them for long periods of time. **We would go through cycles of this through our time in the NICU.**

image

It wasn’t long until the boys were moved to a level 2 NICU room that they shared. This was definitely a privilege for them to share a room. This was one of the reasons we were in the level 3 initially – waiting on a room. I couldn’t imagine spending my days split between rooms. It was hard enough going back and forth between mine and theirs. It was nice to see them together. **They never were actually together (side by side) until their first night home. That was weird for me since they had spent their entire lives to that point in the same location.**

image

When you’re in the NICU you learn about all the noises. Oh so many beeps and alarms that sometimes mean scary things and other times it means a lead was dislodged by the baby kicking. It’s absolutely incredible how closely these babies are monitored. And it’s absolutely terrifying hearing all the beeps and alarms (until you become numb to them).

image

Then the day came.

I was to be discharged. I don’t think I could have dreaded that day more than the funeral of someone I love dearly. But it came and I couldn’t imagine not being in the same hospital with them and commuting to the hospital daily. I didn’t want to “leave them” at night without being super close by. The nurses were wonderful – they let us stay as long as we possibly could in our room and luckily they didn’t need the room urgently. They knew the hardest thing we were about to do was about to happen. They were kind and thoughtful but we still had to do it. By the late afternoon, we made our last visit to the NICU as residents of the hospital. Even though we were going to return the next day (and however many days following) our hearts smashed in a million pieces when we left that hospital…. childless.

I have never been more sad in my life to leave the hospital without my babies. This was NOT how I pictured it. This is NOT what I wanted. THIS WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN. I wasn’t supposed to spend the drive home from the hospital with my husband looking at empty car seats and listening to each other cry. Because we both cried, we both broke that day, we both didn’t know what would happen or how we would manage whatever was to come. We both went numb.

The following days were hard – REALLY DAMN HARD. I would sleep on our couch because I just couldn’t imagine coming to bed – a bed where I spent 34 weeks holding my stomach and feeling them move inside of me. It wasn’t right. I cried a lot in those days. My heart literally ached. I woke up early to pump and I would call the nurses around 6:30am every day (before the shift change) to speak with the night nurse. I would obsessively write down their vitals and weight and then asked whatever questions I needed to that morning. My mom usually came to take me to the hospital (I was on driving restrictions because of the surgery and medication) and I would sit in their room for 10 hours a day or longer. My sister would visit during her lunch hours and spend time learning how to be an aunt. She worked in the Med Center so it was nice to be with family when they could come. Nick would come towards the end of his work day and we would go home together. My heart would leap at the sight of them every morning and shatter every night as we walked to our car. Nick told me one time my demeanor just changed as we walked further away from the NICU and he was right. Every day I relived leaving them. Every day my heart broke. Every day it was mended again. It was a horrible cycle.

Overall, we were lucky – the boys only spent 15 days in the NICU and both came home on the same day. Compared to the other NICU residents, it was a short period of time. Talk to my heart and it shouldn’t have ever happened. We had a few ups and downs. That’s simply how the NICU is – a constant roller coaster. It’s a roller coaster I never want to be on again. It’s a ride I wish NO one would have to take.

But we are stronger for it. In hindsight, I was able to heal much better from the c-section before the boys came home. And when they came home, I needed to be the best I could be since they were premies and TWINS! I learned, we learned, so much about caring for our babies. I knew quite a bit but it helped Nick be a more confident dad as he learned from the nurses. It helped us learn about being a parental team to our boys.

**The nurses. They turn scared parents into confident ones. They are vital to the growth and strength of the moms and dads that walk in and out of that place. They are the reason we can care for our children and continue to do so well after the NICU.**

image

Despite the hindsight, I would like for this experience to be my only one. I’m praying this girl stays in a few weeks longer.

 

But if she doesn’t, we will be okay.

 

We will all be okay.

Rachel

 

 

Juggling

Being ENOUGH is a four letter word….

Do you ever feel like you are juggling a million things at once? This was definitely my life last week. Sometimes I feel like pregnancy alone is enough to juggle but then add in the twins, the dog, my husband and anything else I happen to be doing and life can quickly seem out of control. Life can be overwhelming and instead of enjoying life we are trying to survive life. Then everything you usually do with ease and grace now seems like it’s mediocre. I feel like between everything I had going last week I barely saw the kids. I mean they were there – but SEEING them is a whole different thing. Insert mommy guilt. 

But thank goodness for Mondays! A brand new start to the week. A brand new week to make better than the last. But I’m still juggling. Aren’t we all? I’ve already started the day off getting the kids up and ready for school, visited a friend who just had a baby, popped in a frozen pizza, checked in on my book lady business, did some book lady leader duties, talked a little skin care with my mom, sister and sponsor, had a couple of phone calls and now sitting to write the blog post. Is the pizza ready yet? See all that juggling! It’s really incredible when I write it out all on the screen. Yet, somehow we, moms and caregivers of anyone, tend to not give ourselves enough credit for what we do on a daily basis. In fact, we largely feel like we didn’t do enough or worse, that we aren’t enough. 

That reminds me of this video I saw on Facebook this weekend about how we, moms, don’t feel like we are enough. I wish I had saved it to post in here. The video was moving for me because lately that’s how I have been feeling. Not enough. Are you feeling this way? That’s the Devil y’all. Telling us we can’t do something. Or we shouldn’t do something for ourselves.

I would take a guess that this is a DAILY struggle for many people – not just moms. But how debilitating. That thought of not being enough can literally freeze you in time. Isn’t that what the Devil wants from us? Not to be everything that God intended for us to be. Not reaching our full potential. Even when we are reaching our potential, sometimes we have guilt for even doing that! It’s a vicious web we weave ourselves in! 

Well, I’m here to say YOU ARE ENOUGH.

When you feed the kids chicken nuggets for the 3rd time this week instead of a home cooked meal – YOU ARE ENOUGH.

When you haven’t taken a shower in 2 days and the house is a mess – YOU ARE ENOUGH.

When you pour that glass of wine just a tad before 5pm because it’s just been one of those days – YOU ARE ENOUGH.

When all you want to do is go to a hotel to sleep because you’re one more fight between your kids away from a mental breakdown – YOU ARE ENOUGH.

When you have one of the best days with the kids and get everything on your to-do list done – YOU ARE ENOUGH. 

When you spend way too much money on something that makes you incredibly happy – YOU ARE ENOUGH. 

When you stay up late watching movies with your husband and know you’ll pay for it the next day – YOU ARE ENOUGH.

When you spend anytime making sure YOU are taken care of – YOU ARE ENOUGH. 

 

YOU ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH. 

 

Here’s to being enough today and every day,

Rachel