Mama Miller Parenting

Passionate parenting and homemaking.

Life with three kids

I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I’m doing lately.

How am I coping with three kids?

How am I feeling?

Well, here it is. My uncensored, sleep deprived version of the past four weeks.

● We found a waffle in the fish tank last night.

● I absolutely adore watching K and E interact with the baby. They love to hold him and kiss him.

● E also loves to sniff him and try to decide if he is poopy…

● I am no longer shy about nursing. Being poked in the boob repeatedly by a two year old saying, “Mommy booby milk” will do it. With K I had to be in a separate room and completely covered. With E I used the big tent cover and felt dangerous when I nursed in the mall play area. Now I use a thin muslin blanket to cover the goods, but not his head. No one has been flashed (outside of family) or made any rude comments.

● There are toys everywhere. The house has settled into a state of clean, but cluttered chaos.

● After hours of nursing and being used as a jungle gym by the big kids, I get ‘touched out’ and desperately crave personal space. Husband usually takes over soothing and listening for kids when he gets off work so I can have a few hours of quiet sleep.

● I thought I’d still be crazy sore, but I’m moving around pretty well. Sometimes I do too much and end up super sore though.

● I’m often torn between the need for privacy while I pee and knowing where the big kids are. Peeing alone means yelling, “Do not touch baby!”… Repeatedly.

● I’m sick to death of strangers commenting on how I have my hands full. It is like asking a tall person, “How’s the weather up there?” It is expected and I’m used to it, but it doesn’t make it any less irksome.

● I squirted myself in the face with milk once and K thought it was hilarious.

● I eat an unprecedented amount of cream of wheat. It is easy, warm, and can be spooned into my mouth with one free hand.

● My pits smell like pancakes all the time. Fenugreek supplements (for milk supply) give you a lovely maple smell.

● We call Baby F our little spider monkey because he is all limbs.

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Life in the Miller house.

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Baby F’s Birth Story

Disclaimer: This is a birth story, and birth stories often contain information that some may find icky. There is nothing too traumatic in this story, but still…

My sweet husband and I had thought our little family was complete. We had one boy and one girl. I just felt incredibly lucky to have children at all.

With the birth of K I found out that I had an ovarian condition. One of my ovaries had been taken over by a large cystic tumor and had to be removed. I had a 30-50% chance of developing one on the other side. I was told not to wait too long if I wanted another baby.

E was born 2 years and 3 months after K. Her birth had been a much easier c-section than my first. Although I am totally supportive of VBACs, I knew it was safer with my ovarian condition to continue with cesarean births.

When E was about 15 months old our little world was turned upside down. I went to the doctor thinking I had an UTI and found out instead that we were pregnant! I had just been up on a ladder painting in our renovation house. We really had no clue.

The pregnancy went by very quickly this time. We moved into our house. We adopted Miri the big red dog. We found out we were having another boy.

I had some blood pressure issues toward the end of both my previous pregnancies, but not this time. We scheduled my c-section for September 26th- exactly ten days after E’s second birthday.

The day before I was still driving and getting things ready.

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Oh so very pregnant...

The big kids went to spend the night with my in-laws and we got up super bright and early to head to the hospital.

I had heard from a laction consultant friend that my hospital was now offering more family centered c-sections. I had discussed with my doctor being able to have skin to skin with the baby while still in the OR. He was fine with it but said to remind the nurses when we got there.

I was very worried when the first nurse I talked to wasn’t sure about the new policy. She said she would ask our ‘baby catcher’ nurse. Luckily, we had the best baby catcher ever. She was very excited and willing to adhere to our wishes.

At about 7:30am I left my parents, in-laws, and big kids in the recovery room to go back. I had a fairly smooth spinal block and epidural. Soon I was ready to go and had Andy by my side.

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My mom and dad waiting with the kids.

At 8:08am we heard him cry for the first time. Our amazing baby catcher, Monika, quickly wiped him down, suctioned his nose and mouth, and promptly placed him on my chest.

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She really was the best nurse ever. She helped us hold him on my chest and eventually worked all the blankets down enough to help him latch. I got to nurse in the OR!

It was the best cesarean experience I could have asked for. Everything went by so quickly with him to focus on. It was much more personal than the swaddled kiss I had with my other births.

He stayed with me until right before they moved me to the transport bed. She took him to measure and weigh while I was moved.

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8lbs 8oz and 20 inches long

He rode on my chest to the recovery room for more nursing and meeting his family.

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I had supply issues with both K and E. I desperately wanted to make it work better this time around. I think our early skin to skin definitely helped. We had some serious cluster feeding marathons while in the hospital. He lost over a pound, but was wetting, pooping, and feeding well. He wasn’t overly jaundice. I had some great lactation consultants visit with me and show me how to use a supplemental nursing system if needed.

(It is a canister that attaches to a thin tube. The tube is slipped into the corner of baby’s mouth while nursing. They get the expressed milk or formula while still nursing. No bottles or nipple confusion. I highly recommend looking into one instead of bottle supplements.)

My hospital stay was tiring, but fairly uneventful. I was walking to the restroom later that night. I took a shower the next morning and was able to slowly walk to the nurses station and back. We got the ok to head home Sunday morning.

He is nursing well and slowly gaining weight back. He isn’t quite up to birth weight, but because he is so healthy our pediatrician isn’t worried. I offer formula in the supplemental nursing system a few times a day after feedings, but he rarely takes any.

I couldn’t have made it through the first couple of weeks without my parents and in-laws. They helped us so much with the kids and transportation. We also had some amazing church family send us meals.

I’m still sore, but I’m driving now and I’ve even made a couple of outings with all the kids. I even got to go to my 10 year high school reunion this weekend (with the baby).

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Baby F is here!

I know it has been a while dear friends. Baby F did, in fact, make a safe healthy debut. I’ve had a hard time blogging during this pregnancy.

In many ways this pregnancy was the easiest. I knew what to expect. I had no weight gain (lost 25+lbs and gained back about 15-20lbs). I never had high blood pressure…

It was also the hardest in many ways. Chasing two kids while pregnant is not easy. We also renovated a house and moved. I also made the choice (along with my OB) to go through this pregnancy without my anxiety medicine.

After E was born, postpartum depression and anxiety hit fairly hard and I had been on a low dose mild medication since she was five months old.

There are so many wrong assumptions about what depression looks like. I never laid in bed and cried all day. I didn’t look like a little cartoon with a storm cloud over my head. I just didn’t feel right. Little things would make the stress resonate in my shoulder blades. I was moody and didn’t cope with things as well. I would want to write or visit friends or do something, but a weirdness would wash over me and I’d hold back.

I was still me. I still got up every day and made breakfast for my kids. I could still joke and visit family. Please remember that if a friend or family member ever approaches you about depression. They may not look depressed or anxious. It can be a silent affliction that lurks in the shadows.

I made a plan with my doctor and pediatrician to start a new breastfeeding safe medication while in the hospital. I don’t regret waiting out my pregnancy, but I feel much more like myself now. Adjusting to three kids is much easier when you don’t feel like you are drowning in stress.

Baby F is almost 4 weeks old now. E and K are over the moon for their baby brother. They both like to hold him and both help grab things for mama. We are well. I’m hopefully back.. As much as a newborn will let me be.

Stay tuned for his birth story with more pictures!

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Coming out of the darkness

It has been far too long. So much has happened. My new pregnancy is now in the third trimester and we are having a boy. We finally moved into the “old house”. K is now a 4 year old. E is a busy almost 2 year old. I am now a full-time stay at home/work at home mom.

All great things and beautiful things, but I have struggled with writing them down. I was diagnosed with postpartum anxiety and depression several months after E was born. When Baby F (his new distinction) was conceived, I had to get off the medication that had helped me battle the ‘stress in my shoulder blades’ and feelings of dread.

My anxiety is not completely out of control or severe in comparison with many, but it seems like this pregnancy has been very hard. Everything seems too loud and bright and I often feel grey in a world of Technicolor. I would begin to write and lose the words. I kept telling myself that I would write soon, but I looked up today and realized it had been almost 5 months. I’ve been too stressed to do one of the things that helped me deal with stress in the first place.

Well, I’m back. I found words again today. Hopefully that is a good sign that I am starting to get a grip on normal, or at least adjusting to my new normal. Everything is going well with Baby F. I am anemic and often tired, but healthy overall. My sweet husband has been an amazing help in all this. I have days where I question my ability to be a mom of three, but God has been reminding me that he brought me here, to this place in life, for a reason.

I’m hoping to begin reading my favorite blogs again soon too. I’ve missed your voices, ideas, and stories- but reading them reminded me of my failure to write.

Much Love,
Mama Miller

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Our old house.

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E and K on the 4th.

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Our new addition, Miri the big red dog.

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Baby Bump

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Oops We Did It Again

I have been dying to share this video with you!

This was our pregnancy announcement on FaceBook. I am not comfortable linking my blog with my personal accounts, but I decided to create a Google+ e-mail and YouTube account for Mama Miller Parenting.

I really hope you enjoy the video. I wrote the lyrics and Andy was an incredibly good sport. You’ll also notice K singing along because he helped Daddy memorize it!

Please excuse the fact that this was taken with my phone. 🙂

And the fact that you can hear me being a mouth breather because Texas allergies decided to completely close off my poor pregnant nose.

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Ghost Footprint Shirts

My friend at motherhoodisanart reminded me of a Halloween project we did last year with her super cute Ghost Feet Project.

Ghost Footprint Shirt/Onesie

You will need:
•White t-shirt paint
•Black t-shirt paint
•Glitter t-shirt paint
•Black (or dark colored) shirt or material
•Paint brushes
•Paper Plates
•Black cloth, orange thread, and needle/sewing machine (optional)

Baby E was only a month old last Halloween. My friend and I had decided to let the kids paint pumpkins and make shirts. We easily found black toddler t-shirts for our two year olds but I couldn’t find a plain black onesie anywhere!

I ended up using a white onesie for E’s and painting a black heart for my ghost background. For the toddler shirts we used scrap black cloth and sewed our finished ghosts onto the shirts. We didn’t trust ourselves to get squirmy toddler footprints on the shirts the first time.

We dipped each child’s foot in white paint on a paper plate and made our print on the fabric. We immediately set them on the counter and rinsed their foot in the sink. We then gave the little darlings some acrylic paint on a plate, paint brushes, and some little pumpkins. (Ok, E got some mommy nursing time… She was only a month old!)

When their footprints were mostly dry, we used black fabric paint to add the face and the “Boo”. Glitter paint was added to E’s and my niece’s.

K’s fabric was sewn onto a t-shirt by my wonderful mother-in-law. My niece’s was fabric glued onto a little dress. E’s was paired with a crazy awesome homemade Halloween bow.

Our drying ghosts:

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K in his finished shirt:

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E was not amused with her giant bow and being cute:

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K can still fit in his shirt this year. E has grown a little too much to squeeze into her onesie though. It is amazing how much her little foot has grown!!

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The Bear and The Big Boy Card

There is a bear in my house today. This little bear started terrorizing the citizens of our fair home last night. It wails and gnashes its teeth. It gets into mommy’s make-up and paints things with mascara. It pushes sister and refuses to listen to mommy.

We thought we had gotten over our colds from earlier in the week… We were wrong.

Yesterday E’s volcano impersonation signaled round 2 of the yucks. Fevers, stomach issues, and grumpiness for all. Last night K had trouble sleeping and his mood reflects this.

I have been trying desperately to get him to nap. I am exhausted and I know he needs the sleep. Round 2 hit E and I the hardest and I cannot express how much I want to rest instead of wrangle a 3 year old. I decided to pull the big boy card.

“You can either lay down and rest like a big boy or mommy will have to treat you like a baby. I’ll get out a diaper and rock you to sleep and sing to you.”

Being a big boy is huge to K. The big boy card is usually pretty effective.

Big boys eat their green beans to get strong.
Big boys listen to their mommies.
Big boys have to be nice to their sisters.

Apparently bears don’t care about the big boy card. However, I have learned to never make an empty threat. After about five rounds of laying him back down I scooped him up, put a pull-up on him, and snuggled him up.

“Mommy I’m upsad with you!”
“You are sad and upset?”
“Yes! I’m so sad!!!”
“So is mommy. I gave you many chances to rest like a big boy, but you wouldn’t. You may have your big boy underwear back after you rest. If you don’t rest, you don’t get them back until tomorrow.”

After one huge fit, I finally have a hibernating bear on my lap. Now I have to lay him down. My guess is that E will wake up as soon as I move him. Moms do not get a break when everyone is ill.

Here is the bear:

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Ok, that is actually him as an Ewok a couple years ago. The Ewok in this picture was far more pleasant than the bear in our house today.

I should add that I was crying by the time I finally got him asleep. Nothing was getting through to him! He was so wound up that he just wouldn’t go down. I don’t usually let my kids upset me that much but all I really wanted was to crawl into a dark hole and sleep off the headache burying under my right eye.

I guess the moral is to not make a threat you won’t follow through with. Sometimes we get worked up and say things we probably won’t do. I told him I’d treat him like a baby, so I did.

2 Comments »

Updated: Homemade Baby Wipes

This is my original recipe for homemade baby wipes.

Today I decided to make them in an old baby wipe container. I unrolled the paper towels and layered them back and forth in the container. I mixed the soap, baby oil, and boiled water in a separate bowl. I used a little less water (1 1/4 cups) this time because the noodle of the paper towel roll wouldn’t be there to soak up any extra. I poured the mix over the paper towels, closed it up, and gave it a good shake.

It worked really well and unrolling the paper towels only took a few extra minutes.

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K really likes them. “It is warm!”

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