Thursday, March 26, 2009


I'm pregnant. Over the last 2 weeks I've woken many nights and smiled a smile only for God and repeated those words to myself. I've been through this 3 times before, but this is different. The first time I was scared. The second time I was overwhelmed. The third time I was tired. Now I'm just happy. I tried to think of a better word, one more civilized and interesting, but the truth is that I'm just happy.

I've heard people say before that they knew that they didn't want more children because their families felt complete. I've just never known that feeling. I'm not taking anything away from my sons. They're absolutely wonderful. My family is absolutely wonderful. I wasn't unhappy before this baby came along. But...oh, my...this feels so perfect. I know this is the last baby, and not just because Mike says it is (which he did) but also because I finally have that feeling of completeness. This baby is the last piece of our puzzle.

I've been reading about what he looks like at 5 weeks (which is how far along I believe I am). He's about the size of a sesame seed and looks like a tadpole with a tail and an overly large head. My heart melted when I saw the pictures. I've seen them 3 times before. And yet this is different. This is the last time I'll look at them and imagine the person growing inside my body. I don't feel sad. I feel complete.

I'm in love. I'm in love with the person inside me. I'm in love with the three precious boys who will be his big brothers. I'm in love with the husband who made these people with me. We're complete.

A 5-week old fetus

Monday, March 16, 2009

Two Lines

True, the second line is a bit faint. I wasn't sure. So I took 2 more tests...

It's hard to tell in the picture, but all have 2 lines. So, drum roll please, #4 is on the way. I estimate he's due November 24. I'll keep you posted.
I couldn't be happier.

Monday, March 9, 2009


I wear my babies. I don't believe in letting kids cry themselves to sleep. I breastfeed exclusively as long as possible. I love cuddling next to my boys at night and don't really mind when they crawl in bed with me. I want to home school. I try alternative treatments before resorting to medicine. I can rattle off at least a dozen reasons to drink organic milk. I absolutely do not consume any artificial sweeteners and don't allow my children to either. I really want to have my next baby (if there is a next baby) in a birthing center instead of a hospital. So, yes, I'm a bit crunchy. But I prefer the term "attachment parent."

I follow several blogs of other attachment parents. Although I'd never heard this term before having children, I've discovered the trend and fallen in love over time. I wasn't this way at first. I started off my life as a parent with an induced labor and an epidural. I let our pediatrician set an ultimatum for me regarding my son's breastfeeding (he must gain weight by the end of the week or we start formula). I carried my baby in his car seat and never considered taking him out to carry him if he wasn't screaming. I thought home schoolers were weird and a bit selfish (if I'm being totally honest) for taking something away from their children which can't be replaced. I thought I was going back to work.

Something in me changed. I can't say it was immediate. Early on, I knew I couldn't go back to work. I began cosleeping with my kids quite a bit (mostly just so I could get some sleep) and worried about what foods they put into their bodies. But there wasn't a day that I said, "Today I will become an attachment parent." Something about Aaron changed my life. I don't know if it was the thought that he might be my last baby, the fact that he was a difficult baby to soothe, the confidence that came with being an experienced parent who was able to make more educated decisions, or none of those, or maybe all of those. But I know that I started wearing Aaron, and it felt amazing. I stopped complaining when my kids slept in my bed. I refused to see the pediatrician who gave me the nonsense advice about formula and found a pediatrician I fell in love with. I started feeling a pull away from corporate education and towards something much more friendly. And I started looking for other people like me out there.

I found them. LOTS of them. They're called attachment parents. And I realized that I was one of them. Well, sort of. You see, I believe firmly in vaccinations. Actually, I consider it an act of cruelty not to vaccinate a child from a potentially life-threatening disease. I really clung to some of their research on the dangers of vaccinations and considered doing a modified vaccination schedule with my children but then I realized that I was taking their medical care into my own hands, and, seriously, I'm just not qualified for that. So, I decided to trust our pediatrician (whom I love dearly). And then there's the issue of behavior. I don't believe that discipline, when used lovingly and appropriately, is stifling a child's soul. I don't spank my children and think that, in general, it's an unnecessary practice, but I do lots of timeouts and heart-to-heart talks and chore-charts. I think it's good for my kids. Oh, and I don't think that babies really care if their mamas had an epidural or if they screamed their way through labor. The end result is the same. So maybe I'm not an attachment parent. Do you have to follow all their beliefs to be one? Not completely adhering to the values of attachment parents can make me feel a bit guilty.

My youngest child bit me while I was breastfeeding, so I weaned him around 10 months. It was a selfish decision--no doubt about that. At the time I read and read and read about breastfeeding and how to retrain your child not to bite you and then (warning: moment of disclosure) nursed him in secret for a few weeks after that because I had already told my family that he was weaned. I read and read about how selfish it was not to breastfeed, and I felt SO guilty. Every morning I would express a tiny bit of milk, just to be sure that I still could, and I made a point to nurse the baby at least once a day, to keep my milk flowing. About 2 weeks into this, I tried to breastfeed him, at which point his crying got stronger, so I tried giving him a bottle. He settled immediately. I have no doubt that it was because the bottle flowed so much quicker and easier. I spoiled him with a bottle and, thus, destroyed any chance I had of continuing to breastfeed. But somehow I felt very free anyway. I really liked being able to drink a glass of wine in the evenings, take my Prozac in the mornings, wear clothes without any regard for how accessible my chest was, etc. It was nice. And I felt bad about how good I felt.

It's great to find a group of people who share similar values and ideas, but I've decided it's very unhealthy for a person to make decisions on her parenting based on the definition of a parenting style which sounds appealing. So, I release myself of any guilt which I bear for inductions, epidurals, forced weanings, grocery-store brand milk, stroller rides when it would have been just as easy to put him in a sling, and the list goes on and on. Oh, my it feels good to be free of those burdens. But it feels bad to feel so good. Crunchy and crazy. Perhaps that's my parenting style.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

You Hold My Heart

Friday my baby turned one. He's a toddler. And it's been really hard for me. Part of me is trying to come to terms with the fact that this is likely my last first birthday party, last first steps, last snaggly tooth grin. And part of me wants another baby so badly I can't stand it. There's just no right answer.

Monday he had surgery. Yes, it was minor. He had tubes placed in his ears. But it was surgery, all the same. He was under general anesthesia, and it was scary. The nurse gave him something she called "happy juice" to calm his nerves enough that he would go with a stranger into the OR. I needed some happy juice to calm my own nerves as I watched him go. He did fine, and we made it through the ordeal.

Back up to Saturday. We went to a birthday party at a kids' indoor play station--kind of like Chuck E. Cheese for the older crowd (including bowling, indoor go-carts, and laser tag). The boys were in heaven. We collected tickets for all the games we won, and we cashed them in for cheap prizes before leaving. The boys chose matching stuffed hearts. One said "Be" and the other said "mine." I assume they were leftovers from Valentine's Day, and I thought they were a pretty lame prize, but I really wanted to go and didn't particularly care what they chose. On the way out, Ei told me that he wanted me to have his little heart. It was really cold and I thanked him for the gift but asked if he could hold it until we got to the car where I could look at it while warming up. He said, "Okay, Mama. I'll hold your heart."

Oh, my precious Ei. You already hold my heart. You and your brothers have held my heart since before you even entered this world. As I sat in the doctor's conference room on Monday waiting to hear that the surgery was over and everything was okay, I replayed this moment. I wish I had thought to take the heart with me to hold as a tangible reminder of how precious my children are to me. But the truth is I didn't need anything tangible. I watched them take my baby Aaron as I stood there empty-handed and helpless, and I knew that my heart was with him.

Jackson, Ei, and Aaron--you hold my heart.