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My newest transition

So much has changed in my life since the last time I updated. Changes that have required a lot of my time and attention. And I want to update more consistently, but … who has time?! So I’m following in the tradition of my brilliant (and busy) friend Tasha and setting a timer, typing what I can and publishing when the timer goes off.

So here’s the update on my life in 12 minutes or less:
I’m no longer working full-time. For the past two years, I’ve been working for a friend at his growing heating and air company. I was doing all the bookkeeping, marketing, billing, and dispatching. It was busy! Last summer, in an effort to divide the responsibilities between me and another girl, I stepped down to three days per week, but keeping the phones for dispatching on the days I was working from home. I continued this until maternity leave in November. I knew before my leave that Chris would want me back to five days per week beginning in April.

Well it didn’t take me long to realize that three days per week in the office was really stressful for my home life. Chris allowed me to bring Naomi to work with me – which I did for the teeny-tiny weeks when she slept most of the time and that was REALLY nice, but I still couldn’t get it all done at home. And I knew five days per week at work was only going to make things at home more stressful. So Kyle and I decided me staying home was gonna be best for the family.

Chris asked if I would keep doing the bookkeeping, so I’m still in the office one day per week. And I’m cleaning a house or two and selling Dōterra essential oils to bring in a little extra money on the side — and to help me feel productive. www.facebook.com/RitasEssentialOils

Ok. Time’s up.

Three Months

At three months, Miss Naomi:

sleeps a lot — and I am not complaining or worried about that fact. 😉

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is increasingly engaged with her surroundings and is more easily pacified by people who aren’t Mommy. (Mommy is still the best, but other people are ok now too.)

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loves riding and napping in mommy’s new Lily Carrier (ring sling)

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mimics facial expressions and smiles the biggest toothless smiles you ever saw.

squeals like a baby raptor when she’s upset.

is a better baby than I could’ve dared to hope for and a great addition to my sweet family.

Getting my snuggle on

Despite my strongest urgings, Little Naomi is not honoring my desire for her to stay teeny tiny. So I’m doing the best I can in the situation … and soaking up as many deliciously-scented newborn baby snuggles as I possibly can.

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And she doesn’t seem to mind.

Transitioning and Settling In

I’ve often heard that the transition from one child to two children is the most difficult transition. I’m coming to agree with this statement.

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WAYS THAT HAVING TWO KIDS ROCKS:

1. Ivalee is four and she is definitely old enough to be a great helper. She loves to hold Naomi; and she really loves when Naomi is awake – which is not really all that often yet.

2. As with my pregnancy with Naomi, I am trying to slow down and enjoy more of these fleeting moments. I’ve learned from experience that these early weeks pass way too quickly.

3. Twice the kids; twice the love.

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WAYS THAT HAVING TWO KIDS IS HARD:

1. I don’t have all the attention to pour onto Ivalee that she has been used to having all for herself. So whenever I’m busy with the baby (endless feedings!), Iva is willing to accept negative attention (misbehavior and the resulting discipline) over having no attention. We’ve mostly maneuvered our way through the worst parts of this one, but we still have some tense moments. (Ivalee is a Quality Time and Physical Touch kid. Gotta be intentional about creating time to meet both of these need for her.)

2. … I don’t have another one yet. The attention / time issues is the main one so far.

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HOW I’M COPING

1. Our church and family and friends are taking good care of us by providing meals for us for about two weeks. Kyle’s mom has come over and spent lots of time loving Ivalee and doing laundry and dishes. (My mom would be doing the same except that someone in her house has been sick for almost two weeks straight.)

2. Relax on needing everything at the house to be done perfectly. If you ever look at my house, you’re probably laughing that I’m having to talk myself into relaxing my standards. They’ve always been pretty lax. Should go without saying but … there are things that are going to go undone or be done less-than-perfectly. I’m trying to choose the major things. If it’s going to be gross (food trash, dirty dishes, gross laundry, or un-wiped counters [we’ve been battling fruit flies around here!]) it’s a priority. If it doesn’t have to be done perfectly, I do what I can to keep it from being gross and focus on getting rest and snuggling a baby and a big kid. Kyle and Iva are helpful with helping to hit the reset button on common areas each night. (The bonus of having a small house is that this is a pretty quick process.)

3. Accepting that – for this time – there is going to be more tv time for Ivalee than normal. And forcing myself not to feel guilty about it. It’s temporary. We’ll find our new routine soon.

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Polk Baby #2 – The Birth Story

You guys! I did it!! I had a natural, unmedicated delivery … and I lived! And I would do it again in a minute if it meant that at the end, I got to have this snuggled up on my shoulder.

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To catch the blog up to date. I had my appointment on Wednesday, November 13 with Lesley. I had another cervical check done because we were both curious. I was 3cm and 50% effaced. Lesley said with confidence, “You’ll have this baby before your appointment next Tuesday.” I had a mini-freak-out that I somehow managed to keep inside … and decided it was a good day to finally pack the bag for delivery.

Light contractions started that night and continued off and on for the next three days. I spent a large part of the day on Thursday trying to ‘make’ things happen. I wore myself out and amped up some serious swelling on my feet and hands. I decided to lay low on Friday and Saturday instead of trying, in vain, to conjure something that would happen on its own and just needed to be given time.

On Sunday morning at 3:30, I was awakened by a contraction unlike those that I’d been experiencing. It was a contraction that made me go, “Oh, yeh! That’s what these things feel like!” And they kept happening every few minutes. I laid there, contracting and letting Kyle rest and trying to make myself go back to sleep. Kyle woke up at 5 and I told him what was going on. I timed for about an hour and found they were coming around 7-10 minutes apart. I willed myself back to sleep and was able to rest until around 8:30.

The rest of the day passed in a blur. There was a lot of walking and ball-bouncing in the mix. Contractions continued to gradually strengthen and gain in frequency throughout the day. The birth center’s labor instructions were to call in when you have had two hours of intense contractions – ones that you have to use your coping mechanisms to make it through. My first “intense” one came at 5:30. After that, I found that the only thing that could help me through a contraction was to have Kyle apply pressure to my hips and help me remember to keep them moving throughout each surge. He was also tasked with helping me remember to keep my jaw/face relaxed so the rest of my body would follow suit and allow what needed to happen to happen as easily as possible.

I have to interject here and say that my only previous experience with real contractions were the pitocin-induced contractions I had when laboring with Ivalee at the hospital. Those were one on top of the other and were only ever fully intense. So I was surprised by how evenly spaced these contractions were and – despite their intensity – I was able to handle them easily. That’s why when, after two hours of ‘using my coping mechanisms’, I talked myself into waiting thirty more minutes. Surely it had to get worse! And I did not want to be sent home when I got to the birth center!

So at 8, we called the after hours number to report what was going on. Lesley was on-call and when she returned my call, she said, “I can be there in 30 minutes. I’ll meet you there.”

Kyle had already put our bags and things in the car, so we hopped in and headed out. And at 8:30, he was loading all of those bags into the birthing suite where Lesley already had the water filling up the tub. She hooked me up to the two monitors for a few minutes – long enough to make sure baby’s heart rate was ok during contractions. (I remember watching the readings of teh contraction and thinking, “Oh gosh. These contractions aren’t as strong as they were earlier. She’s going to look at this and tell me I’m faking it. Maybe I am faking it. Maybe it’s time for us to go home and go to sleep.”) (None of that happened. Just tells you where my head was in those few minutes.)

Then another cervical check to see where we were.

7cm, 100% effaced, 0 station. We were there to have a baby. Thank you, Jesus!

So Lesley told me, “Our next step is to keep you comfortable and then you’ll let us know when it’s time to push.”

So I got ready for the tub, had a few contractions, and continued to pray I was ready for what was about to happen. I asked whether the student midwife would be coming for my birth. Lesley said she’d contacted her, but that she wasn’t able to make it in that night. Lesley said, “I told her that was fine. I kinda wanted to catch this one myself anyway.” While I’m sure they say that to all the girls, it was nice to hear anyway.

It wasn’t long before the nurse arrived who would also be attending the birth. Her name was Kim and she was great! Lesley told her, “She’s tolerating labor very well. Not quite in transition, but close. Been laboring at home since 3:30 this morning without calling in once and was 7cm when she showed up!” The best compliments are the ones that are spoken of you and not to you, you know? I felt like I’d already accomplished so much.

I stayed in the tub for a while. (Times are all foggy for the most part from here on out.) I noticed that my contractions slowed while I was in the warm water. Desperate for things not to slow down, I mentioned this to Kim, who assured me I had nothing to fear — that the water was assisting in my progression at that point. I got out of the water frequently for bathroom breaks and to keep things moving along. Even while in the water, Kyle continued to apply pressure to my hips during my contractions – from outside the tub and then later while sitting behind me.

I started dozing off between contractions in the water and ‘zen-ing out’ during the contractions – low-moaning, and deep-breathing and naturally going into a state of mind that I honestly feared I wouldn’t be able to go. This was the moment that I realized that I was here, I was doing it, and I was being pretty successful at it. So empowering!

After a bathroom break, I realized I’d gotten hot and hungry in the water and decided to take a break from the tub for a bit. I labored in a rocking chair for a while, with my feet propped on a birth ball. This position was the only one that gave Kyle a break from his hip duties. So I snacked on some cashews and sat there for quite a while. Kyle and Lesley and Kim chatted about iPad apps and music … and I labored quietly and easily nearby.

I don’t recall the exact conversation, but I think I wondered out loud whether I’d know if my water had broken while I was in the water. Lesley said I probably would know and offered to check me again if I wanted to know for sure. No pressure from her at all, so I decided to wait.

Several contractions and a bathroom break later, I let curiosity get the best of me. I wanted to know where we were and asked Lesley to check me. 9.5cm. Almost there. Somehow I’d made it through transition very easily. “How has this been so easy?! Why would anyone labor in any way but this?!?”

I asked Lesley to break my water — “Let’s get this show on the road!” — at around 1:30 or 2 AM. I was getting TIRED! Afterwards I got back into the tub. Things kicked into a higher gear at that point. Once he’d gotten out of the water the first time, Kyle had put on his dry clothes because it was cold in the room. (My bad, everybody but me. I was comfy!) At one point, I hit a place where I needed Kyle – like, NOW!! – and he hopped back in the tub in his clothes. It wasn’t long after that when I realized it was time to push. I told everybody what was happening and Lesley and Kim responded very calmly — “Alright. Do it!” So I did what I could until the sensation quickly passed. The next contraction was push-time from the get-go … and that was the time when my composure went totally out the window. There was a lot of screaming. After that contraction let up, Lesley firmly told me, “That cannot happen again. Focus. No more screaming.”

Yes ma’am.

So I did my best to hold it together. I’m sure it was a sight. THIS was the worst part — the part I had been dreading. But graciously, it was also the shortest part of the whole process. Maybe six or seven painful and intense pushes later, and baby was out all the way at once.

Born in the water at 3:27am (almost exactly 24 hours after I’d been woken up by that first contraction); caught by the able hands of Lesley Rathbun; and brought into my arms as quickly as possible.

Kyle took a peak and a pause and announced, “It’s a girl.” Relief. For both of us. We could not decide on a boy name – despite trying up until the last minute … literally while I was in the tub laboring.

So Naomi Kate it was.

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And she has proven to be a perfect addition to our family. She’s such a sweet baby. Ivalee loves kissing her “cute cheeks”. And her daddy and I were both just totally smitten from the start.

There is nothing in this world I would trade my for my birth experience at Charleston Birth Place. It was amazing for me and transformed me in ways I’m understanding differently every day. I feel so empowered. I’m not pretending it was the most graceful hour of my life, but I met the biggest obstacle I’ve ever faced and on the other side of it, I know I am stronger.

God is so good to our family to have given us two healthy pregnancies, and two different deliveries which produced two beautiful and healthy daughters. Our years as a family of three taught Kyle and me how to be parents. Our one night at the Charleston Birth Place gave us a new respect for the process and the beauty of birth. And we are better parents and better partners for that experience. And now we get to take those lessons and apply them to how we parent our two children.

Because we have two children now. Holy cow.

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I prayed for this child, and the LORD has
granted me what I asked of him.

1 Samuel 1:27

Polk Baby #1

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It won’t be long now at all before this little one loses her Only Child Status and becomes Big Sister.

Ivalee Grace. The baby girl who made me a mom. For whom I traded in weekends of late nights out and sleeping in … in favor of a love you can only understand when you experience it. The little girl who turned a pair of self-involved twenty-somethings into parents who are willing to sacrifice to provide her with a healthy and happy childhood. The kid who turned our house into a home filled with openly expressed love and frequent hugs and kisses.

Our Iva is growing up. She is a KID now. And she’s too excited about becoming a big sister. That transition won’t be without its own trials, I’m sure. But for right now, she’s excited. Boy or girl – and no matter what name we choose – she’s eager to snuggle and love a new Baby Polk.

One day when we were talking about the new baby, I confessed to Iva how I was feeling nervous about having two Polk kids — “What if the new baby doesn’t love me as much as you do?” She said, “Mom! All babies love their mommies! You just give the baby hugs and kisses!” Simple wisdom from my little lady.

This one who has taught us everything we know about parenting will continue to stretch us and love us into this next, new phase of our marriage and family. I’m excited and anxious to see what the next few weeks hold for her … for all of us.

38 Weeks

So … I thought I remembered correctly that Ivalee was born at 38 weeks. But, I did not remember correctly. She was – in fact –  born at 37 weeks, 6 days. Which means that I am currently more pregnant than I’ve ever been. I’m growing ever-closer to the light of the end of the tunnel. (Also, in digging back in my bloggy-memory … check out those LEGS!! Thank you, Jesus, that I haven’t had that issue to deal with this time around.)

Another item of note: Ivalee’s due date was August 28. This baby is due on November 28. Ivalee was born on August 13. Tomorrow is November 13.

So a quick update:

  • The long-awaited Nesting Instinct finally paid a visit today. So frustrating that it waited until I am so big and unable to move, but I did a lot of laundry and dishes and cleaned my bathroom and did as much damage to the floors as I could. And my ankles, while swollen after a day of working on my feet, still don’t look NEARLY as bad as they did in August 2009. (See above link. Yowza!)
  • Oh my gosh, could this baby be pushing on my bladder in a more painful way? Dear me!! It feels like a needle is being poked in there sometimes. (TMI? Sorry!)
  • Ivalee told me today, “Mom, after the baby comes out, me and you are going to lay in your bed and snuggle. These days, it really hurts your tummy, huh?” Yes, Ivalee. It does. And yes!! We ARE!!
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Saturday morning with my sweet family of three … and Doc McStuffins

  • I’ve also finished up two baby-related knitting projects recently. One pink and one blue hat to go with the coming-home outfit:

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    and finally got the blocking done on this Owlie Sleep Sack so it’s ready to go too.

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  • I spent some time over the weekend prepping the baby’s car seat and Kyle brought Ivalee’s inside too, so I could clean it out, adjust the straps, and have her in ship-shape too.  Ivalee tested out the baby’s seat and declared it “so comfy” and “just right for the baby”.
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We’re getting ready. Now to find a name for this little booger!!