19 September 2013

Day 9

This day was super easy!  Give physical affections, hugs, holding hands, shoulder squeezes, kisses etc.

Yep, super easy.  I give my kids hugs all the time, kisses, everything.

17 September 2013

Day 8

Today we asked the kids what we can do to strengthen the relationship between them and us as parents.

James said that he'd like to do more exercises and things with us.  Jade said just doing stuff with us makes her happy.  Steven said he'd like to go to work with Daddy and Willow said she'd like to play more video games with us, like dancing and singing.

I think we're lucky because I feel like our children have a pretty good relationship with us already and I hope we can maintain that relationship as they grow older.

16 September 2013

Day 7

We've decided to do the Dares on only weekdays, leaving the weekends to concentrate on unpacking and spending family time.  This is what we think will work best for us.

So, on to Day 7.  For day 7 we were supposed to list out what stresses we have in our life and how they negatively affect the interactions we have with our children.

So when thinking about what stresses me out there are two things that I get completely stressed out about and makes me short-tempered, unfairly, to my children.  The first one is finances.  We're not bad off, we pay all our bills, but we do not have any savings, and while I really need to see a chiropractor, as of right now we cannot fit those visits into our budget.  It is something I stress about, when the car breaks down, or the kids start growing out of their clothes, or there's a bill that unexpectedly pops up somewhere.

The other one is the army.  Michael working long hours constantly or being called in on the weekends.  As a stay at home Mom, which I do love being, I still need those times where I am not the only parent here watching our kids.  I need a few minutes to myself after my husband comes home to just pee alone or think without a lot of loud voices calling "Mommy!"  And when Michael comes home late I don't get that and not only do I not get that but the kids end up staying up later than their bedtime so that Michael can spend time with them and I'm then robbed of my time with Michael where there are no kids between us vying for attention from one or the other of us and our adult alone time in the evenings.

Both of those things stress me out and make me short with the kids and it's unfair to them since neither of those things are caused by our children.

It's not something I've put a lot of thought into previously but it's something I will attempt to remember now, when I'm super stressed out.

14 September 2013

Day 6

Today we were supposed to spend in prayer to think of ways to be less selfish.  And also to find a way to dedicate our children to Christ.

My biggest issue is in that I am, because of medical reasons always tired, and that interferes with my ability to interact with my children sometimes, because the times I'm able to do things I always want to get other things done, cleaning, checking email, watching TV, etc.  Yesterday and today though I vowed to spend more time on school with the kids and I have.

We talked about values, and I've vowed to find us a home church for us to belong so that the kids can be with other kids their age while learning about God.

12 September 2013

Day 5

Today's dare was to find each of our children's love language and try and respond in that way.

James's love language is affirmation.  He seeks approval in things he does so today I made sure to praise all the good things he did, when he did well on his writing, when he did his math problems correctly, and when he was a good example for his younger siblings.

Jade's is when you do something she enjoys to do, like cook with her, or play a game.  Jade is often passive and allows James to run the show, so letting her pick something and do it with her makes her feel very loved, we gave her a choice tonight of something to do and so her and I had a pokemon battle.

Steven is super easy, hugs and kisses and cuddles make him the happiest and feel loved.

Willow needs attention.  She wants you to watch her, and talk to her and do things with her and wants things to be about her.  We let her sing and dance and put on a show for us.

Katara likes boobies and being talked to.....she's the easiest of all. :)

Day 4

I went to bed early last night so I wasn't able to get on and write about our dare.

So, yesterday our dare was to let our children know they are priceless.  So I told the kids that no matter what they do, or how angry I may seem, or how frustrated or even when it seems I'm not interested in them that I really am, and that sometimes I let life get in the way, but that aside from God, they and Daddy are the most important people in my life and that they are unique and amazing and gifts and that they are irreplaceable.

10 September 2013

Day 3

For the 3rd day our dare was to do a random act of kindness for our children.  The kids were pretty awesome today and Steven and Willow BOTH used the potty all day and stayed in underwear.  Willow even pooped in the potty!  She got a dress back and since everyone was so great Michael and I walked the kids to the shoppette and let them all pick out a piece of candy each.

Today was a pretty awesome day, and I continued to work on being patient and I'm really hoping tomorrow is just as awesome as today was!

09 September 2013

Day 2.

Today's challenge was to remember that "Love is Patient."  I did my best to remind myself of this throughout the day and I tried to calm myself when I could feel myself getting angry.  I tried to come up with different reactions than my normal one, which is to yell.  My kids don't deserve to be yelled at, and especially not all day, which I am embarrassed to admit has happened before.

Today went fairly well, I tried not to feel put out if my kids interrupted my speaking or needed help while I was in the middle of something else and I succeeded most of the time.  I'm going to try and keep up that mindset because I think our day went much smoother than usual when I could stop and remind myself they weren't purposely being annoying or disrespectful.  It made it easier also to remind them to wait before interrupting when I managed to be patient with them instead of being angry.

Definitely an improvement in our day.

Tomorrow I'm supposed to do some unexpected kindness.  I'm drawing blanks, any ideas?

08 September 2013

Steven's birth

This is something that it's taken me awhile to write up.  Mostly because I don't remember a lot of it.

From my memory:  I was 38 week 3 days and my husband was down, for Thanksgiving and Jade's birthday and we were hoping I'd go into labor soon. I'd had James at 39 weeks 4 days but Jade at 38 weeks 2 days and I was having pretty regular contractions.  We went out to the beach for the kids and Michael to walk along it.  I stayed in the car because my 9 month pregnant self was not at all interested in walking along the sand trying to keep balance, but I did roll the window down so I could breathe in the sea air.  However, the red tide was at our shores during that time and it irritated my esophagus.  I started coughing up blood because of it, and being pregnant that was pretty scary.  We went into Cape Canaveral Hospital's ER to get me checked out.  They said I could have a PE and they wanted to do testing, but given the risks to my child, I chose to wait and see.  The next day I was still coughing up blood and went back to the ER and chose to do the least dangerous test.  Dye with contrast CT scan.  They started me on heparin also and went to do the scan.  They had put the wrong size catheter in my arm though and ended up blowing my vein, and then my doctor told me that he didn't know what to do with my blown up arm (it was almost 3 times the size it was supposed to be from the dye) because the web page wouldn't load.  I, 9 months pregnant was going to beat the crap out of that doctor, and might have if my husband hadn't held me back.  We all then decided induction was our best option but I had to wait 12 hours until the heparin wore off.  I was sent up to ICU because L&D wouldn't take me with a possible PE.  I was treated badly there, and I felt incredibly out of control.  My midwife dropped me and told me I'd meet the OB when I could be induced.  I'd never met the OB before and I knew at that point that my wants to have a natural intervention free birth were over.

I'm still incredibly proud of making it through the labor with no pain meds.  I even threatened the nurse when she came in that I'd kick her if she tried.  I was tired and cranky.

I don't remember a lot of the birth so I will copy and paste my doula's account. We called her when we knew when we'd be inducing.

Birth Story of Steven Strickland
Crystal called me to tell me that her labor would be induced that afternoon after having spent the night before in the ER with suspected health issues. Pitocin would be started that afternoon so I agreed to make my way to the hospital within a couple of hours. When I arrived Michael was supporting Crystal with each contraction. The pitocin was indeed working because labor was well in the active stage when I arrived. Crystal was very uncomfortable, but working through each contraction beautifully. I know that having Michael at the birth was a great relief to Crystal. Michael was doing so well supporting her through each contraction. I sat at the foot of the bed making quiet suggestions as needed. I was just in awe at how well things were moving forward. Crystal was feeling quite a bit of low back pain and Michael was massaging her lower back and I was helping with focus and breathing. Crystal began to feel pushy within an hour of my arrival. At this time I believe there was a shift change or possibly a new nurse came in to cover for a dinner break. I'm not sure exactly, but the new nurse was rather overbearing and her way of handling did not help with maintaining a calm environment in the birthing room. Within minutes Crystal was setup for delivery. Dr. Raup arrived just before Crystal began pushing. Steven was making his entrance quickly. Crystal was lying on her back with her legs up as she pushed. Steven's head delivered rather quickly, but upon delivery of his head it was apparent that their was a tight nuchal cord. The doctor attempted to pull the cord over Steven's head so his shoulders could be delivered. The cord was too tight. Dr. Raup reached for the scissors and cut the umbilical cord on the perineum. Next, Dr Raup had Crystal push, but Steven's shoulder were not moving. The room became very tense and supra pubic pressure was applied and Crystal's legs were pulled all the way back to make room in the pelvis for Steven's shoulders. It was an extremely tense time as I knew that Steven was not receiving oxygen through his cord because it had already been cut. I knew that this was an emergency! I was standing on Crystal's right side pushing her leg as far back as I could and praying that Steven's shoulder would slip past the pubic bone so he could be born. Within seconds it did and Steven was born. I believe Steven went right to the warmer. Upon completion of the delivery of the placenta Dr. Raup had a conversation with Crystal about the need for a rectal repair due to damage done during her last delivery. Crystal received narcotic pain meds to enable Dr. Raup to make a full repair that would enable Crystal to have improvement with rectal tone. I found this repair extremely interesting and saw that the need had indeed been there and thought it was prudent for Dr. Raup to offer such repair at that time. I don't remember much about Steven once he was born other than his need to be moved to the nursery. I know this upset Crystal but I believe due to the shoulder dystocia Steven needed to be monitored more closely following delivery. When I left Crystal she was resting.

After the induction things seemed to go pretty well, although I found out later that they gave my son formula at birth, in case of shock.  I told them I had plenty of colostrum so they should have let me nurse him and they told me there was no way I would have, so I made them grab me a pump and I pumped almost 2 oz of colostrum out and said, "See!"  The nurse was pretty impressed and apologized.

Then the next day the doctor said that his bili was pretty high and he wanted to put Steven under the lights, and I did give permission for that, but no one had mentioned that they would be giving him an ounce of formula each time.  I never gave permission for that, and when I tried to argue with the nurses I was dismissed and my baby was kept from me because I insisted on nursing and they wouldn't bring him back until he'd taken the ounce of formula.  I tried to leave AMA and I was told our insurance wouldn't cover the birth if we did.  We tried calling Tricare to find out and they were surprisingly unhelpful and accused us of harming our child.

I about had a fit when my son came back at one point and would not latch correctly, after having been born with an absolutely PERFECT latch.  I tracked down the lactation consultant and threatened to cause a huge scene if they didn't let me go home RIGHT NOW.  She found the doctor, Steven's charts and I finally got to go home.  After a few days we finally got his latch back on track, but that experience is what solidified in my mind that I would NEVER trust another hospital with the birth of my children, ever again.

Also, after the birth we found out that I did not have a PE, so the entire induction was pointless and I was scared out of my mind for my life and my child's for no reason.  It also left me with pretty debilitating panic attacks any time I have pain in my chest, arms or legs.

The Love Dare for Parents Day 1

Today's dare was to make sure our kids heard us tell them we love them.

I told each of my kids I loved them and they all responded in kind.  This definitely was not a hard dare as I tell them often that I love them.  I always want to make sure my kids know they are loved and wanted, every day.

6 Months

Yesterday was Katara's half birthday!  She's getting big, almost 27" long, and a little over 13lbs.  

She can sit up unassisted now, and is starting to get up on hands and knees.  It'll be far too soon before she'll be mobile.  

She also had her first taste of food tonight.  We gave her a piece of bell pepper to gnaw on.  She loved it!

02 September 2013

Scary Times

In the Strickland house.  Early yesterday morning I landed myself in the ER with such horrible pain.  Turns out I was having a gallbladder attack.  It was horrible!

I've never been in so much pain in my life and I've given birth to five children.  I've been given the option to have surgery and remove my gallbladder, but I think I'm going to wait on that and make some eating habit changes.

Today I'm a little tender, like bruised in that area, but no pain like I had previously so far today so I'm thankful.

I'm terrified of surgery, especially since I've never had one, and so I'm hoping I can find a way to avoid one with this.

Wish me luck.