Monday, March 31, 2014

The Trade Off

I can't help but compare Claire to Brynlee at this age. Things are so different this time around it feels like Brynlee was born 100 years ago rather than 4. I feel much more prepared to take care of a baby this time. But one of the main things is that I'm not working.

I'm not stressed about where Claire will go in 7 weeks when I go back to work. I won't have to try to juggle being a full time employee and Mom. I won't feel the guilt of dropping my baby off at day care ( worst. feeling.ever). I can go on field trips with Brynlee's school. And will be able to take care of my kids when they are sick with no worry about missing work.

This does come at a cost though. Jimmy works really hard to make this happen. Really really hard, including long hours to accrue overtime pay. I'm not a huge fan of discussing money, buy money is TIGHT. Trying to make ends meet is stressful, just a different kind of stress than trying to juggle the tasks of being a working Mom. I'm constantly confronted with things I'd like to buy ( and in some cases things we really need to buy) with money that's not there. A new car, vacations, gadgets. It's a definite trade off.

I'll definitely go back to work one day. I miss working ( for pay) and getting out and meeting people. Once my kids are in school full time I'd like to work part time. Ideally I'd assist for an awesome hair stylist and hone my skills. In my head that's how things happen anyway.

So the question comes to mind, is this trade off worth it? Is a "lesser" quality of life worth being home to take care of my children? My answer depends on the day...just kidding. Mostly. :) Right now, I say yes. I'm excited to be there for the milestones with Claire that I missed with Brynlee. And to be there with Brynlee as she reaches new milestones.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Birthday, a Visit and Other Happenings

So, I'm 30. Yep. The big 30. Being that my birthday was 12 days after Claire was born, I didn't expect anything super exciting this year. 12 days post postpartum isn't exactly a time to party it up! I did have a nice birthday though.

My friend Tessa came out to stay with us, and it's the first friend I've had visit. It was nice to have her here and she was super helpful with Claire. She has no kids but can swaddle and soothe a baby like no ones business! On my birthday she made me a cake, woke up early and took Brynlee out to get donuts and decorations and decorated the house. What a pal. We went to dinner that night ( my first time braving a restaurant with Claire) and had a really fun time. Tessa and I even got out for a little bit kid free which was nice but kind of weird.

Since Brynlee got super super sick when she was a baby I'm paranoid now. If I take Claire out (and I have to do that sometimes) she is in her car seat with the canopy down so no one can see/poke/touch/prod her. So going out to dinner for us was a big deal. Here's hoping Claire doesn't end up in the hospital for 2 weeks!

In a moment of temporary insanity I decided to try on some pre pregnancy pants 2 weeks post postpartum... yeah. BAD idea. I could get them on but they were not even close to zipping. What was I thinking you ask? I'm not sure. I feel so much smaller than I was a few weeks ago. But I guess I'm not THAT much smaller. The worst part is that these pants used to be loose on me. Not so lose anymore, LOL. I guess I'll keep sticking with my trusty yoga pants.

I had a Dr appt this week which I thought was strange because it's only been 2 weeks and normally you don't go in until 6 weeks post postpartum. But my Dr just wanted to check in and see how things were going and how I was feeling which I thought was really nice. However at this appt I was asked to step on the scale. My first scale encounter since I had Claire. I had an idea of what the number would be, and I was dead on. 20 lbs down, 15 more to go ( until I'm at my pre pregnancy weight anyhow). 15 lbs isn't too bad. It's doable I think. I just wish I had something besides yoga pants to wear while I'm working on it!

Monday, March 24, 2014

When Breast isn't Best

Happy 2 weeks to baby Claire! These past two weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions for me. I'll blame the hormones and lack of sleep. After a valiant effort, I've decided that breastfeeding is not for me. I tried, I really did. I did all the research, and I did everything right this time. However things starting getting really bad and I felt old familiar feelings creeping up.

With Brynlee, trying to breastfeed started to make me have post postpartum depression. I would watch the clock constantly, dreading the next feeding. She would start to show signs of hunger and I'd try to do anything I could to make her stop crying so I didn't have to feed her. I started to resent her and the pain she was causing me. It's a truly terrible feeling to dread feeding your baby! It should be a time of bonding, when both parties are satisfied.

These feelings started to appear again with Claire. After getting off to a decent start, things went south quickly and every feeding became a horribly painful experience. On top of that Claire would fuss as I was feeding her, and instead of looking satisfied after nursing for 45 min she would just scream. That, combined with my constant crying and emotional breakdowns made me realize it was time to stop. Racked with guilt, I sobbed all day yesterday as it was the first time we gave Claire a bottle. Having been through this once before, I didn't expect to feel the guilt I was feeling. I turned to the internet for information to see if anyone else had these issues. What I found was hundreds and hundreds of people who are going through and who have gone through the same thing. I realized I'm not alone. A quote from someone on one of those sites really stuck out to me. She said "Breastmilk is best, but baby needs a happy healthy Mommy above all else."

Claire has been so unhappy the past 5 days, I couldn't figure out why. After pumping and feeding it to her, she looked at me and screamed for more. I think she was just hungry! Because since we have give her more food she has been a totally different baby.

I so admire people who breastfeed, and love breastfeeding. It's like the people who love being pregnant. It's great for them, and I'm a little bit jealous because I don't love either of those things. But for me and my family breast turned out not to be best.

Friday, March 14, 2014

A Baby Story

We have a new addition to the Cuillard family!

Welcome Claire Whitney Cuillard,
Born: March 10th at 3:36 pm
Weight: 7 lbs 13 oz
Height: 19 and 1/2 inches
Apgar score: 9

We headed to the hospital on March 10th at 7:30am. By the time the Dr actually broke my water it was around 10...good old Dr's always running behind! He decided to put me on small amounts of pitocin after all, to make sure things progressed the way we wanted.

It's funny how your body purges out the pain of child birth. As the contractions started I remember thinking this isn't too bad. This isn't too bad at all. Cut to an hour later and I was ringing the bell for the nurse to come in like my life depended on it. Anesthesiologist, now please! Epidural yesterday please! Not that I wasn't planning on getting one. I just wanted to wait until I couldn't stand the pain anymore. I'm not sure why. It's kind of stupid really. If  I'm going to use the drugs, I might as well use them early on and be comfortable. I think in the back of my mind I was afraid if I got the epidural too soon it would wear off before it was go time and I'd be in trouble.

I've been lucky to have two really great epidurals. It was perfect with Brynlee and it was perfect with this one. The nurse came in and checked me and I was progressing, but slowly. I even dozed off for a while. When I woke up, I could feel we were close. I called the nurse in and she checked me again, I was a 10! So there you go. I went from a 4 to a 10 in an hour. She ran out and called my OB to come over ( his office is down the street). On a side note after only delivering at Kaiser previous to this I was amazed at how different this was. To see the same Dr all 9 months and have him be the one to actually deliver the baby is nice. At Kaiser they just pass you all over the place.

Anyhow, to not get into the nitty gritty on here, my Dr did not make it. That's how quickly the baby came out! I wasn't even pushing and the contractions where literally pushing her out. About 6 nurses ended up delivering the baby and my Dr ran in about 30 seconds too late. I've decided that I have horrible pregnancies, but pretty great labors. Anytime you have a baby and don't actually have to push to get it out is nice. So, if a girl out there wants to carry the babies for 10 months and then I'll deliver them we'll be in business!

We came home from the hospital the next day and are now adjusting to life at home with 2 kids. Basically how it's going is I take care of Claire and Jimmy takes care of Brynlee. I'm not sure which one is more difficult :) At least Jimmy gets some sleep with the kid he's taking care of.

We've yet to take a family picture... I'm hoping to lose some more of this gut I have in the next few days. I know, I know it's only been 4 days. But I'm still sporting a significant sized belly and I'm hoping it's not going to hang around forever. It feels so great to NOT be pregnant I find myself just smiling with joy. It's wonderful!

Interesting Fact: Under extreme high pressure, diamonds can be made from peanut butter

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Save the Date

We have an induction date! Monday on March 10th, baby Claire should be entering the world. Should be. If all goes according to plan.

It's strange having a date set. It allows planning which I like. But it allows waiting too. I'll get really excited. And then I'll get really freaked out. If I had insomnia issues before, they are back with a vengeance now. It's weird to think that I'll only be pregnant for 2 more days. And that in 2 days our family will change forever!

I'm finding induction is somewhat controversial. Some people are really against it. They look down on your for going that route. I can maybe see why. If I was more patient I would just wait. And wait. The baby will come out EVENTUALLY. But this option works out much better for my family and I. This way I can make sure there is somewhere for Brynlee to be. If we didn't have any kids at home it might be different but I worry about going into labor in the middle of the night and having to wake everyone up and cause a huge commotion for everyone involved. And since my due date is on Wednesday anyhow, the baby is full term. And lets be honest, I'm done being pregnant! We have family and friends coming to town the week of March 18th so this will give me some time with the baby and just our family. And time to heal a bit before we have guests. Not that I need to explain to anyone why I'm choosing to induce. But if you were wondering, there you go.

The plan for this induction is different than what I did with Brynlee. Because I'm further along and my body is just about ready, my Dr will just break my water. My appt is at 7:30am and he said I should have the baby by noon with how far I'm dilated and how much my cervix is thinned. I forgot to ask him how far I've actually progressed because I was so flustered...but hopefully I won't need an pitocin and I definitely won't need cervadil this time. We'll see! Things don't always go according to plan, this we know!

Lastly, I think Mitzie has a boyfriend. Or something. There is a male cat who hangs around our house. I love cats, and in this case cats keep scorpions away. So the more cats that want to hang out at my house the better! I'm not sure who this male cat belongs to. I think he might not belong to anyone. But he's super friendly so who knows. I'm not sure how male and female cats are supposed to interact, but these two DO NOT seem to get along. They will try to fight through the screen door if they see each other.

So, imagine my surprise when I looked out the window that Mitzie is normally perched on and see this.

There he is. Just waiting for her. Perhaps I misunderstood their fighting through the door antics? Maybe that was part of the mating ritual? He looks like a little cat version of Romeo waiting down there for his Juliet. 

This will probably be my last blog entry for a while. Next time I write I'll be a mother of 2!

Fun Fact: Leonardo da Vinci worked on the Mona Lisa for 15 years. By the time he died in 1519 he still didn't consider it finished.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Just Call me Jennifer

I can't remember if I've talked about my newest church calling on here. And don't really feel like looking back through all my posts, so if I did sorry.

Throughout my married life I've held many different church callings. A lot of them seem to pertain to teaching, but always teaching children. Or teenagers. Basically trying to teach church stuff to people who did not want to really hear it. It has been taxing, rewarding and humbling all at the same time.

I really love to teach. When you are showing something to someone and it clicks and they finally get it it's like the best feeling ever. So imagine my excitement when I was called to teach, again. But this time, I get to teach adults! People who actually want to listen to what I'm saying. I teach in Relief Society once a month ( which for all the non LDS readers is where women meet. In our 3rd hour of church...yes I know we go for 3 hours. It sounds crazy! But in our 3rd hour of church the women meet together and the men meet together). So every 4th Sunday I teach a bunch of women of all ages.

It is intimidating at times. A lot of these women are probably more knowledgeable than I am. But I really enjoy it.

During my lessons I find people laughing at me. And it's not usually me trying to be funny. It's me just being me...which is a goof. A mess. Someone who uses strange gestures and says weird stuff. I've had many women comment that they like my lessons because I'm so "real" ( thankfully those who don't like my lessons don't comment....). I wasn't sure what that means. But after Jennifer Lawrence's most recent red carpet fall I think I get it. I'm real like she is. Falling on the red carpet is totally something I would do...if I were to ever get on a red carpet. I'm a disaster, therefore relate able. Maybe my messiness makes me approachable? Either way. As long as ladies are laughing and not snoozing while I'm teaching I'll consider it a teaching success.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


I was thinking today about the idea of "helping". In theory, helping is great! Let me switch gears for a minute.

Brynlee is on a kick where she says she is "sharing" something. Meaning she takes your things. I've tried to tell her there is a difference between "sharing" and just stealing someone's stuff. It's a hard concept for a 3 year old to grasp. Or maybe it's not and she is just being a stinker about it. She keeps "sharing" sister babies stuff aka taking her stuff and playing with it.

Brynlee also tries to "help" me. Which most of the time is her just making whatever I'm trying to do more difficult. But bless her heart she does try. And she is little so I can't fault her too much.

But that got my mind going about different types of people. Helpers if you will. Some people really enjoy helping. But even better, they help you in the way YOU need to be helped. Whether it's fun, glamorous or exciting. If you need it, they will do it. Even if it's inconvenient or unpleasant for them. Because sometimes the help you need is none of those things. Those are the best kind of helpers in my opinion. They are old faithful, reliable when you need it most. They don't make you feel uncomfortable when you have to ask them for help and they are not quick to hold it over your head for years to come.

However there is another kind. People who want to "help", but really only want to help the way they want to. Which sometimes is not very helpful at all actually. It's like Brynlee's version of helping. Meaning they want to do something, and cover it with the word help to make it seem like it's for someone else. But it's really not. It's for them. They are selfish helpers. And these types usually make you feel really bad about asking them for help in the first place. Or make you feel like you should be forever in debt to them for the "help" they provided. They are the kind of people you call for help as a last resort.

I've encountered both kinds, and feel like a I know a few from each category fairly well.

I won't get into what got me thinking about this. Jimmy has been gone for about 12 hours and after basically talking to only Brynlee all day my mind starts to wonder and ponder. But I'm challenging everyone to think about this idea. What kind of helper are you? What kind of helper do you want to be? Maybe next time someone needs help really think about it. Think about what you are offering to do for them and who it's really benefiting. And if you are really  being much of a help at all.

I strive to be like the first category, the real helper. But I wonder if I fall short sometimes and land in the latter category. The selfish helper. Imagine a world where we are all like the first!

Fun Fact ( and how fitting this one seems these days): January 8 1835 was the only day in history that the USA had no national debt