Sunday, April 26, 2015

Life with Three Children

Hello world! I am back for another blog post! This makes two weeks in a row, which means I am on a roll. I've decided to start blogging on Sunday evenings as a way to keep a sort of family record for us, so hopefully I keep it up. This evening I was really struggling what to blog about. I want to blog about my aunt's visit, Easter, having a little girl, her first month, and so much more! It is so hard to decide. I have finally decided to blog about something I have been thinking about the last few weeks, life with three children.

It seems as if many people that I encounter want to know how I am adjusting to life with three kids. They want to know if it is more overwhelming with two or not. Before Sarah was born, I often found myself drawn to reading blogs of mothers with multiple children. Often I would hear that the third child was the hardest because all of a sudden you are outnumbered by your children. I read that you only have two arms, or space for two children on your lap. It made me a little nervous as to how life would be with three kids. So here I am, to give you the rundown on what I think about having three kids is really like.

First off, I would say that they were wrong. Yeah, I may lack a few extra arms, but you really can fit three kiddos on your lap at once. You just have to baby bunch (have the kids close together in age) so they are all small enough to fit on your lap! Alexander will be four in August, so that means we currently have a three year old, a two year old, and a one month old. They are so little that they all want to snuggle in close quite frequently. I guess that could be considered a "challenge" with three kids, but only because they are so close in age. There are times all kids want to be all over me and it can be a little challenging, but only six weeks into life with three kids, I would say they are adjusting well. They are learning that sometimes they need to give me a little space to care for the baby. Jacob is particularly good about asking for extra cuddles when Sarah is napping. He almost always wants to cuddle when she is asleep. I think he sees it as his special time with Mommy.

The most challenging time is when I am nursing and the boys want to see Sarah. Sometimes I let them cuddle in close while I feed, and other times, I just have to tell them that Sarah needs space, and they are getting better about respecting that. Sometimes they are just so curious. They love their little sister and want to see her with her eyes open (which isn't very often in the newborn stage). So they will pull her head back, or lay on her a bit while I am nursing. So I have to be very careful when I do let them be that close. I am not one to ever take nursing pictures, but I just HAD to take a picture of me trying to nurse with both boys on either side of my nursing chair. It was the day I took this picture that I knew I had arrived as a mother of three. I figured if I could nurse her and have them that close, I could really do this mom of three thing.

I think another challenging part of having three children is trying to go places. Of course going anywhere with a newborn can be a challenge, but when you have three kids ages three and under, it can get quite challenging.Just loading them all in the car can be quite the task. I still have to buckle and unbuckle them all, and Sarah hasn't been a fan of her car seat. So often it would take a full half hour just to get shoes on and them all in the van. Even going on walks is harder. One day, I decided to go on a walk with all three kids. I decided to put Sarah in her car seat in the double stroller and let Jacob have the other seat. Well, when our three year old got tired, he wanted the other seat. Our normal fifteen minute walk turned into an hour long walk because sometimes Jacob and Alexander wanted to walk, and near the end they both wanted to sit, so we had to keep stopping so they could switch who was able to sit.

I also haven't quite been brave enough to do grocery shopping with all three kids on my own. Trying to fit three kids in a cart can be challenging enough much less where to put the groceries. So usually Scott and I do that together. There are times I have even contemplated needing two carts just so we have a spot for all the kids if the decide they want to sit, and a place for the groceries. All that being said, Alexander is growing faster every day and becoming more independent. It wont be long before he doesn't want the stroller at all, or to sit in the cart at the store. So it is just a matter of time.

Something I have learned with having three kids is how busy you really can be as a mother. When I had Alexander, I felt so tired from being up with him all night, but then again, I could literally sleep all day while he was napping because he was my only child. With three young children I have to coordinate how I will help nap the kids. Luckily Jacob is still napping, so on a good day I can still get a little shut eye too. I just have to time it right so Sarah is sleeping at the same time. I have told Scott that it feels like every time we have had a child the laundry has doubled. This is indeed the case now. I usually do at least two loads of laundry in a day, and sometimes if I decide to do none on the weekends I have as many as five loads on Monday morning. That is a lot of laundry! Between laundry, feeding children and just caring for the house, it really is a full time job! I remember telling Scott one day that I wasn't sure a stay at home mom of one could really say she was a full time mom, but a stay at home mom of three definitely qualifies as one. There have been days where it seems I barely stop to eat. I don't mean to skip out on food, but if Sarah needs to nurse right as I finished making lunch or snacks for the kids, I might forget to make something for myself. Though I will admit, I have totally nursed and ate lunch at the same time. Hey a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do. I will say it feels like I have started to lose the baby weight a lot faster this time. Maybe it is because I am chasing around a preschooler and toddler at the same time.

The final challenge I will share with you has more to do with numbers than anything else. I think when you have more than two children, you start becoming one of those moms that counts your kids to make sure they are all there. We had a moment the other day that I am still laughing over. We decided to go out for dinner. We stood in the line ordering our fast food, and when we had just finished Scott looked at me and said, "Honey, where's Jacob?" Instantly both of us went into panic search mode. As we stood in line cashing out we were scanning the line for where he could be. A minute later I look up at Scott and reply, "He's in your arms." This cracked me up because it reminded me just how exhausting three young children can be. He was literally holding Jacob and didn't realize it, and I didn't realize it either when he first asked. The more kids you get the more you have to be aware so one of them doesn't wander off, even if it is just wandering out of your arms!

Despite all of the challenges with carting kids around, having enough lap space, and the extra work involved, I have to say I truly do love it. As you may know, I am one of two kids; just me and my brother. Growing up, I always wished I had a sister too. My brother and I have always been close, but the older I got the more I realized I wanted a large family. I remember shortly after high school that one of my friends lost her brother in an avalanche accident while he was mountain climbing. He was her only brother and she didn't have sisters. I couldn't help but think how I would have felt if that was my brother. It gave me a desire to have more children so that there was more support with other siblings if a tragedy occurred. Before marriage I would have said I want six children. Now that I have been through three pregnancies and have had to care for three children in the day to day moments, I am not quite sure how many we will have. There are challenging moments when it seems all three of them are crying at once and I just need a breath, or moments where I feel like my personal bubble has been popped all day long and I just need physical space from everyone. And then there are moments when I see how much the boys love and adore their sister. I realize I am blessing them with a lifelong friend from the beginning, and how awesome that truly will be for them. And the bond between them just grows stronger each day. It is in moments like this that I think that I could have a whole litter of children. I am constantly amazed at how much they truly love and adore each other. When Sarah cries, Alexander sings her the ABC's, and Jacob kisses her on the head. I never taught them to do those things, they just did it all on their own from the moment they saw her in the hospital. They both ask to hold her multiple times a day. I just can't help but feel that their bond is already forming, and it warms my heart to see the love they have for each other. Life with three is busier, as is to be expected. Life with three kids ages three and under, is demanding. No matter the challenges, I wouldn't have it any other way. The blessings far outweigh the challenging moments. My heart is more full and our home has more love to go around. I am truly blessed. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sarah: The Birth Story

It has been far too long since I have blogged. Pregnancy and life with two kids kept me mighty busy last year. I got so behind blogging, that the idea of trying to catch up just overwhelmed me. So for now, we are just going to march forward. I don't want to keep missing the magical moments that are happening day to day because I feel so behind in the blog. So here goes! As many of you know, we welcomed Sarah Kay Richins to our family on March 17, 2015 at 12:11 am! She was a due date baby who arrived on St. Patrick's Day. Now to the story of how she got here.

I have to admit, I am not a patient person in the slightest. With both Alexander and Jacob we never made it to the due date. Alexander was born a day early and Jacob was born almost a whole week early. With both boys, my water broke on it's own. So of course, as the days got closer I tried every old wives tale to help her come (except the castor oil...because ew! gross!). Anyway, I eventually just resorted to begging her to break my water. Well, I don't know if I was too impatient or what, but I really truly had thought my water broke in the afternoon of Monday, March 16. At about 2:30 I kept feeling like my water broke. So I called Scott, and he got off work early. We had to wait for his family to arrive so we could leave the kids with them. So we probably made it to the hospital about 5:00 pm. 

Once we arrived at the hospital, they checked us in and checked to see if my water had broken. The first test they took came back negative. The nurse also mentioned that the baby's heart rate kept jumping back and forth too. So, she decided to call the doctor to see what he recommended. Instead of running more tests, he encouraged them to induce me since I was only hours away from my due date. I have to admit that I fully cheered at this decision because I was so ready to meet my baby girl. 

Our nurse was really great. She was constantly cracking jokes and kept referring to the baby as "Baby Princess Sarah" because we had told her that Alexander would always call my belly "Baby Princess Sarah". (Side story: Shortly after we had chosen Sarah for her name, Alexander called my belly Baby Princess. We explained that her name was Sarah which means princess. Since then he has called her that, and he still calls her that now that she is a month old!) Anyway, the nurse would instruct anyone who came in the room that they should refer to her as "Baby Princess Sarah."

Just before 7:00 pm, I gladly welcomed the epidural. We did notice through the time there that her heart rate kept jumping back and forth. We didn't think too much of it though. At one point I remember it going down to 90 and another it was only 30 (that one scared me a little). Anyway, the nurse kept coming in and checking me. At around 10:00 pm, she came in to check me. I was progressing nicely and was dilated to about a 7. Every time the nurse came in she would check me and then she would have a student nurse check me right after. She wouldn't tell how far I had progressed until the student nurse told her how far she thought I was. After this last check she instructed me to call her if I felt the epidural was starting to wear off or I was getting more intense contractions because it could mean I was progressing more quickly.

Anyway, after about an hour or so, the nurse came in to check me again, and then had the student nurse check me. In the middle of the student nurse checking me, the baby's heart rate went crazy. All of a sudden, the nurse was yelling for the student to get her hands out, and then the room seemed to be flooded with nursing staff. They hooked me up to an oxygen mask and the nurse started yelling for someone to call the doctor. It was about this point I was inwardly freaking out. There were so many people surrounding me and Scott kind of sat on the bench out of reach. He must have not been too worried, but when he saw the worried look in my eyes, he came and held my hand.

It felt like only moments later the doctor came in. He checked me and said I was dilated to a 10 and encouraged me to start pushing. It didn't take long, and she arrived. When Sarah was born, the nurse said the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck and was hanging down her chest and she was squeezing it. She said our "Baby Princess Sarah" just had to come out wearing her feather boa. Luckily, as soon as she was born, everything was great. She weighed 7 pounds 6 ounces and was 18 inches long (though we suspect someone measured incorrectly because she was 20 inches at her two week check up, so who knows).

We ended up staying just one day at the hospital, and leaving around midnight of the 18th to save on the hospital bills. The boys were still able to visit us a couple of times that day. It was so fun seeing how excited they were to meet their baby sister. They surprised me so much with how gentle they both were! Jacob was super cute. He asked to hold her and didn't want to let her go. He didn't like anyone else holding her either and would point to the bassinet in the room and say, "Baby's bed!" It was a real treat to have them visit, and they continue to be great with her.

The first few weeks nursing was a little tough, but we have since worked out all the tweaks. She is truly our little princess and we are grateful to have her as the newest member of our family.