Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A year of this

Still need to finish typing up Sonya (Sophia)'s birth story. It is bittersweet in a way because I didn't know until recently how injured I was. But she is a delightful baby and I think the birth experience was gentle for her, if that's a thing.

The birth story isn't scary, I promise. :)

But as for daily life, I am feeling very thankful to be allowed to be at home. I don't really have a way to even get out by myself with the kids, but I look forward to doing that as I get stronger. While I have my MIL helping (hopefully for years to come!) and David doesn't need to be in school, I am really looking at it as a time to heal. It is a very important time in terms of being more functional in the future.

This morning I convinced David to snuggle with me in bed a little longer, as Sonya can sleep until 10 or 11. A text from Andrei told me it was snowing outside. I hadn't even looked! Then a friend came over and took David out to play, and Sonya went down for a nap, so I had a quiet house for a bit. I made an orange peel and cinnamon infusion on the stovetop and it was so relaxing. We had lunch, the friend went home, and David went down for a nap without a huge struggle.

Andrei came home and we chatted for a bit before David woke up. Then thanks to David having had less screen time earlier in the day, I felt no guilt putting on Netflix while cleaning the kitchen before small group. Then Nina came over to help before friends came for Bible study. David was so excited to play with her!

It was good to see church family since it had been 5 months. I was still very symptomatic today but got to see people and have a connection with the outside world. Survived another day!

Monday, October 17, 2016


Help! Blogger has done away with all my links that were in the sidebar. I had just updated them and it looks so lonely now. If you're reading this and have a blog, please share the link below since I don't know when I'll be able to restore them.

I saw on a few other people's blogs that theirs were back up. But not so with mine. The comments widget is gone, too. I could go find a screenshot of my sidebar and manually reenter them, but...

"Hello, tech support?"

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sophia's birth story, Part 2

Part 1 

Part 3

After about 39 weeks or so, the midwives started asking if I wanted them to check me, which I didn't. I declined scheduling an induction too. One midwife told me I could "go ahead and schedule" the next few appointments. You mean there's going to be more than one? Depressing.

What was required now at every appointment was a "non-stress test" to monitor fetal activity. A good idea in theory, but not very comfortable. Sophia had thankfully gone head down, but was still flopping around due to my diastasis recti. Reclining in the chair was the worst possible position, and they couldn't get the monitor to stay in place.

A few more weeks went by and I was now more than 41 weeks. At 42 weeks it was Game Over. Funny how you can go the whole pregnancy avoiding complications, only to have the baby forcibly evicted in the end!

It turned out that this appointment was going to be my last before being induced. My dad waited for 3 (!) hours as they kept me on the monitor, then sent me down for an ultrasound, then back up to schedule the induction for first thing Monday. The midwife finally convinced me to have an internal exam, ouch. I could have sworn she was actually trying to get things going.

I wasn't crazy about the nurse OR the midwife that were on duty, and they were both scheduled to work Monday as well. It wasn't looking good for proceeding naturally. When I finally got to leave, they kept saying "see you Monday!" Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence! 4 days to get something started.

To be Continued...

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sophia's birth story, Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

While I'm facing the reality of a post-partum body and having a newborn all over again, it seems like a good time to review the miracle of Sophia's birth!

(for anyone just tuning in, we live in St. Petersburg, Russia, but I traveled both times to the U.S. to give birth...)

There were a few things about David's birth experience that we changed right away, or at least hoped to do differently. For one thing, I switched from the local Ob-Gyn in my hometown to a midwifery practice in a neighboring town. Longer commute, but a very caring community for the most part. Different birth plan, too-but I'll get to that later.

As my pregnancy progressed, I was often measuring ahead of schedule, and wondered if this baby might be early. I also had gestational diabetes, though. Once I got on a diet, my weight gain slowed down and things seemed more normal. But I still wondered if I might go early.

Once I got towards my due date, though, I had zero symptoms of labor. Same as with David! I mean, not a hint. I barely even felt pregnant. I was carrying really low though (low tone in abdominal muscles), and was told repeatedly that baby had "dropped" and that I looked "ready." Actually, I started getting those comments about 2 months before she was born.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Ferocious Four and 2 Months

The 4 yr old is a challenge right now! I wonder if he is just now reacting to having a sibling. I keep having unrealistic expectations. In my head, if I give him undivided attention for a few hours, he will let me take a break. Or if I let him kiss his sister once, he'll be satisfied and leave her alone and not continue to harass her. What DOES sometimes happen is that if I bite my tongue, he will stop the offending behavior since there is no reaction. But obviously I can't let him harm himself or others. I couldn't ignore the toy-throwing or opening the oven door repeatedly.

There are moments when he seems repentant and it seems like we've figured something out. Like when we argued and argued about naptime and then Andrei came home and intervened, but then David still asked for me and we lay down with our arms around each other and went to sleep. He still wants to please me even if it seems like he wants to hurt me.

David's "I'm sorry" phase seems to be over...when he used to come to us of his own accord and ask for forgiveness. Even when we had already forgotten. But he IS in an "I love you" phase, and that warms my heart. He can be a little resistant toward spiritual discipline, but prays spontaneously sometimes; yesterday's prayer was that I would have 100 babies, that would all come safely.

Thursday, October 6, 2016


I have a bit of an addiction to information. I don't think this applies to all areas of life, though. I'm not one to constantly track a package or flight. There are times when I can recognize that the outcome is in God's hands and I've done all I can.


The other times. I love knowing random bits of information. Before Internet, I liked playing Trivial Pursuit. Somehow I knew facts, even sports-related. Is that any different from wondering "now what was that actor's name?" and immediately looking up the Wikipedia entry?

Where do you draw the line? I think for me, the medical stuff is probably the worst. Are you in that category of person, always self-diagnosing yourself and convinced you're going to die? I have turned into one of those.

Monday, October 3, 2016

New week, New Year

This evening's post is brought to you by a pacifier-soothed baby (gave it to her and she put herself to sleep)! I'm not sure how I feel about that. Are we going to be running around at night looking for it when she can't sleep without it? But could it be any worse than getting up with David several times a night for the first three years? Is it harder to wean from rocking or using a pacifier? At any rate, I'm enjoying the peace and quiet for now. And will have to do a sleep post at some point.

Andrei started a full week of classes, with additional hours. So of course today he also came down with the family cold. Hopefully it will be mild!

The Jewish New Year is being celebrated right now. My church just started a new cycle of The Bible in a Year. I'm not sure how that ended up renewing in October, but I thought it was interesting that it coincided with Rosh Hashanah. I wanted to bake Challah and have our Bible study, but as usual we are sick and whatnot. Someday!

And the last new cycle beginning is related to my online fitness community having an anniversary sale. My membership had run out and I was trying to decide when to renew. I'm being careful about exercise, but right now they're my best resource anyway in terms of being gentle on the post-partum body. I just wish I could have someone like that in person as my trainer! But anyway, I saw the sale and decided that now is a great time to renew that journey. If you are at all looking for some home fitness instruction (especially focusing on core strength and much more), check out the 1 day sale at Fit2B studio.

Oh yeah, and it's my cousin's first wedding anniversary. David and I were there a year ago, dancing the night away. How life has changed in just one year!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Health crisis

(melodrama alert) It's been a rough few weeks! The day before we left for Russia, I had a very good doctor's report. I was extremely encouraged since it had taken so much longer to heal up after David was born.

Within a week after we arrived, I started having some troubling symptoms. I then self-diagnosed and began to read all about it, but decided I'd better take a break from that and focus on other things for awhile. I didn't want to see a doctor because I wanted to kind of put it out of my mind.

We were doing pretty well. Sophia was sleeping well, I felt like I was managing somewhat with two kids, and we were even able to do some fun things like baking projects.

Then the symptoms worsened, and anxiety and depression quickly spiraled out of control. I imagined myself as a life-long invalid. I'd never be able to lift groceries, or my kids for that matter.

I've already mentioned my prayer journal. I also started listening to an audio Bible throughout the day, since it's hard to find time for reading. I told myself that we'd survived much worse, like everything we experienced when David was a baby. I told myself it was just hormones. I told myself that it wasn't a cancer diagnosis. But the logic and "positive thinking" weren't working.

Crying fits gave way to hyperventilating, nausea, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, and extreme weakness. I was shaky all the time and wondered if I could be anemic. I'd never had an anxiety attack this bad. I think part of it was that I couldn't tell what was just butterflies in my stomach (probably about 90% of it)  and what was my organs falling out. Eventually I realized it was just anxiety, but couldn't talk myself out of it.

I gave in and let Andrei make a doctor's appointment for me.

June 2022

So, we are 4 months into what's happening in our part of the world...though, of course, we live pretty far from the border!   Currently:...