Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ten Lessons

Morgan Lousie is ten days old today! It's been a whirlwind ten days, from the isolation of the hospital, to the return to chaos at home. I've been reminded numerous times over the past ten days that life is good. And I've learned some important lessons too. Here they are.. my top ten lessons (in no particular order) I've learned in Morgan's ten days of life:

  1. Childbirth hurts, even with an epidural. Yes, this is my fourth baby and you'd think I would know this by now, but, it's the kind of pain that hurts really bad at the time, but as soon as you get to hold that precious baby, you completely forget all the pain. I am determined not to forget this time.. it's my insurance that number four is truly the last baby.
  2. Babies cry. They also eat alot and poop alot. Yes, this is another thing I should know by now, having had four kids..but the sleepless nights and constant feedings are, like childbirth, things you tend to forget after awhile. In the past ten days, it's all come rushing back to me. But this time I have a super comfortable recliner. I pretty much sleep there, cuddling and feeding Morgan every night between 1:00 am and 5:00 am. And, for the record, at this age, the crying is actually kind of cute.
  3. Sweat pants make me happy. I have not worn anything but sweats since Morgan was born. That's partly because none of my regular pants fit, and I refuse to wear maternity jeans when I'm not pregnant. But it's also because I truly love sweats. Really. I would wear them everyday, everywhere if I could get away with it.
  4. My family actually likes my cooking. I had gone on a cooking strike in the days leading up to Morgan's birth... I didn't cook anything with meat (the smell made me want to throw up and so did the taste) so we ate a lot of grilled cheese and noodles, and a few times I even made Brad cook (in hindsight, that was mean of me, since he was working long days and I was done at 12:30 everyday) I'm not really sure what my family ate while I was in the hospital and for the first several days after Morgan and I got home, I didn't cook. Some friends brought food over, we ordered pizza, and Brad cooked. Finally this week I got back into the supper cooking habit. It was nothing fancy... blt's, sloppy joes, spaghetti, tacos. But my family apparently appreciated it. Brad offered to take Jake out for a burger after a long night at Cub Scouts. Jake said no thanks, he'd rather eat Mom's cooking. And last night, as I was clearing the spaghetti dishes, Brad and Lexi both thanked me for cooking and rejoiced that "Mom is back".
  5. I wish I could be a stay home mom. I've never wanted to quit working completely, and until now, working part-time has been the perfect solution... I still have some adult conversation, but I have plenty of time with my kids. After a week of hanging out with Lizzy and Morgan all day, I'm dreaming of winning the lottery so I can do that forever. Yes, I may change my mind after a few more weeks of maternity leave. No, we can't afford for me not to work (unless we move into a trailer house..) but a girl can dream, right?
  6. I don't mind doing laundry. I have always hated this chore, because the laundry pile was always so huge and overwhelming. But this week, I've been doing a few loads everyday and getting it put away that same day (except for Jake's's been on the floor of his bedroom for about three days now). I have actually found myself searching for enough clothes to make a load. Call me Grandma Shea... but I can't stop doing laundry!
  7. I don't really like shopping. Morgan and I went to Target last night. I didn't enjoy it at all. Granted, we were shopping for toilet paper and cereal, but still, it wasn't fun, and she was actually really well behaved (she slept the entire time). Today we went to Hobby Lobby. It took me five minutes to find what I wanted, and then we stood in line for over 30 minutes. Again, Morgan slept the whole time, except for a little cry just as we were paying, but still, I didn't enjoy it. I was actually sweating by the time we finally got to the register. I had planned on going shopping the day after Thanksgiving, but now I'm thinking I'll do all my shopping online, from my comfy recliner, with Morgan in my arms.
  8. I hate missing my kids' activities. Lexi is playing in a basketball tournament in Dickinson this weekend. Brad and Jake are hunting in Mott, so Grandma, Madonna and Chrissy took Lexi and Lizzy to the games today. It seemed silly to take a ten day old baby to 5th grade basketball games all day. Chrissy texted me throughout the games, so it was almost like I was there. But when I heard how good the girls played, I got sad. I've only missed a few games ever, and the mom guilt is terrible. Tomorrow, Morgan, Mary and I are going to Dickinson to watch Lexi play in the championship game.
  9. I love the smell of freshly bathed babies. Really. It's the best smell in the whole world. I know she doesn't need a bath everyday, but I can't help myself. I just love the way she smells after a bath, and when she cuddles me, it's heaven.
  10. Don't sweat the small stuff. I've never been a really mellow, calm person, but I'm learning. Maybe it's the fourth baby. Maybe it's age. But somehow, I'm learning to just "chill" about the little things. So the toilet seat is up, there are dirty dishes in the sink and Lizzy's wearing her jammies at 2:00 in the afternoon. So what? As long as everyone is happy, little things like those really don't matter. And yes, Lizzy really does wear her jammies all day.. they are to her, what sweats are to me!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Today I'm Thankful For...

A few of my Facebook friends have started posting what they're thankful each day from now until Thanksgiving. I think it's a fabulous idea, but I haven't done it...because I'm having a hard time narrowing my list to just one a day. On my list from the past couple of days....epidurals, good doctors, patient nurses, wireless internet, Motrin and cell phones. I'm also thankful my 9 pound 8 ounce bundle of joy came three days early... our family doctor said if she would have waited until her due date (today) she would have easily been over ten pounds. But today, my list is a little deeper...

Today I am thankful for:

Four healthy kids. I've always taken my kids' health for granted. Until this latest pregnancy, I really never even worried about it. Yes, we've had our fair share of problems (broken arms, ear infections, bladder infections) but they have all been fixable things. When Morgan's heartbeat was irregular in June, I panicked. I was so scared she'd be born with some sort of heart condition. But, at four days old, her heart is beating away, perfectly healthy. She passed all her screenings in the hospital, and so far is the most perfect baby ever. I am so thankful for her, and for my other three wonderful, healthy, fun kids.

A helpful ten-year-old. Lexi has always been a good kid, but she has risen to the occasion these past few days. She's switched laundry, cleaned the kitchen, let Lizzy sleep with her while I was in the hospital and just been an awesome big sister and a wonderful daughter. I hope and pray she never changes.

An accepting eight-year-old. Poor Jake really wanted a brother, even though he never said it. He told us all along he didn't care if it was a boy or a girl, and that he was even ok with a sister, because that meant he wouldn't have to share his legos. But when Brad called to tell him the news, he couldn't hide his disappointment. I'm told he put his head in his hands and said "in my heart I really wanted a brother". My heart broke when I heard that. But he came around quickly. He had dibs on being the first to hold Morgan when they finally met after school on Friday. Just as a few days before he couldn't hide his disappointment, this time he couldn't hide his pride. He is ready to protect his little sisters (I suspect he may also protect his big sister from time to time).

My sweet Lizzy. I was so worried about her and how she would deal with a new baby. We put the crib in her room about a month ago so she could get used to the idea of sharing her room. That didn't go so well, and earlier this week, she was convinced we were getting another puppy, not another baby. She was so naughty when I was in the hospital. Visiting restrictions because of the flu meant the kids couldn't visit, so poor Lizzy went almost three days without seeing me. Brad left her with a friend on Wednesday night. She cried and avoided her (thank goodness for Lexi!). Thursday my mom came to watch her so Brad could come to the hospital...she cried for an hour, then took a three hour nap. And when he took her to Uncle Ed's yesterday morning, she threw a fit for him too. But when we got there with baby Morgan, she quickly changed her tune. She kissed her new sister, introduced herself, hugged Brad and I and said "thank you". All weekend she's been kissing her sister, hugging me and saying "thank you Mom". My heart just melts. She is so thankful for her baby sister. Maybe she's glad to no longer be the baby of the family. Or maybe she's just happy to have me home. Whatever her reason, it's so sweet, and so typical Lizzy.
My understanding husband. Brad has been wonderful. Even after 13 years of marriage, he still surprises me. He's been so patient and helpful. I'm so thankful to have him around to help with meals, laundry, and the kids. The man who hates to shop has been to Target, Wal-Mart and K-Mart, all in the past day... buying exciting items like diapers, wipes, and a dresser (then coming home and assembling that dresser so baby Morgan has somewhere for her clothes!) I've told myself I will nap as much as possible (lessons learned from past babies) and I'm so lucky to have Brad here to take Morgan so I can get a few hours of sleep. I think if he had his way, he'd be holding her a lot more...but I just can't give her up that much!

My friends and family. You guys have been awesome. From watching our kids, to bringing meals over (neither Brad nor I have cooked a meal since Tuesday) and even the phone calls and emails. It all means so much. Thank you for thinking of us. And, to my mom and my in-laws... next time you stop by I promise I'll be awake! Although I know you really came to visit Morgan :)

And at this very moment, I am thankful for peace and quiet. The little girls are sleeping, Jake is playing legos, Lexi is in her room doing whatever ten-year-old girls do, and Brad is playing poker. I know it will change soon... it's likely to be another sleepless night with baby Morgan, but I will enjoy every moment of the night with my baby in my arms. And that time with her will top my list of things I'm thankful for tomorrow.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sweet Baby Girl

She's here. Morgan Louise Kerzman arrived on November 11th, 2009 at 5:43 pm. She tipped the scales at nine pounds eight ounces and 22 inches long. Yes, she's a big baby...but she's perfect! She's got the chubbiest cheeks I've ever seen on a newborn and so far her personality is easy going, just like her dad.

I've had a lot of time to study fact, I've had her pretty much all to myself...the hospital has a visitors retriction because of the flu which means Brad and Dwayne from work have been the only people allowed in...and Dwayne got in only because of his camera! He got some great pictures...check back soon for those. Its been hard on the other kids, not seeing me or meeting their new baby sister, but we plan to be home by the time they get home from school tomorrow. In the meantime, I've had lots of "me" time to enjoy baby, and reflect on the past nine months. I'm not sure I'm "with it" enough to put those reflections into words quite yet, so instead, I will write about the funny things that have happened during Morgan's short life...

On our way to labor and deliery yesterday morning, a lady in the elevator said to me "you look just like Jody Kerzman from tv". I gave her a funny look (according to my sweet husband, it was funny, not mean) and said, in between contractions, "um, that's because I'm her". She got all excited and asked about baby, blah, blah, blah.

Thank goodness our next stop was our floor. Then funny thing number two.... the elevator doors opened and there stood my doc and her med student! Talk about service! In all my experiences with childbirth, I've never been met at the elevator by my dcotor!

Today, two meals were delivered to my room, at the same time Brad walked in with two Burger Time burgers. The cafeteria delivery was the strangest thing... we didn't order food, and we had to pay for the second meal! Aside from the apple pie, both mels were both totally disgusting, by the way.

And, just minutes before Morgan joined the world, as the doctors, nurses, med students, nursing students were rushing into the room, my darling husband said "I need to use the bathroom" and left the room. I was shocked, but too distracted (um, about to give birth here!) to ask what his problem was. I wondered if he was sick, but didn't really care enough to ask. I found out today he left the room to text his buddy Steve!!!!! Apparently he had texted him earlier in the day, and Steve had just responded with "did you have that baby yet?".... Brad left the room to text back "in about five minutes". Had this been our first baby, I'd probably be really mad about this, but at this point... it just makes me laugh...and gives me something to give Steve grief about for the next several years!

In all seriousness, though I am so thankful to have Morgan here. We have been blessed once again. She is a wonderful reminder of what is really important in life. I had forgotten how much I love babies, and how nothing beats the smell of a freshly bathed baby. We never planned on having four kids... I was happy with two, Brad wanted six. Four was a compromise. But now that she's here, I can't imagine life without Morgan. Number four has made our family completee, and already, brought many laughs and good memories.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Name Game

We finally pulled out the baby name book this weekend. Since baby is coming on Thursday, if not sooner...we decided it's probably a good idea to at least have a couple of names in mind before we go to the hospital. It's funny...with the first two, we didn't even have a name book. We just had names we liked, and that was it. Lexi would have been Jacob if she'd been a boy, and Jacob would have been Allison if he'd been a girl. With Lizzy, we were clueless and broke down and bought a book. Of course we didn't really study it until we were in the hospital. I remember sitting in the whirlpool and between contractions, Brad would read off some names he liked. Finally, I said "I'm picking Elizabeth if it's a pick the middle name". And so, we decided on Elizabeth Marie, just hours before she was born.

Good thing I didn't get rid of that baby name book, because we are once again at a total loss when it comes to names. Lizzy really wants to name the baby Abby, after Abby Cadabby (Elmo's friend on Sesame Street). It's obviously a two year old thing...Lexi was two when Jake was born, and she was determined to name him Bob (after Bob the Tomato from Veggie Tales). That's exactly why we have a dog named Bob. But we are not getting more pets, so this baby just might end up being named Abby.

We sat down as a family last night and paged through the book together. We let Lexi and Jake vote on names they liked, and I think we've got a boy name and a girl name picked out. I'm not going to tell them to you, just in case they change. But I am now a lot more confident this baby will have a name within the first few hours after birth.

In the meantime, I looked through the name book again this afternoon, searching for a girl middle name. I got a little sidetracked. The book is called "50,001+ Best Baby Names". It lists names and meanings, but it also has lots of fun lists, like "over-the-top names to avoid" and "names for future poets". I found myself looking through those lists for my name, Brad's name and the other kids' names. What I found was pretty interesting..and funny. Here's what I learned about our names and nicknames:
  • Charmers (funny, because his mom always told him he had "Brazzle-dazzle" and would charm his way through life, which he has done)
  • Names of rich Americans (Brad Pitt)
  • Future truck drivers (I'm sure this is because my name is spelled with a "y", instead of an "i", like all the cool Jodi's in the world. Yes, I'm still bitter about my stupid name spelling.)
  • Future Nobel prize winners (um, ok)
  • Names to make your baby popular (she's well on her way... she recently had three invites for parties on the same night!)
  • Ms. Perfect (yes, that's my Lexi...never do anything to upset the apple cart)
  • Powerful names
  • Future lawyers (I can see this....he's a smart kid that loves to argue)
  • Biblical and Saintly names (let's hope this makes him an honest lawyer)
  • Comfy names
  • Future mechanics (again, I can see this... he's very good at fixing and building, with Legos anyway!)
  • Names to make your baby popular (according to the third grade girls, Jake is already popular!)
  • Future royalty (Queen of England)
  • Powerful names
  • Names that get shortened ( Elizabeth is only called Elizabeth when she's in trouble..which is actually a lot!)
  • Names to give you a leg up in life (if she's a failure, it won't because of her name)
  • Ms. Perfect (compared to Lexi, no way!)
  • Names for smart kids (this scares me.... I'm afraid she's already too smart for her own good.)
  • Future doctors (now this would be ok... she could support her truck driving mother in my old age)
  • Names that sound presidental
  • Brand-name babies (Elizabeth Arden)
  • Future models (she is pretty cute...)
  • Names for the handsome and beautiful (again, she is cute...)
  • Comfy names
I've also discovered that my children's names are, ahem, pretty common. Elizabeth has made the list of top 25 names every decade since the 1950s. Jacob was the fifth most popular name for boys in the 1990s, and was number one from 2001 through 2004 (the most recent year in the book). And Alexis first broke into the top 20 list in the 1990s, was in the top five in 2001 and 2002, and the top ten in 2003 and 2004. No wonder I always hear people talking about Lexi and Jake.... guess they're not always talking about my kids!

So what does all this mean? Probably nothing. But just in case, I'm going to revisit the names we picked out.. I'd hate to have picked a name from the "future crooked politicians" list without knowing it... my child may never forgive me!