Scrubbin' Mama

Thursday, March 30, 2017

"Do you stay home with the babies?"  
Notices the twins, "Oh, so you don't work then?"
"How do you like being a stay-at-home mom?"

All are actual questions I've received from mostly strangers when out and about with the babes.

I grew up in a household with 2 full time working parents and so for me, stopping work wasn't even a thought in my mind, because I had just really started my career of nursing and I didn't feel ready to step away so early.  I also knew that with 2 newborns, daycare costs would burn up my paycheck quicker than a cheap candle from Big Lots (that's a true story and I'm still bitter about it).  So returning to my 40 hour a week job wouldn't work for our family.  

By the grace of God, a new position was opening on my unit.  For those of you that don't know, I work as a nurse in a Cardiovascular Operating Room.  I started there right after nursing school and have loved it beyond words.  In basic terms, we do heart and thoracic surgery (lungs, esophageal, tracheal, etc) and the experience I've gained from this job is incredible.  I'm a scrub nurse, which means I pass instruments to the surgeon.  The new position is called a Restricted Call position and was created for our hospital to give some stress relieve to the full time day shifters.  I hold a pager and take call for after hours surgeries (emergencies, late days, etc).  I start call when Alex gets home from work which is about 4:30 pm and I'm on call through the night until 6:30 AM, leaving me home during the day.

It's been working out great for us.  I love being able to stay home with the babies and being able to get into work.  I am seriously so grateful because I know it's not a normal lifestyle for mama's out there.  Not knowing my schedule does add stress to our lives a bit, because if Alex is running late or has something going on at school at night, we have to be prepared for me to leave at the drop of a hat.  We have AMAZING neighbors (shout out to Amy) and family who take back-up call for us some nights.  I don't know what we would do without them.  

I worked extra this week, meaning I went in for a day shift and my mom watched the babes.  I do this as often as I can to keep my skills up and to make sure I get full cases in.  As I was scrubbing on Tuesday, I realized that I think scrubbing has made me a better mom and being a mom (especially of multiples) has made me a better scrub.  In both areas, you have to multitask the hell out of yourself.  Sometimes you've got so many things in your hands, you forget what you're carrying and every so often you can have an extremely angry person yelling at you for something they want/need.  I've noticed myself being more patient in both areas because of that and knowing that what I've accomplished and completed in the past is/was harder than what I'm doing now.  I HOPE that makes sense... hard to put into words.

L i f e   U p d a t e...

I realized today, this is the last "free" weekend of no plans for us for awhile!  We have weddings, parties, holidays, etc. filling up the weekends all the way through summer.  I used to get so nervous about outings, routines getting messed up, feeding the twins, and so on.  Now that they are older, smarter, eating regular food, things are just simpler.  Not necessarily easier... just simpler.  I used to think that leaving the house was harder than it was/is.  I'm starting to change that now.  Now that they can walk and are active little toddlers, there's pieces of KC that I want to explore with them.  Spring is here, but it's been so rainy this week.  Once that clears, we are starting.  Hold me to it readers.

See you next week!

Lauren E&B

Photo courtesy of Heidi West, my mom. 
Photo courtesy of Heidi West.

Just Married

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Last week was Alex's spring break.  He's a high school teacher and I absolutely love his job.  I love that he has breaks (Summer, Christmas, Spring) but most importantly, he's passionate and HE loves teaching.  He gets excited for work, he's enthusiastic about every day and comes home always beaming to tell me about what's happened or who's lives he's crossed paths with.

Alex and I are coming up on our 2 year anniversary (April 18th) and it doesn't seem real that was 2 years ago.  I can still vividly remember the week leading up to our wedding and stressing because of the 100% chance of rain the morning of our wedding.  People say it flies, and it does, but it sticks with you too.  I love reliving it every April.  It's also crazy how much can change in a year.  Last year, we went to dinner at Lydia's and then to the Mumford & Sons concert as part of my Christmas present.  It was probably my favorite date ever, next to the one we got engaged at.

We've grown a lot these past 2 years, and frankly a lot is an understatement.  If you can remember, Alex and I went straight from our honeymoon into about 3 weeks of "newlywed" bliss before peeing on a stick that would change our lives forever.  And also letting us know we are extremely fertile (hence, the babes).  We didn't have a ton of time to ourselves and so making time a priority now is so important to us.  We were given a book a few years back, from one of our friend's Megan and Ryan.  It's entitled "Just Married: The Catholic Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the First Five Year of Marriage" written by Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak.  We didn't dive into it right away, rather, we put it away for a time we might need it.  This year was it.  It's a survival guide to thrive in your first 5 years of marriage and beyond.  It's been an incredible read for us, as we're doing it together, slowly and intentionally.  It's brought different conversation pieces to light and helped us center on putting our spouse before ourselves, which was a wake up call for me.  If I'm constantly doing things to make Alex happy and he's doing the same for me, how sweet is life?  Anyways, highly recommend the book.  Catholic of not, lot's of great advice and wisdom for relationships no matter where you are at.

We spent a lot of time together last week as a family of 4 and it was marvelous.  I worked Wednesday and Alex got to play golf Thursday.  The weather was C O L D the beginning of the week but warmed up to almost 80° by the end of the week!  We were even outside tanning during one of the naps.  BLISS.

Now for an update on B & E!

They are toddlers guys.  TODDLERS.  It hit me recently how fast they are growing up.  They are always eating and eating everything, they love apple juice and goldfish, they love each other and fight simultaneously, prefer shoes to bare feet but prefer no clothes to clothes.  We took away binkies this week.  The first night was rough... until they fell asleep.  Then they are fine.  It's getting them to fall asleep that's the hard part now.  I'll put them up for nap time about 1:30/2:00 each day and they spend about 45 minutes talking, laughing, passing things back and forth, etc... at least they wear out eventually.

We are quickly approaching wedding season and we have 8 so far this year, and all before July!  We will make it to 7 of them, I know... we are insane.  But it's that time in life and Alex's motto is: don't miss weddings, don't miss funerals.  We're sticking to it.

Pictures to round out the week!  Thanks for reading!  See ya'll next week!

Lauren, E&B

Always Ballin'

Yet another milestone... turning around their car seats!
St. Patrick's Day
Visiting Auntie at work!
We LOVE Auntie.
The whole fam! My mom's taking the picture and missing Auntie Anna and Uncle Sam!
My mom, Emmy and I.

Emmy and I with my Dad's dog Rae! 
Bubba.  In all his glory.  At the park, goldfish in hand.

Shedding Light

Thursday, March 9, 2017

M o m m y   B l u e s...

I want to talk about something that I feel isn't shared or talked about often.  It's something that I haven't talked about with hardly anyone, even just recently talking with a few close people to me about it.  We have all heard of Postpartum Depression (PPD) in some form or another and there are constant checks on a mom after she has her baby to screen for it, at least there were for me.  Every appointment I took the babies to, they would hand me a worksheet to screen me for PPD and I would fill it out quickly and hand it in because I was juggling 2 babies at the appointment.  I never took the time to fill it out or read it in full because frankly my mind was filled with keeping up with trying to parent 2 babies at the same time.  It wasn't because I didn't care, I just didn't feel like I had the time.  

I also decided to get in more pictures with the babes.  I need to bring myself into the light more than I do.  I'm their Mama and I'm damn proud of that.

Since I'm coming up on 1 year of being in my current position at work, I've been reflecting on this past year, looking at the ups and downs.  Changing into a new position has been one of the best blessings in our lives.  I don't know how Alex and I would have made it with 2 babes in daycare.  I know we would have made things work, but this seems to fit our life like a glove.

With that, it hasn't been the easiest transition for me, giving up working 40 solid hours a week.  That may sound crazy to those of you reading that do go into work every day and as the old cliche goes, the grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side.  I've had bouts of serious "blues" and felt pretty lonely while in this new job, especially lately.  And most of you are probably wondering, how can you feel lonely with twins constantly around you?!  Emmy and Bennett are VERY entertaining and they are getting smarter each day but they are still young toddlers.  They don't talk to me; rather they grunt and shout gibberish in my direction when they want something.  When they are hungry, they get cranky and cry.  It can be frustrating and can seem like there's no end in sight.  

With my job, there are weeks that go by without me going into work at all.  And that can seem AMAZING, right?  I thought so.  But I recently had a stent like that and I could feel myself slipping into a bit of the "blues".  I keep saying the blues because for some reason, depression seems like too harsh of a word.  In doing some research, I looked up delayed postpartum depression and came across an article written by Kate Kripke, a licensed social worker from Boulder,  CO.  She calls the term I was searching for continued postpartum distress.  This article, which is sited at the end of this blog post, talked about women that may have had signs of PPD but were not obvious to them in the critical times they were screened for PPD (right after birth and up to a year after).  In reading on, I found that some of the markers she notes when talking with mom's that struggle with this, match my situation perfectly.  I had a traumatic delivery that I don't think I really processed and am questioning if I really ever have.  I had difficulties with breastfeeding and feelings of inadequacy feeding and nurturing my babies.  My early months with the babies were incredibly foggy and I don't remember much about them.  The pregnancy was a surprise and an even bigger surprise when we found out it was twins.  

Dinner at my Mom's... discovered the twins love of PICKLES, just like their Mama.


Sweet Lou, in her new summer romper.... that probably wont fit her in summer.
Bennett loves to "collect" things, put acorns in cups, pick of leaves, store Dad's golf balls in places he will never find...
Last weekend, we went to our neighbors basketball game.. Emmy and Bennett LOVED it and couldn't stop saying "BALL" every time they came down the court.  I think we have future players...
B, rockin' Em's sunnies.
E rockin' Bennet's bucket hat...
Park life
Bennett having ALL the fun.
Kate writes, "Why is all of this important? Too often, women assume that they have found themselves in a life that is just characterized by suffering, and they assume that since they don’t have postpartum depression, it is silly or unnecessary to reach out for support. And so they keep on trekking while each day feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and farther from the woman who they know themselves to be."

I don't want anyone to be nervous for me.  I am feeling much better lately since I've found ways to cope with my anxieties and feelings of loneliness.  I have an incredible husband who's support keeps me going and keeps me strong.  I have two beautiful babies who make me smile on even the weirdest of days.  I wanted to share this blog with everyone, in hopes it touches another mama's life to let her know it's normal and okay to have these feelings.  Know that becoming a mother is life altering.  Both physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  Below are 3 things I've been doing to help get control of my life back.

1.  Set up times to get into work, or out of the house.  I am lucky to have family around that wants to babysit the babies and I can get into work to have a day to use my nursing skills.  To those mama's that are stay at home moms, I would encourage you to set a day to grab a sitter or a friend to watch your baby or babies.  Get out of the house.  The act of just driving away for a bit without the babes is enough to power you up and recharge.  Turn the music up, roll the windows down, go to a hipster coffee shop and order something yummy, read a book, spend some money on a new workout outfit.  Point here is, get out of the house.

2. Y O G A.  Yoga with Adriene has really changed my life.  Not only do I feel better about my body, I would call her my in-home therapist.  Each day she challenges a new focus and energy into your practice, she tailors her practice to beginners and expert yogi's, she pleads for you to be present in loving yourself and taking the time to "find what feels good" and now I can't go a day without turning it on.  If yoga isn't your thing, then try (T R Y) to find time for exercise of some kind.  When I have had my worst days, I forced (and I truly mean forced) myself to get into the basement after they went down for their naps and get some kind of workout in.  Even if my house was a mess, lunch was not cleaned up and my hair was greasy, I at least got my sweat on, released endorphins and felt better instantly.

3.  Talk to someone about it.  Anyone.  I told my husband one night about my feelings of sadness, loneliness and we talked about some ways to break that.  He has always told me to set a plan for my day.  Take one thing I want to do and make the day about that.  It's definitely helped me.  The biggest challenge for me is to continue to talk to him and to be aware of how I'm feeling.  It's not going to help anyone to hold it in.  Talking and getting things off your chest can make you feel better and lessen the burden you feel you're carrying as a new mom, even well after a year.

I'm happy to let you all into this part of my life, to shed light on something that I think is so important.  A mama's health is critical to the well being of her children.  Motherhood tends to breed selflessness and a "give, give, give" mentality of the mom.  It's so important to remember to take care of yourself every now and then, eat full meals, get some exercise, take a bath, etc... and recharge yourself to be the best you can be, for your family.

Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for the support and love.  This blog has been an incredible outlet for me to reflect and give thought to motherhood.

See you next week,

Fam Bam.  Special thanks to Nicole Watkins for taking some and sending pictures this week. 

Kripke, Kate. "Can You Get Postpartum Depression AFTER the First Year?" Postpartum Progress. N.p., 02 Mar. 2016. Web. 07 Mar. 2017. <>.
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