Sustainably Single Parenting

Making the most of life's journey alongside my three!!!

Nobody Said This Was Going To Be Easy March 15, 2013

I am incredibly overwhelmed.

I put off my coursework to care for my kids.

I do my housework since I’m not doing coursework.

I put off my housework to do my coursework.

While doing my coursework my kids wreck the house.

The baby will not let me put her down.

I am constantly nursing, changing diapers, leaking milk, burping, soothing, being spit up on, peed on, pooped on.

I am constantly serving meals, washing dishes, pre-washing cloth diapers, grooming my children, educating my children, feeling guilty that I cannot find the time for educating myself, running errands, running myself into the ground.

I want to cry like my baby. Her cry is so committed, wholeheartedly unabashed.

I want someone to hold me, to rock me, to love me, to shhhhhhhh in my ear while I cry.

I want so badly for things to be alright.

 

 

Welcome earth-side Nohra Florence February 22, 2013

She’s here!

Nohra wearing her first outfit ever.

Nohra wearing her first outfit ever.

I am so happy to announce the birth of my third daughter.

Nohra Florence was born at home on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 9:52am.

She was 7lbs 4oz, the smallest of my brood. 21 1/2 inches long, lanky like her father,and oh so cute!

Her features are the perfect combination of both of her sisters’.  She is another unique mix of my husband and I.

Shortly after her birth. She is so attentive, strong, and curious!

Shortly after her birth. She is so attentive, strong, and curious!

And guess what? She came out head first! I’m not sure when she turned, it must have been while I was in labor because she was still breech at my prenatal on Monday. I’m so glad that I trusted her, that I trusted birth. I knew she’d come out alright 🙂

I will write up and post her birth story sometime soon, but for now I will just tell you that labor was more intense than I remember it being. It’s a journey every time, but I stayed strong. I labored for ten hours, and pushed for about eight minutes before she was born. So incredibly worth it, even these crazy postpartum contractions are bearable when I look into her eyes!

Terra holding Nohra

Terra holding Nohra

Amara holding Nohra

Amara holding Nohra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My big girls watched their baby sister being born and handled everything so well. The months of prep that we did really paid off; they were well prepared for the experience and able to enjoy it without any fear.

I am in love, once again. I cannot think of anything negative. I do not know how things will go these next few months or any of that. All I know right now is that I have a lovely, healthy newborn. I am going to indulge in her newness, her perfection, our bond. I am going to cherish this time getting to know her and enjoying her with my daughters and everything beautiful.

Nohra smiling in her sleep :)

Nohra smiling in her sleep 🙂

All of the circumstances I deal with will somehow unfold. At this moment I cannot imagine anything having less than a beautiful outcome.

 

A Letter to My Unborn Child February 11, 2013

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dear Nohra Florence,

Hello my darling 🙂 How are you in there? I hear that things must be a little cramped by now. I feel you moving slightly and I am comforted by your gentle strokes. Sometimes you like to jab and poke, but you’re being fairly kind to my body at the moment. Thank you!

I am so excited that you’ll be earth-side soon! I have been unable to sleep these past few nights because I’m so anxious for your arrival 🙂 I really need my strength and energy for labor and birthing, so I should try to rest as much as possible, but it has been difficult to get everything prepared for you and find the time to rest too. Don’t worry though. Your mama is a very strong woman and I will push through my lack-of-sleep to make sure that you arrive earth-side safely. Mama’s name means strength. Did you know that? People call me Jet, but my real name is Brigette (pronounced Bri-Jet), and it means strength; its alternate meanings are “high goddess” and “exalted one.” Name meanings are so important!

Your name has a special meaning too. Nohra means honor, or honorable. It is an honor to be your mother, to know you, to be your friend. Your sisters are honored to have you join our family, and we have no doubts that the world will be grateful for your honorable soul to make its impact. You are already amazing to me, and I am so pleased to have the honor of meeting you…soon!

I chose your name for several reasons. I decided on the German version of the more commonly seen N-o-r-a and N-o-r-a-h spellings. Your father is of German and Swedish descent, but since our last name is Swedish I figured we could pay tribute to both sides of his heritage by spelling your name the way I have. You’ll also notice similarities between your name and your sisters’ names; everyone’s name is five letters long and ends with the letters “R-A.” That began by accident, but I continued the trend for you. Amara’s name means unfading and eternal, personifying the elements of nature. Terra’s name means earth or soil, from that which our sustenance is derived. Your name completes the circle. Your name signifies the way I feel about living, being a part of the life cycle, and being able to contribute to mankind. It is an honor. As are you.

I hope you don’t find your name and its spelling to be a nuisance; I’m sure you’ll have to constantly correct people. I have that same problem when using my real name, and your sisters are already being initiated into the no-one-pronounces-or-spells-your-name-right-the-first-time club. None of us will ever find our names pre-printed on mugs or key chains or any other gift shop paraphernalia. I apologize for that. I think it’s more exciting to have things custom made anyway though, and I hope you’ll come to agree 🙂

Your middle name is Florence, my great grandmother’s name. My mother’s mother’s mother. She was a big part of my childhood and I love her dearly. She was born on December 25, 1923 and she is still alive today. She will be so happy when she’s able to meet you! Florence means blossoming, flourishing, and charming. I am sure you will be all of those things. You sisters, who wanted your first name to be Florence due to their infatuation with Florence Welch, also have family names for their middle names. I love how your name sounds and I love its significance. I hope you grow to enjoy being called Nohra Florence.

My due date is tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean you’re ready to come out yet. I trust you and I will be patient for you to choose when to begin your journey. You are considered “breech” in a bottom-down position. Breech babies are typically delivered via cesarean section in this country, but I do not want to subject us to such torture unless absolutely necessary. I trust that you’ve chosen the best position for you, and I will work with whatever you do. Please don’t feel obligated to position yourself in a way that isn’t comfortable for you. Mama will manage regardless.

There are so many things that I look forward to with being your mother. There is so much to teach you, experience with you, enjoy watching you learn on your own. One day you may look back at this letter, at this time in our lives before your arrival and wonder how I could possibly be excited about bringing another child into such a world, but it is times like these and situations like ours that make new life so vital to human existence. If nothing more, please know that I love you. You are perfect just the way you are, and I vow to do everything possible to help you reach your potential. I am already so proud to call you my daughter. I will work tirelessly to be worthy of being your mama.

2.10.13

2.10.13

Unconditional Love and Gratitude,

Jet (The Mama)

 

Due in 1 Week with Baby #3 February 4, 2013

Last week was an awfully trying week. Both of my little girls were sick and the weight of being a single parent was heavier than usual. The girls’ illnesses affected everything else. The dirty cups overran the sink, each having contained two to four ounces of a clear liquid; a multitude of cups used at once to encourage the girls to drink from the variety. The laundry kept piling up as everything was getting wet with one disgusting substance after the next. I got hardly any sleep; if no one was vomiting on me she was wide awake and wailing, having slept away the afternoon.

OverwhelmedCatI pushed through it, somehow. I really didn’t have a choice.

Maybe it’s the hormones of my impending delivery or maybe I’m just more depressed lately, but I cannot stop considering the bigger picture of my life. It looks like a catastrophe from a distance. How the hell am I going to get by? How am I supposed to manage caring for four human beings? How am I going to get through graduate school with all of these other responsibilities? How am I going to make it through these next few weeks without crumbling?

I keep finding my finger on the button with his name on it. Just one slip and I’d be calling him. I know I shouldn’t. I know it would just bring me down. What would he say if he answered? Surely nothing to ease my suffering at this point. What could he say to make this better? What could I believe from his lips even if they spoke the perfect words? What if a girl answered? Sigh.

I have more important things to consider at this time. I cannot get caught up worrying myself about his life.

Baby is still breech. I am willing to do whatever it takes to avoid having a c-section. I’m due in one week, but Baby might need more time to turn so I’ll be patient with her. These next few weeks may include hypnosis, acupuncture, a lot of time upside down, and if all else fails, a version. I’m not afraid of going past my due date, that doesn’t concern me. Getting cut open and needing weeks to heal while I’m alone taking care of three babies concerns me.

The Braxton Hicks contractions are coming on stronger and more frequently these days. My appetite is nearly non-existent. I’ve missed the past three weeks of sessions with my therapist so that’s probably another reason for the funk that I’ve been in. I just want to give Baby a happy, healthy welcome. I want to shower her with my affection, not postpartum depression. I want to be a good example for all of my girls. It’s just so hard to handle it all lately.

I cannot believe that in give-or-take one week I will have three babies. I really don’t know how I’m going to keep it together, but I suppose I do not have any other choice.

 

Deliver Me January 14, 2013

I am 36 weeks along today. Full term in one week with Baby #3.  I keep thinking that maybe if I say it enough, maybe if it’s written, maybe if it’s published it will seem more believable.

But this still feels like a dream. At times it has been a nightmare.

Somehow it was nearly eight full months ago that The Big Incident occurred. I found out that I was pregnant just over two weeks later. Being pregnant throughout this transition has made all the difference in the world.

The pregnancy has given me the strength to focus on something other than my feelings for him. Through it all, I still love him. I still miss the parts of him that weren’t abusive. I still wish there was some way it could have worked. Especially now, four weeks away from the birth of our third baby.

Every other pregnancy brought me back to him, but I knew that I could not allow myself to submit this time. I knew that I could not go through another pregnancy praying that this baby might help him to treat me better. Maybe if the baby were a boy? Maybe then he would think I was worthy?

The pregnancy kept me from going into a stupor. I could not let myself slip away. I could not bury my feelings in alcohol or illegal substances. I’ve had to face my situation without anything to numb the pain. I’ve had to continue eating, although I wanted to mentally and physically fade away.

This pregnancy has kept me focused. I remember vividly the feelings that I carried throughout my previous pregnancies. The constant wishing that we would be more unified by the baby. The contrasting resentment over being pregnant, being trapped with him again, because I knew deep down that things weren’t ever going to change.

Every pregnancy made me want more, but every baby born or lost led to worse treatment.

Had I not gone to the police the night of The Big Incident…had I gone through another honeymoon phase and allowed myself to be wooed again…the cycle would have certainly continued. I was so afraid. How could I leave him? How would I manage three children? How would I finish school? How could I reach my goals if I let him go?

This time the debate wasn’t as difficult. This time he was already gone when the pregnancy was confirmed. This time I could look at my restraining order instead of listening to his voice. This time I had vivid nightmares to remind me of The Big Incident, and a healing body to match the memories. In the weeks after The Big Incident I had no time to brood over everything I missed about him. I had to figure out how I was going to feed my daughters, pay our rent, stay in Massachusetts to finish my education. How could I possibly manage everything? How could I keep us safe from his vengeance?

Being pregnant has made me want to go back to him; I feel so dependent on our family unit when I’m carrying his seed. But how could I take him back after The Big Incident? How could I ignore the history of what occurred during and after my other pregnancies? In the end I knew that allowing him to return after The Big Incident would be allowing him to control me forever.

I had to do things differently this time. I would not allow another child to go through what my other two have already been through. I would not continue to raise them under his reign, trying to be the buffer between his rage and their safety. I would not allow them to grow up thinking that love was supposed to look that way. Things had to change. I did not have the strength to be apologetic to another baby for bringing her into the hell that was our household while he was in it.

Soon I will give birth to my third baby, but I cannot keep from feeling as though she has helped to deliver me.

 

Nesting…or not January 7, 2013

Nesting.GlovesThere’s still so much to get done and nothing is clean enough and nothing stays clean very long around here.

I’m always doing the dishes. I’m always folding the clothes. I’m always cleaning the girls’ room for them because I’m too tired to incorporate it into their schedule.

I’m always cleaning their gerbil cage. I’m always giving the girls baths, washing, conditioning, combing, and braiding their hair. I feel like I never stop cooking.

I am so low on energy as I am still rarely sleeping, but every ounce of me is saying…MUST PREPARE FOR BABY!

I have to get the bookcase disassembled so that I can put up her swing in that corner. This entails removing the knickknacks, boxing the books and moving the boxes down to the cellar. There’s no space in the cellar for the boxes until I bring the baby gear up. There’s no place in the condo to store the baby gear except the kitchen, but I still have the Christmas stuff in the kitchen and the buckets for the laundry detergent. I need to take the Christmas boxes to my storage unit, make three batches of laundry detergent and clear the kitchen space to get the process started.

But I never have the time to make it to my storage unit or the strength and will to load the boxes in the van. I have little opportunity to be in the kitchen making laundry detergent because I cannot seem to get a break from cooking and cleaning. I just…AAUGH!!! There is so much to get done and so little time before she comes and I want everything to be perfect and I’m just not doing enough.

I am not capable of doing so much.Overwhelmed Mother

Despite my desire to get everything perfect I have to listen to my body as well. When I am low on sleep and doing everything to provide for my two little earth-side ladies it’s hard to find the time and energy to focus on Baby #3. I really want everything to be clean and organized and ready, but it’s so hard to do my nesting when I have so many other responsibilities.

School starts back up in ten days. It does not feel like I’ve had nearly one month of a break. I cannot believe that somehow I am supposed to keep up with the every day, my education, a new baby, a three-year old, a five-year old, and the aftermath of a failed marriage. What am I thinking?! How am I going to handle this?!

Keep breathing…that’s the first step. Keep doing what I can handle every day. Keep being the mother that I want my children to remember me being. Keep believing in myself. Keep refusing to quit. I can get through this. Maybe I will not make it to every nook and cranny of the condo, and maybe the baby gear assembling will take the back seat to sorting cloth diapers and infant clothing. The most important part is getting Baby here safely; I must remain confident that I will be able to sustain.

We’re going to make it through this okay. I would feel so much more relaxed though, if I could just dismantle that bookcase.

 

It’s Almost Time November 28, 2012

Ten full weeks left of this pregnancy. ONLY TEN MORE WEEKS!

It seems impossible. Where did the time go? How has the majority of this pregnancy possibly passed by so quickly?

Just moments ago I was sitting in my bathroom, laughing at the hand I’d been dealt; I was already going through hell, facing insurmountable obstacles, but now the purple-tipped stick told me that I was pregnant as well. I laughed, unable to do anything else. Yet that was almost 30 weeks ago, and in another ten I will be holding my third daughter.

My third daughter: another strong-willed baby girl. More than likely to be a curly-haired sister; another honey-oak skinned beauty I’ll contribute to the world.

I remember being nauseous. Those first 14 weeks or so of feeling fairly low. I am still in pain; my ribcage and my pelvis ache, the Braxton Hicks contractions keep coming, and I cannot ever find a decent position for peaceful sleep.

Still, one month until Christmas and then only two more weeks before I’m full term, then only four more weeks before my estimated due date. It all seems so soon.

I need time to nest. I need time to set up her bed (though she’ll spend most of her time nursing beside me). I need to pull out all the cloth diapers and clothing; sorting, washing, folding. I need to buy a play yard, a quality baby carrier/sling. I need to test the monitors. I need to make more laundry detergent because I started dipping into my stash.

I need to finish my classes; I need to not only pass, but to get an A in both, because I’ve yet to get less since starting grad school. I need to hand in proposals for my Master’s Project and a Directed Study. I need to find the time to apply for my PhD, and an MFA…so many things.

I suppose I could use some sleep, but more realistically I need to spend my days doing as many things as I can manage. When Baby comes I need to be certain that I used my time wisely; that I’ve done all I can to make sure she has a nice earth-side entry.

Ten full weeks left of this pregnancy. ONLY TEN MORE WEEKS!