Thursday, February 28, 2013

Motherhood the Second Time

It just about defeated me. Motherhood the second time around.

With the first child, you have questions and wonder about every little detail. Is that color poo normal? Is she getting enough food? How much should she sleep?

With the second, those questions don't come up as much and I most certainly did not look them up in books this time. I just knew, it was more instinctive.

The questions that did come up were more unanswerable. What is WRONG with my child? Why does she scream so much? Why is she so unhappy? Will this EVER get better?

I very quickly claimed the mantra that "God gave us Grace so we would want a second right away and gave us Sophia so that we'd stop!"

I was beaten down, discouraged, and exhausted. Should I even mention how lonely I was? I couldn't go out- with or without Sophia, because she would scream like she was being hurt (and I suppose she was.) I was even given grief by people who wanted me to be out and about more often. It just couldn't happen.

And the jealousy. Yes, jealousy. Stupid, smiling babies with their even dumber, well rested parents. I couldn't even bare to get on facebook and blogs for awhile.

It had its beautiful moments. Breastfeeding has been easy. Grace is wonderful to Sophia and she has adjusted to having a sibling seamlessly. Ian is an amazing dad who helps out in every way he physically can. Our marriage become stronger because we were going through this together.

And the love I felt for Sophia? Immense. Unending. Singular since the moment she came screaming into this world.

I say all of this because I want to express the raw emotions that I have experienced with becoming a mother for the second time. There is a light at the end of the tunnel with Sophia's reflux issues and things are looking up, so I have the opportunity to sit back and reflect.

I hope other mothers know that not everything needs to be sunshine and roses. And that just because it is hard doesn't mean you are fighting postpartum depression (yes, I did get asked that.) And that just because it is hard doesn't mean you are a bad mother or that you don't appreciate your baby. The same thing goes if you ARE suffering from postpartum depression.

Will we have more children? Yes, most definitely.
Will we wait awhile? You could bet on it.
Will I be praying for it to be easier next time? Absolutely.

Monday, February 25, 2013

New Look, Lent, and Other Such Necessities of Life

Far More Than Rubies has finally gotten a face lift!

Three years ago we were living with my parents, had no job, and I was really bummed. I won a blog makeover in a giveaway and it was just SO exciting!

Two babies, three more years of marriage, and living in two other countries meant that it was just about time for a new look. I wish I had been able to keep my old background and just change all of the other details, because I just loved the "You Are My Sunshine," background.

(and yes, I did take a screenshot of my old design... so I can always remember!)

I'm not crazy about my new header picture. One, because I am almost 30 pounds lighter than that picture. And two, because Ian got a ridiculously short hair cut the day before we took that picture and he just does not look normal there.

And I suppose my bridal portrait was no longer up to date so I suppose an update of any sorts is better than nothing.

Andrea from Slightly Askew Designs did my blog design and I am so happy with it. Andrea has a super cute blog and her family is just adorable.

Easter is just around the corner and we are popping up a few decorations and considering focusing (celebrating? honoring?) on Lent this year. We've never done Lent (once again, what verb do you use here?) but I think that the idea behind it is really neat- to focus our hearts and minds on Christ and His sacrifice for us during the days leading up to Easter. We are a few days behind but I believe we can play catch up.

What do you do for Lent?

We will be following Babe Of My Heart's Lent Devotional

and using my friend, Kaylyn's, printable ornaments.
                                                                             Source: viaBrittney on Pinterest

I'm glad February is wrapping up, to be honest. It feels like March, along with the coming Spring, will help get me out of my Mom of a Newborn state of mind and I feel like a bear crawling out of hibernation. I'm a little dazed, out of date,  and very behind.

Not to mention hungry.

So you can expect more frequent updates and thoughts from around here over the coming weeks!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

30 Before 30

Yesterday, I turned 26. To most that might not seem that old, but to me, it's SO close to 30. Somehow 25 was in a realm of it's own, but 26? Very close to 30.

So, I thought I would reevaluate my "bucket list," and chose some goals that I would like to accomplish before I turn that dreaded 30.

(a few of these are not from the bucket list and several of these I expect to complete during our time in the States this year!)

1. Have one more child

2. Be debt free

3. Go parasailing

4. Swim with dolphins

5. Have 5,000 in savings

6. Send a letter to the president

7. Receive a response from the president

8. Learn to play chess

9. Grow a sunflower

10. Learn and play golf with my dad

11. Throw a surprise party

12. Straddle state lines

13. Ride in a hot air balloon

14. See baby turtles hatch

15. Sew a Quilt

The first fifteen were all goals of mine, but 16-30 were goals Ian and I came up with on a recent date night that we wanted to complete together before I turned 30! It took alot off prodding and drawing out the answers from Ian, ha, but we finally came up with some. Many of them take advantage of the fact that we live in the Middle East.

16. Attend a Georgia Football game

17. Take a trip as a couple to Budapest and Vienna

18. Take a family trip to England and Scotland

19. Get scuba certified

20. Learn how to play the oud (a local Arab instrument, like a guitar)

21. Go on a dune bashing excursion

22. See the Western and Northern Emirates

23. Take a road trip to see the rest of the Arabian Gulf

24. Cross into Saudi Arabia

25. Take Grace and Sophia to Disney

26. Own a grill and a kitchenaid mixer

27. Learn how to make matchboos (a local rice and chicken or fish dish)

28. Watch all 21 James Bond movies

29. Take a calligraphy class together

30. Attend a marriage conference

Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy Four Months, Sophia!

This post has been started, stopped, saved, and scrapped several times. I was having a hard time finding the joy in Sophia's fourth month but I believe we are starting to turn a corner.

About one month ago, Sophia's "gas," issues seemed to get immeasurably worse. She screamed. ALL. Day. Long. She screamed so much that she actually went hoarse for a week. I started keeping track and she would be screaming inconsolably for 6 to 7 hours a day. In fact, during this time we realized that we didn't know what her cry sounded like because she only ever screamed. Poor baby.

I put her back on gas drops but it got worse, so I stopped them and within one feed she was passing gas on her own again. But the screaming continued.

Then, about 2 weeks ago, I took her with me on a visit to a local friend. This friend couldn't even stand to stay in the same room with us because that's how loud Sphia was. Finally, in Arabic, she told me that something was wrong with my baby and that she was in pain. It was then that I started to pay attention to all of her little things.

She was getting upset anytime we laid her down flat.
She would arch her back.
She would scream. (duh)
She was loudly swallowing alot while screaming.
And she was waking up at 45 minutes all day AND night.

A light went off in my head and I remembered a chapter with the title of "The inconsolable baby," in Baby Wise so I rushed to our office, found the book, and reread the chapter.

Ding! Another light went off in my head and I realized it wasn't gas at all, but probably was Silent Reflux.

I headed to the doctor the next day but was only able to see a family doctor. He was slightly more than incompetent when he told me breastfed babies would never have colic, shouldn't ever have gas (ha!) and that the only symptom of reflux was coughing.

Um, okay?

So I saw the pediatrician the next day and she diagnosed Sophia with reflux, but told me her clinic couldn't prescribe the medicine necessary. She told me to elevate her bed and keep her upright as much as possible.

We had already begun doing that and though it made a small difference, I knew that the issue would not be resolved and the pain would not subside for Sophia until we had soem medical intervention.

Luckily, I had an appointment to get her 4 month shots done at a different hospital with a different pediatrician. I told  the doctor her symptoms and the other doctor's diagnosis and asked for a medicine. She prescribed something that isn't available in the States but has a good reputation in the rest of the world, so we decided to give it a try.

TWO doses later and Sophia is like a different child. Sleeping better, more comfortable, and CRYING instead of screaming! Like a normal baby! We are only on day 2 of a 7 day treatment and I don't know what will happen come day 8, but I'm so glad that I was able to find some answers and advocate for Sophia!

This post doesn't have her normal stats and such from her third month, but I think this part of her story is pretty important, because it has been all consuming for the last 6 weeks or so!

Anyone else have a baby with silent reflux (not spitting it up but swallowing it?) It's alot harder to spot because you don't even know it's happening! I'd love to hear from others on their experiences with this.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Winter Camping

This just about got lost in the recesses of my memory, but luckily, I was procrastinating doing the dishes by going through old photos tonight and I remembered. Back in December, just a few days before Christmas, we joined some new friends for some desert camping.

Now, you might ask yourself who goes camping, in December, with a one and a half year old?

Oh, and with a (then) 2 month old?

Oh yes. That would be us.

And it was Ian's first real camping experience (because that time we went camping when we were first married and it was so cold that we ended up sleeping in the car doesn't count.)

We loaded up and headed out to the sand dunes that are about half an hour away from our house. We unpacked, set up camp, and just hung out talking for most of the afternoon.

Sophia did alot of nothing, seeing as she was just 2 months old.

She got held by people and napped in our tent between feedings.

 After the heat of the day broke (it was still very hot at mid day, despite it being December!) we all explored the dunes around our campsite.

 Grace, as you can imagine, loved it.

 We taught her the proper way to slide down a dune...
 And then demonstrated what NOT to do....

 We grilled out and our South African friends knew how to grill out the right way- they brought steak! One by one the eight kids were tucked into bed and the adults sat up around the fire until our eyes could not stay open any longer.

It was COLD at night. The desert is a place of extremes and we were extremely cold that night. Since I couldn't really cover Sophia up, she ended up sleeping between us for the first time ever. She nursed all night long, whenever she got cold and needed a cuddle. Grace slept in her pack-n-play in our tent and woke up a few times confused at where she was and very cold.

Not much sleep happened that night, but in the morning, when we woke up, the view was fantastic...

 Danishes, eggs, and coffee were consumed while the kids played in the slightly damp sand.

 And then we loaded up and headed out. Actually, I put Sophia in the car while we started packing up and when I checked on her there was over 3 dozen flies in the car and crawling on her (winter is fly season here.) I had to drive back and forth on the access road for nearly an hour with the girls in the car to keep the flies out and to get them to nap. Finally our campsite was cleaned up and we headed out!

We had a great time but I'm not sure we'll do it again for awhile! We value our sleep a little too much!