The plague

So last week was a big fat barrel of laughs around the ole Mayer house.

The excitement started on Tuesday, when Ellie tagged along to Hadley's 3-week doctor appointment because I thought she had pink eye. 

I'd never seen pink eye, but my first clue that she might have pink eye was that her eye was pink.

When the doctor told me she did in fact have pink eye at first I was happy because I had successfully diagnosed a major medical condition. 

But then I found out I was going to have to give her eye drops four times a day.  Which I immediately knew would first involve bribery, then tearful pleading, and ultimately sitting on her chest, knocking her unconscious with a turkey leg and keeping her that way by strapping Lila's poopy diaper over her nose until I could administer said medicine.    

The next morning - as I should have anticipated - the pink eye had worked its way down the food chain.

Which, despite starting some eye drops right away, progressed to this -


Then this -

And finally, this -
Maybe the kids will get that dog they've always wanted after all.  

In addition to the pink eye, they both had a nice little virus complete with runny nose, cough and fever.  So for the next few days my challenge became keeping the newborn away from the germ vectors.  Which sounds really easy and fun, but in practice is impossible.  They are like little heat seeking missiles.  So I just decided to give up and get it over with and let the girls spit in Hadley's mouth.

But after three days and still no virus, Hadley decided to get in on the action by pooping her guts out for a couple of days.  When I innocently called the physician exchange on Friday night to find out how much Pedialyte I should give her they instructed me to immediately rush her to the ER to get checked out. 

Which is pretty much the opposite of what I wanted to do right then.  Wheel of Fortune was about to start so Nick volunteered to take her.  

Fortunately she was fine but the doctor noticed she had something called thrush.  I thought her white tongue was just a side effect of the marshmallows I'd been feeding her but no - thrush is fungus.  In her mouth. 

Now, she is my baby and I am required by law to love her unconditionally.  But I don't know if I can love something with mouth fungus.  We are not that kind of a house.  Mayers don't get mouth fungus.  

The holiday week was topped off on Saturday night when I made the executive decision that, despite pink eye, fevers, mouth fungus and a crying fit/temper tantrum because my nice pair of pants was screaming for mercy as they threatened to split from the post-baby flab stuffed in them, we were going to church. 


Unfortunately everyone in the metro area also had the same idea - to come to our church - and by the time we got there it was standing room only.  Which I did for about five minutes before I decided that this was bullshit and Jesus wouldn't have wanted it this way, stomped out and found Nick as he was dropping the girls off in the nursery, told him we were leaving, and then made a Christmas Eve family trip to the grocery store in our church clothes to buy poultry seasoning and maxi pads. 

And beer.

The end.    

From our family to yours, happy holidays.               

Two's company

The good news:  Apparently we have (yet another) baby who likes to sleep 21 hours a day.  Note to pregnant Moms everywhere - when people tell you to lay off the sauce because you're "pregnant", nod and ignore them.  Yes, Ellie may get a little cross-eyed from time to time, and Lila likes to drink toilet water, but I believe my weekly wine allowance had a direct effect on bearing three good sleepers.  And that's a sacrifice that I'm willing to make. 

The bad news:  Said baby prefers her waking hours to be between 2-5am.  And if I learned anything in college, it's that nothing good happens between 2-5am.  I've had four people tell me that sleep deprivation is one of the most cruel types of torture that can be used on prisoners of war.  These words of encouragement ring in my ears as I sit in bed at 3am with the thousand yard stare while Hadley looks at me with eyes that say, "Thanks for the boob - now where's the after party?"

It's really hard not to get angry and frustrated, especially with these raging hormones and hours of uninterrupted sleep that I can count on one hand.  But I just try to think of all the cute things about her, like her little toes, or the beautiful auburn highlights in her hair when the sunlight catches it just right. 

And by sunlight I mean warm glow of the television set while we watch Threes Company at 2:30am.

What, you think I can actually leave the house with three kids? 

The most excitement I've had since coming home from the hospital was that I got my first Brazilian on Friday night.  It was actually the result of standing up and adjusting the colossal post c-section maxi pad wedgie I got from sitting on the couch addressing Christmas cards for three hours straight, but so exhilirating... in a bad way.

I was all, "Yowsa!  Happy birthday, MISTER PRESIDENT!"

Nick came running in all, "Are you okay?  What happened?"

And I was all, "Well, you'll find out in about 4-6 weeks... IF you play your cards right."

And I just have to say, as much flack as I give him on this blog, I need to give props where props are due.  The man is a machine - taking care of the kids so I can take a nap, cleaning, cooking, letting me sleep in every morning until our "helper of the day" gets here even though it means a busier day at work for him.  He even bought me a very nice "thanks for having a baby" gift. 

So hopefully this one paragraph makes up for the countless posts where I call out everything he's ever done that sucks.

Even Steven.

Now if you'll excuse me I hear slurping coming from the bathroom and I haven't seen Lila in 20 minutes.    

The other side

Recently I read a really relevant-to-my-life-right-now post on a blog I follow about a Mom who has reached the "other side" of motherhood.

You know - The Other Side? 

The side where you go to bed with the knowledge that you won't have to wake up for 8 whole hours. The side where you tell your kids to go take a bath and you'll be up to read them a story after you finish your whiskey sour.  The side where you tell them to get their own damn milk, I'm not your maid for crying out loud! 

Right now I am on the opposite of The Other Side.  With a 2 1/2-year-old, 15-month-old and 2-week-old I am so deep in the trenches I can't see daylight.     

At first the thought of being out of the trenches seems glorious and magical, sort of like finding a $20 bill in the back pocket of your jeans.  Especially right now.  Because when you have a newborn everything about your life gets put on hold. 


And while on hold temporarily, it's on hold indefinitely. 

Everything I've struggled to learn over the past 15 months with two children I have to totally start over and re-learn how to do with three.  Our trump tight morning routine.  Getting into and out of the car.  Lunch.   

Every milestone - eating at a restaurant, taking the train at the zoo, going to the park or just playing in the back yard... now that we have a newborn it's back to the hovel we go.  We're starting again from scratch.

And my body... oh sweet lord my body.  Since grade school I've had about 10 - 15 extra pounds hanging around, so it's not so much the weight that's bothersome so much as it's the... well... this shit is jacked up in a serious way.  It just ain't right.  With each pregnancy it's gotten progressively worse and now it's to the point where I don't know if I should call a trainer or a priest.  I've got things bulging here and hanging there... by the time Nick is legally allowed to come within a 50-foot-radius of me again he'll need a road map.  Maybe I'll just tell him to follow the stretch marks that run north and south. 

Including the two miscarriages I had before Ellie, I've been pregnant 34 out of the past 48 months.  And you can pretty much fill in the rest of the blanks with breastfeeding.  Call me selfish, but I'm ready to stop sharing my body parts.  I'm ready for things to stop leaking out of me.  I'm ready to be able to take cold medicine the next time I'm sick.

I'm ready to reclaim my body, my career, my life.  I'm ready to go on a family vacation to the beach and take a girls road trip to the American Doll store in Chicago.  I'm ready to pee without an audience.   

But then there's the other side of being on The Other Side. 

I'm just going to say it - and you're going to call me crazy and send me links to everything I've written over the past five months - I'm going to miss being pregnant.  I waddle into a room and immediately become the girl everyone wants to talk to.  Strangers everywhere want to know everything about me, want to share their own pregnancy/baby/parent stories and before I know it I've made a room full of new friends.

People scramble to get me second helpings of ice cream.  I even got a free case for my new phone because the AT&T sales person said I looked like I was "miserably suffering" as I tried to walk across the store. 

Cool, huh?

And then there's the excitement, the unparallelled awesome anticipation of meeting the person that you created with your husband (or one night stand - I'm not judging) for the first time.  Having their little personalities revealed to you bit by bit, one day at a time, like a flower opening up to the sun.

The first smile, the first word, the first steps, feeling their gentle breath on your neck as you carry them, limp and sleeping up to their beds... well, there are just no words in the English language sacred enough to describe what these things do to your heart. 

And it makes me sad to think about that coming to an end.

I'm 35 now - the sun is starting to set on my child bearing years.  And I'm really, really ready to get out of the holding pattern and let the good times roll.

So am I absolutely, positively sure we're done having kids?  Yes.  No doubt.  Absolutely.    

Am I going to let my maternity clothes hang in my closet for a couple more years just in case?  Yes.  No doubt.  Absolutely.     

Lila and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

Yesterday was not Lila's day. 

It started out like every other day.  She woke up at 6:15 and began making indecipherable noises to wake up Ellie, who acts as her Get Up and Get Mom and Dad Out of Bed mule now that Ellie has achieved the pedal freedom that accompanies a big girl bed. 

Lila has found this to be a more effective strategy than trying to get us out of bed by yelling at us from her crib.  It's a lot easier to ignore something chattering in a crib than a toddler opening your eyelids, asking to watch Mega Mind for the millionth time. 

Anyhoo, Nick is still on paternity leave so we decided to join every other bleary-eyed, bed headed, half-dressed man, woman and child on baby leave in the metro area and go to Target at 8:30am.  I really think Target should take advantage of all these overwhelmed, half-awake time wasters and sponsor some sort of breast feeding support class in the diaper section.  Or, better yet, because most of us have already been awake for nine hours by 8:30am, a happy hour back in electronics.  Put a good movie on those big screens, bust out some wine and just let her ride. 

Shopping with three kids under 30 months requires special provisions, one of which is that we now need two carts.  Nick thought it would be more fun for the girls to sit in the back of the cart, vs. putting Lila in the front and using the seat belt.  You know, the seat belt designed to keep kids from falling out of the cart.

Mere minutes into our trip I looked over to see Lila hanging over the side of the cart, and before you can say "life in a wheel chair" she did a full frontal flip over the edge, landing smack on her back.  It was the most awful sound, sort of like a sack of potatoes hitting the ground if a sack of potatoes had lungs. 

For a moment she just laid there and looked like she might do a snow angel or two but I realized she was just trying to figure out why she was suddenly looking at the ceiling.  Of course the fun part came next, where she started screaming and then I count the seconds until security escorts me to the nearest prison.

Once we got home Nick decided to take them on a walk around the block, where Lila promptly tripped and fell on the sidewalk, bloodying her cheek and nose.  And while I was upset for her pain I was more upset about the Christmas pictures we were supposed to take that afternoon.  I put a lot of effort into those outfits! 

Well, okay, she's actually wearing Ellie's outfit from last year.  Oh, and I forgot to make sure the shoes fit (they didn't) so she doesn't have any shoes, but still. 

I mean, not that Christmas pictures EVER turn out to meet my expectations anyway.

Yes, Ellie is playing with firewood, Hadley is screaming her balls off, and Lila looks like she was involved in a knife fight.  

And then there was this whole mess.

Where I heartlessly, callously forced her into the arms of a 300 pound bearded stranger and told her to ask Santa to bring Mommy some whiskey.

However, in Lila's defense, Ellie wasn't thrilled with the whole Santa idea either.

This was taken three seconds before she started crying so hard she almost threw up.

Fa la la la la. 

Mecca lecca high mecca hiney ho

The day after Hadley was born they took out my catheter and my worst fear was realized - I couldn't pee. 

Well now that's not entirely true. 

Being 24 hours post partum I had lots of worst fears, like the pediatrician coming in and telling me that Hadley has two butt holes like Lila did.  Which actually happened the next day, by the way.  See how this time I didn't freak out and think she was going to be paralyzed?   

Apparently this whole "two buttholes" (or deep sacral dimple, if you want to get all technical) thing runs in families and the doctor told us that if we went home and took a close look then Nick or I probably have one.  An activity that I thought would be a fun little way to pass the time once we got home, but Nick said some things are better left a mystery. 

My money's on him having the extra butt hole, by the way.

Anyhoo, as with the last time I had a baby, I ended up having to wear the catheter for four horrible days, all the while knowing that if I can't pee before I leave then I'm going to have to go home with this awful thing. 

Hang on - let me do some Amish Photoshop on that post-baby belly.  

There.  That's better.

If you've never worn a catheter, let me paint a little picture for you.  First, put in a tampon.  Then pull it out halfway.  Then tie a hose to the bottom of the tampon and connect it to the most embarrassing, personal thing that you wouldn't want to broadcast to the world that you can find.  For example, your own excrement would be a good example of a personal thing that you wouldn't want to broadcast to the world.

Then, do some fun things like take a shower, walk around or just sit down.  Careful to keep the bag below your crotch or all the pee might flow back in and... YOWSA!       

I hadn't planned on this happening again so I only packed one pair of shorts.  The fact that you have to thread it through your pant leg makes wearing long pants really hard.  And, we all know that you need more than one pair of shorts while in the hospital, for obvious reasons. 

I had lots of nurses to impress with my awesome post-baby pj wardrobe.   

Me:  I had a little accident and I need you to bring me some new shorts when you come visit this afternoon.

Nick:  What happened?

Me:  I don't want to get into all the details, but it looks like the Texas chainsaw massacre in my bathroom.

Nick:  Thanks for not getting into all the details.  Which shorts do you want?

Me:  Just bring the biggest, darkest ones you can find in my closet. 

(two hours later)

 Me:  What are these?

Nick:  The shorts you asked for.

Me:  (silence)

Me:  These are really short.  And white. 

Nick:  Yeah, you look hot in them. 

Me:  These are, like, my junior high cheerleading shorts. 

Nick:  I thought you were in marching band.

Me:  Let's not split hairs. 

Nick:  Well, I also brought these. 

Me: Hand me my old shorts, please. 

My hospital stay did have its high points, though.  Literally.  On Thursday evening just as one of our friends was visiting my ears started ringing and it sounded like everyone was yelling at me from the end of a tunnel.  I also kept forgetting where I was and my head felt detached from my body and all I could think of was that I felt like Jambie.  

I thought I was having a stroke, probably because the night before my friend Andi told me about this blog started by some guy whose wife died 24 hours post partum from a blood clot. 

Timing is not really her thing.   

Upon closer inspection, however, the nurse determined that I was not, in fact, having a stroke. 

I had taken too much percocet and was tripping balls. 

Luckily it only lasted for about two hours, and every time I started to feel like I was floating out of my body and freak out Nick kept reminding me that a lot of people pay good money for what I was feeling. 

So I decided to just ride it out and called down to the cafeteria and had them hook me up with some Raisinettes.

I'm sure you'll be relieved to know that my prayers were answered when I finally peed on my own the morning I was discharged.

And if you've made it this far through this post without either barfing or unfollowing then I know you're a true friend.  Or have had a baby and all this excrament talk is common dinner conversation at your house.         

The Labor: Part II - Tales From The Crypt

Well now that I've successfully scared the crap out of everyone and I'm pretty sure put on a hospital suicide watch, I'll get on with my story. 

As I was saying... in what might be considered by some to be the most selfless and unwavering act of marital loyalty ever, I continued to endure horrific back pain and held off on drinking the labor tea until Sunday so Nick could work the entire Thanksgiving weekend.  See what an awesome wife I am? 

Who knows if this tea actually works, or if it's "just a big coincidence and a gimmick but please don't drink it until after Thanksgiving weekend so I don't have to find a back up."  All I know is that three days after I started drinking it when I was pregnant with Lila my water broke (5 days before my due date), and two days after I started drinking it with Hadley I went into full on labor (11 days before my due date).

Tuesday morning started out like every other morning. I woke up at 4am feeling like someone had accidentally left their hatchet in my spine and the only way to get it back to them was to pee it out my butt.  But this time as I hobbled to the bathroom something felt different.  And by different I mean like a horrific stabby bladder charlie horse.

Throughout the morning the horrific stabby bladder charlie horses started coming every four minutes and before I knew it they had expanded from just the bladder to most of the area covered by my stretch marks.  They were only lasting about 20 - 30 seconds, and had not yet become crippling, so when I called J.T.'s office and was able to joke with the nurse we both agreed that a good plan was to decrease activity and increase fluid intake to see if they would taper off and I would make it to my scheduled c-section on December 6th.

Of course the idea that I might be going into labor was enough to send me into a frantic tailspin thinking about all the things I still needed to do, because god knows after the baby comes I will probably never leave the house again. 

Which is pretty much the opposite of decrease activity. 

It suddenly became IMPERATIVE that I immediately buy Ellie's Christmas shoes.

So after I dropped Ellie off at pre-school, Lila and I headed to Target to find the best darn pair of Christmas shoes that a major discount retailer could offer me.  Throughout our trip the contractions started to form a game plan and strengthen, so we hurried. 

But as we headed home I also remembered that we were almost out of soap.

This whole "decrease activity" thing was really just a big suggestion in my mind as I ran across the parking lot and into the grocery store carrying Lila on my shoulders.  Plus I was more than ready to get this party started, hence why I was drinking the tea in the first place. 

In the checkout line the contractions had figured out what they were supposed to do and I hunched over the credit card machine and did some pattern breathing while apologizing to the checker, who looked like she was on the verge of barfing.

When I got home I couldn't find a stop watch so I did the next best thing - download a contraction tracker app.  Unfortunately it was 99 cents wasted because I only got through two contractions before I decided that death was preferable to the pain I was feeling and I knew I needed to get to the hospital STAT. 

I also ignored all pre-surgery instructions and ate a cheese dog okay two cheese dogs, because I knew those rat bastards at the hospital wouldn't let me eat anything for a really long time after the c-section.  A split-second decision that I would later come to regret. 

By the time we arrived at the hospital, Nick was missing three fingers, an arm and several threats of a penis.

Looking back I always feel a bit foolish when I reflect upon my actions in situations such as this.  When not in extreme pain I realize that screaming "EPIDURAL BITCH!" to the nurse every time she asked me a question as she was trying to check me into the hospital might not have been appropriate. 

But in the moment it was my only option.  I needed her to understand that I was in more pain than anyone has ever been in and if she didn't do something about it then her family would pay the consequence.

What makes matters worse in these labor situations is that the labor bed is about as comfortable as laying on a metal 2 X 4.  I mean seriously, shouldn't this be the one time in our lives when the bed should look like a fluffy cloud?

Finally, FINALLY the angel of mercy came in and gave me an epidural so I could have some relief while I waited for my turn in the c-section line.

Everything after that was a blur.  I remember the nurses getting all judgey-judgey with my answer of "cheese dog" when they asked me about my last meal.  I remember everyone in the OR very happy with my choice in music for my baby birthing mix.  I remember having to have another epidural and then another spinal seconds before J.T. was about to cut into me because I still had feeling in my stomach.  I remember Nick telling me "it's a girl!" with just a shade of Ann Boleyn-type judgement in his voice.

And now we have the most perfect creature on planet Earth.

Three of the most perfect creatures on planet Earth. 

See how Ellie is already flashing her own little gang sign?  I think it's a "C" for crypts.  I'm currently planning our first girls trip to Long Beach to see Snoop's childhood home.

My friends and I celebrated the girl trifecta the next night in my hospital room by dying my hair pink, which gave me TONS of street cred with the hospital staff. 


And, because everyone loves a happy ending - what I told my friend Amy who sent me such a nice "hey please don't jump" email after my post last night, was what I'm learning... continuing to learn... both as I get some of my emotions out on paper and in my times of emotional upswing, is that while challenging now, I'm also giving my kids one of the greatest gifts in life - siblings. 

Which is something I'm sure they'll come to appreciate in about 25 years. 

And also, the fact that all of this has gone not according to my master plan has forced me to evaluate and accept life as it comes, flaws and all. 

I've learned how to re-prioritize and truly appreciate the "good" stuff in life. Which includes what I used to think were my weaknesses and shortcomings - things that have turned out to actually be some of my best qualities.

But most importantly, now I can drink wine. 

Things are looking up.