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Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

I’m back with another great husband and wife!  If you haven’t read previous Marriage Works posts just click here for the ones you missed (there’s even one about me and Big Daddy).  I had someone ask what the purpose of these couple highlights are.  Her actual question was “why do you keep posting happy couples – is it to make the rest of us feel bad?”  No, that’s not why.  Not everyone is happy all the time.  Most of us are, most of us know that marriage takes work to work, and it’s not always easy, or smooth.  In fact, just the other morning Big Daddy and I had it out over shoes…and attitudes.  Arguments, disagreements, being upset or anything that happens day to day is normal and doesn’t mean that we aren’t happy, it just means we’re normal.  The purpose of these is for everyone else to see that all couples have issues or problems, but those don’t outweigh the good.  For the couples answering, I can say that it’s fun to read what your spouse says (I ask that you answer separately) and it can help open up a dialogue for things that you haven’t addressed.  I’m not here to comment on, or suggest fixes for the answers, this is just a window for other couples to peek into.  On to our Marriage Works couple!

This post is our first one where both husband and wife have answered, and as always, they don’t have to answer any questions they don’t want to.  Today we have Jeremy (37) and Kristy (32) answering some questions and giving us a peek into their marriage. They dated for 5 months, were engaged for 8 months and have been married for 5 years.  They are both Christians and Jeremy is a new Christian – that deserves an Amen!   Their home dynamic allows Kristy to stay at home where she cares for their 2 girls and also watches a little boy while Jeremy works about 50-60 hours a week.  They are busy.

Beautiful family, and those girls are adorable!

Beautiful family, and those girls are adorable!

Now let’s see how they each answer!

How did you meet, what was your first impression of your spouse (both physical and personality)?

Kristy – He was so handsome. We met online. I loved his personality, he was hard working and family was important to him.
Jeremy – we met online. I was the one who emailed her, I loved her Smile and she was very pretty and funny.

How long after meeting did you know they were “the one”?

 

Kristy – I knew he was the one just from talking on the phone for weeks before we actually met.
Jeremy -I knew she was the one from the first time we out on a date.

Tell me about an instance when your spouse made you proud.

Kristy -When he got baptized.
Jeremy-The way she is a mother to our girls.

List 2 physical qualities you love about your spouse.

 

Kristy – eyes and beard 🙂
Jeremy- hair and smile

Describe 3 ways your spouse shows you love/respect/care on a regular basis.

 

Kristy – works hard, he holds the door open for me, and he gives me kisses
Jeremy – always make sure to say I love you first and last thing, having dinner ready, and she always gets my meds.

Describe your last date with your spouse.

We went to see dirty dancing at the DPAC. We went to an Italian restaurant and went to toys r us before the show.

 

If you could go back with all the knowledge you have…what advice would you give to your “before married” self about your spouse/marriage?

 

Kristy- make sure to stand up for yourself
Jeremy- only spend money you have

 

Do you practice submission in your marriage?  Why or why not?  Did your vows include “obey”?  What does submission generally look like in your marriage?

 

Kristy- yes we had obey. I think I try to submit myself to him but it’s hard when it involves our children. He hasn’t yet to take the spiritual head of household. He’s getting there but we have awhile for him to get there. I need to submit more to him.

How often do you pray or study together?

 

Daily. Study not yet.

 

How has being a Christian helped your marriage?

 

I think we give our problems to God, versus fighting about it.

 

What is your personal biggest weakness?

 

Kristy – letting go. I dwell on things he doesn’t do.
Jeremy- Quick to get angry.

 

How do you try to control it in your marriage?

 

Kristy- I just bite my tongue.
Jeremy-  Just go outside to walk it off.

 

What is/was your most disagreed upon topic as a couple?  How do you handle it when it comes up?
How have you resolved it, or made changes to smooth things over?

 

Most disagreements are on how to discipline.  We sometimes wait to the girls go to bed.  I think because I am home with them it’s easier for me to discipline our oldest because I know how to calm her down. He tries to handle her the same way I do but we are still working on this because he doesn’t quite understand how to get on her level to talk to her.

How satisfied are you with your intimate time and the frequency?

 

Kristy – I am but I waited 26 years and I honestly could wait more.
Jeremy- no, I def want it more than I get it.

 

How do you keep this positive and on track, or what are you doing to improve this?

 

Kristy- I have to just do it. I am so tired at the end of the day I just want to sleep.

What is your favorite advice given to you about marriage/spouses?

 

Don’t go to bed angry. Put God  first.

Where will your marriage/spouse be in 10 years?  Describe what you’d like or your goals.

 

Happy, God centered, I would love to be debt free, more in love.

I love the honesty here.  It’s not easy to admit where you are falling short, or where there is room for improvement (just ask my husband how easy it is for me).  I also can totally relate to being tired and feeling like sleep is a better option than sex.  Here’s hoping we all get past this baby/toddler stage quickly!

~Mel

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We are on couple number 3 (4 if you include yours truly last week)! You can see all the Marriage Works couples here. So far I’ve had some great feedback, mainly on FB or via email, but I’d love some comments and encouragement for our couples here.  So please take a moment and let them know you appreciate their candid answers.  I have had a few constructive comments that stood out, one was that there wasn’t enough questions, that I didn’t get input from a husband, and another that I shouldn’t ask about sex.  While I’m totally open to ideas, I disagree about the sex comment.  Sex is totally relevant, important and ok to discuss when writing about marriage.  I also ask lots of questions and no one has answered any question they didn’t want to.  I’m working on the husband’s responses and more/different questions for future couples though!

Let’s meet today’s couple!  Roger (27) and Rachel (25) are a little younger than our past couples and married much younger than anyone so far! Just goes to show you that happy marriages come in all sizes.  It doesn’t matter where you are in marriage, it matters how you relate and work together to make your marriage work.

You guys are adorable!

You guys are adorable!

How did you meet?

High school Spanish class. I was a sophomore and him a senior. We both got dumped, I already had a dress for prom, but couldn’t go without an upper classmen, so I asked if he’d go with me.

How long did you know each other/date before getting engaged?

1 year (my junior year of high school)

How long were you engaged?

1 year (2 weeks after my high school graduation)

How long have you been married?

7 years

What is your favorite verse/passage?

Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own

Are you and your spouse Christian?

Yes, I was baptized around 9 and I baptized my husband at church camp while we were dating… he was 18.

Do you practice submission in your marriage? Why or why not? Did your vows include “obey”?

Yes. Honestly, I didn’t think about the obey issue until now. However, I’d probably still include it if we were to redo vows. He is the head of the house and I am to submit to him. He is the one with the responsibility to answer for our family on the day of judgment, and I respect his choices. He respects me enough to get my input.

How often do you go on a date?

Roughly every 2-3 weeks. 90% of time a movie and cheap/quick dinner.

What is your personal biggest weakness? How do you try to control it in your marriage?

Biggest weakness is sarcasm. It is very difficult and I’m still working on it. I am trying to take breathing breaks and relax mid-conversations.

If you could go back with all the knowledge you have…what advice would you give to your “before married” self about your spouse?

When we were dating, he was very romantic (flowers, poems, etc.) Once we got married, the poems stopped (though I ask for them at as gifts occasionally and small thoughtful things less often). I wish I just would’ve had a heads up that was going to happen.

How many children do you have/want?

2 girls. 3.5 and 12 months. We’re done.

What is your favorite advice given to you about marriage/spouses?

COMMUNICATION.

How satisfied are you both with your intimate time and the frequency?

Frequency is not enough. We both think it should be weekly. I’m sure he’d like it twice a week, I’m more fine with once every 1-2 weeks. I thought I’d be more sensual once I got married (virgin at wedding), but it’s just not really in me. I enjoy it once start, but I usually must plan for it if I know I’ll be initiating.

Short and sweet, and I just love them!  Rachel, if you’re reading (and I hope you are), I think you aren’t alone in your assertion about how gifts and romance (or things you perceive as romantic) often stop or slow down.  Just as many things change after marriage, like date nights, sex, conversations, romance is one of those that often takes a hit.  I’d like to encourage you to show him this post and hopefully he’ll see an opportunity, or even bring it up to him in a non-confrontational way.  It’s not the time to say “you never do ____ anymore,” but at the right time and with the right tone you could say “I was thinking, I really loved when you used to write me poems or get me flowers.  I kind of miss them, is there anything you miss that I used to do?”  Maybe it will open up a dialogue and you’ll find out why, as in, does he think you don’t like them?  Did he run out of words (lol, I doubt it)?  Time?  Does he think you “know” already how much he loves you and don’t need them?  I think a gentle nudge might get him and you back on track with both doing things you used to!

What other questions should I include?  Do you have a question or want to play along?  Comment here with your email and we’ll get it set up!

~Mel

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We’ve all seen them, the dreaded “list” of what you can do to achieve ____ or “8 ways to better sex” or as they should be titled “1 way to ensure your marriage isn’t helped a bit.”  They come in all shapes and sizes, all over social media, blogs, major news sites, click tastic ad sites that just want views, but they have one thing in common.  They are usually written for the wow factor, or the humor, and not at all to help those they are geared toward.  With the exception of a few that truly are helpful, I rarely take them seriously, and rarely read them.  However, this one was by someone I enjoy interacting with and who I read regularly (and who just featured us last week!).  I’d like to think it was all in fun or meant to be sarcastic, and I really hope that was the case, but there has bee no indication from any of the replies on social media that it was. Aside from the last point (#10) the post was just so far off the mark it was impossible not to respond to.  Maybe it should have been just number 10, that would have been an amazing help to couples.

Here is the original post:  Top Ten Fixable Reasons Your Wife Won’t Sleep With You I think it’s notable that the actual linked title says “Top 10 shallow reasons wife won’t sleep” could that be a more accurate title?

Look, I realize that not all men are perfect, not even my own wonderful man is, but I’m not either, nor are you.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that no man that is actually in need of sexual healing would read this list past numbers 1 and 2 and think “oh, this is helpful.”  There may be a man that needs this type of list, but I’m going to bet he’s not married, and if he is, what was she thinking?  To coin my teenager…

true life

It is with great satisfaction and a little bit of pride that I can report that after reading the list, Big Daddy and I were in agreement that the post was not realistic. Unless you’re married to a 27 year old gamer (been there) or a prissy wife still stuck in her late teen mentality (he’s been there), this list is not for or about you. Not one part of it would “help” a man get laid by his wife. Why? Because most likely she’d say “oh, so you think doing something on that list is going to get you some?” See, women that agree with this list aren’t the type that you can please, or that want to be pleased. Why any woman wouldn’t want to be pleased is beyond me, but that’s a whole other issue.

Reading the social media comments was a good reflection of the reality of this list.  Most women said they agreed and that it was “their man.” Then when they reported back that their husbands read it and didn’t take it seriously at all it was deemed to be “deeper issues” than this list covered.  No, really?  You mean this superficial list of things  meant to get a reaction and clicks isn’t what’s holding back couples from sex?  Say it ain’t so!  Why so many women claim to relate to it is beyond me.  Is it that they like admitting they are rude, superficial and selfish? Do they take pride in admitting that their men aren’t getting any, or finding lame excuses for it? Is it fun to be a B****?  Ok, sometimes it is, but to your husband?  I think many women are not willing to fix the issue of not having sex, and this list was a crutch to say to their husbands “here, do these things, and maybe you’ll get laid (and if you don’t do them, then you still won’t).”  If you put it off on him, then you’re no longer the B in the situation!  Score!  Only, no score, you’re still not getting laid and you’re not fixing a thing.

I am positive that there are those that disagree with me, and won’t like my post here.  So, let’s just say that you actually DO see your man (or you are the man) on this list.  Whichever one or ones he is, there is a real way to address this, to make it helpful and not hurtful and to better your marriage and sex life.  If he truly needs to work on some of these things, an article with snark isn’t going to do it, but some sweetness and finesse will.  Use your heart and your head and find a way, or get to counseling so you can speak honestly and without bashing him over the head with sexual frustration since you aren’t giving it up.

I am blessed, and I know this.  D does all these things and then some and we are STILL not on the booty train all day every day (much to our dismay). Babies, nursing, health issues, life, work, sleep (oh, how I miss real sleep), are all huge contributors to our lack of sex.  Life gets to all of us, even superficial things get in the way, but issues truly need to be addressed.  Doesn’t mean they’ll go away quickly, or not have to be worked on HARD (I love you, babe), but they will be easier to discuss, and you’ll both realize what the issues are and that you truly do love each other.

Men, if you want to know how to get her to bed, skip to number 10 on that list, or up your bedroom skills – you might just suck.  It may have nothing to do with you and everything to do with her mindset, her insecurities, her health, and countless other things.  Ask her what it is you can do to alleviate those things or help her move past them so you can enjoy being together again.  On the other hand, it may have to do with some things you are or aren’t doing, so be open and prepared to accept those calmly and work on them.  It’s a two way street, and no one should feel attacked by a list like this.  I can’t imagine this same type of article and list being well received by women either, just for “fun” let’s switch this shoe.

Why your husband doesn’t want to have sex with you:  

– You’re a snob  

– You smell like spitup and playdoh  

– You haven’t taken your hair out of that bun and curled it in 3 weeks  

– You fall into bed and don’t act like you want to have sex  

– The house is a mess (you’re here all day…what DO YOU DO?)  

– You’re boring (you weren’t like that when we were dating)  

– You engage in middle school slam book behavior by making and reading lists like this…

Now go fix all these things and turn back into the sex goddess you were 10 years ago while you guys were dating so you can go have sex in the car, on the car, in the movies and all the other fun places you used to attack each other – he’s waiting for you!

I’m sure THAT would have gone over well. Want to help a man get laid? Give him this list to show to his wife – if she likes it and says “so true,” he should find another wife (kidding, kinda). If she laughs and says it’s crap, scoop her up and take her to bed!

~Mel

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This week our Marriage Works (click for all couples) couple is my husband and I!  I LOVE reading other blogs, for fun, information, relationship stuff, mom stuff, kid stuff, and all kinds of other things.  We were lucky enough to be chosen by Dr. Psyche Mom for a fun post about our marriage!  So as the title says…here’s a look into how our marriage works.

I’ve included the post here just as she wrote it because there have been some comments that her link up wasn’t working!  You can read the full text below, or visit her page at http://www.drpsychmom.com/2014/10/31/functional-couple-friday/

Windham (42)

Just us

Here we are! (Her comments are in red AFTER our answers)

Today we have Melissa and David, both 38.  They are Christian and believe in a model of marriage where the husband is the head of the household and the wife supports his decisions, although she does seem to get her say, privately, which influences him.  They also have a blended family, and are co-sleeping with a new baby.  And they met in junior high!  Lots of interesting stuff here, dear readers.  So, let’s meet them now!

1.   How, when, and where did you meet and what is the first thing you thought about your partner when you met?
Melissa:  We met in 6th grade when we attended the same Christian private school, he left in 8th grade and we didn’t talk again for 20 years.  We were in the same grade, so it was the same class of about 24 kids.  I was absolutely oblivious to boys at that age but we all knew each other pretty well and I remember him being tall, much taller than me (he still is), and I remember his gorgeous eyes and blonde “flippy” hair.  The kind you keep leaning your head to the side and getting out of your eye.  I also remember him being told it was too long since it was over his eyebrows, and him being like “whatever.”  He thinks I don’t remember that much about him, because I wasn’t interested, but I remember lots:)
David: We went to school with one another for three years (middle school) then reconnected via FB/text/phone calls. I thought she was out of my league back in 6th grade! Cheerleader in a private school, and hanging with the “IN” crowd. The second time when we actually met as adults isn’t fit to be published! I will tone it down and say I was stuck with her beauty, absolutely amazed that she wanted me! Those 6th grade feelings were still there I guess. Then the lustful wanting to tear her clothes off and defile her thoughts came into the picture…they’re still there.
Again, guys who think they landed a girl out of their league are usually more happily married.  Very cute meeting story!
2.  What is your favorite physical feature of your partner?

Melissa:  Hey! No, um…seriously.  He’s tall, and hot, and he’s got great eyes, and his beard…oh, the beard.  He’s got meat on him, which is really great, because he’s not breakable.  Oh, and his hands, yes, please.  You said one.  My favorite feature is him?

David: Sexually, her butt without doubt, however I get lost in her eyes. It’s a bit of a draw!
Love couples who can’t keep their hands off each other and know how to express that to each other.
3.  What is your favorite personality trait of your partner?
Melissa: He’s got amazing self control (which he often uses with me).
David: She is extremely loving and a caretaker. It doesn’t matter if it is me, one of the kids or my parents.
Women do like men who have self-control, because they are stable and safe.  And everyone likes loving and nurturing partners!
4. What is something your partner does nearly every day that makes you happy?
Melissa: She shows respect for me as her husband and the head of the household. She backs my play in public even if I’m wrong. Then we discuss in private, not arguing for the world to see.
David: He takes care of, loves and pays attention to our girls (16.5 and 1 year next weekend).
Even though they have this head of household thing going that doesn’t apply to everyone, I do think they are right that both partners should back the other in public, and then discuss in private, if possible.  And women love men who love their kids!
5.  What is the nicest thing your partner ever did for you, in your whole relationship?  Describe in 2-3 sentences.

Melissa: There are too many to list.  Two stand out.  First, we are a blended family.  He has raised my children as his own and jumped in with both feet with teenagers, which was NOT easy.  Second, We had a very surprise pregnancy and I was not a happy pregnant woman.  I was miserable, tired, not fun to be around, and overall just blah.  He was a saint.  Waited on me when I was in pain, loved me even though I was mean or whiny, and did everything possible to keep me healthy and happy. Aww very nice.

David: She carried and gave birth to my baby girl! Neither of us wanted more kids but God had other plans.
Well she didn’t have much of a choice but it’s still nice that he considers it the nicest thing!
9. List the top five best qualities of your spouse: physical, emotional, mental, anything.

Melissa: He’s a Christian. He can stay calm when the crap hits the fan and when I’m losing my mind.  He’s awesome at rubdowns.  He’s a caring and loving leader/husband.  He’s an amazing kisser:)

David: She’s emotionally strong (more so than myself actually), She’s smart, strong willed, confident in who she is as a person, and a great mother.
Very nice.  It seems that even if David is the “leader,” he still wants a confident and strong willed wife.  I love couples who bring new dynamics to the table so we can learn about them and not see them as two dimensional; e.g., assume that a Christian “head of household” would prefer a passive woman.
10. What are the top five things you and your partner have in common?  Values, interests, goals, etc.

Melissa: We both agree on our beliefs – to a “T”. We both value health (mental and physical) over material things.  We’re like minded with work. We love our kids.  We have the same sense of humor – aside from the stupid movies I like.

David: We share religious beliefs, core values, political views, opinions on finances, and parenting.
They truly seem on the same page.
11.  Have you ever been in couples counseling.  Why?  Did it help?

Melissa: We have been to counseling separately, but attended together.  As in, he went to help with issues with his daughter, and I went for support to him.  I went for help with anxiety during a custody hearing, and he was there to support me.  It wasn’t couples counseling, but we found ways to help each other or get things out that weren’t being said. I think so for the issues at hand.

David: Yes, about her anxiety and the issues it caused in the relationship. No it didn’t help, but our communication got better after talking about how useless the counseling was! So I guess it did help actually…
I have a suspicion that one partner usually gets more out of counseling than the other, so this is probably normal.
12. How often do you hug?  Kiss?  Have sex?

Melissa: I was going to say “oh, at least a few times a day,” but thinking about it, we don’t.  We need to (hint, hint – I’m sure you won’t mind).  We kiss before bed (at least a peck) and usually if one of us leaves the room for a while (like to take a nap), or if leaving the house.  Totally not enough sex.  With a baby under 1, IN OUR BED (we’re about to move), and life, and every other excuse in the book…I’m embarrassed to even guess.  I’m sure he’s got a count going.

David: Hugs- Daily    Kiss- almost always on a daily basis but the baby, health and sleep schedules have gotten in the way a bit.     Sex- anywhere from weeks to months for the last couple of years. It’s an issue, but again health issues and baby are to blame not lack of passion.
13.  Which of you has a higher sex drive and how do you deal with any differences in sex drive between the two of you?

Melissa: We were well matched at first, for a good year and a half I don’t think we slept or ate.  After 4.5 years of marriage, he’s definitely got the higher drive now, I have the drive, but I have the tired too.  Not that he’s not tired, but we joke that he’d be down even if he lost an arm and a leg. We’re trying, I’m happy that our marriage is strong enough to withstand a rough patch, whether that’s health, or money, or sex.

David: My sex drive is MUCH higher! I could and would have sex with broken limbs (and actually have). We don’t deal with it. My health is better, but we co sleep with the baby, so we’re at a dead end for now.
I would have sex with broken limbs over sex when you haven’t been sleeping because you have a nursing newborn.  Kids, they really change your priorities.
14. How long did you wait to have sex?  Are you glad you had sex for the first time when you did?

Melissa: We got engaged after 3 months of dating long distance, and married 2 days after we got engaged.  We waited long enough to have sex.  Yes!

David: We got married within a month and a half of my first visit with her, you do the math! Yes I’m glad! It solidified our feelings and showed how compatible we were.
Wow, a two day engagement!  Guess you saved on a wedding planner.
15.  What is the number one issue you fight about, and are you working on resolving it?  How?

Melissa: There is not one issue, we don’t fight that often.  I wouldn’t even call it a fight, it’s more like a deep discussion, but each time the discussion turns to my responses to him.  It’s the typical Love and Respect cycle.  I am not good with the “I’m wrong” “I’m sorry” deal and that doesn’t go over well with him.  He’s working on me lol.

David: We don’t fight usually but when we do it’s because she REFUSES to apologize or admit when she is wrong. I’m working on her, but it’ll take time. It’s only been a few years. You can’t change someone overnight.
 
Really on the same page here as well.  I like how she calls the fights “deep discussions.”  There is usually one partner who calls fights “deep discussions” and one who calls them fights. :)
16. What are the top three stressors in your lives?

Melissa: 

Me – His health, work, need good sleep
Him – Health, money/work, life (ex’s/custody drama)
David: My health, the Ex situation (mine and hers are both insane, suck as parents, and are horrible human beings), and finances.
Same page.
17.  What is one thing that you’re looking forward to as a couple?

Melissa: We’re moving into a bigger place.  We both think that’s going to help tremendously with not being on top of each other at home.

David: Growing old together and looking back at a wonderful committed faithful marriage!
Very nice.  Congrats on the new place.
18.  Fill this in:  I am glad I married my partner because:

Melissa: If I hadn’t we would not have our child together and my life (and that of my older kids) has vastly improved, we needed him.   (one sentence) A long, run-on sentence?

David: She believes in me.
Men love to have a partner believe in them. And it is good for a man to also feel appreciated and valued, which she does in her sentence about him.
19. Give me one secret thought that you’ve never told your partner. Something you think about them, about the relationship, about yourself, anything.
Melissa: I pray a lot, and he knows that.  When I’m trying to or can’t fall asleep (which is usually every night, or in the middle of the night) I pray specifically for him and it calms me.
David: I don’t deserve her and I know it. I’m reminded of it when she takes care of me, handles responsibilities that I can’t handle, and when I think about my past.  She never signed on for everything we have had to deal with.
 
Thanks for playing, guys. My first one in a while where both gave me an answer for this question!  And the answers are very sweet too.
 
Well, this was fun, and I feel like I know the inner workings of a Christian [insert name for their specific type of dynamic here… traditional?] marriage.  Thanks for writing in and being so open and candid!  You sound like you have a long and happy marriage ahead of you here.
 
If you have a burning desire to be profiled in this column, write in here.  And until we meet again, I remain, the Blogapist Who Thinks I Will Start Calling My Husband The “Leader” And See If He Drops Dead of Shock.

We really enjoyed doing this and it was so cool to get to read each other’s answers for the first time when it was published.  We answered separately and didn’t discuss until the post came out.  Judging by the answers, we are totally on the same page and meant for each other!

~ Mel

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Since this is my first blog in a while, I’m just going to write it.  I fully expect it to be jumbled and I just want to get it out.  It just feels good to write something.  I’m sorry if it hurts to read it, but welcome to my head!

If you haven’t read Hannah’s Birth Story, click here!

For years my answer to the question “do you want more kids” was “nope, I’m all done, we’re almost home free!”  Even before marrying Big Daddy I had resolved (and was quite happy) to be done and to having nothing but grandkids running underfoot.  I thought, for a long time, that my childbearing days were over, because I had not been on BC for over 10 years and not conceived.  Fast forward to the day we found out that we were pregnant with Hannah and the words “shock and awe” come to mind.  It’s easy now to (and I often do) look down at this angel sleeping on me and think “how did we ever live life without her?!”  That day, not so much.

She's a boob girl, 9 months and still EBF!

She’s a boob girl, 9 months and still EBF!

Pregnancy has never been a favorite thing for me.  With C, I was so young I didn’t really have anything going on and it seemed very quick and not really painful at all to be pregnant, and let’s face it, I was in much better physical shape.  Labor was a major pain (for 37 hours) and the C-section at the end was not fun.  We planned J’s pregnancy and the second I got pregnant I thought “what the hell was I thinking?!” Every moment of it sucked.  The knee pain, the extra weight, which really wasn’t bad at about 31 pounds, the all over uncomfortable-ness is just for the birds.  I had an easy labor and birth with her and was just thankful not to be pregnant any longer.  When it just didn’t work out that I had another pregnancy, it really wasn’t a big issue because I had no problems not being pregnant.  D had gotten a vasectomy after his first child was born, and during his previous marriage had it reversed to try for another child.  They never conceived, and a few months before we married, he was checked (by our family doctor) and told that he had a zero count…not.  So, we entered our marriage both thinking that our baby days were over, and just enjoying the occasional grandbaby coming over.  Just short of our 3 year anniversary we had been through some really trying months dealing with ex’s and court  for both of us.  I was stressed, he was stressed, life was not smooth sailing, but we were both happy, healthy and our marriage was better than ever.  We both got sick with a cold and were down for about 1 week, but I never quite recovered.  I remained tired, exhausted to the point that I was falling asleep sitting up!  I couldn’t eat much, my stomach was in knots and I was pretty pitiful.  After about 2 weeks of this we were sure I was just still sick with a cold and run down from the court deal and stress.  We spent a Sunday afternoon at his parent’s house, as we often do on the weekends, and while in the sunroom with 3 other people talking to me, I laid down and fell asleep…right there, mid conversation.  You remember how in school you just got that “I must close my eyes NOW” feeling?  That one.  I woke up to go to the restroom, and went and laid down on his mom’s bed!  Still tired, something was way off.  He decided to take me home, and on the way he stopped to get some things from the drug store to help me feel better.  We got home, I got changed and settled to lay down and he pulls out a pregnancy test.  He said “either your pregnant, or you’re going to the doctor because something is WRONG with you!”  I blew it off and said that there was no way I was pregnant and I didn’t have to pee.  Two hours later, I had to pee, and he came in to get me some more drinks and help me up to the bathroom.  I peed on the stick, he covered it and set it on the counter, and he turned around from it to get a washcloth.  By the time I could say to him “how long do we wait” – about 10 seconds had passed, and I looked down and it said “pregnant.”  My exact words were “you have GOT to be freaking kidding me.”  I’m not sure what his reaction was…because I was so shocked and freaking out.  I think he did the “I told you” laugh a few times, and he was smiling the entire time, while trying to calm me down and pull me back from tears and the edge.  Now that I think about it, I don’t think he had a clue how much I didn’t want to be pregnant again, ever.  He was thrilled:)

It’s blurry, but oh, so clear.

Since I don’t want Hannah growing up to think that I didn’t want her, let me make this clear.  I still stand by that reaction.  However, it is NOT the baby that was shocking or what I was reacting to, or that she was unwanted.  It was the realization that I was PREGNANT and would have to carry and birth a child again!  When I say “I hate being pregnant” it is a true and honest statement.  I had zero desire to be pregnant, at 37, my thoughts were not about the adorable baby we would have, but about the painful back, hips, morning sickness (all day, and carsickness I still have 9 months after her birth), leg pain, knee pain, anxiety, and the worst part…LABOR AND BIRTH!  I’m thankful that I’ve had 3 healthy pregnancies, and I’m even thankful that I had a miscarriage and was healthy through that, but pregnancy just isn’t for me.  D can attest to that, I am not a happy pregnant woman.  I’m not mean…but I’m certainly not happy.  Let’s move on, you get the point.

Finally showing at 13 weeks 2 days!

Finally showing at 13 weeks 2 days!

We were about 2 weeks out of a long court battle when we found out, the emotions were high still.  I was right at 9 weeks pregnant when we found out (we thought I was late due to stress).  After the first week of knowing we were pregnant, the shock had worn off, and excitement was setting in and offsetting the nausea!  Babies, cute clothes, names, a child that was part of both of us and did I say, a BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Very proud big sister on Mothers Day!

Very proud big sister on Mothers Day!

Big sis was grossed out, shocked, weird-ed out, proud and so excited.  I’ll throw in here, that there is no better birth control for your teenager than to see you going through all the crap of pregnancy.  Food aversions, back pain, sleepless nights, utter fatigue, reading your online timeline of what a baby looks like (that’s kinda freaky), reading “what to expect when you’re expecting,” going to all your doctor visits, and seeing the list of all the things that can go wrong, yeah, that’s great BC.  It seals the deal when they are standing next to your head while you push the baby out.  Back in pregnancy land, we were pretty excited, and life was great.  This pregnancy turned out to suck as far as being uncomfortable goes…just like I thought it would, but those things that sucked were balanced out by all the great things that make people have more than one child.  What didn’t suck, what turned out to be the best part, was that I grew our baby girl, and during that time, I learned that I can do lots of things I didn’t think I could, or that I didn’t want to, and I can be happy through them, enjoy them, find the good, and it actually turns out to be pretty awesome.  I needed that for my own good, and we needed that as a couple.  It was a rough decade before Hannah for us mentally and emotionally.

Here’s a quick trip down pregnancy memory lane…in pictures.  I didn’t think it then, but now I think I was adorable, as did D.  I looked great for feeling so crappy!

14.6-1 20.5 18.30.32 27-33 19 - 35 same dress 36.5.2

Not knowing that J was my last baby, at the time she was my baby, didn’t afford me the ohhh and ahhh moments when she did EVERYTHING.  Don’t hear that wrong, she was adorable, loved, she was “spoiled” with attention and everything she did was the most adorable thing you ever saw.  I remember and recall her walking, or videos and pictures of her firsts, and her big moments, same with my son, C.  It’s different with Hannah though, those moments are still adorable, but because I KNOW she is my last baby that I will birth they seem to have an ability to make me stop and actually note them and enjoy them more/longer.  Until I had her and had all those moments over again, I didn’t know I missed them, or that I longed for them and to enjoy them.  It’s different now than it was when either of my other kids were little, we have cameras and videos of everything now, not just Hannah, but everything.  I honestly think I have (more than) one pic for every day of her life so far.  I’m not sure if that’s last baby syndrome or just a sign of the technological times.  What I do know is that I want to remember, and I am happy and sad each time she hits a new “thing” and it reminds me of both of my older kids and how fast time flies.   I’m thankful that the season of pregnancy and birth is done, and I look forward to more babies one day, whether that is foster/adopted or more grandkids.  I’d have a million kids if I don’t have to be pregnant with them!

J on the left, Hannah on the right

J on the left, Hannah on the right

J as a baby and big brother C

J as a baby and big brother C

Our children have been a blessing to both of us.  We are proud of each of them, and in the ways they learn and grow daily. D has taken on a huge role for C and J by being their dad in every way, and that’s something he and both kids needed and deserved.  While she is no more “special” than any of our children, and there was no void to fill, Hannah is everything we never knew we needed, wanted and were lacking in our lives as a family.  She has truly blended our family into a whole unit.   God really does know what he’s doing!

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Life is good!

~Mel

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For more information click here VBAC & CS Links

A little background:

My son, Cody, is 20 years old now and was born after I was induced with pitocin (without being thinned or dilated) at 42 weeks pregnant.  At 17, I didn’t know any better or know to question my doctors and the things being done to me.  There were 35 hours of labor total and an epidural, and then when I was told his heartrate was decreasing with each push, they suggested a C-section.  We know now that it’s quite normal to have a decel in heartrate with an epidural and that much labor, however, hindsight is 20/20.

Before Jasmine came along I had a pregnancy that made it to 14 weeks before I had some cramping and bleeding and ended up losing the baby.  This was quite hard and really scary since we had seen the heartbeat and had multiple ultrasounds and every thing seemed fine.

Jasmine, our baby of the family (until Hannah came) is going to be 16 in a month!  She was born when I was 21, labor started all on it’s own 3 days before her due date.  At 8 am, I started having back labor and contractions, got to the hospital and had an immediate epidural and by 4 pm, she arrived via VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) with forceps.  Although her pregnancy had no issues and her labor was a breeze I was absolutely positive that I never wanted to be pregnant again.  I can handle having more kids…just never wanted to have to go through pregnancy or labor again.

Hannah was my 4th pregnancy, we were positive that our best option would again be a VBAC.  Even though my “age” and the fact that it had been 15 years since we had a successful VBAC was a bit offputting to some, our doctor was amazing and said that if it were his wife, he would insist on a VBAC unless there were obvious issues, and then we would consider induction first.

At 37 years old you get slapped with “advanced maternal age” as a reminder that you’re no spring chicken.  After this whole ordeal I am thankful to God that my body did exactly what it was supposed to do for our entire pregnancy and labor.  It is quite scary to be told by every book/article that your body is old and might not work right.  Now, if my body would cooperate and work well on 1.5 hour at a time sleep sessions we’ll be in business!

Our original due date, according to our doctor and calculations, was October 31/November 1, however, by measurement on early ultrasounds we were moved back to November 9.  We were convinced that the first due date was correct.

39 weeks 6 days!

39 weeks 6 days!

October 31, 2013

2:00 AM – David was having one of his insomnia nights, and I was in bed trying to sleep.  I woke up to go to the bathroom and my back was hurting pretty bad.  I called downstairs and asked him to come up and massage it as he had been doing for most of my pregnancy when it hurt…pretty much every night.  I fell asleep, and then he followed.  Sometime during the next few hours I began to have contractions in both my back and my stomach, alternating.

6:00 AM – Contractions were strong enough to wake me up completely and I began timing them and texting my sister to let her know and ask her some questions.  We timed contractions and talked for an hour, and after having some good, strong ones where I had to breathe through them, I woke David up.  We kept timing and with contractions from 7-10 minutes apart, we finally called the doctor at 8:00 AM to see if we should go to his office or to L&D to get checked out.  We were instructed  to head to the hospital to get evaluated.  Gege and Pawpaw came over and took Jasmine to school, and we went to be seen.

8:30 AM – Contractions only showed up twice in the 1.5 hours I was monitored, and we agreed to have a cervical check since the contractions at home were consistent.  I was dilated to 3 cm and 70% effaced.  We were released at 10:30 AM and instructed to go home, rest, eat, relax and return when contractions were 5 minutes apart, or if my water broke, or when I could not breathe and deal with contractions.

7:00 PM – We spent the day resting, eating and timing contractions that slowed and then returned.  Again, they were 7-9 minutes apart, and after about 3 hours of that I was having to breathe and very uncomfortable (I didn’t realize it then, but I clearly was NOT in active labor…even though they did hurt).  We decided that rather than going to bed only to get up or to have to rush to the hospital we would go back in and get checked to see if these contractions had dilated me any further.  My concern was that the contractions would kick in and dilate me and we would be stuck at home or driving furiously to get to the hospital in time.

9:30 PM – Hooked up to monitors again and within 1 hour had 6 contractions, they were alternating from back labor to regular contractions and the back ones did not show up on the monitor.  Hannah was tolerating everything well, as was I, and when checked after  19 hours of contractions and back labor.  I was still 3 cm and 70%…and upset.  We left and headed home after being instructed to “get some sleep.”

November 1, 2013

12:45 AM – Home finally, Jasmine went to bed and we laid down.  David fell asleep easily and according to him I moaned and whined all night.  It was not comfortable or even reasonable to expect me to sleep.

5:00 AM – I had slept about 1 hour total between contractions every 7-10 minutes.  They had gotten to the point that I was breathing, moaning, crying, moving trying to get in a non-painful position.  I woke David up and he was at a loss of what to do, but we both agreed that things were worse/different.  We decided to wait until 8 am to call Dr. Harris’ office (which is 1 mile from our home) and try to get in there first thing to get checked rather than drive to the hospital again to be told to go home.  Jasmine was up at 7 am because of my moaning even though she didn’t have school!  She was trying to help me breathe while I was in pain.  We called the doctor at 8, they told us to come in at 8:45, and we called Gege to come over and stay with Jasmine.

8:30 AM – Arrived at Dr. Harris’ office, and had to wait in the waiting room for 15 minutes.  It was funny to both David and I because I was having contractions about every 5 minutes now, and they were intense.  I had to breath through them, moan, I cried through one, and he was rubbing my back/hips while I leaned on the wall in the waiting room.  All of which would not have been funny had the waiting room not been only men who clearly were concerned for me!  One guy told the nurse “you can take her back before me, she’s struggling…hard. She’s really not doing well.”  Another went and found a box of tissue and brought it to David because there wasn’t one in the waiting room and I was crying.  I think they all felt so bad for me, and all women!

8:45 AM – We were put in one of Dr. Harris’ exam rooms and I tried to relax and be comfortable on that tiny table, I was so tired, but couldn’t sleep through contractions.  I was moaning and breathing through them all, and David would rub my back, I was not breathing quite right and was getting the shooting stars from being out of breath…that sucked.  After an HOUR Dr. Harris walked in while I was having a contraction and said “is the next sound I’m going to hear a baby crying?”  I said, “yes, if you don’t send me to the hospital it will be.”  He immediately checked me and said I was 5 CM and we could go straight to L&D and get a room and an epidural!  We headed back to the house to get Jasmine and mom and went straight to the hospital!

10:30 AM – Got to L&D and had to check in for the 3rd time.  I was listening to music to try to help and it worked in the car, but things picked up again and by the time I was standing to check in I couldn’t sign my name on the papers because of the pain.  We got taken to a room right away, and from there it was clothes off, in bed, monitors and lots of questions and bloodwork.  Three blown veins on one arm and my nurse had to put my IV in finally (she rocked).  We had to wait for an hour for the bloodwork to come back before they could get my epidural ordered and in.  David and Jasmine ate some breakfast while I was still trying to breathe through contractions, and not enjoying it.

11:30  AM – They said that the anesthetist was “busy” in another procedure so I’d have to wait.  Totally sucked.  By this time contractions were about 3 minutes apart, and both back and normal contractions.  I was not very happy, but there wasn’t much I could do but try to breathe and wait it out.  Jasmine, David and Judi took turns rubbing my head, arms, holding my hand and feeding me lots of ice chips since my throat was SO dry!  Oh, and chapstick, had to have that.

12:30 PM – My nurse, Lisa, said that everyone had to leave for the epidural, which freaked me out, but I had no choice and I was in pain so everyone had to go.  Remember, this is almost 4 hours after being 5 cm and being told by Dr. Harris I could have an epidural! The Dr. came in and read me all the side effects of the epidural, which are all scary and totally not something you should focus on or listen to when they do it (why they read that to you at that moment is beyond me, it is not relaxing or helpful to labor).  Then Lisa sat me up and had me lean over and she held my shoulders while I relaxed my head and neck and bent as far as possible.  I kept feeling faint and like I was about to fall out, mainly from pain, and being scared of the epidural, and not having anyone in there with me.  She kept telling me that my bp was good, baby was good, and waving alcohol pads in front of me.  The Dr. got the needle in after about 5 minutes, but couldn’t get the catheter to thread – it took her 3 tries with 3 caths.  All of which I felt in my spine, which is really freaky.  She said “I may not be able to get this” to which Lisa said “you will get this for her.”  After 15 minutes of trying she got it in, and did a test dose, I was told to let them know if I felt weird, or pressure or anything…I felt my ears and head kinda squeeze, almost like when you go underwater or when you have an ear infection and can hear yourself talk.  They both looked at each other like “oh crap.”  That passed and she got one dose of epidural meds in and it started to take, then Lisa laid me down and let everyone back in.  My epidural finally took totally by 1:15 pm.  I was checked again and was 8.5 CM dilated right after she laid me down!  So essentially I made it to about 8.5 CM with no meds, which was not fun.  My epidural was more like when your legs are asleep – not fully numb, but tingly and not painful, and my right leg was TOTALLY numb, I couldn’t move it at all.

While I was getting meds, David was a tad worried:)

Jasmine also used the time that I was getting medicine to ask for some prayers.

Jasmine also used the time that I was getting medicine to ask for some prayers.

1:40 PM – Lisa checked again and I still had a small “lip” on my cervix, so she had me do some pushing to help bring Hannah down and dilate me to 10 cm.  In about 3 pushes I was 10 cm and we were ready to go.  She was pretty impressed with my pushing (weird), but that proved to be a good thing since I wanted Hannah OUT!  Lisa called Dr. Harris, who was sitting right outside my labor room, and told him it was pushing time.  He came in, broke my water and Lisa’s face dropped.  There was meconium in the water, and she thought there was also some blood.  Her concern was that I was  VBAC and if there was blood it could have been due to a uterine rupture.  David picked up on her concern, and heard Dr. Harris tell her “we’re ok, it’s fine.”  To which David replied to both of them “she damn well better be ok.”  A few days after Hannah’s birth, Lisa and David both admitted that this was the only time they were majorly concerned about me and Hannah.  I had no idea they were both worried since they were all cool and calm the whole time.

1:55 PM – Legs up to my head, hands behind my knees and only a sheet covering me, it was time to push (and leave all modesty behind)!!!!!!  Jasmine and David were on my left, Jasmine was by my head holding it up as I pushed, David had one hand under my back as I pushed and was also holding my leg with me.  Judi was on my right and had her arm behind my shoulder.  I pushed for about 15 minutes and looked down to Dr. Harris who was not ready yet.  I said “you better get ready, I’m pushing her out now.”  As she crowned I felt it on my left side, not painful, but I felt the pressure and it wasn’t pleasant.  David decided he was going to watch, which was not our plan, but that all went out the window as he was so excited and ready for Hannah to be here!

2:15 PM – Hannah Grace, our unexpected, perfect, beautiful blessing was born, weighing 7 pounds and 1.5 ounces and measuring 20.5 inches long!

Hannah is here (and came out crying)!

Hannah is here (and came out crying)!

IMAG3505

Where am I???!!!

Booboo lip

Booboo lip

We welcomed Hannah with tears of joy and family surrounding her.  She was placed on my chest and Jasmine took pictures while David cut the cord (which he also wasn’t going to do).  Hannah was a little goey and needed to be cleaned up and checked because of the water, so Jasmine went over to look at her and take pictures while I was fixed up, David remained by me to make sure I was doing well while the doctor finished up.  We all got to hold her within minutes and remained in the room for another hour to let her eat and get some skin to skin time.

7 pounds 1.5 ounces

7 pounds 1.5 ounces

Footprints

Footprints

Swollen, but cute.

Swollen, but cute.

Our baby girl!

Our baby girl!

Daddy is toast

Daddy is toast

Jasmine and Hannah, our babies!

Jasmine and Hannah, our babies!

Love this!

Love this!

My loves!

My loves!

Hot...

Hot…

Yum!

Yum!

hannah blog 3

Jasmine’s FB status 1

hannah blog 5

Jasmine’s FB status 2

hannah blog 4

Jasmine’s FB status 3

One Week Old

One Week Old

~Mel

A husband/daddy’s point of view:

After 48hrs plus of Mel being in horrible pain, I was ready for her to have a reprieve. Honestly it was killing me seeing her in so much pain and knowing I was at least partially to blame…although she was there for the decision making!

The back and forth to the hospital was a little annoying because the nursing staff knew she wasn’t ready, but she was MORE than ready to have this baby. She was just so exhausted and wanted things to be happening and so did I. Now, I am always one to err on the side of caution and it had been almost twenty years since either of us had a child so I would have made 100 trips to make sure everything was alright and both she and the baby were fine. The nurses were sweet but I wanted a bit more sympathy for her than I saw.

When it was time, we both knew and there was zero doubt in our minds that Hannah was on her way into the world. I could have killed Dr. Harris for taking so long to see her once we arrived in his office. Watching and being helpless is truly torture when the one you love most is hurting so badly. I’m not a violent man, but if he wasn’t the one delivering the baby, he would have needed a doctor himself. Of course I had to play it cool for her and be Mr. Level Head as any good husband should in any crisis.

I was so relieved that we were headed to the hospital and she could get some relief! Unfortunately it took much longer than either of us expected and they gave me the boot as hospitals seems to have a habit of doing. Melissa and I spend 24/7 together (how it took so long for her to get pregnant I will never know), and it really does bother us when others tell us we have to be apart for no good reason. I worry and hate not being there for her, especially when she was in so much pain. I have bragged how my wife is a badass several times since having Hannah. I have broken everything there is to break and seen some things, but she handled birth like a champ. She forever has my respect as most people would not have been nearly as strong or graceful through it all.

Things moved really fast once I was allowed back in the room. It was maybe an hour, if that long before it was truly TIME. I was present for the birth of my daughter Brianna, but promised myself that I would be more than just present and in the room for both Melissa as well as Hannah. I’m much older now and much more aware. Honestly I was much more worried this time. I know all the stats, and have seen all manner of medical emergencies. My former career forced me to see and assist in some pretty gruesome stuff. I was scared for her.

When the doctor broke her water, Lisa’s body language changed completely and Dr. Harris had a moment of pause. I had some idea of why, but not completely. What I did know is that Melissa couldn’t see me worried. I do remember saying “She damn well better be alright or I will hunt you both down,” and they both knew I was serious even though I said it lightheartedly for her sake. From that time it was literally a few pushes and Hannah was here!

There was a buzz of movement around Hannah, but I refused to leave Melissa’s side until some time had passed and I knew she was in the clear. That turned out to be after we were moved to a private room. She was perfectly fine pretty soon thereafter, however I was still shaken.

The advice that I would give to fathers or husbands is truly be there in the moment. Take it all in and participate as much as possible. It really is a life changing experience if you allow it to be. You’ll only love your wife more. Believe me guys it hasn’t caused any issues in the desire department…

David

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There’s a special occasion today, and for one day, I’m going to open up a bit about what it is I/we do…read on.

I have known, for years now, that my husband is amazing.   I have even blogged about it on a few occasions.  The times that I find myself thinking what a great husband and man he is are far more than the times I question his actions or intentions.  I’m not trying to imply that he’s perfect, as we all have our moments, but more often than not, to me, he is.

I don’t discuss business on here, but for those that don’t know, we work together from home.  It’s been a lifesaver when children are sick, or there are school functions, or when you just don’t feel like going to “work.”  For us it has blessed our marriage by allowing us to truly get to know each other and bond.  That bond translates to better parenting, better family ties, us being happier, and has allowed us to make a stronger team against outside forces.  We all face stress, trials, and attacks from the outside world and un-Godly forces, and the ability to be confident in your partner and know you have someone that has your back is the best gift you can give yourself and your spouse.  We often get questions ranging from “how do you spend ALL DAY together” to “do you really enjoy being around each other that much?”  The answer is the same from either of us…yes, most certainly.   My business partner respects me, backs me up with tough clients, steps in when I’ve had enough of someone, and is amazing in his work ethic and ability to land clients.   There is no one I’d rather spend all day with.

So, with that preface, I’m proud to announce that D has become a weekly blogger on a Christian website!  I am proud of him for being a provider and I’m proud that others view him as the strong business man, and man of God he is.  You will quickly see, in his writing, that he has a gift for words and conveying a message that hits home.  Please share it as we want him to have the opportunity to be a blessing to as many people as we can reach.  There is always the possibility that there are business minded people that want information, and if it’s presented in a Christlike manner two efforts can be accomplished in one manner.  The Christian Work At Home Ministries site is a great tool for learning about building business, working from home, and glorifying God in our lives.

So, with that introduction, please check him out at the link below, and be sure to follow us on Facebook and check back weekly at either link for his business blog entries!

Love those eyes…Oh, sorry. Serious marketing pic here.

Click here for his first post – What brought me home!

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