My baby's third birthday! We celebrated with gifts and cake and he was pretty pleased.

My baby is three years old. I don't view myself as very emotional about birthdays, I'm fairly practical. Celebrating a birthday with my child means another year that they're alive and for that I'm so grateful. I can't control time, nor would I trust myself to. However, something about Ira's third birthday feels very introspective.

Ira was my hardest pregnancy and delivery. I spotted from 6 weeks until about 22 weeks (I had a couple lakes near the uterus). I didn't know how common this was until it happened to me, but I was not sure if the pregnancy would be viable for a while. I remember we went to Hayden Lake for a week in the summer, and at my midwife appointment before that, we reviewed what hospital to go to if I started bleeding too much. I was terrified of losing the pregnancy and was also surprised to be pregnant. I thought it would take 6 months of trying, followed by medication before I became pregnant and surely the pandemic would settle down by that point. But nope, I was pregnant within the first month of trying. So strange.

So then, we made it through the spotting and it finally stopped and I could exercise again. But dang, I was uncomfortable. I still managed to get in shorter workouts, but it was nothing like my pregnancy with Maeve. My hips hurt, my pubic bone killed (took forever to "heal" too!). At the end of my pregnancy, I remember leaning over the side of Enoch's crib and softly "dropping" him in his bed because I could not reach the mattress.

And then that little stinker was 3 days late! My only late baby. He made up for it by coming on a Sunday morning (the best time to deliver a baby IMO). And oh gosh, my labor was hard. Take this with a grain of salt though because the length of all 4 of my labors equals less than what many women experience. I went into labor and had to get to the hospital at a reasonable time because I tested positive for Strep B or whatever. This was my second unmedicated labor and where my labor with Maeve was beautiful, this was was gritty and hard and not exactly what I was expecting. I sobbed happy tears during transition with Maeve, and screamed when I transitioned with Ira all the while thinking I was somehow tricking the midwives into thinking I was farther along than I really was. It was a weird state of mind. Ira did not drop during my pregnancy and I cannot forget the sensation of pushing him through the birth canal. It was the only labor I vomitted during. But damn, if I didn't get that little bugger out and he was my biggest baby (again, grain of salt, he was 7 lb, 3oz). He pooped at the exit, poor little guy. And didn't cry after birth. I was concerned and they brought in a NICU cart which he peed over the edge of with that fancy little boy penis of his. While the nurses were giving him a solid look over, the midwives were busy working on the placenta. While the placenta came out in one piece, the amniotic sac did not. So lucky me, both midwives had a couple gos at finding the rest of the sac with no success. It was excruciating. Reminder, no epidural. No pain meds! The hospitalist was called in and I was offered fentanyl which I accepted. While high as a kite, my baby was returned to my chest - did not feel comfortable holding him while floating and so Conor held him. Fortunately the hospital OB-GYN found missing piece of sac and I did not have to have surgery. But, I did have trauma to my lady parts. I think that that experience contributed considerably to my pelvic floor issues that I've had to work hard to resolve.

Okay baby's out, he's beautiful and doesn't look anything like our other babies. If someone lined up newborns I would not have picked him as mine. But gosh I loved him immediately.

Ira was a terrible nurser - he had tongue and lip tie. Ugh. The lactation consultants recommended a dentist who charged $800+ to laser that thick skin away, all the while I'm wondering how much formula $800 can buy and is this worth it? Yes, it was worth it. I think it took close to 12 weeks for my nips to heal though - that was awful. But I did love nursing him.

We enjoy 6 weeks of paternity leave with Conor. He returned to work for a week and then quits. Which put him into finding a new job territory. Fortunately he found something and we magically weathered that storm, but it changed us for sure.

I think Ira wasn't a great sleeper, but honestly I can't remember. I do remember moving him downstairs to Conor's office for night sleep sometime around a year old. He's such a momma's boy and wanted to nurse all the time. Speaking of nursing, the kid was a biter (still is, sorry Enoch). Once his teeth came in, nursing had a lot more risk. And then to add insult, he greatly preferred one breast over the other so I was hella lopsided. And he was such a distracted nurser. I tried everything to get him to focus - nurse in a dark room, etc, etc but the kid had major FOMO and didn't want anything happening without him. I was sad when I decided to wean him, but he didn't look back!

Oh and did I mention my pregnancy and the first years of his life were during a pandemic??? I was so stressed about getting Covid (didn't during my pregnancy yay!). It was its own kind of hell. I mean, everyone was limited on what they were doing, but then we took it to the next level. Ugh.

All this to say, we aren't having any more babies.

Just kidding (but not, no more babies!). All this to say, bringing Ira into our family was hard. The timing sucked. We wonder all the time how we got here with all these kids and our lives just so damn busy but we can't figure what to cut out.

Ira is a complete joy. He was such a snuggly baby and continues to be snuggly. I love the way he melts into me. He's a huge momma's boy, which is so exhausting and also so fulfilling. I'm worried about how much shit he's going to be able to get away with one day because I'll view him as my darling baby even if he's an evil adolescent. He's a beautiful boy and regular stops people in their tracks. His big blue eyes are so yummy. His little body is perfect - stalky and soft. He has a 6 pack and we're all jealous of it. I feel awe that I made him, that he grew in my tummy, that he's my son. He's mischievous and playful. He loves to be chased - "Dad, come get me!" is a frequent sentence in our house. When I don't immediately do what he wants he says to me, "I said, come here!" He plays dirt in my plants and eats chocolate chips in the pantry. He wants me to kiss his owies and give him high fives at bedtime. He's loyal, especially to his brother. He's a lover and a fighter. I joke all the time that he's Greta's personality twin. He's an intense little dude with strong opinions. I feel deeply curious about who he'll be when he's a man but also want to burst into to tears when I think of him as taller and bigger than me.

Most of this is a reflection of how hard it was bringing Ira into this world. And I guess it's also me turning the narrative. It was and is so hard. Conor and I are always telling each other that it's going to get easier as the little boys get older and actually, I don't think it has! It's still really hard, some days harder than when they were both infants! And I'm so glad I get to know and love Ira. I tell each of my children that they are so special to me. Greta recently asked me how they can all be so special. It's this amazing phenomenon where each one of them can be so truly and uniquely special to me. And that's what Ira is. He's my boy (I made a boy!). And I love him.

Our Greta is officially a teenager! Although, she's felt like a teen to me since she was little! We loved celebrating her! Our day started with waffles and presents. Greta had a basketball game after school and I had asked her, hypothetically, if she would like a birthday sign for her game. She recoiled at the idea and so of course, I made one! How perfect that her jersey number is #13! The vibe at the game was really fun and the crowd went wild when she sunk her 2nd free throw and got a birthday basket! So, so fun! I wanted an easy dinner so we all went to Chipotle after the game where our little guys were not easy and did not eat their dinner. We ended it all with cupcakes and a birthday party on the weekend to look forward to. Greta is a super awesome kid and I love that she is my daughter!

  • "Clytemnestra" by Costanza Casati
  • "In the Lives of Puppets" by TJ Klune
  • "Beach Read" by Emily Henry
  • "The Duke and I" by Julia Quinn
  • "The Half Moon: A Novel" by Mary Beth Keane
  • "Chain Gang All Stars" by Nana Kwame Adje-Brenyah
  • "Go as a River" by Shelley Read
  • "If We're Being Honest" by Cat Shook*
  • "Hello Beautiful" by Ann Napolitano*
  • "The Viscount Who Loved Me" by Julia Quinn
  • "An Offer from a Gentleman" by Julia Quinn
  • "Romantic Comedy" by Curtis Sittenfeld*
  • "Dust Child" by Que Mai Phan Nguyen*
  • "The Great Reclamation" by Rachel Heng*
  • "Mister Magic" by Kiersten White*
  • "The Invisible Life of Adde LaRue" by V. E. Schwab
  • "Romancing Mister Bridgerton" by Julia Quinn
  • "The God of Endings" by Jacqueline Holland*
  • "House of Cotton" by Monica Brashears
  • "Loot" by Tania James*
  • "A Council of Dolls" by Mona Susan Power***
  • "People We Meet on Vacation" by Emily Henry
  • "Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century" by Kim Fu
  • "I Never Thought of it That Way" by Mónica Guzmán***
  • "The London Séance Society" by Sarah Penner
  • "Book Lovers" by Emily Henry
  • "Homecoming" by Kate Morton*
  • "The Friend Zone" by Abby Jimenez
  • "The Nanny" by Lana Ferguson
  • "Lessons in Chemistry" by Bonnie Garmun
  • "Flight" by Lynn Steger Strong*

f you only read a couple books from this list, let them be "A Council of Dolls" and "I Never Thought of it That Way." My year's total book count is 66, but I read "Lessons in Chemistry" twice so 65. Cheers to another year of great books.

Sometimes I feel kind of blue after Christmas, but not this year. We had some of the best quality time together and we just slowed down and spent time together. It was pretty special. Family life can be so busy and it was so refreshing to soak each other up. We played lots of games and we went swimming. Conor and I exercised together and went for walks.

And then we got sick.

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