Life with 3 Babies

Hey Girl,

So I thought I'd update you on what it's been like, so far, as a family of 5. Not a lot has changed in terms of our day to day activities... though, now that I'm out of the weeds (so to speak) I can speak freely... yes the first few months were really tough, I was so weak and just beat feeling, I def have postpartum depression, not as bad as I did with Ethan, but it's still there.  I was more prepared for the first few months of shear exhaustion and feeling horrific, so It honestly didn't phase me much this time around. I asked for a lot of help, ahead of time, knowing It was going to be all hands on deck especially the first 3 months and my mother in law has been to my house just about everyday helping me in some capacity.

I think breastfeeding has been the hardest thing to adjust to, still not a fan, even though some people seem to think I am fine with it and it's easy for me... it is not easy for me, at all. But I do it for the health of the babe and the shrinkage of my belly! It's all good... just counting down the days until I hit the 6 month mark. That's always my goal.

Ok, back to life with 3 kids... I mean, we are still doing the same things we were always doing. It's gotten easier since Sienna is now 5 and Ethan is 3, they play beautifully together for the most part, a lot of the times it's just me and Elle while those 2 are off playing. Ethan was fully potty trained a month after Elle was born so I'm still changing someones diapers. She's super chill, she can lay on the floor for a good half hour to hour before she starts crying, which is HUGE. She recently went from waking twice at night down to once a night, which was a great transition. We knew to get her on reflux medication early on, so she's always gone right back down after eating at night.

Honestly, the first 4 months has flown by because I'm so involved with the other 2, the days sort of fly by now. I definitely think going from 1 to 2 is the hardest transition in building a family. That's just balls to the wall... going from 2 to 3 is much more calm, I'm more relaxed about every single thing and just know it will all go by so fast so I really soak up those extra cuddles when I can get them. I think this is true about all first children, but she's still my toughest one... always at my feet wanting my full and un-divided attention... all.... day... long!!!

So, pretty boring update! haha. But boring is good. Everyone has been healthy and happy and growing! What more could you ask for?

I'm really chomping at the bit to start shooting again though... so if you're interested for this spring or summer, give me a shout - april@aprilkphotography.com

photos by Kathy James Photography

Elle is finally here!

Hi There! well, Elle Renee (we share a middle name along with 2 of my neices) finally made her way into the world after being coaxed out on November 17, 2017.

backstory: it was a tough pregnancy... but the nail in my coffin was months after my pelvic bone split, I could no longer walk. Literally, I was crippled by this, in so much pain, the most I could do was shuffle around the house and that was only because I had to. The last 2 weeks leading up to her birth were excruciating. The entire last week my mother in law took the kids every single day because I just couldn't get off the couch. It was really bad.

So, the week I was induced, On Monday I was in the midwifes office, hoping to get my membranes stripped that day, (thus putting me into labor, I did this with the last 2 babies at 41 weeks and it worked) but since I was RGB positive this was not an option for this pregnancy. I would be 39 weeks on Friday and measuring 2 weeks ahead (I have big babies!).The midwife, bless her, so softly broke the news to me that since I was RGB positive I was no longer a candidate to have my membrane stripped. I started hysterically crying, in her office, apologizing for crying, but I just couldn't take the chronic pain anymore. I was done. So she scheduled for me to be induced that Friday.

As Justin drove me into the hospital that morning I was silent, fear stricken silent. I remember Ed Sheeran's "Perfect" came on... and one line was "well I found a woman, stronger than anyone I know" and justin turned to me and said "you're the strongest woman I know babe, you can do this" and I just started balling my eyes out. In that moment I felt soooo not strong... feeling like how am I going to do this? How is this going to go down...

(picking up a month later to finish this post - life is too much right now!)

The first time I'd been truly fear stricken in my life, or shall I say, the moment I felt it the most, out of any other fearful moment I've had in this life. I kept asking myself, why am I so scared at something so natural and that I've done twice before? And I think (after pondering it for a month or 2 now) is that I'd never been induced... a plan for when the baby comes out? That never was in my other 2 experiences, so the fear of me not just busting into spontaneous labor was like... what? I'm going to just sit in a hospital room and labor?  asking myself a million questions - mainly about how much more painful is this going to be than the last 2... will I just bust into the pain of 6 or 7 cm or will it gradually increase (it's gradual I later found out and manageable)...

Well... there were pro's and there were cons to that. But I remember walking into the hospital scared then quickly feeling...ok, this is kinda nice not being 9 cm dilated and trying to check in with registration and discussing health insurance between contractions.

To make a long story short, I started pitocin at 10am and a beautiful baby girl we now call Elle was plopped onto my chest at 11:01 pm on 11-17-17. She didn't cry at first (which always makes me nervous) but after a few shakes by the nurse, she let out a few cries (nothing like her sister lol). I was speechless... I knew that she was going to be a good baby because of the simple fact that she wasn't screaming for hours after delivery. As Justin and I sat in the labor and delivery room, we were in awe, yet again. At the exact moment that I was thinking it, Justin said "man... forget about firemen and police officers, all of those nurses are the real life hero's"... not to take away from firemen and policemen but nurses (esp. labor and delivery nurses) don't get enough kudos! Then around 3am Justin and I were then transported to the maternity ward where we were taken care of by more of THE NICEST NURSES!

Now I have labored in 3 different hospitals in and around Boston and I have to say, Newton Wellsley hospital, while I was skeptical at first, has won my heart for the best place to labor & deliver. With Sienna I delivered at Brigham and Women's Hospital and with Ethan I delivered at Mt. Auburn hospital. Without going into too much detail, the nurses at Newton Wellsely Hospital were the most welcoming, "motherly" (because that is truly the type of people you need around you at that moment) and most caring group of women I have had the pleasure of "doing business with". And a special shout to to my Midwife was amazing, Kim (who works for Dedham Medical OBGYN). She was undoubtedly thee best midwife ever... I later found out she's from Wisconsin (where the nicest people in America live) but her bedside manor and capacity for empathy was truly remarkable. I felt like I was in such good hands.

So all in all it was a great experience but maybe one of my most growthfull experiences in terms of realizing what it's like to work through your biggest fears & most painful moments.

(picking up yet a month later to add some photos taken in her first weeks of life)

 

 

Kruegers in Vermont - July 2017

The magic of Vermont... I don't know why it exists or what really makes it feel magical, but it has a charm like no other. I love when my family meets us up there, to share the magic and fun! At least once a year they all (4 siblings + their families) make the trek and we "whoop it up", making memories to last a lifetime. - July 20, 2017

Acadia National Park - July 4th 2017

Through many of our summer travels this year, Acadia National Park was definitely a favorite. We went up to celebrate Taylor & Tyler's engagement and the 4th of July. Tyler's family has a beautiful spot right on the ocean called the "rock ledge" and it was the perfect hangout to have a lobster bake, s'mores, and a breathtaking sunset!

We also got to "climb" (in the car, thank goodness cause I was pregnant) to the top of Cadillac Mountain! and then we stopped off at Sand Beach to splash in the icy cold waters of Maine...

It was a great trip - July 2017

The Last Trimester (of baby #3)

For my friends and loyal followers, me again, seems like I can never muster up the energy to write these days. I love writing, sometimes more than photography, but getting words to flow lately with S&E and pregnancy is like getting molasses out of a hose spicket (does that even make any sort of sense?)

I will start by saying, I know I'm blessed to be pregnant and I thank the universe/god/whatever listens to us when we talk to "ourselves" everyday I wake up, that I'm healthy and my family is healthy. I just recently tapped back into the book "The Secret" so I've been grateful beyond measure.

But this pregnancy has been really tough. Physically and mentally, so challenging for me.

Physically - I've almost lost my ability to walk around freely. I don't know if it's the weight of the baby, because it's my third and my ligaments and muscles are shot, because I'm on my feet, literally all day or what... but I walk around every day like peg leg. I seriously need a walker, and It freaks me out because I don't know how I'm going to deliver a baby if I can't even walk. My pubic bone feels like it's being torn apart, and this has been going on for months now. According to google it's called SPD (symphysis Pubis Diastasis) - this is when the hormone - "relaxin" causes the pelvis, particularly the pubic bone to loosen, then there is too much laxity there can be instability and pain. Well... let me tell you, this baby should come sliding right out with the amount of pain I'm in!  I cried myself to sleep last night because I cannot take anymore of this painful torture. This has then been paired nicely with the braxton hicks all day and all night... which for those who don't know, it's like your already 20lb medicine ball stomach then turning into a hard rock... it takes my breath away, especially at night when I'm laying down, I cannot breath. Turning over in my sleep is like a 5 minute ordeal that is so painful (because of my hips)... I don't know why this pregnancy is so difficult but it's been a doozy from the start.

Mentally - I'm sort of over the mental anguish of it all, I've thrown up my white flag and surrendered to the universe. TAKE ME. But at first I faced a lot of guilt... ya know, the standard " i'm so sick I can't take my other 2 kids anywhere" sort of guilt. So for the past 9 months we've been watching a LOT of shows and movies. They don't seem to mind at all but, naturally, as a mom, you find something to feel guilty about. My friends & family make sure my head is on straight and re-assure me that it's only a season of life and the kids are just fine.  I will say we've found a keen fondness for our art table (as you may have seen on instagram stories #obeysartplace) and S&E have learned to play so well together, without me entertaining them... so that's a win.

Motherhood though is such a mental game isn't it? A mental learning journey, first what your body goes through, gaining all the weight (which btw, I've gained almost 50lbs! now there's a juicy post for another day!) laboring said baby - which is a wild, fly by the seat of your pants, unknown in itself, then trying to breastfeed/keep baby alive for the first 3 months of "survival mode", with virtually no sleep if your baby's are anything like mine, which, should be interesting this time around.  But then you get to experience this wildly delicious and raw love that only a mother can experience for her new baby... the cuddles, the skin 2 skin, the first times for everything... that intoxicating baby love is strong enough to keep us coming back for more!

I recently read a quote that made all the difference in my day... and hopefully yours too...

If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you
— Bette Davis
37 weeks.jpg

37 weeks

18 more days to go!

Slow summer days with cousins - NT trip

Just catching up here, 4 months later... This past summer was a crazy whirlwind of traveling for my family and I caught most of it to post here... so years down the road we can remember all the little moments that are so sweet.

This was a trip back to Buffalo to visit our family (COUSINS!)... in June 2017

The first time my kids experienced the neighborhood ice cream truck & shark girl (hahaha).

The First Trimester (of baby #3)

This pregnancy has been pretty brutal, I'm not sure the exact reason why either. Is it because I'm keeping up with 2 other babies while growing this third one?  Is it because it's my third and my body needs more help as it gets older? I'm not sure... but here are a few images to show how it's been going, at least in the first 4 months... (good thing it was a rainy spring! = lots of movies and TV watching and jammies all day going on here)

Needless to say, I've been squeezing in as much napping and laying as possible. Now that these hot months are here (although it's been a nice mild summer so far, I've been lucky) I've been feeling pretty dizzy, dehydrated and of course, exhausted. Most nights I'll go to bed around 8 - 8:30p if I can. I've tried "nesting" a few times lately and it's pretty weak compared to the first 2 times I was going through that. Mostly because I know the baby grows out of everything, including that super cute nursery you worked so hard at, so quickly that I can't even bother to put much thought into it.

As someone who's regularly pretty energetic, it's so hard to mentally be so beat and exhausted almost exclusively. It's such a mind (fuck). That 2nd tri-mester "honeymoon" period people talk about... not happening over here. When I need to clean up the house, like actually put things where they belong and not just stack them in a pile out of view, I have to sit almost every 10 min to rest. When I go up any sort of incline I'm truly out of breath and my mind immediately goes to the big fat lady with an oxygen tank trying to breathe and get around.

I know, I know, this too shall pass... I'm making life... it will be over before I know it. I've heard them all and say them to myself everyday... but it still doesn't make me feel better! haha.

Thankfully my mother in law takes the kids on Wednesdays and since I've stopped booking shoots for the remainder of the year, I'm taking it easy at least one day a week. God bless her!

xo,

April

Deciding to take the plunge... having 3 babies!

Hi Mama's... I've been wanting to share my journey from 2 to 3 babies with you because I feel like it's a question that some struggle with when building a family. I always find it helpful to read about other women's stories and thoughts to help me try and figure out my own. So, if you're teetering on whether you want to take the plunge into a family of 3 babies from 2 or you're just curious on why in the hell we would go for a third, here it is!

Deciding if we wanted 2 or 3 children was a question that haunted me specifically for the last year. Justin always pushed for a third, but I was pretty set and happy with 2. When I use the term "haunted", I pretty much thought about it every day. I couldn't get my mind off of it... not that I didn't already have my hands full, because I did, between all the traveling we do and 2 under 3, there was never a dull moment... wait a sec, now that I think about it, it's actually a question that haunted me as soon as Ethan was born. As I lay there on the hospital bed having just pushed out a 10lb toddler, the nurse (so rudely, in my opinion) asked If I was going to have another one. Who says that at that time?

I digress...

I was a pretty firm no for a very long time... 2 was enough for me and I was happily busy, borderline crazy... but the question still never left my head. Justin and I got to the point that, when the kids were acting good we'd say aaawww one more (he always wanted one more) and when they were bad we'd walk around saying "2's good, 2 is plenty good". We talked about how easy it is to travel with 2, one each, and how manageable it is, how family ski trips would be just around the corner etc etc...

But then Ethan turned 2...Sienna turned 4 and my feelings changed. All of the sudden this baby was turning into a toddler boy, and it seemed to have happened so quickly. I found myself getting more sleep and worrying less during the day because they both became muchmore self sufficient. Leaving the house and sticking with plans was becoming easier.  He could feed himself, play independently... Sienna was still needy but I'm used to that by now... My life was getting easier.

And then my mind started thinking about, omg, am I done with this? has this baby ship sailed? We started tasting freedom by the baby spoonful. My body was back and I felt like I was 100% out of post-partum depression (which I suffered from greatly, without realizing, after Ethan was born).

I'm 33 yrs old... It's not like I'm in my 20's (which I 100% believe our bodies are still made for, even though our culture has shifted to having them later in life... but that's a rant for another day) the decision has to come now. Growing up in a large family, I'm the middle of 5 kids... and I couldn't get comfortable with the fact that they would only have each other, no other siblings. Of course then I get fixated on that thought, and couldn't come to grips with it. Why though? My one sister has 2 daughters, my mom was 1 of 2, majority of my friends only have 1 other sibling... why wasn't I comfortable with this?

So the question lingered on, I just couldn't let it go... I guess I always just imagined myself with a large family... completely ignorant of how hard mothering is and especially pregnancies in my 30's on the old bod.

It was getting pretty late in the game, for us, ha. We knew that if we wanted 3 we wanted them all to be close in ages, like we both are with our siblings. Also, I knew that I did NOT want to be getting pregnant 3-5-10 yrs down the road, on accident! So if this was it, Justin needed to get snipped and that was going to be it. Well, he refused haha. There were days when I would threaten to make him an appt at the doctor and he never took me seriously...

Being blessed with easy fertility, we decided that we would try one time, that's it... and if it happened then it was meant to be and if it didn't then Justin would get a vasectomy and we'd be done with it.

...It worked!

 holy cats! 100% mixed feelings!

holy cats! 100% mixed feelings!

Adventures of April + Rae Rae

Last month we got to spend some special time with a gal who's been my best friend since we were Sienna's age (4). She now lives in Wisconsin, but visits once a year so we can get the kiddies together and mother side by side (laughing at one another). It's always a fleeting time, as the kids take up most of our attention throughout the day, but it's a time to catch up and just straight chill together. This time we decided to amp up the juice and take a road trip with all 3 kids to Vermont. Needless to say it was one to remember!

Photographing my life or my kids lives rather, is somewhat of a bear... I have to admit. On one hand I love to have the memories but while it's all going on, while the kids are running wild and I'm mid conversation with (anyone really) I just want to live in that moment... not pick up my camera and see it through my lens... and the older I get the more I'm sick of living through my lens. And then thinking about the post processing after I've taken said photos, it's time consuming and eats me alive most days. But having these images are what keeps me going, year after year. If you're a photographer with kids, how do you manage this?

May 2017 - shot with Nikon D3s with 50mm 1.4

Hello Summer 2017

I will go to any lengths to find a reason for celebration! I love to celebrate, who doesn't?! This past weekend we celebrated Thahn & Will's engagement and Leila's birthday...and also, to kick off to a great summer. In good fashion, Leila brought the best party favor, the slip n slide! (Her bridal shower also featured this always amazing sheet of plastic). The music was playin, drinks were flowin and of course, Ethan was running around naked.

Happy Summer All!

Chillin at the beach

When Justin and I met, we were truly head over heels for one another… so much so that when he was trying to impress me, he took me on a "photography date" around Boston… it was so much fun, he rented a fancy lens (that he had no clue how to use), hahahaha oh man, it’s so funny to think back upon the antics he used.

Last month we spent some time with “mimi & papi” at their place down the cape and sitting on the beach hearing the words “hey, can I use your camera for a minute?” brought me back to that date. Watching Justin with a camera + playing with the kids was priceless. They had never interacted with daddy as a photographer, so he got some great shots that I wouldn’t have been able to… mommy with a camera is just… annoying (I suppose?)… Anyway, here’s our time at the beach in May.

Why are the kids being quiet?

You know, that feeling... when all of the sudden your children are very quiet... the first thing that goes through your head is "I bet they're under the sink getting into something dangerous"... so I walk into the kitchen and through the doors I spy with my little eye...

Just a big sis and little bro, reading books side by side!

Such a rare moment in time, I had to run and grab my camera. Lately I've really been enjoying the ease of documenting our lazy days at home.

A Day in Boston

Life at home certainly has its perks... like being able to enjoy what our beautiful + clean city of Boston has to offer during the weekdays... this means no lines and no crowds (but I assure you, no matter what the time of day is, there is ALWAYS traffic!).

My mom flew into town last month so Justin's mom suggested we do something fun in the city after picking her up from the airport. Great! 2 moms = I can take photos! If it's just the kids and I you can bet I never bring my giant camera along... I need my 2 hands and less the extra 10lbs. (yes, it's a heavy one).

We enjoyed a beautiful spring afternoon together walking through the Public Gardens and the Boston Commons. Justin happened to have a meeting nearby so he joined us for a short while.

A day we'll never forget!

Photos taken with Nikon D3s with 50mm 1.4 lens - the smallest and lightest lens I own.

There are so many ways to be beautiful!

Recently I have decided that there are SO MANY ways to be beautiful.

...stay with me...

As a "people" photographer, I look at A LOT of faces... I'm talkin', fine tuning, smoothing and rendering faces (the post processing, there's just about at least 1 face in each of my photos). I've stared at hundreds of thousands of faces... and never once was I like "oh my god this person is repulsive"... No matter what you look like, if you've been in front of my lens then chances are we've talked, we've looked one another in the eye and we've shared a few laughs and boom I capture your beautiful smile.

That's all I ever really see, is the smile and all of them are beautiful. In their own way.

Each set of eyes and each nose, eyebrows and ears and chins galore! Somehow, your features all work together and it creates a very unique individual.

there are so many ways to be beautiful!

LIFE at HOME

A SPACE FOR GROWING

Hi Mama's... 4 years ago I decided that I had a lot to talk about after becoming a mother and spending most of my days at home. I started a side blog on tumblr called "The Runnin Mama" (http://therunninmama.tumblr.com/) that I sort of used as my creative writing outlet. I'm not a huge fan of tumblr so I stopped using it and all together and just stopped writing. 

Well that's not good... I know. 

Between all the chaos of life at home (which is the focus of my writing), running a photography biz and spending time on relationships with friends and family, there was no time to create a whole new entity to then have to promote socially etc. Oye... what a headache.

Ain't nobody got time fa dat!

So here it is, a space for me to write freely, to share my thoughts with you, my friend.