Wednesday, March 30, 2016
I have a baby who is nine months old (technically 9 1/2 at the time of this writing), and I have no idea how that happened. When I was pregnant with Theo nine month olds seemed HUGE and old! And I figured a mom of a nine month old obviously had everything about parenting figured out. Now I'm the mom with the huge, old baby, but everything seems just as it did when we came home from the hospital - though I know so much has changed.
Time is tricking that way. The days are long and the weeks are short. So time always seems like it passes so slowly, then you blink and your baby is suddenly nine months old and WALKING! Yes, Baby T is walking. You can probably imagine that I have mixed feelings about this. I'm so proud of my baby guy, but having a walking baby is so much work. I have to watch him like him a hawk, and even then he still manages to fall and hurt himself or get something in his mouth that he shouldn't have. He's so fast!!
Here are a few other thoughts from this mom of a nine-month old.
- I've talked about how having a c-section really rocked my world, and nine months later I still feel like I'm coming to terms with it. Every time a friend has a baby "normally," I feel so happy that they didn't have to go through what I did, but I also feel a twinge of jealousy. There's also feelings that I wasn't strong enough to have Baby T or that my body failed somehow. I was sharing this with my mom yesterday, and she something so helpful. She told me to remember how strong I had to be to make it through my labor and that I did what I had to do to safely bring Baby T into the world. Instead of feeling like I failed because I had such a hard labor, remember to feel strong for getting through it. Hearing that made something click for me. Hopefully that will help me find more peace with my labor experience.
-Newborns feel so tiny to me now. A few friends have had babies in the past month or so, and when I hold them I feel like I'm holding a big folded towel. One that squirms and makes squeaky sounds. They are just tiny and light!
- It is amazing to be a witness to a baby's development. There is so much evolution on a weekly basis. I say the phrase "this is the new thing he's doing" a few times a week. I try to journal about the little things he does since most of them seem to be very fleeting. Some of the things he's currently doing: walking around the house with socks in his mouth, saying "doi doi doi" when he gets frustrated, reading all of his board books, feeding himself with little finger foods, and tucking his toes onto the bottom of his high chair tray.
- Having to put away baby clothes that don't fit anymore is the best way to get me to cry.
- I spent a week in Milwaukee this month, and let me tell you something that is probably completely obvious: it's hard travelling with a baby. The actual car trip was fine, surprisingly. But spending a week at someone else's house - even if they are the nicest people in the world - is enough to turn a baby's world upside down. I felt like I was on edge most of the time trying to keep Theo from eating things he shouldn't and just trying to keep things feeling normal. Come to think of it, it probably also didn't help that I was trying to train someone at my old job - with no babysitter. Moral of the story: try not to bring your baby on week long work trips.
- Want to know how to make a very happy mom anxious? Ask her if her baby is sleeping through the night. If you want to make her really anxious, tell her about how well your babies slept through the night at that age, without having to do anything. I really don't mind that Theo doesn't sleep through the night consistently, but having to justify his little natural behaviors is hard.
- Theo is going through a period of separation anxiety. And I find that I also have separation anxiety being away from him. Don't get me wrong, having a few hours away from him for a date night or time with friends is fantastic and a great way to hit the reset button. But thinking about a whole day or a whole night away from him gets my heart racing! My mom says that motherhood is a journey of letting go, and I'm finding that to be true, but not to be easy.
- Laughing with Baby T is one of my favorite things in the world. He'll giggle, then I'll giggle, then he'll giggle again, then I'll do it again too, and we'll gone on like this for a few minutes. Because we're that cool. But seriously, making him laugh is the best feeling in the world. The only competing feeling is watching Paul make him laugh. <heartmelt>
- My baby guy looks more like a little boy everyday. He's learning to express himself and really seems to be understanding more. He watches animals at the zoo. He pulls food out of his mouth, checks it out, then eats it again. He stretches his neck to look around corners for things. He waits, moving from foot to foot, while the tub fills with water for his bath. He tries jumping out of my arms so he can climb up the stairs to his room. And he arches his back when he sees that he's going to the diaper changing station. It's so cool to see him discovering and making sense of his world.
- I am so, so, so thankful to be spending this special time at home with Theo. When we moved to St. Louis, I went back and forth about whether to find a job or stay home full time. I felt like I *should* be working, but everytime I looked at jobs I got all panicky. Over the past couple of months we've settled into such a nice routine, and I couldn't imagine trading this time at home with Theo for anything.
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
I procrastinated writing this post for weeks, eight weeks to be precise. The further I get into motherhood, the more normal things feel and the harder it seems to put my reflections into words. Here's my best attempt to stop procrastinating and reflect on this period of motherhood:
- Baby T has had a lot of firsts since my 20 week reflection: he flew on a plane, he visited a mountain, met his great-grandmas, cut his first two teeth, and started crawling. Come to think of it, maybe that's why I haven't posted about motherhood for eight weeks.
- It's crazy how fast he's developed. His body can do things that he wouldn't have dreamed of a few weeks ago, and he has no words to describe or process all the things that are happening to him. So many things are new to him all the time. Remembering that helps me be more patient with him when he cries for seemingly no reason or gets frustrated about something I think is silly. If I went through that much change and transition, I would be cranky 24/7, but for the most part, he's such a happy, relaxed little guy.
- After our move to St. Louis, Paul and I decided that I would stay home with Theo for a while. Decided is actually maybe too strong a word. I put off my job search until after the holidays because nothing was jumping out at me, then I realized more and more that I was putting off the job search because I didn't want to leave Theo. Financially it's a wash to have me work and have Theo in daycare, so SAHM it is for your truly. It's been a big adjustment, and I've been challenged in ways I didn't expect. I don't think I'll stay home forever, but it's working for all of us pretty well right now.
- I've realized that to be the best mom I can be, I need to find ways to stay personally fulfilled while being a SAHM. Recently that included buying myself a planner (not a ton to plan, but writing my to-do list makes my tasks feel more legitimate) and making a resolution to sketch everyday. Small things like that have made a difference in my self confidence and overall life satisfaction level.
- I started thinking of other stay at homes as my co-workers. Making efforts to see other moms and babies during the week has been great for both me and Theo.
- Before Theo was born, I promised myself I would start exercising again at six months post partum. If you remember, I was doing roller derby before I got pregnant with Theo, but I wasn't quite ready to jump back into something like that. I started a mom stroller class that I thought would be a nice, easy transition back into exercising. Yeah...not so easy. That class makes me sweat almost as much as derby used to. Not quite the chill work out I thought it would be, but I love it because I've surprisingly come to crave a good workout. I also love that Theo can come and crawl around on the floor with everybody else's kids.
- We're currently living with my parents which has been a big transition. We don't have our own space anymore, but my parents have been super hospitable and have been great with Theo. It's pretty amazing to have live in babysitters. I know I'll look back at this time with so much nostalgia remembering how special it was to see Theo play daily with his grandparents.
- Yesterday, Theo knocked one of his plastic eggs against one my mom was holding. I knew he could knock two together when he was holding them himself, but it took another level of problem solving to play with the one my mom was holding. I didn't even know that was in the realm of possibilities for something he could do! I immediately felt guilty that I wasn't encouraging Theo to fulfill his full potential. And then luckily I gave myself a break pretty soon after.
- That situation had me thinking how easy it is for parents to coddle their kids or not challenge them. Theo (and other babies and kids) develop so fast, and half the time I'm just trying to catch up with whatever new thing he's doing. When I finally get used to where he currently is, I get emotionally connected to it, but he's already ready for the next step. Parenthood feels like I'm trying to constantly keep up with my baby boy. Meanwhile he doesn't know where he's going, he just wants to GO. Parenthood is about constantly evolving and trying to allow your child to be whoever he needs to be.
- My life involves way more poop and spit up then it ever has before
- I got puked on - full out puked on - for the first time. Right down my shirt. Surprisingly, it barely phased me. That more than anything showed me motherhood has changed me.
- I've been trying cloth diapers and making my own baby food. It's extra work, but I like doing a little extra work for something I feel is better for the environment. There's also part of me that wants to justify being a SAHM by saving us a little extra money and showing other perks to having me home with Theo. I'm assuming other SAHMs do things like this, but I haven't received official confirmation.
- Sometimes Theo eats the dogs bones. I had resigned myself to it since he is growing up with four dogs, and it looks hilarious, so sometimes I might let it go on a little too long.
- I've been a mom long enough to develop routines. We didn't have routines for a long time, because I found that being a "go-with-the-flow" parent was the least stressful method for me, Paul, and Theo. But the older Theo gets, the more he seems to fall into routines naturally and to like having a rhythm to our days. Our bedtime routine may be my favorite as it involves nursing and a super soft blanket that Theo likes to cuddle up in (that orange one in the picture above). It's one of those things that feels no normal and mundane it's not even worth mentioning, but things have changed so quickly the last seven months, I know that our current routines won't last forever. Knowing that I won't always put Theo to sleep after relaxing in the nursing chair is kind of heart breaking (though also a relief because what mom wants to rock her 17 year old son to sleep? That's weird Game of Thrones material.)
- More of Theo's personality comes out everyday. Each day we seem closer to him looking up at me and telling me what's on his mind. I think he's going to have some pretty funny things to share.
- People continue to be so kind to us. It makes me so happy to think that Theo will grow up seeing the best of people, knowing that people are basically good at heart. Our interactions over the past seven months has renewed my faith in humanity.
For not knowing what I would write, that post turned out to be a lot longer than I expected! Thanks for reading and following along on my journey.
Sunday, November 8, 2015
First, the announcement: we're moving to St. Louis! This decision has been a loooong time coming. Like seven years coming. Paul and I have been trying to figure out the best city to settle in, and with Theo's arrival, we were pushed to finally make a decision. Paul found a good job in St. Louis and that helped confirm it was the right choice for us. We move very soon and have lots to do before leaving Milwaukee - people to say goodbye to, jobs to wrap up, things to pack, favorite restaurants to go to one last time. It's bittersweet to leave a place that's become home and people who have become like family, but I think it's the best decision for us right now. With all the craziness of this move, I haven't been keeping up with the blog well (there's always something!), but here are some recent thoughts on motherhood. I keep learning some wonderful lessons and gaining wonderful gifts thanks to my sweet boy.
- Theo's done a little sleep regression and gets up about twice a night lately. I can't complain though since overall he's been a really good sleeper. One good thing about getting up in the middle of the night: when I walk him back to his room, he rests his head on my shoulder until I lay him back in his crib. So simple, so wonderful.
- Other notes about sleeping. We take an afternoon nap together most days after work, and I love the excuse to rest and to cuddle. We've also got more of an evening bed routine going now. We sing songs as he gets his pjs on, we read a board book, then he gets kisses, and we turn out the light. Nothing fancy, but I have a feeling I'll remember it my whole life.
- He's such a good blend of us: Paul's eyes and nose, my mouth and cheeks. I hope it continues, and with things that aren't as obvious as our facial features.
- There is so much happiness and laughter in our house. We were happy pre-Theo, but there's a marked difference in the amount of outright laughter and joy in our house. I'm so grateful for the gift of Theo in our lives.
- Part of the reason for all the laughter is that Theo *cracks up* at Paul. All he has to do is look at him, and Paul gets a smile out of our boy. I got a little jealous that Paul could make him laugh so much more easily than I could, but I got over that because it's just so fun to see my husband and my son having so much fun together.
- I had a conversation with a friend last night about how I'm still struggling with my new mom body. Lots of people say that whatever they go through in pregnancy and post-baby are "worth it," and I totally agree that to get Theo here everything I went through was worth it. But if I had my choice between my pre-baby and post-baby body, I would hands down pick my pre-baby body. This is something I'm still struggling with and hopefully will eventually make peace with.
- Relatedly, it feels like motherhood is slowly rubbing off more of my rough edges. Loving so much and sacrificing so much for another person helps you become a better person. And maybe embracing this part of motherhood will eventually help me make peace with the sacrifices I made to bring Theo into the world.
- Even though motherhood is awesome, it's hard. I've noticed that I'm a better mom with lots of support from family and friends and little breaks for myself. When I feel like I'm going stir crazy and slightly suffocated, a quick fro yo break or walk around the block is surprisingly just enough to make me feel like myself again. It's good to know that breaks and me-time don't make me selfish, it makes me a better caretaker and a better person.
- Nursing is one of the coolest parts of being a mom. It doesn't hurt that it helped me lose my baby weight while eating pretty much whatever I've wanted. It's going to be tough when Theo moves to non-exclusive nursing right around the holidays. Cue time for a new exercise plan.
- This Halloween was the first time in years that I've enjoyed the holiday (not counting the year we spent Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts). I always procrastinate picking out a costume, and then I'm disappointed it's obvious I put together an outfit at the last minute. But this year was so fun to dress Theo up as a little lion (a hand me down costume from a friend) and take him to a few houses. I bet next year will be even better since he'll be able to collect his own candy.
- Time is flying by. Theo is rolling over and getting closer and closer to crawling. I look back at pictures from even just a few weeks ago, and he's so different. Sometimes he changes way too fast for my liking. I want the sweetness of this time to last forever, but it seems like each new stage has a specialness of its own. More incentive to actually remember to take pictures of my growing boy!!
Thanks so much for reading. And thanks for sticking with me with me during my spotting posting!
Friday, October 30, 2015
Life with Baby T has reminded how blessed and loved our family is. People have been so thoughtful and have gone out of their way to show us how loved Theo is. Perfect examples of this are all the handmade gifts he's received. Handmade gifts just feel like getting wrapped up in love. These are the booties, bibs, blankets, and sweaters Theo has been lucky enough to receive over the past few months.
Booties from Grandma. The ones on the left fit him for about a week and will get to live on his bookshelf as a testament to his short lived newborn size. The ones on the right were made after we found out how big Baby T was. When he wears them they look like little elf shoes.
Bibs from a friend's mom. Baby T just started eating some cereal (pediatrician recommended it for mouth motor skills), and so he got to wear these for the first time. They are absolutely adorable, they cover up his whole body so food doesn't get on his clothing as easily, and they're machine washable! They're also durable so I'm thinking we can use them again if we have any more kids.
A beautiful quilt from my aunt. I cried when I opened up the package the quilt arrived in. My aunt is so talented, and to think that she spent so much time on a gift for our little baby - one that he'll hopefully hold on to for a very long time - is so special to me.
A knitted blanket from Grandma. My mom sent me a picture of this a few months before Theo was born, and it made his arrival seem much more imminent and real. She also correctly predicted his sex and added blue to the blanket. We use this blanket almost daily, and with any luck Theo will use it as his blankie in coming months and years.
A knitted sweater from a family friend. I also cried when receiving this at one of my showers. I may have been a slightly emotional pregnant lady.
And one last knitted sweater from Grandma. My mom was finishing this present up during the week she stayed with us after Theo was born. The stitches are absolutely beautiful, and I wish I hadn't miscalculated Theo's size and missed the window of opportunity for him wearing it. Crossing my fingers for baby #2 having more time in it.
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Our boy is three months old this week. We're done with the "fourth trimester," and Theo has officially transitioned to life outside the womb. It makes me so proud we've made it this far and simultaneously breaks my heart that he's growing so fast. Here are my thoughts on motherhood at 13 weeks.
- It's annoying that weeks and months don't match up. Theo wasn't three months old at 12 weeks, he was three months at 13 weeks and 1 day. How does that make sense?
- I had the overwhelming thought that no matter how much I try, I won't always be able to protect Theo. He's inevitably going to get sick, someone will eventually be mean to him (and I'll have to beat that person up), he'll fall down and scrape his knees, he might get stung, or break a bone, or get his heart broken. And in those times, I'll have to do what I do now when he gets the hiccups - just show up and be there to comfort him while he waits for the pain to go away.
- Being a mom is already making me a better person. When I have desires like "I'd love Theo to appreciate nature" or "it would be awesome if Theo grew up knowing how to cook" or best of all "I hope Theo grows to be compassionate and loving" -- it means I have to make that growth possible for him. We'll have to spend time in nature, spend time cooking together, and I'll have to model compassion and love. Children learn what they live and see, so it means I have to step up to the plate for him.
- This is one of the absolute best times of my life. I love being a mom, i love my baby, i love my husband, i love my job -- life is just so good. I've loved parts of every part of my life, but this just feels extra special. (And there's a good chance I've said that about many parts of my life.)
- People have asked me since having Theo if I feel like a mom. In a lot of ways, I don't totally feel like a mom yet, but my reaction to the pictures of the little Syrian boy showed me that I've made the transition to motherhood. I couldn't stop crying at that picture of the boy on the shore. I had never had that reaction before to a humanitarian crisis, even though I feel passionately about social justice issues. I felt empathy in a new way for the mothers who can't save their children from poverty, war, migration crises. They have hopes and dreams for their children, just like I have hopes and dreams for my Theo.
And that's all for now. Thanks for reading and sharing my journey into motherhood. It's been quite the adventure.
Friday, August 28, 2015
It's official: I love this mothering gig. I feel happier than I have in years, maybe happier than I ever have. I've been blessed with a content, fulfilled feeling - especially when I'm looking at my little boy. A friend told me recently that motherhood looks good on me, and though my eyes look super tired most of the time, I tend to agree with her.
I'm back to work now (part time), and I'm lucky enough to feel super content and fulfilled there as well. It helps that I'm at my dream job - leading service and justice retreats for student and adult groups - AND that I have amazing coworkers AND that I can bring Theo to work at the office with me.
Some other thoughts in no particular order:
- Paul, Theo, and I are starting to find our groove as a family. We spend a lot of time sitting around relaxing but also like taking little adventures together. (When you have a ten week old you're allowed to count trips to the grocery store and other errands as adventures.)
- I love all the free time I have. Working part time with a not-yet-crawling baby at home has given me more free time than I've had in years.
- I feel more inspired than I have in a really long time, probably because of all that free time I have. I've been taking some time to reacquaint myself with things I've been missing and setting some good habits (like tidying up, grocery shopping regularly, and healthier eating) before Theo starts crawling.
- I am so, so thankful we were given an easy baby. Theo is so relaxed and so willing to go with the flow. It makes parenting him so, so enjoyable.
- Maybe relatedly - I love my boy more each day. It brings me so much joy to wake up every day and get to see him and spend time with him.
- We've left Theo with a babysitter a few times already, and overall it's been really good. The only downside is that I feel like something is physically missing from me when I don't have Theo close by. I've never had that sensation before, and it boggles my mind that I can feel so connected to a person that didn't even exist (outside me) ten weeks ago.
- I'm already so proud of this boy -- holding his head up, smiling, interacting with the world. I just love watching him grow and learn and discover things.
- Though I love watching him grow, I would be fine with him slowing down just a bit. He's at the 90% for all his growth factors, and he's already wearing six month clothing at 10 weeks. He rolled over the other night, and I was like slow down son!! It's crazy how fast he changes and how quickly he starts doing new things. Though I love that he's healthy and developing so well, I wouldn't mind hitting the pause button every now and again.
- One downside of working part time is a nagging feeling that I'm not contributing to the household finances like I used to. I think it says more about what our society values (making money) than what our family values are, but it still has been hard for me to see my worth as being equal to Paul's when a big part of my work doesn't have a price on it. I know lots of mothers struggle with this - which makes feel a little better and a little worse. I try to focus on how happy and fulfilled I am to better trust that I'm doing what I need to be doing right now.
- We have hundreds of pictures of Theo. Hundreds. Quickly approaching thousands.
- I love being that most special person for Theo right now. It feels amazing to comfort him, nourish him, care for him, and love him. I feel like the luckiest person in the world getting to be his mama.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
The Michigan vacation photos continue today with our quick trip to Point Betsie. We make a point to visit the lighthouse every year on vacation, and this year I was excited to bring Theo to one of the most beautiful places on the western Michigan shoreline.
The water is always the most perfect shade of blue, the rocks are smooth and colorful, and the waves crashing against the barriers could almost convince you you're hanging out in the Caribbean -- if the temperature was about thirty degrees warmer. And if you traded the birches for some palm trees.
But I wouldn't have traded a single thing about this little trip. I think I'll love these pictures forever.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
As I write this post, my six week old son is sleeping next to me in his bassinette. He has that angelic sleeping newborn look going on, and I stop every minute or so just to look at him.
It's hard to imagine that six weeks ago, I didn't know that he was going to be our baby. I didn't even know our baby was going to be a he. I remember feeling slightly shocked when the hospital nurse showed Theo to me for the first time. For ten months I had been pregnant with "a baby" - no defining characteristics that I knew of yet that set him apart from any other baby. And then I saw him, and there was no mystery or generalness anymore -- he was himself. He was Theo.
Six weeks ago, at this very minute, Theo was born.
We've come so far since then. In that moment six weeks ago I felt exhausted, broken, scared, so so happy, and overwhelmed. In this moment today, I feel rested, strong, nurturing, happy, normal, and so so in love.
Our days don't seem so hard anymore. Theo keeps his eyes wide open for longer stretches during the day. He smiles in recognition when he looks at me. He's gotten the hang of nursing. He loves looking up at the ceiling, at fans, at contrasting colors, at fireplaces. He falls asleep in his carseat - in the car and on walks. He's easier to soothe. It already seems like he's getting so old, and I'm still measuring his age in weeks - not months or years.
I've changed too. I feel stronger and more confident. My body feels more normal. My wedding ring somewhat fits again. I can walk for longer distances. I can go up and down stairs and carry things heavier than Theo. I don't feel as anxious or as overwhelmed by motherhood. I actually enjoy "babysitting" 24/7.
I still struggle with having a c-section, and I don't know if I'll ever fully believe that I gave birth to him. Mostly because of how disconnected I felt with my body and the whole birthing experience. But I love this boy of ours more everyday, and I'm so thankful that regardless of the way that he came into the world - he is healthy and growing and well cared for.
My new favorite thing is when Theo falls asleep on my chest in the evenings. No matter how big he gets, I'll always remember that feeling of him sleeping peacefully close to my heart. I feel like I'm taking something from him it feels so comforting. But I remember what it felt like to fall asleep with my mom or dad patting my back as I fell asleep as a kid, and I know that falling asleep the way he does must feel just as comforting to him as it does to me.
These past six weeks have been some of the best of my life. Seeing my husband become a father, my parents become grandparents, my siblings become aunt and uncles has been amazing. And the time off to sit, and read, and watch tv, and spend time with family and friends -- all while caring for Theo - has been one of the biggest blessings of my life.
Thursday, July 16, 2015
- I'm starting to recognize Baby T's different cries and different cues. Depending on the time of day, I also have a pretty good idea of what he needs and why he might be fussy. I even have some pretty good go-tos for soothing him. It's pretty fun to get to know my baby.
- We have smiles this week!! They most often happen in the morning right after nursing when we're both seeing each other after being asleep for a while. It's special that we're both happy to be back together.
- We're in St. Louis this week for my uncle's funeral. Many family members and friend met Baby T for the first time at the funeral home. It was a very "circle of life" moment seeing people gush over a new life so close to where my uncle lay. We were hearing "congratulations" and "I'm so sorry for your loss" in the same conversations. I witnessed how babies can help with grief, but it also made me think about my own mortality and Baby T's mortality. It made me feel more thankful for whatever time we're blessed to have together. And It also made me pray the prayer Anne Lamott prays in her book Operating Instructions: please, please, please let my son outlive me. (I highly recommend this book by the way.)
- People ask me things like "are you totally in love?" or "were you instantly in love?" or "are you just in awe of him?" I have a hard time answering. Not because I don't love Baby T but because I think I'm still trying to figure out my feelings. I know that I look at him all the time. I know that I miss him when he's taking a long afternoon nap. I know that I love when other people recognize that he's the most beautiful baby in the world. I know I feel very proud of him. I know I kiss him all the time. I know I love holding him close to me. But I also love getting a break at the end of the day when Paul comes home from work. And I also have a hard time waking up every night to nurse him. And sometimes I just want my space. And sometimes I'm totally fine looking away from him to check out instagram, or read a book, or watch tv, or surf the internet. So does the combination of all that mean I'm totally in love? Can there be hard parts mixed in with all the strong motherly feelings I have for him? Probably.
- Sometimes I'm paranoid I'm not prioritizing Baby T well enough or not doing enough for him. I think it comes from the big statements people say about babies or parenthood ("it changes everything" -- "your life will never be the same" -- "it's the greatest love you will ever know" -- "you will do anything for your baby -- "it's all worth it"). If I didn't have these thoughts in the back of my head, I think that I would be pretty pleased with how I'm doing as a mother. But those little voices make me question if I'm doing enough, if I'm sacrificing enough, if enough of our lives have changed, etc. I have a good feeling that I'm doing fine and the people I care most about have confirmed this, so I think I'll just recognize that these little voices can affect me and try to do my best to let them go
- I changed Baby T's explosive poop last week so I've officially entered the next stage of parenthood
- My body (externally and internally) continue to heal well. My regular activity level is looking more like it did pre-Baby T. I'm still not exercising but hopefully I'll get the all clear for that after my six week check up. I'm hoping to follow some post c-section exercise routines I've found that help target your lower abdominal muscles and get those functioning again. I'm continuing to feel more and more like myself.
- Something special happens when you carry a newborn around. People respond with the kindest smiles. You can see their hearts melting and softening. It reminds me of that scene in Children of Men when a small baby pauses an entire battle -- people were so in awe of the precious little life. I see small versions of that everytime people see Baby T.
- Moms of all ages (family, friends, and strangers) have been especially kind to me the past few weeks. We got an extra smoothie and help out to the car at the grocery store. Ladies helped me clean up my spilled drink at the coffee shop. They all want to help a new mom with a new baby. I see all of these moms' thoughts go back in time as they start reminiscing about their own babies and their own transitions to motherhood. We swap birth and nursing stories. It's like being initiated into a not-so-secret worldwide club. One without any hazing where they're really nice to their new recruits.
Friday, July 10, 2015
Parenthood has been a wonderful, difficult journey so far, and it has been made so much sweeter by all the people who have shared the road with us. Many thank yous are in order.thank you to everyone who showered us with gifts and love during our pregnancy and helped us get all ready for Baby T's arrival
thank you to my coworkers who supported me through my whole pregnancy, listened to all my joys and fears, and welcomed Baby T like a member of the family
thank you to the hospital staff who helped safely deliver Baby T
thank you to the night nurse who encouraged our early nursing attempts
thank you to the nurse anesthetist who checked on me periodically in the second half of my c-section
thank you to my doula for being an amazing coach and support person -- and for calling me a warrior
thank you to Candice for taking good care of our pups when we hung out at the hospital
thank you to Grandma and Grandpa (Mom and Dad) for driving up to meet Theo the day he was born, for taking care of the pups, and for keeping us company in the hospital
thank you to all of our hospital visitors who came to meet Baby T in his first days of life
thank you to Grandma and Aunt Libby for keeping me company in those first late night feedings at home
thank you to Grandma for just generally helping us survive our first week with smiles still on our faces
thank you to everyone who has brought food or visited us or cleaned our house in these early days
thank you to everyone who has texted, messaged, called, face-timed, sent gifts, or sent any kind of love our way. It means the world to know our baby is so loved by so many people
thank you to Devin and Katie for your long distance mama support
thank you to all of our friends and family for being so excited for Baby T's arrival. It warms my heart to see how loved he is
thank you to Baby T for being so strong through labor, for being such a great nurser, for teaching me about parenthood, for choosing us as your little family, and for being such a wonderful little human
thank you to Paul for being a strong supportive partner for me to lean on (literally at times). Thank you for late night diaper changes, for taking care of our pups and reminding them we still love them, for telling me I'm beautiful, for thanking me for being a good mama to Baby T, for all the stories you tell and songs you sing Baby T, for reminding me I'm strong and can do this, for loving our son so much. I couldn't be doing this without you
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Today we're celebrating one week since we welcomed Baby T into the world. Which means (crazily enough) that I've been a mom for a whole week! Here are some random reflections on the beginnings of my transition to motherhood.
- I had been warned that the first week of motherhood would be a roller coaster ride, and it truly has been. Between the physical recovery of the c-section, side effects of pain medications, sleep deprivation, and general exhaustion from labor recovery -- my body has been through the ringer. Hormones have strengthened all the emotional ups and downs of the week. The downs have been tough, but the ups - oh man, they have been fantastic. Holding my baby to my chest, breastfeeding, studying his little body, seeing others love on my baby, realizing over and over again that he is mine -- my heart has never felt so full.
- The night we came home from the hospital, I had a minor break down. Sleep deprivation from five sleepless nights hit me hard. All the feelings seemed to roll over me at once. I cried on Paul's shoulder, and the only thing I remember saying was "sometimes I don't even remember what we named him!" Paul responded "at least we have lots of nicknames for him." I chuckled through my tears - a theme for that first night at home So far that's been the lowest low, but I'm sure it won't be the last time I cry on Paul's shoulder about something related to motherhood.
- I love being on this side of labor. I love that we have our baby, and he's not going anywhere. I love getting to know him and watching him grow.
- I've had a few extremely proud mama moments so far. The first was hearing someone in the operating room announce my baby's weight: 9 pounds 8 ounces!! Yeah baby! Another was when my doula called me a warrior following my labor. Laboring with Baby T was the hardest thing I've ever done and to have it recognized was a huge boost to my spirit (other people in my birth team recognized it too - she was just the first I remember hearing). A third came when we went to Baby T's first doctor's appointment, and we found out he had almost regained his birth weight and was up seven ounces in three days! It's the little things :) And everytime Baby T latches or we have successful nursing time, I feel like the proudest mama in the world.
- Speaking of being proud, I think the part of my body I'll be most proud of from now on will be my c-section scar. It sounds strange, and extremely unglamorous, but this scar will be a reminder that I was able to overcome one of my biggest fears to bring my baby safely into the world. I surrendered and let go when I needed to, and it showed me I could let go of my ego and put my baby before myself. It helped show me I have what it takes to be a mom.
Paul took the picture above sometime in between getting my epidural and beginning to push. Those were a special few hours hanging out and waiting to meet our baby.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
First, no baby yet. If you're following along still, you might have thought my week long absence was due to having my baby. Not so. Baby still seems content to wait a bit longer to greet the world. I've been really busy at work the past couple of weeks, and work and naps and laying low with Paul and a bit of baby prep were enough to eliminate any extra energy I had for blogging. And it's made me a little sad.
I've loved sharing photos and stories on this blog over the past three years, and I hope that doesn't end for a long time (or at least as long as blogs continue to exist). But whereas I used to have time and energy to post five times a week, from now on I think I'll be lucky to get up one to three posts a week. And I'm ok with that...errr I'm coming to terms with that.
I've had big dreams for this blog over the years, but beyond updating my blog format, I never had the time to put into really growing and developing it. Other things always took precedence. Especially as I became more passionate about my job, I was spending less of my time in front of the computer and thus spent less time blogging. I eventually decided that I didn't need my blog to be big or successful for it to still be enjoyable for me to write - and for some people to read. So as long as it makes me happy, I'll keep it going.
I don't plan on stopping blogging when the baby comes, but I also haven't figured out what blogging will be like with a baby. Paul and I have decided not to post full pictures of our baby on the internet - including this blog, Facebook, and Instagram. I've read enough about baby photo safety on the internet that I thought the risks outweighed the benefits of sharing photos of our beautiful babe online. I imagine most of the blog will continue as normal, and then the baby related posts will follow the example of bloggers like Rebecca Caridad -- who posts photos of her little boy, but always slightly obscured for privacy. It seems like that arrangement will work for us.
And I think that's all my ramblings for today. Thanks so much for reading and following along. And I promise to at least post something about the baby when he or she is born. Probably any day now!
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Paul likes to take pictures of me like the one above. And then I make weird faces and throw off his pictures like in the one below. This somehow relates to my thoughts on pregnancy...maybe because life is about to be completely different, and is even a little different now, but I don't think somethings (like my weird faces) will change.
- Somehow Paul and I will both continue to be ourselves as parents but also be completely different. That boggles my mind.
- We got confirmation this week that baby is head down but is giving no other indication that it's ready to enter the world yet. That's a-ok baby. You can stay warm and cozy for a few more weeks.
- Small aches and pains continue. Swelling also continues. No cause for concern, just all the regular fun stuff that comes with the third trimester.
- We took our last baby class this week: caring for baby. I remembered a lot of the information presented in the class from baby-sitting and taking care of younger siblings and cousins, but there's something different about getting ready to care for your own baby. I felt a bit of that panic I've heard people feel on the way home from the hospital -- like, wait, I'm qualified to keep this little person alive? Shouldn't I have gone through some kind of rigorous basic training - with drill sergeants and ropes to climb?
- I think Paul is having sympathy nesting symptoms. Which makes me extremely happy because he is getting all the work done that I had hoped to do but never had the time or energy for. I'm very grateful to be going into this baby adventure with such a great partner.
- Speaking of Paul, we've been making time for lots of little mini dates the past few weeks. We arrived early for a dinner with friends so we could have a (non-alcoholic) drink together. We've been running errands and going grocery shopping together (dorky but it's our thing). We've been watching some of our favorite tv shows again (we love you Rick Steves!). And we've been taking the dogs on long walks around the neighborhood. All the dates are so simple, but they feel special because we know it's all about the change. Very soon it will be the three of us hanging out and not just the two of us.
- I've been able to continue with my prenatal yoga class and walking the dogs, but most other exercise has stopped for me. I miss jogging and skating and just moving quickly in general, but I'm glad I can find some way to keep moving.
- This week was the first week where I felt ready for the baby to be here. I still have a lot of work to finish up at my job before maternity leave starts, but otherwise, this baby could get here at any time and I would be totally happy with it. So much of pregnancy is about faith and patience. You have faith that the baby will be healthy, that the birth will go as hoped, that you'll be able to figure out how to be a parent, that you won't go crazy from sleep deprivation, that the baby will continue to grow up healthy and happy --- but you really have no idea. You're essentially signing onto a contract that will change the course of the rest of your life, and you don't get to see the contract before you sign it! You just have faith that it will all work out and that you'll be able to handle whatever parenthood throws at you. And while you're pregnant, you're just waiting behind the start line with no idea what you're going to face. I'm ready to not have to have faith in the beginning of parenthood and to just know how it's going to be. I'm ready to meet this little baby and get the parenthood show on the road!
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Have I mentioned that our due date is June 13th? That means that as of today, we are one month away from our baby's due date!
I have it on pretty good authority (my own inability to be anywhere on time) that our baby will not be joining us before or on his/her due date. This baby's mom (me) came into the world at 41 ½ weeks. So if our baby takes after his/her mom, he/she will be joining us much closer to June 20th than June 13th. I keep thinking it would be fun if the baby was born on June 21st, Father's Day, but we'll just have to see. Baby's dad (Paul) was so ready to get into the world on time that he arrived in an ambulance! So which set of genes will win out? Only time will tell.
The third trimester aches and pains officially set in last week. I was trying to convince my mom that I was getting ready to go into labor (despite my gut feeling that the baby will be late), but she reassured me that everything I was feeling was just a normal part of the last few weeks of pregnancy. She is determined to see me go to 40 weeks!
In my more comfortable moments I really want to get to 40 weeks, and I honestly don't mind going beyond if the baby needs more time. I'll be working until June 12th, and I'm hoping work plus finishing up things around the house will keep me distracted and not too impatient. Really, a few days off to relax and hang out (maybe in the garden!) before baby comes sounds pretty fantastic to me.
I'm excited to meet you soon baby!
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
This post would really just be thoughts on pregnancy from 34 weeks, but I don't have a good picture from this week yet, so we're combining weeks 33 and 34. Sound good? Ok, good.
- I've reached the part of pregnancy where my weeks can correlate with bra sizes. Not bra sizes that I can fit into anymore, but bra sizes none the less.
- The top questions I currently get asked: When are you due? [Mid June] Do you know what you're having? [Based on ultrasounds, I'm pretty sure it's a human baby.] Is the nursery finished yet? [Not yet, but it's getting there!] How do you feel? [Fantastic!] Are you excited/happy/nervous? [Yes, yes, and yes.]
- We decided not to find out the sex of our baby, and it's lead to a lot of people sizing me up to guide their guesses on what we're having. It's pretty funny to hear how people make their decisions. People will use the same evidence to guess both boy and girl. Everyone is pretty evenly split, so it's not helping me guess either. What do you think it's going to be?
- This is the best I've felt in any part of the pregnancy. I love how pregnant I look, and I love that people don't have to give me the up down to figure out if I'm pregnant or bloated. The weather is so nice now, and all the exercise and walking I've been able to do have made me feel really great. I finally want to eat healthy food again which helps too.
- The baby is gaining half a pound a week now, but I don't seem to be getting that much bigger. My clothes and my stretch marks tell a different story though.
- I've started thinking a lot about labor and delivery, and I'm trying to keep these thoughts calm and positive. If I do get nervous or scared picturing myself delivering the baby, I try to just sit with these feelings and work through them. Hoping this helps the labor go a little smoother.
- My sleep has started to get restless and dreams have started to get weird. Last night I dreamt that the baby's foot had somehow travelled down to my foot, and I had to push it back into my abdomen. Weird.
- We've decided on a beautiful girl name, but we can't figure out a good boy name. Which is the best evidence we have so far that the baby is going to be a boy.
- The baby moves so much now. I feel kicks and movements throughout the day, and it's so comforting - though sometimes a little startling since the baby seems to get stronger and stronger everyday. I finally understand what my mom was talking about when she said she felt a little empty and separated after me and my siblings were born. She missed the feeling of always having us with her. I didn't think that I would miss sharing my body with the little baby, but I'm definitely going to have to adjust to having that little piece of my heart outside of me now.
- Baby hiccups are the best.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Pregnancy has been a bit of a roller coaster for me, and I doubt I'm alone in describing at least some part of pregnancy like that. I spent the first trimester sick on the couch and much of the second trimester distracted with finishing up a bunch of work and feeling like a stranger in my own body. Now, I'm in the third trimester - aka the home stretch - and I am absolutely loving it.
Everything feels so real. We've started the nursery, I'm loving my (very visible) baby bump, I feel the baby move all the time, and we've been showered with showers.
When we were in Portland in March, Paul's family hosted a St. Patrick's day shower for friends and family. The day was fantastic - super laid back with plenty of love and lemonade and cupcakes. I brought the camera to the shower but just put other people in charge of it, so many of the pictures turned out to be of us. And I love them.
I love these pictures - imperfect though they may be - because they capture where we're at right now. It captures my swollenness, my love of all things baby, Paul's curiosity about a lot of baby things, how happy and excited we both are for this next adventure, and how much we love each other.
I look at myself in these pictures and just see happiness and joy. And that really seems to be the theme for this last stage of pregnancy. I'm excited about everything, and I am loving soaking up these last weeks of pregnancy. I also look at myself looking at my husband and just see love. I'm so grateful to be on this journey with Paul by my side and so grateful to be about to share some of the biggest moments of my life with him.