Saturday, January 20, 2018

The First Month

With my sweet little angel asleep in the ring sling on me, I finally have some time to write. At least until he wakes up and we continue our routine of eating, sleeping, and pooping (you know it's true).

Boy has this first month been a whirlwind. I don't think there is anything I could have done to prepare myself for the emotional and physical toll motherhood would take on me. Don't get me wrong, I love being his mom, but as most of you know, pregnancy and birth do not come without hormone fluctuations or sleep deprivation. I was lucky that this baby took to breastfeeding so well, and so did I, that we didn't seem to have any issues. That is until I forgot to eat and didn't realize the issues that would cause. The day we got home from the hospital I was just beside myself, mostly due to the hormones, because my baby was crying and I couldn't give him the food he needed. Turns out I just hadn't eaten all day and so my milk just wasn't supplying because I basically wasn't giving my body the fuel to provide it. Thank God for my very knowledgeable sister for coming over that night and helping us figure that all out and holding our little one while mommy and daddy got some rest (also contributing to the hysterical me- sleep deprivation). Once I had eaten something and gotten a little rest and a shower we were back on track.

Recovering from a C-section is a little different than the natural way, but I hear both are hard. I don't have anything to compare it to so right now all I know is a c-section birth and its aftermath. While we were at the hospital it was hard to move much and I could not get out of bed without a bit of help. Gravity was not my friend those first few weeks. Once I was standing up straight it was definitely working against my insides and that incision. Staying on top of the pain meds was key, which I wasn't so good at, considering my mind was on something else. Once I remembered, because the pain was actually there, it got worse before the meds could kick in. Thankfully I only really needed them for that first week or so.

Since I couldn't get out of bed easily at all I couldn't reach my baby in his bassinet. I couldn't get up to change any diapers and I couldn't move him to the bassinet after he fell asleep after eating. I am incredibly thankful for my amazing husband. He changed all of his diapers for the first three days, and he didn't even mind. He was right there by my side to get me and peter whatever we needed. He was and is my rock when things get hard and I do not feel sufficient to do this mom stuff. He loves his son more than life, you can tell. He just can't wait till he's bigger and can start playing catch with daddy 😊.

That first week (and really the first month) brought a lot of crying, from both mom and Peter. When we are out places, mostly church or with family, I felt anxious when others were holding him. My heart was racing and I was just beside myself emotionally. I don't know what causes it, it's just something that happens. I've been told it is normal by a few people, including my doctor, so I am not too worried.

This mom thing is not easy. You may feel insufficient. You obviously feel exhausted. You may sit there and watch them sleep to make sure they are still breathing. You may sit with them in your arms and cry with them because you feel like you are not doing enough to keep them happy and safe. You may worry about every little thing and keep them inside as much as you can. (Mostly because it's cold and who really needs to go out if you don't have to, but also, postpartum anxiety is definitely something people don't talk about and it's a real thing.)You may also feel like you're being way too paranoid and that everyone is judging you for whatever decisions you make for your child. The truth is, you are sufficient. You are enough. And one day, you will get the sleep back (18 years from now, I hear). I know that I sound like a crazy person with how I am worried about this and that but the decisions I make for my son are what help keep me semi-sane and less anxious (seriously, postpartum anxiety is real, look it up, please). I don't know how long it will last. I don't know how many more times I will cry with my son- probably quite a few. What I do know is that I have my wonderful husband by my side, and an amazing God guiding us and protecting all three of us along the way.

Even as I type he fidgets around to get comfortable and coos, ever so slightly, jolting me back into the reality I now know. The reality that I have a family to take care of. The reality that this little human is my responsibility. But also, the reality that someday this little human is going to grow up, and so I want to bask in these moments with him for as long as I can- soak it all in. He's only a baby once. I don't want to miss a minute.
Yes, being a mom can be hard, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have definitely found my joy(e) in life- being a wife and mother.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Our Birth Story

 As most of you know, our little man took his sweet time coming into this world. My doctor did not want me to go longer than a week past my due date so he said that we would induce on the 14th if I did not go into labor naturally before then. I was really wary of being induced because I wanted him to just come when he was ready and I didn't want to cause any problems by forcing it. I had also heard that contractions can be a lot harder and more painful when induced. We tried what we could (and what I was willing to try) to induce labor naturally (That's a no to the castor oil). I had also had some issues with high blood pressure in the week leading up to and the week after his due date, but nothing so alarming that they felt it necessary to induce early, thankfully. So since no natural way worked and my blood pressure stabilized, we went ahead and scheduled the induction for that Thursday morning, the 14th. We got to the hospital at 5 AM to get everything started. By 6 AM I was all hooked up to IV fluids and the monitors.

Once my doctor came in and broke my water a few hours later, the contractions got a lot harder and more painful. I think I held out for a couple of more hours (I don't really have any idea at this point) but eventually, I asked for the epidural. After that, I felt great. Couldn't feel a thing from the waist down, it was fantastic! So every hour or so the nurse and my husband helped move me into different positions to try and get the baby to drop into the birth canal. This went on for most of the day. Six PM came around. That's right, we'd been there 13 hours with some progress, but not as much as we'd hoped. I was dilated to 8 centimeters, which would be definite progress, except I had been at that for the past 4 hours. The baby's heart rate was going up because he had been trying to push past my pelvis for hours, with no luck. The doctor suggested (more urged) a C-section. My husband and I were both terrified of this option. I had been preparing myself for really the whole pregnancy, but especially those last few weeks, to have to do the whole labor and pushing part. I was scared to do even that but I had come to terms with it because obviously, it needed to happen to get our little boy. The possibility of a c-section really hadn't crossed my mind and clearly, it should have.

We didn't have much choice and we knew that this was the safest way to get him out and was the right choice for us so we agreed and they started prepping me for surgery. It's all a bit of a blur until I got into the operating room and even there I guess I was just so exhausted from the long day and the fluids and everything that they had me on that I could barely keep my eyes open. Aside from that, the team we had working on me and with us in the room was incredibly helpful and informative, letting us both know what was happening at all times and what was going to happen. That definitely put us both at ease, I think.

So, on December 14th, after an incredibly long day and a 20-minute procedure, at 7:14 PM our little angel was born. He was 8 pounds 13 ounces, 21 inches, and the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. The nurses cleaned him up a little and then brought him to me so we could go skin to skin. It was incredible.

It may not have gone the way we had "planned" but it went as God had planned. It may have been a long road and had a few unexpected twists and turns but our beautiful bundle of joy is here and healthy and we couldn't be happier.

"I prayed for this child and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life, he will be given over to the Lord." 1 Samuel 1:27-28

"Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him." Psalm 127:3

Monday, December 11, 2017

A letter to my Unborn Son (Who is Late)

So the day has come and gone. The day that everyone says you're supposed to be here. The day we've all been waiting for for nine whole months. But you and I both know better. We both know that you are pretty cozy in there and you'll come out when you are good and ready and not a moment sooner. You threw everyone for a loop when you didn't show up on the day they said you would, but what do they know! You weren't ready, and you knew that neither was I. Your father and I have been praying for you and talking about you since the day we got married. (Okay, maybe the day after). I have had these first nine months with you almost to myself and I have loved every second of it (except maybe a few of those midnight bathroom trips. Thanks, kid). The time is here for me to share you with the rest of the world.

I know that your father is so anxious to meet you. Don't worry, you'll know him, he's the one with the warm eyes, scruffy beard, and the biggest smile you'll ever see. He already loves you more than life and cannot wait to start teaching you how to throw a baseball. He will have some corny jokes but you will think they are funny for quite some time. It's a dad thing; comes with the territory.

You have a lot of admirers anxiously awaiting your arrival, as well. You have got 2 sets of grandparents, 5 uncles, 11 aunts, and 10 cousins all waiting for the big reveal (of you, as well as your name). They all love you so much already and they cannot wait to meet you. Don't worry, I've checked them all out, you're good to come out now. I know that's a lot of people but, the more people the more the love so you sure have a lot of love you'll be coming into.

You aren't even here yet and you are already the light of our world. We just hope that this being late thing isn't an indication of the years to come. You are going to love it out here, I promise. Especially this time of year. You are coming to us during our favorite time of the year, your daddy's especially, and now you have made it all the more special. Christmas will soon be your favorite as well.

Listen, I know that it is comfy in there but we have got warm blankets and loving arms to hold you in out here. We cannot wait to meet you, little one (and I wouldn't mind letting your daddy hold you for just a little bit since I took the last nine months). We love you with all of our hearts and we are so excited for you to be here. You can come out now!

Love always,
Your biggest fans,
Mommy and Daddy

These Last Days, Just the Two of Us

It's a strange feeling, really, sitting around waiting for what is supposed to be the worst pain in your life. Wincing at every sharp pain you get thinking "Is this it?" The past few months have been full of them and each time I fear for him a little, hoping that he's okay. Then there he goes, bouncing around like my insides are a carnival ride and I know that he is just fine. It's been a long nine months but, interestingly enough, some of the best I have ever had. Yes, the pains come and go and yes, he may have made me a little sick for a while there but I wouldn't change it for anything.

To be honest, I have been terrified since day one. There's a difference between talking about how many kids you want to have, what different things you will want to do with them, where you want to take them and then actually having a human being inside of you and realizing that at some point in the semi-near future they do have to come out, and then I have to still know how to keep them alive on the outside. Your body does so much for you and him, you kind of get used to it. As the date gets closer and closer (and is now past) the anxiety builds about not only having to bring him into this world but protecting him out here and doing all of the right things. The truth is, I am most likely going to mess up. That's pretty much inevitable with every new parent. Even together with my loving husband, we are still going to screw some things up. It's all a learning experience. One that I know I will be ready for the second they hand our baby boy to us, but for the time being, still freaking out over here.

For months now I have felt every single movement that he makes. It's an incredible, comforting experience and one that I am thankful my husband has been able to partially experience with me (our little guy is such a strong kicker that daddy could feel him from the outside pretty much as soon as I could from the inside). The connection has grown strong and I feel so close to my baby boy (obviously), but that still doesn't mean I feel ready to be close to him out here. It's a very scary thought. And I know that everyone wants to meet him and they are all anxious for him to come out, especially since he is late for his arrival, but I know that he will be here when he is good and ready and I don't really mind these last few extra days with him, just the two of us.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Lessons Learned

I wanted this piece to come before the new year, but alas, life happens and things don't always get done when you want them to, but they do get done when they need to (one of the things I have learned this year). It has been a while since I've written anything because life has been busy, especially with the holidays. But this past year I learned a lot- a lot more than I thought I would at the beginning of 2016. I wanted to share some of the things I learned because I thought that they were good lessons. So keep reading, or stop here. I don't really mind which. My brain has just been a little too cluttered lately so I need to pour some of it out.

In 2016, I learned about life.That God puts people in your life that will help guide you, and some people simply to come and to go, only to leave a lesson or two behind. We should not feel stupid for having let them in, nor should we feel hatred toward them. God put them into our lives for a reason, and we should try to find the good in that instead of dwelling on the bad situation.

I learned about death. That sometimes, it comes way too early, but even though we may not have been ready, God was ready to bring them home.
"The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace; they rest in their beds who walk in their uprightness." Isaiah 57:1-2

I learned that weddings bring out the worst in some people, and you really have to focus on the good, not dwell on the bad.

I learned that time outs are for children, not grown adults. That you do not get to put a friend in a time out until you think they have learned their lesson. Chances are that by the time you get back to let them out, they will be long gone, moving on to bigger and better things.

I learned that you can hurt people with your words, and just as easily, you yourself can be hurt by other people's words and actions. Trying not to take things so personally or seriously can help ease the burn but still, the pain sticks around for a little bit. So watch your words, and guard your heart.
"Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge." James 4:11

I learned that everyone has a story and we should really get our faces out of our phones and start making an effort to get to know each other face to face. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you discover.

I learned that stubbornness can be one of the most annoying traits in someone. So I should really watch myself to make sure I am not acting that way. It can hurt others. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and admit that you did something wrong.
"But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward." Jeremiah 7:24

I learned that you should not let your pride get in the way of a relationship you have with someone, especially someone close.
"Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18

I learned that doing what is best for you may not be selfish, but it may come with a cost. You have to decide if you are willing to pay it. You may think it is what is best for you, but where are you putting God in all of this? He knows what's best for you. So pray about your decision before really solidifying one.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9

I learned that sometimes you have to forgive, even if there has never been and probably will never be an apology. Forgiveness will free your mind and heart from the bitterness and hatred toward the other person. We are called by God to forgive immediately. But that does not mean that you forget right away. You are not expected to allow them to continue hurting you. Taking the time to heal from the wounds is just as important as forgiving them immediately.
"And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses." Mark 11:25

So here is to a new year. To more forgiveness. To more life. To hopefully less death. To whatever God puts in our path-- because He will bring us through it.
2017, we are ready to find the joy in you.