Friday, October 31, 2014

The end of the 31 days

Well, it's been a fun 31 days. I missed a day or two, but we made it to the end of the month. I'll probably return to blogging occasionally rather than every day, but I've enjoyed the challenge. So, maybe I'll try to post a couple times a week or so. We now return to our regularly scheduled program.
(Or, if you have any requests, you can comment below and I'll try to write about what you're interested in reading.)

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween from my little pumpkin! The picture is slightly cannibalistic, but it's a creepy holiday, so that fits. Have a fun day and night!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Best advice sources

I think I've mentioned before that my favorite sources of baby recommendations are friends and bloggers. And if a blogger can craft her material to sound like it's just friendly advice or passing along knowledge that has been useful to her, so much the better.

Cup of Jo is one of my favorite blogs to read, and Joanna posted earlier this week about how important it is to make your home a haven for your kids. It's so good that I don't even feel the need to comment about it. I'll just send you over there. Check out her book recommendations for parents and motherhood around the world series while you're there. Happy reading!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Perfecting the art of the nap

In high school, I developed a formula for the perfect Sunday afternoon nap. I had a giant TV with a built-in DVD player in my room, and I could fall asleep watching a favorite movie. Then, when the main menu music started repeating after the movie was over, it would wake me up. Somehow all that worked out to give me the perfect hour and a half of sleep.

Then, in college, I arranged my classes so that I was finished every afternoon by one or two. We had mandatory chapel, so I had to be awake early anyway, so I took early classes and ended my academic day early. Which, you guessed it, meant a nap almost every day. Those were the glory days of 3 hour naps all cozy in my dorm-standard twin size bed.

After graduating, getting married, and starting a grown up job, my naps changed because if I didn't get to sleep early enough on Sunday afternoon, I had trouble falling asleep at night. And then Mondays were grumpier than usual. It all had to be timed carefully.

And now I am in the SAHM world, where everyone asks if you're getting to sleep when the baby sleeps. The answer, up until last week, was a resounding no. You see, I was told that I couldn't spoil my baby until she reached 3 months. And my Husband is a teacher, so he was home with me. So we held her for her naps and savored her precious littleness. And then Husband went back to work, so I developed a routine of watching a show on Netflix while holding a cuddly sleeping baby.

The reasons this went on for so long are multi-fold. She wouldn't sleep for as long if I laid her down. And I needed some time to not be "on," so holding her and watching TV was a good compromise. Also, she was sleeping great at night, and I didn't want to mess that up.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, nighttime sleep disentigrated and I decided my baby needed to nap on her own for my sanity. And she needed to sleep deeply so that I would be able to nap when I needed it. (I have an aversion to being woken up just as I fall asleep. So much so, that I'd rather not even risk it.) So we started napping together in my bed. And then we transitioned to her sleeping swaddled in her crib.

All this to say that I am relearning how to nap. And it's an ongoing process. Yesterday morning, she slept on my shoulder because she hadn't done that in a while and it was sweet. But I'm being consistent in putting her in her crib for her afternoon nap, and she usually sleeps for around two hours. That is a beautiful two hours, my friends. Very different from the two hours I would dedicate to napping in high school, but I finally understand the true value of "nap time." Wishing you restful days, and if you are so inclined, a nap or two.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Enjoying some reading time

I have been enjoying some reading time in the evenings and somehow missed a day of blogging. Oh well. Such is life. To make up for it, here's my little girl enjoying some of her own reading time this morning after sleeping in.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Time away from baby

We went out to eat last night to celebrate my birthday, and it was wonderful to spend some time with just Husband and me. We are extremely blessed to have family living close, so our little lady got to enjoy Grandma/Granddad/cousin time while we ate. We try to have a date night once a month, and free babysitting makes that a lot easier on our budget. Also, knowing she's with family makes me more confident that she's well cared for so that I can relax.
There are several little things about time away from my baby that emphasize how drastically she has changed my life and how good it is to spend some time apart. For example, I had to remind myself to eat more slowly because every bite was not one scream away from an abandoned meal. Or one cry away from eating while balancing a baby in my lap. We don't have a rule about not talking about the baby while on dates, but when she's not right there, the conversation naturally flows to other topics, and her needs aren't the most pressing thing to discuss.
And one of my favorite things about date night is that we both get to ride up front without worrying that the baby will start fussing at any moment, rendering the car ride miserable. These minor breaks from my current reality also make me appreciate how much I love my daughter. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I think we both enjoy seeing each other more after we've been away from each other for a little while.
So, while date nights and doctor's appointments and the other valid reasons I sometimes leave my baby in someone else's care are few and far between, I value them. They're a good measure of just how motherhood has changed me and yet how I'm still me. I still enjoy a good plate of fajitas and witty reparte with the guy who's doing this whole parenting thing by my side.
Here's to many more date nights with lots of baby cuddles in between.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Still figuring it all out

It's been a wonderful day, including a trip to Trader Joe's, visiting with my aunt, a happy baby, and homemade pizza.
So, understandably, blogging slipped through the cracks today. I hope your Friday was at least half as wonderful as mine and that we all get lots of sleep to start the weekend off right.
And now to help make your weekend amazing, I give you this picture of my baby with two pacifiers, one in each fist. She knows what she wants and goes after it. A strong female after my own heart.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It's my birthday

In honor of my birthday, I'd like to share a quote I read yesterday in a book about food, of all places.

"In The Big Book of Birth, Erica Lyon is equally direct. 'When we give birth for the first time, there is a death. Immediate and sudden.' Now I understand. Motherhood changes you. Your body is never the same. Your time is not your own...When your baby is born, of course, there is a great lurch in identity. One day you're 'just' pregnant, almost like any other citizen without kids. The next day, you're a Mother."

-from Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck

I initially took umbrage when people told me that once I had the baby I would become eclipsed by her and just be "so-and-so's mom" rather than Jordan. But, I have been profoundly changed by becoming a mom, and there is a new version of me because of her. So here's to my first birthday as my new self. A slightly more selfless, drastically sleepier, and completely abounding with love self.
I am so blessed, and each year I feel richer. May your day be as joyfilled as mine!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A day in the life with a 4 month old

Tuesday, October 21
12 am Hear a crying baby. Feed the baby and put her back in her crib.

12:20 am Sleep.

5 am Hear the same crying baby and feed her again. Lay her back down in her crib.

5:15 am Sleep.

7 am-ish Hear baby begin to fuss. Decide it is too early to wake up and too soon to feed her again. Bring swaddled baby to lie next to me in bed. Snooze.

7:30 am Decide baby is refusing to snooze and unwrap her. Change her diaper and lay her in her crib to allow time to get water, take pill, and wash face.

7:45 am Carry baby and bag of dirty cloth diapers into living room and lay baby on blanket with toys. Put diapers in the washer and start first wash cycle. 

8 am Gather clean blanket and burp cloth for diaper bag. Find book for Ladies Bible class. Remember that I forgot to read the chapter for this week. Sigh. Get pumpkin muffin bar and bottle of water to put in diaper bag.

8:20 am Feed baby on couch while watching half an episode of Gilmore Girls.

8:30 am Clip baby's finger nails and cuddle. Check the weather. Gather clean jeans from dryer and shirts from closet. Pick out clothes for baby from laundry basket of clean, folded baby stuff in living room.

9 am Change baby's diaper in nursery and return to living room to get her dressed. Get myself dressed and then grab scarf from bedroom. Grab bottle of pumped milk from fridge and socks from nursery. Load baby into car seat.

9:20 am Leave house after gathering diaper bag, book, Bible, and car seat with baby inside. Drive to church.

10 am Arrive at church and drop baby off with babysitter. Attend Ladies Bible class.

11:45 am Pick baby up and load everything back in the car. Drive home.

12:15 pm Arrive home and unload car. Lay baby on blanket and make lunch: peanut butter and honey sandwich with chips. Start second diaper wash cycle. Eat lunch.

12:30 pm Type a blog post while holding baby.

12:55 pm Put clean cover on the Boppy. Feed baby while watching Gilmore Girls. Make noises at and with baby.

1:15 pm Start rinse cycle of diaper washing. Change baby's diaper. Check the mail and sort through it. Play on the floor. FaceTime with Rose. Clean up spit up from blanket and baby's hair.

2 pm Fold laundry and water plants. Rock baby and swaddle her for nap time. Lie baby in bed and hope she sleeps. Read blogs and check Facebook.

2:45 pm Deem the nap hopes successful and try to nap myself.

4:45 pm Wake up delighted with the rest I just got and continue blogging. Pump 5 oz to replace the bottle she took in the morning while unswaddling now-awake baby.

5 pm Get awake baby out of her crib, change her diaper and put on a clean onesie. Feed baby while watching Gilmore Girls.

5:20 pm Daddy is home! Hand baby to Husband and transfer diapers to the drying rack and dryer. Begin making dinner.

6 pm Unload the dishwasher while Daddy plays with the baby and listens to music.

6:30 pm Eat dinner while taking turns entertaining the baby. FaceTime with KitKat.

6:50 pm Feed the baby while watching Parks and Recreation with Husband. Try to get adorable baby laughs on camera. Fail. FaceTime with LaLa and PJ.

7:30 pm Get baby ready for the bathtub and then prepare everything for bedtime while Daddy gives her a bath. Dry her off and put her in her overnight diaper. Daddy reads Goodnight Moon and then I lay her in her crib and swaddle her.

7:45 pm Put the pacifier back in baby's mouth. Read blogs and Facebook. Repeat.

8:10 pm Declare baby asleep and sneak out of her room to relax with Husband as he works, drink some water, and blog. Put away leftovers. Look up Christmas present ideas on Pinterest, and talk on the phone with my aunt.

9 pm Get ready for bed and read for a while before I hear a crying baby.

10 pm Get up and put pacifier back in baby's mouth. Go to bed and sleep. It's been a good day.

Relying on God for the little things about my little one

"I'm praying that Jesus will give you just enough strength each day to keep you from losing it but not so much that you forget Who that strength comes from."

There's a blog post that several of my friends have shared on facebook written to the mothers of a woman's children's future spouses. It's worth a read because it's filled with all sorts of gems about the phase of life I'm currently engulfed in, including the quote above. I've lived a very blessed and charmed life with few major crises. I have experienced deep mourning and had some serious struggles over the years, but my day-to-day life has always been fairly manageable.
Which, as someone who likes to be in control, is great but not exactly conducive to developing a complete dependence on God. I wholeheartedly believe that my every breath is a gift from Him, and my salvation is completely owed to Jesus. But, before having a baby, I could make it from sunrise (who am I kidding, I was asleep at sunrise) to sunset without crying out to God. And that doesn't really jive with what I read in Scripture about how I'm supposed to be living.
I like to feel like I have it all together, and there are oh-so-many beautiful and scary aspects of having a baby that have convicted me that I do not have it all together. Since giving birth to a beautiful little human who needs me for her sustenance and every comfort, I have gotten really close to "losing it" more times than I'd like to admit. I am brutally selfish and my irrational rage when deprived of sleep is utterly sinful. But, praise be to God that he has blessed me with a new dependence on Him and His Spirit to make it through the day. I am saying more intentional, spur-of-the-moment prayers and singing more praise songs as I go throughout my day than I ever have before. Because, I just don't have it in me to be the wife and mom I want to be. I value sleep, relaxation, caffeine, and personal space, and right now, those are all in short supply, which all-too-easily make me grumpy.
For example, I genuinely desire to be kind to my Husband when he walks through the door at the end of the day. And on days when my back is aching because I have been holding a baby all day who screams when I get within an inch of sitting down, I cannot, of my own power, be kind to anyone who walks through our door in the evening. I'm just not that good. But, when I take a deep breath and ask God for help being patient, peaceful, loving, and kind, He delivers.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow! He keeps delivering just enough strength so that my selfish, overtired mind doesn't lose it, while compassionately teaching me that I need His help to make it through the day.

Sleep when the baby sleeps

I'm learning to sleep when my baby sleeps (at least at night). Nap time is a different story and sometimes happens while I am driving or holding her, neither of which are conducive to sleep. So I bid you good night and sweet dreams.

Because I feel like this right now.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

New experiences

We went camping yesterday. That is, we drove to the park where my Husband's sister and her family were camping and spent a few hours with them. Baby girl seemed to love being outside and being held. She generally loves to be held, so that part wasn't new. But her first trip to a state park led me to thinking about all sorts of new experiences she'll have in the next year and throughout childhood. 
I hope most of them are good and wholesome like our time yesterday or baking with me for the first time or learning to ride a bike. But there will inevitably be some not-so-good experiences mixed in there. A friend posted on Facebook a while ago that her toddler daughter had gotten to the point where she remembered being sad in the past and could verbalize it. For example, she had cried about being left in class at church and then later told her mom, "I was sad. I cried so much, and you went away."
It was a pretty innocuous situation. The little girl was at church in a safe place, but she just didn't want her mom to leave. And then later she thought about it and remembered being sad. That seems like the type of experience that's so far in my future, but I know it's just around the corner. Sooner than I'm ready, my baby will be walking, talking, and emoting. And sometimes I won't be able to make everything ok by just holding her (or feeding her). 
Our time outdoors yesterday was great, but on the way home, baby girl scream-cried for a solid 10-15 minutes. And I couldn't fix it. Her grandparents finally believe me that she isn't all smiles all the time. :) I knew she was full and had a clean diaper, and I couldn't take her out of the car seat safely, so I was at a loss. I just kept trying to offer her pacifier and tell her that it's ok. 
And I'm sure there will be many times in the future when I have a little girl who grows into a preteen and then teenage girl who just needs me to tell her it's ok. Or that it will be ok. Even when I'm not sure what I can do to help at least I can be there. Which means I have the huge responsibility right now I building up trust and love so that when her world is not ok, I'm the one she wants to tell about it.
Yikes. I think that's enough ponderous thoughts for one day. I'm going to rest until I hear her first cries of the night and then cuddle my baby because who wouldn't want to cuddle this cutie?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Busy day

We had a busy day and, after posting about sleep yesterday, an abismal night last night, so today, all I can muster is this.
She's adorable and healthy, and I praise God for my incredible life. Be back tomorrow with more words and thoughts, etc.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Sleep or the lack thereof

Baby girl is asleep and Daddy is working tonight and all day tomorrow, so I'm going to keep it short and enjoy some alone time to relax and maybe go to bed early. The problem with that is that I'm a night owl, and when baby girl's wake up time varies between 6 and 9:30, I really need to sleep when she does. Today was a 9:30 sleep-in day, and it was wonderful. I actually woke up and went to check that she was ok. And then she caught me and smiled up at me as if to say "I did good. Now I'm awake, so get me out of this swaddle and pick me up."
I have been known to read late into the night (or early into the morning), but my new routine is to be in bed by 9:30ish and asleep by 10 if possible. That doesn't always happen, but with baby's bedtime around 7:30, I have to be careful that enough of her sleeping hours overlap with mine. And I'm still a necessary part of her 2-3 middle of the night snacks, so if I don't get to sleep soon enough, I feel like I'm being awoken before I've had any rest. This too shall pass. I'm recording our current sleep situation more for my memory than to complain or seek solidarity.
I do get to enjoy precious nap snuggles and sometimes I bring her in to the bed with me for the last shift of the morning once Daddy is at work to get a little extra sleep, and she inevitably scoots right next to me. That's pretty sweet. And most days we don't have anywhere to be in the morning, so my alarm clock is definitely more adorable than yours. And now I really will end my rambles for the day and start winding down for the night. Blessings and sweet dreams to you.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A few of my favorite (baby) things

Once again, as a mom of a four-month-old who happens to have a blog, I am sharing some of my new mom wisdom regarding all things baby. You are welcome. Obviously, at four months in, I am an expert about which baby stuff is worth your money (or hopefully worth using gift cards that people gave you). Please note my hyperbolic sarcasm. But I am going to offer a list of stuff that works for us in the hopes that it might work for someone else and make your life easier.

1. Aden + Anais swaddle blankets
There's a good reason these receive so much hype. They're a great size, thickness, and super cute as well. We always keep one in the diaper bag because they fold up compactly, and they're lightweight enough for our humid, still-in-the-80s-in-October climate.
She can't even handle how awesome those blankets are.
2. Changing pad liners
We have two changing pad covers, and they are constantly in the wash. These smaller liners go on top of the cover (or the uncovered changing pad) so that when baby girl makes a mess while her diaper is off, we don't have quite as much to clean up. We own 9 of them because they are that great, and she makes that many messes between laundry loads. :)
We like the Munchkin brand the best.

3. My Brest Friend
It truly has been my best friend while nursing. I use the Boppy during the day when I am too lazy to walk to the nursery, but for marathon nighttime nursing sessions, my Brest Friend and comfy recliner are lifesavers.
4. One-piece outfits/rompers
Dresses and pantaloons are adorable, and onesies are great for at home, but when I want baby girl's diaper covered, but want easy access for diaper changes, rompers are the best. She wears her rompers a lot because they're my go-to outfit for errands and road trips. And you can find some precious ones for boys or girls.
Oh, the cuteness.
5. Sleep sheep
You can get a white noise app on your phone if you have a fancy phone, but who wants to leave their phone in the nursery all night? One friend said it best when she told me the white noise machine was for me more than for the baby. We both get more sleep when every sigh and squeak doesn't wake me up. The sleep sheep is part of our bedtime routine.
This is kind of a creepy picture, but you get the idea.
Those are five of our favorite items so far. We have several other baby gear things that we appreciate, but I think these could be universally helpful to any new mom. Do you have any favorites that make your life easier? Please share in the comments.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


First of all, I'm having some trouble with blogger not showing my posts in the order I published them and with the dates all messed up. If anyone is trying to follow along with what I'm writing in order, I apologize for that. There will be 31 posts by the end of this month; they just won't look like one was posted each day.
And, in other news, today is infant and pregnancy loss remembrance day. So, I'm spending some time in prayer for the mommas who aren't able to hold their babies. In the past year, four of my friends have shared publicly about losing their babies through miscarriage or stillbirth, and my heart aches for them. It makes it a little harder to complain about sleepless nights when I think about the alternative. I am incredibly blessed to have a healthy baby to care for, and praise God that He knit her together in my womb and is continuing to mold her into the person she is called to be.
I got nervous toward the end of my pregnancy and felt slightly on edge as my due date passed because I felt like my womb wasn't a safe place for her anymore. The truth is that this world is not a safe place for any of us, and heartbreak is inevitable if you allow yourself to care for other people. So, let's remember to be kind to one another. Because we're all in different places. And our feelings are valid, regardless of whether we're experiencing the despondency of not getting to meet and pour love into the little life we were nurturing or on the brink of tears because  we just need to not be needed by a squalling baby for a minute. Or if you're in a completely different non-child related situation. Life is just filled with hurt that doesn't make sense, and I have to trust in a God who always does. Even when I don't understand, I know He has it handled, and He will let me rest in Him so that I can make it through.
Sorry if today's post was a little heavy. I just have several ladies on my heart, and I have several reasons to look forward to being with Jesus and meeting/reuniting with some beautiful people.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Doctor appointment

We had a doctor's appointment today, and baby girl is still having trouble staying asleep past 2 am, so my post today will be short and sweet.

Her hands used to be this little. Now she weighs 15.5 lbs and is rolling over. Also, I started researching baby food options today. At least I got some sweet snuggles today after her shots. Never mind that they were trauma and baby Tylenol-induced. And she still likes to hold my hand. Here's to hoping that I have a few more years of that before she realizes how supremely uncool I am.
Or maybe she'll have a quirky offbeat sense of humor and be such a gracious young woman that she'll appreciate me all the way through her teen years. I'll dream of that in the few hours of sleep I'm anticipating tonight. Be back tomorrow with more to say and a bit more cohesiveness.

Daily dose of adorableness

You're welcome.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Four months

October 12, 2014

Dear child of mine,

We're a third of the way through your first year, and you keep getting more fun. You're beautiful, and you love to share your smile with almost everyone you meet. You have definitely found your voice and let us know whether you're happy or sad. And sometimes you go from happy to sad in a split second. It's adorable and heart-wrenching at the same time.
Your eyes are a deep, almost navy blue, and I think your hair is going to be blonde. It's definitely getting longer every day. In other news, you started rolling over consistently in the past week. You used to roll onto one side and hang out there for a while, but as of yesterday, you can roll from front to back in either direction all over the living room. You're on the move, and we can't wait to see where all you'll go.
You made a trip to West Texas this month to go to Daddy's annual family reunion, and you soaked up all the time with family. We got to ride in Grandma's car for way too many hours, and you were pleasant almost all the way there.You met Grandma Claudia (your GG), all of your Granddad's siblings, and several cousins of various degrees. The love and adoration between you and your newly acquainted relatives was mutual.
Then we spent some time with my grandparents, your Aunt KitKat, LaLa, and PJ, culminating in an airplane ride home with just the two of us. It was ok until we started descending, and then you screamed until we got off the plane.
You are such a sweet girl, and we love getting to see you explore the world around you. You give the best snuggles, and we get lots of bonding time since you're still nursing several times a day (and night). Speaking of which, your nighttime sleep has not been the best lately, so we need to work on that. But, you smile so sweetly when we come in to unwrap you from your swaddle in the morning that it makes it a little easier to deal with the lack of sleep.
Keep growing and learning and smiling, precious baby girl. We'll keep adoring you.

Until next month, all the love,

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Baby talk

I used to think that I would limit how much gibberish I spoke to my children. Because words are valuable, and a child's language development begins with his or her parents. Then I had a baby, and sometimes all that comes out of mouth for minutes at a time are nonsensical sounds and raspberries. I do strive to speak in grammatically correct sentences at least some of the time around my baby girl, but like a lot of my other parenting expectations, reality is different from what I imagined.
I can't think my way into always following the "rules" for raising an intelligent, well-spoken child. And most of the time I don't beat myself up over that. There are still lots of new books on her bookshelf that are yet to be explored, and God-willing, we have time to explore them. Sometimes it's ok for me to just relax on the floor with my baby next to me as she giggles at the preposterous noises that come out of my mouth. If her baby babbles are any indication, she'll be talking soon enough. So there's time for me to expand her vocabulary later. Right now, I think I'll indulge in plenty of sing-song baby talk.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Birth Story Part 4

Our recovery room experience was so different from the Labor and Delivery room. To put it kindly, it was subpar. I chose the hospital to deliver at based on lots of factors, the main one being that was where my doctor delivered, but I feel like we definitely got the short end of the stick because of the whole overcrowded, Friday the 13th, full moon craziness. :)
We have several friends who have delivered at this hospital and had great experiences, but if any future kiddos are born there, I will be quite a bit more demanding from the get-go and pray for a unique birthday.
The first major disappointment was our room size. We were put in a seldom-used area because the hospital is under construction and was so full. Every doctor and nurse who walked in was disoriented because the layout was completely different from the standard rooms and they couldn't find the gloves.
When they first wheeled me in, the nurses weren't sure if the permanent bed, my gurney bed, and baby's bassinet would fit. Our birthing class tour of the hospital had led us to expect something much larger, and we were told they would try to move us to a larger room ASAP. (Spoiler: it never happened.)
Anyway, after the super small room thing, there was the fact that I hadn't eaten in 36 hours and because of the delay in moving, the cafeteria was closed. My knight-in-shining armor stepped up and demanded that I be brought food (which had been previously promised) after the new nurse hemmed and hawed and said I could order breakfast at 6:30.
Eventually, the nurse returned with a prepared sandwich, chips, and fruit, so obviously they had it ready. She was just too busy and so tried to dissuade us. That was my first negative interaction with my night nurse, followed by her leaving me on the toilet by myself, which led me to pull the emergency cord. Sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do, and I needed help at that point. Whoever came running in asked several times if I was dizzy, and I just looked at her pitifully and said no, that I was exhausted and just needed help back to my bed now. She looked at me sympathetically and was very helpful until my assigned nurse showed back up.
Lest I focus exclusively on the negative: All of Baby Girl's nurses were wonderful, and they were awesome about helping me figure out breastfeeding and then on the second night taking her to the nursery so that we could try to get some rest. The baby nurses helped establish breastfeeding and offered sage advice, which has set us up for so much success with feeding so far.
Anyway, back to night one. Because our baby was born so late at night, all the blood pressure, temperature, extensive monitoring of me happened throughout the night. I understand that it was absolutely necessary to make sure I was doing well, but it made it impossible to rest because there was always someone coming in. Also, I was trying to let Husband rest, and as a first time mom, I couldn't close my eyes very long without seeing that baby was breathing, so her bassinet was right by my bed. The need to know that she was ok came on full force, and I hadn't developed the confidence yet that she was healthy, which was a not-so-great combination. :)
Also, I was threatened with a catheter if I couldn't go to the bathroom at 3 am (ok, so maybe it just seemed like a threat to me). Thankfully, the night nurse gave me another couple of hours and brought me lots of juice to help get things going. You better believe I gave up on sleep at that point and spent my time watching my baby and downing all the water and juice I could get my hands on. All the liquids (and time, I'm sure) worked. Enough said about that.
By that point, it was getting to be morning and we were expecting family to start arriving. I met my day nurse during shift change (and learned that my night nurse would be returning the next night.) As she left, the night nurse said hopefully she'd see me again tomorrow night to which I thought, ungenerously, that makes one of us.
Anyway, the day started out much better. Even in our tiny room, seeing family was awesome. Husband started the day by praying for our new family and specifically for our baby girl, and it made me fall even more in love with him and gave me such peace. I was in a fog, but so filled with love for our baby and so happy to see her grandparents dote on her. She also got to meet her cousins, who were awesome with her. Our niece looked so serious as she was holding her, and even our almost two-year-old nephew got some "holding time" carefully situated on his mom's lap. Our family generously didn't outstay their welcome. My introverted sleep-deprived self needed to rest during the day, and once the constant checking of my vitals ended, we had some amount of peace. We dimmed the lights at one point in the afternoon and tried to sleep. A dear friend from church who works in the medical center came by while we were resting and quietly said hello, gave us an adorable pair of newborn shoes for baby girl to wear when we were ready to go to church, and then slipped out. I'm pretty foggy on most of that day, but that evening, my parents brought us Luby's at my request and baby girl's future uncle Travis came to meet her. I got discharged at some point which was one step closer to us going home, and my mom helped me shower once the IV was out and change into my new nursing nightgown, which was good.
My day nurse was great, but the hospital was obviously still super busy. I had to ask three or four times to get my IV line removed, which had a blood blister in it, hurt, and made feeding more difficult. She kept forgetting, but when I asked the last time (that evening at shift change), she apologized and said she would be right back to take it out since she had told me she would. I really admire her for staying after her undoubtedly crazy shift was over to keep her word, and the pain in my arm stopped as soon as it was out.
Not-my-favorite night nurse returned, but since I was doing great, she and I didn't have to interact much except when I requested my pain meds, which I did faithfully every 6 hours because I had been told how important it is to stay on top of the pain. Husband and I had decided that it was best for all if baby girl went to the nursery until she needed to be fed, and I think I got some rest that way, if not sleep.
We woke up the next morning and started preparing to be discharged, which took a while because everyone else and their mom (literally) was being discharged that day. To make a long story a little shorter, we got to go home a little after lunchtime, and we have been happily figuring out how to take care of our baby girl at home since then.
God was so faithful to see us through what could have been a much scarier process, and we are still praising him through our sleep deprivation because He is so good to us!

Read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here.

One of those nights

It was one of those nights. The kind you pray your way through. Because your baby woke up to eat at two, four, and six, and needed to be comforted several times in between. And you realized during the 4 o'clock feeding that you forgot to post the carefully crafted blog post that you had written the day before. As your brain started whirling, thus preventing sleep while you were feeding your baby who likes to pace herself and drag out nighttime feedings yet again.
And then after the 6 o'clock feeding when you carried her into the guest room to lay down next to you, just as she was dozing off you sneezed. Which, according to her, is the absolute worst way to be woken up. So, you cuddled your sleepy screaming baby and apologized to her for being an overtired hyper-allergic mother. And wondered what in the world was in the air. Probably dust because you haven't dusted in who knows how long.
But then you got to gaze into her eyes and see her smile and watch her eyes follow you as you walked across the room. And remember how you may be sleep deprived but you don't have to be at work early this morning. And read about the grief of friends who are suffering a miscarriage. And feel incredibly blessed to have a smiley sleep-stealing baby in your arms.

I'm pretty sure she doesn't need to eat all night long...but she's pretty cute, which makes it a little easier.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Things I've learned about travel with a baby

Even going to church is like a miniature trip requiring a packing session to be sure the diaper bag is stocked. (Don't ask me about the time I forgot a spare outfit and blanket and ended up carrying around a fussy baby in only a diaper and giant bow. It was adorable and traumatizing.) But, going out of town definitely requires more forethought and it's own set of parenting skills, such as:

1. Make a packing list. Pregnancy brain is an insulting term, but, alas, my new mom memory is a bit foggy at times. And it would be a minor disaster to forget to pack the Sleep Sheep or Woombie the morning of a trip. (Look those up if you're new to the world of baby brands.) I try to at least make a list of all the things that can't be packed until the last minute and then triple-check it before we leave.

2. Figure out what you can borrow or buy on arrival. We have a lot of baby stuff, and most of it stays at home when we travel. Anytime we can borrow a pack and play and just bring our own sheet, that saves room in the car for the giant suitcase. Or saves us an airline fee for checking too many bags. Diapers are also a good thing to buy on arrival.

3. Routines change when traveling. Prepare for it. This is a pretty obvious one, but mentally preparing to troubleshoot problems and deal with changes in your routine is helpful. For example, I am spoiled to have a comfortable nighttime nursing routine including a comfy rocker/recliner. But when we're away from home, baby girl still gets fed in the middle of the night, and she still (mostly) gets enough sleep. It just happens in slightly more exotic locales with a slightly more awake momma. It helps to think through where I'm going to feed her before I hear a screaming baby in the middle of the night.

4. Travel can be messy. We use cloth diapers at home and disposable when we travel. We have had only two blow outs while baby girl is wearing a cloth diaper. On our car ride last weekend, she managed to have two blowouts in 8 hours. I'm not used to using disposable diapers, but we have to roll with the punches and just clean her up and change her into another spare outfit. I also pack more burp cloths than I think we could possibly use and then use them all. Spit up is more common when being jostled between relatives. :)

5. Bring extra clothes and/or baby's detergent. We usually bring extra clothes and are lucky enough that my mom has purchased the detergent we use so that if laundry is inevitable, we aren't risking a rash from introducing some new product. The messiness factor  involved in being away from home requires extra changes of clothing. And baby clothes are small, so I just bring an extra outfit or two per day. When traveling, you want to take lots of pictures and show off the cutest clothes anyway, so it's win-win.

Another tidbit I've learned is that people are generally compassionate on parents traveling with infants. The looks I received as my baby was using all her lung capacity to shriek her discomfort on the plane were all kind, not annoyed. And I've had innumerable strangers offer to hold doors, collapse car seat handles, and zip up the diaper bag when I didn't have a free hand. And if they didn't offer, I've learned not to hesitate to ask. :)

Happy travels!

Our cutie before her first flight

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Home again

My little one spent time with all four of her grandparents and her five living great-grandparents in the past four days. Not many people can say that. We had a great time at Husband's family reunion and then spent a few days with my family to break up the travel for the baby's sake. (And mine because I don't work anymore, and one of the benefits of being a SAHM should be extended vacations including lots of people to help care for any and all children and feed you.) Our flight home included some screaming, but everyone was kind about it, and it could have been worse. And now we're home, which is such a blessing after having such a great time traveling. I love to travel, but the comforts and conveniences of home are that much more wonderful upon my return. Oh, and Husband is here. He pretty much makes home what it is.
So, we're back where we belong until the next trip. I'll be sharing some travel tips later this week that have worked well for us so far. Our almost-four-month-old has been on 3 flights and travelled many miles in the car, so I'm pretty much an expert on expecting the unexpected. :) May your travels all lead you home.

Monday, October 6, 2014

New toy

We've been out of town, so for today, I leave you with this highly intellectual picture of my baby playing with a Baby Einstein toy on an alphabet blanket. She's learning by osmosis. You're welcome. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Birth Story Part 3

I told you this was a long story. :) While on the epidural, I continued to progress and thankfully the epidural worked just like it's supposed to. The anesthesiologist inserted it painlessly, I could feel my legs the whole time, and the contractions were barely noticeable until I needed to push, at which point I could feel some pressure. Husband took a nap, we semi-watched a movie (Hotel Transylvania), and some friends from church stopped by for a quick hello. All in all, my labor lasted approximately 13 hours from start to finish.
I didn't want to start pushing too soon because I know that some women push for hours, which seemed impossible to me. But, I trust my doctor, so when she said we were ready to push, I gave it a try. My contractions never got very strong, but at the end, they were very close together. I only had to push for 45 minutes, and the epidural was still working fantastically, but because I didn't have much time in between contractions to breathe, I had some trouble catching my breath.
My doctor and nurse were great at encouraging me, and having my husband there was the best. I did ask him to please stop breathing with me at one point because he wasn't inhaling when I felt like the pushing needed to start, and it was throwing off my rhythm. :) I made the request for him to either breathe with me or stop breathing so loudly very politely: the most polite woman in labor ever according to my doctor. And the nurse who was counting to ten during each contraction wasn't starting the count when I actually started each push, so I started counting silently in my head. And, seeing all of this written out, I seem extremely particular. Or maybe just super in tune with how I needed to breathe and push to actually deliver the baby. Let's go with the second option.
Once I figured out how to best push with my contractions, and I started only pushing every other contraction so that I could catch my breath in between, it went really quickly. I hung out for a couple of minutes with her head very low (if you know what I mean) while they prepped for delivery, and then she was out. Some nurses took her to the heat lamp bassinet area to my right, and I watched her squirm as they suctioned her mouth. Husband headed over to report that she looked beautiful and had long fingers. (I have short fingers, and fingers apparently affect which instruments a person can successfully play, according to my orchestra director husband. Thus, her fingers are important.)
I got stitched up while all of this was happening. There were a lot of stitches. My baby had a beautiful round head. Those two things are related, and I'm sure you can figure out how. The epidural started wearing off as the stitching was being completed. Enough said. After my doctor was finished stitching me up, I got to hold my daughter for the first time and feed her. She immediately latched on and ate like a champ as I gazed adoringly at her.
My parents were waiting in the lobby by that point because they just couldn't stand the anticipation, and they got to meet their granddaughter for the first time before we were moved to the recovery room where we stayed for the rest of our blessedly short hospital stay. The transfer from LDR to our permanent room was delayed because of the bustling hospital, but Baby Girl stayed with us the whole time, and we eventally made it to our new room.

To be continued

Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Birth Story Part 2

The first hitch in our induction plan was that the hospital was overcrowded and they didn't have a bed for me, so we were delayed a few times and told to call back so many hours later each time. Eventually, we all went to bed to try to sleep.
We weren't actually called into the hospital until the next morning (Thursday, June 12), which just so happens to be our wedding anniversary. My loving, anxious husband didn't sleep much, if any, waiting for a call to come in, but I got one more night of deep sleep in my bed, which I know now was a gift from God. The only downside (from my perspective) was that it had been a LONG time for a pregnant woman to go without food, and I was hungry.
We made good time on the way to the hospital and arrived right at 7, which is shift change. I asked Husband if we should just wait in the lobby, expecting them to be put out that we arrived early, but we decided to head up.
Thankfully, my assigned nurse was already prepping the room and we were taken there after only a short wait in a waiting room. At that point, there was a lot of paperwork, signatures, changing into a gown, etc.
When they started my monitors, they asked if I knew I was having contractions, and I said no. The nurses then told me I was already having them 4-5 minutes apart, which was encouraging even though they were so weak. Because of that and our delayed check in, my doctor decided to skip straight to Pitocin, which worried me for a minute until I thought about how much I like my doctor and trust her.
The next eventful occurrence was getting my IV put in. It didn't go great. We learned throughout the day that my nurse was still in training at this hospital and new to LDR. She was also 20 weeks pregnant. In spite of all that, she had a calming personality, and I really liked having her with me through the majority of my labor.
But, she made a few hiccups. The first was when she inserted my IV. There was almost immediately a blood blister, her trainer-nurse had to check it to see if it was viable to use, and my blood pressure bottomed out. It all worked out, and I regained my color after a few minutes flat on my back, but the IV site continued to hurt me to various degrees until it was removed.
I began receiving fluids and Pitocin from the IV and soon after that my doctor, who was on call all that day, came by to check my progress and break my water to really get things started. She left her keys in my room because I was her only induction (not sure why that mattered), which was oddly comforting. We joked with her that she couldn't leave until we had a baby because we had her keys.
The actual labor part of my labor is pretty blurry at this point. I managed to labor with Pitocin (the hyped crazy painful drug) for 5 hours without an epidural. I wanted to do all I could to progress while I could still breathe through contractions, so we first tried the birthing ball, but baby's heart rate went crazy, so I tried sitting in a rocker for a while to be upright and help her drop.
I appreciated several things about my nurse, including the fact that she kept me on a low dose of Pitocin and monitored me carefully. A few times, she backed off on the dosage because my contractions were too close together for the stage of labor I was in. I was able to go so long feeling good without an epidural because of her inclination to take it easy on the meds.
One of my prayers was for baby girl's heart rate to stay steady so that I would be confident that the meds weren't messing with her and hopefully avoid a c-section. That prayer was answered thoroughly. Other than a few minor blips, the monitor showed a steady heart rate the whole time.
I was checked for progress throughout the day, and before I decided to get the epidural, had been told I was almost 5 cm. However, my nurse had measured wrong, and when checked by her trainer, I was only at around 3 cm. That was frustrating to Husband because he had already texted the great news to our family. However, I was getting more uncomfortable and wanted energy to push, so I had already asked for an epidural and it didn't bother me as much. I was in it for the long haul.

To be continued 

Read Part 1 here.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Am I raising an extrovert?

One of the many things I daydream about and ponder as I get to know my little girl's personality is whether she'll be an introvert like me or an extrovert like her daddy. Obviously, I love my Husband, and his extroverted tendencies are a big part of who he is. 
But, as the primary caregiver of my daughter, I'm currently indulging my homebody nature because getting out of the house with a baby is hard. They have so much stuff, and I like to be prepared for anything, so we have to take at least one of everything. And my not-so-petite baby weighs quite a bit more when strapped into her car seat. So I end up juggling a stuffed diaper bag, water bottle, car seat, and whatever else I may need at our destination. And I'm lazy and like to stay at home where we have everything we need.
However, my daughter already thrives when around other people. She seems to have withdrawals on Monday morning when it's just the two of us all day after a weekend packed with Daddy, church friends, and outings with lots of strangers to smile at. Just as I can foresee getting out of the house becoming a little easier as she starts walking, I can also imagine needing to adjust my priorities and get out more for her benefit. I see lots more play dates, library story times, and early preschool enrollment in our future if it turns out that we're raising an extrovert. We do get out on our own, but for now I try to limit our excursions to a few days a week, and the big trips to the store require a second adult.
Am I the only mom who considers these things? I wouldn't necessarily say that I'm concerned about the possibility of mothering an outgoing little girl. I'm more curious. I've written before about how I recharge when alone, and as she grows into her own personality, I want to be considerate of how my daughter feels most energized.
And if that means planning a few more social outings than I might otherwise want to participate in, it will be worth it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Birth Story

I am one of those blogs stalkers who loves reading about all things baby, including birth stories, and I found it reassuring to read through several before I experienced the phenomenon of labor and delivery personally. So, in case someone is out there reading and needs reassurance or is just curious, here goes. Also, I want to type out my experience before my memory blurs any more of the details, and this is my recordkeeping tool of choice.
Update: As I have typed this out and remembered our hospital time, it has been therapeutic and thus become somewhat wordy, so I'll be splitting it up into multiple posts. Again, this is mostly for me, so if you get bored easily, feel free to check back in later for cute baby pictures. :)
I will attempt to be discreet about certain intimate details, but I want to capture the gist of my experience. Basically, I'll share what I feel like sharing. Keep in mind that this is a birth story and somewhat medical, so you have been warned.
First, some background information. I said throughout pregnancy to many people (and myself) that my end goal was a healthy baby, and I trust my doctor, so since labor is a highly variable experience, we will make plans and then be flexible. With that being said, I read all about the beauty of natural childbirth, I react poorly to most medications (because of my low blood pressure), I know epidurals don't always work quite right, and my mom delivered me and my sister naturally, so completely unmedicated labor was my goal.
Then we got news of the low amniotic fluid at our measurement ultrasound, and induction at 37 weeks became a very real possibility. My fluid levels rose with modified bed rest and gallons of water, so we readjusted the plan to hope our sweet girl would be born on her own. There were plenty of Braxton Hicks, I bounced on the birthing ball, and we did all we could to naturally induce labor starting at 37 weeks. 
And then we hit 41 weeks and fluid levels were going down again, not dangerous, but definitely low. That and the fact that I had been 1 cm dilated for about a month was all we needed to know to tell the doctor that we wanted to induce. I was miserably swollen, and Husband was beyond ready to meet his daughter. So, the doctor asked when we had last eaten (1pm at Olive Garden), called the hospital to schedule an induction (we were first on the list to be called in) and explained that we'd probably get a call around 7pm to go in and receive cervix ripener overnight, followed by Pitocin in the morning. The hospital requires you to stop eating 8 hours before inducing, so we planned to get checked in, comfy, and start the process around 9pm.
Then the waiting began. My parents were at our house, so we visited with them for a while, tried to relax, and watched some TV. I was ready but bummed that this was not the way I really wanted it to go and reminded my super excited Husband (he was just so in love with our daughter already) that I needed some time to adjust mentally. With the plan for Pitocin, my plan changed to include an epidural, and that all just seemed like so much medication for my med-intolerant body to handle.
Spoiler: My labor was awesome, and God answered all my prayers. I just keep telling people that for an induction (read: not my plan), it went so well.
The end result was this beauty
To be continued

31 Days of The Intellectual's Guide to Having a Baby

I'm jumping on the 31 days of blogging bandwagon because I like blogging and all too often neglect this space. My topic of choice is of course baby-related because that is where I am in life, friends. I am knee-deep in screechy, screaming, she-might-be-teething baby stuff. And as an outlet for some of my creative energies, I am going to write about it. The good, the bad, the not so intellectually stimulating. My grandmother told me after reading my previous post about what I've learned since having a baby that she believes there is a market (or readership) of people interested in how an intellectual approaches motherhood. I may not always fancy myself an intellectual, but I have a masters' degree, a penchant for learning, and an extreme fondness for words, so I can speak from that perspective.
Look tomorrow for my first birth story post (at long last). They're ready to go, and I'm ready to share a mere 3.5 months later. Hopefully you'll stick around or join in if you're new around here. Blessings for your night and tomorrow! His mercies are new every morning, and I'm praying for a peacefully sleeping baby between now and then. But, if not, I'll rely on His strength and that will be something to write about.

In between fussy spats, she is just too adorable. But don't let her fool you. When she is upset, she will let you know.