Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Stolen Moments

I never really appreciated how much freedom and flexibility I had before having a baby.  Now I hold my breath as my darling daughter sighs and rolls around in her crib, hoping for a few more minutes of silence to accomplish a task or simply to sit still with my thoughts.  Once she awakes it's go, go, go.

To-do's pile up and my brain can't keep track of everything I wish I had time to do.  I'm thankful to be a stay at home mom so at least I do have some free time during her naps and in the evenings instead of having to cram in all of the chores and cooking and prep for the next day.  The paradox is that by staying home I'm physically exhausted every night and all I can do on most nights is run through everything in my mind while I melt into the couch or my bed and watch TV or mindlessly browse Facebook and Pinterest.

I know that life won't be like this forever.  In some ways it's good to be forced to slow down and appreciate the little things more.  Like last night, when Leah saw her daddy and I kiss (a peck on the lips) and she immediately went up to Daddy with her lips puckered, wanting her own kiss!  It was adorable.  Then she came and got one from me too.

Life is so, so good.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

For All the Moms Who Are Struggling

Today just isn't your day.  You're beat up, run down, exhausted - physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.  Every mom has felt this way at one point or another (ok, let's face it, probably many times, depending on how long you've been a mom).

First of all, I want to let you know that it is okay to feel this way.  Nobody said that motherhood was going to be all good and that you were expected to have endless patience.  Nobody is perfect and nobody can handle all that life and motherhood throws at us every single day without breaking down once in a while.

Having a bad day doesn't make you a bad mom.  Crying, venting, screaming doesn't make you a bad mom.  We all have our limits and some days those limits get pushed and tested and plain old tossed out the window by life and our kids and everything else we have to deal with.

What can you do when you are having a bad day?  Here are my top five tips:

1. Call a friend or family
When you feel like nothing is going right sometimes one of the most cathartic things to do is just to call your best friend or your mom or someone else that you love and get it all out.  Vent away all your frustration and every little thing that bothered you that day.  Get it out of your head and out of yourself and release it.  Then let that person that loves you back tell you that it's going to be okay, that you are a great mom and that your child isn't going to end up needing therapy!

2. Go outside
I don't know why this works but when Leah was a baby her pediatrician would tell us that if she was upset to take her outside.  There is something calming about being in nature: all the sights, sounds, smells I guess.  It works on your kids and it will work on you too.  Until your kids start eating bugs and grass and dirt...ugh!  But you just might be having a bad enough day that it won't bother you and you will let them do it anyway.

3. Go anywhere!
It seems like getting out of the house in general always does wonders for my mood and Leah's too.  Plus when we go to the store and a stranger tells me how cute she looks it makes me feel a little bit better if I'm having a bad day.  Oh and Starbucks drive-through doesn't hurt either!  Which leads me to #4...

4. Indulge
Indulge yourself in any way you can.  Take a nap.  Eat chocolate.  Have a Starbucks latte.  Anything that will make you feel a little bit better.  And if that doesn't work, when all else fails, go directly to #5:

5.  Call in reinforcements
Leave the kids with daddy or a babysitter or family member for a few hours and escape.  We all need our mental health days from work and taking care of kids is a LOT of work!  You deserve a break sometimes to re-center yourself and break out of the situation that's making you feel crazy.  Besides, its good for kids to get time with Daddy and other loving, caring family and friends.  It will give them a chance to miss you and you a chance to miss them.

Most of all, know that you are a great mother and that this too shall pass.  Tomorrow may be another crummy day, especially if you are dealing with teething or illness or something else that is no fun like that.  But it will get better eventually.  The good day that is waiting around the corner will be make up for the bad.  It will make it all worth it.  Even in bad days you can find moments that make you smile.  Motherhood is the best and hardest job in all the world.  So for all the moms who are struggling, hang on.  You are strong enough to make it through this and when you look back from the other side, it will all have been worth it.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I'm finally back!

Hi friends!  I'm finally back to blogging and here to finally share my pride and joy, Leah Nicole, who was born at 11:09pm on July 18, 2013.

She was born weighing 7 lbs. 10 oz. and 22 inches long.  I'd love to share my birth story with you all if anyone is interested but I'll save that for another post.  She is a wonderful, beautiful baby and I'm looking forward to sharing pictures and stories of our lives here.

I'm so, so sorry to have gone MIA and left you all hanging for so long.  Unfortunately my transition to motherhood has been anything but smooth.  I had a serious case of post-partum depression that hit me like a ton of bricks.  I thought that since we had planned and hoped and dreamed for our baby for so long that everything would be happy and light once she arrived.  I thought that since I had read parenting books, taken classes and babysat for kids since age 11 that I was prepared.  I thought that since I was staying home with her and had dropped most of my commitments that things would not be too stressful.  Of course I knew that there would be a learning curve, I just had no idea how much of a curve there was and how impossible and overwhelming it would all feel.

I'm doing much better now, although I still have my ups and downs!  But I finally feel like I'm in a place where I can start sharing how I feel again and my hope is that I will encourage someone, or make someone laugh, or make someone smile with one of my posts.

The baby's crying now, be back again soon!  I promise :)



If you or someone you know is going through "baby blues" or post-partum depression, please know you are not alone!  Feel free to comment or message me privately, I think that the more we talk about these issues the less taboo they become.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

We have an eviction date!

Today was my last official doctor's visit of this pregnancy!  I picked up Art for lunch and we went to a burger place and then in to the OB's office to set up a game plan.

The OB checked me and I'm 3 cm, 50 percent effaced and baby is still at negative 3 station.  We picked our little Leah's official eviction date: this Sunday, July 21st.  The doctor doesn't think I will make it that long, but I guess we will just wait and see what happens.  He did an ultrasound to check on my fluid levels and they are at a 7, which he said is fine.  I also had a non-stress test done and her heart rate is just fine, so there is no concern there.  It's a relief to know that we are both still perfectly healthy because I was getting irrationally anxious before the appointment, just worrying that something might be wrong with her.

I asked the doctor if he could sweep my membranes because I heard that it helps get things started.  I originally didn't want to have it done but I decided I would take it over having to be induced. Oh my goodness, it hurt so bad!  I was breathing really hard trying to control the pain and squeezing Art's hand really tight.  Right now I would do just about anything to get her here though.

The doctor thinks I will be in labor by tonight, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up.  I've had other predictions that obviously didn't come true either!  I did start having contractions on the way home, they were really painful.  I called my doula Cynthia and she suggested taking a bath because my cervix was probably very irritated from the exam and membrane sweep.  So I did that and now I'm feeling better.  I'm planning to take a walk later and hopefully things will pick up tonight but if they don't I won't be too surprised or disappointed.  This kid just seems to be very cozy in there!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

God Has a Sense of Humor!

Hi everyone!  I apologize for being MIA for the past week...you might have thought that it was because I was off having a baby.  Hahaha...nope!  It turns out that God has a sense of humor ;)  Art and I have prayed so hard for so long for me to be pregnant that God is just giving us a little extra time.

I'm officially 41 weeks pregnant today.  Over the past week it's been an emotional roller coaster.  Being a first time mom, I wasn't sure what to expect and we had a few times when different people predicted that I was going to go into labor.  Of course this got me excited and Art and I both have gotten our hopes up.   Well, here we still are.  I've definitely had some times of anxiety and frustration lately.    

My church young adult group has been doing a bible study and this week's topic was thankfulness.  So appropriate for my situation!  I loved these verses, God just spoke directly to me through them:

And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  -Colossians 3:15-17

Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. -Thessalonians 5:16-18

Isn't it so easy to be frustrated or anxious about something that seems to be going wrong in our lives,when really God is calling us to trust in him and giving us another opportunity to rest in his peace and his plan?

After doing the bible study, I put up this post-it on my mirror, just as a reminder:

It has really helped me to feel at peace about however long my pregnancy is going to go.  Plus, we know that the end is definitely in sight because my OB's office won't let me go past 42 weeks.  So, our little girl will be here soon, one way or the other!  I'm still praying for a natural, med-free labor and delivery but if that doesn't happen it won't matter, as long as she is healthy.

And now, hopefully for the last time, here's my weekly update:

How far along?: 41 weeks
How big is baby?:  A bit over 20 inches long, your baby has continued to grow and may now weigh almost 8 pounds. As cozy as he is, your baby can't stay inside you forever. For your baby's safety, your practitioner will talk with you about inducing labor if your baby isn't born in the next week — earlier if there are any problems. Most practitioners won't let you wait more than two weeks past your due date to give birth because it puts you and your baby at increased risk for complications. About 5 to 6 percent of women have prolonged pregnancies that extend three or more weeks beyond their estimated due dates. Babies born at 42 weeks and beyond can have dry parchment-like skin and are often overweight. Waiting that long to deliver also increases your chance of developing an infection in your uterus that could be dangerous for your baby or of having a stillbirth. What's more, your labor is more likely to be prolonged or stalled, both you and your baby have an increased risk of injury during a vaginal delivery, and you double your chances of needing a c-section.
Any appointments or updates this week?:  My best friend from high school is a medical resident and yesterday she got me in to see a doctor who does a technique called cranial OMT (osteopathic manipulation therapy) which is supposed to induce labor.  It felt very relaxing, the doctor just pressed on different areas of my body, especially the base of my head/top of my neck.  We'll see if it works or not.  I also have my 41 weeks appointment tomorrow to talk to the doctor about a plan and I will be getting an NST (non-stress test) to check on the baby.  
Body changes?: I lost my mucus plug at the end of last week so hopefully my body is making progress with dilation/effacement.  We will find out tomorrow. 
Maternity clothes?: Barely anything fits at this point.  I can't wait to be able to go shopping for clothes again after I have the baby.  I'm pretty much living in 2 pairs of shorts and a few tank tops and tees. 
Best moment last week?:  I have had some great times hanging out with my family lately, especially on the 4th of July (we went to my aunt's house for a party).  It's been nice to have this time to spend relaxing and spending quality time with them now that life isn't so hectic for me.
Food cravings?: Sugar, sugar, sugar!!!  I may or may not have eaten an entire box of Double Stuf Oreos...oh and ice cream ;)
Symptoms?:  The swelling as gone down in my ankles and feet but it's been happening in my hands a little bit.  Nothing to terrible though.  
Exercise?: Yoga, walking every day and swimming whenever I get the chance. 
What I miss?: Being able to go shopping for clothes.  There are so many cute things on sale right now!
What I'm looking forward to?: Meeting our baby girl! 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

40 Weeks!!!

Wow, I can't believe it!  We made it, today is my due date!

I keep flipping between feeling happy and excited that our little Leah will be here soon, and then getting anxious for her arrival.  I know that labor is going to be a big challenge and I just really want to get it over with and have her here with us!

I've been trying to stay busy now that I'm off work, hence the lack of posts.  I have accomplished some things but there's still more on my to do list.  The main thing is that I'm trying to do some fun and relaxing things too, like spending extra time with family and friends.

I hope to have a full update tomorrow...unless Leah decides to show up!  (but I'm not holding my breath).

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

39 Weeks - The Home Stretch!

Wow, look at that, I'm down to single digits in the countdown!  That is, if Leah decides to come on time.  I'm trying not to get my hopes up, I'd rather be pleasantly surprised if she does choose to arrive on or near her due date.

I'm officially on maternity leave as of this past Monday!!!  It feels really nice not to have to dress up for work or wake up at a specific time.  I'm trying my best to get lots of things crossed off my to-do list, but of course in typical Type A fashion I have loaded way too much on my plate.  I'm finally realizing that trying to do too much will just make me grumpy, so today I just put 3 things on my list: go to the grocery store, make a crock pot meal for dinner, and make a few freezer meals.  Plus go to the chiropractor and yoga class.  So far I've gotten everything done except yoga (that's at 6).  It feels great!

Since it's Hump Day Bump Day I figured I would share my 38 week picture from over the weekend plus a little comparison...looking at it made me realize how huge this baby has gotten!

Pretty crazy, isn't it?

Also, my 39 week update since I forgot to do it yesterday:

How far along?: 39 weeks and 1 day, only 6 days to go!
How big is baby?: Your baby's waiting to greet the world! She continues to build a layer of fat to help control her body temperature after birth, but it's likely she already measures about 20 inches and weighs a bit over 7 pounds, about the size of a watermelon.  The outer layers of her skin are sloughing off as new skin forms underneath.
Any appointments or updates this week?:  I went to the chiropractor on Monday and again today, she has adjusted me to help get my pelvis and pubic pones aligned just right for labor.  I think it's helping! On Tuesday I had my OB appointment, I can't believe I'm almost done.  The doctor did an internal exam and I am 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced but Leah is all the way up at a -3 station, so we have a ways to go.  The good news is that he said he could definitely feel her head and she is head down.  I plan to keep doing the yoga and other exercises to try to keep encouraging her into a good position though. 
Body changes?: Yep, my cervix is softening and slowly thinning out.  We're making progress!
Maternity clothes?: Now that I'm on maternity leave it's shorts and tank tops every day!  I feel frumpy most of the time but I know it's only for a little bit longer and I'd rather be comfortable than look good right now.  
Best moment last week?: Last Friday - it was my last day of work and my coworkers threw me a baby shower!  More details coming in a separate post :)
Food cravings?: I made these really yummy cookies (they are somewhat healthy, they have oatmeal, chocolate and peanut butter in them) and they are extremely addictive! 
Symptoms?:  Luckily my swelling has gone down but my hips are sore.  I can't complain too much though! 
Exercise?: Yoga and walking as much as possible.
What I miss?: Having clothes that fit.  Almost everything is too small! 
What I'm looking forward to?: Meeting our baby girl! -- yep, still this!