4.06.2014

I'm No Super-Mom

It took an hour and and half, but I finally got Jack down for the night. I feel like I need some scotch tape to keep my eyelids open at this point but I thought it was important to let my reader's know I am still alive and kicking, albeit a little more worse for the wear...but last time I checked I still had a pulse.

I'm feeling vulnerable. Maybe it's because I'm tired or maybe it's because it's so late at night and I'm used to blogging with a pipping hot cup of coffee in the glorious AM... Either way, my vulnerability is making me feel like I need to be transparent. So here we go.

I am no Super-Mom. Not even close.  And the worst part about it is I honestly thought I could be.

I see my mommy friends on Facebook or on their blogs and I think to myself, "how the hell do they do it? How do they seem so together?" Because I, for one, am not "together." And if I'm being really pain-strickenly honest, the last few weeks I've been too ashamed to admit that. Too ashamed to get on here and say that I have a love/hate relationship with breastfeeding (and it's mostly hate), that I've struggled through 3 bouts of mastitis and 2 clogged ducts, that I've called my husband crying while he's at work and begged him to come home because my fever had risen to 103 degrees and I can no longer care for our child on my own, that I co-slept with my son for the first 6 weeks of his life (and still do most nights), that I hold him in my arms the entire time he naps because I haven't figured out how to put him down and keep him asleep, that I've obsessed over baby poop, diaper rash, and spit up, that I am tired, worn out, stressed, and in great need of a shower.

This mommy business is so much harder than I ever thought it could be and I certainly do not have it all figured out. And deep down I know that's okay and I know I shouldn't be ashamed to admit it, but it's difficult nonetheless. But maybe, just maybe, there are other moms out there who feel this way, too. And maybe me sharing my fears can bring some encouragement to them.

So yeah... you've seen very little of me on this blog as of late and I'm afraid that will continue. As I go through this journey of motherhood the one thing that I've readily learned is that time flies and Jack is growing up far too quickly. It is so important that I keep my priorities straight during this time. My family comes first and the cleaning, errand running, and pretending like I have it all together on my blog can definitely wait.

I am no super-mom, and I'm pretty sure I never will be, but goodness, I love this little boy!
The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.
 - Ruth Hamilton

3.17.2014

Jack | 1 Month Old

Last Wednesday Jack officially turned 1 month old! I can't believe a month has already come and gone. I had to wait until he was in one of those limp limbed sleeps to snap a few shots of him with his sock monkey. Prepare yourselves for some cuteness overload. 
Weight: 11lbs 11oz... he's a little chunk!
Height: 21 1/2in
At one month, Jack likes...
bath time!
his lamaze peacock
the picture frames above our couch 
(for some reason those never fail to mesmerize him)
lotion massages
his all you can eat milk buffet
falling asleep on mommy or daddy's chest
Dislikes...
sleeping in his bassinet
changing outfits
being put in his carseat
tummy time
any sort of schedule ;)
New this month: Jack has really put on some weight! He now has the cutest rolls on his arms and legs and the chubbiest, most kissable cheeks I ever did see! He is starting to make more eye contact with Steven and I. My absolute favorite time of day is early in the morning when he is super sweet and alert. He'll stare right into my eyes and give me lots of coos and grunts. Priceless. He is a champ at passing gas. He farts so loud I always blame it on his daddy... how can something so loud and startling come from such a small booty??? Anyways, he is pretty much the most perfect and content little baby every day until around 6 o'clock. We call this his witching hour. He loves to use this time to cry and scream and make his mommy and daddy want to pull out our hair. I don't think he is colicky, but rather that it is just a fussy time for him. One theory I've read is that he is possibly de-stressing from all the stimuli he's received during the day?  Steven and I simply hold, shush, and love on him. What more can we do?! Best part of every day is when he passes out on my chest after a feeding. It is the sweetest, most amazing feeling. I love being this guy's mommy.

In his happy and fussy times I am simply so in love with my little boy! I can't get over how much he seems to change and grow everyday and I can't wait to continue documenting his month to month progress. But let's not grow up to quickly, Jack! I love you.

3.07.2014

I'm Alive!

Yes, I am alive! Sorry I've been a little MIA these last few weeks... My days simply consist of changing dirty diapers, parking my behind on the couch to feed my perfect little one, and stuffing food down my throat every spare moment I can get. It's been quite a blur, really! So prepare yourself for my stream of consciousness blog post.

+ I am sleep deprived and covered in spit up, but I wouldn't trade any of these moments with Jack for the world.

+ Monday was my first day alone with Jack since Steven had to head back to work. I was super nervous, but we survived! I'm really cherishing this bonding time and all his cuddles!
+ Just last night I had the feeling that I am starting to get the hang of this whole "mommy" thing! But man, it is TOUGH WORK! Breastfeeding is still my biggest struggle. Jack and I work hard at it on a daily basis, but I'm beginning to feel as though I need to call in some reinforcements (has anyone every reached out to and used the Le Leche League?). Jack is growing and gaining weight, so I know the hard work and plenty of tears (by both of us) is worth it.  

+ I am famished all. the. time.  I seriously cannot stop eating. I think there is something wrong with me..
+ I've lost 30 of the 41 pounds I gained during pregnancy. I don't even know how that is possible...

+ I'm an emotional wreck. I can't get through a prayer for Jack without bawling my eyes out. I just love that little boy so much! 
+ When Steven gets home from work and sees his son his whole face lights up. It' enough to make my heart burst.

+ On the other hand, when I get up for the umpteenth time to tend to our son at night and see Steven sleeping peacefully I want to punch him in the face. 
+ Expect to see monthly updates of Jack with his sock monkey. (I apologize in advance.) Jack is 0 months old! ;)

These last few weeks have been the most difficult, yet most rewarding, of my life. I seriously don't want to be doing anything else but spending my days with my little boy. My heart aches when I think about returning to work, but I'm trying to live each day one at a time and cherish the time I do have to give him my undivided attention. He is just so stinkin' cute!

Thank you for continuing to read and check up on this blog even though I've become the most flaky blogger in the history of the universe. Maybe one day I'll have some sort of routine established... but don't hold your breath. 

2.24.2014

Currently...

Watching...  My little guy sleep contently on his daddy's chest. This scene makes my heart burst every time.

Admiring... My husband. He has taken such good care of me these last couple days. Bringing me food, keeping the house clean, and holding Jack so I can take a shower or relax in the tub. He's the best. Not sure if I'll be able to manage when he goes back to work next Monday!

Grateful for... Friends and family who have brought over meals for us. It has been such a blessing not having to cook every meal so I can spend more time bonding with my boy.

Struggling with... Breastfeeding. I knew it was going to be a challenge, but there is nothing anyone could have told me to really prepare for it. It's tough, but me and Jack are powering through and everyday things get a little easier.

Thankful for... My little guy's health. At his one week checkup he had already surpassed his birth weight! Most babies don't until they are around 2 weeks old. So even though feedings have been rough, I am glad to know he's gaining weight and getting the nutrition he needs to grow big and strong.

Feeling... A crazy range of emotions! One second I'm overjoyed and cooing over my sweet babe and the next second I'm crying because I feel like a failure as a mother when there is more milk on my outfit than in my baby's tummy. When will these crazy hormones begin to balance out in me?! I'm afraid my husband might suggest I be committed if the tears don't stop soon ;)
...................................................

And because I've been such a flake about blogging lately (and probably will be for quite some time now that Jack has arrived), I wanted to direct you to an amazing blog to peruse in my absence.   
Kali is the face behind the blog, Kaliwood. This smart and bubbly blonde definitely has a way with words that comes across beautifully on her blog. She is a deep thinker who also has a sense of humor that I absolutely love. This is clearly seen in her post "Embrace the Mutt in All of Us." (Go read it!) And for a good laugh, check out her letter to her 16 year old self, too. Kali also has a passion for fitness and I found her post about why she loves to run incredibly motivating.  To top it off, she has some travel experience under her belt due to spending a semester abroad in France! (Jealous.) There is definitely a little something for everyone on this sweet lady's blog, so be sure to check it out!


2.19.2014

Our Birth Story

To say Jack's early arrival was a surprise is an understatement. Everyone was telling me Jack would be late. I had mentally prepared myself to have a March baby, not one 2 weeks early! But God's timing is perfect and he knew Jack's birthday well in advance and helped me and Steven prepare for an early arrival unknowingly. 

The Saturday before Jack came, Steven and I spent the day preparing --making freezer meals, installing his carseat, washing all his clothes, deep cleaning, etc.--  and then I started my work week out like any other. After work on Tuesday I went to my 38 week midwife appointment and told them I thought Jack was quite comfy in there and wouldn't come for quite some time... Little did I know I'd be back there holding my sweet babe in my arms less than 24 hours later.

(FYI, I'm writing down all the details more for my sake than anyone else's. Meaning, if birth and all the goo that comes with it grosses you out, I'd quite reading now. K?)
I woke up at 1:30am to my very first contraction. I honestly didn't think much of it and went back to bed. I woke up again at 3:30 to use the restroom. While climbing out of bed I heard a slight pop and felt a small gush of fluid run down my leg. I thought, "either my water just broke or I peed on the carpet." The second option seemed more likely to be the case since I thought there was no way Jack was coming anytime soon, but almost immediately my contractions started getting more intense. I thought it best to let Steven continue to sleep, thinking my labor would be at least 30+ hours. However, from that point on, I got no sleep. I couldn't lay down because the contractions were so terrible. I thought the best thing to do was stay busy and try to ignore them until Steven's alarm went off. So I got up and decided to do a load of laundry and pluck my eyebrows. Yep, I plucked my eyebrows.

Before Steven's alarm went off at 5:30 I found myself struggling to stay relaxed with each contraction. The pain was so bad I kept thinking that if this is early stage labor there is no way I'm getting the unmedicated birth I'd practiced and planned for. When Steven woke up I told him I was in hard labor. Like the good husband he is, he didn't believe me ;). After all, it had only been 4 hours since my very first contraction. We scrambled around for about an hour or so throwing things into our hospital bag and shooting off emails to work, but every time a contraction hit I was doubled over in pain. I couldn't keep moving through them. I had to either hold on to Steven, resting all my weight on him and allowing my body to go limp, or I would squat down and rest my arms and forehead on my bed. With every contraction I keep thinking this can't be early labor, this can't be early labor.

Shortly thereafter, my contractions starting coming one right after the other. I was getting no break in between and it took every fiber within my being to stay relaxed each time a wave hit. Steven timed my contractions and we discovered they were less than a minute apart and lasting about  90 seconds. I think at this point he still thought there was no way I was this progressed in labor, and I too was skeptical and afraid to leave for the birth center too early. But in the end I know my body. My baby was coming and he was coming soon.

At 9:30 we made our way to the birth center in Bellevue. I listened to a relaxation CD given to me by my Bradley instructor over and over again. It helped me stay relaxed and in tune with my body. Each time a contraction hit, I just prayed to God that he would help me get through just this one! He answered and at about 10:15 we pulled up to the birth center.

They quickly checked my progress and told me I was 6-7 cm dilated and fully effaced. I couldn't believe it. My baby was coming! My baby was coming today! I continued to labor with Steven holding me up and supporting my weight or by squatting down knee to knee and forehead to forehead with him. He was so amazing! It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. I couldn't have done this without him.
The midwives started preparing a bath for me. It felt so great to get into the water! A warm bath really is nature's epidural! The only position that felt good to me while in there though was squatting and leaning over the tub with my arms on the ledge. After about an hour of working through my contractions in there my feet were turning blue and I needed a change. I decided to step out of the tub and go into the bathroom. I sat on the toilet there for a couple minutes and then it hit me --I needed to push. I decided I didn't want Jack to be birthed on the toilet. I asked the midwives to warm up the tub again and made my way back into the water.

Pushing was, as one would expect, hard. The midwife kept reminding me to work with my contractions. If I felt like I needed to push --PUSH! Some women describe the pushing stage as feeling good. It didn't feel good at all, but it did feel necessary, unavoidable, primal --and so I pushed. I pushed for about an hour until one of the midwives announced that she could feel his head. I reached down and felt Jack's perfect, hair-filled head. It was the most amazing moment of my life. These 9 months, the classes, the research, the eating healthy, the singing, talking, and praying for my little man all came to a head. He was almost here and my heart was bursting....but my contractions stopped.

I kept hearing that I needed to work with my contractions, but I wasn't having them anymore. His head was almost halfway out and I no longer had the strength or the contractions I needed to finish the job. I felt immense panic and for the first time started to cry. Steven and my amazing midwife kept encouraging me, contractions or not, to push my little man out. I prayed, pushed, and made noises I never knew I was capable of. Then I reached down and caught my son in my arms.

At 12:51 Jack was born. Less than 3 hours after arriving to the birth center.
I couldn't believe it. Jack was here! I was so consumed in looking at my perfect boy, kissing his sweet lips, counting his tiny finger and toes, and smelling his sweet skin that I was oblivious to what was actually happening to me. Steven and the midwives helped me stand up with Jack still in my arms to make my way back to the bed. I was hemorrhaging and they needed to get me to lay down. Steven said that when I stood up the amount of blood he saw literally gushing from my body was terrifying. I had no idea as I held my little boy and laid on the bed like the midwives instructed. I felt the prick in my leg as they shot the pitocin in me, I noticed the sting on my arm as the hooked up the pitocin IV drip, and I felt and pressure of them pushing on my stomach, but I didn't know how bad it was until I looked up smiling to tell Steven how perfect Jack was, expecting to see him smiling down at our little boy, but I noticed he wasn't looking at me or Jack. Steven had his eyes closed and was praying for me.

I don't want to go into much detail of my postpartum. It was pretty bad, but the beauty of my birth experience overrides it. All I know is I was severely hemorrhaging. They had to reach up and remove a few blood clots (which was more painful then any part of the birth itself), manually try to clamp down my uterus, and insert a catheter to see if a full bladder was the issue. I was oblivious to the severity of my situation though and simply kept staring at my beautiful baby boy.

Finally, my bleeding did subside. They made me a protein shake and told me I needed to keep eating. I was severely dehydrated and had low blood sugar, I was shaking from head to toe, and for the first time I looked around me and noticed the blood covering my legs, feet, abdomen. I held my baby and cried thinking how blessed I was and how perfect he is. Then I asked Steven if I could have a turkey sub.   :)
The midwives kept me at the birth center for about 5 hours for monitoring. My bleeding continued to subside and my color and energy started to return. At 5pm they said we could go home. We packed up and heading out with our little guy knowing our lives would never be the same. On the car ride home I stared at Jack, marveling over his blonde hair just like his daddy's and his cute button nose. I couldn't believe they were letting this perfect little being come home with us! 
Today Jack is one week old. Time is flying and, I must admit, I hate that! I already am in tears over the fact that I can do nothing to stop him from growing up. Every time I hold him in his arms and feel him snuggle in tightly against my chest, I can't help but pray and thank God for our little miracle. Thank God for the honor He's bestowed on me to raise him. Thank God for my life, for my husband, for my health, for my son.