Feb 12, 2016

Separation Anxiety

I just read this post and cried. Big fat, ugly tears, that I tried to smother because I didn't want Parks to hear me (nevermind that we are not in the same room and there's a sound machine on). I cried because I loved the authenticity of the post and because I can relate to so much of it. Ben and I are on opposite work schedules, and sometimes we barely see each other, and when we do the conversations are a series of rapid-fire questions and answers. "How was your day? How did he act? How did he eat? Did he poop? What kind of poop? How long did he nap? Did you give him the gas drops? Do you think he'll sleep tonight?" (Trust me, I could go on). We are making it through, but it's hard. It's hard.

Sarah posted a picture of this necklace on Instagram, and I cried. (Then immediately started following that shop on Instagram). We call Parks baby bird and I think it's just perfect. When I showed Ben and he told me he wanted to get me the necklace for Valentine' Day, I cried.

I've read that we might start to see some separation anxiety with P soon - crying when we're leaving and such. So far so good, but I feel like I'm struggling with this instead. There have been days in the past few weeks where I swear I miss him as much as I did when I first went back to work. It's like a resurgence of hormones, and I cry. (Are you seeing a trend?)

The truth is I've cried more lately than I have in awhile. For the time being I've added middle of the night pumps back into my schedule (to see if this will help my supply), so I'm now pumping seven times a day, one of which is at three in the morning. So yeah, I'm exhausted, which means I cry more easily about things.

But the other truth is motherhood is exactly and nothing like what I expected. I knew it would be hard, but I had no idea the depth of how and what I would worry about, and the dichotomy is how much I want a break, yet at the same time don't ever want to let him go.

I'm learning, and crying, and knowing this too shall pass. And when the house is a mess but Parks has fallen asleep on me, I've gotten really good at plopping on the couch and breathing him in. (After all, it helps with the separation anxiety).

Jan 28, 2016

The ninth month

Now that he's moving the pictures are a little more difficult to take - but at least he's smiling in these!
*Started the month off super cranky - between a developmental leap, crawling (he tends to not sleep well when he gets near physical milestones - sitting up, crawling, etc), and a lovely sleep regression, it was a hard beginning of the month!
*Thinks smashing his face against the side of the pack and play is hilarious. Hilarious! Also, the sleeping picture below is hard to tell but yes, he still sleeps with his butt in the air - just like Mama!
*Is on an orange food kick. He will eat green beans, peas, etc, but his favorites? Squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes. (Seriously, I cannot get the carrots into his mouth fast enough).
*Is a little obsessed with feet - he'll grab his whenever he's on his back, but my foot in a sock? Most. Amazing. Thing. Ever. He studies it, grabs it, gets distracted by something else, and then starts the process all over when he spots it again.
*Is still obsessed with the washing machine, and is fascinated by the vacuum until you turn it on - then he demonstrates a hulk-strength grip on you to make sure he is securely in your arms.
*Loves playing peekaboo! He'll put something in front of his face and when I say "where's Parker?" he actually starts giggling before he pulls it away, so when I say, "there he is!" he lets out the biggest belly laugh!
*Already knows how to work his Mama. Instead of fighting bedtime with crying, he now snuggles up to me, gives me kisses, and then giggles. It melts my heart every time, but I just rub his back and say "thank you baby, I love you, time to sleep." Sometimes he'll do it five or six times in a row and it takes everything in me NOT to laugh, because then it's a game, but oh! So sweet!
*Speaking of bedtime - Parks used to hum with me while I sang to him at night, but now that has evolved into this noise where he's part spitting/making raspberry sounds, part almost clucking his tongue; essentially he's beatboxing against my shoulder. Between this and the kisses, I do believe I would win a gold medal in being able to withhold my laughter during bedtime.
*Is really starting to show a preference for books and it makes my heart so happy! The other day he was playing with toys and spotted a book. He picked it up, then handed it to me, and grinned the whole time I was reading it to him. So...my job as a parent is done, yes?
*Is starting to crawl faster now and pulls himself up on anything (or anyone) that he can! Holy moley!
*Is still exclusively pumping. STILL. PUMPING. I have officially been pumping for the length of a pregnancy! Also, according to my pump log app, I have done more than 1,000 pumps. If you asked me two days ago if I was planning to continue, the answer would have been a resounding "no," but for now I'm hanging in there. Parks is going through a growth spurt so he's drinking more than he normally would which is good, but also a whole other level of exhaustion for me. I'm really trying to not let my worth be defined by the number of ounces I pump in a day.  (I might have also started mentioning to Ben that while I'm not a fan of the "push present," I'm warming up to the idea of a "pump present" once I'm finally finished. P's birthstone is diamond...just saying!)
*Has jumped on the adult coloring bandwagon. I don't have a whole lot of time away from curious hands to do this, but my last pump of the night flies by then I have something fun to color. (Have you tried this yet? So relaxing!)
*Feels like month eight to nine has simultaneously been the hardest and the most fun.
*Had a ROUGH start to the month - Ben got sick over New Year's (for the first time ever we actually spent it in two different houses); he had a bacterial joint infection that was caused by strep throat - except he didn't get sick like you do with strep (no sore throat or fever), just craaazy joint pain. He was on antibiotics and steroids, and I thought I would collapse from doing it all. (Single parents, NO idea how you do it). This was also around the time when I was having big supply issues so to say I was a ball of stress at the beginning of the year would be a bit of an understatement.
*Survived the beast of the snowstorm! We got 30 inches of snow! (Remember our white picket fence? The snow was level with the top of it!) Parks was all about watching the snow from the window, and while he thought snow blowers (God bless our neighbors) and plows were fascinating,
 when we took him outside and showed him the snow itself he was less than impressed.
*Have actually started calling him Parker because we want him to know his name, but when Ben and I talk about him, we refer to him as baby bird. When he's asleep but knows a bottle is coming (like when we're sitting in the glider), he makes this little face where his eyes are closed but his mouth is open like a baby bird searching for food, and it's become a funny little joke for Ben and me.
*Have started some baby sign language with him - mostly just the signs for eat when he's getting food, and milk when he's getting a bottle but I'm interested to see if he picks it up!
*Have a date this weekend! I took a page out of Ashlee's book and for Christmas gave Ben a "year of dates." A date once a month, every month, where someone is watching P, and Ben and I are going out and doing something. I'd like to say I have them all planned out, but sometimes arranging childcare ten months in advance is a bit...tricky. However, I do have the ideas for all of them, and the first one is this weekend - it'll be really nice to reconnect just the two of us!

Ohh, nine months baby boy! Next month you will be double digits which means one year is not that far away - sometimes the days seems long, but they truly are flying! We love you so much!

Jan 26, 2016

The Distance from A to Z

No, you're not at the wrong blog, I'm actually doing a book review! Full disclosure - I was approached about reviewing this book and was given a free copy, however all opinions are mine. (But seriously, the chance to actually blog about something that's not a monthly check-in for Parks and maybe I can feel like a functioning adult? I'm in!)

Title: The Distance from A to Z by Natalie Blitt

My rating: 4 stars

Overview from Goodreads: Seventeen-year old Abby has only one goal for her summer: to make sure she is fluent in French—well, that, and to get as far away from baseball and her Cubs-obsessed family as possible. A summer of culture and language, with no sports in sight.

That turns out to be impossible, though, because her French partner is the exact kind of boy she was hoping to avoid. Eight weeks. 120 hours of class. 80 hours of conversation practice with someone who seems to exclusively wear baseball caps and jerseys.

But Zeke in French is a different person than Zeke in English. And Abby can’t help but fall for him, hard. As Abby begins to suspect that Zeke is hiding something, she has to decide if bridging the gap between the distance between who she is and who he is, is worth the risk.

I was a little nervous to read this book - the premise sounded great, but I sometimes have a hard time relating to young adult books since I'm no longer the intended audience.

However, I really enjoyed it!

The story is engaging right from the start, and after no more than three swipes on my phone (reading on my Kindle app while Parks sleeps on me is the easiest way for me to read these days), I was smiling and somehow felt like I could relate to Abby, even though my family is not obsessed with baseball the way hers is:

"Because all my family talks about is baseball. Baseball and whether the Cubs have a chance at the World Series this year. Or really, how they don't. But how if they just...I'm in a family made up entirely of armchair quarterbacks."

The author does a great job of capturing adolescence -  from how Abby and her roommate bond quickly:

"I've found my spirit animal."

to the emotion in what Abby loves (French), or does not love (talk about baseball). There were times in the book when I thought "wow, she's kind of bitchy right now," or "she is intense about this," but Abby just owned it. When she needed to apologize she did, (in really sweet, thoughtful ways), and when she demonstrated her love for the French language she was fabulously unapologetic about it.

"The fact that in French you don't say I miss you. You say tu me manques: literally, you are missing from me. Because when you miss someone, it's more than just the active feeling of missing, it's like they have actually taken a piece of you with them when they left, the piece of you that was theirs."

I really admired (and related to) her strong sense of self.

I don't want to say too much about specifics in the story because there are a couple twists and I don't want to give anything away, but I laughed more than I expected to and wanted more when the story was over. I took a few French classes in high school and only remember a handful of phrases, but have always thought the language is beautiful; this story made me fall a little bit back in love with it. (Also, with as much as Parks loves baseball, it was kind of fun to read some "baseball talk" because I do believe it will be a part of our life later on!)

I would definitely recommend this book to read!

Have you read this book? Are you a fan of YA stories, or do you start out skeptical like I do?

Jan 6, 2016

The eighth month

And this was the BEST of the bunch - ha!
*Still loves running water - if he had to choose between water in the sink and watching the washing machine, he might just lose his tiny mind.
*Loves making people laugh - he imitates noises you make, and his belly laugh just keeps getting better and better!
*Is officially crawling - we're starting to babyproof!
*He was holding steady at five teeth, and two days after he turned eight months, he got two more! He has SEVEN teeth! He's missing one on bottom, and then he's finished until the 12-month molars! (Although let's be real, those will probably come early because apparently this dude likes teeth).
*Has consistently started sleeping with his butt in the air, which would be funny normally, but is especially funny because I did the same thing when I was a baby!
*Loves to hit things - if he can't hit it, or bang it on something to make noise, he's just not interested.
*Is already a little reader! He's as interested in his books as he is in his toys, which makes my heart so happy!
*Does a GREAT mean muggin' that we call his "thundercloud" face - most of the time it's when he's grinding or working his teeth, but it never fails to crack us up!
*Is finally starting to get some hair - and it's coming in red. #win
*Has started waving! He doesn't really associate the motion with waving yet, so we try to wave back every time we see him do it, but his little hand moving like that is just the sweetest thing.
*Is now a pro at arching his back, and does it whenever he's not pleased with something - specifically when we try to put him in his car seat.
*Is having huge supply issues - I've eaten lactation cookies, drank mother's milk tea, and have once again gotten a replacement pump from Medela. This is my third pump in eight months. I like Medela as a company but this pump is not meant for EP'ing.
*Is pretty impressed with my "stats" though. I started using the Pump Log app when I went back to work and to see that I've done over 900 pumps (or the equivalent of more than 18 days just pumping), makes me feel like a badass.
*Is really enjoying the age Parker's at - he can be frustrating but also really fun!
*Had a lovely little Christmas! We spread it out over three days with our families so we didn't have
 to rush with anyone, and it was so much fun! Parks didn't put wrapping paper in his mouth as much as I expected because he was all about crinkling it - no problem buddy, go for it!
*Are trying to figure out little things to do on a daily basis to help Ben and me feel like we're living, and not just surviving. Parenthood is amazing, yet exhausting, and is re-teaching us all about self-care.

Oh Bubba, I can't believe you're already eight months - it seems like just yesterday I was pregnant, but we also can't really remember life without you! We love you so much!

Dec 18, 2015

Savor, yet remember

"I can't believe Christmas is next week!"

I've uttered that phrase at least a dozen times in the past few days, and while I am so looking forward to Parker's first Christmas, I can't help but think back to Christmases past.

Two years ago
After years of trying, I was finally pregnant. We saw a little bean flickering on the ultrasound screen, and we laughed and cried. I must have looked at the photo they gave us a dozen times that day. 

A couple days later I started bleeding, but after an ER visit and a trip to our fertility specialist, we were assured the baby was still okay. I took it easy, and about a week later we had another appointment to follow up. 

On Christmas Eve we were told the baby's heartbeat was only half the rate it should be, and there was a good chance it would stop beating all together.

I can still remember how my stomach dropped, as we sat in shock. The doctor was wearing a Santa hat. The nurse brought me tissues when I started to cry. 
We clung to hope, but on New Year's Eve the heartbeat wasn't much stronger, and a week later we had our final ultrasound, confirming the heartbeat was gone.
One year ago
Full of fun and anticipation, people would say "next year you'll have a baby at Christmas!" I nodded and tried not to think, "but we should have one now."
Christmas was the day I finally stopped taking my morning sickness medicine, and I wondered if we really would have a baby next year - I still couldn't picture it.

This year
I can't wait to see Parks' reaction as he rips into wrapping paper, and I'm already anticipating the struggle of trying to keep it out of his mouth. I'm excited to see his toothy grin in the Christmas pajamas we have for him, and wondering if maybe he'll be even closer to crawling by Christmas Day.

I'll also wonder if Cece would have had red hair like her brother seems to; it's tricky, because timing-wise we never would have had Cece and Parks - but I'll never stop wanting them both with me.

So I'll savor this first Christmas, and remember the others - knowing that she's in our hearts and I'm sure is getting as much of a kick out of her brother's shenanigans as we are.

Dec 3, 2015

The seventh month

*Loves peekaboo - but it's funnier to him when you turn around and then turn back really fast and say "hi" instead of peekaboo.
*Has had two holidays since his six month post - Halloween and Thanksgiving, and we are gearing up for Christmas!
*Has acquired another tooth which puts the count up to five! He has one more to get on the bottom and then two more on the top and then we're DONE until the 12-month molars. His toothy grin melts my heart every time.
*Still has a love of Uptown Funk, but whereas it used to relax him and put him to sleep, now he's a bouncing/dancing fool to it. He also enjoys Sugar by Maroon Five and Shake It Off by Taylor Swift - we watch the music videos on the YouTube app on our TV and I think he likes all those videos because people are dancing and cheering!
*Still loves running water - the sink is his favorite thing to watch. He's fascinated with the washer but can't quite figure it out. Sometimes he just stares at it and goes "ahh! ahh!" It's pretty hilarious.
*Is used to me wearing necklaces to work, so when I pick him up at the end of the day he smiles and touches my face and then immediately goes for whatever necklace I'm wearing. One day I didn't have one on and he patted my collarbone a couple times and then looked at me like "um...what is happening?"
*Enjoys food - we're taking it slow (only introducing one per week), but so far so good!
*Thinks Ben is the funniest person alive. Watching them together is incredible.
*Still puts his mouth up to cold glasses but is more interested in straws now - not trying to drink out of them but shoving them in and out of the top of the cup - the noise and motion is super fun!
All I want for Christmas are some more pump parts to chew on!
*For some reason really loves the toys that freak Ben and me out. His favorite is one we call creepy monkey; you push the stomach and the sound that comes out is children's laughter - from a monkey! (Did he eat them? Why does it sound like that? What are they laughing about?) We've also brought out a Leap Frog stuffed animal someone gave us called Scout. He's a green dog and plays songs and asks questions - I can definitely see how Parks will learn things from it as he gets older, and you can program in things like name, favorite color, food, etc. However, the way Scout says "Paaaaarkerrrrr" is so weird it cracks us up! 
*Is very into hitting whatever he's holding onto anything that will make noise. It's amazing to watch him figuring things out - sometimes it's almost like I can see his little brain working!
*Is so close to crawling. SO close. Like up on all fours, rocking back and forth, and scooting backwards. He'll go forward but he kind of just flings himself for now.
*Came very close to having mastitis, and now officially believes clogged ducts are one of the seven layers of hell.
*Is having a shift in attitude towards pumping. I've been EP'ing for over seven months now, and while I still have several months until I'll be able to wean/stop, I can see the end in sight, and I'm determined to not resent it the whole time. There are definitely still struggles (I don't go and do the number of things I would if I didn't have to cart a pump bag, a diaper bag, and Parks), but I'm trying to see the positive. Also, it makes me laugh when people are like "oh yeah, are you still pumping?" because I talk about it all the time.
*Had my first experience pumping in the car. It was as awkward and uncomfortable as you would imagine and I hope to never have to do it again. Sheesh!
*Is enjoying Parks so much. So much! The other night he sat on the floor and played with toys (or rather, hit them on things), and I was next to him folding laundry. I'm trying to savor savor savor right now.
We clean up nice, huh?
*Took our first trip without Parks and it was super quick (less than 36 hours) but we went to a wedding, had a great time, and had good "us" time. 
*Are still working on communicating effectively and being kind to each other. Some days it feels like you just go through the motions, but then we stop and have a moment and re-adjust our priorities. We don't want the day-to-day to overshadow the joy that is our little family right now.
When he saw us after we got back from the wedding - I love this photo!
Oh Bubba, we can't believe you are already seven months! You bring so much joy and laughter in our lives - we love you!

Oct 28, 2015

The sixth month

*In one month has gone from having zero teeth to four. Holy moley.
*Has a new favorite game: we have our back to him and then turn around real quick and say "hi!" It cracks him up every time!
*Is a little obsessed with whatever people are drinking. It's gotten to the point where anytime we pick up a glass I take a sip and then just automatically put it up to his face. He likes to feel the outside of the cup/can/bottle on his mouth - I think most times just because it's cold. 
Exhibit A
*Is still struggling a bit with sleep - he was at the point where he'd only make noise once a night, Ben would go in and give him a bottle, and that would be the end of it. However, teeth threw everything off, so we're trying to work our way back to that.
*Has started to slooooooowly get better in the car. After the little fender-bender, we got a new carseat - it's a newer model of the one we had but it's a lot cushier. Between that and Parks realizing he can look out the window, car rides are not quite the scream fest they used to be. (Praise Jesus!)

*Holds hands with me a lot and it melts my heart! By holding hands I mean he holds a finger or two of mine, but he does it while he's taking a bottle, and a lot of times when I'm wearing him in the carrier. It's like "hey I'm all snuggled up to you Mom, but I need to just be a little bit closer." Well okay baby boy, not a problem!
*Has a ridiculously cute Halloween costume - have no fear, a picture will be shared!
*Will be trying foods soon - I can't wait to see the faces that will be made during this process!
*Has made it past six months of exclusively pumping! My long-term goal is still a year, but right now I'm just taking it one month a time; I have a countdown app on my phone, and I create a new one each month so getting to the next month is more of a celebration than a chore.
*Is trying to savor the season, even as it gets chillier. Parks LOVES being outside, so we bundle him up and push him in the stroller or I strap him into the carrier. I'm going to try and keep doing this for as long as we can - maybe not in craaazy cold weather, but a little bit of fresh air each day does him so much good!
*Pretty much doesn't talk about P's sleep struggles except with close friends and family, because I'm tired of hearing about "cry it out." If it worked for you, great, but it's just not for us, and while that might change later on, right now every time I hear it, it makes me cringe, or feel really defensive.
*Is a little flabbergasted realizing we are into P's first holiday season - Halloween, Thanksgiving in a few weeks, and Christmas right around the corner. Holy crap!
*Loves how he greets me when I pick him up at the end of the day.
*Has realized you never stop being a mom. That sounds like a no-brainer but it's really been emphasized to me by my mom and mother-in-love. They've done SO much for us the past six months and while I'm not wishing time away, it's fun to think of how I'll be able to help Parker when he's becoming a parent as well. Their example is amazing. (Talk about the circle of life!)
*Celebrated our eight-year wedding anniversary - whaaaat?
*Are practicing being more considerate of each other - marriage can be work on a good day, but add crappy sleep and a clingy baby, and it's a whole new ballgame!
*Have an upcoming out-of-town wedding and Parks won't be doing with us. (He'll stay with my parents). It won't be our first night away from him, but it will be the first night in a different state than him which I know might be hard, but I'm focusing on how Ben and I will have a whole car ride to just talk and laugh and be. I'm looking forward to that re-connecting time!

Oct 27, 2015

Half a year

Dear Parker,

You are six months old today - wow, wow, wow! There were moments during my pregnancy where time seemed to stand still, so it seems a little unfair that once you're here it's flying by.

I remember so much about the night you were born, and while you are still little, compared to those first days you seem so big now!
This was the morning after you were born - you weren't even 12 hours old!
This past month has been hard for us - teething has wiped out you, me, and your Dad on a daily basis! There have been many tears - some on your part and some on ours. The good news is you won't remember the pain that teething is bringing you - and you won't remember how we've gotten frustrated either.

Your parents are not perfect people, buddy. We're going to make mistakes, but I promise we'll learn from them (and you will too!) and we'll keep going. This is what we do as a family - when things get hard we come together, support each other, and push through. And we always, always, take the time to laugh. (You're already mastering this skill quite nicely!)

Despite the hard moments, your Dad and I have been filled with so much joy since you came into our lives - sometimes I feel like my heart might burst from it!

Lately, when I pick you up from your grandparents' house, you've started greeting me in the best way. You see me, you blink a couple of times, then you start a slow smile that lights up your entire face. When I pick you up, you do one of two things - you snuggle in for a hug, or you grab my face and give me a look like "I can't believe it's really you!" You melt my heart, and I hope I never forget this feeling.

You are silly and hilarious and we love you so so much. I'm not sure I can explain how much I love you - how protective I feel over you, how I would do whatever I had to to make sure you're safe and feel loved; I'm sure I'll spend your lifetime attempting to put that into words.

You've been in this world for six months - and you've made our world complete.

Happy half birthday, Bubba - we can't wait to see what the next six months bring.

All my love,

Oct 15, 2015

Never forgotten

There are days that will stay with you forever - big, life changing moments where all you have to do is think of it and your emotions come flooding back to you.

After our second IUI, the phone call when the nurse told me I was pregnant. The over the top giddiness when telling our families. The awe of seeing her heartbeat for the first time.

The sheer terror when I started bleeding. The anxiety as I rested on the couch, not knowing what would happen. The clench in my gut as a doctor in a Santa hat told us there was a good chance the baby's heartbeat would stop altogether. It was Christmas Eve.

There are dozens of other moments - the final confirmation of no heartbeat, the day of my d&c - too many of them to list.

I remember the first moment I realized I was going to be a mom, and I remember the moment when that was taken away.

I will always remember.

October is Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness month, and October 15th is Remembrance Day.

There are too many angel babies in Heaven. There are too many parents with empty arms and heavy moments of remembering.

Tonight, at 7 PM (local time), I will light a candle to honor, and remember those lives. The miscarriages, the stillbirths, the babies born who don't make it - we remember you all. We honor and love you.

You are gone but never forgotten.

Will you join me tonight in lighting a candle and remembering?

Oct 13, 2015

The other side of motherhood

I sat in the glider, gently rocking, the lights low, my son asleep on my shoulder. His head turned towards me, I leaned down, softly kissing his cheek, breathing him in.

I felt my eyes welling up and I took a deep breath, because if I started crying I wouldn't stop, and I worked too hard for bedtime to wake him. 

My eyes were shimmering because I am grateful, yet overwhelmed, desperate, but contented.

I am constantly amazed at how much I love this little boy. 
I am also blown away with how much harder this parenting thing is than I ever could have imagined. 

I'd felt more emotions than I thought possible in two days.

I had a full day out of the house with Parks and still managed to fit in my pumps - I had so much fun being out and feeling like a functioning member of society. Within 24 hours, he started cutting his third and fourth tooth, and went from happy, to clingy and screaming and fussy. Ben and I were both exhausted, which resulted in us snapping at each other and apologizing later. We tag teamed it, but Sunday I finally hit a wall - I was exhausted, P was cranky, it was one o'clock in the afternoon and all I felt like I'd done that day was pump and then try to get him to sleep. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. 

Ben was making me a snack for when I pumped, and I was in the living room with Parks, trying to keep my eyes open. Parks was shaking a rattle and because I was close to him, accidentally hit me in the face with it. It didn't hurt, but I started crying. It was the final straw.

When Ben came out, I was sitting on the floor of the living room, my face buried in my hands, sobbing. He asked if I was okay and I said no. He was going to work in a couple hours and the day before me seemed endless - several pumps with a clingy baby, and I wasn't sure how I would cope. 

I had priced non-dairy formula a couple weeks prior to keep myself motivated for pumping, and the cost was insane; five days worth of formula would run us $300, and that wasn't even a whole week! But lately it was having the opposite effect - instead of thinking, "look how much we're saving," all I could think was how expensive it was and I absolutely HAVE to keep pumping because there's no way we can afford that.

I felt trapped.

I told Ben I needed a break - a real break - and it felt like I was never going to get one as long as I was pumping. I'm starting to see pumping as something I resent instead of something great that I'm doing - all I keep thinking about it how much time it would free up, and how I'd be able to physically be with Parker more. 
And yet. That formula. The cost is insane, and we definitely do not have $1200+ to spend on it every month.
Ben ended up taking Parks to his parents' house before he went to work, and my in-laws not only watched him, but brought him and dinner back to me that evening. (I will never stop being grateful for our amazing family). I laid on the couch and tried to lose myself in shows on Netflix. I dozed for awhile but it's like my body wouldn't let me fully relax. 
Anytime motherhood seems hard I have to fight what I've now dubbed the "infertility mindset," because my brain almost instantly resorts to, "This is what you wanted for years - you should be grateful."
So that night, as I breathed in my sweet boy and nuzzled his cheeks, I let the joy and the despair wash over me.  
I am grateful for you. I'm sorry I can't do everything. I will try to have more patience because I know teething cannot be fun. I'm sorry pumping takes me away from you so much, but your chunky thighs are the sweetest thing ever. I'm sorry I need breaks from you, because with working that means less time with you overall. I love you. I don't want to wish this time away - you'll never be this little again - but sometimes it's really hard to enjoy it. 
Why does no one talk about this? The other side of motherhood - the side where your heart feels like it's going to burst with love and stress, all at once? I can only imagine how the worries will evolve as he gets older.
I snuggled him into the crook of my arm, not caring that it was starting to fall asleep. I opened apps on my phone and started mindlessly scrolling, trying to keep the tears at bay, and I came across this post. The title - When Love Feels Heavy - grabbed me by throat, and I found myself nodding and nodding, and breathing a huge sigh of relief.
When I got to this part, I gasped.  
"The thing about this kind of love, though, is that it can feel heavy. Disproportional. You may feel like you will nearly break in half from the top-heaviness." 
Yes. Yes. So. Much. Yes.
But even as I was reading it, I was thinking about how my house constantly looks like a disaster zone, I can't remember the last time our clothes were put away, or there weren't three different things to potentially trip on walking into our bedroom. There are always dishes on the counter, because now bottles take up the sink, and there are days when I just want one thing to get finished. Then I read this: 
"And, I beg you, embrace that things will always feel unfinished. Let unfinished be okay. Let unfinished be enough." 
It's like the post was written for me, and there's something so comforting in knowing so many other mothers have felt the same way. 
"And forget what you see on Instagram,
You are one hell of a mother."
I shared the post on Facebook, and then put down my phone. I gently rubbed his back and reminded myself he wouldn't remember the hard parts of today, so I shouldn't punish myself for them. I whispered what I say to him every night. "Good night Parker, Mommy and Daddy love you." 
Tomorrow is a new day.