May 27, 2015

Month One

Dear Parker,

You are one month old today. My, how time flies! Your Dad and I are in this weird time warp - you fit so well with us it seems like it's been longer than a month, but at the same time we can't believe a month has gone by so quickly already. (Also, you should probably just get used to me saying that because I'm pretty sure it's only going to speed up over here, and not slow down).

You sleep for three hour stretches at night which doesn't seem like much, but after waking up every two hours, three hours seems downright glorious. Your favorite way to sleep is on someone, but we recently discovered you do really well flat on your back (as opposed to slightly elevated in little cradles or chairs), so here's hoping that helps you sleep even more!
Your hair is starting to come in a little bit more and there's definitely a red tint to it which I love love love! It's long enough now when you sleep on one side it gets puffy and sticks up, giving you a mad scientist look which is hilarious!

You are starting to enjoy your swing a little bit more, and watching you discover the animals at the top was amazing to witness. (Momma might have cried a little bit - don't worry, you'll get used to that). You're not super impressed with tummy time, but you have a surprising amount of neck strength so I think you'll be holding that head up in no time.

You squeak like it's your job (especially when you're trying to fill a diaper), and you've started to make more "baby" noises like cooing. When you fall asleep on my shoulder you make the sweetest little sighs in your sleep, and occasionally, when I hold you up on my chest you ever so gently punch me in the throat.
True to how you were during my pregnancy you love movement, and having your hands in your mouth (that was something we saw on one of our last ultrasounds). You're starting to be more alert now and it's so fun to watch your expressions. (You give great side eye).

You started smiling right at three weeks, and when you combine that with cooing noises, well, let's just say it's good you're not asking for anything yet because it would be hard to tell you no!
You have what we call a "beavis and butthead" laugh - you do it when you want us to know you're not pleased with something (like making you burp), but it's so funny we can't help but laugh every time! You like music, but Bruno Mars' Uptown Funk is by far still your favorite - it not only quiets you, but relaxes you enough to put you to sleep! You have a TON of nicknames already - Parks, P-dizzle, Pdubs, P Diddle Diddle, Bubba, Buddy, the list could go on and on! 

You had your first overnight visit at one of your grandparents' houses, and you did just fine! You've had so many wonderful friends and family members taking care of you and your parents this month - you are loved indeed little one!
I'm not sure I can express how much your Dad and I love you, but each month I'll try to do it justice, as long as you keep growing and changing and being your wonderful self!

All my love,
Mom

May 22, 2015

What would we do without hope

In general, I don't like asking people for money. I mean really, who does - it's awkward and there's always the chance they'll say no, right?

But tomorrow is two weeks until the DC Walk of Hope, and I want Team Rainbow Baby to raise as much as we can for Resolve.

When it comes to this Walk, it's so much more than fundraising for me.

Last night, I was thinking about how much this year's Walk means to me; I was sitting in the glider in our living room, and I had a moment.

A moment I've only dreamed about for five long years.

I was reading, while holding my son. I looked down at his little hand resting on my chest, and thought my heart might burst with joy.
I remember sitting in our apartment, crying over yet another negative pregnancy test, asking myself why I even bothered to buy them anymore. I remember smiling at baby showers when I felt like my heart was breaking. I remember wondering if we were ever going to be parents.

I remember the first time I found the Resolve website, and feeling like I could maybe do something to "take back" my infertility. I remember the butterflies in my stomach on Advocacy Day last year, and how exhausted I was on the metro ride home but how empowered I felt.

I remember the uplifting spirit of last year's Walk, and how buoyed I felt afterwards, even while still grieving for Cece.

I remember every blood draw, ultrasound, and every twinge of this pregnancy that made me doubt this would really happen. I remember hearing our son cry for the first time.

All these moments - it seems cheesy to say they wouldn't have happened without Resolve, but I truly believe that.

Resolve helped me find my voice. Resolve connected me with others who have been there.

Infertility ripped me apart. Resolve helped stitch me back together. 

I thought about all my fellow infertility warriors that are still in the trenches - pouring all they have into another round of procedures without guaranteed results, or hoping for "the call" from their adoption agency to say they've finally been matched. Simply...waiting.

As I thought about all this, I gently stroked Parker's hand and cried big fat tears - of joy, of sorrow, really, just all the feelings.

I wouldn't be here without Resolve, and I need your help to show them that.

There are a few ways you can support Team Rainbow Baby.

1) If you're local, you can register and join our team. (But hurry, because we're ordering team shirts! Woo!)

2) You can donate on our page here - any amount helps - even if it's just the cost of a latte!

3) You can share our team link with friends and family!

4) You can participate in my jewelry fundraiser - support our team and get yourself (or a friend!) something fun! My friend Brooke is a jeweler with Premier Designs, and she's helped me organize a virtual jewelry party and is donating profits to our Team!
Here are the details of the jewelry fundraiser:

*100% of the profits from an order of the "hope" necklace (shown above) will be donated to our team!
*100% of the profits from the "Cece" collection (shown below) will be donated to our team! (I have the ring and love it!)
*50% of the profits from any other item will be donated to our team!

You can browse the catalog at this link (access code: BLING), and then email Brooke (brookemarley@gmail.com), to place your order. Just mention my name or "Team Rainbow Baby," or "Walk of Hope" somewhere in your email so your order will be credited towards us. Orders have to be placed by 11:59 PM (EST) on May 31st to be counted!

I wish I could tell you a donation to Team Rainbow Baby will "fix" infertility. (Oh, don't I wish!) However, it could help form a support group for people going through treatments, or struggling with what's going to be their next step.

It could help events like the Walk of Hope or Advocacy Day, to bring awareness to this disease.

And it's definitely going to show others that even though this is one of the most isolating journeys, they are never, ever alone.

Having a family shouldn't be this hard - it shouldn't take years, or tens of thousands of dollars. 

So if you can spare it, I'd love your support. Thank you thank you thank you from the bottom of my heart.

May 18, 2015

Three weeks

I don't plan on doing these weekly for very long (maybe just until the first month), but I've always found them interesting on other blogs so here we go!
He:
*Is hitting a growth spurt. At his two-week appointment he had surpassed his birth weight (six pounds, 14 ounces), and was seven pounds, nine ounces, what what! He's eating more frequently lately and is even starting to feel heavier!

*The picture above is so Parks - this is what he does when you feed him - puts his hands up near his face (or on his face - we're working on him not scratching himself), locks eyes with you, and it melts my heart every time.

*Makes the funniest sounds! There are times he sounds like a squeak toy, a kitten, and we've even named a few of his cries (all because of how they sound): there's the "pterodactyl," the "tea kettle," the fake "I don't care for this" (usually reserved for making him burp or changing his diaper), and then "on a scale of 1 to even I just can't" cry. (Normally when he's really hungry).

She:
*Cannot wait until he reaches eight pounds - this is the weight all the baby carriers say he has to be to use them, and with as much as he likes being held against someone's chest I think baby-wearing is going to be a big win for us! (Plus, hands free!)

*I am now "officially" exclusively pumping. I've been doing this since the day we came home from the hospital, but with the intention of trying to get him to latch on. However, we've tried everything under the sun, have seen two lactation consultants (not to mention my mother-in-law who used to be a lactation consultant), and Ben and I have decided what we're doing is working so that's what we're going to continue.

I've never cared about breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding - my attitude is do what is right for you and your child - but of course when you're in a situation (and hormonal and tired), it's hard to have that perspective. There were times I felt like a failure because I couldn't get him to latch, but I'm still getting him milk and pumping is a pretty rigorous schedule (not for the faint of heart), so I'm proud that I'm able to provide for him and it's working!

*I had a great two-week appointment as well! The doctor checked my incision, told me I'd lost a lot of weight and was healing well, and all the nurses cooed over my son - I'd like more appointments like that please!

*Despite the wall I hit one night, my confidence as a new Mom is starting to build. There are times when I'll say "oh babe, try this," or "give him a minute because this is what's happening," and not only am I right, but I realize I'm the one who knew that, and it makes my Mom heart happy!

*Survived my first outing by myself without him. I was cleared to drive at my two-week appointment, so a few days later I made a quick trip to Buy Buy Baby alone; it felt so nice to drive - like that was something that was "back to normal," but it also felt really weird to not have Parker with me in the store. I was only gone for an hour but when I got home I was definitely ready for some baby snuggles!

We:
*Are surviving! Ben and I have done the "night" shift by ourselves a few times now (our moms have been phenomal about taking turns staying the night), and while it's exhausting, it's slowly getting better and we're working out a system for ourselves.

*Still manage to laugh a lot! The other night I was changing Parker and talking to Ben when all of a sudden Parker started peeing - straight up, on himself and the changing table. It was so unexpected I gasped and then started laughing. We decided we'd give him a little sponge bath to get him cleaned up, so I undressed him completely, wrapped him in a towel, and handed him to Ben.

Ben and I were still talking as I was wiping down the changing table, and without even thinking about it, Ben leaned down and kissed Parker's head, then made the funniest face and cried, "Ugh! Ew! That's where the pee is!" I could. not. stop. laughing. To the point where I told him, "stop making me laugh, my incision hurts," to which he replied, "I'm not doing anything!" Oh my gosh you guys. The best.

*Are loving the natural care line of diapers from Huggies. A couple of brands have this now, but one of the reasons we love them is they have a green line down the front of the diaper, and when it needs to be changed the line turns yellow. It's such an easy way to see if he needs to be changed - although some friends of ours think it's totally cheating. Ha! Tomato, tomah-to!

May 15, 2015

Turning the hard into good

"I can't. I can't do it. I can't listen to him cry anymore," I said to Ben, my voice laced with desperation. "I know he's full, and he's burped and changed, he just won't settle down."

I passed the baby off to Ben and continued, "I need to go upstairs for a few minutes."

Ben started rocking with Parker in his arms. "That's fine babe, just go."

I climbed the stairs, thinking about how I was abandoning Ben, but knowing losing my patience wouldn't help anybody. I closed the door to the bedroom, gingerly climbed onto the bed, held my stomach where my c-section incision was, and just cried.

You're not cut out for this. This is why you couldn't have a baby for so long because you aren't up for the hard part. It's been two weeks, why can't you do this already?

Negative thoughts were followed by positive ones.

It's only been two weeks. It's 3:30 in the morning and you recognized you were about to lose it - you had the sense to walk away and rest for half an hour so you're not taking out your frustration about the situation on either of those guys downstairs. You love your son and he knows that - as does Ben.

I dozed for a bit, and when I came back to the top of the stairs at 4 AM, heard Ben whisper, "babe, just go back to bed, we're fine down here."

I hesitated. It was so tempting. But wouldn't they need me?

"I have to pump at 6," I whispered back.

"Okay, then come down at 6."

"Is he okay?" I asked, worry in my voice.

"He's fine. He's sleeping."

"Are you okay?" I followed up, still not convinced.

"I'm fine babe - go sleep."

"Okay...I love you."

"Love you too."

I came down at 6 o'clock, pumped, and felt rested. Ben and I tag teamed so he went upstairs when  I came down.

Sleep deprivation is an incredible thing (and it's not surprising it's used as a form of torture). It makes you think things that would never otherwise enter your mind, and kills any confidence you might have had building.

But after a little bit of sleep I was able to kiss Parker's cheek and tell him I missed him.

When he shoved his hands in his mouth while simultaneously trying to suck on the bottle I laughed and told him he was goofball instead of getting frustrated he wasn't immediately eating.

When he filled his diaper, I didn't sigh because I'd have to change him again, but instead rubbed his back and murmured, "I hope you feel better now buddy."

Yes, this parenting thing is incredible. Possibly the most incredible thing Ben and I have ever done. But I have to remember to grant myself grace - just because we wanted it doesn't mean it won't be hard. In fact, that might make it harder. In the end, of course it's worth it, but that doesn't mean we can't have bad moments in the thick of it.
I've always prided myself on being real on this blog - thank you for creating a safe space for vulnerability and rawness. Happy Friday my friends.

May 11, 2015

Two weeks postpartum

I don't plan on doing these weekly for very long (maybe just until the first month), but I've always found them interesting on other blogs so here we go!

He:
*Is slooowly starting to reset his days and nights. When he was first born he'd sleep all day and be up a lot at night. We've been able to manage to stretch his feedings to three hours at night (for the most part), so here's hoping that sticks.
*Is starting to eat like a champ. He's still not latching on (we may be looking at an exclusively pumping situation here soon), but he went from eating half an ounce to an ounce at a feeding and now is eating at least two and a half to three ounces (or more!) each time. I'm grateful my supply has been good so I can be pumping for him.

*Is utter perfection. Even when I'm beyond exhausted (which is more the case than not these days), his face melts me every time.

She:
*Celebrated my first Mother's Day with a child here on Earth. It was quiet, and I was tired by the end of the day, but I'm also still amazed I get to call myself "Mom." I thought a lot about Cece, and my fellow infertility warriors who are still struggling. I think holidays like this will always have a hint of bitter sweetness about them.
Photo courtesy of Nelson Lane Photography
*I've had some stretches where I've been alone with Parker and there have been a few tears (his and mine) because I'm a little overwhelmed, but overall it's been pretty good.

*I'm recovering well, and I'm getting into the spot where I'm starting to feel better so I have to be careful not to overdo it. I have a follow-up appointment this week and I'm hoping I get cleared to drive - not so much because I will be going places, but more for my mental sanity that I have the freedom to do that if necessary.

*You guys, it's insane how amazing this little boy is. I'll be exhausted and near tears while trying to burp him (after he's been eating on and off for an hour), but then his cries will turn to little silly noises, and I feel his milky breath on my cheek and I think "oh my God he's mine, I get to keep him."


We:
*Had newborn photos taken last weekend by Jess (who did our maternity photos), and I cannot wait to see them! She let me sneak a peek at a couple and the cuteness about killed me.
Photo courtesy of Nelson Lane Photography
*We managed our first night parenting, just the two of us. Ben has some pretty major deadlines at the end of this month so either my mom or his mom have been staying overnight to help me with the "night" shift so he can sleep a bit more. The bad news is we're exhausted, but the good news is we survived. It only gets easier from here, right? (Right???)

*We also managed our first family outing with the three of us - a quick trip to Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby. Parker slept through them both, and we were in and out in no time! (See also: knowing a baby might wake up and start fussing is great motivation to not linger in a store). We did take pictures of him in his stroller right when we got into the first store and then Ben groaned and said, "Ugh, we are those parents now." Ha! Guilty as charged.
Photo courtesy of Nelson Lane Photography

May 7, 2015

A very Lemon-y birth story

I've been thinking Parker's birth story, but every time I think of how to phrase things, or what to compare something to, I draw a blank. So here it is - I'm just sitting down and writing it, and with the exception of an edit for grammar and spelling I'll post this as is! 

Sunday, April 26, 2015: Sunday night. Ben and I had been relaxing all day in anticipation of the induction that night. At 7:15 that evening we got in the car and headed to hospital; I looked at the car seat next to me and tried to imagine what it would be like coming back home - there would be a baby there! - but it still seemed surreal.

Check-in was a breeze, and we quickly got settled in a labor room that was much bigger than either of us were expecting. They hooked me up to the fetal monitors, and my doctor gave me Cervadil not long after. The point of the Cervadil was to hopefully get me a little more dilated by Monday morning when they would start the Pitocin. (At this point I'd been 70% effaced and only 1 cm dilated for more than two weeks).
Ben and I watched some things on Netflix, texted with friends for a bit, and groaned every time I had to go to the bathroom because he had to unhook the monitor and help me out of bed - a little bit of a process at 41 weeks pregnant! I felt some contractions that night, but nothing painful - honestly, my saline lock (so they could start an IV the next day) was more annoying than any contractions - it took awhile for me to get used to it! I was pretty restless that night and didn't sleep very well.

Monday, April 27, 2015: They let me have breakfast that morning, and about an hour later started the Pitocin drip. I could feel the contractions, but they were more uncomfortable than anything. The doctor checked me after awhile and I was still only 1 cm. About mid-morning I was finally at 2 cm and they were able to break my water. (Side note: weirdest feeling ever).

A little while after that, the contractions definitely started to pick up. I felt them in my pelvis, back, and stomach, and I really had to focus on yoga breathing. Most of the time I had my eyes closed and I would just listen to Ben saying "deep breath in, deep breath out." When they started to really get intense I told Ben I didn't know how I'd get through the day because the Pitocin was only at 2 milliunits. Well I didn't realize it had been steadily bumped up - so by that point it was 6. I felt like way less of a wimp then!

The contractions got stronger and stronger, and around 1 PM I decided to get an epidural. I was in a lot of pain, I'd been having contractions for over five hours, and while I didn't know how high up the Pitocin drip would go, the 12 milliunits we were at didn't seem to be the peak, yet I was only at 3 cm. (I was hoping to wait to get an epidural until later but my doctor told me that morning I could have it at anytime and I no longer wanted to wait).

At this point I was looking forward to the epidural (also strangely, the catheter so I didn't have to keep getting up to go to the bathroom), but I was really emotional and nervous about everything. I didn't doubt my decision, but it was still nerve-wracking! The anesthesiologist was very nice and when I felt the first prick I automatically flinched and then cried out, "I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I know I'm not supposed to move!" They told me all was fine and Ben kept telling me what a great job I was doing.
Once the epidural kicked in I was able to sleep which was HUGE for me. I dozed for a few hours and was aware of the contractions but not in pain from them which was great because the next time the doctor (now a different doctor from my practice then who had been with me Sunday night and that morning), checked me I was at 6 cm. More than halfway - woo!

During this time though every so often the baby's heart rate would decelerate - dropping enough to have the nurse make me change my position or give me an oxygen mask; they assured me this can happen and were very upfront about not being overly concerned, but rather just monitoring the situation.

This is when it starts to get a little fuzzy for me - I wasn't too aware of what time it was, and they came in to bump down my epidural just a bit so it didn't cause my blood pressure (and the baby's blood pressure) to drop too much. The doctor came to check me again, and after all this time I was still at 6 cm. I remember texting my mom, "he's never going to come out!" This went on for another hour or two, and the doctor came in to let me know they were going to take me off Pitocin for awhile (I'd still be contracting), and when they started it back up if the baby's heart rate kept decelerating they were going to talk about a c-section. I remember being surprised by that information but not upset by it.

After twenty minutes they came in and started the Pitocin really low - the two milliunits again, and Parker tolerated it no problem. They sloooowly bumped up the Pitocin and I could feel the contractions again. On a scale of 1-10 my pain level went from a 4 to a 7 very quickly - I told Ben it felt like I didn't even have an epidural. They had an anesthesiologist come in to give me a "block" (immediate relief), and he bumped it up a little but he recommended pushing my pain button every 15 minutes or so because he wasn't sure how long it would take for the level to go back up and he didn't want me to be in pain. I remember asking the nurse if it was safe for the baby for me to use my "pain button" because I wouldn't use it if it would affect him; she assured me all was well and his heart rate was good - they had me wearing the oxygen mask but it was just a precaution.

This was the worst part of labor for me. It had been almost 24 hours since my induction the night before, I was in a lot of pain, I was uncomfortable, and I just wanted to be done. Every time there was a contraction I started crying and it took all my effort to focus on Ben's voice telling me to breathe. When the medicine started to work I was able to doze again, but I don't know how much of that was the medicine or the exhaustion.
This is my "ready to be done" face
At one point my in-laws stopped by - Ben had talked to them and they asked if they could bring him some food - just a quick drop-off, and they weren't there longer than ten minutes. My father-in-law stayed in the hallway so when Ben went to talk to him, my mother-in-law sat with me, and she had such a calming presence about her. She told me every contraction was one less I was going to have and when I closed my eyes and was breathing I just remember her telling me how awesome I was doing.

They left, and the doctor checked me...still 6 cm. She said she'd come back in an hour and if I was still there we'd talk about options. I wasn't in as much pain at this point but when the doctor and nurse left I just started crying - I told Ben I needed to be done, I couldn't do it anymore, etc. You guys, I don't even remember what he said but I do remember how calm he seemed to me and how strong. He was the most incredible coach.

When the doctor came back I was still at 6 cm - she told me we could continue like this since the baby's heart rate was fine, but they really liked to see progress every two hours, and I hadn't progressed in over four; a c-section was a viable option at this point. We told her it was time to talk c-section. I never doubted our decision and she was very nice and supportive as she explained the process - even reassuring me about the "pinch test" they'd do to make sure I didn't feel any pain.

They started prepping me for the procedure, and Ben started packing up the bags to put in the recovery area we'd be in afterwards. Since I would have medicine in me I couldn't do skin-to-skin contact in the operating room, but the team told Ben he absolutely could which made us both really happy. Before I knew it Ben gave me a kiss and told me he'd see me in there.

This was really happening.

Everyone in the operating room was very nice - I kept telling the anesthesiologist I was nervous about feeling things. He assured me that while I would feel the doctors touching me and maybe some pressure, he'd make sure I felt no pain. I must have asked about the pinch test two or three times and he was very patient with his responses. When Ben came in, he sat by my head and held my hand. For the first pinch test I cried out (in I'm sure a panicky voice), "I could feel that!" They asked if I could feel it, or if it was painful - I told them it was a little painful and they administered more medicine. Ben started talking to me to help calm my nerves and I finally told him, "Babe, shh, they're going to do another pinch test, I have to focus." (Ha!) I called over the sheet "are you going to do another pinch test?" They told me they already did and had even started the procedure, which actually calmed me down a little.

I have no sense of time in the operating room - they said everything would take an hour and I remember thinking that seemed like forever, but it went by pretty quickly. Ben talked to me but I couldn't tell you a word he said - I just kept saying to him, "I'm just nervous." At one point they said "the baby's head is out," and Ben goes "babe, his head is here!" which made me laugh.

Then at 10:06 PM (although I wouldn't know the time until later), it became real when we heard his first cry. I gasped, "oh oh!" and automatically started crying too.
They took him over to the station to clean him up and check him out, and Ben was calling out updates to me since he was there and could see him but I could not. It seemed like they were over there forever, but then the nurses brought him over to me and said, "let's let Mom get some kisses in, before we do skin-to-skin."
I can't describe the feeling of seeing my son for the first time - the best I can come up with is everything. It felt like...everything.

I said "Hi Parker," and though his eyes were still closed he turned his head towards me (the nurse even said "see he knows who you are!"), and I kissed his face several times while crying. He was simply perfect.
Ben cuddled with him while they finished up with me, but again, I have no idea of how long that was - it could have been ten minutes or thirty. When they were finished the doctor told us that his cord had been wrapped around his neck which is probably why he was decelerating so much, and how that would have been an issue when it came time to push - I'm so grateful we were able to do a c-section.

I remember liking that Ben and Parker got to stay in the operating room the whole time, and as they were finally getting me onto the gurney, the song "Happy" came on, and everyone started laughing and dancing. Um, except me - I very nicely told them, "I think I'm going to throw up," and then proceeded to for a few minutes. Not a fun experience but compared to the five months of puking at the beginning of this pregnancy? Not really a big deal.
Once in recovery I had some juice and crackers and then was able to enjoy holding Parker for the first time. I just remember feeling very peaceful. Ben called his parents and then mine and he texted a few people, but I just remember being on the bed soaking up the warmth of our son.
First attempt at a family selfie!
After awhile we got our stuff packed up and Parker was able to stay on my chest as they wheeled me up to our room in the hospital. I tried to eat a little bit but didn't want to overdo it because I'd gotten sick, and I feel like I half dozed through everything the nurses told us.

I kept saying "I'm sorry, I've just never been this tired before!" They left us after awhile, Ben pulled out this bed (they had a chair that converted to a bed), and we told each other and Parker, goodnight.

Yes I will never forget the exhaustion of that night, but I will also never forget the magic. Welcome to the world P-man - you've changed ours so much already.

May 5, 2015

One week postpartum

I don't plan on doing these weekly for very long (maybe just until the first month), but I've always found them interesting on other blogs so here we go!

As of yesterday, Parker is one week old!
He:
*Cracks. Me. Up. His facial expressions are hilarious - especially right when he wakes up and is trying to figure out what's going on.
*Already has a handful of nicknames, but surprisingly Lemon is not one of them. I thought it would be so hard transitioning from Lemon to Parker but I haven't called him that once since he was born!

*Is still a night time baby. He is usually wide awake for any feedings between 3 and 6 AM!

*Has had huge trouble with latching. I won't get into details, but we've found a system that works (I'm pumping and we're giving him bottles), but we're hoping eventually to get him latched on so I'm not tied to the pump and can actually breastfeed.

She:
*I'm kind of a hot mess. Having a baby is everything and nothing like I expected. I expected to be tired, but I didn't expect to be capable of falling asleep while hooked up to a breast pump because I'm so tired. I expected to have hormones and feelings but didn't realize how big they would be - good or bad. For instance, sometimes I'll be looking at him and say "I love you," and am so overcome with emotion I start tearing up right there!
Proof that one day not only did I shower, but I dried my hair too!
*I am exhausted. I don't even think that's the right word for it, because holy woah. We had some serious feeding issues with P his first week home - he dropped more than a pound in five days and since last Friday we've spent every two hours feeding him, and having me pump in an effort to get weight back on. The good news is it's working - he's up eight and a half ounces in a span of four days - the bad news is it's exhausting. One night we decided to let him go an extra hour before waking him and it was ridiculous how much two and a half hours of sleep made me feel like a new woman.

*Overall though I'm recovering well. I labored for 24 hours and then ended up having a c-section (more on that later), so I'm trying to remember I too am a patient and had major surgery. Thank God for supportive friends and our families - my mom and mother-in-law have been taking turns staying the night at our house to help with feedings (when I say every two hours I'm not exaggerating), and my mom even made us a chart that hangs in our hallways so we know who is coming when, and bringing food. They want us to focus on being with/feeding the baby and they are essentially taking care of everything else. We are so grateful for their help!

We:
*Are settling in as a unit of three. And by that, I mean surviving. We got home from the hospital on a Thursday evening, and I feel like I didn't even really get to see/spend time with Ben until the following Monday!
Before we left the hospital!
*It's amazing to see Ben in the role of a father. I knew he'd be amazing with Parker, but to actually get to see how much love he has for this little boy after all this time makes my heart want to burst!

I'm sure there's way more I could write but I'm a little zombie-esque, so we'll end it here for now!

May 3, 2015

Hello, Lemon!

Dear Parker,

One week ago your Dad and I were preparing to head to the hospital to be induced for your birth. Twenty-six hours later, your Dad and I were in an operating room, and our waiting finally ended when we heard you cry for the first time.

April 27th is now my favorite day of the year.

Your middle name is David - after an incredible friend of your Dad's who we lost too soon; we'll be sure to tell you all about him as you grow up.
You have a sister named Cece, who we also lost too soon, but we believe played a huge role in you getting here. We'll make sure you know about her as well.

You're a tiny little thing - born at almost seven pounds, but holding steady now around six. You know our voices and give the most awesome judge-y faces when you're alert; I never knew a furrowed brow could look so adorable.


We've waited for you. Through ups and downs, triumphs and tears, your Dad and I have wished and prayed and hoped for you - and we've had you with us for almost a week.

Part of me still can't believe it's real.
You are so so loved little boy, and if there's only one thing I can promise you, it's that you'll grow up never doubting that.

Here's to all the love and laughter you've brought us already - and everything that lies ahead of us.

All my love,
Mom

Apr 26, 2015

It's time

So here we are. Almost 41 weeks pregnant. As excited as Ben and I have been about this journey I don't know that either of us pictured getting this far!

I am being induced tonight/into tomorrow - my doctors won't let me go past 41 weeks because of health risks and while being induced wouldn't have been my first choice as to how to have this baby, we trust our doctors and each other, and that's how it's happening.

Being overdue can be really, really, frustrating and emotional. People check in which is sweet, but also a little stifling when you spend your day uttering the phrases, yes I'm still pregnant, no I haven't had the baby yet, over and over again. People say things they think are funny, except they're not (I've only heard that joke from ten other people in the past hour), and suggest "try spicy food," or "go walk," because they've heard those things help. (Again, that might be true but I'm almost 41 weeks pregnant - we've tried everything and obviously it's not doing a lot of good).

The other day I was thinking about how I have such a flexible birth plan (as in, my plan is to roll with it), but being induced was never a part of that. Then I laughed because when has anything Ben and I have tried to plan for starting a family gone the way we hoped. I mean...really!

But...it's time. In the next day or so, we will be meeting our son. And yes, I may have just cried a little typing that.

I'm nervous for the unknown of labor, and the potential pain that's headed my way, but I know it's a means to an end and I want that ending - that healthy baby boy - so badly, and I'm a warrior - I can do this.

I will do a quick post once Lemon is here, but I wanted to take a minute to say thank you. Some of you have been reading this blog for a few weeks, and others have been here since the beginning - either way, thank you.

The journey has been almost five years in the making, and you all have been the most incredible cheerleaders. 

Thank you for your comments, your emails, and all the love and encouragement you've sent our way in various forms. This next part (motherhood - woah!) I know will be challenging, but there have been so many times I never thought we'd get here.

But we're here.

It's finally time.

Apr 22, 2015

You are not alone

It's National Infertility Awareness Week! Last year I brought you interviews of some incredible women I've met (either through blogging or in person) who struggle with infertility.

This year's theme is "you are not alone," and it couldn't be more fitting.

Infertility is the most isolating thing I've ever dealt with.

There are women who dream of being a mom from the time they are little girls - I wasn't one of them. I love kids, but I wanted to spend time with my husband first, and let the kids come later, so we could have a good foundation for them - I knew children would be awesome, but challenging. I never thought that would start with getting pregnant.

You start "trying" to get pregnant and you let yourself dream of ways you'll announce the news to your families - even after a few months of nothing happening you don't get discouraged because it's such a "natural" thing. The word natural is a word that starts to taunt you; once you realize there's something wrong and you work up the nerve to see a specialist, you start to notice all the pregnant women and babies around you - and wonder why you couldn't just get pregnant naturally. You start wondering if all your talk of wanting to wait is now coming back as some kind of punishment, or if there's something unnatural about you.

Then comes the testing, and the decisions about how to proceed, and on top of all of that, the financial aspect, which is the #1 barrier to people being able to start a family.

Then, THEN, when you're finally ready to let go of the idea of having a baby naturally, and embrace medicine and procedures, you enter a whole new world of doubt and fear. There's medicine and shots, chances of over stimulation, monitoring appointments, blood draws, and the infamous "two-week wait," which feels like it takes years. All of this to hear it didn't work, or you're pregnant but your numbers aren't where they should be, and you find yourself headed in for a d&c - yet another procedure you never thought you'd experience.

You cry, you scream, and you lose hope more times than you can count. You listen to people tell you to relax, it will "just happen," and you want to punch them in the face. You feel lost, and confused, and like you're the only person who has ever had to deal with this.

But you are not alone.

Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples, which means someone you know (maybe even in your closest group of friends) is suffering from this disease as well.

Don't let yourself suffer in silence. Find a support group - either in person, or online. You'll be amazed at how validating it is to sit with others who get it. Advocate for your infertility rights, and then let yourself be lifted up as you walk with a community.

Without Resolve, I truly would be lost. As much as there is being done, there are still so many who don't recognize infertility as a disease - if you'd like to help change that find out more about what you can do here.

I promise, you are not alone.