Sep 2, 2015

The fourth month

He:
*Still loves flying or "air swimming."
*Continues to make great faces, and when combined with his belly laugh...well, I dare you not to smile.
*Shows interest now when you're reading him books. Granted, sometimes it's only to try and put the book in his mouth, but still! 
*Loves the mirror, except when he's tired - then he is appalled you put him in front of it.
*Gets giggly and chatty when he's tired - with Ben this means they go back and forth laughing at each other, with me this means he coos when I sing him lullabies and it sounds like he's singing with me!

*Is officially in six month clothes - one day his 3-6 months outfits still fit, the next, not so much!
*Had his first encounter with a little cold/congestion, but we all survived!
*Is getting pretty good at gripping things, and while I still think we're close to teeth, nothing yet, but everything goes in the mouth and gets drooled on.
*Has started to reach forward and put his fists (they're usually still clenched) on my cheeks or chin while I'm talking to him, like he NEEDS to hear EXACTLY what I'm saying!
She:
*Is starting to prioritize what things to let go. Unfortunately blogging is one of them right now, but I have such limited time in the evenings (by the time I get home from work there's usually only a couple hours until P's bedtime), I have to decide what's most important to get done.
Photo courtesy of the lovely and talented Jess
*Is really struggling with how much longer I want to be pumping. There have been some stressful days lately and a lot of factors are contributing to my slight decrease in milk supply, so while I'm still going for now, we'll see how long I can keep it up. (I have a whole post about exclusively pumping and pros and cons, but...see above point).
*Is tired. All the time. Some days it's worse than others, but honestly, this is just a way of life now! (A lot of this plays into the pumping as well). I actually was trying to finish this post during a night pumping and fell asleep during it. I think I caught all the typos but...
*Am amazed at how much fun Parks is - he smiles so much and laughs, and it's really cool to see him discovering things, like his feet. He'll look at me like "OMG Mom, did you know about feet? They are AWESOME!"

We:
*Are surviving. Parks is starting to slowly hit this four-month sleep regression I keep hearing so much about, and in the first month I went back to work our dryer died, Ben's car died, P came down with his cold/congestion, and at the end of that week (yes this almost all happened in one week) the air conditioning stopped working in our house. The a/c is now fixed, we're hoping to get another car shortly, we have a lead on someone selling us a dryer, and Parks is 100% better now, but for a few days we thought our heads might explode from stress. (When it rains it pours, right?)
Another one from his baptism - love that Ben has a burp cloth in his back pocket!
*Are trying to take care of each other as well as P. It's so easy to just go go go, but small gestures go a long way - like Ben prepping pumping stuff for me, or me telling him I got the snacks he likes - it's those times when I'm reminded that this parenting thing can be hard but I have the best partner throughout it.

I can't believe you're already four months old Bubba! You are growing and changing so much these days - we love you to pieces!!

Aug 10, 2015

A smile for our girl

Dear Cecelia,

One year ago was my due date with you. It's crazy to think of everything that's happened in the last twelve months.

For so long when I thought of you, all I could feel was longing and despair. Eventually that gave way to sadness, which softened over time, and even brought me peace. Now when I think of you, my first reaction is a smile - after all, you're my girl!

If we could, we would have both you and your brother here with us. I can smile when I think of you now, because I know you played a big role in getting him to us.

Parks (we call him that, just like we call you Cece), has a bright pink birthmark on the back of his shoulder. Those who have known me since I was little say, "Ohh it's just like the one you had on your cheek!" I smile and nod, because yes, it does look like the birthmark I had for most of my life.

However, someone once told me birthmarks are angel kisses - so I think of that as his "Cece kiss" - a physical sign of love from you to us, with your brother as the messenger. It makes my heart happy every time I see it, and even if it grows smaller and fades (as mine did), I will never forget the joy it brings me.

I carried you for such a short time, but you changed our lives in so many ways.

We love you sweet girl. You are in our hearts - always.

Love,
Mom

Aug 2, 2015

The third month

Holy mother my child is three months old! (And uhh, he was technically three months old on July 27th so this post is late, but that just means I'm really focusing on being with him, right?!)

He:
*Is becoming more smiley and a little less judgey - although he can still pull out some side out like it's his job.
*Is what we're calling "pre-teething." Everything goes in the mouth and he's been biting on things for a couple of weeks. It's still a little early for teeth themselves but he's started drooling more (hello bibs!), so I wouldn't be surprised if he has a tooth by month four.
*Really enjoys tummy time now - he holds his head and shoulders up and a lot of times props himself on his arms. He even rolled from his stomach to his back one day! We think it was kind of a fluke (he hasn't done it since), but still so cool!
*Enjoys "flying" or airplane (despite what it looks like), and kicks his legs/moves his arms when we do it so it looks like he's swimming - so funny!
*Still loves ceiling fans, and has a great love for his "ladybug" mat. (See picture below). He'll touch the ladybug that dangles, and then all of a sudden smack the ladybug and laugh as she goes swinging all around! (They have a complicated relationship).
*Likes to be sitting up all the time so he can see what's going on. When we feed him now we start with him sitting up and then slowly angle him back a bit. (Yes, it is as weird as it sounds).
*Was baptized! It was a beautiful ceremony and Ben and I  couldn't have been happier with the experience - more on this (with pictures!) soon!
She:
*Is actually enjoying pumping at work - it's a nice break, which is a welcome change from how I was feeling.
*Has been doing some Itsy Bitsy Yoga with Parks and we both love it!
*Love how smiley P gets when I sing to him - part of his bedtime routine is me singing "Amazing Grace," and sometimes he will coo at the same time, like he's singing with me! It cracks me up and melts my heart all at once.
*Missed when he did his first roll - I was at work, and Ben called to tell me. I was so excited and so sad all at once. I think my response was "oh my gosh that's awesome, but I missed it!"
*Received some heart breaking news from a fellow infertility warrior last week. Not my story to tell, but suffice it to say infertility is a bitch, and "survivor's guilt" is a real thing.
We:
*Are still working on sleep. The nights are sloowly getting better, but Parks is still a crappy daytime napper - typically only about 40 minutes at a time.
*Aren't going to think about how we are 1/4 of the way through his first year already - woah baby!
*Love how he loves us! He's always recognized our voices, and he'll smile at people, but he saves the biggest smiles and giggles for Ben and me and it warms my heart!
We love you Parks!

Jul 19, 2015

Currently

I'm stealing hijacking borrowing this idea from a few other lovely bloggers - figured this was a fun way to start the week!

Currently....

Reading: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. We're really working on a sleep schedule for Parks and while some of the suggestions in here are about letting a baby cry it out (if it works for you great, but not our cup of tea), I'm learning a lot about sleep!

Loving: This crazy little boy of ours. Despite the not sleeping, he is so much fun these days - cooing and smiling, and making us laugh so much!

Frustrated: That I have to work. I mean, doesn't someone just want to pay me to stay at home with P? Because I would totally rock it. Having said that, last week and this week I'm part-time before I go back to work full-time - so glad I can ease into it because I was wiped after my first day back.

Feeling: Tired. And thankful.

Thinking: It's crazy what's happened in a year. We're fast approaching our one-year date of being in this house - it seems like so long ago when we were still in a one-bedroom apartment. This means we're also approaching a year since Cece's due date, and a year since finding out I was pregnant with Parker. Just...wow.

Anticipating: Parker's baptism next weekend! We have friends and family coming into town and I can't wait to celebrate this little boy!

Watching: Friday Night Lights. I finished the series before heading back to work and now there's a hole in my heart nothing else can fill, so I'm re-watching it. #texasforever

Listening to: Book Riot podcasts during my commute - it's amazing how quickly they make the car ride go by. Also, the new Kacey Musgraves CD - mind your own biscuits, indeed!

Working: Hard at this sleep schedule. I'm keeping a sleep log, but I think we had the trifecta working against us this week - Parks adjusting to me being back at work, a growth spurt, and maaaybe the very start of teething. (It would be early, but there are so many signs there, we'll just have to see). Last night he slept on me on the couch and we both woke up rested this morning. You just need some Mama snuggles? No problem, tiny man.

Grateful: For the naps P takes, even though they're only about 40 minutes each. It's amazing what you can get done in 40 minutes. For instance, cleaning off the coffee table, sterilizing bottles, throwing in laundry, and eating with more than one hand.

Wondering: What the future looks like for us this year - I definitely do not want to rush any time, but I'm curious to see how Parks will like the colors of fall (he's a big fan of outside walks), and all the lights around Christmas!
Wanting: Just a little more time in each day - but specifically time where I don't have to pump so I can just use it to sleep. Ha!

Loving: Oatmeal. Random, right? I've been having instant oatmeal in the mornings when I pump, and it's so easy and filling, especially when my brain isn't quite ready to function yet. (Five AM comes earrrly). Also, I'm still having no dairy because of P's sensitivity, but have found coconut milk to be a great substitute in drinks - frappucinos, iced coffee - it's surprisingly good!

Wishing: Um, for a money tree? Otherwise I'm good right now!

What are you reading, anticipating, and loving lately? Have a great rest of your weekend!

Jul 9, 2015

Back to Me

Disclaimer: this post is about my experience mentally and physically after having my son. These are all pretty "standard" things to feel, but each woman and experience is different, and I did not have any dealings with post-partum depression or "baby blues." If you're continually sad or feel like you just can't snap out of something, please talk to someone!

It's been two and a half months since this little man entered our lives. I knew there would be changes, and hormones, and things I couldn't even anticipate after having a baby, and I knew it would take a little bit to feel like myself again.

Ten weeks. It took ten weeks.

The first three weeks were a blur of tears and hormones. I thought I was good at two weeks out - I remember having a doctor's appointment to have my c-section incision checked and telling the doctor other than being tired I felt great. The next day Ben was at work and Parker wouldn't settle in the evening (this was before we realized he had a dairy issue), and I was panic texting my mother-in-law - when she came over I just started sobbing.

The next three weeks were me trying not to over do it; I was off all the pain medicine they gave me at the hospital and I was so excited that I felt well enough to stand and do a few things, but then I'd regret it later when I started bleeding more, or was monumentally exhausted. I was frustrated that I couldn't do more. The mantra of this time was "you are a patient for six weeks."

At six weeks I got the "all clear" - no more restrictions for exercise or limit the amount of times I could climb the stairs during the day. I went walking in the mall with P and my Dad later that week and was amazed at how wiped I was afterwards. The hormones were getting better, but there were still times when I would be so frustrated, or tired, all I could do was cry.

I went to a restorative yoga class with the intention of honoring my body - for years I felt like it told me no, and it finally did this amazing thing. The class was wonderful, but I was surprised at how much my mind strayed during it, wondering if Parker was okay, if he was fussing, if I left enough milk (Ben was at work so he was with my Dad for the hour or so I was in class). Turns out he slept most of the time for my Dad and then screamed for me all the way home. (Well played kiddo).

When I was first home from the hospital, I was pumping every two hours. I slept in the glider in our living room for a solid three weeks - Parker was downstairs in the pack and play, all the pump stuff was downstairs, and I couldn't climb the stairs as many times as I would need to when I was pumping that often. After a few weeks I pumped every three hours - this meant multiple times during the night, and if I did go out during the day, it was for a very short period of time in between pumping sessions. When I got to about seven or eight weeks post partum I went to four hours between pumping sessions and it felt like a vacation! Just now at 10 weeks have I gone to five hours apart (in order to help me adjust before I go back to work), and only now do I feel like I have time to get things done other than washing bottles, sterilizing pumping parts, and taking care of Parks.

I've always been a slow healer, but I am amazed at how my body has recovered - I really credit that to all the round-the-clock care we had the first six weeks of his life. My mom, my mother-in-law, family members, friends - they brought food, spent the night, washed bottles, and pretty much did everything so all we had to do was take care of the baby. This was amazing, so incredibly needed, and I will be forever grateful.

Ben's been so encouraging, especially these past few weeks as I'm getting ready to go back to work, telling me how great I look and how proud he is of me. I believed him of course, but I never really gave my weight pre-pregnancy much thought, and I'm not especially worried about it now. However, I remember the day when I didn't have to move my stomach to see my feet, and passing myself in the mirror and thinking "wow, I look kind of skinny!" (Side note: if you have a friend who is a new mom, even if you think she knows it, she can't hear "you look great," or "you're doing a great job," enough).
10.5 weeks post-partum; when I think I look big I'm going to remind myself of this picture - ha!
Parker is just now starting to really sleep in longer stretches, and since I adjusted my pumping schedule I've actually had a few nights of five hours of uninterrupted sleep - the longest stretch I've had since he's been born!

I don't feel like I'm doing a good job of explaining all the different things I've felt, but I also think that's indicative of the roller coaster of emotions you experience.

At the end of the day it's worth it, but some of the moments getting there are doozies.
Good thing you're cute, buddy!
I know there is still healing happening, but I'm so glad to say I finally feel like I'm "back to me."

Jul 5, 2015

Tidbits

I'm entering my last full week at home with P, so there's lots of snuggles, and a decent amount of tears (on my part), because how can I ever leave him????

In order to keep this blog from collecting too much dust I thought I'd do a fun bullet-point style post, and there may even be a guest blog later this week!

*This dude is going to be 10 weeks old tomorrow. TEN weeks. We are officially in the double digits with the weeks people, and I don't know what to do about it. It's so interesting because I remember when I reached 10 weeks in my pregnancy I was starting to hold my breath a little bit less; I'd officially gotten past the part of the pregnancy where we lost Cece, and I was only a couple more weeks away from the end of the first trimester. It's amazing to think how far we've come. (Also, I was in full-on morning sickness mode. So. Much. Puking. Ahh, memories!)
*It's July. July! Summer is in full swing, but let's be real, this gal is already dreaming about fall.

*The night of 4th of July was horrible. I expected it to be loud, and Ben and I decided we'd do the bedtime routine but I'd sleep with him downstairs (figuring I'd have to hold him most of the time), because I didn't want him associating the loud noises with his crib and interrupted sleep. Sure enough he was woken up almost every two hours like clock work - 10 PM, a little after midnight (right after he'd fallen back asleep!) and then my favorite, 2 AM. If I thought my neighbors were the ones who set off the fireworks at 2 AM I would have marched right out and given them a piece of my mind, but I think it was at least one street over. This has made today interesting, and I'm hoping it didn't totally screw his sleep up for tonight. *Sigh*
P sleeping before all the crazy fireworks
*Speaking of sleep, I might finally get some more tonight! I'm extending my night pumping schedule which means I'm not going to get up at 3 AM anymore to pump. I'll be adjusting my schedule throughout the day tomorrow so my body has time to get used to it before I go back to work. Here's hoping this really does mean more sleep for me, because that would be glorious.

*I have been watching the crap out of Friday Night Lights on Netflix. I had watched the first season before but then never got back to it, but right now I am currently binging through it - I'm already halfway through season three. Tammy and Coach Taylor are awesome - clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!

*I finally, finally, feel like I'm back to myself. My hormones have settled, I'm a little more confident in myself as a mom, and while there are things I'm worried about, I figure that's not going to go away anytime soon. (Whole post about this coming soon).
It's not always sunshine and rainbows over here. Sometimes we are drama queens.
*We are baptizing Parks at the end of the month, and I'm SO excited! Faith is something that has always been present in my life but in the past few years has been questioned for me - not whether or not there is a God, but more if the beliefs of the Church I was raised in are really what I believe. I've learned time and time again that life is messy and is definitely not black and white and I no longer expect my faith to be. While Ben and I don't currently have a church we attend, I'm so excited for P to know and have a relationship with God, and baptism is the first step!

*P and I are headed to a mom and baby yoga class Tuesday and I'm so excited! I've gone to a couple of restorative yoga classes since I got cleared for exercise, and while I'm dying to do a Vinyasa class, I know I really need to ease back in. I can't wait to see what this class consists of! 

What's been going on in your world lately?

Jun 28, 2015

The second month


He:
*Tracks people with his eyes, which is especially sweet when someone else is holding him and he just keeps following me! He definitely knows who Ben and I are!
*Smiles and coos so much these days! Yet has also perfected the quivery pouty lip when he cries so he looks extra pathetic.
*Still only tolerates tummy time, but holds his head up really well most of the time.
*Thinks ceiling fans are THE coolest thing ever. It is hilarious and awesome to watch him looking at the fan.
*Still makes the best faces.
*Loves baths, but doesn't really care for getting out of them, and will sometimes scream like you are murdering him. (See also, he has a good set of lungs).
*Has officially been out of newborn clothes for a few weeks. (Excuse me I'll just be over here sobbing).
*Weighs almost 12 pounds according to a bathroom scale - I can't wait to see what he weighs at his doctor's appointment next week!
*Wakes up just like his Dad...slooowly!
*Has gradually tolerated being in a carrier or wrap, but really only when he's sleeping.
*Is like a different kid since I eliminated dairy. He's not inconsolable at nights any more and when he does cry I know it's because he's tired or hungry, versus just being miserable.
She:
*Is becoming more efficient at things - getting him in and out of the carseat faster, knowing how much time it's going to take us to get out the door, etc. However, I am still amazed at how time-consuming this little boy is!
*Am kind of over pumping. My supply has been amazing and I don't want to jinx that in any way, but sometimes all that keeps me motivated is knowing how expensive dairy-free formula is. I love seeing how he's healthy and growing, but exclusively pumping? Not for the faint of heart.
*Am trying to savor savor savor - I'm going back to work in a couple weeks and while I haven't been worried about being away from Parker before (we've left him with the grandparents a few times already), I think knowing my time at home with him is limited is making me all sad and clingy. The other night he was sleeping on my shoulder, and I could feel his little breath against my neck, and I could see his cheek squished against me. I kept kissing his face and saying, "you're my son! You're my son!"
We:
*Have been working hard at establishing a bedtime routine. Right now it takes about an hour and a half from start to finish (he fights sleep like a champ), and while we are slowly starting to see progress, sometimes I feel like it's going to break me. I've also compared Parker to Jesse Spano, because he's so tired he can't handle it. ("I'm so excited! I'm so excited! I'm so...scared!") I have to remind myself this is a process.
*The other day someone asked us what our favorite part of parenting was so far - Ben said watching him discover things, (I mean hello, ceiling fan!) and I said the trust. Even when he cries, he knows we'll take care of him - we'll feed him, or change him, or simply comfort him, and I love that!
Story of your life, kid!
We love you so much Parks! Happy two months, buddy!

Jun 24, 2015

Wednesday fun

Oh hi! I'm still alive!

There's a two-month post coming soon (omg, Parks is two months old!) but in the meantime we are trying to simply savor this sweet little boy. (I'm headed back to work in a few weeks and I'm already dreading it!)

What's going on in your world?

And in case you're having a rough week, don't worry, P totally gets it.

Happy hump day!

Jun 11, 2015

We Walk for Hope

This post is much later than I wanted it to be, but I had trouble choosing which pictures to use! 

The DC Walk of Hope was last Saturday, and it was incredible! Ben and I kept talking about what a difference a year makes - last year we were mourning Cece, and this year during that mile walk I carried our son in my arms. To say we felt humbled would be an understatement.

At one point I whispered to Parker, "these are your people baby, and you are our hope." (And then of course I started crying).

I thought about so much during the Walk - my fellow infertility warriors, all the people I know who have angel babies, Cece, Parker, and all the people who have lost hope. I know how that feels and I kept coming back to the thought that I would be their hope until they found it again.
I'm so grateful to have co-chaired this event with Ashley - I met her last year volunteering for the Walk and we simply clicked. We worked so well together and she has one of the most positive attitudes of anyone I know! Plus, her team ROCKED it this year - they were the biggest team, and raised the most as a team for the Walk!

I could tell you more about the Walk, or I could just let the pictures do the talking! (Side note: the rain held off and while it was breezy during the Walk it was pretty hot - tell me why I thought it was a good idea to wear jeans?!)
Barbara Collura - Resolve's President & CEO
Pre-walk yoga!
I think this face is when I was saying "are you excited???"

So many people walking for the cause!
One of my favorites from the day.
I am so so grateful for Resolve and I will absolutely continue to volunteer with them, and advocate until infertility is not only recognized as the disease it is, but the associated costs are covered by insurance companies nationwide.

A HUGE thank you to all of you who donated and who walked the day of, and tweeted/texted or messaged sending encouragement. Ben and I are so fortunate to have such an amazing supportive community around us.

May 29, 2015

Things I've learned lately

Today I'm borrowing this idea from the lovely Nora

Things I've learned lately:

*I'm becoming a pro at this one-handed stuff. It's amazing what I can do one-handed - eat, read (thank you Kindle), and even text - although that takes significantly longer.

*It's amazing what a shower can do for your energy level. Seriously.
*I love maxi dresses. I thought I knew this but my love for them has grown leaps and bounds; they are comfy, flattering, and easy to pull down for pumping. I am living in them lately.

*I'm really proud of myself about Parker's weight gain. I didn't go into a lot of detail about this, but because of the latching issue we had the week we brought him home, he dropped a pound that first week. We had to put weight back on him quickly, and as hard as exclusively pumping has been I am glad my supply is good and I've been able to feed him. (Side note: this is by no means a judgement for anyone who uses formula for their baby. Find what works for you and who cares what anyone else thinks!) At his two-week appointment he weighed seven pounds, nine ounces (more than his birth weight!), and a few days ago he was up to nine pounds, one ounce! He's becoming the most adorable chunky monkey and I love being able to see my hard work pay off! 

*I am exhausted and amazed by motherhood on a daily basis. I'll be so tired I can barely keep my eyes open, yet still manage to gaze in wonder at the nose, the eyes, the little fingers, Ben and I created. I am getting more and more pumped for the Walk of Hope in a week. (And there's still time to participate in my jewelry fundraiser!)

*I can live without dairy. This is not something I ever thought I'd say but poor little P-man seems to have a big intolerance to it, and since what I eat gets into my milk and into this system I have eliminated it from my diet. There are days I think there's no way I can keep going without some ice cream, but seeing the effects it has on him keeps me motivated. (Also, feel free to send me all the yummy recipes and lists of food that are dairy-free!)

What have you learned lately?