Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I'm So Excited

MOPS was wonderful! There are over 100 moms enrolled this year and there are 8 ladies at my table. Nearly everyone at my table has a baby under 9 months. Two of the ladies even have brand new little ones that were born last month just two days apart. I am the only woman at my table that has only one child though, everyone else has at least two kids. That just means that these ladies will have more insight and wisdom. I am so excited to learn from these other mothers.

We also are setting up a play date for all the kiddos and mamas to get together. Some afternoon in the near future we will all be going to Deanna Rose Farmstead. I am sure Sarah will have a lot of fun, because she is enamored with all animals. I also got a chance to visit and see where the little ones will stay and what they will be taught. It's the same nursery that Sarah goes to for church so there shouldn't be any complications there.

All in all it was a great experience. I spent two hours child free, hanging out with other moms, eating ice cream. This fall is going to be good for us I just know it! The next meeting is in two weeks!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Postpartum Recovery

To sum it up, it's not pretty. I know it has been nearly five months since my darling baby was born, but in a way I am still dealing with postpartum recovery. It takes a long time. Here's a break down of my personal experience.

Immediately following the birth
  • Exhaustion - Having a baby is hard work people.
  • Bleeding - I was totally unprepared for how much of this there would be. I knew there would be a lot, but it still took my by surprise. We're talking six weeks here people.
  • Swelling - I had severe swelling in my ankles and feet the last few weeks of my pregnancy and I expected it to go down once I had Sarah. Wrong it stayed around for about a week. 
  • Linea Nigra - That attractive brown line did not disappear with Sarah's birth
  • Stitches - Oh the wonderful peri bottle. That's all I have to say there.
  • Soreness - A general body ache along with discomfort from the birth. Pushing makes your entire body sore because you use so many muscles in your body and you are so tense. 
  • Engorgement - Not fun and it can make breastfeeding difficult
  • Weight Loss - I left the hospital 30 lbs lighter than when I went in. (I gained 49 lbs while pregnant)
  • Emotions- All over the place! I was elated, sad, happy, confused, overwhelmed, content and  calm all at the same time. Or one right after the other. It was a crazy ride those first few weeks.

A Month After Birth
  • Exhaustion - This time from the crazy sleep schedule of a newborn
  • Bleeding - Still present but much lighter.
  • Swelling - Gone my feet were back to normal. 
  • Linea Nigra - Lighter but still there
  • Stitches - Dissolved at this point and thank goodness. I did not like having to have that peri bottle with me at all times.
  • Engorgement - Not an issue since we had a regular pumping schedule at this point.
  • Weight Loss - I was dropping weight quickly because I was nursing. It really is the best weight less mechanism out there!
  • Body Image - Not good. Stretch marks were still an angry purple, my hips were (and are) wider than before baby, and a flabby tummy. But doing my hair and getting out of pj's helps the self esteem.
  • Emotions - I still struggled with some baby blues and loneliness. It was hard adjusting to being a stay at home mom and having very little adult interaction.
Almost Five Months Postpartum
  • Exhaustion- I have learned to deal with just a few hours of sleep. And yes I still nap while Sarah naps most days. I'm a stay at home mom with one baby so I still have the luxury of sleeping when the baby sleeps.
  • Hair Loss - This is something I had not heard of. Starting at about 4 months postpartum I began losing handfuls of hair. It's most noticeable in the shower while shampooing. Running your hands through your hair and having them come back in loose strands is not pleasant. Luckily it seems to be tapering off but for a while I was convinced I would be bald! It has something to do with hormone depletion or something like that. 
  • Linea Nigra - It's still here but barely. I hardly notice it now. I'll let you know when it's gone.
  • Weight Loss - I have between 5 and 8 lbs left to lose depending on the day. I am not big on exercise although with a baby I can get busy enough to forget to eat sometimes. I think I have done fairly well with losing the weight so far, but that may be my genetics and metabolism that I have to thank. I should start jogging or working out soon though.
  • Body Image - I have good days and bad. The stretch marks are now pink, my hips are still wider, and my tummy is still slightly flabby. I have come to terms with the fact that I will most likely never have my pre-baby body back, but sometimes I wish I could. It's been a struggle to find pants and even bras. And when nothing in your closet fits it can make you feel frumpy and blah. But luckily I seem to be feeling better about myself lately.
  • Emotions- No baby blues for me anymore. I am feeling much more comfortable in my role as mommy. Taking care of Sarah is much more natural to me and I only have occasional bouts of feeling overwhelmed. It usually happens when Sarah has had a very fussy day or not napped well. 
That's a crazy list of stuff and I am sure I am forgetting some things but it's the gist of it. Recovery can take a long time and there are lots of different stages. Everyone has their own pace.

In other news, MOPS kick - off night is tonight! I am so excited to meet some new mamas! This is an answer to prayers. I will definitely be posting about that when it's over!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Way Back Wednesday (For a Change)

Shortly after midnight on Valentine's Day of 2007 I made the single best decision of my life. I said yes when Ryan proposed! I know that deciding to have a child could be described as the best decision of my life, but without my marriage to Ryan there would be no Sarah. So getting engaged to Ryan led to other great choices, making it the BEST decision. So here it comes straight from journal the day after.

Ryan came into my dorm room around 10:00 pm on February 13th. (We lived across the hall from one another in four person suites.) He asked if we could do gifts at midnight since our schedules were going to be hectic with work and school on the actual day of Valentine's Day. We had done this before when we knew time could be a problem on a specific holiday so I didn't think anything of it. So at midnight I knocked on his door with my gift in hand.
His room was dark except for the Christmas lights that were strung across the ceiling. His roommates were either gone or sleeping on the other side of the divider. Ryan gave me my gift and to be honest I was slightly disappointed. (How bratty I know!) I had spent so much more money on him and I didn't even get a card or flowers. Usually Ryan was so much better at gift giving than me. But then he told he had another present for me. He described it as a little but big one. I was convinced that it was a coupon for a puppy (since I would be moving into an apartment in a few months) or something similar to that. (We were poor college kids.)

Ryan pulled a HUGE balloon out of his closet and brought it over to where I was sitting on the futon. I saw what I thought was a kink in the string of the balloon so I try to pull it out. (Remember it's dim in the room.) Apparently that's where the ring was tied on, and when I pulled it fell off. I went to pick it up and Ryan quickly took it out of my hands and got down on one knee. Before I fully realized what had happened, Ryan is asking me to marry him. (I have no idea what he actually said now. Sorry babe!)

I was in a state of shock. I couldn't believe he was proposing. Ryan had told me many times that he would never propose on a holiday so I was totally blind sided by this. I asked him if he was serious several times before I finally said yes. I honestly thought he was kidding around with me. I didn't get emotional or start to cry until Ryan apologized for not getting me a card or flowers.  Needless to say it was the best Valentine's Day of my life.

Engagement Picture

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bedtime Sucks!

Not only is that a title of a book I just finished reading, but it also describes my feelings about getting Sarah put down for the night. We are in the process of teaching her how to fall asleep on her own and it's not the easiest thing in the world. She's used to me rocking or holding her every night and to be honest she has slept near me or on me for the majority of her life. Now we are trying to get her to sleep in her own bed by herself.

We started the crib transition a while ago but she usually only stayed in there for a few hours, until her middle of the night waking. After I fed her and changed her I would bring her to bed with me so that we could both get some more sleep. The problem with that, is that it created a routine. Now she expects to lay down with me after she wakes up. That was all fine and dandy for a while, but I want my bed back. So on with the sleep training.

We discovered that after an average 15 minutes of fussing total (with at least one check in from Mommy or Daddy) Sarah will actually fall asleep on her own. I just have a hard time listening to her cry for a bit. We never let her get too worked up but I am of the firm impression that some babies just need to work out some energy by crying or fussing before they fall asleep.

I'm not saying we have it all figured out. There are still nights where I find my self pleading with Sarah to just fall asleep or trying to convince her that it's bedtime and not playtime. And yes I still do cave and bring her to bed with me sometimes. Sarah does not quite sleep through the night every night. There is usually one maybe two wakings in the night.

But Ryan and I have found a few things that make bedtime go a little smoother. We start bedtime routine with a bath. This is quite possibly Sarah's favorite time of day. Also our daughter has decided to be a belly sleeper. This caused me some anxiety at first because of the "Back is Best" campaign trying to prevent SIDS. But Sarah has great head control and can roll off her belly so my fears have eased some. She gets a pacifier at bedtime and once she goes to sleep it falls out and she could care less. We leave a dim lamp on because I think she is scared of the dark and it makes middle of the night feeds and changes easier. She also has a "womb bear" in her crib. It mimics the sounds of the womb and a heartbeat. This works so much better than her seahorse which turns off before she has drifted off.

Like I said bedtime is still far from perfect, some nights it's rather excruciating. But we are making improvements and it is getting better. But still bedtime sucks!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Something new mamas need is....

friends!! Since Sarah was born (and honestly even a little before) I have been lonely. Being a stay at home mom means very little social interaction in the beginning stages. Sure you have your baby, but there's not much conversation to be had with a newborn. You also get lots of visitors in the beginning. whether they be helpers or people just dying to see the new squishy baby face! But eventually those visits dwindle and your day to day activities involve you and your little one.

 I struggled a lot in the beginning with having NO friends and shouldering all the new responsibilities of taking care of a baby. I have very few friends that are married and of those only one other couple has a child, and I don't get to see them much. Because of this I felt very isolated. My world revolved around diapers, pacifiers, bottles, breast pumps, and everything else baby. Unfortunately most of my friends are still in college or just graduated so their world doesn't include all that.

I began to feel really hermit-like after about two weeks. Fortunately my family lives close and I felt comfortable taking new baby Sarah to her grandparents' house. (Both sides of our family are REALLY close.) So I was able to get some adult interaction that way.

Sarah is now four and a half months old and I still haven't made any new mommy friends. I really want to have someone to talk all things baby with and not have them get tired of me. I would love to chat with someone else about introducing solid foods and have them really understand what I am going through/feeling! I have been big on following some blogs of other moms and they have been lifesavers sometimes. Even if all they do is reassure me that I am not the first mom to get frustrated or go through the crazy newborn phase.

So I joined MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers) at church. It starts in about two weeks and I am SO excited about it. It will be nice to have some mama friends and have real live social interaction with someone I am not related to! Here's hoping this can be all that I want and need it to be. Be on the lookout for an update after my first MOPS meeting.

So to all you new moms out there. Don't be shy!! Join a mommy group or do something to get you out there. You need friends and support!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fantasy meet reality

When I found out I was pregnant I had this idea of what it would be like. I envisioned myself as some type of serene fertility goddess. I would have no problems with being pregnant, in fact it would be a breeze for me. Well reality came crashing down on me in the form of EXTREME morning sickness, exhaustion, heartburn, swelling, and later high blood pressure. The last few weeks of my pregnancy I was so huge and uncomfortable that I'm pretty sure any thoughts of the afore mentioned fertility goddess were far from mind. I was just hoping that Sarah would make her grand entrance so I could go back to my pre-pregnancy body. (Another unrealistic fantasy.) Even though my pregnancy didn't go as smoothly or peacefully as I had originally hoped for, I would do it all over again. I wasn't high risk and I didn't have any severe complications. I had just dreamed of my pregnancy being this magic, love-filled experience. On some levels it was, but like I said reality showed me how brutal some of the physical aspects really are.

When we brought Sarah home from the hospital my head was once again filled with these picturesque images of motherhood. An immediate intense love for my daughter, an infant sleeping soundly in her carseat, breastfeeding in the rocking chair, leisurely walks around the neighborhood with the dogs and the stroller. Oh it was going to be so awesome. Ryan and I had agreed that I would be a stay at home mom and how wonderful that sounded! I would get to be with my new daughter every day as she accomplished one milestone after another. Knock Knock Yup here come reality again.

First off I did not feel an immediate love for Sarah. Oh I cared for her, was protective over her, and thought she was cute but I was waiting for this overwhelming rush of maternal love to wash over me. Having never been a mother before I was just waiting on this emotion to hit and when it didn't I was sorely disappointed. I love her more than I thought possible now, but it took me a bit to realize it. And THAT'S OKAY. For a while I felt guilty that I didn't feel more maternal at first. I was convinced that because I couldn't differentiate between her hungry and sleepy cries within the first days that I was failing as a mom. Ryan was so calm and patient and loving towards Sarah that at times it made me feel worse. But now I can tell what all of her noises mean and even when she's fake coughing for attention. It takes some mamas longer than others.

Sarah hated her carseat for the first three months of her life. All of those movies where people are driving their babies around until 2:00 AM so that they will fall asleep. Yeah that was SO not us. We avoided the carseat when we could. Breastfeeding peacefully in a rocker. Nope! There is so much involved in nursing. It's painful at first and getting a good latch is not as easy as it seems. Most babies need a little help and don't automatically know what to do. Then there's all this gear that goes with it too. Creams, nursing pads, boppy pillow, and a LOT of time. Newborns take forever to nurse and it seems like once you finish it's almost time for the next feeding. Needless to say breastfeeding was a disaster for us.

Walks around the neighborhood with baby and dogs in tow? Ha! First off my dogs are not bright enough to realize that the stroller moves also and it WILL hit them if they don't stay out of the way. Two leashes wrapped around stroller wheels cause some interesting near spills. There was no way I could walk the dogs and take Sarah on my own.I had envisioned these walks as something that would help me get my baby weight off. In all actuality they frustrated me so much that we gave them up. When the weather cools down a little we will resume outdoor walks. Just Sarah and I.

Although I may have thought motherhood would be different and easier than it is, I am so glad I have my beautiful daughter. She is the joy of my life now. In the beginning I didn't think I would ever get the hang of being a mom, but I am proud to say I have a handle on things now. Sarah and I have our own little routine at home and we are having more good than bad days. But sometimes when Daddy comes through the door you can bet it's time for some father daughter bonding while Mommy unwinds in a bubble bath or a good book!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mom = Pack Mule

It's true. No one tells you this, but once you have a baby you are officially a pack mule. Babies come with a lot of stuff, and when baby goes somewhere so does that stuff. Getting ready to go to the store or to someone's house is at least a 20 minute ordeal. There's a crazy long checklist involved in getting out the door.

Item One: Diaper bag
This one is essential! You can't forget it, it contains nearly all of baby's things. For us we have a "must have" and "would like to have" category for the bag. Must haves include diapers, wipes,bottle, formula, bottle of water (to mix w/formula), extra clothes (we have a drooly kid), changing pad, baby first aid kit (medicines and band aids)and pacifiers. The would like to haves include toys, teething ring, cereal, spoon, and extra headbands (yes I am that mom. Never thought I would be.) The other day we managed to forget a bottle when we dropped Sarah off at my in-laws causing an emergency run to Walgreen's. Oops. So in all actuality the diaper bag is really items one through like one hundred.

Item Two: The Carseat
We just recently made the transition of leaving the carrier in the car and only bringing Sarah inside. That is unless we have to go into a store, Sarah can't sit unsupported yet. So when we go to someone's house we just unstrap the little bit and bring her inside. Going to a store requires lugging my carrier plus its 13 + pound cargo inside. Yeah it gets heavy. Try adding grocery or shopping bags to that. Did I mention moms were also professional jugglers. Let's just hope it doesn't rain when you have to run to the store with the baby. That's a whole new dilemma.

Item Three: The Stroller
This stays in our car for the most part also. Although when it comes out we can just click the carseat into and throw the diaper bag in the bottom basket. Making my job as the pack mule much easier. I wish I had occasion to use this more often. It would make things easier. We usually only use this if we go to the mall or a walk outside. Since we are currently in an excessive heat advisory our evening walks have been taking place in the mall. Exercise and shopping in one hit!

The Remaining Items
The other things we bring with us vary depending on where we go. It could be the pack n play, the bumbo seat, the swing, the bouncy seat, and I used to bring my pump bag with me everywhere. Exclusively pumping for three months makes travelling light difficult. Any combination of these and the other three items and there you have it the overburdened, bag toting mama.

So it's easy to see how a mom can be equated to a pack mule. We get so loaded down with stuff. It's just not possible to grab the baby and go. Most days I can get out of the house in less than 10 minutes, because I always prepack my diaper bag. But then I do something like lose my shoes, keys, or sunglasses. Oh wait did I forget to mention all the things I need for me?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Summer's almost over

and I am sad. I can't believe how quickly it came and went. Oh I know that the weather is still unmistakably summer. I mean it's been over 100 degrees for at least 10 days in a row. Maybe that's why I feel like summer has gone so fast. It's been too hot to take Sarah out. Her soft, sensitive baby skin can't tolerate sunscreen so we have to avoid being out in direct sunlight. Which means that Mama avoids it too.

I used to spend summers outside, either for work or leisure. I walked dogs or lounged by the pool. Now I spend it inside playing silly games and singing songs. Don't get me wrong I've had an enjoyable time, I just wish I could spend more time outdoors. Next summer I will be at the pool with my little girl though. She's already proven that she's a fish. Next summer she'll be a walking, swimming machine. But this summer we have been swimming in the evenings and once in the morning. Or we go to the indoor pool.

The end of summer also means the end of my live in helpers. My sister has practically taken up residence in my apartment to spend as much time with Sarah as possible. Let me tell you that she has been a life saver at times. It's so nice to be able to grab a shower and not worry about when nap time will end. Or to be able to enjoy a meal and use BOTH hands to eat it.

But the end of summer also means the coming of fall and with that a whole bunch of new memories to make with Sarah. Evening walks, going to the zoo, picking out pumpkins, going to the park, and so many more. Not to mention all the cute clothes that she has to wear. Sweaters, hoodies, long sleeve dresses. Yes fall will be good to us. I know it.

My new favorite picture of Sarah! (I took it)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

4 Months Old

My baby is already 4 months old. We had her well baby check up on the third and she did so well. She now weighs 13 pounds 3.2 ounces and is 23 1/2" long. I can't believe how much she's grown since she was born. Although when you carry her around in the infant carrier it's easy to tell that she's gotten heavier.

As far as her personality goes, boy does she have one. She is very vocal and stubborn, which means she takes after her mama. Her screaming has gone from constant to when she's bored or angry. Trust me when I say this is a good thing. Here's a few other things about her:

  • She's in size 2 diapers
  • Disney songs are still a way to calm her down especially Colors of the Wind
  • She can blow raspberries
  • We started rice cereal a few days ago and she seems to like it okay
  • Her feet are her favorite toys
  • She is a complete Daddy's girl. When he gets home from work I don't even exist to her anymore except when she's tired. Then she wants Mama.
  • The dogs are a recent discovery of hers. She absolutely loves to touch them but hasn't mastered gentle touches so Penny is the only one that tolerates her. 
  • She has amazing head control. The pediatrician told us this several times.
  • She is attempting to sit up and it looks like little baby crunches when she does it. 
  • She has a long patch of hair on the side of her head but still is mostly a baldy.
  • Sleeping is a struggle. She doesn't like to go to bed on her own. 
  • Her jumperoo is a new toy that she seems to like.
  • Bath time is the best time of the day. I have a future Olympic swimmer.