Thursday, December 29, 2011

public nursing

Places I have breastfed my baby:
- My desk at work
- A bar while watching college football
- A burger joint. A sushi restaurant. A barbecue dive.
- A college basketball game.
- The front seat of my car at a truck stop.
- On a bench at the mall.
- My husband's cubicle.

I am not obnoxious about it. Unless by accident, no one sees anything they would normally except an odd blanket covering my front or a huge baby head underneath my shirt. I am not out to prove anything but I am certainly not hiding anything.

The hubs actually directed me to a story about Kasey Kahne, a NASCAR driver, who started a public debate after he tweeted his disgust about public breastfeeding. Here are some comments from the ESPN article (grammar unedited):
"Breasfeeding in public and NASCAR are very similar in that they're both technically legal, but most people find it very distasteful and unnecessary"
Why people find breastfeeding disgusting and distasteful I can't understand except chalking it up to immaturity and ignorance. Unnecessary though? Babies that are exclusively breastfed (no formula, water, food) for at least six months are protected from a long list of viruses and infections.Breastfed children have less risk of developing diabetes, obesity, childhood cancers and inflammatory bowel diseases (source). Breastfeeding boosts intelligence, prevents allergies, lowers the risks of SIDS and reduce the mother's risk of depression and certain cancers. How lucky we are such a preventative is available naturally. No prescription needed. I'd say it's very, very necessary.

"If a man gets in trouble for taking a leak in public, why cant a woman for breastfeeding?"Clearly urinating and breastfeeding a child are unrelated. But this seemed to be the most common argument in support of Kahne. The two aren't even comparable. 

"We have restrooms for a reason."
I will breastfeed my child in a restroom stall the day you take your Big Mac and fries an proceed to eat it for 20 minutes in the same place people defecate.

"This is the 21st century. They invented pumps for a reason."
Except every bit of expressed milk I can muster I have to send to daycare the next day. It's like living paycheck to paycheck, and there is no extra. Pumping isn't as efficient as nursing so like hell I am going to waste a hard earned four ounces when my baby is with me.

"Privacy only takes 1 min to find."
 Actually it's not. And I am fairly certain the same people that think finding a private place to breastfeed is easy are the same folks who would shoot judging looks when my baby is screaming for food. My car might be an option but then I am expected to leave the table and sit in my car for 30 minutes, which in that case should have just stayed home. 

Only 13 percent are exclusively breastfed, maximizing the benefits, through six months, according to the CDC.Only 17 percent are breastfed for a full year which is what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends. The World Health Organization still recommends at least two years of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is a self-sacrificing commitment a mother makes to her baby and his or her health. It's not a convenient choice. Most days it's a whole lot of work, especially when you add in public outings, pumping at work and a baby with teeth.

It's a tough job for mothers already doing the toughest job. A natural, beautiful process that should be applauded, not viewed with disgust and ridicule.

breaking heart

A couple we know lost their baby after being pregnant for eight months.

I don't know how they feel. I'm not even going to imagine.

But as a mother, I can tell you their story made me go home and hug my baby. And realize even more how much of a miracle he really is. Dropping him off at daycare this morning was possibly even worse than the my first day back at work. As if somehow having him in my arms will protect him from all this world offers.

I knew that being a mother has changed me. When it comes to movies, TV shows or news stories involving anything happening to kids, I process it differently. More deeply. 

At eight months pregnant with Henry, we had a nursery, clothes... everything. We were ready to meet this little boy. Having that chance ripped away from me when I thought everything was just fine paralyzes my soul.

For this couple, I hope they find peace. And hope in an altered future. And faith in a God that will carry them through.

Monday, December 26, 2011

a first christmas

Henry was rather neutral about his first Christmas. Though it was full of experiences including ringing the Salvation Army bell, candlelight Christmas Eve service, opening presents (puppets and books were the favorite), a turkey dinner he slept through and an overflowing stocking.



Monday, December 19, 2011


Henry and his godmother, Ashley.
This weekend was in-law visit, early Christmas and Henry's baptism. I'll tell you all about it soon. But OMG isn't he adorable?

For those of you boy moms with no place to find good boy dress clothes, try Dapper Lads.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

the crib transition

We tried. Really.

At 7 p.m. the boy was falling asleep, and we got him successfully lying in his crib with his favorite giraffe. We crept out of his room. Then I made Shea creep back in to make sure that the baby monitors work. Because God forbid the boy make a squeak and I not hear it.

We high-fived. We wrote celebratory Facebook status updates. I settled in to study for my grad school final, and Shea started doing the dishes.

By 8 p.m. the wail started to come through the baby monitor. And after a few minutes of self-restraint, he was once again in the living room. We played. Laughed in the mirror. Danced to Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree. Ate his evening meal and was rocked to sleep.

At 11 p.m., we tried the crib again. Success! More high-fives. I tempted fate and pumped assuming the boy was asleep for the night.

At midnight, we went to bed. Figured we could fall asleep cuddling for the first time in four months (probably longer. Pregnant cuddling is annoying).

12:40 p.m. Baby is back in our bed, curled on his side to get close to my body. Out cold and happy. Accept defeat.

Baby 1, Parents 0.

Monday, December 12, 2011

remind me to breathe

End of grad school + Return to work + Baby + Husband + Christmas + Baptism + Family in town =

work to-do list

Monday, December 5, 2011

meeting santa

As a child, all I remember about my annual Santa picture was getting a candy cane after sitting on the bearded man's lap followed by later my mother insisting that I take a picture with the man every year despite the fact I was 14, and it was SO embarrassing. What if someone saw me and thought I really believed he was real? Social suicide. 

My mom had to get creative. Picture with the purple Santa at the Alamo Bowl. Picture with my Uncle Randy dressed as Santa. Picture with Santa in another state. Picture with high school boyfriend dressed up as Santa.

But then I realized that 18 years of Santa pictures are actually kind of cool. Lucky for me, I have now someone else to keep the tradition going. Let the torture begin.

Monday, November 28, 2011

the first and hardest day

7:20 a.m. Drive to daycare, cry the entire way. Does not help that song All of Me is on the radio. Though I'm pretty sure an Eminem song could have been playing and I would have found a way to relate it to my morning.

7:45 a.m. Drop Henry off at daycare. Do not cry.

7:50 a.m. Cry saying goodbye to Shea. Cry on my way back to work.

8 a.m. Arrive in new cubicle to see note from previous worker.

8:15 a.m. Successfully avoid crying when four people ask how "the separation" went but end sentence with "Idon'twanttotalkaboutit."

8:45 a.m. Break out in tears when co-worker hugs me and says she knows it's a hard day for me. Receive super cute pic of my little adaptable son. He certainly does not get this trait from either of his parents.

9 a.m. Successfully avoid crying (and screaming) when finding out that pump room is not really available but I should just bother someone with an actual office every three hours to ask if I can borrow their space.

10 a.m. First pumping session in which I have to skip meeting to use an empty office which majority of staff has key to making for not so relaxed session. Master double pumping but realize how many bottles and supplies this uses each time. And washing shields in work kitchen? Embarrassing. New respect gained for working moms.

10:45 a.m. Get a report from Shea who has already visited Henry (hello, attached parents). He's happy and even slept in a bouncy seat without being held.

12:30 p.m. Visit Henry who is hungry but happy. Feel better. Change diaper and get back to work.

4 p.m. Have to send mass email asking whose office I can use to pump. Grumpy. Finish first chapter in just-for-fun book. Determine I have accomplished nothing today except survive.

5 p.m. Leave to pick up my baby.

6 p.m. Arrive home to discover that dinner still has to be made, laundry done, dishes washed, diaper bag repacked, grad school paper written and house cleaned. Well hello, new reality.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

quick, everybody look in all different directions



This is the largest group of kids Henry has ever been around. His head did come one-inch from the cement fireplace. But you know, I'm such a cool mom that I trusted daddy and kept snapping pictures.

And then I disinfected all the toys because OMG THE BABY SPIT.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

health challenge

A few weeks ago we started a health challenge run by our personal trainer friend, Becky. I'm doing it to lose my last four pounds and get some abs back. Shea is doing it because I said so.

We get points for good behaviors each day.
  • Two fruits (this is my most challenging item.Winter fruit bites it.)
  • Three vegetables
  • 64 ounces of water
  • 30 minutes of cardio
  • Strength training (abs, arm weights, holding baby)
We each picked one behavior we are going to work on throughout the challenge. Mine is two desserts or less per week. I'm not really a dessert fan but considering this challenge runs through a time when there are white chocolate pretzels, fudge and pumpkin pie available in large quantities, it's going to be tough.

Cardio has proved really challenging (read: non-existent) in Minnesota this week. It snowed. And it's cold. And being outside stinks.

My goal was to register for the Rock the Parkway half marathon after getting back into a healthy routine through the challenge. But working out while taking care of a wee little baby is proving to be more than hard. Especially when I start work and only get a couple hours a night with the little man (sob).


send ice cream

In August, 12 weeks seemed like an eternity.

I had plans to finish a scrapbook, clean the house up and down, reorganize the closets, bake bread and get my running groove back.

It's now been 14 weeks; 2,352 hours spent singing, rocking, nursing, wiping, nursing, laundering, nursing, and cuddling. There has not been a lot of baking, running or organizing. Or sleeping for that matter.

But there was a day when maternity leave stopped feeling like a painful marathon and more like the most wonderful gift. We're off to Minnesota for a week tomorrow and then I'm back to work. Today is our last day at home together.

Just like that, it's over.

This lump in my throat that has been growing slowly has now erupted into tears.

I was totally unprepared for this transformation. I thought I'd be bored, anxious to get back to a job I enjoy most days. I thought I would feel like I do at the end of a vacation - sad but excited for a routine again.

My routine these days is sleep as long as I can (7:30 a.m.), lie on a blanket for an hour tickling and making weird noises to elicit a smile or giggle, nurse every two or three hours, do dishes and laundry one-handed, psych myself up for a few hours before a Target run and do everything possible to keep him on the good side of the line. Oh, and I also watch a lot of Gossip Girl and Army Wives (don't judge me).

I remember when I lived in Iowa for my first job out of college. I had few friends and lived in an apartment alone. I would come home for the weekend to visit, and as I would get ready to drive back on Sunday night, it didn't make sense. I was happy and alive at home, in Iowa I was sad. And I chose the sad because it meant career, money to pay the bills and probably some sort of "this is making me a better person" song and dance.

This feels the same. Except way worse.

Maybe I'll adjust and the routine and return to the adult world will be refreshing.

But right now it feels really, really painful.

Which is why after our Target run this afternoon, Henry and I are getting a lot of ice cream.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

three months

Dear little Henry,

You're three months old today! It seems like you learn something new every single day. You talk when we talk to you. You are starting to attempt to sit up and roll over, though the amount of energy you expend leaves you desperate for a nap. You loooove to cuddle and end up turned on your side to face mom or dad when you're sleeping next to us.

This has been a big month for you. You went on your first long road trip to meet the great grandmas.You were a trooper and made it nine hours with only one stop.

You visited the apple orchard and dressed up as a pumpkin for Halloween.

You can play for 45 minutes at a time. You love to lie on the floor on your monkey blanket, swing in the kitchen while I make dinner and bat at toys in your gym. You rarely cry now, mostly when it's time to sleep. Speaking of sleep, you've cut back to one night feeding and have slept through the night half a dozen times. Oh baby boy, thank you!

The most exciting thing this month was your recognition of mom and dad's faces and voices. There is nothing better than watching your face light up when daddy arrives home or when mama picks you up after a nap. You can follow us across the room now and you crane your neck to find someone who is calling your name.

The sight of your little face makes me love you so much I feel it with my whole body.

We have two more weeks before I go back to work. Bring on the walks, shopping, cuddling and giggling!

I love you, Henry. LOVE.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

much-needed conversation

I love college football.

My t-shirt drawer plastic bin underneath my bed is full of purple, K-State t-shirts. I don't bat an eye at spending the money for season tickets which also includes a 2-hour drive and giving up most of our fall weekends for games. I dyed my hair purple for a bowl game. I love the excitement, the smells, the traditions. Love it.

But I don't love it more than people.

I watched the Penn State saga unfold, first with sadness, now with horror. Students are taking to the streets in anger. One would assume it'd be anger over the horrifying silence of a coach, a president and other administrators about the rape of helpless little boys. But no. It's anger over a coach being held accountable, the fear of tainting a legacy or perhaps even just anger that the remaining three football games will not be the same.

My own little boy is next to me while I'm writing this. Smiling away, not a care in the world.  I think (and immediately panic) about the ways in which this world will take away his sweet innocence. I hope and pray that nothing this tragic ever crosses his path.

I don't know what happened for sure or who was involved. I trust that the justice system will deal with the action and inaction.

But there is a conversation that needs to take place, not just at Penn State but on all college campuses. A winning football team, a coach's legacy must take a backseat to the safety of our kids.

Friday, November 4, 2011

the unbirthday

My 29th birthday started out with brunch with a great friend and this cute little boy.

Take a look at that sweet, innocent face because it's the last time you'll see it today.

The rest of the day included what seems to be the three month growth spurt. Or a possession by demons. There was screaming, blow out diapers, nursing every hour and lots of sleeping. Except not sleeping in the crib or swing or in a nest of blankets on the couch. Sleeping in my arms and ONLY there.

OK, that's a sweet face, too.
Try to put him down. I dare you. This combined with the same behavior last night along with no coffee led to the most massive migraine/tension headache/nausea combo I've had in a long time. In the meantime, the dog peed on the floor, the cat puked on the couch and I accidentally sat in it. Special.

Luckily the hubs got home early.

We were going to get cheap food for dinner but the pain jolting in my head every time I moved made my stomach turn at every suggestion. Plus Henry was screaming. One migraine pain pill, two Tylenol and a scalding hot shower later, I was recovering.

We finally devoured food, in bed, at 8 p.m.

Followed by more screaming, clawing at my face and a massive blowout diaper. That may have been the grand finale (please, I beg you) because the poor kid is sound asleep now. Growing is so hard!

Tomorrow we're having a birthday redo. There is wine, a large plate of sushi and babysitting grandparents in my future.

Friday, October 28, 2011

car places make me want to punch someone in the teeth

I have this tire. We fill it with air, it deflates after a few weeks. We fill it again. It's called budget car maintenance.

However after discovering a 98 percent flat tire, we bit the bullet. And by "we," I mean me. Shea made me an appointment at the tire store. I drove 51 blocks on said tire with a fussy baby in the back hoping for a nice little patch. But who really has ever gone to an auto repair store and left with anything nice or little (cheap)?

Instead of a patch or even just one tire, I got four. For $699. On sale. When they broke the news to me, I cried. Because isn't that what a girl in a car shop should do? I called the hubs with no success to ask what to do. Then called my dad. Then put on my big girl pants and got tires because, you know, we have this baby who we're supposed to be keeping alive.  

They promised it'd only take 90 minutes. I was planning on 30 so I was sans stroller or any sort of baby wearing device. Henry and I camped out in the waiting room watching TV and reading Field and Stream (seriously, why). This lasted four minutes before he started wailing. Simultaneously, the hubs accurately interpreted my rapid fire texting and texts "you probably hate me right now." I mean, really, I got married so I wouldn't have to do this crap.

With the choice of sitting around reading hunting magazines with crying child in a shop full of greasy men or hoofing across the entire shopping center with my 30-pound carseat to Target, I chose the latter. When I reached my shopping limit, I made it back to the shop once again only to be greeted by the mechanic with a list of things he wanted to do to my car: rear shocks, rear brakes, air filter, blah blah. I gave him the "I am paying you $700 today and you STILL have not put tires on my car? Do you see the fact I am currently juggling a fussy child, carseat, Target bag, blanket, Sophie the giraffe and a pacifier that keeps falling out?" look.

Three hours after leaving my house, we left for home. I must admit, the new tires feel nice, and I might even let the hubs sleep in the bed tonight.

Monday, October 24, 2011

fall fun

Henry is meeting his great grandma this week and enjoying Edwards Apple Orchard. Possibly more entertainment for us than him but that's what babies are for.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

when it's hard

My sister-in-law, Shannon, gave birth to a beautiful girl yesterday. In looking at her newborn pictures and then back at my smiley, 12-pound baby I realized how far we've come.

People told me it'd be hard at first. I didn't truly believe them. I'm a confident, multi-tasking woman. I could do this. Which, I did. But not because I was so confident or that my multi-tasking skills matched the situation.

Shannon, here's what I realized in my 20/20 hindsight based on my experience (plus the best advice I received from people smarter than me), which could be totally opposite from yours. So take it for what it's worth, as if you have time to read blogs right now anyway.

When I was home from the hospital, I suddenly desperately wanted to go back. There were nurses there who took care of my baby so I could sleep. I had food (albeit, gross food) delivered to my bed with one ring of the phone. The bed moved up and down for nursing. I didn't have to decide what was normal when Henry turned red, felt hot, unlatched quickly, etc. People visited with pretty flowers and balloons. And then I went home, and it was a much more challenging place. Especially when Shea went back to work and my mom went home. 

You will cry. A lot. For lots of reasons and for absolutely no reason. It's totally normal but really not fun. If it continues, don't be afraid to tell your doctor. I did.

There will be a time when a Target run does not seem like an insurmountable task.

You'll experience pain that only women who just gave birth can. Your lady parts hurt (yay, Tucks). Your uterus is contracting back to its normal size in an ever so painful way. Your nipples are raw and nursing can bring on toe-curling pain. Things got better but I didn't feel totally healed for a month. And then there are some things that have just become my new normal.

You'll forget the pain of labor. Really, really quickly.

Your husband is great. Your mother is better.

Visitors should bring food. And not the number one combo from McDonalds. Real food from a private kitchen. Then they should drop it off, hold your baby a little, tell you she is the cutest baby ever made and leave.

When people offer to bring you said food, go to the pharmacy for you, vacuum your floors or hold baby so you can sleep, say YES.

You love your baby but don't feel guilty if you aren't in love. She is perfect and wonderful but a foreigner you don't know yet. The all-consuming love comes with time (and toothless grins).

Everyone tells you to sleep when the baby sleeps, which you should if you can. I couldn't. I wanted to do things like do laundry or scan through Facebook because it made me feel normal. You should not follow my example. Sleep.

I had all these rules for my mothering. I didn't want to use pacifiers. I absolutely would not co-sleep. I would use cloth diapers from day one. I would not let emails go unanswered for weeks. I should have listened to my wise mom friends and realized that no matter how strong my intentions were, they changed. Because I just had to survive. Ten weeks later, I am still just surviving - but in a better, more sane way.

When you've reached your limit and she's been crying for hours, it's OK to put her in her crib and walk away for a bit. Take a shower, cry, stick your head out the window to suck in fresh air. 

Lower your standards for a successful day. If you take a shower and eat, that's success for awhile.

Listen to all the advice people (like me) will give you. Then remember whatever you do is best because you're the mom and therefore the boss.

And when you're Googling "does this get better" at 3 a.m., know that it does. I promise.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

the 4 a.m. shower

This is our normal bedtime routine:

We try to watch TV/read for class/actually talk while holding Henry on the couch.  He decides he would prefer to be held while we are standing. We take turns standing and rocking while singing either "Jesus Loves Me" or "I've Been Working on the Railroad." Over and over.

Henry starts to fall asleep sucking on his pacifier. Henry spits out pacifier and resumes fussy crying. Repeat 50 billion times. Daddy changes diaper and then swaddles Henry. Resume standing and singing routine. Finally Henry falls asleep around 9:30 on my chest. The slow walk to the bedroom begins followed by an even slower lowering into the crib. On a good night, he snorts, flutters his eyelids and falls into a deeper sleep. You can guess what happens on the bad nights.

Regardless, he is up at 11 at which point I pull him into bed and nurse him. He falls right back to sleep in my arms and I use a nifty roll maneuver to place him in between our pillows where he sleeps til 3 a.m. and then til 7 a.m.

At our two month appointment, I explained this routine followed by "I know our bed isn't the safest place for him, ok?" This was met with the uh yeah nod.

Instead of this chaotic routine, Dr. K recommended this sleep training process:

Start at 8 p.m. Change his diaper and put on his jammies. Sing him a nice little song and read a book. Nurse him and when he's 95 percent asleep, put him in his crib. He falls asleep in his crib therefore won't get mad when he wakes up in his crib. Happily ever after in sleep land. Obviously Dr. K got his kids from the perfect store.

The first night, as soon as he started fussing in his crib, Shea swooped him up saying "oh you want to sleep with us? OK!"

Last night we attempted to follow directions. After battling through song and dance (literally), we got him calm enough to look at a book. Swaddled and sleepy, we got him in his crib by 11 and there he stayed. Feeling pretty empowered, we went to sleep and didn't wake up until 4 a.m. I nurse and then burp him. I got my burp followed by a good 48 hours worth of milk spit up in my hair, causing me to start screaming for a towel. Mostly because I had just changed our sheets. And that does not happen often. Or ever.

Shea, handing me a towel: "So now what? Are supposed to put him back in his crib? Read him another book? Sing a song?"

Me, stripping off my clothes: "The only thing I am doing is taking as shower because there is baby vomit dripping off my hair and down my back."

Needless to say, Henry spent the rest of the night not in his crib, but in our bed.

Parenting fail.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

two months

 Dear little Henry,

Today you're two months old! We've only known each other eight weeks but I struggle to remember the time when I hadn't seen your face yet. You've transformed from newborn to baby so quickly.

You're finally moving up to your 0-3 month clothing and your newborn pre-fold diapers are getting a little tight. I get panicky when I realize I am already needing to pack up some of your clothes. We think you're closing in on 12 pounds though we'll find out your official weight later this week at your doctor's appointment.

You lost a lot of your hair but it's slowly starting to reappear. You smile all the time especially when waking up after a good sleep, while kicking your rolly polly legs in the bath or when flapping your arms at a toy. You're awake much more during the day and take more regular naps, usually on my chest or snuggled up to my body.

Your sleep preferences still baffle us. Some nights you give us a good five-hour block. Sometimes you're up every 1.5 hours to nurse. You'll sleep the first block in your cradle but sleep the rest of the night with us (go ahead, judge me).Your reflux seems to be getting better as you age, and you nurse for longer but less often. I thank you. You've started to need to suck more and have developed a love for the pacifier. I caved.

We've enjoyed the BOB jogging stroller, which was a gift from my co-workers. You've never been held by so many doting women at once!

You love your activity gym, the elephant that plays songs, mirrors, lights, lampshades and a painting of the Hartford ship from Kansas. Grandpa Randy printed copies so you could have your painting wherever you are.

You've attended more K-State games and enjoyed the Ciderfest in Louisburg.

You went to the zoo for the first time and absolutely loved looking at the trees. You seem to ignore all animals for now including the zoo animals living in our house.

I see trees!
You seriously have the cutest face I think we've ever seen. Ever.

Love you little man,

Monday, October 10, 2011

work dread

I've had friends who went back to work after maternity leave and quit on arrival. Then I have friends who do just fine and can't imagine staying home all day taking care of a baby. I was positive I'd be in the latter category. Without a doubt.

Then Henry happened.

Don't get me wrong. There are days when I watch Shea shower, get dressed and drive off to work and envy seeps from my pores. There are days when he chatters on about his meetings, successful calls, jokes with coworkers and lunch with clients and then I bitterly report that my biggest accomplishments for the day were showering and unloading half the dishwasher. Oh, and I kept a human being alive.

But when I think about returning to work in a month, the dread suffocates me and knots my stomach. Because even the hard days are awesome.

I am the one who gets to see his smiley face each morning. I see the little changes in him everyday - the way he has found his hands, the little bubbles of drool that are starting to form, the scratch on his face, the way he has learned to flap his arm in the direction of a toy. When he wakes up from his nap, it's me he smiles at as if he hasn't seen me in weeks.

I know he'll always love his mama, and that he'll still want me (and his daddy) most. But I don't want anyone else to see the little changes first. I don't want to be sitting in a stale board meeting while he's smiling at someone else. And good grief, who wants to pump in the bathroom?

Right now we've decided I need to go back, at least for awhile. Though hopefully not until after Thanksgiving.

But oh what I would give to unload half the dishwasher and cuddle with my baby all day, every day.

Monday, October 3, 2011

playing catch up

I've been neglecting this blog. Mostly because of this guy.

He's changing everyday. The hubs was on a four-day business trip and came back remarking how much bigger he was and how much more personality he had.

Bigger? Yes. According to my non-accurate scale, Henry weighs 12 pounds explaining my constant neck and back ache. He's growing more rapidly than my muscles. We worked hard for that growth, though. The six-week spurt hit and we had two days of HELL. Thankfully I was with my parents who did a lot of holding, shushing, swaying, begging and singing.

Now the boy is clusterfeeding less and smiling a lot. This morning I was doing some work and glanced down to see a full-faced grin looking back at me. When I kiss his lips, he smiles back.

We took him to a four-hour football game with a wild crowd, most of which he slept through. We even took three two-hour car rides with no screaming. Be still my heart!

This morning I got two projects designed for work, washed diapers, chased one of our cats around the yard who had manged to escape and drank 1/4 cup of coffee before it got cold.

Dare I say there is hope in sight?

Friday, September 23, 2011

the all clear

I dreaded my six-week checkup because - um, you want to do what? Do you realize a seven-pound bullet just tore its way out of there?

But alas, everything is much easier than my mind prepares for.

I adore my midwife. Like, I want to be friends with her and have our husbands be friends. And maybe our dogs, too. We talked for a long time about my rapid-fire birth, which cloth diapering detergent we use, the fact we'll both turn 30 next year, how we're both Type A and want to plan our lives to the month.

And when I left I kind of wanted to say.."so, I know we don't get to see each other again and you totally just checked out my stitches in an awkward location, but I dunno do you want for happy hour?"

Instead, I said "see ya in the spring for my pap." Because that, kids, is how you make friends.

The report:
  • I've lost 30 pounds. I have six to go. The second most alarming part of this is, I gained 36 pounds in nine months?!
  • My iron levels which previously had dropped from 13 to 7 are back to 13.7. This is partly attributed to out-patient iron infusions but mostly due to my mother force feeding me raisins, red meat, malt-o-meal and beans.
  • I am allowed to run. Resume the obsessive research on finding my first race. 
  • My stitches are completely healed.
  • And the best news? I am the fastest birther she's seen. Seems only appropriate I get my picture with a gold star in the office lobby.
We talked about my next baby. How the likelihood of it shooting out like a cannonball three seconds after I feel the first contraction is quite high.

It feels good to have it done, though. I'm no longer a patient recovering from birth but just normal Sarah, figuring how to take care of a baby, be a moderately-sane wife and do some poopy diaper laundry on the side.

Friday, September 16, 2011

where my heart is

This weekend I'm in Kansas. My heart is in Minnesota where one of my very favorite friends is getting married.

I've known Rachel since we started working together at an office in Minneapolis. I was there for her 21st birthday, Grey's watch parties, Twins games, chats about boys, and then two years ago she was a bridesmaid in my wedding. I've been waiting for this day when she married Derek. It's been a relationship I've seen from the beginning, and watched it grow into a relationship Shea and I respect and admire.

They'll get married this weekend in what will no doubt be a gorgeous and unique outdoor ceremony (with home brews!) There is no where I'd rather be Saturday than in those chairs watching Rachel say "I do." 

But after doing everything we could to make the trip to Minnesota happen, we had to make a hard decision to stay at home. Five-week-old Henry hates the car with a passion. He screams until he's gasping for air, and does not stop despite trying hanging toys, lullaby CDs, reflux medicine, different outfits and his giraffe sleep machine. He just hates it. The thought of taking him on a 12-hour (9 hours plus nursing stops) each way was something we couldn't put him (or us) through.

I have no doubt there will be many more events and special times we'll miss out on because we live far away from half of our family and friends. Plus now life is different. Henry has become priority number one. It's a reality I welcome but also a bittersweet reminder that at least while he is this little, we have to miss out.

So while I am changing diapers, singing lullabies and nursing a hungry baby this weekend, my heart will also be in Spicer.

Happy wedding day, Rachel and Derek! We wish with all our hearts we could be there. We love you and hope your day is even better than you planned on.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

encouraging words

While out braving the public at nine months pregnant, everyone smiles at you. Asks how you're feeling. When you're due. Whether it's a boy or girl.

Now they ask how old he is. But there are also sympathetic glances - those are from the other mothers who recognize the weary expressions. Sometimes it's the comments from those who have been in the trenches whether they be friends, strangers or just in a blog post that keep me going.

Here are some favorites to hopefully encourage you, too.

When Reality and New Mommyhood Collide
"There are going to be times when you feel like you don’t rock. Moments when you wonder what the hell you were thinking when you threw away those birth control pills. Days when you’re pretty sure that you suck at being a mom.....You can do this. You will do this. It won’t always be fun, but it will be worth it. I promise."

Newborn Nostalgia
"I swear under my breath as I fold yet another load of onesies. The house is in chaos around me. Dishes haven’t been done in days, the carpet is buried under a layer of pet fur and dirty burp cloths are strewn everywhere I look. Just as I finish, a scream breaks through the silence, and I tiredly trudge up the stairs for the 15 bazillionth feeding of the day. I fervently wish my mommy would come and save me."

Letter to a Tired New Mom
" by day, dirty onesie by dirty onesie, wet wipe by wet wipe, you are building your legacy — something that will outlast your life. You are loving someone well, and in the process, loving God well. I struggle to think of a better use of your time.."

The Blues
"It’s a huge adjustment, this mommy thing. Not sleeping, caring for another human, having them attached to your chest every two hours or so all day and night. I wanted to write this post to let those who are going through it now, have been there or will go through it eventually know that it’s OK. And it’s normal! And it will pass. And it was hard for me too."

And from my friends, tweets and random acquaintances:
"Sometimes the hardest part is in those moments before you finally admit to yourself that you are overwhelmed and need some help. It's all so hard on your body, and then nursing as well. I know the hormones are awful, I cried at everything. I can laugh at it now but at the time it was so difficult."

"It's like everything around you is going so great and you have so much to be thankful for but you can't help but tear up and be sad at times. My daughter is 5 weeks and I will tell you IT GET'S BETTER!"

"I'm sure the last few weeks have been so hard on you - can you even imagine what its like for people who don't have as strong of a marriage and love for each other?!?  Obviously I'm not a mom (or dad - ha!), so have no encouraging words like "it will get better". All I can say from one newlywed happily in love wife, to another happily in love couple, cherish each day and the love you have for one another. "

"I hope you know you are not alone. We've all been there. And it sucks. But it will get better. It will."

Monday, September 12, 2011


Henry has cried for six or seven hours straight for the last four days. Unless we constantly walk around with him singing or I hold him in the Moby while swaying my hips. (I will have the strongest hips EVER).

We've started mentioning the scary colic word. And as the evening approaches, my body tenses and I brace myself for the ugly to come, and the frustration of seeing such a sweet boy in so much agony.

I am pretty sure Henry feels the same way.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

one month

Sweet Henry,

You're one month old! The first month of your life has been both the fastest and longest month of my life.

We're figuring this all out together. You have decided schedules are for the birds. Sometimes you bless us with four hours of sleep at a time, and sometimes you're up every 90 minutes during the night. But however long it is, you sleep best on mom or dad's chest. You make the most adorable sighing noises when sleeping that melt my heart.

You love to eat, especially during the evening when you'd prefer to just eat continuously for hours.  You've gained weight and gotten those cute little brestfed baby rolls and chubby, kissable cheeks. You are still so small though that your 0-3 month clothing is too big.

You love your daddy's off-key, random singing and only he can swaddle you to your liking.

This month you attended your first K-State football game and made it through almost all four quarters of a really boring game. You went to church for the first time and joined mom and dad on several bagel dates on Saturday mornings. We've gone for walks in the neighborhood in your beloved Moby wrap, read your black and white book and had tummy time, which you adore, with your blue dog.

You hate your car seat and frantically cry every time you're in it longer than a few minutes.You are not a fan of evenings and demand we walk around with you for hours and hours. You've started taking medicine to help your little tummy, which hopefully will give you some relief. We'll do whatever you need, but if you want to give us a little break, I promise I'll let you sleep on my chest for hours.

There are days when it's really hard, and when we both cry. But there is not a day that goes by that I am not completely and totally in love with you.