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.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

the three-minute shower

While on a church mission trip during my middle school years, we had to share two showers between 40 teenagers and chaperones. The shower police stood outside the stall with a stop watch. At three minutes, you were ousted. Pure torture for this then 14-year-old girl.

The three-minute shower strikes again!

There will be some moment tomorrow morning when Henry isn't fussy. When he isn't demanding to be fed, changed, burped or walked around the house in endless circles. And then that moment strikes, I race him into the nursery, place him in his crib and wind up the mobile as far as it goes while simultaneously ripping off my pajamas and holding my towel between my teeth.

I will then shower with the door open, just in case. After my three minutes are up, I'll put on one of the three pants that fit me right now and a nursing tank. About this time, Henry will start fussing so I'll flip my tangled, wet hair into a ponytail and arrive just in time to rescue him from his now quiet mobile before a screaming fit can begin.

It will all repeat in three days. OK every four days; who am I kidding?

Next up: How I make myself a cup of coffee every morning, warm it up at least eight times before finally giving up and dumping half of it down the drain at 5 p.m.

Friday, September 2, 2011


While checking out at Trader Joe's last week, the cashier oohed and ahhed over our adorable little two-week-old. Then she looked into my eyes and asked "how are you doing?"

My eyes filled with tears. This stranger - she gets it.

There have been many moments at 3 a.m. when we're all in tears that I wonder if we'll make it. For the first 10 days of Henry's life, I cried. Not just I'm tired and frustrated tears, but sobbing coming from deep within. A sadness I hadn't felt in years.

I cried when he cried. I cried whenever someone left our house. Whenever someone said something nice.  Each time the tears flowed, I felt guilty. Here this miraculous, life changing event occurred, I have a wonderful husband, supportive parents and perfect son and I'm sad.

My mother friends forgot to mention that part. The way after giving birth, your hormones crash. I felt this cloud of depression swirling around me and slowly taking over as I gave all my energy to keeping this tiny person alive. Thankfully my mom was there to feed me and remind me to eat iron-rich foods, drive me to my appointments, nap when I could and take my pain medication.

My friends emailed promising it gets better. We're not there yet, but each day improves. Shea and I went to church. Then Target. A few days later, I went to Walgreens all by myself. Now Henry and I can even do errands just to the two of us without emotional breakdowns.Though leaving him for three hours while I went to class was a whole different story.

It's still hard. My sleep-deprived brain finds learning how to sanitize bottles, pump breast milk, give him a bath and pack for a weekend trip as overwhelming as my college macroeconomics class. I still cry when he's been screaming for eight hours, and I realize I am up to my ears in laundry, haven't eaten in hours and that stench is not wet diapers but my armpits.

I know it will get better. He'll sleep through the night someday. He'll look up at me and smile instead of a frantic scowl of some unknown complaint. We'll be able to do more than 20 minutes of errands without racing home, panicked that it's time to eat. We will go on occasional dates and even eat real food again. I'll be strong enough to go on a run, and I will fit into my jeans. Someday.

For today though, I did a load of laundry and answered two e-mails. That's enough.