Tuesday, September 1, 2015

we survived!

So I did this thing. It was a crazy thing that I will likely not ever ever ever in a zillion million years ever do again ever. It is called Travel Alone On An Airplane With A Lap-Sitting 9-Month-Old And Not Checking Any Luggage Or Bringing Any Strollers. Ha.

Some moms are rock stars. Some moms can handle themselves and their babies with ease (or at least look like they do it with ease). Some moms fly all the time with their babies.

I am not one of those moms. I'm a high-anxiety kind of mom. I'm the type of mom who sometimes nearly has panic attacks when she thinks about breastfeeding in public. I am not the kind of mom that handles things on her own very well.

But I did the Thing. It was scary and it was long but I made it and Bug made it and I managed to not completely start crying at all during the trips (even though there were a few close calls).

I thought it would be easy because back when Bug was 6 weeks old, Husband and I flew to visit some family and Bug was a little angel and slept the whole time. Well. A newborn and a 9-month-old wiggly crawler are two verrrrrrry different things.

Here is my very official list of scary things I survived this past week during our flying escapades:

1 Baby-wore a nearly 25 lb wiggling infant through security while hauling a 25 lb backpack and a 25 lb diaper bag. I'm not exaggerating. It was so heavy I wanted to die. But at least now I'm buff.
2 Didn't lose anything in security. Except maybe my mind.
3 Managed a baby meltdown (two hours past nap time) while waiting at our gate without having a meltdown myself.
4 Rode on FOUR different planes (roundtrip traveling, a layover on each trip).
5 Breastfed on a plane three times and managed to not have a panic attack or flash anyone or die.
6 Got my baby to sleep in my arms for a little bit! (Believe me, if you knew my baby, you'd be impressed with my mom skills right now.)
7 Changed a diaper in the plane bathroom while flying and only dropped the poopy diaper (poop down, mind you... gross.) on the floor once!
8 Went whole day without peeing. Because when you have that much luggage and that much baby, you have no choice.
9 Read "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" approximately 574,309,397 times.
10 Kept baby and self alive.

So once I got home and saw Husband again, I told him I would never ever do that by myself ever again. Either Husband is coming with me and we're checking all of our luggage except the diaper bag and we're bringing a stroller, or I'm not going. I am just fine with never leaving our town again, so family--if you want to see us or our freaking adorable baby ever again, you might have to come to us. ;)

Moms out there who fly with kids all the time, you are all my heroes. I don't know how you do it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

how we wore it // in which Husband gets artsy with the sunsets

So I don't know if you remember the last time I participated in the How We Wore It collaboration, but it was so much fun I wanted to do it again!

If you don't remember it, let me clue you in. Brooke from Silver Lining gives us all a base photo. We look at the photo and figure out how to mimic the outfits using articles of clothing that we already own. Pretty basic, right?

Except I'm kind of fashion-missing (and also recently read "The Uglies" series, so can't stop talking like the characters in that book), so this collaboration is a bit of a challenge for me. But with the help of my fabulous husband, I think I came up with something pretty good!

So this is the base photo:

Great, right? Except I have nothing like that. I don't own any hats, shorts, or heels, let alone anything with fringe on it. So I had to get a little creative. I decided to do something with a similar vibe.

So... no hat, but I thought I'd add in a little hair accessory to make up for it. And I'm once again rocking my favorite new flats because I really do only own 6 pairs of shoes (half of which are just flip flops).

The lace overlay shirt was given to me by my friend Mary, who always has great clothes and likes to give me her leftovers. I love this one!

As I've stated before, no outfit is complete without jewelry. :)

And then Husband really wanted to get some artsy sunset-behind-me photos. Since he was such a good sport about following me around to take my picture, I let him. I think they turned out pretty good!

And that's how I wore it! Check out the other lovely bloggers who participated!

Brooke at Silver Lining
Deidre at Deidre Emme
Jana at Bouvardian
Alexa at He and I
Aubrey at Aubrey Zaruba
Brooklyn at A Little Too Jolley
Ashley at Absolutely Ashley
Danica at Danakin Skywalker
Rachel at Rachel Sayumi
Sharlee at My New Lines
Emma at Ever Emma
Kyla at FordOlogy
Kalyn at Geez Louise
Tayler at The Morrell Tale
Bonnie at Life of Bon

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

my boys

These two boys are my entire life.

One loves pickles and pizza, the other loves scrambled eggs and watermelon chunks. One drinks Mountain Dew and the other drinks breastmilk. One sleeps through the night, and the other... well, we're working on it.

I love these two boys. I wouldn't trade the life I have with the two of them for anything in the world.

I met one on a big group date back in 2011. He was with his girlfriend, I was with his best friend. I thought he was hilarious.

The other one I met in an OR in 2014. He was soft and puffy and wide-eyed. I was in an exhausted, happy fog. He recognized the sound of my voice and it made me cry.

With one I love to snuggle up and watch Netflix shows for hours (our current favorites are Food Network Star and Gilmore Girls). We love to go for long drives and eat Thai and Indian food together.

With the other, I snuggle up in the rocking chair to nurse five or six times a day. We love to go for long stroller walks and mash up bananas together at lunchtime.

One is the love of my life. We laugh, we cry, we hold to each other during the hard times and tease each other mercilessly during the good times. He thought I was gorgeous even the day after my c-section. When my belly was huge and doughy and painful and my body was swollen with medication and fluids. When I was so exhausted I could barely move and in so much pain I needed his help to stand. He told me so. He told me, "You're the most beautiful mother in the world." And I loved him even more.

The other is the joy of my life. We giggle and explore the world together. We play with toys and smack windows and drool all over everything (well... he does at least...). And he thinks I'm the best mommy in the world. He chortles and squirms with joy when he sees me. He clings to my shirt and grabs onto my hands with his little fists and laughs at all of my funny faces. He's the only one who has ever grown inside of me, the only one who has heard my heart beat from within. He knew my voice and my smell from the moment he was born, and he changed me completely with his entrance into this world.

These are my two boys. They are my everything. They are my forever.

Monday, August 3, 2015

that first moment

I was so scared. The fear was tangible, like a thick tar running through my veins. My fingertips tingled as tiny tears leaked out of the corners of my eyes.

I stared up at the surgical lights ahead and tried not to think about what was going to happen on the other side of that blue paper curtain just under my chin. The lights were bright and reminded me of the dentist. But bigger. And scarier. Because somebody was going to cut open my abdomen today.

The tears trickled down into my hair and ears. My head was foggy. Whether the fog was from the fear, from the long hours of fruitless pushing, or from whatever was pumping in through my IV, I couldn't tell.

My husband stood by my head and held my left hand. He was so quiet.

I wanted to ask him if he was scared, too. Did the fear feel like he was bleeding inside too?

But I couldn't quite figure out how to make the words. My mouth tasted like cotton.

And then it began. A slight sting at the bottom of my swollen belly.

"Ow," I moaned weakly.

"You can feel it?" my husband asked, bending down so his cheek was inches from mine.

"Yeah," I whispered.

But then the sensation faded and all that was left was a numb tugging.

"Okay," my doctor said. "You're going to feel some really intense pulling. It's going to be all right."

Then the strangest sensation--a feeling I'd never felt before. Like my insides were coming out, but painlessly.

And then I heard the little cry. It was small and quiet and wet-sounding. One single little wail.

I blinked up at the surgical lights. "Whose baby is that?" I asked through the fog. "Is that our baby?"

"Yes," my husband laughed. "That's our baby!"

He let go of my hand and walked over to where the baby was. I heard wet suctioning noises and happy chatter from the nurses and doctors and my midwife. "Let's get that boy on a scale! He's big!"

But it took a long time for the baby to cry again. The suctioning noises continued.

"Where is he?" I asked.

My husband came back to my side for a moment. "He's just over there. He's got mucus in his lungs. He'll be okay. Don't worry." He was so calm. So I tried to be calm, too.

And then all at once, that baby started wailing just like a newborn should. The sweet, sad, irresistible sound of brand new life.

I craned my head around to see my new son where they put him on a scale. 8 lbs 15 oz. Not too big, but definitely not small.

Seconds later, he was all wrapped up and the nurse was unstrapping my left arm so I could hold my sweet boy for the first time. I pressed my cheek against his warm, soft one.

"Hello, baby," I was saying. "Hello! I love you so much! You're so handsome, sweet boy..."

He licked his lips and his eyes looked all around for me. He was so precious. So tiny. So perfect.

The fear was gone, replaced entirely by ecstasy and joy and a love so intense I felt like I might burst.

This was the moment. The moment they all talk about. I was somebody's mommy now.

Read my full birth story here.

Friday, July 31, 2015

all you ever wanted to know (but felt too awkward to ask) about my lazy eye

I've got a lazy eye. Yep, it's true. If you've met me in person, you probably have already noticed that. If, however, you're one of my internet readers who I've never met, that little factoid might be new information. So here's all you never wanted to know about what it's like to have a lazy eye.

why does it do that?
Hmmm... let's see if I can make this super long story into a short one. I was born with a condition called "Strabismus," which basically means that I was permanently cross-eyed. Cute on a baby. Not so cute on an adult. The problem with having your eyes always crossed is that your brain gets two different images instead of one to blend together when you look at things. So, being super efficient, the brain learns how to shut off the "feed"coming from one eye.

When I was about four years old, I got two separate surgeries to align my eyes. However, my brain had gotten so used to only using one eye at a time that it forgot how to use both at the same time. So I developed what is called "Amblyopia." Which sounds like a magical fantasy land, but really just means that whichever eye I'm not using tends to do whatever the heck it wants--unbeknownst to me. Hence: Lazy Eye.

can you see two things at once?
Man, I wish! I'd love to get all Mad-Eye Moody and be able to look around with one eye while I concentrate on another thing with the other eye. Sadly... no. I only see what the non-wandering eye sees. Lame, I know.

so you can't see with both eyes, ever?
I can actually totally use both eyes at once... it's just doesn't happen automatically. I have to concentrate on using both eyes. But general looking around? Nah. I'll just use one eye at a time. Way easier.

does it affect your vision?
Not much. The only difference, really, between what I see and what the average Joe sees is that I have a less developed depth perception. Using two eyes to see something gives you two ever-so-slightly different angles on an object. That's what allows you to see it in 3-D. Only using one eye at a time takes that ability away. Which means I run into things a lot more, suck way worse at sports involving quick-moving balls, and often pour my milk right onto the table instead of into my cereal bowl. It's really more entertaining than anything, really.

Also, I do have a slight lack of peripheral vision on one side just due to the fact that I'm only using one eye. But... I've never not had this problem, so I don't know any different.

can you drive?
Yep! They don't test your depth perception when you get your driver's license... only your vision. So I was all set! I tend to be way more cautious when I drive, though, since I have a harder time judging distances.

does it bug you?
Nope!There was a time in my past when I really hated it and just wished I could be like everyone else... but I came to terms with it. Now I love that I'm unique and not just like everybody else. And the people who know me best don't even notice it anymore. 

It also doesn't bug me a bit when people ask me about it. As long as they're nice. The only time it's annoying is when I can tell it's making other people uncomfortable. That's no fun.

There you have it! Everything you ever wanted to know about my lazy eye but felt too awkward to ask. :) You can read a more in-depth description of the issue here.

Friday, July 24, 2015

it's time for a little link love!

Hey everybody! Just wanted to let you in on some of my favorite reads this month! Check them out and enjoy!

When Did I Last Wash Your Hair? from Hannah Help Me
This one tugged at my heartstrings and prompted a sudden round of snuggles with my cute one. And by "snuggles" I mean tickling him with kisses all over since my little dude never slows down or stops moving long enough to snuggle. Love that little wiggly boy though!

On Beauty and my Postpartum Body from Silver Lining
Brooke is one of my all-time favorite bloggers. She has a way of telling stories that just plain cracks me up. This post is from about a year ago, and I still remember it and go back to read it whenever I need to remind myself that even though my postpartum body has its imperfections, it's also such a huge blessing!

A Tale of Two Birth Plans from Coffee and Crumbs
So much love for this post. I mean, seriously. My birth story went nothing like I planned, and it turned out to be beautiful and raw and wonderful and I wouldn't trade it for anything. This post reminds me of that on the days when I feel like I failed.

Things You Shouldn't Say to Someone Going Through Infertility from Gabe and Alexa
So I've been incredibly blessed to be able to say that infertility is not something I've struggled with so far, but I've known people for whom it is a very real trial. I never know what to say around them because I know I have no idea what they're going through. This post really opened my eyes to that experience and helped me know what to say to those friends. Such a beautiful post.

Jennifer Lawrence Gets Her Own Post from Sierra's View
I love this post for so many reasons. One big reason is because I seriously am loving Sierra--I'm a new follower to her blog and have no idea how I missed her before now. Secondly is that I love Jennifer Lawrence--pretty much like everyone else. But this post is another post about how we just need to give our bodies some credit and stop beating ourselves up for not looking like Victoria Secret models--particularly difficult sometimes when you've got post-baby flab hanging over your belt. So go. Read. Love. Follow Sierra. You won't regret it. :)

Monday, July 20, 2015

that one time on my honeymoon when i almost drowned

Once upon a time, Husband and I got married. It was a grand ol' time full of lots of "hold that kiss right there for three minutes without moving" photos and getting my dress stepped on way too many times. Best choice I ever made was to marry that guy.

Once the nuptials were over, we headed off on our honeymoon--a fantastic cruise to Key West and two islands in the Bahamas.

So we are in the Bahamas soaking up the sun and basically loving life when Husband and I decide to go down the beach toward where the waves look a little more intense--because half the fun of the beach is bouncing around on the waves, for sure.

So we dash across that gorgeous white sand and into the crystalline water. A wave crashes toward us.The anticipation builds. This looks like a good one! We both get into our best wave-resisting stances. Husband's stance is somehow awesome and he stays on his feet. Me, on the other hand... well, my stance apparently sucked.

I'm standing there, gearing up, and that wave hits my legs with a lot more force than I expected. And not only that, but there's a strong undertow. Before I knew it, that wave had picked me up and threw me heels over head in an instant. I was underwater doing somersault after somersault with no idea which way was up.

Gulping in water as the undertow pulled me over and over and over, I flung out my arms in a desperate reach for shore. My hands grasped the sandy bottom just as the wave receded and freed me from its deadly grasp.

I finally got my feet under me and rubbed the salt and sand out of my stinging eyes. "Woah," I said, stumbling around blindly.

But that was all I managed to say before yet another wave grabbed hold of my legs and pulled them out from under me once more. Tumbling and tumbling, over and over. I was half enjoying the ride and half scared out of my mind that I was going to die. Funny how often those things go together, isn't it?

This time, when the wave receded, I was left on my knees facing the shore with my swimsuit bottoms halfway down my legs completely full of sand. I hurriedly pulled the bottoms up, hoping none of the other beach goers had seen anything.

I barely had my bottoms pulled back up when another wave toppled right over me and pulled me under again. I felt my swimsuit bottoms come down yet again and prayed to heaven that I wasn't mooning the entire Bahamian beach right now. And also praying I wouldn't die.

I was watching my life flash before my eyes... the time I'd locked the keys in a running vehicle in the middle of nowhere... the time I fell asleep at the wheel and annihilated a mailbox... the time I nearly peed all over our car... the time I dyed spaghetti sauce blue...

It was then that I decided that I desperately wanted to live... if for nothing else but to have cooler things to remember next time my life flashed before my eyes.

So the next time the wave receded, I finally used my brain and got the heck outta the water (whilst pulling my bottoms back up again). My head was throbbing and I was sopping.

I decided that next time I'll just keep to the milder waves--I apparently am no match against undertow.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

an open letter to the mom who doesn't like breastfeeding

You are not alone.

I know you feel alone. Everywhere you look, there are all of these happy, smiling moms nursing their babies and talking about how "breast is best." They all say how wonderful breastfeeding is, how it creates such a bond with their babies, how it is their favorite time of the day.

And then there's you.

You feel like an outsider. Like the broken one. Like the bad mom who must not love her baby as much as those other moms love their babies.

But those moms? Those moms are not the only moms out there. There are moms out there just like you.

Moms who cringe with toe-curling pain every time their babies latch. Or moms who just want to sleep and let someone else feed the baby for once. Or the moms who hate dealing with the hurtles that come with nursing in public.

There are moms out there who, just like you, just don't get how it's so gosh-dang amazing. Moms who feel guilty because they don't just adore having a tiny human sucking on them 6-12 times a day. Moms who hang their heads and cry because they just want to quit.

You are so, so, so not alone.

I've been there. Heck, I AM there. Currently still breastfeeding my eight-month-old, and even though I'm loving the stage he's in I'm secretly counting down until his first birthday when I can be done breastfeeding and I can keep my shirt on for more than six hours at a time.

I've felt guilty about it just like you. Had people tell me how lucky I am that I can make enough milk for my child. I've looked at the moms who just wish they could breastfeed their babies, and felt like the most ungrateful person in the world because I can and yet don't want to sometimes. And I, like you, have wondered what kind of horrible mom I am.

Now that my baby is older and breastfeeding has become so much easier than it used to be, it's easier to not hate it. But when my baby was new and everything was so hard? Sometimes I don't know how I made it through.

I remember the months of 90-minute-long feeds every three hours and the never-ending state of being overwhelmed because no one but me could feed him. I remember cringing and crying in pain while I waited for my nipples to get used to the abuse. I remember resenting my rocking chair and dreading the next feed. I remember breaking down sobbing once when my husband said, "I think he's hungry," and I just didn't have it in me emotionally to do it again. I remember how I thought about quitting every single day.

And now, eight months in, it's gotten so much easier than it was back then. He feeds in 15 minutes and only 5 or 6 times a day. I can't remember the last time it hurt. He sleeps through the night most nights. It's a downright pleasant experience.

And yet I still do not love it the way I always thought I was supposed to.

But now it's easier for me to see that whether or not I like breastfeeding says nothing about my quality as a mother. Just because I'm not frolicking in fields with my baby in a nursing sling suckling sweetly at my nipple does not mean that I am the world's worst mom. Just because I don't jump with joy when my baby starts smacking his lips and clawing at my shirt doesn't mean I am a failure. I am not a bad mother.

And you aren't either.

Whether you breastfeed or formula feed, you are a good mom. You are a wonderful mom.

Stop beating yourself up. It's okay to not like breastfeeding.

The number one thing I've learned over the past eight months: it's different for every single mother. Don't hate yourself because things didn't turn out exactly the way you imagined. You are a superhero.

Liked this post? Check out the letter I wrote to my c-section scar here or the letter to my pre-childbirth self  here. You can also read about the seven things I still suck at after seven months of motherhood or you can check out my own experience surviving a puppp rash.

Monday, July 13, 2015

babies don't really care about the government

There's so much going on in the political sphere right now. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you've probably been living under a rock. And if you are living under a rock, I'm kind of jealous of you in a lot of ways because the last week has been really crazy with all of the hate from both sides.

But anyway. This post isn't going to be about that because I'm super non-confrontational and even though I have my opinions, I recognize that most people have already made up their minds on the issue and me saying what I think is only going to spark a debate I don't feel like having. Plus also, I'm totally the type of person that takes everything super personally. And I'm kind of prone to crying when people say mean-ish things. I'm an ugly crier, so we're just going to avoid that altogether.

This post isn't about politics, it's about our day in Washington D.C.!

Yay patriotism and stuff!

We were super excited to visit the nation's capital. I'd never been there before, and I was so stoked to see all of the things I'd only seen on television. Monuments! Museums! Abraham Lincoln, oh my!

So, to sum up our day:

Once upon a time, we drive into DC with big dreams of this awesome day we are gonna have. Baby Bug is going to love historical monuments and museums and he's going to nap in his stroller like an old pro and he's going to breastfeed discreetly wherever we are without having a spaz attack about having his face covered and it is all going to be awesome.

We get into DC. The sun is blazing down on us and the air is thick with humidity. Why am I wearing long pants again? Wait, why are we even wearing clothes? The sun hates us.

We drive around a zillion million one-way streets, barely avoiding thick masses of pedestrians as we search for a place to park. We spend a good amount of that time trying to figure out why the heck there are so many people around. You know, besides general big-city stuff.

Oh wait. It's the fourth of July this weekend. That's why there's no parking. Why didn't the fact that it was the fourth of July occur to us? WHY DID WE NOT REALIZE THIS BEFORE WE GOT HERE?!

Finally we find a parking garage. It's only a mile and a half from the National Mall. No biggie. We'll just walk. In our flip flops. Across the city. With a hungry seven-and-a-half-month-old. It's gonna be great! We get points for optimism, at least.

Welp. The baby's crying. There's nowhere to breastfeed him. Not unless I want to sit in the middle of the sidewalk.

We press on. Quickening our pace. Must. Find. Place. To. Feed. Hungry. Baby.

Somehow we make it to the National Mall and find a nice spot under a tree to breastfeed. Life is just. For a minute. Then the baby decides he hates the blanket I'm trying to cover up with. I don't really blame him, either. It's friggin' 100 degrees out here. Baby fights me until I finally give up and ditch the blanket. I'm never gonna see these people again anyway.

People stare as they walk by. I try to ignore them. They can't see anything--I'm being super careful that my shirt is covering everything except what's in the baby's mouth--so I don't get what the big deal is. It's HOT people! You try drinking warm milk under a blanket cradled up against your sweating mother in 100 degree humid weather! Not a picnic!

Baby finishes breastfeeding. Baby is still mad. Where's that banana? I swear I packed a banana! Dump out entire contents of diaper bag. Locate banana. Feed baby.

Baby is now all red and sweaty, and we haven't even seen any monuments yet. Except... wait, is that...? Yes! Yes, it's the Washington Monument! Yay, we saw a thing! We can go home now!

Just like in the movies!

We start heading toward the Lincoln Monument because we don't want to be the lame people who went to DC and only say the Washington Monument. And not even up close. So we're going along and I realize that I left my sunglasses back under that breastfeeding tree. Husband takes screaming, sweaty, hot baby (who is now leading a strike against all strollers everywhere) to go find my sunglasses while I stand in line to buy water because with all of the sweating we have been doing we have basically no moisture left in our bodies. Plus have you ever tried making milk while dehydrated? Not easy.

Husband returns with my sunglasses. Except someone stepped on them and now they're broken. Yippee. Hey God up there? Do us a favor and send down some cloud cover before my eyes are burned out of their sockets. Mmkay thanks.

I buy us lunch and we sit under yet another tree to eat. I'm happily guzzling down my bottle of water when "SMACK!"

Great. Now I've been pooped on by a dumb bird. That jerk.

I use baby wipes to try to get the bird poop off. We finish our food and try to coax Bug into his stroller. He wants nothing to do with it. Still leading that boycott, I guess. We try singing him songs as we push him down the path toward the Lincoln Monument. He hates our singing, and the million Fourth-of-July tourists are looking at us like we're psychos.

So the baby ends up in my arms while Husband pushes the empty stroller. Bug has made it VERY clear that he wants nothing to do with Lincoln or his dumb monument. He just wants some air conditioning and a nap. I'm starting to agree with him.

But we keep going. Because we can't leave DC after only seeing the Washington Monument and the backside of a bird. That would be so lame!

So we hoist the 22-lb baby and stroller up the steps to look at Lincoln for about two minutes. And then we leave because we want to see as many things as possible before this baby's lack-of-nap turns into World War III.

My favorite part about this monument was that it was in the shade.

We check out the Korean War monument. Take a wrong turn. Find our way back. End up at the World War II monument before we finally admit to ourselves that there is no way in heck this overheated, overtired baby is going to let us go on that tour of the Capitol Building or into any of the Smithsonian museums like we planned.

Cool Korean War Monument.

He does, however, seem to like the WWII monument. Because water. And splashing.

He kept trying to dive in. Which was totally understandable considering how stinking hot we were.

Then we lose the binky and run out of water on our way back to our car. I force the poor, screaming child back into his stroller where he carries on without stopping until we get back to our car. We even stop by to see the White House on our way, but the baby does not stop screaming.

 Look closely. Yep. He's crying.
Stole... I mean BORROWED... Husband's sunglasses.

We know it's hot, little buddy. We want to scream too. But it's less acceptable for grown adults to do that, so we contain ourselves.

We get back to the car and get out of DC as fast as we can. It's clear that DC in July is not a place for babies.

Baby falls asleep as soon as the air conditioning in the car starts working and we all live happily ever after.

So there you have it. Our day at DC. We got to see a couple of cool things, I got pooped on by a bird and my sunglasses got broken. But all jokes and sarcasm aside, it was actually really neat to see all of these places. I told Husband that we need to go back sometime. But maybe not til our kids are grown.

There are a lot of places in this world that are great to take your babies to. Washington D.C. is not one of those places.

Happy Fourth of July!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

dear pre-childbirth me,

I see you. I see your growing belly, I see the excitement and the impatience on your face. I see the way you count down the days until that due date. One day closer. One day closer to meeting him.

I also see the way you read those books. You know the ones I'm talking about. The ones all about childbirth. Hypnobabies. Bradley birthing. Natural childbirth.

And the online articles. So many articles. Medical jourals, news stories, blog posts, baby center community posts, facebook shares... You read birth story after birth story.

Moms who experienced an epidural-free delivery. Moms who said "no" to medical intervention. Moms who "made it through" without anything but their will and their babies.

Natural childbirth. You want it. You want to use those hypnobabies tracks to relax during contractions. You realize it'll hurt, but you believe you're ready for it. You want to feel that baby be born. You want to hold him to your chest and hear his first cries right against your skin. You have so many dreams about what that moment will be like.

And because you've read so much, you think you know what birth will be like. You think you know how it goes. You've read hundreds of birth stories, and you feel like you have a pretty good idea of how it'll happen.

Along with that, you've read so much about the dangers of medical intervention that you're pretty sure why other people's births went "wrong." So-and-so had an induction? You feel sorry for them and think to yourself about how you would never have an induction unless it was absolutely necessary. Oh, they ended up with a c-section? It's obviously because of the induction. Because, hello, "cascade of interventions," anyone?

Well, I'm your post childbirth self, and I want to tell you something. You have no idea. You don't even have a clue.

Yes, that reading you've done and that preparation you're doing will be invaluable. Keep doing the hypnobabies, keep practicing your relaxation techniques, keep learning about how things work.

But stop presuming you know anything about anyone else's birth. Stop thinking, "well, if she hadn't gotten induced..." and "if she had said no to the epidural..."

Because guess what? Childbirth is hard. It is long and it is exhausting and it takes you to a level of physical strain that you've never even been close to in your life. It's unimaginable, it's impossible to describe, and it's not like reading a childbirth book. You're going to feel more feelings in those hours than you've ever felt in your life. You're going to cry. You're going to scream. You're going to pray harder and faster than you've ever prayed in the entirety of your existence.

And things hardly ever go according to plan.

Don't presume you know what it's like when "the plan" gets turned on its head. Don't even pretend you know what that feels like. You don't.

Because even though you are me, a funny thing has happened since my little baby boy was born.

I feel judged. By you.

In the way you judge others for their birth choices and their birth outcomes, I feel judged because my birth was not perfect, was not painless, was not easy, was not without intervention, and was not even in the tiniest bit according to that plan you have in your head.

But my birth story was beautiful. And my baby is even more beautiful. The less-than-perfect childbirth experience isn't even a blip on the radar when compared to the astronomical amount of joy and love and life he has brought me.

So you keep crossing off those calendar days and you keep taking those prenatal vitamins. Keep preparing for that natural, unmedicated childbirth. That preparation will go a long way.

But keep your judgments out of it. Childbirth is already hard enough without ghosts from your past judging you for things they know nothing of.

Read my birth story here.
Read my letter to my c-section scar here (my most popular post to date).
Check out my advice on how to prepare for an emergency c-section here.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

seven things i still suck at after seven months of motherhood

Holy crap, you guys, I made it seven months! (cue celebratory applause)

Insert sappy, cute-but-kind-of-cliche paragraph here about how it's been the best seven months of my life and I love my cute little munchkin so much and being a mom is great and yaddah yaddah yaddah. (All of which is true, but let's be real--I say that crap enough. :)

Anyway, as I was looking back on the last seven months since my little one entered the world, I realized just how much motherhood kind of forces you to adapt and grow and learn new skills. And for the most part, I'm pretty proud of the mother I've become.

But I'm going to be 100 percent honest with you guys. There's still stuff I suck at.

So, to celebrate Bug's seven-month birthday, I give you a great list of seven of the things I should probably not suck at anymore but still totally do.

1getting the baby to bed on time
Oh, I could tell you all about my baby's bedtime. It's 8:00, my friends, on the dot. That is the time my little munchkin is supposed to be tucked into his crib and I get to put my feet up and watch me some Netflix. I could tell you all friggin' day about 8:00 and how awesome it is.

If you came to my house at 8:00, you'd see a lot of things. A sleeping baby is not one of those things.

Can I just ask the world a question?

How the flip does anyone keep a strict bedtime with a baby?! He doesn't understand English (as much as we've been working on that) so no amount of saying "It's time for night-night!" will make him go to sleep before he's tired.

His real bedtime is usually a range. He goes to bed somewhere between 7:30 and 9:00. But at the same time, the universe hates us this week and slammed us with two teeth at once (see this post), a growth spurt, a move, and a drop in my milk supply all at the same time, so guess what his bedtime was tonight? About thirty minutes ago. And it's midnight. Don't judge me. I really tried.

2peeing BEFORE i start nursing
You'd think I'd have learned by now. But every single time Bug wakes up during the night, I stumble in there in my mostly asleep stupor, scoop up the squirmy one, slump down into the rocking chair, and stuff my nipple into his mouth to stop the screaming.

It's usually around the time when my milk lets down that the near-explosive state of my bladder becomes obvious enough that it snaps me out of my slumber-induced coma.

I then spend the next 20 or so minutes of that feeding session wiggling around under my baby and whisper-shouting at him, "Suck faster!" and "Why are you so slow?!" and "If you don't hurry up I'm gonna pee on you and then you'll know how it feels to be me!"

As soon as he's done and has slipped back off to dreamland, I all but toss him into his crib as I dash across the apartment. I'm basically blinded by the amount of urine in my body at that point and have become a sort of potty-dancing Hulk in ratty pajamas who smashes into every single piece of furniture possible on my way to the bathroom.

And as I finally sit down on the porcelain and feel that sweet relief, I swear up and down, sideways and backwards and forwards, that I will pee first next time. Even if I don't feel like I have to go. Pee FIRST, dangit!

But the next time Bug wakes up to feed? I do the same dang thing all over again.

What is wrong with me? I'm serious.

3the cradle hold
I see all these sweet pictures of mothers breastfeeding their babies so comfortably--reclining in chairs with their cute bald babies cradled in their arms. I've seen women breastfeed babies my whole life using the cradle hold. And whenever I see a mom breastfeeding her baby this way, it takes everything in me to stop myself from running over to her, kneeling at her feet and asking, "How? How do you do it? How do you look so comfortable? Teach me your ways! Please! Pleeeeeease!"

I just plain can't do it. I started out nursing Bug with a nipple shield (may it burn and burn forever!) and the only way I was able to keep that stupid thing on my nipple was to hold it with the hand on the same side and cross-cradle hold the baby with my other hand. Once I finally was able to ditch the nipple shield (and praise the heavens forever and ever amen), I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to nurse using the cradle hold. Every time I tried, no matter what I did, my baby's face would end up smashed into my breast in the kind of way that made me wonder if he still had eyeballs.

So don't mind me and my awkward inability to nurse any other way besides hunched over my baby like Quasimodo in a weird iteration of the cross-cradle hold. I'm just an awkward nurser. After seven months, I've just come to accept it.

4nursing in public
I'm not the type to plop out a breast and feed my baby in full view of anybody and everybody (kudos to women who can). So that means that for me, I'm more comfortable using a cover or blanket.

Except for that's like the most impossible thing  in the history of ever.

Let me just say right here that I've learned since trying to nurse in public that I'd be a pretty crappy blind person. Once that blanket's on, I can't seem to do a dang thing. Get the breast out? Get baby's face even remotely close to the breast? Don't drop baby on his head and give him permanent brain damage? Forget about it. The whole time I'm fumbling with my shirt and nursing bra and baby and that blanket over the top, I probably manage to give everyone a view of what I'm doing but myself. I'm totally useless.

And those fancy covers that have the little plastic or wire inserts that hold it open so you can see? Yeah, those don't help. Like I said, totally useless.

5trimming baby fingernails
Is it just me, or is trimming a baby's fingernails basically the single most intimidating task on the face of the earth? I mean, what kind of super-human can wrangle down a wriggling baby, wield those baby-sized nail clippers, and chop off those mini claws-of-death without at least six extra hands?

I've tried all the tricks (and all you mamas who say, "just bite their nails off" need to explain yourselves because I can't even get my teeth around those tiny, flimsy things), and somehow even once I've successfully trimmed every nail, he still manages to claw my face so bad I swear I'm gonna bleed.

And the one time I thought I was doing really well... I clipped my baby's finger! I've never felt like a more awful human being in my life than I did at that moment.

Those nails... I wish babies didn't even have them. Can't they just wait til puberty to grow?

6going to bed on time
In the same way I can't seem to get my baby in bed on time, I can't even get myself into bed at a decent hour. I mean, now it's pushing 1:00 in the morning. 1:00, people! And my baby isn't even sleeping through the night! Why do I do this to myself?

Oh, I know. Because I have no self control and apparently think I'm still in college back when it was fun to stay up all night and my body had the uncanny ability to be okay on 3 or 4 hours of sleep. But every morning I'm reminded that I no longer have that ability. And that I should be an adult and just go to bed at a human hour. But I never do.

So, I've been really lucky. My baby naps like a pro. I've worked hard to give him a predictable routine so he knows when it's time to sleep and he does. Plus also he's probably a little bit brilliant too, so that helps. But whenever anyone asks me when his naptimes are, I get this super uncomfortable knot in my stomach and tend to avoid all eye contact for the rest of the conversation because what kind of lame-o mom doesn't even know what time naptime is?

Much in the way his bedtime is more fluid and all depends on when he's showing his sleepy signs, I put my baby down for naps when he gets tired. Which some days ends up being 10, 1, and 4, and other days ends up being 9, 1, and 5, and then some days noon and 3. It sometimes drives me wonky not knowing exactly when I'll be able to do my workout or the dishes or shower, but I've found that following his sleepy signs is what works for us.

But sometimes I feel like the most unorganized, clueless mom in the world when people ask me when naptime is. Your guess is as good as mine, lady.

And there you have it! Seven of the (many) things I still suck at. But all in all, I still think I'm doing pretty okay. I mean, look at that boy!

Check out the list of seven mom skills I've gained here.

So, what things do you still suck at? I'd love to hear about them! Comment below!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

the good things never seem to last

I'd heard people say that as soon as you get used to your baby, they change everything up on you. I didn't really understand what they meant.

Til now.

My sweet baby boy just started sleeping through the night about two weeks ago. And he did it consistently! Every night for almost two weeks he went to bed between 8 and 10 and didn't wake up until after 7 in the morning. It was glorious. It was heaven.

The first couple of days into it, I was cautious. Every night I expected the worst. I didn't want to let myself get too comfortable. Didn't want to really relax. Didn't want to tell people he was sleeping through the night because I didn't want to jinx it.

But after 10, 11, 12 days... I started to expect the sleeping-through-the-night thing. I mean, twelve days? That could not be a fluke!

And all was well.

And my needs-to-be-super-swaddled-or-will-not-even-close-eyes baby suddenly decided he didn't need to be swaddled anymore, either. I was shocked and astounded and I praised the heavens because swaddling a squirmy, 21-pound seven-month-old is HARD.

It was the best double-whammy ever! He was sleeping through the night AND I no longer had to worry about that dumb swaddle!

I rejoiced. I patted myself on the back for my superb parenting skills (because it was obviously all me). I got more sleep in the last two weeks than I have in the last seven months combined. It was heaven.

But then these two, sharp, jagged, tiny little white daggers popped out of his bottom gums about three days ago and everything I knew about my baby was suddenly thrown on its head.

Sleeping through the night? HA! Good one!

Sleeping unswaddled? Not anymore!

Keeping his freak-outs during breastfeeding to a minimum? No way, mama!

Smiling? What's that again?

Waking up giggling after every nap? I wish!

My poor baby boy. :(

Dear little teething monster,
Who are you and what have you done with my sweet baby Bug?
Love, a very tired mommy who is so sorry your teeth hurt but that was really mean of you to tease her with the whole no-more-swaddle thing. She really got her hopes up with that one.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

5 things i miss about being pregnant

I can already hear what you're thinking:

"Is she a crazy person?" (yes)

"What's her problem?" (not enough nutella)

"She obviously had a cakewalk pregnancy!" (nope. See my most recent post about PUPPP.)

The truth is, there is a heck of a lot of things about pregnancy that I do not miss at all. Not one bit. I think they're about the same as any other mom's list. You know, things like cankles, night sweats, baby stomps to the cervix, the inability to even roll over in bed... stuff like that.

There are, however, definitely some things I miss. The list is short, but the things on it are things I remember much more than the night sweats.

1the ultimate feeling of purpose
I felt so incredibly important while pregnant. Like everything I did mattered--because in a way it did. Every single moment of every day seemed so much more monumental because of that little life growing inside of me.

No longer was eating right important for just my own health. Eating had more purpose. Sleeping had more purpose. Exercising had more purpose. Simply being had more purpose. Even when I sat around in my pj's and watched episodes of "Grey's Anatomy" on Netflix, my body was working away at growing, creating, and sustaining a tiny human being.

I didn't recognize that feeling until I'd given birth and it went away. Suddenly, it was just me again. What I ate mattered about as much as it ever had before I'd gotten pregnant--which meant that if I ate poorly, I was the only one who would suffer for it. It was really depressing, actually. Like an important part of who I was for nine months was suddenly gone. I was no longer growing a baby. My body was just my body now. And even though some things still applied because I was breastfeeding, that ultimate feeling of importance was no longer there.

It's true, I did gain a lot of purpose as a new mom. So much depends on me every day to keep my little boy alive and healthy. But it doesn't feel quite the same as that incredible mantle of being the vessel of new life. And I miss that.

2never feeling alone
This one may seem kind of silly, but when I was pregnant, I always felt the presence of my baby with me. Even though he wasn't, you know, having conversations with me or anything. He moved, and I felt that movement and it felt like I was getting to know him on a level I'd never known anyone before.

Four months of my pregnancy my husband had to be away, so I spent a lot of the lonely nights falling asleep with my hands over my belly. I would lie there in bed talking to my boy, telling him about what life would be like and how excited I was to meet him. I felt his little nudges under my fingertips and fell asleep with lullabies on my lips. Even though my husband was far away, I didn't have to feel as lonely because my little baby was there with me.

3everyone loves a pregnant lady
It's true. You can't go anywhere with a baby bump and not have people opening doors for you, carrying your groceries, or offering you their seats. Add to that all of the people asking excited questions about when the baby is due and if it is a boy or girl, and it feels like it's your birthday every day.

When I was pregnant, I loved telling anyone who would listen about my baby. And the fun thing about being pregnant was that everyone wanted to talk to me about my baby, so I could get my fill of gushing about tiny blue shoes and crib mobiles anytime I wanted--all I had to do was step outside my house.

Sometimes it feels more difficult now to carry groceries to my car or open doors when I've got my hands full of a squirming, wriggling, 21-lb baby, but I don't get nearly the number of offers for help now as I did when I was sporting that belly. Maybe I should try sticking a basketball under my shirt next time I head out to Smith's?

4not having to suck it in
Let's be real. You walk past a reflective window, you check yourself out, right? And usually that involves reminding yourself to suck in your gut. I know I'm constantly adjusting my pants and shirt to make sure my tummy looks good.

But when I was pregnant? No sucking in at all! I don't think it's even humanly possible to suck it in even a little bit--believe me, I tried once. That belly is all uterus, and those abs and diaphragm have no control over that.

5great excuse for not doing dumb stuff
Like shaving your legs or wearing nice shoes. Obviously you still have to take care of yourself, but trying to do crazy body-morphing stunts to shave the back of your knee while sporting an extra 30 pounds on your stomach is ridiculous and sometimes it's nice to just say, "whatever. I'm pregnant." and be done.

Obviously, pregnancy is not a walk in the park. But there are definitely some perks. :)

Tell me, what things do you like about pregnancy?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

how we wore it // summer rain

I'm not gonna lie to you, guys, I'm not really a fashion guru at all. You'll probably see next to zero posts about my sense of fashion. I mean, I still wear clothes from high school. And I can count the number of pairs of shoes I own on one hand. The only kinds of fashion I rock are the jeans and random assortments of shirts that give easy enough access for me to be able to feed my babe, and that's it.

With that said, when I saw the opportunity to team up with Brooke from Silver Lining to do a fun "fashion for non-fashion-bloggers" post, I thought it'd be a lot of fun.

This is how it works: She finds a super awesome actually fashionable person and sends a picture of her in some supah-cute clothes to a bunch of bloggers (which included me this month!). We all then interpret that outfit and try to recreate it using pieces that we already own in our closets. And then voila! We all post our "how we wore it" posts on the last Wednesday of the month!

So, here was the picture we were all sent:

So I took one look at the photo and had no stinking idea what on earth I was going to do. I have no pieces like that!

I finally decided to go with the same color scheme she used. Here's what I came up with:

I did not have a cool purse or a cute pair of sunglasses, but I added in a belt! Plus jewelry. Being the daughter of a custom jeweler means I have strong beliefs about outfits not being complete until you're wearing earrings. :)

Rocking a skirt I bought when I was fifteen, my friends. 

We had our family pictures taken this week and I bought these shoes for that. I am so in love. I don't think I've taken them off since I got them.

And that, my friends, is how I wore it!

Want to see how everyone else wore it? Check out each of the lovely ladies below!

Brooke at Silver Lining
Deidre at Deidre Emme
Sierra at Sierra's View
Brooklyn at A Little Too Jolley
Laura at Sincerely, Laura
Kaycie at Redhead Memories 
Kyla at FordOlogy
Ashley at Absolutely Ashley
Tayler at The Morrell Tale
Bonnie at Life of Bon