Monday, January 19, 2015

A Day of Life with a 7 Month Old

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about resting while I had the chance. I don't regret a second of it! Life has been full speed ahead since Christmas. I had hospital orientation the first week of January, then we all got influenza, and this past weekend I worked all weekend orienting to my new unit.

In the meantime, Noah has NOT been napping. Honestly, it's so small in the scheme of things, but I can't help but feel like I'm letting him down when he doesn't sleep well. In the 7.5 months that Noah has been here, I'd say we've had a total of 1.5 months of textbook naps (at this point that means two naps a day, for a total of 2-4 hours of daytime sleep).

Last week, I spent entire days struggling to get one 45 minute nap in (thankfully we had a bit of a thaw and Noah did get a good stroller nap!). This kid needs sleep, but he has SUCH a hard time shutting down! He's always GO GO GO TALK TALK TALK WIGGLE WIGGLE WIGGLE. I LOVE it overall, but I wish I knew how to get him to turn it off. He needs rest, and I feel like it's up to me to coax him into it, but I cannot figure him out! I read all the books. I've tried all the tricks. Honestly, I think self-soothing is a developmental milestone that he hasn't reached because he's too busy with anything and everything else.

That being said, here's a fairly typical day for us since we're all still recovering from Influenza A: clear the schedule and get the kid to sleep at all costs!

0110: Noah wakes up. I get him and see that he threw up the avocado he ate for dinner. I change his sleep sack and feed him while Ross changes his sheets. Poor buddy!

0140: Ross puts Noah back in his crib and we all go back to sleep.

0430: Noah is up. I feed him.

0450: Ross takes a very wiggly baby back to his crib again. He doesn't fuss, but he also does NOT fall back asleep.

0530: Noah starts crying, so I feed him again thinking maybe it'll make him drowsy. Note to self: it never does!

0550: I put Noah back in his crib, where he proceeds to babble, whine, and practice balancing on all fours.

0630: He's obviously not falling back asleep. Ross gets him out of his room.

0700: I turn on the solar lamp in the kitchen to wake us all up and feed Noah some big kid food for breakfast-- strawberry applesauce with oatmeal. Yum!

0730: Play play play. This kid is on the move! He can scoot backwards, roll everywhere, and army crawl. Be still my heart :-)

0800: I dress and swaddle Noah, and then feed him. He's slowing down, so I'm hoping he will fall asleep after eating. Lay him in his crib "drowsy but awake" like all the books and well-meaning friends say to. He proceeds to whine, wiggle, and fuss for 45 minutes.

0900: I take him out of his crib and we play some more.

1000: Try to get him to nap again. Come up with some convoluted combination of rocking, feeding, listening to Gregorian chants, and putting a vibrating disc from the Rock 'n' Play on Noah's back. Whatever the magic is, it produces heavy eyelids which I haven't seen in ages! He also lets me give him the pacifier, which he rejects 99.5% of the time.

1020: Noah falls asleep in my arms (this NEVER happens). I hold him for 20 more minutes until he stops wiggling, and my arm goes numb.

1045: Successful transfer to the crib!

1100: I eat lunch. I'm famished! Also move laundry and do PT exercises.

1200: Marvel that Noah is still asleep. Watch an episode of the Mindy Project.

1245: Holy crap. If I'd know this was going to be a legit nap, I would've started on my to-do list right away! Feel like it's too late now. Move laundry again. Eat a bowl of cereal. Pick up the book I'm reading.

 1315: Noah is up. I feed him.

1430: Give Noah some pureed green beans. He's happy to be eating solids after stopping for a week when he was so sick!

1445: Nurse him again in hopes of another nap.

1520: Rock him again. He just takes a 15 minute catnap in my arms this time.

1600: Play inside, and then outside for a bit. Noah isn't so sure about the wind and the bright sun!

1710: Baby bath, aka water aerobics. Took this picture in the 0.5 seconds it felt safe to not have my hands on this wild monkey, lest he submerge himself!

1730: Nurse

1800: Rock a very overtired baby until Ross comes home and takes over.

1900: Baby is asleep! I eat dinner, shower, and pump.

2020: Ross and I are in bed, exhausted. We watch an episode of Downton Abbey before going to bed.

2100: Lights out!

2240: Noah is awake. Feed him. We all go back to sleep until 0230 when it starts all over again...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Year

Some years, I'm so ready for the New Year. A clean slate. Good riddance, and all that. Other years, I have so much to look forward to, that the New Year simply rings in promises of even better times ahead. This year, we're ten thirteen days in, the sun is shining, and I'm just now realizing, huh, it's a new year! (Even though I got used to writing 2015* on my new-hire paperwork during yet another hospital orientation this week.)

We rung 2015 in lying awake in bed, praying that the fireworks outside wouldn't wake the sleeping baby. (They did). Since then, it hasn't been off to the most auspicious start, since Ross got the flu last week, Noah got it mid-week, and now I'm sick and had to call in on the first day of my new job. Nothing like being sick to make you slow down and give you time to reflect.

2014... it was a wonderful year overall. It started off rough, when we lost my Grandma Ginny through undesirable circumstances. We struggled to prepare a home for a baby as our fixer-upper house continuously proved more than we had bargained for. But 2014 was also the year my brother got married. And the year our lives changed forever when we welcomed a sweet little baby boy into the world... the day before counter-tops got installed in our kitchen- ha!

2014 went by in the blink of an eye, and the last 6 months have been a blur of delicious, exhausting, terrifying, exhilarating newborn-ness. And here we are, somehow ten thirteen days into this new year. (And I still haven't figured out how to finish things when I start them).

The thing is, regardless of the date on the calendar, the excess of the holidays leads us to want to swing into restraint when it's all over. To hunker down and focus on something other than the dreary weather standing between us and spring. (Or maybe that's just me?)

I'm struggling to get back into a rhythm of daily devotional time, since naps are inconsistent and whatnot. But I read this today and I'm more convinced that ever that I can't put this off any longer. Getting back into the Word is simply necessary and it affects every other area of my life:

Yet I've never been more aware that spiritual formation based on the "binge and purge" cycle simply doesn't work. Our spiritual hearts need to be strengthened by the grace of the Gospel daily, all year long. We cannot afford periods of "cruise control" when we leave the banquet of your love for a buffet of comfort foods, fast foods, and junk foods. Just like the physical hearts you've given us, our spiritual heart muscles will atrophy if we don't take care of them.

So thank you for the "means of grace"-- the good gifts you've freely given us to help us grow in grade and the knowledge of Jesus. Thank you for the Bible, your written Word, through which you reveal yourself and feed us with the riches of the Gospel. Thank you for prayer, meditation, and corporate worship, by which you meet and fellowship with us. Thank you for the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper, these tangible expressions of your covenant love and grace.

Father, you won't love us more of less based on our use of these good gifts. But we certainly demonstrate and deepen our love for you as we do so. By the convicting work of your Holy Spirit, let us be far more concerned about flabby, graceless hearts than bigger love handles. Because you love us, don't let us get used to being spiritually lazy. May we come to the point where we'd sooner avoid oxygen and water than the means of grace.  {from Everyday Prayers by Scotty Smith}

There are a handful of other things I'd like to do in the coming months, but first things first, right?

*As an aside, I remember early in grade school when I figured out I was going to be alive to see the change in millenia... from the 1900s to the 2000s. I did the math and realized I'd turn 15 years old in 2000, and that seemed so old. GULP. Where have the last 15 years gone!?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Weary World Rejoices

Advent has begun again, and it has wonderfully, beautifully, coincided with a brief period of rest in my soul. Rest that has been much-desired, but ever-elusive for the past year.

The first 3-4 months after Noah was born, I was in constant physical pain, exacerbated by the constant anxiety I had about my baby. About everything in general, but sleep in particular. It seemed like my days revolved around hour-long feeding sessions and a brief period of "play," after which I would spend 45+ minutes getting him to sleep, only to get a 25 minute nap out of him. Seriously, for the month of November, you could set a clock by those catnaps. It was just long enough to go to the bathroom, change into real clothes (sometimes) and eat a meal. I was so discouraged. In so much pain. I felt like the worst mom ever. I was so drawn to the need to seek God in His Word, but too tired to do so.

We've also had this background of financial strain that was causing me to blame myself for not continuing to earn a full-time income. For the past 2 years, we've intentionally lived on Ross' salary plus about 20% of my income, in preparation for this very season. We paid off our debts. We bought a reasonable house. (Well, reasonable mortgage-wise. Don't get me started on renovations again.) We thought we were prepared since we've lived on this income for a while, but suddenly it's different. It's different knowing we can't draw from the savings account here and there. And we just did not anticipate hefty out-of-network physical therapy bills. Circumcisions. Hearing aids. I mean, we anticipated some of those things, but we didn't realize that we'd end up paying so much more than just our insurance deductible.

I just physically couldn't find it in me to work more night shifts when I'm already getting so little sleep, so I looked around and found an opportunity to take an 8-week day shift travel nursing assignment in an Omaha NICU. Perfect, right?! It would've been 8 really exhausting weeks, working full-time in Omaha and still fulfilling my PRN obligations here. But I would've had free childcare there, and I would've made in 8 weeks what it will currently take me 8 months to earn as a PRN nurse. It would've been a huge financial blessing. But after thinking and praying (and spending a night in Omaha where I was up EVERY HOUR with Noah) I said no. And WOW. We've been so blessed by that NO. The first good career decision I've made in a really long time!

Because after a few weeks of some sort of developmental and physical growth spurt, this week has been a breath of fresh air. KNOCK ON WOOD we are back to just one nighttime feeding around 3am (instead of 10pm and 1am and 4am and 5:30am...). And-- drumroll please-- we have a NAPPER** at long last! Seriously. 6 months in the making.

I'm more aware than ever of the cyclical nature of having a baby. Weeks of crazy growth and weeks of rest. I'm learning that maybe God's calling me into the same rhythm. Instead of just surviving those crazy weeks, I want to be able to dig in. Be present.

I've written myself a note above Noah's changing table: You chose to be here, so BE HERE. When those crazy weeks circle around again, I want to be ready. And that means while this kid is taking two naps a day, before he outgrows the swing, you better believe I'm resting when he's resting. I'm actually doing daily devotionals. I'm reading for fun. Sometimes I'm even napping! I'm still doing small chores, and when Ross comes home I catch up on laundry and make dinner and whatnot, but seriously. When Noah is resting, I'm going to rest, and I don't even feel bad about it. It's so, so needed. I had no idea having just one child would be this hard, so I'm stocking up. Stocking up, so that when it's time to dig in again, I won't feel so depleted. Because I love this baby with my whole heart. And I want to be present to cherish his baby-hood while it lasts!

Oh holy night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear'd and the soul felt its worth.

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine

**The last few weeks, instead of eat/play/sleep, we've settled into an eat/play/eat/sleep routine. We also started putting him in a swing for naps (to lull him back to sleep when he wakes up at the 25 minute mark). He's fallen into a fairly predictable 1+ hour morning nap around 8 or 9am, and an afternoon nap that still varies considerably. I don't know if the schedule change helped, or if the swing helped, or if he finally just reached a developmental ability to nap, but I cannot even express how WONDERFUL baby naps are! Poor guy was so overtired. And so was I!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Color Blind Spots

So I'm possibly the least-equipped person you've ever met when it comes to political debate, but a friend shared this article (…/repetitive-motion-disorder-black-…/) with me and I wish my friends and family would read it. I've always assumed I'm not racist, and some of the "reflexes" mentioned in this article are not things that I personally identify with. HOWEVER. I'm slowly starting to learn that I am raising my baby boy in a very different world than my friend's baby boy. Same city, same economic class, vastly different realities. 

I don't pretend to know much about Ferguson, or Grand Juries, or what it's like to be a police officer. (I'm grateful for law enforcement officers who protect our rights and keep our communities safe!) But I do know that some of the things I'm reading on facebook make me uncomfortable these days. If you find friends and family saying disparaging things at get-togethers this week, please be prepared to at least mention that:

1. We all have a right to act in self-defense. But self-defense is very different from pre-emptively acting out of fear/misinformation/stereotype.

2. Marijuana use is roughly equal among whites and blacks, yet blacks are almost 4 times as likely to be arrested for possession. (…/war-marijuana-black-and-white-report)

3. "Can we perhaps, just this once, admit our collective blind spot? Admit that there are things going on, and that have been going on a very long time, about which we know nothing? Might we suspend our disbelief, just long enough to gain some much needed insights about the society we share? One wonders what it will take for us to not merely listen but actually to hear the voices of black parents, fearful that the next time their child walks out the door may be the last, and all because someone—an officer or a self-appointed vigilante—sees them as dangerous, as disrespectful, as reaching for their gun? Might we be able to hear that without deftly pivoting to the much more comfortable (for us) topic of black crime or single-parent homes?"

I already struggle with a lot of fears now that I have a baby. I cannot image adding more to the list simply because my baby has a darker skin color.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

If I Could Tell Myself

I think those first few months of new-parent-hood were clouded by hormones and fatigue, yes, but also by pain. Until a few weeks ago, I truly thought I was never going to physically recover from childbirth. Thank GOD for modern medicine and the fact that I'm finally, slowly, on the mend.

I don't think you can outsmart those early hormones, but wow, those early days were so hard, and I was only dealing with mostly run-of-the-mill baby issues! I didn't have any perspective and I think I just thought things would be that hard forever. If I could just look back at myself at 8 weeks, I'd tell that poor girl so much:

1.) Go to physical therapy NOW. If 8 weeks postpartum feels a whole lot like 8 days postpartum, don't wait for the pain to get better! It obviously isn't improving on its own.

2.) Go to the pain management OBGYN NOW. See above.

3.) Someday, sooner than you think, you will be able to eat dinner with your husband again instead of one of you holding a screaming baby while the other one inhales whatever food you managed to scrounge out of the cabinet.

4.) Cloth diapers aren't that big of a deal. Don't stress about them so much. Just do it. (And I wish I'd known about Fluff Love University sooner!)

5.) Trust your instincts. If you feel like you still have thrush, it's thrush. If you think your baby has reflux, he has reflux. (Spoiler alert: both of them will eventually improve, I promise!)

6.) Just buy some non-maternity clothes a size up. Actually, I'd go back and tell my first-trimester self this one, when I was in between my normal clothes and my maternity clothes. I'm actually comfortable at the weight I'm at, but I do NOT fit into my old winter clothes yet.

7.) Take more pictures with your nice camera and fewer with your iPhone. Babies move too fast and half of your pictures are blurry!

8.) Don't compare yourself to your mom friends, and don't compare your baby to your friends' babies. You will either feel inordinately proud over something you can't take credit for or, more likely, completely awful because you feel like you're doing it all wrong. See: 6 Things New Parents Need to Stop Doing.

9.) In fact, don't even shame yourself about your feelings. They're not uncommon. Exhibit A. Exhibit B.

10.) Your baby's sleep schedule will at best make you tired and grumpy, and at worse expose your selfishness and control issues. Reinforce good habits, take what sleep you can get, and then just roll with it. Love him through it. His sleep will eventually sloooowly improve. You'll start to notice that his weeks of bad sleep will correspond with huge developmental leaps, and it will start to make sense. Reading this helps a lot:
“Infant/toddler sleep is erratic, unpredictable and doesn’t conform to our expectations. Children’s sleep habits have evolved to best serve the child, even if they don’t make sense to the parent. Adjust your expectations, not your child’s sleep habits (within reason)."

11.) CTFD and laugh a little. If you can't reach this point on your own, talk with your spouse, with other mom friends, or with a counselor until you can.

12.) Endorphins are still so very real. Work out if you can muster up even an ounce of energy, because it WILL give you more energy. Swimming, Body Pump, Piyo, hot yoga, and sometimes Zumba are your friends. HIIT, running, and plyometrics are not.

13.) Ross is a pretty awesome dad. Don't deprive him of opportunities to shine.

14.) Not only does breastfeeding get better, but should you be so lucky as to be able to continue this relationship, you'll start to notice how sanctifying it is:
Perhaps this is what Jesus had in mind for the Eucharist. Through the breaking of the bread, God invites us into the nursing relationship: the meeting of all our needs.
I think about the cracked nipples and the itchy thrush, the aches and fevers of mastitis, the midnight trek across the house to feed a crying baby, fatigued to the point of nausea: "This is my body, broken for you."
I think about the times I missed out because of the chore it was keeping (my baby) fed, the chained-up feeling of pumping at work, the moments when I wish desperately for a break: "Poured out for you and for many…"
I think about God, who has given me these children and the means to sustain them, who is present in the Eucharist and in my nursing chair, who by these rituals invites me to participate in His life-giving power: "Do this, in remembrance of Me."

15.) Sleeping baby faces will always make your heart melt. That gummy smile will never fail to make your heart explode. Sometimes, instead of trying to capture the sweetness with the millionth picture, close your eyes and memorize it instead.

16.) You love your baby. You're doing a good job.

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Day of Life with a 4 Month Old

Yesterday, Noah learned to roll from back to front! He's done it once or twice before on accident, but yesterday it really clicked. As he kept repeating his new trick, I realized my days with an immobile baby are limited! I wanted to do a post like this ages ago, but honestly pre-Zantac all of my energy went into trying to get Noah to stop crying and sleep.

That's not to say that every day is rainbows and butterflies now, but honestly the majority of our day is quite happy. This little guy is a joy to be around. Earlier this week, I was at the park with a friend who hadn't seen me since the Day Before Zantac. (AKA Noah cried all day, I cried all day, I finally had to lay him in the crib and walk away for an hour because I couldn't handle it, and he cried the whole time.) My friend said my whole countenance is different now, and I agree. I'm a much more patient mom now that my baby and my lower back aren't screaming at me all day long. Thank God for modern medicine!

Anyway, here's a much lower-stress day in our lives now. I'm so thankful that I get to spend most of the week at home with him. He's the cutest boss!

[Note: Just because I note multiple "events" an hour, don't think I'm trying to make myself sound busier than I am. Chill days like this are an absolute delight and they allow both of us to settle into a rhythm and find a good "normal" for us. I can think of 1,000 scenarios that are more hectic than this one, which is why I'm so thankful for today!]

0110: Noah is awake. Ross brings him to the bedroom and I feed him.

0145: Noah is done eating. The past week or two, he has been good about falling right back to sleep after his middle of the night feeding. But tonight, it's clear that isn't going to be the case. He's not fussy, but he's most definitely awake. Ross finally goes to the nursery to rock him while I eat a Larabar and chug some water.

0210: Noah is asleep. Ross and I aren't far behind.

0501: (seriously, this kid's internal clock for the 5 o'clock hour is astounding) Noah is awake again. Ross brings him to the bedroom and I give him his Zantac and feed him.

0530: Ross gets ready to go for a run with a neighbor. Noah is still eating.

0600: Noah's done eating, but he's WIDE awake.

0630: More often than not, he goes back to sleep by 6:30 or 7 and sleeps until 8:30, but that's not happening. He's all riled up and happy-shouting and smiling and babbling.

0700: I give up trying to quiet him down, and get up and change his diaper. Ross leaves for work and I put Noah down on his playmat while I get dressed and make oatmeal for myself.

0705: We almost never leave the house when it's dark, but I realize I'm out of coffee and I have a Groupon for my favorite coffee shop 20 minutes away. I bundle Noah up and head out to get caffeine for me, but also in hopes that Noah will fall asleep in the car.

0745: Noah puts up a valiant fight and stays wide-eyed until we turn onto our street on the way home! I miraculously transfer him into the house in his carseat and he stays asleep. I put the carseat on the floor of our bedroom because the trashmen are super loud from his bedroom on Friday mornings.

0800: I slip back into bed, hoping to catch a short nap.

0830: Noah is awake and he wakes me up from my 15 minute catnap, too.

0840: Feed Noah.

0915: Change his diaper (which was dangerously close to a blowout) and get him dressed.

0930: I put Noah on his playmat in the kitchen while I start this post and eat my gluten-free brownie from the coffee shop. I also take my vitamin and probiotic to balance it out :-)

0945: I watch him play while I pump. He's practicing rolling the other way! I wonder what makes their little brain decide to just do these things one day seemingly out of the blue.

1000: I waited a little too long for naptime, and Noah starts to fuss. We hightail it to the nursery where I put him in his sleepsuit and start rocking.

1015: He put up a decent fight, but sleep won in the end. And this fussing is NOTHING compared to months 2-4 when he would scream for about 45 minutes before finally taking a 20 minute nap. Poor guy!

1030: I drink about 1/3 of my coconut milk cafe au lait from this morning after debating taking a nap as well, and deciding I will try to take one this afternoon instead.

1040: I do a quick 18 minute Piyo workout.

1100: Pretty much right on cue, Noah wakes up. I rush to the nursery to rock him back to sleep before he gets too riled up. He's definitely still tired and I really try to get him to take at least one nap a day that's more than an hour long, even though he almost always wakes up 45 minutes after laying down. He falls asleep quickly, but I rock him for a few more minutes until I feel like it's safe to put him back down.

1115: I quietly warm up some leftover fajita filling to eat alongside corn chips, carrot sticks, and guacamole for lunch.

1140: Do my deep breathing and a few Physical Therapy exercises while I scroll through Instagram and wait for Noah to wake up again. I love and hate that our house is so tiny, you can't do anything remotely noisy during naptime.

1207: Baby's awake!

1210-1240: Feed and burp Noah.

1250: Clean diaper and playtime! I set Noah down on his playmat to kick around and I talk to him while I unload the dishwasher and quickly make a batch of pumpkin chocolate chip bars.

1315: Hearing aid time! I make sure he's upright so he doesn't get feedback ringing in his ears, and we sing songs, read a book, and play patty cake. The minute he becomes disinterested, I take them out. The goal is to only have positive associations with his hearing aids!

1335: Move toward nap.

1355: He's asleep!

1400: I eat a pumpkin bar and applesauce for a snack.

1425: I lay down in hopes of a nap.

1430: Baby wakes up instead, and this time he won't be rocked back to sleep. Should've taken advantage of the morning nap!

1440: Spend 40 minutes feeding a fussy, overtired, squirmy baby and wonder if he's actually eating anything or just wiggling. Then he spits up in my hair and I figure he must've eaten something.

1520: Eat another pumpkin bar + some salt and pepper potato chips (darn you for buying these, Ross!) Play with Noah on the floor for a while.

1545: Change diaper. Go on a 1 hour walk. Noah probably sleeps for 40 minutes of it. He's so tired today.

1700: Put pork loin in the oven for dinner.

1715: Wait for Dad and greet him with a smile when he comes home!

1740: Noah gets a 20 minute bath. He splashes and shouts much less than usual. So tired today!

1800: Give Noah his Zantac and feed him for hopefully the last time today. [We've been putting him down after this feeding and doing a "dream feed" around 9:30-10pm for a week or two, but the last few days we'd wake him out of a good sleep to eat and he was so fussy, barely ate anything, and took an hour to settle back down. So last night we just let him sleep and he slept until 1am. He used to eat at 10pm and then again at 2-3am and 5-6am, so we essentially dropped a feeding in the hopes of all of us getting a tad more sleep*. We kept pushing him, hoping he'd give us that long stretch from like 10pm-5am like adults sleep. Alas, he has not taken that opportunity. So if he's going to get his long stretch earlier in the night, I guess we need to, too :-/ ]   

1830: Ross rocks Noah to sleep while I finish up with dinner and take a shower.

1900: I eat dinner with Ross. Nothing fancy: pork and roasted sweet potatoes.

1945: Do physical therapy exercises, talk with Ross, go over our budget.

2030: Pump.

2115: Grownups in bed, lights out!

I cannot believe I just wrote our entire day out in such mundane detail. Today was actually a fairly indulgent day, to boot, since we didn't have any errands to run or appointments to be at or night shift to prepare for. It feels silly to document this, but I already wonder what the heck my days look liked at 2 months (I do know this: a very tired blur).

I know it'll be fun to look back at our happy days at 4 months. And when I'm tempted to feed like all we do is eat, play, and sleep (well, some of us sleep more than others haha) I remember: "It's never mundane to them. Not to their brains which measures your mundane as safety, as meeting their needs, helping their brain literally explode in connections. Relish the "mundane" because to them it's the essence of life and the building block of a future." And really, these tiny, everyday moments are what I'm going to want to remember most about this blur of new baby-hood and new parent-hood.

One of my friends recently posted a picture of her smiling baby on Facebook and basically said, "I didn't get anything done today because this guy started smiling!" One of her friends responded, "Getting nothing done? You just helped create hundreds of new brain connections, decreased his cortisol levels so his brain develops in a calm environment, and helped him begin to trust that God loves him unconditionally because he's seen that in his mama's eyes. In fact, come to think of it, you deserve a nap!" I love that. And I love this job. And I love my sweet little family.

*Edited to add: Noah slept from 1900 to 0400 that night!!!! That's the longest he's EVER slept. I woke up about every 90 minutes to look at him on the video monitor, but almost always fell right back asleep after I saw him breathing, which means I got about 6 hours of more-or-less uninterrupted sleep. Yay! I think he's coming off of a major growth spurt and more tired than normal. (I always know it's a growth spurt because I am ravenous and super thirsty. And craving chocolate cake. Seriously.)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

What I Really Want to Say

Natalie Goldberg says that simply writing the words, "What I really want to say," will spark some good writing. I have a lot I've been wanting to say, but I'm not sure where to start, so I'll try this.

What I really want to say is:

-I can't believe Noah is 4 months old. I know it's the oldest cliche in the book; but sometimes I look down at his little face and see glimpses of a boy, and not just a baby! Honestly, it does make me a little sad. Postpartum recovery was rough for me for some reason, and I've been in a lot of pain. I feel like I finally started to emerge from the haze of discomfort only to find my baby isn't a baby! I can already be nostalgic about when he used to wear that tiny outfit, or when he used to fit just here.

That being said, it's an absolute delight to watch him grown and develop! I am so used to babies perpetually staying babies at work and it's so new to me to have a one learning new tricks every day. The pediatrician actually said he's doing a few 6 month things like standing and bearing most of his weight on his legs, and doing the skydiver move when he's on his belly. It's pretty funny to watch, and it's crazy that some mornings he'll just wake up and start doing something he's never done before, like it's no big deal!

-Noah started Zantac a few weeks ago and it's amazing what a difference it's made! It makes me a little sad we didn't start it sooner. I feel like a lot of those infuriating, sleepless days could've been avoided! I feel so bad that when I was tired and irritated, he was just trying to say he was in pain! Better late than never, I guess, and we're happy to have our smiley baby back. Still working on naps, but at least he doesn't wake himself up crying now!

-I have always been a homebody, but having a baby brought that to a whole new level and I'm fairly restless some days. It finally doesn't give me complete anxiety to leave the house, but I'm still particular about doing it during his awake times, and not wanting to feed him in public (we're just not coordinated enough for that). I knew intellectually that having a baby would change everything, but I will admit I'm still adjusting to some of those changes. I wouldn't trade him for anything, but that doesn't mean that some days it does feel good to leave him with Ross and run errands alone in the evening.

-I miss sweaty workouts. I started working out slowly around 7 weeks postpartum and have been working out about twice a week since then, with about two long walks thrown in the mix as well. I mentioned that my recovery has been really slow, and it's made working out a bit discouraging. Swimming feels the BEST, but I'm mentally opposed to swimming indoors since it's much colder than swimming laps on a sunny, 90 degree day.

-Physical therapy and accupuncture have been Godsends. Incredibly expensive, yes. But I feel like my pain and swelling is finally getting under control and I don't even want to think about how I'd still be feeling without those things.