Recharged

These are my favorite things from this season of life as a SAHM to a 1 year old. I find it important to write these down so I never forget how fortunate I truly am. Especially on those days that are less than perfect. I believe God finds little ways to encourage me even when those words of affirmation can’t be spoken.

  1. The endless baby chatter. It’s as if she really has a message to spread to the world but the words aren’t forming yet. Whatever it is, it’s very important.
  2. The extreme excitement when she see’s myself or her dad for the first time after a few hours of being separated. The kicks, wiggles, and giggles are what my soul desires.
  3. The random toys I find stashed in different places. The chew toys that were strategically placed in the laundry basket full of clothes. The Chapstick that magically found it’s way from my nightstand into the empty washing machine. The alphabet magnets that were found in the other side of the cat door in the garage. All of it wrapped up in a tiny gift of sticky fingers and poopy diapers makes my heart smile.
  4. Her extreme love for her blankie. She can’t resist laying her head down when blankie is under it. This makes for amazing snuggles when it’s time for sleep. I enjoy nothing more than singing my daughter to sleep while we cuddle.
  5. The discovery of new things. This will never get old. She found her tongue (and mine) the other day. That was truly the best part of that day.
  6. Games! Namely “I’m going to get you” and Peek-a-boo. I love the squeals and laughter that follow the wiggles and giggles.
  7. But I think my favorite is during our daily routine. She’ll be playing and I’ll be trying to get something done or my focus is split between her and a project, when all of the sudden I notice the silence. This means one of two things; she is either doing something she shouldn’t be doing or she has stopped mid play to watch me and smile her biggest smile. It’s amazing to stop the busy of my life, completely expecting the worst and finding my child smiling from ear to ear as if to say “I love you, mommy” or maybe she’s thinking “my mom is really funny looking”? No, it’s definitely the first one. I love my sweet princess.

It’s important for me to remember these moments because there are also those moments when I’m exhausted and in need of a break. Living away from grandparents and family means breaks are harder to come by. I thank God for these precious moments I do get with her. They are gifts from God to recharge my sleepy soul. No, I wouldn’t change my occupation right now for anything. I am right where God needs me to be, I have every confidence in that fact.

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Lesson in First Time Motherhood #2: Routines are Important

I truly underestimated the power of routines in a baby’s life. I’m the kind of person that loves to have every day a little different and likes the surprise. The surprise loses its luster when you go from an 8-5 job to 24 hours per day job. I was so tired I thought I was going to die. My husband was so frustrated he couldn’t think straight. How did Charles Dickens put it? “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” We were so thankful for our little bundle of joy. She made the most amazing little noises and warmed our hearts to the maximum extent. Now, if she would only sleep.

I didn’t read any parenting books and I don’t regret it, my philosophy is “my baby didn’t read that book” however, I do love a good research project. I research A LOT and that includes using the parenting books I have on my shelf. I do consult books and I Google. I Googled and found some sample schedules on Babycenter.com. I found the one that was the closest to what my baby was doing right then and just went with it. I also ask A LOT of questions as stated in the previous post of my sisters as well as my mommy friends.

A bedtime routine will save your sanity. My child loves to sleep. (I know I’m pretty fortunate) But I think she loves to sleep because she knows what’s coming. When it’s time to sleep through the night she gets a bath, a story, and a nighttime prayer all before she is laid down to sleep. Every night. The time of night can sometime vary depending on what we are doing but most of the time it’s at 7 pm. This whole routine queues her to knowing that it’s time for bed. My mother told me to do this and it was genius.

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 I love when she sleeps. Zzzzzzz…

Lessons in First Time Motherhood: Lesson #1 Breast Feeding is HARD!

I was asked “What is the most difficult part of being a mom so far?” Breastfeeding. Hands down. No arguments. My husband agrees with me and he’s not even the one doing it!
Breast feeding was one of my non-negotiables going into parenthood. I planned to be a stay at home mom which means that my role changed from making money to conserving it. It was and is important for me to keep my milk flowing to conserve finances. Formula isn’t cheap!
Before I gave birth I spent countless hours watching You Tube videos, reading online forums and asking questions to my lovely sisters about breast feeding. I’m so very glad that I did. You can ask my sisters, I asked and continue to ask A LOT of questions about breast feeding and quite frankly I’m still not an expert.

The #1 lesson I’ve learned is: Breast feeding is something a Mom and dad have to be proactive about. (yes I said dad too) There is a small window of time where you can fool your body into thinking your baby needs more milk than it does. I found this little supply and demand trick extremely useful as I had to give Moriah a bottle to supplement her feeding because she had a hard time latching on for the first few weeks of her life. When she was first born I never gave her formula. I stocked my freezer full because you never know what could happen. And if you’re planning on going back to work after you have a baby and want to give your baby breast milk you REALLY need to be proactive!
My little bits of advice for first time mom’s is buy all the supplies. Get it all. I had a Brest Friend AND a boppy and I used them both. I had wonderful sisters who stocked me full of things I didn’t even know what they were and it was so wonderful to open up my drawer and see everything that I needed just waiting for me. I had no idea what a nipple shield was, or storage bags, or covers, or pads, the list goes on. I have used every single bit of it. True, I used a majority of it in the first 3 months of her life but I used it all. In my opinion, breast feeding supplies are not where you want to conserve your baby budget.

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Daddy: the champion bottle feeder.

Another lesson I’ve learned in this new motherhood experience is: Daddy’s are a big deal. I never thought I would have needed so much help from my husband and I’m very thankful for my husband’s servant heart. I would never have succeeded in breast feeding if it weren’t for his constant support and encouragement. I really thought when it came to breast feeding the responsibility would fall completely on my shoulders and I couldn’t have been more wrong. He was right there with me. While I held our upset hungry daughter he was right here to keep my frustration at a minimum. The lactation nurse taught him how to put together the breast pumping equipment and how to clean it while we were still in the hospital. She also taught him how to suck up the colostrums that I pumped out into a syringe and then expel it into my breast shield so that Moriah could eat it with little effort on her part. It came to a point where trying to eat was burning too many calories and she was losing weight at a rapid pace and needed to be bottle fed. Bottle feeding was his responsibility as I was again, hooked up to the mechanical parasite (aka breast pump).

Another shock: babies lose weight after they are born. I didn’t know that, but it makes sense as they are learning how to eat. One of the nurses on the night shift felt my pain as I struggled to feed my baby and went to get me a breast shield and I’m so thankful that she did. Most mothers don’t even know what a breast shield is and that’s a good thing. It’s really a last resort type of thing, and that’s because you will have to re-teach your baby how to breast feed if you use it as regularly as I had too. Moriah was small, had a shallow gag reflex, and wasn’t born through the vaginal canal. All things that were stacked against us, thankfully she was never jaundice. That was really the only thing working for us. That was truly a miracle.

Despite all that was mentioned above one bit of advice I got was spot on. It’s totally worth it! I was going to breast feed her if it killed me (and I think it almost has several times, but that may be another post). There’s nothing like the bonding time you get with your child. It’s a little piece of heaven on earth when your little one stops feeding, looks up at you and smiles as milk drips down both sides of her face. It’s like she’s saying “Oh wow, my mommy is so pretty and I love her so much.” After 3 visits to lactation consultants after we left the hospital and two visits to the chiropractor to give Moriah adjustments to get her to have the sucking reflex. She’s now 8 months old and breastfeeding. She’s distracted, but that’s because she’s 8 months old. Breast feeding is messy, painful, frustrating and can be incredibly difficult but I still maintain that it’s totally worth every hurdle you may face. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to get back to drinking my Mothers Milk tea.

 

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Milk Coma’s are so adorable.

The Due Date- Round 3

Since there is so much construction going on in our house right now Moriah and I decided to take a little vacation. I am tired of living in a hotel or in a construction zone. We booked a flight and spent 8 glorious days with family in Minnesota. While we were there my sister gave birth to her third child. My parents were on duty to take care of her two older boys and Moriah and I were excited to have a sleepover with cousins at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Since I live far away from my family these occurrences are few and far between for me. I will cherish those special moments I got to spend with my nephews for years to come. As I was going through my pictures and telling my husband all about our trip the past came back up from the depths of my soul. Like a hammer hitting me straight in the face. I don’t always remember or think about it but sometimes my heart stops and I remember the child that was lost.

One of my nephews is one month older than my child that was lost of miscarriage and my niece is one month younger. Of course I don’t know for sure as I was only 9 weeks pregnant at the time but in my heart I feel that child was a boy. As I was looking through my pictures and the memories of our mornings together my sweet nephews blue eyes struck me: he (my child) would be the same age.

Every morning Moriah would wake up in her crib and I could hear her sweet cooing before I was fully awake. And every morning when the boys were there someone else would greet her. My bedroom door would slowly open and I could hear quiet footsteps as the morning sun poured into my room. I would open my eye just a sliver to see that my nephew had heard my daughter in her crib and he would sneak in to gently touch her. One morning he was petting her head the next holding her hand. The picture I was looking at was one morning she was up early and woke up wanting some breakfast so she was in bed with me when he came in to check on her. He decided to climb over the footboard and into bed with us for his morning greeting.

At the time I thought it was adorable that my nephew was so gentle with her. Excellent practice for when he went home to his newborn sister, and that’s where my thought process stopped. But the other day, while looking at this picture I was reminded of my son, who I can only imagine was blonde and blue eyed; and my heart broke. I truly can’t wrap my mind around having a 2 year old along with my 4 month old daughter. That would be a handful. So today, I let the pain of loss wash over me again and I think about what would have been? Would he reach into her crib and hold her hand? Would he sneak into my bedroom and pet her head as she jabbers away? Would he reach out his arms with longing in his beautiful eyes as he asks to hold her one more time before bed? Would we be counting his animals and mimic the sound each one makes? Or would we be in a potty training battle full of 2 year old tantrums and “no,no,no’s”?

Probably.

Sometimes I let the grief and heartache bubble up to the surface because it’s in these moments that I am reminded of how grateful I am to have known this kind of loss. It’s in these moments where I’m reminded of Christ’s blessings. I did not lose a child in vain. God had and has a plan. And for that I’m eternally grateful.