Props to the folks at Enterprise Car Sales for giving us the nerdy, fun, stress-free car-buying experience these two odd millennial parents needed.
Loving our 2016 Chrysler Town & Country. Ready for many adventures.
Today I’ve been weak. It’s been the definition of “one of those days.” I’ve had ups, downs, side blinders and zig zaggies. Things that have probably bothered me for months have finally caught up to me, and I was ill prepared for their inevitable collision.
This afternoon I spent several hours at my in-laws’ house wiping up dog vomit from my weak stomached Goldendoodle and scrubbing the walls free of my brindle lab’s blood splatters from a tail wound she won’t let heal. They’re both exhausted and anxious, tired of staying in a home that isn’t theirs and missing their daddy something fierce. I want to get them home so badly, staying in Knoxville during this deployment has been so hard on them. They need their routine, their yard, their life back.
While I’m deep in that elbow grease, I receive a text from my husband that they have had a power outage on his base and the wifi isn’t working well. We played phone tag for hours and then he texted me a text I hope no one ever has to receive from someone they love and miss: “Still not working. Phone’s going to die. If this goes through, I love you.”
In a moment when I needed to speak to my companion more than anything, I couldn’t. And it feels wrong. I collapsed onto the couch, my dogs laid each of their heads in my lap, and the impulse to cry hit me like a train… But no tears came. I couldn’t cry. Is it being a mom now, I have acquired this need to stay strong despite all things colliding at once? Some kind of strange strength that is tapped into when you have a child, to protect them and yourself from unnecessary emotional interruption? I don’t know.
Sitting there, I just pet my babies and breathed in and out. The moment I felt like I got a handle of the moment, I received a second text from my mother, saying my daughter was awake from her nap and crying and I needed to come and nurse her. Responsibility is following me everywhere I go, I can’t escape it. I want to find some closet somewhere and just sit alone in the darkness, imagining myself void of all responsibilities and tasks. Just breathe and be. Just for a minute.
Because today just took me. I got lost in it. It’s not the hardest day I’ve ever had, by any means. But I’m stressing. I miss my husband. I miss his help. I miss his positivity and light. I miss being able to vent all these things to him. Because even though I do get to talk to him sometimes, there’s always a chance the wifi will go out, or he’ll get called off to work on something, or they’ll shift his flight hours and we won’t get to talk that day.
We have less than two weeks left of this, and I can’t help but feel disappointed in myself for not keeping it together. I was so determined to stay “OK” while he was gone. Because logic tells me that I have to learn to be fine even if he’s not here, because reality is, he won’t be here all the time in the future. I have to learn to cope and thrive, regardless of whether he’s here to help me or not. But I’m not okay, I’m not thriving. I’m mad. I’m bitter. I’m lonely. I’m failing, in my eyes.
Saying all this, I know I need to give myself grace for today, and all my hard days. But for today, while I’m still feeling this, I have to acknowledge this feeling for what it is in this moment. It sucks. I don’t ever want to get a text like that from my husband ever again.
There’s no other way to say it: We are blessed. Blessed with a baby who, like her momma, loves sleeping. Blessed to have had full restful nights of sleep starting when she was around 2 months old.
Y’all, I don’t claim to have had any influence in this phenomenon. I think she’s just an enigma of infancy. However, if anything we have done in our parenting thus far has actually caused her to sleep like an angel, I suppose I should document our sleep regimen here so I know how to try it again next time around.
No doubt about it, the newborn phase was rough. And we were realistic going in to it. We fully accepted that most parents turn into zombies when they have a newborn. We expected sleepless nights for several months. We expected our marriage to struggle under the weight of new responsibilities. We expected it to be … much harder than it turned out to be. So in a lot of ways, our harsh expectations made it easier to cope when the newborn phase was upon us.
The first week, we were shocked when Adelaide slept for a 5-6 hour chunk at night. They say a number of factors can cause that – she had thrush, she was jaundiced, she had an average birth weight but lost nearly a pound her first week, and breastfeeding was taking a little bit to get going. It wasn’t until the doctor told me I should be waking her up to nurse that I thought I was doing anything wrong.
But she didn’t like being woken up. She wouldn’t nurse well, she was more fussy, it just didn’t make sense to her. Plus she was gaining her weight back just fine. So I followed my wise mother’s advice and chose to just follow her cues. I let her sleep till she woke up, then we nursed. She took a nap every couple hours during the day, and had a nice 5-6 hour chunk of sleep at night. Now, there were some nights, probably during her growth spurt periods, where she was waking up every 2-3 hours, and those were hard. But they never lasted long.
We started a regimen from day one that worked for her. We swaddled her tight, arms in, in a Halo Sleepsack, and rocked/swayed/pat/sang/danced/walked/paced/bounced whatever we could do to get those eyes to close and the paci to fall out. Many nights, I would walk in circles around the house until the furnace kicked on in the laundry room, and I’d go sway with her in there because the loud noise soothed her. We also always had a white noise machine next to where she slept. So once she was paci-out asleep, we would lay her down in the Fisher Price Rock-n-Play, and tuck another blanket around her (the day she was born, it was 8 degrees outside, the girl needed some warmth). Sometimes she would get jostled awake in the transition from arms to bed, so I’d rock the Rock-n-Play for a bit till those eyes closed again.
That was how she slept till she was about 3 1/2 months old. I know a lot of people would scoff that I didn’t crib-transition her sooner, but I’ve been staying with my family out of town while my husband has been deployed these last few months and I couldn’t very well move her entire crib out here with us. Plus with all that transition, I felt the Rock-n-Play was the most comfortable for her at the time, it’s how she slept the soundest.
Forgive me for boasting, but the results speak for themselves. At around 2 months of age, Adelaide was sleeping for 8-9 hours straight, waking to nurse and play for 1 hour, then going back down for another 3-4 hours.
At 3 1/2 months, she started being able to roll from back to tummy and tummy to back. We noticed she was starting to drift off to sleep while laying flat on her back a couple times. Again, following her cues, we then decided to transition her to sleeping flat in her Pack-n-Play. After about 2 weeks of learning what worked best, we’ve figured out that her best sleep now is swaddled in a Halo Sleepsack, arms out, in the Pack-n-Play – we start her out laying on her back, but she almost instantly rolls to her side or her tummy to sleep. I don’t correct her anymore. Now that she is coordinated enough to get herself turned back if she needs to, I don’t worry about suffocation or discomfort. She puts herself in that position and sleeps.
So. For people who need lists. Here are our sure-fire sleep-inducers for Adelaide:
1) White Noise – hair dryer, vacuum, car, clothes dryer, furnace, TV, white noise machine, anything loud and consistent keeps her down through the little creaks and squeaks of houses and everyday life (and dogs with loud tails). We even had a portable noise machine for on-the-go white noise to keep her asleep on grocery or car trips.
2) Halo Sleepsack – we tried other brands that people had bought us, but she was always able to get her arms loose and then she’d wake up. Not with the Halo. It is the essential swaddle for dummies. Zip, tuck, tuck, done. The first one we had was the newborn fleece one, nice and thick for winter. Once she outgrew that we got the next size up in the thinner material, works like magic. Until she got through that flailing arms phase, she just needed having the arms tucked tight to sleep.
3) Fisher Price Rock n Play Sleeper – I liked that it was angled and cradled her in. We have a happy-spitter baby, so it put me at ease to know she wasn’t going to choke on her spit while she was sleeping. We also enjoyed that if she woke up fussy, I could often just rock it by hand and she would coax back down. Plus this was a much cheaper newborn sleep option than a proper “bassinet.”
4) Swaying – our girl almost always needs some movement when going to sleep. Whether it’s in momma’s arms (preferable) or in her Mamaroo (which she enjoys about 50% of the time), she just likes being moved. She likes being pat on the tushy and swayed back and forth, sometimes bounced lightly too. During the day, I would sometimes “wear” her in a Baby K’Tan wrap (again, only liked this about 50% of the time) so I could get chores done. The rocking and swaying of moving against me almost always put her to sleep.
The only advice I could give that I believe would work for any baby is to just be creative. If something doesn’t work, adapt and change it up. Try something different, don’t get flustered. If she’s having a day where she will only sleep in your arms, give her that day and try something new tomorrow. Remember, your arms are getting crazy buff holding that little chunker all the time.
And now a video of my absolute favorite part of the day, waking up in the morning to this sweet, warm, heavenly-smelling angel. I’ve never been a morning person in my life, but I can’t wait for this moment every morning with her.
I hate to start a blog post with “I haven’t posted in a while…” but there’s no way around it. I haven’t posted in a while. I gave myself a 2 month hiatus while I have adjusted to this completely different life I now lead called motherhood.
I knew I would want some time off from blogging in this short time with my newborn and husband before he deployed 2 days ago. Now that he’s gone and my dear daughter is beginning to show glorious signs of a real sleep schedule, I think I am ready to get back in the swing of things.
I have so much to share. From her birth story to first days, early weeks of sleep deprivation, spit up being a part of every outfit, dancing to the sound of the furnace, baby products I can’t live without, baby products I shouldn’t have wasted my money on, and so many moments in between that I could have never imagined would make me so unbelievably happy.
I’m now officially a Mom Blogger, y’all.
And now, introducing my beautiful muse: Adelaide River.
Lost: my ankles. Last seen about a week ago, between my feet and my calves. Pale-colored, bony, bendable. Cannot seem to locate. In distress.
The pressure is on, folks. She’s due on Friday. It will be 2016 on Friday. We’ve been praying for months for a 2015 baby. Multiple reasons, most important one being that our girl’s godparents are currently visiting us from Alabama and we would love for them to experience her birth with us before they leave on Friday. Godmama is 14 weeks pregnant with a little lady of her own as well, so it would be fantastic to be able to share this with her. I believe that God is good, His timing is holy and perfect, He answers prayers and keeps promises. But every morning I wake up without labor starting, it gets harder to keep that faith. Thank goodness for my husband, and his trusting heart.
We’ve tried spicy food, oregano & basil, red raspberry leaf tea, foot massages, hand massages, hot baths, bouncing on the exercise ball, walking, sledding, singing loudly, begging, bribing, and a healthy dose of marital bedroom relations. Nothing seems to make this girl wanna come out before her due date. I swear if my father-in-law says “Babies come when babies come” to me one more time, I’m gonna blow a gasket.
I know he’s right. At the end of the day, there’s nothing I can do to really control when our daughter chooses to join us (apart from actual induction, which we vehemently want to avoid unless absolutely necessary). But literally as I was typing this paragraph I received texts from 2 different people asking “Is she here yet?!” And I’m sent into anxious mode.
Man these last days are no joke! Emotions all over the place. Lots of last minute preparations. I have my post partum pads and granny panties. We installed the car seat. I got my nails done (for the first time since my wedding, if that is any indicator to how often I get myself pampered like this). I keep mentally repeating to myself I’m ready, we’re ready, I’m ready, we’re ready, COME OUT ALREADY!
Sweet Adelaide, I want you to come when you’re ready. I know the Lord’s timing is outside of my understanding, and I trust it. I trust that for whatever reason, you want to cook just a little longer. Just know your momma and daddy are dying to meet you, so that may make us a little impatient. Waiting for the best gift ever is not easy! We’re just ready for our lives to be changed, forever. Please come soon, dear one. I really want my ankles back.
Just an update, more for myself as a personal journal entry than anything, feel free to be too bored to read 😉
Doozy of a week! Started out with the aftermath of some truly psycho emotional struggles that finally fizzled out, and thank God I’m back to being mostly sane again.
Then my body started really feeling 9 months pregnant. Had some intense cramping, soreness, what felt like contractions (?) that all kept me up at night, struggling to be mobile. It’s like all of a sudden my body was compensating for having a ton of extra weight put on, and man it hurt. Thankfully I’ve gotten used to it or something, and I’m feeling less physically strained for now, at least.
I had a “contraction” in the middle of the video game aisle at Target which was pretty funny. I put it in quotes because I really don’t know for 100% sure what a real contraction feels like, as this is my first pregnancy, so I have to assume they’re either just the Braxton-Hicks practice contractions, or maybe even not a contraction at all. Anyway, my whole tummy got crazy hard and started feeling like it was squeezing up, and my lower back nearly gave out on me in front of the Nintendo 3DS display. Lasted about 20 seconds. Not too bad. Hubs got a little freaked out about how funny I thought it was.
The Ob still hasn’t checked my progress because she says I don’t “look like” I’ve been in enough pain to have had any labor progress yet. Ok. I mean I’m 37 weeks pregnant, most women are told by now if they have any dilation or effacement, and I just happen to have a high pain tolerance anyway, but ok.
Bad acid reflux today. It was the Chinese food, I know. But it tastes so delicious and gosh dangit I still have leftovers that I fully intend on indulging in for dinner tonight. So it will likely be another long night of heartburn and nausea. Worth it, maybe.
Had a pretty sucky thing happen in the grocery store the other day. I was struggling to lift this 50lb bag of dog food into my cart (yeah I know, I’m a feeble pregnant woman who shouldn’t be trying to lift anything heavier than a Boppy pillow, so sue me) and this guy in the aisle, obviously noticing that I’m struggling, hastily grabs his bag of dog food and books it away from me like I’m a dang time bomb. Like…really, guy? The sight of a 9 month pregnant lady made you feel so awkward that you couldn’t find it in yourself to help her, let alone be in the same vicinity as her? Add that with the multiple eyerolls and sighs of exasperation thrown at me by impatient Sheila’s and Nancy’s who couldn’t handle waiting for me to get out of their way with my too-heavy shopping cart, and it was just about the most embarrassing grocery trip I’ve ever had. It made me miss the South, with its quirky but warm hospitality and charm. People don’t act like this there. They actively show care and concern for their fellow man in public, certainly to a pregnant woman. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not one to feel entitled to special treatment just because I’m carrying a baby. Heck, I don’t even park in the designated pregnant lady spots in the parking lot. But even if I wasn’t pregnant, I would expect at least some amount of sympathy for practically falling over while trying to lift a 50lb bag of dog food into my shopping cart. Alright, alright, rant over.
Getting close to Christmas and I’m definitely missing home. This will be our first holiday season away from friends and family. Still processing it emotionally, but I’m sure it will be sweet, regardless of the homesickness. And hopefully we’ll have our special gift arrive early, in time for Christmas 🙂 (fingers crossed!)
P.S. We finished the nursery! Will write a detailed post with photos soon.