Motherhood

The Gift

It’s that time of year when I get sucked into Lifetime and Hallmark’s holiday movies. I re-watch all my favorites as well as look forward to the new ones. This year is different from previous ones because it is as if I’m watching the movies through a new pair of eyes… the eyes of a mother. Most of the time this fact is a wonderful one and gets me so excited about the holidays and the traditions that my family will have. Unfortunately, the movies that aren’t so fun to watch are the sad stories about losing a loved one or even worse a sick child. I can cry just reading the descriptions of the movies. I never thought about those events before becoming a mother, so watching it unfold on tv it gives you that image that you don’t want to imagine.

There was a movie on today called ‘The Ultimate Gift’. It was about how this man is forced to complete 12 life-changing tasks before he can receive his inheritance from his rich grandfather that recently died. In the middle of him completing these tasks he befriends a young girl with leukemia and her mother who is dealing with all that having a sick child entails. I know that this is a movie and these are characters played by actors but I’m aware that somewhere, there is a family experiencing these struggles for real; and that breaks my heart completely. I can’t imagine the pain involved. I can’t imagine the strength that these children have to face such horrible illnesses. I can’t imagine the strength of the parents to keep a smile on their face for their child and possibly more children at home. I can’t imagine being the medical staff having to share such difficult news. I don’t know if I would be that strong faced with these situations and I hope I never have to find out.

This story line hits close to home but not in the way you would think. I never got to meet my husbands sister who battled her own illness. I don’t know the whole story as this is ( and understandably so) still hard for my husband to talk about. I would never want to cause or remind him of this pain by asking questions. Throughout our relationship I have learned bits and pieces about her; her amazing strength; and the life she had from him, his parents, and other relatives. My husband constantly thinks about our daughter and he will ask me constantly if she is napping or even really quiet if she is okay. I go and check in; to ease his mind. Part of me thinks this is in part of what he went through when he was younger. At first, I didn’t understand why he was so adamant about checking. The first week she was born and after we brought her home he would ask me “is she still breathing” every time she was sleeping. It later dawned on me what could be making him so worried; from then on I don’t make a big deal about it… I just go in and check. It takes a couple seconds to do.

While watching this movie I’m reminded of a gift that we received after my daughter was born. It’ll be a moment I hope I never forget. As I’ve mentioned before my daughter was born on May 27th @ 8:32am. She was the first girl born that day… Actually the first baby that day. A few hours after she was born there was a knock on our door; a nurse entered with a gift bag. At first I thought maybe a family or friend stopped by but that wasn’t the case. The nurse explained that a lady stopped by earlier with this gift for the first girl born on May 27th. She didn’t leave a name. I opened the gift and inside was a beautiful little dress outfit and a card.

image1

My mom read the card. My mom explained that 17 years ago she delivered twins (boy & girl) on May 27th. Sadly,her daughter didn’t make it and for the past 17 years she always drops off a gift to be given to the first girl born on May 27th. What a moving way to honor her daughter. I was so touched by her story but I was so emotional from everything I wasn’t quite ready to read her words in that card just yet. I finally read the card after I got home from the hospital. It was touching; I cried and hugged my daughter extra tight. I can’t imagine her pain. My daughter has wore this out quite a few times and each time I put it on her I think of that women and her words. I always give my daughter one more extra hug.

I’ll never get rid of that dress. I’ll always hold that moment dear to my heart.

Motherhood

5 months old

5 months ago just as she was born at 832am so were we as parents. We began this journey together just the three of us (well 5 with Kona and Sadie they had adjustments too).

We are so thrilled with each new milestone and heartbroken that we can’t make time stand still and keep her little. She’s grown so much and her personality is starting to shine.

Saying we love her to the moon and back just doesn’t do our feelings justice… There are no words for our love. Everyday with her is a dream come true.

IMG_9238.JPG

Motherhood

I made a human…. WHAT?!?!

As I rocked my baby before I put her to bed something hit me like a ton of bricks. I made her! Every inch of her, every part of her being, I made her (with a little help from her daddy). I carried her inside of me. She never existed before and there will never be no one else like her. Even as I typed that last sentence it amazes me how true that is. How incredible is that? I certainly did something right! I’m so in love with her!

from our walk today!

I mean I knew I was pregnant and I know what happens when a female is pregnant; I’ve seen the movie ‘The Miracle of Life’ which was made in the early 80s. I think all I really took away from it was the ‘fashion’ (if you can call it that) the adults were wearing… oh my! You know you agree with this. I think during my whole pregnancy it was never real to me. I guess I thought I’d just go to the hospital the doctor would come in, I’d deliver, and from around the corner my baby would appear. You know the stork carries the baby to the hospital room. HA! Seriously though, it amazes me what the female body can do. What we are capable of. How beautiful. I kind of want to be pregnant again, and again, and again. Okay I’m not sure about 3 more times… but definitely again.

All of this made me think of a quote I’ve read probably a thousand times when I was pregnant; “No one else will ever know the strength of my love for you. After all, you’re the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside.” I remember thinking ‘aww, how cute’. It was just this sweet saying but I didn’t understand the full meaning until the days since she was born. Her and I have this bond that no one else can have, take, understand. How special. It truly is an honor that I got to be this little girls mom. I hope there is never a day that she questions my love for her. I hope I can set the foundation where she always feels at ease in communicating whatever life is throwing at her. I’m here for her. I’m not her friend.. (yet), I am her mother. We may not always agree and to be honest like each other but I’ll always have an ear to listen to her stories, a shoulder for her to cry on, and a hand to help her up if she ever falls. I will always love her.

no-one-else-will-ever-know-the-strength-of-my-love-for-youafter-allyoure-the-only-one-who-knows-what-my-heart-sounds-like-from-the-inside-kindness-quote

I have also noticed that when I get overwhelmed with emotions about my daughter, I always think about my mother and all she did for us. I wish there was a way I could have known then what I know now; I would have expressed my gratitude with her more back then. As many teenage daughters and mothers disagree; we had some rough years. I wish I could take those back. I now understand why my mom did what she did, said what she said. (Let’s not tell her that 🙂 but I get it…thanks mom).

There hasn’t been a day gone by that when I feel so much love and emotions for my own daughter that I also don’t feel such appreciation for my own mom. Her and I have the same bond my daughter and I have. You always hear about Fathers and Daughters… I say lets also make Mothers and Daughters worth talking about! 🙂 4734100_f520Amen!!

Motherhood

It’s the little things!

I just noticed I have not written about such a huge day in my daughters development. I definitely want to remember these memories. On Tuesday I was eating my dinner and had her sitting in her bumbo chair in front of me. I noticed she was sticking her tongue out; which is one of her favorite things to do. It’s hilarious! I hope she keeps this fun personality as she gets older. Anyways, she was sticking out her tongue a little differently this time (ha, who knew there were so many ways to stick out ones’ tongue). It almost looked like she was struggling so I was watching carefully and all of a sudden she blew a raspberry. It was the funniest and cutest thing I had seen so far. I watched her figure out how to make the noise come out. I was so proud and glad that I got to witness her figure something out.

Like any mom I grabbed my phone to get it on video to share with my husband and my parents. And….. very typical her she just wanted to look at herself in the phone and wouldn’t do make the noise again. Eventually after making the noise myself about a million times she did it…. and I got it on camera! SCORE!!!! I could now delete the 30 videos of just me making the noise and her looking at me like I’ve lost my mind (which is still up for debate).

After I ate I took her into our bedroom to play on our bed, she likes to look in the mirror and watch the ceiling fan spin around. She was blowing raspberries non stop… (of course no camera filming her to distract her). I facetime my mom and she continued to blow raspberries. My mom and I were in tears laughing at her because she was really pushing to get that face out. I’ve seen faces like these before but for VERY different and stinky reasons. I loved this moment and I wish it could have lasted forever.

All of sudden just when I thought the new milestones were through for the day she turned over from laying on her back to her stomach. Up to this point she could only roll over from stomach to back (which makes me nervous still because she still hasn’t grasped her arm cannot be directly out to the side of the direction she is trying to roll over; I’m so nervous she will hurt herself). It was special that my mom got to witness it as she doesn’t live near. I yelled for joy and she could tell I was happy because she was just smiling and happy as a clam.

Oh what a beautiful day and a memory I hope I never forget!

I saw a picture online today that reminded me of it: “Sometimes the littlest things take up the most room on our hearts”. Oh this couldn’t be more true if you are talking about a baby. This is just another reminder that I made the best decision to be at home to see her grow.

Proud mommy!!

It's not what you think.... just blowing raspberries!!!
It’s not what you think…. just blowing raspberries!!!
Motherhood

Thank goodness for naps!!!

AAHHHH naptime for daughter and husband! (sigh of relief). Well today didn’t turn out to be the day I thought it would be or wanted it to be. Kinda bummed; actually very bummed. On the upside my Indianapolis colts won today against a team I do no like!!! That alone can make a bad day great so I can’t complain! **(side note:) If you should know one thing about me is that I love love love football. High school, college, pro I don’t care its football and to me that makes life worth it. My husband makes fun of me because I can watch all day saturday and all day sunday. He isn’t a big fan of football so if he is home he usually tries to nap or goes to bed early if its a night game. I say he tries to because I’m usually screaming at the officials for missed and bad calls. I have to be careful now because I don’t want to wake up the baby who naps at 1p and 4p and no I didn’t plan those nap times around the start of football games I wish I was that clever. Of all teams I’m a huge colts fan have been since my family moved to Indiana back in 1996. I remember thinking it was so cool to live in a city that had a professional sports team. I moved from South Carolina; and man what I wold give now to live in a state with a beach. Grass is always greener on the other side, right?!?! I also grew up in a household where it was Ohio State Buckeyes as the team of choice. My degree came from Purdue so I always say I’m a buckeye by blood and a boilermaker by choice (except this year the boilermakers aren’t making me very proud). I also have a soft spot in my heart for Clemson as that would have been my school of choice if I stated in South Carolina. I may be the only person in Indiana or even this part of the united states that has a Clemson jersey! I wear it proudly!!!

Anyways, that wasn’t the point of my writing today and I could go on and on about football but I’ll spare you. I was going to write about a lot of things that have been going on but all I can think about today is this migraine. stupid stupid migraine. I was really hoping to have a great day with my husband and daughter since we finally got a weekend together with no plans! Low and behold I woke up with a migraine. UGH!! I’ve battled this thing all day. I’ve counted down the minutes until it was time for my daughter to go down for her nap because then I don’t have to try to entertain anyone for an hour or two; I can just sit back and close my eyes. I have been fortunate so far that I haven’t gotten sick or felt bad since my daughter has been born and I hope I can stay healthy because after just today its hard to feel bad and take care of your child who needs you to be your A game no matter what. I am thankful my husband has helped out a lot today. There is a festival that is going on at a farm down to street from my house that I wanted to go to. I think we may have next weekend so I hope the weather cooperates and I feel better!

Motherhood

The importance of consistency

I haven’t written anything in a few days not because I haven’t had anything on my mind or things I wanted to write about; but because I’ve had a very long and exhausting week and a half.

After bragging and going on about how well my daughter was sleeping at night and seemingly sleeping longer and longer each week she did a complete 180 on me. (All the moms out there are probably laughing because you know how it goes). Once your child gets on a schedule they change it.

My daughter was sleeping from 900pm-500am and did so for about a month. I thought at 3 months old my child is amazing because my fellow mom frienda have scared me thinking that she wouldn’t sleep all night until she was a year or two. I remember thinking that wasn’t so bad and now we can get settled in. Well then September 6th happened! It was a normal day… A good day. I put her to bed as I always have. She woke up screaming at the top of her lungs a couple hours later. Boy does that girl have a set of pipes. She screamed for hours. When I finally got her back to sleep I laid back down and boom she as back up. This went on all night… Every night… for almost 2 weeks.

Of course it was hard. It was hard for many reasons.
1. Hearing your child cry so helplessly is heartbreaking. Incredibly heartbreaking.
2. Not sleeping for more than a couple hours at a time makes a person more like a zombie. I didn’t clean my house, showering was even a second thought. All I did was nap when she napped because I never knew when the next time I could sleep would happen.
3. It was hard to ignoring my husband but even my relationship is strong and wonderful when you’re tired beyond tired you find that things that never bugged or annoyed you now bugs and annoys the crap out of you. I think he understood but it doesn’t make it fun.

Last Sunday I was able to take a step back and get back to the basics. I read a lot about baby sleep schedules and helpful tips. I used all the information as a guideline while I worked to get my daughter back on a regular schedule. As of Tuesday night she has slept from 830pm-700am. She woke up briefly each night but I gave her a pacifier and she fell back to sleep in a couple minutes. Wahoooooo I have slept both nights and actually feel like a human. I know this won’t last too long so I’m appreciating it for now.

Basically here is what I did:
1. Bumped up her bed time to 8-830. I think I was keeping her up too long. I read that a baby will generally get sleepy between 730-830. She took to this change immediately so I believe that to be true.
2. I make sure we do the exact same thing for maps and bedtime routines. For maps when she starts to get sleepy I take her to her room rock her or away with her while playing a lullaby. At bedtime she gets a bath, massage, quiet time, bottle, rocked to lullaby and then put down. Each time I put her down I make sure she is still awake a little bit.
3. Gave her an ounce more at each feeding. She gets approx. 28-30 oz a day.
4. Stuck strictly to a nap schedule. If she woke up early I left her in her crib for quiet time.
5. At night I have to just let her cry it out. Fortunately it only has taken her a few minutes to fall back to sleep!

Now I think it’s important to note I did these things all before but when she started sleeping better I got a little lax with her schedule. Lesson I learned is that she needs to keep her schedule very consistent.

Speaking of consistency it’s time her to get up from her nap!! Till next time….

Motherhood

Eat.. Sleep… Wake. Easy right?!?

At first thought you would think getting on a schedule to eat, sleep, and be awake wouldn’t be so complicated….. New mommy reality moment IT IS DIFFICULT!! I must admit little miss Carolina has always had a seemingly good understanding of daytime and nighttime. With that said for the first 6-8 weeks she was ready to feed every 2-3 but I started early on that for nighttime feedings past 9pm it was quiet time; no talking, playing, lights, loud noises. Eat then right back to sleep. I think this helped a lot. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to continue breastfeeding which is still something I’m very upset about (and could be a whole entry in itself); but on the bright side of formula feeding once we switched to formula we started seeing her go 3 hours between feedings and now were close to 4 hour feedings.

One thing that has been extremely challenging is our daily schedule with naps and so forth. I’ve read books and articles about EWS cycles for babies what’s recommended and what’s not so I feel I have a lot of information in my head. I have taken all the information in with the belief I would use it more as a guideline and I would mainly use Carolina’s cues to help develop her schedule. I’m that crazy mom who has logged everyday since she had been born her feeding and sleeping schedule. This has been very helpful because as all new moms can relate I was a delirious, happy zombie for the first several weeks so I would have forgotten what I did a few hours ago let alone the previous days.

The time of day that is the hardest for us is between 4p-9p she is often cranky for a least two hours, her ‘witching hour’. We get through it knowing that someday this will pass She fights going down for a nap around 430 and I know she’s tired. Gladly it’s starting to work out as I’m starting to adjust her schedule to be ready for bed around 9pm instead of 10pm.

I’ve tried dream feeds, cluster feeding and both have their benefits and downfalls. It didn’t change Carolina’s sleeping schedule enough to continue it. Our pediatrician suggested that we give her her last feeding of the day between 10-11pm and this worked for the first two months and she started sleeping from 1030p-3a (this was amazing to sleep 4 hours in a row after 9weeks of not sleeping more than 3 hours at any one time. Over the last month she falls asleep between 9-930pm so I haven’t been feeding her that last feeding and she’s been sleeping from 9pm to somewhere between 3-5am (imagine my happiness about this). So even though her nighttime schedule is really good that time from 4p-8p is still crazy and a little chaotic and I think it’s because she gets overly tired.

Listed below is the schedule we have been on over the past 7-10 days and it’s helped minimize some of that ‘witching hour’.

(The times may be within 30-45minutes from time listed… Like I mentioned I read her cues but it’s pretty consistent):

7:00 (up till 7:30): awake for the day, dress, change diaper, eat.
{After breakfast: either do her tummy time (at least 10 min per awake time so three times a day)}
9:00: down for nap (Often it’s closer to 8:45)
11:00: wake up, Change her diaper, eat.
{After feeding: do the same routine of independent playtime and tummy time.
1:00: down for nap!
3:00: wake up, change diaper, eat
{After feeding: her tummy time and playtime.}
5:00: down for nap.
7:00: wake up, change diaper, eat, play time
9:00: eat then bed
Rest of night: It’s my hubby and my time!! Of course this means I’m asleep by 930.

What may end up happening is her 5pm nap may only be an hour and then she’ll be put to bed around 8-830.

This is how my days go everyday. It’s like groundhogs day every day but boy oh boy I love my little girl so I will be here with a smile on my face whether we are on a schedule that works or up every hour with her. I’m here for her.. When she wakes up I’m here, when she’s hungry I’m here; and there is no where on earth I’d rather be. As I think about it since I found out I was pregnant on Sept 30th last year I haven’t been away from her for more than an hour.

Better get to bed I may be needed soon!