Tuesday, December 11, 2012


My dear, sweet, beautiful E,

Today you turn one year old, and your Mama is having a hard time with it. Maybe you'll understand when you have kids - this odd mixture of elation, excitement and incredible sadness. Everything we did today was in the back of my mind the "last" of your babyhood, because tomorrow you are, unbelievably, a toddler.

You have been, from the moment you were conceived, our little miracle. A miracle the doctors told me probably would never happen for us naturally. A miracle that happened on the very first try, for which I thank God every day. A miracle that we almost lost a couple of times in the early days but we kept fighting for with every ounce of ourselves. A miracle we cherished, and dreamed about, and loved.

At this exact moment one year ago I was halfway through my two hours of pushing and so excited to meet you. Everyone was at the hospital waiting to see you and admire you. When you were born, they laid you on me for the briefest of seconds so I could see you, and then they whisked you away. First to the table in the room, and then to the nursery, and then to the NICU. I didn't even get to hold you until three or so hours after you were born. It was the strangest feeling having had a baby but not actually having a baby there with me - very scary, and sad.

The first time I held you I was overcome with wonder. You were so small, and beautiful, with your fuzzy little head of brown hair and your tiny creaking noises that you made. You were a little fussy when I got there but as soon as you were in my arms and heard my voice, you quieted. That moment was when I truly became a mother.

I won't dwell on those two endless weeks you spent in the hospital, except to say that they were the hardest two weeks of my entire life. Leaving you and coming home to our empty, baby-ready house left us both feeling hollow and lonely. The frustrations of your health challenges meant we were optimistic about going home soon one day and upset about delays the next.

What better gift could we have been given than to take you home on Christmas Day? That Christmas Eve will always be my favorite, even though we spent it in a hospital - just me, your dad, and you, finally alone together as a family. Knowing that we would be home soon.

Our first year together was a wonderful adventure, and I wouldn't trade a single moment of it. We have met many wonderful people who already loved you before you were born. We've put miles on the stroller on walks in the neighborhood and trips to the Zoo. We have made "art" projects, and photo cards, and lots of wonderful memories. We have played, and explored, and grown together.

I see so much of your dad in you - the inquisitive way you look at things, your serious and thoughtful nature, your determination to take things apart, your stubbornness and, of course, your very expressive eyebrows. From me I see the way you love to be the center of attention, your friendly smiles at anyone who looks your way, your brief flares of temper that soon fizzle out, your love of baths and the water in general, and your big blue Crowson eyes. My Daddy's eyes - the eyes of the Grandpa you and I will never know but I know is watching over us every day.

I hope you always know how loved you are, my beautiful boy. Being your mother has been the greatest gift of my entire life and I feel so lucky to get to be the one who has you.

I want all the best things in the world for you, my little love. So sleep tight, and let's jump into toddler-hood and see what new adventures await us.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

He Died Before I Could Say His Name

He died before I could say his name.

On January 11, 1985, exactly five days before I turned six months old, my father died. He and my mother were on the road after a day of skiing and had a terrible accident. He died at the scene. My mother spent the next six months, yes you read that correctly, in a coma. She awoke mentally and physically disabled and has remained that way ever since.

Today is exactly five days before E turns six months old, and I cannot stop thinking about what it must have been like for them.

Did it happen very quickly? Was there just a brief moment of terror before it all went dark? Could they see it coming? Did they have time to reach out to one another and hold on for one last time? What were their last thoughts? Was is pure panic, or did they have time to feel the bone-chilling fear of oncoming disaster? Did they have time to think of me, safe and snuggled up at home, awaiting a father who would never return? Was there regret? Was there determination? Was there gratitude for leaving a life that had been good?

I look at my sweet, beautiful son and I literally cannot imagine it. I look at all of the things he is doing now - waking me up in the morning by talking to himself in his crib, jumping and giggling like a madman in his bouncer, rolling over and over until he runs into an obstacle, greeting me with a blinding smile when I scoop him up from his crib, gulping bananas like candy and pushing sweet potatoes back out of his mouth with his tongue - and I cannot imagine not being there.

I cannot imagine being my mother - living through the hell of the accident and then waking up six months later. All of a sudden her baby, her precious girl, was one year old. Where there used to be an infant there was now the beginnings of a toddler. And worst, most heartbreakingly of all, she couldn’t even pick me up. Never again could she scoop me up and carry me, or swing me over her head in an arc, or lay me gently down in my bed. Never again could she take care of me, be by herself with me or even cook for me. And the agonizing part is that she was still mentally present - she knew what was going on and it broke her already fragile heart.

I can’t stop reaching out to my husband and my son today - just touching them and watching them smile. I keep sneaking a peek into E’s room where he is sleeping peacefully, rosy cheeks and puckered mouth all unaware he is being watched. I want to wrap myself up so tight in my little family that this terrible sadness gets compressed.

I never had a chance to know my father. His family abandoned me as soon as my maternal grandparents were awarded custody of me. I have aunts, uncles and cousins who have never once cared enough to reach out to me. I don’t even know their names or where they live. I have no one to tell me stories of when he was a little boy, or a mischievous high-schooler, or a young college boy who won the heart of a theatre major from Oklahoma. All I have are the memories my family has of him, a few letters he wrote to my mother in college, and photos of us during the brief, perfect time that the three of us were a family.

I have one other thing. When I look into the mirror, my father’s bright, guileless blue eyes look back at me. The same eyes that I see when I look down into my son’s beautiful face. And sometimes, knowing that my son bears not only my father’s name but also his eyes, almost softens the ache of that empty space in my heart where my father should be.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

"Mommy Brain"

I've had several instances of "mommy brain" since becoming a mother, like Monday when I was checking the expiration date on something and had to get out my phone because I had absolutely no idea what the date was.

Yesterday, however, takes the cake. It was about 4:30 and E and I were chilling on the floor (he was on his playmat) when I heard my phone make its "email received" noise. I don't always check it right away, but for some reason I did. It was regarding a banquet. That night.At 6:30. That I was supposed to go to and had completely forgotten about. Where I was supposed to give some sort of presentation or skit. That I hadn't even started on.

E went right into his crib where he reluctantly settled down for a nap, while I called the office and bought a last-minute ticket. I called Mr. M. to make sure he left work on time. The banquet was for my local Junior League, and I was a committee chair this past year. I was supposed to give a speech, skit or some other representation of my committee. I plunked down at the computer and dashed out a long lyrical poem (pretty darn good for a piece that took 20 minutes). Luckily I had actually showered and put on makeup already, so I just had to throw on a dress and dash out the door. The banquet was fun and my poem well-received, but SHEESH! What a night!

Today E and I ventured to our local YMCA for the first time since he was born. I left him in the nursery, which is FREE with a family membership, and went to do cardio. I love our Y. It is a huge, new-ish complex with an Olympic-sized swimming pool and lots of equipment and classes. My elliptical had a TV screen, and one of the channels was a live look into the nursery so I could watch E while I worked out. It was great! I then took a long hot shower and got ready in a leisurely fashion with no crying baby! I picked him up and we headed to the mall for some Mother's Day shopping. He behaved pretty darn well I thought. I had to sit on a bench in the middle of the mall to feed him since this mall doesn't have a mother's lounge, but since he is formula-fed it wasn't a big deal. Now we're home and he is passed out in his carseat so I am just letting him stay there for awhile.

E has had a cold for a while now, so yesterday I took him to the doctor (they said to bring him in if it persisted for more than two weeks and it has) and they are treating him for a sinus infection. Poor guy. At least he LOVES how his medicine tastes - it's really cute. Between a trip to the gym for a training session (where my trainer carried E around {this was not at the Y - yes I have two gym memberships but it's complicated}), the doctor, a quick stop at the craft store and a long wait at the pharmacy for E's medicine, I think I wore the little guy out! He goes to bed at eight and usually wakes up to be fed by 5 or 6, then goes back down until eight or so, but this morning he slept straight through until 8:30! Poor kid must have been pretty tired. One of his little nostrils was literally crusted OVER with snot, which I had the delightful task of fishing out with my fingernail (there really isn't any other way to do it, folks).

I've had a miserable sinus headache all day along with a really sore back, so I am enjoying the momentary peace and quiet of this house. Think I might try to close my eyes for a bit...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day One as a SAHM

Hello all.

Sorry for the extremely lame lack of posting over the past few weeks. Between my job treating my like crap, my Grandmother's health scare and myself being diagnosed with bronchitis AND laryngitis, it hasn't been the best of times.

But on to the good news - Grandma does NOT have cancer! Her biopsy came back as just "fibrous tissue." It was the best news I have received in a LONG time. (To be honest, she overreacted just a TEENY bit by telling us all she HAD breast cancer when the letter from the doctor, which I saw, said it was 'suspicious for malignancy.' But she was scared, so I understand.)

My last day of work on the 25th was very bittersweet. I have many fond memories from my job but it was definitely tainted by the awful way they chose to treat me. I have deleted my previous post about it because it is very whiny and negative and it makes me angry all over again, and I am choosing to move past the whole thing and enjoy my new career as a stay-at-home mom.

Even though I wasn't working, I left E in daycare last week and I ABSOLUTELY kicked my house's ass. In four days, I: shampooed carpets, scrubbed the floors Cinderella-style, organized and sanitized the fridge, organized the pantry, organized my closet and donated a ton of clothes, cleaned out our "Hoarders" back bedroom, put shelf paper in all the kitchen shelves, put away Ethan's too-small clothes (sniff), mopped and cleaned the bathrooms, filed away mounds of loose paper in the study, clipped our ferocious rose bushes into submission, potted some colorful flowers, hung hanging baskets, sprayed down the back porch and outdoor furniture, cleaned up the front flower beds and have just done a general dusting and de-cluttering.

And YES, I had a list and YES, it was color-coded. :) It was hard work and it was hard to keep myself going, but I pushed myself and did it. Then on Friday, I celebrated with a boozy lunch with a friend, a massage, some shopping, a pedicure and a girls night out (with more booze).

So today is really my first day as a stay-at-home mom. I'll be honest, I have been nervous about going back to full-time mothering. What if I don't like it? What will we do all day? Will I get bored? What can I do to entertain him all day?

But I know that I will figure it out.

E chose to celebrate my first day at home with a MASSIVE blow-out (we're talking all the way up to the SHOULDERS, people) and while I was cleaning him up the protective extra wipe slipped and he peed in his own face. He screamed like a banshee and it took forEVER to calm him down. We essayed a successful excursion to the grocery store and he got many admiring glances as he gazed about from his Baby Bjorn carrier. My shoulders are killing me now, though.

He just gets more adorable every single day. Over the past few days he has really started talking a LOT. His talking consists of a lot of "growling," which is so darn cute. Instead of crying, most mornings he wakes me up by just talking to himself over the monitor. I keep waiting for him to find his feet.

Well, I must go! He has decided that his nap is over. Wish me luck during my first week!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I lost my words today.

My Grandmother, the woman who raised me, my "person," has breast cancer.

I sat there on the sofa while she told me and everyone murmured reassuring platitudes and trite quotes and all I wanted to do was run screaming from the room. But I couldn't move. Or speak. Or feel. I lost my words.

I wanted to leave. To run home to my baby and bury my face in the soft folds of his neck and weep. To not have to make comforting noises and be falsely positive because I KNOW what this shit is like. I have been on both sides of cancer - sick person and supporter of sick person. And in my humble opinion, being the sick person is a helluva lot easier.

I'm still numb. I've barely shed any tears today. I can feel them hovering, waiting to burst out at any moment. But I can't let them out.

Those are all the words I have managed to find. More later.

Fuck cancer.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I quit my job!

Hi ya'll. I know. It has been a while. Things have been super busy, etc...yada yada yada.

But you know what? I'm about to have a LOT more time for blogging, starting next week.

Because I quit my job. Like, for reals. No part-time work, no NOTHIN'. My last day of work will be next Thursday the 26th and I am SO excited about it. I am tired of merely scraping by and just trying to survive each day before snatching a few winks of sleep before doing it all over again.

I'm glad I gave it a full two months before leaving. The first month I was still torn and sad about leaving my fun job and my awesome co-workers. However, after two months the ache in my heart for my little E has only worsened and I can't wait to spend my days with him. We'll go for walks and jogs, visit the Zoo, spend every other Friday with Mr. M. and have so many adventures together. I am very ready to start this new journey!

In other news, I had my first big Mommy FAIL this past week. I had just pulled into the parking lot at work when daycare (a 45-minute drive away) called me and told me I had forgotten to put the bottle nipples in E's daycare bag. Well, sh!t. I finally called my uncle, who picked up a house key from my friend L and then went to the house, picked up the nipples (neatly packed and sitting on the counter) and dropped them off at daycare. He was my favorite person that day. :) I rewarded him with some delicious gourmet cupcakes as a treat.

Yesterday morning I woke up with a tummy ache. As the morning progressed it got worse and worse and I wound up leaving work at about 10 a.m. I spent the afternoon writhing with stomach cramps on the couch before finally throwing up everything in my stomach. After that the cramps subsided but the nausea remained. Since I also had a slight fever, Mr. M. had to pick E up from daycare, take care of him all evening, put him to bed AND take care of me. He was amazing. I returned to work today despite some lingering nausea, since I have NO time off remaining and am entering my last week of work. I even managed a sandwich for lunch - we'll see how it sits.

On a side note, yesterday was the first time I have been alone in my house since before E arrived. It was a totally surreal experience. I would make a loud noise and think, "Oh no, the baby!" and then realize that he wasn't there. I usually enjoy alone time, but since I was so sick I didn't really make the most of it.

I have lots to blog about - including a recent award from a favorite blogger of mine, Ethan's four-month birthday, and even an upcoming giveaway! Hopefully I can knock some of these out this weekend if I can snatch a few moments.

Back to sipping my Sprite...

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter Portraits

I am pretty darn lucky to have a best friend who is a photographer, don't you agree? Here are some of my favorites from Ethan's Easter photo session a few weeks ago. I put three of them on a photo card and sent it to friends and family, and am getting lots of "squee" responses.

I am also apparently suffering from baking withdrawl. I love to bake and haven't done any since E came home. I couldn't decide between five different sweets to take to our family Easter dinner, so I may possibly be making all of them. Links to the recipes below, with photos of the ones I have completed. The macaroons are DIVINE, if I do say so myself. :)

But first! E photos!

This is his "hey ladies" look. So cute!

He takes himself very seriously sometimes.

Laying flat and giggling.

He stayed happy in that basket for approximately 2.5 seconds.

And now recipes!

Coconut macaroon "nests" filled with Nutella and chocolate candies. I've never made macaroons before but they we super easy and SO good! Here is the recipe.

Another "nest" made of chow mein noodles, marshmallows and butter. They taste kind of like a R.ice C.rispy treat. I followed the directions exactly but feel like it needed more marshmallow. Find the recipe here.

Nutella no-bake cookies. Mr. M.'s family LOVES no-bakes but I have never made them. This recipe substitutes half of the peanut butter for Nutella. Recipe here.

And here's what is still on my plate for tonight/tomorrow:
A strawberry cake made with fresh berries and homemade vanilla buttercream (recipe from the C.ake M.ix D.octor cookbook).

Cupcakes Baked in Egg Shells! I can't wait to try this! It looks time-consuming but I can't wait to see the look on my familys' faces when they crack open their eggs and find a cupcake inside!

And if I have time, I may use my leftover chow mein noodles and try these chocolate nests.

Happy Easter, all! I can't wait for Ethan's first!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Adventures of E

My lack of posting has been totally LAME, I know. So here are some quick updates and photos of E's recent adventures!

-Still no news on whether I'm keeping my job part-time or leaving permanently at the end of April. Oh well. I'm at peace either way.

-Took E for his first "sick" trip to the doctor on Monday. He developed a nasty rattling cough so I just wanted to get him checked out. His doctor said, "At this age, we don't say a baby has allergies," and then E sneezed and she said, "But he looks like he might have allergies." Unfortunately there's nothing they can do medicine-wise until he is at least six months old, so for now we continue with the humidifier, saline drops and the DREADED nasal aspirator.

-We spent our first night away from E this weekend and it was a lot easier that I thought it would be! We camped with friends for one night and he stayed with his great-grandma and was a very good boy! I was so happy to see him when we picked him up.

-E has decided to stop sleeping through the night, which from my reading I understand is pretty normal at about 4 months. He goes down at about 8 and usually wakes me up at about 2 for a feeding. He goes back down pretty easy afterwards so it's not that bad. This week I actually feel like I have more energy than I have in a while.

-We set the date for E's baptism and it is on Mother's Day. I couldn't think of a more perfect time to celebrate our miracle blessing and the greatest gift I have ever been given.

On a side note, outfits for boys' baptisms are RIDICULOUS. When I searched yesterday I kept seeing little white TUXEDOS! With vests and ties and stupid-looking hats. Who the heck baptizes their kid in a tuxedo?? Case in point. ANYway, I think I have finally decided on this one, which is classy looking, not ridiculous and will still make a nice heirloom.

-I am super excited for E's first Easter this weekend! I love attending my home church and spending the day with my family. He has a very handsome outfit (and yes, of course I will post photos). Also, my good friend L who is a semi-professional photographer took THE most adorable photos of him in bunny ears! I'll share those a little closer to Easter.

That's all for updates! Now for fun with photos!

My three month photo shoot. My four month shoot is coming up next week! I'm growing so fast!

Smiling and waving to my adoring fans while chilling in my great-grandma's bassinet.

I went to my first car show - the first of many I'm sure! I make this Mini look good!

I don't like tummy time as much as I used to but it is so good for my strong neck muscles!

Just plain adorable. That's me!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I Quit My Job (Sort Of?)

So I did it. Sort of. I think. :)

I finally say my bosses down yesterday and told them what I have been thinking. It went a little something like this:

Here's my problem. I love my job, and I love working with you both, but I also love my son. I miss him all day every day. I'm exhausted, and grumpy, and have no time to spend with him. And Mr. M. and I have decided that at least one of us should spend some time with him, and because of his career it can't be him.

If it were any other job, this would have been such an easy decision. I love working here so much and so appreciate the opportunity you gave me.

I don't know if working part-time is an option, but if it is I would love to stay on here. I feel confident that I can still contribute to the department, get my work done on time and save the department some money.

They were SO nice about it. My bosses are both women and they were warm and understanding and very appreciative that I said I would stay at least until the end of April to help with the very busy event season. They looked interested in the possibility of me working part time, but aren't sure the company will let me do that. Everyone they need to consult about it is out at a conference this week, so it will be next week before I know anything for sure.

I felt really good about it afterwards and it hasn't felt awkward or anything between the three of us. I am content to just do my work, enjoy my surroundings and let what will happen, happen.

I'm not sure if I will accept if they offer part time. I'll have to see what days/hours they are thinking about and go from there. If it is going to keep me still stressed and tired, then no way.

A rough couple of nights in our house this week. Monday night E broke out of his swaddle at 2:30 a.m. because SOMEONE (coughcoughMrMcough) didn't do it right. He gets very upset when he breaks out of his swaddle. But of course I was the one who got up, changed him, fed him and put him back down. Next time I've decided I'm just going to put the wailing baby monitor RIGHT next to Mr. M's head as he slumbers peacefully away.

Last night I met with my personal trainer at 7, and when I exercise in the evenings I never sleep well - too much adrenaline I guess. So I was restless all night and THEN E's Angelcare movement monitor went off TWICE - once at 2:30 and once at 4:30. He was fine, just wiggled way over to the side. I had to scoot him back over both times but luckily he settled back down fairly quickly.

Between daycare and leaving E with Mr. M. last night so I could hit the gym, I spent a grand total of about ten minutes with E yesterday. It SUCKED. I miss him and crave my time with him, to play with him and cover his soft cheeks with sweet kisses. This is how I know I am doing the right thing by no longer working full time. I WILL spend more time with my son then I do at work. And it will be wonderful.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Peace Comes...

Do you believe in guardian angels? Do you get a "feeling" every so often that you think is leading you towards or away from something?

We've all heard the stories.* A woman who gets the urge to change her shoes at the last minute, then is struck by a car. The shoes allow her to slide backward instead of being crushed under the car. A man who is about to leave his house with his wife for the storm shelter and suddenly just KNOWS that he does not have time to put on his shoes. They make it to the car and see one tornado in front of them, one behind them. They make it to the basement of the safe house and he is "led" to a particular corner - the one corner of the basement that is left standing after the tornado passes.

Throughout my short and rather tumultuous life, there have been several times when I have been led or, as I like to call it, "nudged."

The first was when I chose my college. My grandparents (who raised me) and I had looked at several liberal arts schools out of state, and the major university in-state. I was having a terrible time deciding which one I wanted to attend. I remember the night clearly. I was in my room, puttering around, and all of a sudden I just knew. I walked into the sunroom where my grandmother sat at her computer and told her I wanted to go to the state college. She didn't bat an eye and we agreed it would be a wonderful school for me.

Two months later, I was diagnosed with cancer. I would never have been able to attend an out-of-state college - I needed to stay close to my doctors. I would have been left scrambling for a spot at the state college and probably wouldn't have gotten one.

You know who else went to that state college? Mr. M. Although we liked each other, we were just casual friends who sometimes dated since he was already away at school and I was still a high school senior. He was the one person who stuck by me, encouraged me and refused to be afraid of me during the entire cancer treatment phase, and he is now my best friend and the love of my life. I feel like I was led to him and I am forever grateful.

The second big "nudge" of my life came just before spring break of my freshman year in college. I had signed up to go on a mission trip to Mexico with my friend L's campus church. I went with her to an evening worship and handed over my check. During the service, I had the sudden an overwhelming feeling that this was wrong and that I couldn't go to Mexico. I almost had a panic attack waiting for service to be over so I could go ask for my check back. Needless to say, the pastor wasn't happy and L was angry and confused.

I went home to my grandparents' house that spring break, and while I was there, my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. The only father I had ever known was critically ill and needed myself and my grandmother more than anything. And because I listened to my "nudge," I was there with him.

I think one thing that has been bothering me about this whole decision whether to stay at home or not has been the lack of a "nudge" in any direction. While I knew what my decision was and that it was best for our family, I didn't feel myself being led in any direction, and that bothered me. I finally had decided that I was just going to have to do what I knew was right regardless and try to be content with the decision.

Sometime at the end of last week, it arrived. Not a "nudge," but something even better - peace. I don't know when or how it snuck in, but all of a sudden I was completely and utterly at peace with my decision. I am no longer even nervous about speaking to my bosses. I am content. And very grateful for the feeling.

Peace comes in many disguises. To me, it has come in the form of acceptance.

Tell me about your "nudges," if you've had any. Did following your gut feelings work out for you?

*These stories were told to me by my MIL and they are people she actually knows. I know, right??!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Words of Wisdom

I sent the text of yesterday's blog to my grandmother.

You know how on G.rey's A.natomy, Meredith and Cristina are each other's "person"? Well, my grandma is mine. She and my grandfather, who passed away when I was in college, raised me from the age of six months after a car accident killed my father and left my mother permanently and seriously disabled.

She is pretty much my favorite person, and always gives the right advice. When I was growing up, sometimes that advice was difficult to hear when it wasn't what I necessarily wanted to hear. She is unfailingly wise, and kind, with a dry and wicked sense of humor to temper even the harshest words.

Along with the text of my blog, I sent her this message:
Here's what I wrote on my (anonymous) blog today. While every word I wrote is true, I still can't find peace with my decision. Write back, please. Give me a pep talk. Tell me that I'm doing the right thing and tell me WHY it is the right thing.

She obliged, with a response that brought tears to my eyes. I'll share it with you:

Yes, you wrote true. And, no, there's no way for you to come to a place of complete peace with your decision, no matter which way you go. What you have done, however, is make the decision that, in the really long run (as in, life-long) will be the best for your family -- and, particularly, for your little E. In a world where "family" is becoming more and more a genetically connected social group that meets from time to time in the evenings and on weekends, you have chosen to be the constant presence in your son's life. An anchor. Home base. That's really important.

As we discussed on Saturday evening -- there will be times when you would give almost anything to be back at your great job, away from kid-world, feeling a little more free and independent and "productive." That's a given. That will happen a bunch. But that's okay. And when the frustration passes, you'll turn and put your arms around the squirt, collect some sticky hugs and kisses (or whatever his current age offers) and know you're where you need to be.

Even though I worked the whole time you were growing up (and remember, your mom made the stay-at-home decision, too, so you were never in day care), you had, first, a live-in nanny, and then our beloved B. So home was home, your "people" were constants in your life, and I didn't have to come home to chaos, a dirty house, laundry chores, and all that wear-you-down stuff. We had plenty of time for you.

In the end, here's what you need to remember:
-- You did, indeed, have a great job and lots of great contacts, friends and experiences you'll always treasure. Not everyone gets that opportunity. So treasure the memories, keep your contacts going and don't completely lose touch with those friends.
-- You didn't fight so hard to bring that little boy into the world just to turn him over to others to raise.
-- You're a great mom, and have ever so much more to offer E than any day care in the world could give him.
-- When things get really desperate, there's always mothers-day-out and more than one adoring grandparent and other extended family members around to provide a little "respite" care.

So ... just sit back, take a deep breath, and DO this. It'll be okay. Really.

She is right. Very truly and completely right. I have to keep reminding myself that this decision ISN'T about me - it's about E. It's about doing what I feel is best for him no matter what sacrifices I might make professionally. And it is completely, totally and utterly worth it.

I am so glad E has the chance to get to know his great-grandma. She is an amazing lady.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Will Miss/Won't Miss

St. Patrick's Day has been a special holiday for me for the past three years. It was on that day, in 2009, that I received the phone call that changed my life. It was on that day I was offered my current job.

The job I was working in 2009 was miserable. It was my first "real" job after two years of doing consultant work and even a part-time, unpaid internship. I was so excited to be joining the corporate world and to start making a salary. Unfortunately, the job turned out to be a nightmare. My boss was evil and acted bipolar - totally friendly one day and a crazy b!tch the next. She took her anger out on me as I was her only underling. I barely ever had work to do, even when I asked for more, and spent hours staring at my computer screen, writing and surfing the Web. I was stressed and unhappy all the time, and took my unhappiness home with me. Oftentimes I was angry at Mr. M. before he even walked in the door, for no reason.

When I saw the job opening here at my current work, I was SO excited. It was a fun, creative job in the tourism industry. I applied and waited for so long that I was sure I wasn't even going to be granted an interview. I was, and when I went in they informed me that 200 people had applied for the job, and they had chosen seven to interview.

I couldn't believe that I got it. I called my grandmother and shrieked in joy as quietly as I could. I walked down the hall and, terrified, gave my two weeks notice to Evil Boss (needless to say she did NOT take it well). I texted all of my friends and that night we slapped on our green and headed to our favorite bar to celebrate. It was one of the happiest days of my life and a day I remember very fondly.

This job has very much lived up to its hype. It has been a lot of fun and I feel a great amount of pride when I walk around with my staff name badge on - pride that I work at such a wonderful place. No, the job isn't perfect and I have my share of frustrations with my supervisors, but it's not a typical desk job and for that I am very grateful. While I don't always enjoy the work I do here, just being here sometimes is enough to make up for it.

So here I sit on a rainy Monday, almost three years to the day that I got this job, contemplating leaving this place behind to stay at home with my little E. I know it is what I should do and I know I won't ever regret it. I know that this is the right thing to do and that I will never be on my deathbed wishing I had spent more time at work and less with E. I know that I want E to spend his early years with me, and not a day care provider.

I also know that staying at home won't be a cake walk. E was super, super fussy all weekend and this morning I was very frazzled and having to really steel myself to be patient with him. It was a contest I narrowly won. I know that I will have to have outlets for myself, time to myself while E is at Mother's Day out and maybe eventually even a part-time job to keep my writing, editing and PR skills sharp.

I know that quitting is right for me and I have pretty much made up my mind to give my notice a week from today. It is not going to be easy. I am going to miss this place, my co-workers and the wonderful team of people I work with. I am going to miss being able to go on little adventures every day and experience things not many people ever get to do.

What I won't miss is the dragging exhaustion I feel every morning. I won't miss handing E over to day care every morning and having to turn him over to Mr. M. every evening so I can do chores. I won't miss this constant feeling that I have NO TIME for anything other than the bare necessities of survival. I won't miss being short-tempered with Mr. M. and losing my patience with E so quickly. I won't miss the way laundry piles up, dishes sit gummy and unwashed and a layer of dust covers everything in our bedroom. I won't miss all the fast food we've been eating because I'm too tired to even contemplate cooking a healthy meal.

There are many other things I won't miss, in a different way. I won't miss out on E's smiles and snuggles. I won't miss his first laugh or the first time he pushes up on his hands and knees. I won't miss his first crawl, or his first step, or the first time he realizes what the word "Mama" means.

I won't have to scrimp and save my vacation to spend time with him around the holidays. I won't have to stress about saving my sick leave in case he gets sick. I won't have to parcel out time spent with relatives during visits, since all of our family is within about an hour drive of us and I can take day trips to see them.

I'll be there for every tear, every milestone, every smile and every giggle. I will be there for my son, my little miracle baby, to love him and encourage him and teach him how to be a person.

I am so blessed to have the opportunity to stay home with him, and to have the complete support of my husband and family.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Warning: This is a griping, whining post about the exhaustion and frustrations of motherhood for me. I understand that you may not want to read it as many of you would give anything to be in my shoes. However, I have always been determined to write honestly about what I am thinking. So here goes.

All right, so here's my version of Though Vomit Thursday (but without the picture because the photo itself kind of makes me want to vomit):

-Halfway through my second week as a working mom, I am so exhausted that my teeth hurt. E has been sleeping through the night which is wonderful, but I can't seem to catch enough sleep. Every morning it is such a struggle to get myself out of bed and get through my long days. I leave the house at 7 a.m. and return at 6 p.m.

-It's getting easier to leave E at daycare, but I still don't like it. He's there from 7 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. every day and it just seems like too long. I hate him being there so much. When I go to pick him up he's usually in his bouncy swing with a group of 3 year-olds clustered around admiring him and talking to him. It's pretty darn adorable. Then they see me and they're all "Aww, baby go home?"

-AF has returned with a vengeance. She visited for the first time last month and it was longer, heavier and much more painful than ever before. It was awful. She has returned again as of yesterday and it looks like it is going to be more of the same. For some reason, I get a little sore down there again whenever she arrives - not sure what is up with that and sorry for the TMI.

-My clothes are driving me NUTS. Only a few of my pre-pregnancy size 16s fit me, but the 16Ws I bought a few weeks ago have huge gaps in the waist. I am uncomfortable all the time and it's incredibly aggravating.

-I'm still weighing my options about possible becoming a stay at home mom. I believe in my heart that it is what I should do and I know I won't regret it, but it is going to be very difficult to leave my job. It was my dream job and I beat 200 applicants to get it, and it is a lot of fun most of the time. I know that's selfish of me, but I haven't yet gotten to where I am sure of what I should do.

-E has had the sniffles for about a week, but no cough or fever. We use a humidifier in the room and I use saline drops and an aspirator. He screams like I'm trying to murder him every time and it breaks my heart.

-Our house is a total disaster area, or was until last night. I gave E to Mr. M. and after working a full day, came home and: washed and put away all the dishes and E's bottle parts, cleaned the kitchen, hung up the mounds of clothes in our bedroom and closet, dusted the bedroom while stepping over and around piles of Mr. M's backpacking stuff, cleaned the bathroom mirrors and counters and started a load of laundry - the first of about a dozen I'm sure. Meanwhile, Mr. M. slept on the couch with E and gave him a bottle. After the bottle E started crying loudly and after the paci didn't calm him down Mr. M. decided to just sit there holding him and let him scream while wearing his "I'm SO tired/poor me" expression. So AFTER all of my chores, I had to pick E up and walk him around to soothe him, then rock him for a while and put him to bed while Mr. M. fell asleep on the couch. I then had to heat up leftover pizza for Mr. M. (which I had originally planned on eating but he wouldn't eat anything else) and force him to eat it so he wouldn't stumble off to bed all "woe is me, my wife didn't feed me and I'm SO tired."

-Since I have returned to work, Mr. M. has been getting on my nerves. I realize that he was spoiled while I was on maternity leave, but he doesn't seem to understand that I can't continue to do EVERYthing anymore. He helps with nothing - no dishes, no laundry, no house cleaning, no grocery buying. Doesn't take out the trash, cook or pick up dinner or help with tidying up after dinner. He won't learn how to bathe E because he says he can "figure it out." The other night as I escaped for a few blissful moments in the bathtub, he soothed E with a pacifier when he knew he was hungry so he wouldn't have to get up and make him a bottle. He gets this martyred, exhausted look on his face when I ask him to help and does his best to act like he's just SO exhausted he couldn't possibly go on. It makes me hate him, especially in my current state of frazzled exhaustion. I'm just not sure how to approach the subject with him as any criticism of any kind causes him to immediately just shut down - he can't handle it.

Look, dude, I get that you're tired and you work long days, I really do. But you are no longer the one who works the longest day and is the most tired - that is now ME. It's not a competition, but you have GOT to suck it up and help me a little here, and withOUT the drama and "woe is me" act. I know you love me and E both dearly, but that love needs to be shown in actions. Help me. Please. I can't keep this one man show up much longer.

And you wonder why I wasn't exactly "in the mood" last weekend. Trust me buddy - help me, and I will be much more amenable to "helping" you. *wink wink*

Okay. Whining over.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Smile, and my heart is breaking...

E isn't much of a smiler yet. We have to work really hard to get a true smile and when we get one it totally delights us.

On Wednesday when I went to pick him up at day care, he was laying on the floor on a playmat, kicking his feet and looking around. I squatted down next to him and exclaimed his name, and he greeted me with the most beautiful, joyful, long-lasting smile I have ever seen from him.

It warmed my heart and broke my heart at the same time.

I feel so guilty for leaving him all day every day. I already feel like I'm detached and disconnected from him and that our connection isn't as visceral as it used to be.

And mostly, I miss him.

Yes, I was kind of going crazy while stuck at home, but now I'm just so sad and kind of gloomy feeling, like Eeyore.

Plus, my lingering sickness and its accompanying slight fever means I have to keep my distance from him as much as I can, so I can't even snuggle him in the evenings now!

Being sick with the flu my first week at work with no sick leave left and the busiest two weeks of the year coming = major suckage.

Charity function is tomorrow night. In a moment of feminine determination I booked myself a luxurious hot stone massage for the afternoon. I wanted one the entire time I was pregnant but never got around to it. I'll go be pampered, come home and pour myself a glass of wine and get ready for a fun evening out. Even if I have to stuff my purse with Kleenex.

I'm trying to decide what I think about the new PAIL blogroll. I'm even more stuck in no (wo)man's land than most because while I have an infertile condition, high FSH, I was blessed with a miracle pregnancy on my first try and didn't go through anywhere near the heartbreak most members of the ALI community have. What are your thoughts? Are you joining or will you join if you become pregnant? I don't think I'm even ON the SQ blogroll despite emailing her months and months ago.

Hope everyone has a good weekend. I am looking forward to some time with E, even if I'm just watching him from far away.

Time to go blow by dose again...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day 3 of Work - Miserable

Well, the adrenaline from the first day of work has definitely disappeared, and I'm exhausted. E goes to bed at about 8 or 9 and then wakes up at about 2:30 or 3 a.m. for a feeding before going back down until it's time to leave. I get up for the day at about 5:30. I'm sleeping okay but am so exhausted, and to top it all off yesterday I developed a nasty dry cough that has me feeling even more awful. I'm so tired that my exhaustion has lodged in the pit of my stomach and stays with me all day. So far no amount of caffeine has taken the edge off, and I am VERY sensitive to caffeine.

E is doing well a daycare, although when I went to pick him up the first day they handed me an accident report! !! Turns out all he had done was scratch his face with his own fingernail, so no biggie.

He comes home SO tired and the past two nights I have just let him stay in his car seat and nap until he decides to wake up. I asked the daycare director and she said that's normal as he adjusts to a new schedule, plus his sleep at daycare isn't quite as deep as it was at home with noise and such.

They send a little report card home with us every day letting us know when and how much he ate and when his diapers were changed. We noticed they were changing his diaper EVERY HOUR. Apparently that's their policy unless the hear otherwise from the parents. They sure heard otherwise from me! At home it's usually at least 2 hours between changings unless his diaper is really full. Once an hour is a LOT of diapers - TEN per day! I talked with them and they are going to check every hour (unless he is asleep) and if he's just a little wet they will leave him until the next time.

In other news, I tried on my dress for the charity function, and it fits! Still a little snug, but definitely wearable and it doesn't look too tight. Found a pair of sparkly strappy heels on sale at the mall yesterday, so I'm set. I'm thinking of begging MIL to keep E for the entire night so Mr. M. and I can both catch up on some much-needed rest.

Some thoughts as I continue to deliberate whether or not to continue working:
-I HATE not having snuggle time in the evenings. By the time I get home, do the chores that HAVE to be done, wash all E's bottles, make and eat dinner, feed E and clean up from dinner, it's time for him to go to bed. I feel like I've barely seen him over the past couple of days. One point for staying at home.
-I don't know how working moms do this all week all year and still keep their sanity. I can barely function right now. Maybe I'll get used to it as I get more practice, but for right now I can't see myself keeping this going. Another point.
-My job is not as fun as it was the first day. I have a lot of tedious work to do and I'm starting to remember a lot of the little frustrations I had forgotten about over the past 12 weeks. Point three.
-I'm getting a little resentful of Mr. M, since I'm the one who gets up with E every time right now. Now that we're on exactly the same schedule, I feel like he should take a couple of overnights a week and let me rest. I'll be speaking to him about it tonight.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Day One - Back to Work

Well, the drop off a daycare this morning was accomplished fairly smoothly, with just a few tears - from me. It felt so unnatural to hand E over to a stranger and leave him there. I called and checked on him mid-morning and they said he was doing great, then my good friend L went to give him some snuggles on her lunch break. She texted me a photo of them snuggling and I went a little green with jealousy.

You wanna know the odd part, though? It actually feels REALLY good to be back at work. I love the great majority of my co-workers and have received so many heartfelt "welcome back" comments. It's a beautiful day here and I spent my lunch break walking around outside (I work at a tourist attraction in my state).

And honestly? It feels nice not to have to worry about the next feeding time or diaper change, and to be able to sit and write without worrying about or tuning out fretful crying. It's nice to be by myself and to be able to shut my office door and have Peace and Quiet, the ever-elusive, much longed-for states that motherhood shuts the door on with a firm and resounding bang!

My anxiety about leaving E is much less than I thought it would be, which makes me wonder if staying at home is the right decision for me after all. Maybe it'll be better for me to have a break and interact with grownups than to stay with him all the time. I do love my job a lot. If it were a mindless desk job this would be such an easier decision, but it is pretty much my dream job, and although it comes with its own shares of frustrations, it will be really hard to give it up.

Two more weeks before I make my final decision. We'll see what the remaining days will bring.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Back To Work

Well, tomorrow is the big day - my first day back at work after 12 wonderful weeks home with E. Every time I think about leaving him at day care tomorrow morning I have a little mini panic attack and my chest gets all tight and clutchy.

I know I can do it, I just have to figure out how. Get myself up and ready, get the kid up and fed, get his stuff organized, pack my lunch and gym bag and somehow get out the door on time. I'll try to do as much as i can the night before to give myself an edge. I'm not sure how long it'll take to get from my house to daycare, or how long the drop-off process will take.

I can't bear the thought of leaving my sweet boy all day. The town where we live and where he will be in care is 35 minutes away from my work, so I can't even go snuggle him on my lunch break. :( My good friend L has volunteered to go snuggle him on her lunch break, which I do appreciate.

To be honest, this is just a trial run. Mr M and I have been talking a lot about it and have pretty much decided that I am going to quit and stay at home with E. I wasn't supposed to be able to have ONE child, so there's no guarantee that I will ever have this experience again. I do feel like I need to try to go back to work for a while, though, so I can make an informed decision about what my life would be like either way.

Wish me luck for minimum hysterics and tears tomorrow as I leave my little one in someone else's arms.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I'm S.exy and I Know It?

Okay, folks, let's get real. I have some confessions to make.

Confession #1: Until this past Sunday, I was still wearing only maternity pants with the stretchy panels. Yes, at 11 weeks post partum I was still in them.

Confession #2: The reason I was still in them was that none of my pre-pregnancy pants fit anymore. I have this jiggly spare tire around my middle that didn't used to be there, and also gained some in my thighs.

Confession #3: This past Sunday, I had to do the Terrible Awful thing that anyone who was ever struggled with their weight has always dreaded doing: I had to shop in the plus-sized section. It was awful. I never thought I would wind up there despite being overweight my entire life.

My old size 16 pants don't fit anymore - they're too small. Frustratingly, neither do the size 18W - they are way too big. I finally figured out I'm like a 16W, the smallest size in the section which of course means they don't have many left.

After an agonizing hour, I left with two pairs of slacks and a pair of jeans. I had to make myself go shopping as I start work in less than a week (more on that later) and needed actual clothes to wear. I can't imagine how embarrassed I would be if I had to do something active at work (which often I do) and my maternity panel showed.

Well, that experience did it. I had already signed back up with my personal trainer, C, who I have used off and on for a few years. I'm seeing him Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings. Tonight was my third workout and it honestly felt so GOOD to be sweating after months and months of inactivity. Once I go back to work next week I'll have access to our employee gym again, which will be great as I love to work out on my lunch break.

I also went back on Phase One of the S.outh B.each diet. If you've been reading for a while, you'll remember I was doing that when I miraculously got pregnant. Phase one is the hardest two weeks ever - NO grains or fruit or starchy things or sweets or alcohol for the entire period. I eat a lot of eggs, grilled chicken and spinach, cheese (low fat) and raw veggies. It helps that I have a formal function coming up on March 10 and a dress that I am struggling to fit into.

Here's what I had today, if you're curious:
Breakfast: One egg, scrambled in olive oil, and two slices turkey bacon with a small glass of 1% milk.
Lunch: Turkey taco meat, kidney beans, low fat cheese, low fat sour cream and salsa (like a taco salad without the shell) and sliced cucumbers.
Snack: Low fat string cheese and 15 almonds
Dinner: Grilled chicken and spinach with low fat feta cheese, and celery sticks with one wedge light L.aughing C.ow cheese.

So, it's doable. If I wasn't allowed dairy products I probably couldn't handle it. Tonight I made PIZZA for Mr. M. before I left for the gym, and then had my salad when I got home aferwards.

Please understand that I honestly don't judge people who are plus-sized. If you are healthy and love your body, that's an amazing thing and I'm jealous of you. But shopping in that section was like crossing some big, serious line for me personally. I knew that I was too heavy and not eating right, but that just opened my eyes very abruptly and it scared me. Especially since I know one of the best things I can do to increase my odds of ever having another child is be healthy and fit.

Maybe if the scale shows some progress and the dress fits, I can find my sexy again.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Must-Haves: Newborn Gear

Must-Haves: Newborn Gear

In celebration of both of us surviving his two month shots this morning with minimal hysterics, here are my favorite things for me and Ethan, and also some things I expected to love and didn't. I've been working on the post for a while so I hope I didn't leave anything good out!

-Fisher Price Rock and Play Sleeper - I didn't buy one of these despite the wonderful reviews because we already had a crib, pack and play, bassinet and swing. My aunt took it upon herself to send us one after E was born. One night when E was fussing and refused to settle down, I plopped him in it and it worked like magic. He sleeps in it every night now. It is super easy to rock with a free hand or foot, even while I'm lying in bed.
-Footed sleepers/sleep and plays with ZIPPERS. Get it? ZIPPERS. NOT buttons. When you have a screaming newborn on the changing table at two a.m. with churning legs and a red face, the last thing you want to worry about is fastening a thousand buttons. I hate the onesie/pants/socks combo because it is SUCH a pain during diaper changes.
-Summer Infant Swaddle Me Blankets - Our little one will not settle unless he is tightly swaddled, otherwise his arms get to flailing and he just makes himself more agitated. These work wonders on our little Houdini and help calm him down.
-Angelcare Monitor. We have the $100 version and I LOVE it. It lets me sleep in peace knowing that I can hear him over the audio monitor and that it will let me know if he doesn't move after 15 seconds by sounding an alarm. It also has a feature that makes little ticking noises every time your baby moves, which is very reassuring. You won't regret buying one of these, I promise.
-Cloth diapers. These are hands down the BEST burp cloths. They are huge and absorbent and I just rotate to a clean spot each feeding. One burp cloth can usually do at least four feedings. Super easy to wash, too!
-A white noise app for your phone. We downloaded a free, lite version on our iPhone the third night home with E and he loves it! Luckily we had my old 3s and WiFi so we now have a dedicated baby phone! We hooked it up to some speakers and it soothes E, and us, to sleep each night. Also very portable for overnight trips! :)

Other Things We Like:
-Baby Bjorn carrier, mesh. I wear him in this around the house doing chores and when out in public - at the grocery store, etc. It frees up my hands and cart for shopping and he loves snuggling in to me. It doesn't hurt my back at all and feels much more secure then a wrap type carrier. Get the mesh one - it's a lot more breathable and the baby gets very warm in it anyway.
-Wipe warmer. He yells a lot less during diaper changes now that we have this baby plugged in! Also, he seems to squirt during feedings a lot less.
-Vibrating bouncy chair. The few dinners we've gotten through without him crying are courtesy of this contraption!
-My Little Snug A Bunny swing. This is THE perfect swing with all the right features: it plugs in so batteries aren't an issue, it has a musical mobile with a big mirror so he can watch himself, it swings side to side OR back to front, it plays nice music, you can adjust the speed of the swing AND it is soft and cushy!
-Waterproof pads, smallish. These are cheap and a must-have. We put them in the bassinet, the pack and play and on the changing pad on top of the soft cover. If he makes a mess during a change we simply toss the pad in the wash and slap down a new one.
-Gum Drop pacifiers. These are the pacis they used in the NICU and who am I to argue with medical professionals? They are in the shape my lactation consultant prefers, too - a round cylinder.
-Palmolive baby liquid soap. I like this milder soap for cleaning bottles, toys and breast pump parts.
-Breathable mesh bumper. I love this for E's crib as he likes to curl up in a little ball and roll over on his side. Makes me feel a lot more comfortable.
-Nursing tanks. I just bought a few from T.arget and they were great when I was still trying to pump and nurse. They work great with pajama bottoms for night or under a T shirt during the day.

Things I expected to use a lot and haven't yet:
-Boppy. Since I'm not breast feeding, this gets little use. We usually prop him up on our knees to feed him.
-Pack and Play: This is set up in our bedroom but had gotten no use since about his first week home when we discovered how much he loves his Rock and Play.
-Onesies/pants/socks: Footed sleep and plays are SO much easier than messing with these separates!

Hope this post is helpful!

Saturday, February 11, 2012


I have a cold, and a fever, and have had to keep my distance from E for the past few days except when absolutely necessary. I also have to stay away from Mr M so HE doesn't get sick.

It is breaking my heart. My arms absolutely ache to hold E and cover him with kisses.

My beautiful boy is two months old today. How time flies.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

We did it.

And by "it," I mean, you know, IT. The thing that we haven't done in many many moons, in fact not since E was conceived (doctor's orders).

From reading other blogs, I gathered the best way to approach it was with copious amounts of alcohol and KY. As to the first, had A beer with dinner. As to the second, absolutely.

It was...nice. I felt a bit sore and uncomfortable at first but it improved. It was wonderful to be back in his arms, though.

And as they say...practice makes perfect!

(He would kill me if he knew I had written about this, BTW...). :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Must-Haves: For Labor and Recovery

Yup, still here. It's amazing how little time or energy I have for blogging right now.

Ethan and I are doing great, enjoying our days together while we can! I've had the go-ahead from my doctor to resume exercise, sex and all other normal activity, which is a wonderful thing! I have lots to blog about, but for now let me list some must-have things for my labor and recovery for all of you expectant moms out there.

I have not been paid or compensated in any way for these reviews - they are simply my opinion.

So here we go! In no particular order:

Always Infinity pads: These thin, comfortable pads do an amazing job. Even when I was hemorraging and going to the ER, my little pad held the blood in. They are expensive, but totally worth it. The overnights were especially great right after delivery when the bleeding was heaviest.

Cheap, dark-colored wash cloths: If you have a vaginal birth with a tear that requires stitches, your doctor will forbid you from using toilet paper. Invest in some cheap, dark wash cloths for use in the bathroom and make sure you wash them in HOT water, or buy white ones and wash them with bleach to sanitize. I carried one in my purse in a plastic bag for any time I needed a bathroom away from home.

Tuck's Witch Hazel Pads: These are AMAZING for helping soothe sore lady parts. I believe you can buy them at a drug store, but the hospital sent me home with enough to last me. They really do feel wonderful on the sore parts.

Dermoplast spray: This is a pain relief spray that also numbs - great on the sore parts! My hospital sent me home with a canister, and in combination with the Tucks it helped relieve a lot of pain!

Cotonelle Fresh Wipes: For when you have to go "Number 2" and aren't allowed toilet paper! They also make travel packs which slip easily into a purse or diaper bag.

Big, loose sweatpants: The day after I was released I could be found staggering the aisles of T.arget looking for sweatpants or yoga pants that were loose enough in my waist to not put pressure on my tender abdomen.

Mesh panties/granny panties: The hospital loaded me up with mesh panties before I left, and I used them until I ran out. Then I switched to big, soft "granny panties" - they are comfy on a sore abdomen, don't press tightly on sore lady parts and won't break your heart if ruined.

Stool softener such as Colace: They gave me this regularly in the hospital and told me to continue taking it at home. The first BM was a little scary, but nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be!

Good slippers for the hospital: These are great for shuffling about on the cold hospital floors. Since I spent so much time back and forth between the NICU, these came in really handy.

Sleep mask and ear plugs: Ear plugs are a MUST in a noisy hospital, although I annoyed a couple of nurses who didn't realize I had them in and was just ignoring them. :) A sleep mask is great as well, because a the room was never totally dark.

Comfortable pajamas/robe that look nice: The once thing I didn't have that I really wished I did. I simply didn't have time to buy any before my very early labor (at home I sleep in a tank top and yoga pants which have been worn so much they are practically see-through). I had to wear the hospital gowns, which were comfortable but made me feel very self-conscious in the NICU, where there were lots of nurses and parents around.

A bag of snacks: After delivery, I was able to eat, but mostly the snacks were there for Mr. M. and anyone else that might be there and hungry. I also tossed in a little bag with some quarters and dollar bills for vending machines, which we never used.

That's all I can think of for now! Let me know if you have any questions of any kind!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Ethan's Birth Story

Finally have a few minutes and the kid is asleep in his Rock N Play, so here we go!

If you've read my previous posts, you know that on Thursday December 8 I went for a check-up and discovered that I was already 4 cm dialated and 90 percent effaced. !! We went in to panic mode trying to scramble and get things ready, as we were pretty sure baby was coming withing the next week or two. Friday and Saturday were spent running around to various stores picking up last-minute essentials.

Saturday night we went to a holiday party at a friend's house. There was all kinds of food sitting out and I tried some of everything. Unfortunately, once I got home I spent the evening with stomach cramps. I realize now that these were probably early contractions, but since my tummy had been cramping every time I had a BM before this I just assumed I had eaten something "off."

Sunday morning I felt better and roused myself out of bed. My mom and grandmother came to town to help me wash, sort and put away all the baby clothes and linens. Our good friends LJ and LR came over to help as well. LJ spent the morning scrubbing our bathroom to within and inch of its life, and LR helped Mr. M. assemble things and move Christmas stuff. At about two LR and Mr. M. headed out to T.arget to pick up a bookcase for baby's room.

Since my stomach had been upset, I hadn't eaten much all day except toast and applesauce. I made myself some chicken soup and sat down on the couch. All of a sudden I couldn't get comfortable because my back was hurting really bad. It would hurt, I would change position and it would get better, then start hurting again. I finally gave up on the contractions and headed to bed with a heat pack to see if that would help.

Mr. M. and LR returned while I was laying down. I wondered why he hadn't come to check on me, and later learned that my grandmother had just told him I "wasn't feeling well and went to lie down." Thanks, Grandma.

At this point the back cramps were getting stronger, but my belly was still soft and wasn't getting a round and tight. I even called Labor and Delivery, and they said it probably wasn't contractions since my belly was still soft. I downloaded a free contraction timer app to my phone and was startled to realize the cramps were coming every 5 to 6 minutes and lasting about 45 seconds, again all in my back. Mr. M. had come to check on me by this point, and he took one look at my face during one of the "spasms" and declared that we were going to the hospital.

We already had a labor bag packed, so we threw some things in an overnight bag and left our friends, family and dogs at our house with promises to call with updates. At this point I didn't really know if I was in labor or not.

The ride across town was an interesting experience. Mr. M. and I were pretty silent, just holding each others' hands and feeling the nervousness and excitement that you would expect us to feel. It was a companionable and close silence, and for some reason it's one of my favorite memories from that night.

We got to the hospital and checked in, the registrar promising to "make it quick" when she saw my face. I then headed up to the Triage area, where they evaluate you to see if you are really in labor before admitting you or not. I got in my hospital gown and they hooked me up to monitors - one for contractions and one for baby's heartbeat. After an agonizingly painful cerivcal check, she said I was at 4 cm and she would be back to check on me in a hour to see if I had progressed.

By now the contractions (which the monitor confirmed) had gotten a lot worse. I could tell when one was coming on because I would get a weird burny feeling like I had to pee for a few seconds before the pain started. The pain was still centered completely in my lower back. Mr. M. did a great job of feeding me ice chips and helping me to breathe through the pain.

After an interminable hour, she checked me again and I was at a 4.5 or 5. We then had to wait for her to get ahold of my doctor (who was just by chance the doctor on call that weekend, a fact I am SO grateful for).

The nurse came back and said they were going to go ahead and admit me and give me some pain meds, but since I was early (35.5 weeks) they couldn't do anything to help my labor along. She said that if I progressed to a 7 or so, they could help labor.

However, as soon as they wheeled me into a delivery room, another nurse said "Did they tell you Dr. A. is going to break your water?" Mr. M. and I were both totally surprised and he immediately rushed out into the hall and started calling people.

Dr. A. came in and said she was "impressed" by my contractions, which were now so bad I couldn't get through them without groaning out loud. I asked if I could have my epidural, but she wanted to wait and see what happened after she broke my water.

Having my water broken HURT. Not the actual breaking, but the instruments going up there and such were really painful. Then there was a big, hot gush of fluid. If felt strange.

Dr. A and the nurse immediately noticed some "old blood" in my water, but what was more alarming was the fact that after she broke my water, I went almost immediately from 5 cm to 8! They slapped an oxygen mask on me because the sudden change was stressing the baby a little bit.

Everything went into fast forward. The nurses were scurrying around slapping bracelets on me and asking me questions while trying to get anesthesia up in time for my epidural. By now the contractions were so bad that I was clinging to the bed rails and wailing with every single one, despite trying as hard as I could to just breathe through them. Dr. A. told me in all honesty that it might be too late for the epi to even work, a fact which terrified me.

Getting the epidural was not bad, maybe because I was in so much pain and so wanting it to work. I had to sit completely still and was worried that a contraction might come, but it didn't. The needle with the numbing medicine hurt a little bit, and the actualy catheter going in just felt strange.

After it was over, I laid back and waited. And waited. And gradually, the pain got less and less until finally, blessedly, I could feel nothing.

Back labor ain't for sissies, y'all.

Things slowed down a bit after that. My grandma arrived and came into the room. She and Mr. M. both stayed for the whole process. I was feeling good but very nervous about the actual pushing part, afraid it was going to hurt, afraid of complications, afraid of everything but so looking forward to meeting our little man.

I pushed for an hour and 40 minutes and no, it didn't hurt at all. It actually was hard to know how to push since I couldn't feel anything, but I did my best. At one point my nurse had me hold onto a towel and she held the other end and we played tug of war during the contractions to help me know how to push.

We encountered some difficulties. Ethan was turned to the side a little, so Dr. A. had to reach in and try to rotate him. His cord was wrapped around his neck but hadn't affected his heartrate so he was okay. Watching him emerge and be placed on my stomach was one of the strangest experiences of my life. He came out crying and peeing. :)

We were all surprised at how big he was for an early baby! Six pounds, ten ounces and 18 inches. Dr. A. said that if I had gone full term, he would have been so big that I would have needed a C-section.

I had a second degree tear which needed sewing up, so I watched while they weighed him and checked him out. I didn't get a chance for any skin to skin or an opportunity to try to nurse him, since they took him almost immediately up to the nursery to be evaluated.

Mr. M. announced the name and successful delivery to the many family and friends who had gathered for the birth while the nurses got me cleaned up and comfortable. I kept saying, "I can't believe I had a baby and it didn't hurt!" Still very true - I can't believe it!

A little while later they came down and told me Ethan had been taken to the NICU for some possible respiratory issues. That was really hard to hear. I hadn't even held him yet at this point and I burst into tears. Friends and family came in to congratulate me, but since they couldn't even see the baby most of them went on home.

They got me moved into my recovery room and settled in with ice packs and pain meds. At this point I was missing the wonderful epidural. :) Finally a nurse wheeled my down to the NICU, where I got to hold my son for the first time and feed him his first bottle. I couldn't believe how beautiful he was, or how much hair he had on his head! We got to spend a little time in the NICU before heading back to the room.

You know pretty much the rest of the story. The rest of my time in the hospital was spent either sleeping, pumping or visiting Ethan in the NICU. I left the hospital without him and didn't get to take him home for two weeks while he fought off jaundice and eating issues in the NICU. Being at home alone with Mr. M. while our baby was in the hospital was a very sad, confusing experience.

Now it appears (fingers crossed) that things have settled down. We have an appointment with the pediatrician in the morning, so we'll see how much weight E has gained and how he is going. Mr. M. going back to work tomorrow, so we'll also see how I do on my first day by myself with him!

And my first solo night tonight. Mr. M. is going to sleep in the spare bedroom and leave me in the master with E so he can get some sleep before work tomorrow. I'm not much looking forward to flying solo tonight, but I know I can do it.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Well, this week has been alternately wonderful and completely hellish.

WARNING: This post may be a bit TMI or not for those with weak stomachs.

On the wonderful side: looking at my sweet boy, snuggling him against my chest, covering his fuzzy head with kisses and just basically falling more and more in love every single day.

As for the hellish: take breastfeeding. It has not and did not work for us for a variety of reasons (I'll post more about it later) and today I had to officially give up. It is completely breaking my heart and I can't even really bear to think about it, so I'm not going to right now.

Then there was Thursday. Ah, Thursday.

With a vaginal birth and a second degree tear, I have been hurting and bleeding for quite a while. The bleeding was finally tapering off and I was delighted.

After spending some time on the couch on Thursday, I stood up and felt a GUSH. I raced to the bathroom to discover I had gushed a fair amount of bright red blood, but it had stopped. I called my doctor and they said as long as I wasn't saturating more than a pad an hour or passing large or multiple clots, I was fine.

Later that night, I felt the weirdest sensation from "down there" and again a gush. Another race to the bathroom to discover a fairly large clot and more blood, which once again stopped after it came out. I called the doctor again and was told not to worry.

Friday I was feeling good because a while had passed since the bleeding. A good friend came by to visit us and the baby. After she left, I stood up and felt again that weird feeling and rushed to the bathroom.

This time it was like something out of a horror movie. Lots and lots of clots (which look like bright red pieces of flesh or something) and lots of blood that wasn't stopping. I watched in horror as it continued to drip into the toilet and yelled for my husband. I knew we had to go to the ER.

Packing up an infant in an emergency is never an easy thing, and as new parents I think we did a great job of not forgetting anything. Either way, it was ten minutes before we were in the car. We encountered every handicapped driver and Sunday driver in between here and the hospital and it was awful. I was beginning to cramp and feel weak and just knew something was wrong. That weird feeling and gushing continued.

Mr. M. dropped me off at the door to the ER and I staggered in, barely able to answer the questions and sign in. I don't think she believed me when I said I was bleeding a LOT, but once she got me in a room she sure did. I had to disrobe from the waist down, and once my underwear came off a clot the size of an orange hit the floor, along with a lot of blood. Her face would have been funny if I hadn't been so scared.

In no time I was in the bed with oxygen tubes in my nose, an IV dripping fluids and another (MOTHER EFFING) catheter in my bladder. Poor Mr. M. had tried to come back but since the room was such a mess they sent him and the baby away. They gave me some morphine for the cramps which helped, and the doctor finally came in to check me out.

After a bedside ultrasound and pelvic exam, she sent for a big ultrasound machine to see if it was just clots still in my uterus or if some of the placenta had stayed behind. She was pretty certain I was going to have to head up to surgery for a D&C. The ultrasound tech came in and used the F*ing catheter to FILL my bladder so that she could see - an experience I never want to have again. She saw one small clot still hanging out in my uterus but not much else.

Mr. M. and the baby were finally allowed to come back after they spent a half hour cleaning me and the room up. By then my bleeding had slowed significantly and the morphine had taken away most of the sting of the catheter. We had to wait about an hour for the ER doctor to get ahold of my doctor, but the decision was NO surgery. My doctor was sure everything (placenta and all) had come out during my delivery and that I was just passing clots. She gave me a script for a medicine to cause my uterus to contract to help stop the bleeding and an antibiotic to help fight off any infection.

Five hours later, we were home. The uterine stimulant gives me awful, contraction-like cramps and the antibiotic makes me super nauseous. But the bleeding has stopped and after passing that one last clot, I haven't seen any more.

Nothing about this pregnancy has been easy or fun. I am so ready to feel "normal" again, whatever that is.

So that's my story. Have to go now because the squirt is waking up. I promise a birth story soon.