1-2-3

23 Jan

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Month 3

23 Jan

Oliver,

Here we are again.  Another month has flown by.  You are three months old and this past month has been an eventful one.  We celebrated our first Christmas with you and it was the best Christmas we’d had in years.  Of course you didn’t really know anything was different from any other day, but having our first Christmas with you meant a lot to all of us.  That’s the thing about you, you make everything better.

The biggest thing to happen to you this past month was the start of spending days with a babysitter instead of at home with me.  Needless to say, I was not looking forward to your first day.  I couldn’t imagine my days without you.  I couldn’t imagine anyone taking good enough care of you.  But, the first day came along and we did it.  Actually, your daddy did the hard part because I’m lucky enough to not have to do the drop off myself, and we all survived.  The entire transition has been an excellent one.  Holly, your sitter, loves you so much and, best of all, you love her.  Daddy says your face lights up with a big grin when you see her in the morning and I’ve seen the same thing on the occasions I’ve picked you up in the afternoon.  Of course part of me worried that you’d love Holly more than me and I’d be replaced, but I’ll take a little irrational worrying about that over the worry that you aren’t happy.  If you have to spend the day with someone other than me then I’m happy you love her as much as you do.

It’s hard to keep up with all the growing and changing you do these days.  First of all, you’re so big!  At your 2 month appointment you were officially off the charts for height (25 inches) and weight (15.2 pounds).  So I’m guessing you’re around 18 pounds these days.  Your pediatrician calls you a moose (lovingly) and told us that you’re the size of an average 4 month old.  I’ll admit that I’ve had some moments of uncertainty regarding your size–are you TOO big? do we feed you TOO much?–but it’s actually just so great and I can’t imagine you any other way.  Your chunky thighs, big baby belly, and chubby cheeks are delicious.  In other developments, you’re excellent at holding your head up on your own and you kick and swing at things when you’re lying on your playmat.  You’re completely into chewing on your fingers and fists and the amount of drooling you do is quite impressive.  You’re a smiling machine with the best smile I’ve ever seen and on your 3 month birthday you laughed for the first time.  It was the greatest thing ever.  You’re also getting more and more vocal, trying out all different kinds of sounds and screeches and coos.  The only thing I can say you do not like is being on your tummy.  I think the longest you’ve lasted is 3 minutes…maybe 4…I try to push the limits but your daddy can’t handle the cries so it doesn’t last long.

Well Ollie, what else is there to say?  It’s taken me longer than normal to write this because other than the basics, I wasn’t quite sure what else to say.  It’s not that life with you is dull or isn’t noteworthy, in fact it’s just the opposite.  We love everything you do from the smallest coo to the biggest smile, it’s just that life these days is normal.  So perfectly, perfectly, normal.

Love,

Mama

2011 Recap

1 Jan

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?

I done birthed myself a baby!  And spent the majority of 2011 pregnant.  All new stuff around these parts.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

In 2011 I told myself that I was going to stop focusing on the parts of my life that weren’t what I imagined they would be and instead focus on making the life I had the life I wanted it to be.  I also said that I wanted to be more brave and take risks.  All very vague, but meaningful to me in my own way.  I think I was successful with all of those goals.  I’ve learned that everything is a work in progress and I need to enjoy the work and not just focus on what’s coming up next.

I also wanted to read 26 books and I did not do that.  I think the fact that pregnancy made me fall asleep about 8:30 every night had something to do with this.  I read 17.5 books, but I also re-read some books I read last year so I’m going to say it averages out to about 21 books.  Close enough.

I have some stuff I’d like to do in 2012, but I’m saving it for a different post.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Um…Me?  I’d say I’m pretty close to myself.  Also lots of internet friends and 3 other teachers at my school.  An old friend from high school had her baby 4 days after I had mine and we’ve reconnected which has been nice.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My sweet uncle, John.

5. What countries did you visit?

None.  We had these vague plans for a big six year anniversary trip during the summer but then I was pregnant so yeah…not so much.  I don’t really mind though.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you didn’t have in 2011?

I can’t really think of  anything.  I’d like to not have to worry about money ever again EVER, but that’s just a perpetual thing, because I think money is horrible and I want it to go away.

7. What dates from 2011 will be etched upon your memory, and why?

January 31st–I took my first positive pregnancy test (to be followed by 5 others.  it was a sickness.  I couldn’t help it)

October 7–Ollie’s due date

October 17–Ollie’s birthday

November 23–My 30th birthday

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?

Surviving pregnancy and childbirth and postpartum depression without losing my damn mind.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I know it’s not a failure and I did all I could and blah, blah, blah, positive self talk but I still:  Breastfeeding.  Failure.  And we’ll just leave it at that.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I didn’t have morning sickness with pregnancy beyond a couple weeks of nausea so I can’t really complain about that.  My lady area was completely messed up after birthing the boy, but everything seems to be back in place these days.  (Sharing is caring, am I right?)

11. What was the best thing you bought?

The baby swing.  Without this thing there would be exactly zero baby naps and we would all die.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My sweet, sweet husband who was amazing during pregnancy and didn’t pass out during childbirth and then more incredible than I could have ever imagined after I gave birth and entered the “dark times.”  He still continues to merit celebration everyday, the sweet man.

Let’s see…shout outs also go to my parents, who have been over the moon in love with this  baby boy since the second they knew I was pregnant, friends, both real life and in the computer, and Oliver who is just smiley and happy and SLEEPS.  Let’s all celebrate the sleeping baby!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

No one in particular.  I felt let down by a couple of friends this year, but I don’t know if it was them or expectations I placed on them.  Either way, I didn’t spend too much time dwelling on it, aside of talking Michael’s ear off, so we’re moving on now.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Mortgage, stuff for the baby (although to be honest, my parents have bought a lot of the big stuff), bills, groceries, nothing fun and exciting.

15. What did you get really excited about?

Finding out I was pregnant.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?

Favorite song of 2011 was hands down Good Life by One Republic.  Close second was Lay ‘Em Down by NeedtoBreathe.  I also listened to the song King of Anything by Sara Bareilles A LOT and Strip Me by Natasha Bedingfield.  My taste in music has always been out of date and questionable.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?

Happier or Sadder? Happier.  By leaps and bounds.

Thinner or Fatter? Can I be both? I’m fatter than at the start of 2011 but I’m much thinner than I was at 41 weeks pregnant.  Either way, the state of the bod is a disaster but this baby is just 11 weeks old so I’m trying to cut myself some slack.  Also, “state of the bod” –wtf, sarah?

Richer or Poorer? Poorer, I’m sure.  I didn’t get paid for the majority of my maternity leave so there was that.  And having a baby and taking care of a baby is expensive.  Also cars and bills and taxes and blah, blah, blah, I hate money.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I can’t think of anything, really.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worry.  I worry too much about everything.  I don’t think this will go away, but I’m working on it.

20. How will you spend Christmas?

We spent Christmas at home with my family and had a few visits from friends thrown in.  It was so nice to NOT travel and instead have everyone come to us.  I’m going to have to figure out a way to make that happen every year.  2011 was by far one of the best Christmases I’ve ever had EVER.  And that includes the year I got a Nintendo and Duck Hunt which I was DYING for.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?

Of course I fell in love with the baby, I expected that, but I fell so much more in love with my husband.  I feel like the grinch whose heart grew three sizes in one day.  I am kidding when I say I would have lost my mind without him, but I am also NOT KIDDING.  And watching him love our baby and become a daddy, well, it’s just the sweetest thing ever.

I also started loving my parents in a new way, if that makes any sense.  I feel like I get them in a way that I was never able to before I had a child of my own.  They were also pivotal in making sure I stayed sane.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Chopped on the Food Network?  Or Pawn Stars?  American Pickers?  I watched those three shows A LOT while I was pregnant.  We just don’t watch a lot of TV around here.  My favorite TV show ever is still Friends and TBS shows hours of that in the afternoons.  This has been essential while I’ve been home on maternity leave.

23. What was the best book you read?

The Hunger Games series.  I also read the first few books in the Outlander series and got pretty hooked.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Adele.  I’ve had her album on repeat for a looooong time.

25. What did you want and get?

A perfect, healthy baby with 10 fingers and 10 toes.

26. What did you want and not get?

Ummmm….nothing is coming to mind.

27. What was your favorite film of 2011?

I can’t even remember what movies I saw this year other than The Help and Breaking Dawn.  So those will be my favorites.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 30 and it was highly uneventful and that turned out to be okay.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I can’t think of anything.  This was a great year.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2011?

This question is ridiculous.  I was pregnant most of 2011 and also cheap so my wardrobe consisted of  3 pairs of maternity capris, 1 pair of jeans, tons of t-shirts, long maternity dresses, and yoga pants.  Also flip flops.  Flip Flops For Life.

31. What kept you sane?

My husband, my parents, my friends, and for the last few months, Celexa.

32. What political issue stirred you the most?

I’m really not into politics.

33. Who did you miss?

I wish we lived closer to our friends and got to see them more.  I missed some friends that seemed to drift away, but circle of life and ebb and flow and all that good stuff.

34. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.

You have to accept help from others because you can’t always do everything on your own.  Asking for help or accepting help doesn’t mean that you’re weak or lacking or a failure.  This is something that’s always been really hard for me and I hope I can remember to do more of it in 2012.

1/2

18 Dec

Month 2

18 Dec

Oliver,

Yesterday you turned two months old and you are still the sweetest little baby ever.  Of course I’m biased, but I swear you get more sweet and more loveable everyday.  Your second month has been a great one and it feels like we watch you change right before our eyes each day.  I feel like I really got the hang of this whole mom thing this month and our days together have settled into a happy little routine.

This month you started smiling at everyone and I can’t find words to explain how amazing it is.  Everyone who meets you is reduced to a baby talking, silly face making fool who is willing to do anything to coax a smile out of you.  And when it comes, that big gummy grin, well seriously, it is the Best Thing Ever.  It’s impossible to not fall in love with you.

Your other big milestone this month was moving from sleeping in a bassinet in our room to sleeping in your crib in your room.  I was worried about this transition, but you’ve just breezed right through it.  We were trying out your new mobile one night and when it was time for us to go to bed you were still asleep in your crib so we just left you there and haven’t looked back since.  I am sure this will be the first thing in a long list of things that are harder on me than they are on you.  Even though we’re both sleeping better, I worry and miss having you close by.  Your dad and I have moved from our room downstairs to the guest room upstairs which is next to your room.  It seems a little over the top, but I’ll do anything for a little extra peace of mind.

If I was obsessed with your poop (or lack there of) last month, this month my obsession has been your sleep.  I don’t really know how it became such a thing for me since you’ve always been a really good sleeper, but alas, here I am.  Even though things are going well, I feel like it could be going better so we’ve been trying different ways to help you nap better and sleep for longer stretches at night.  Of course nothing is consistently working so I’m going to add this to the growing list of lessons I’ve learned during my time as your mother:  you know what works for you and I need to be patient, not pushy.  I also need to step away from baby books about sleep and google, but I’m a work progress.

We’re getting ready for a big change as we head into next month.  I’ll be going back to work and you’ll be spending your days with a babysitter.  We found a really great sitter for you and I know you’ll be happy there and that she’s going to love you, but it’s still going to be completely different.  This whole time I’ve been telling myself that I’ll be ready to go back to work, but now that the day is getting closer and closer I’ve started dreading it.   Thinking about you spending your days with someone else makes me sad and thinking about the possibility of you missing me or needing me and me not being there, well it’s horrible.  I can only hope you’ll handle this transition as easily as you handled moving to your crib and that all the angst will be mine, not yours.

Oliver, you’re slowly making me realize that every cliché I’ve heard about motherhood is probably true.  You’re my heart beating outside my body.  I don’t remember what life was like before you came along.  I love you more than I could have ever imagined and I hope you know that whether I’m in the next room, or miles away, that’ll never change.

Love,

Mama

Motherhood Confessions

6 Dec

Oliver pees on his face.  Not all the time, but it has happened.  More than once.  More than twice.  I’d like to say that this only happens when Michael is changing his diaper and that I’ve told him and told him how to do it correctly because I am the epitome of motherhood perfection, but really, it has mostly happened to me.

I talk about baby poop a lot.  A LOT.  It started when Oliver went on a poop strike for 2 days and now continues with daily morning text messages to Michael about whether or not Ollie has had his morning poops yet.  I will also talk about poop to strangers.  And I’m completely comfortable with it.

I have absolutely no concept of what the date is or what day of the week it is.  I know if it’s the weekend because Michael is home, but as for what day it is during the week, nope, I’ve got nothing.  This kind of happens to me over the summer when Michael and I are both home from school, but it’s even worse with a baby.

There are some days when I don’t change Oliver’s clothes.  If we’re not leaving the house or if there’s not milk crust all over the neck of his sleeper then I’ll just leave him in it.  I tell myself that he likes it that way.  And he smells good.  SO GOOD.

Do you have anything to confess???

You down with PPD? Yeah you know me!

22 Nov

What’s funny is that I specifically remember telling  Michael that I was sure I was going to have postpartum depression.  Of course I was probably joking or, more true to form, making a joke about something that I was actually worried about, but it had definitely crossed my mind that this could really happen to me.

Sure, I was expecting the first couple of weeks after having the baby to be difficult and emotional and all of that.  I had read about and been warned about the “baby blues” which affect pretty much all women during the first two weeks after giving birth, but I still wasn’t prepared for how I felt.  I loved the baby.  I was taking care of the baby.  I was having normal conversations with people.  I was showering.  I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing.  Only I couldn’t stop crying.  And crying.  And crying.  Of course we were dealing with all of the breastfeeding crap, but it was more than that.  I was an emotional wreck and this was uncharted territory for me.  Yes, I’d consider myself an emotional person and I have been known to enjoy a good cry, but I’m not used to feeling unstable.  I have it together.  I’m dependable.  If there’s a problem I think of some kind of solution and move through it.  I wasn’t used to feeling like I didn’t know what to do.

After some emails and conversations with friends that confirmed that the first few weeks after giving birth are in fact the Worst Weeks Ever, I felt better.  Or at least I felt like there was light at the end of the tunnel–I was heading somewhere and, slowly but surely, things seemed to improve.  By 10 days out I was actually feeling pretty good.  I was ready for visitors and the crying had slowed down.  I was feeling more and more like myself everyday, but then I kind of flatlined.

As much as I was telling myself I was “better” and “doing great” I still didn’t feel like myself.  It’s hard to put it into words.  The crying wasn’t totally going away.  I still got this sick feeling in my stomach each night when I knew that it’d be morning before I knew it and I’d have another day with the baby all by myself.  Then, after Michael left for work each morning, I’d hold the baby and cry, telling myself over and over that it was going to be okay.

I knew that Michael was worried.  I knew that he hated leaving us each day.  I knew that he was emailing my parents telling them to check in on me because I was having a hard time.  I was willing myself to go back to normal, but it just wasn’t happening.  Three weeks after Oliver was born Michael and I went to an appointment with my OB.  A 10 question survey confirmed what we already knew.  What I was feeling had veered out of baby blues territory and into postpartum depression territory.  My OB was wonderful, just like he had been when he delivered Ollie.  He made me feel like it was okay.  He told me it was going to get better.  He let me cry.  He wrote me a prescription for ambien.  He set up an appointment for me with a psychiatrist.

This is where things got harder for me.  Even though I’m a school counselor and I spend most of my job talking with students about their problems and their feelings, I’m really not comfortable being on the other side of that relationship.  I don’t like talking about my feelings.  I don’t like admitting that I can’t handle something myself.  I didn’t like the idea of taking drugs to sleep or feel better.  I was scared and embarrassed to tell my parents, who had been nothing but supportive, what was going on.

But I did it.  I talked about my feelings.  I admitted I needed help.  I told my parents.  I took the ambien.  I am taking the anti-depressant.  I did all of it.  And I am SO GLAD I did.  I started feeling better the day after my appointment with the psychiatrist.  Of course the anti-depressant wasn’t working that quickly.  Of course one night of sleep thanks to ambien hadn’t fixed everything.  But I had a plan.  I had support.  I felt better.

Tomorrow I go back for my two week follow up visit with the psychiatrist.  It also just so happens to be my 30th birthday.  It’s pretty humbling, going for this kind of visit on this big birthday.  But I’ll do it.  Just like I did it last time.  And I’d do it again, all of it, a million times over, to start feeling better.  To go back to being me.