Kiddo is still sleeping!
Maybe Fridays are his catch-up days?
I have a lunch date in an hour-and-a-half. The clothes I intend to wear are laid out (not on to avoid probable spit-up and drool stains), the diaper bag is ready, keys, coat, every thing out.
Of course, I could do some housework, but being here for a few minutes seems like a better idea.
I have very good news for you...
It's Friday (!).
No matter how trying your week has or hasn't been, I'm hoping your weekend is one of refreshment and joy. Does that sound a little too sappy?I really do hope that. This is morning, got-a-good-night-sleep, and on-her-2nd-cup-of-coffee Sarah.
If you're not a morning person, I don't recommend coming to my house for breakfast.
Actually, you probably shouldn't come to my house for breakfast (or any time in the morning) if it's short notice and you're not ok with the sight of unshowered, make-upless, spit-up-on Sarah.
(Short notice is kind of relative, depending on what is going on with Nolan. He is the boss in this house.)
Do I make my life sound too glamorous for you?
I will let you in on a little secret.
This life? It's not glamorous at all. I will get dressed, made-up (granted, my make-up routine is pretty basic. It works for me and does good things for my mental state), and feeling pretty. And then? Spit up. On the shirt I was hoping to prance around in for the day.
Depending on the amount of sleep and coffee I've had, that can either cause me to take a deep breath, say a little prayer, and move on or laugh...or all of those things.
But you know what? (And you knew that was coming, didn't you?)
Nothing in life compares to my son's smile and laugh. Oh, sweet Jesus, I cannot even describe to you how my heart fills up, almost to the point of bursting when he giggles because of something I've done. I do some pretty ridiculous stuff just to make that happen.
I mean, really, over time, I've become less and less worried about how I am perceived..but I'm pretty sure I have (almost) no shame now.
Can I throw out one bit of advice to the new mamas out there?
I'm certainly no expert, but I can offer this:
Do what you can to make sure you get a break from being a mama once in a while. Take people up on their offers.
If you really don't have any help, do what you can to get a gym membership+ child care. If you don't have enough money, talk to a few gyms. Some will cut you a deal based on your income.
I love my role as a mother, but sometimes I just get tired (in more than one way.) Being completely responsible for someone is unlike any responsibility I've ever had.
But I know if I can just get away for a little while..for something small, like a bath, a shower, a quick workout..I nearly always come back, refreshed and ready to fully engage with my gorgeous baby again.
If you live close to where I am and you need a refresher (what mother doesn't?), let's make plans.
I know what it's like.
This motherhood thing is pretty awesome
but it's not meant to be done alone.
Oops! Sorry, no pictures today. Baby's awake, so it's time to hit publish and head out. Happy Friday to you and lots of love.
Y'all (yes, I say this. Mostly in my head. Yes, I am born and raised in Pennsylvania. Moving on.), parenting is hard. And it's wonderful.
I happen to be awake before Nolan(as I start this post...only time will tell if he stays asleep until I publish it), so I thought I'd go for a little online interaction while he's still sleeping peacefully.
I know that my writing hasn't been high-quality lately. Actually, most of my would-be posts are crafted in my head...when I can't sit down to write them. But I still need to be here, you know? I still love the catharsis of seeing words spill out onto the screen. I still love the interaction.
I still read what you're writing. Sometimes on my phone via my Google Reader while trying to stay awake in the middle of the night as I rock Nolan to sleep.
But I read.
There are a few thoughts I'd like to share with you (and get your feedback if you want to share it!) today...on this FRIDAY.
Hooray for Friday. For me, it means I get to go to a studio yoga class tomorrow, work on my most recent fair-trade-centric projects, and then home to my boys refreshed and ready for family time. It means 2 days of life as the 3 of us, of laying in bed til noon on Sunday if we want to. It means meeting with friends and trying new things together.
So. Just a few thoughts before we get on with the beauty that is Friday:
1) Right now, my stomach feels like it's going to eat itself. This is of note because it's 7:45, and I last ate at 3:30 this morning. Both Nolan and I are eating so much, and I'm almost not quite sure how we're going to keep up with the grocery bills. I'm not complaining. I like eating, and I'm actually going to miss my huge appetite when it's gone.
2) One of my favorite posts this week was this one. It's all about making the ordinary things into the extraordinary. I love, love, love it.
Also? I'm just really glad Kelle blogs. Her perspective is just so refreshing- invigorating, even.
3) I'm thinking about doing Tina's Best Body Bootcamp.
Pluses: accountability, possible prizes, it ends right around the time I'll be finishing 30 Day Shred and looking for the next fitness challenge
Minuses: It costs (just) $25. That's really a great price for 8 weeks of workouts (so this could go under the pluses category, too), but as a stay-at-home mom, I really have to weigh and measure where I spend any money. Also, my Shred videos have fun music and visuals to keep Nolan entertained while I work out. I'm concerned I will have a hard time fitting in the boot camp workouts at home.
What would you do?
-music, especially being sung to...especially "Can't Stop" (Red Hot Chili Peppers), "Beautiful Things" (Gungor), "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell), various Mary Poppins song, "Hallelujah" (Brandi Carlile's version), Walkin on Sunshine (Katrina and the Waves)
-Eric Carle books
-eating his fist
-having "conversations" with Nolan
-picking out his outfits
-showing him new places, sights, and people
-watching people love my son
-going for walks with him
-his laughs and smiles
-his pouty face (it's SO cute)
-getting to know this sweet little (fast becoming big!) boy with the big personality
Just a couple of things- I'm linking up with Just Write today. I think I am most proud of this particular free writing entry because I really just let the words pour out of me this morning. So often, when they pour, I'm somewhere where I can't sit down and write.
Also, if you haven't already, check out my giveaway here. I'm not receiving any tangible compensation for it; I'm just really excited to introduce one of my favorite companies to you.
I knew it was true when I said that I'd try to write about Christmas spirit every day, but I probably won't make it.
I originally got that idea from someone giving workout advice. You know, if you want to start working out more, just aim to do it every day. You'll do more than you would have otherwise.
Make big plans, and if you don't accomplish them all, you'll get farther than you were when you started.
Shoot for the moon; even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.
That kind of thing.
I wouldn't say I'm "among the stars," but I would say that hardness I feel about this time of year is chipping away.
Yes, I still hate the commercialism.
Yes, I still feel annoyed when Christmas becomes about how much can be packed in, rushed in, pressured in before maybe we can all relax on December 25th.
But I get to make a choice, you know?
I get to decide how I'm going to react and from which angle I'm going to look at things.
I get to decide if I'm going to feel stressed or celebratory or whether I'm going to enjoy these quick and fleeting moments.
I write to-do lists most days, but honestly? They are never completed.
Making dinner takes twice as long because I stop to
change his diaper
look him in those beautiful eyes and talk until he doesn't want to talk anymore.
I can choose to enjoy, really enjoy, those times, or I can let stress weigh on me because I didn't get "everything" done.
When really, "everything" was in those moments I didn't have my to-do list.
I could gather a (probably long) list of posts I've written about living each moment as it happens and soaking up life.
I write about it so much because that kind of thing is really important to me, but it really doesn't come all that easy at all.
But he is already growing so fast, and I don't want to miss it. He makes those lessons a little easier.
So, this season, I'll be making some sweet treats, sending cards, putting presents together that I really put thought into. I really like doing that stuff when I don't let it come with unnecessary stress.
But if "everything" doesn't get done,
I'll rest in the thought that the important everything's have.
Nolan turned 4 weeks old yesterday.
I'm not sure when I will stop counting the weeks. Right now, he seems to be changing so quickly from week-to-week that it makes so much sense to count them.
I mean, look at him.
So much has changed in just 28-now 29-days.
In him- he's filling out, able to focus his eyes, makes more sounds (like happy "coos"). He's lost some of his hair (this happened to both Tim and me when we were babies. My hair came back strawberry blond and Tim's came back white blond...so Nolan's future hair color is almost any one's guess), and he's grown so much. He's getting stronger, and I just recently discovered that he enjoys a good photo shoot (thanks, Anna!).
In us- there's always something to learn, so I guess you could say Tim and I have become students of life with our baby boy. We freak out about whether Nolan's okay a little less (Google is our close-knit friend these days). We still don't have a set schedule, but we're better able to guess what Nolan's sleeping and eating patterns might be for the day. Tim goes to work late and stays late to accommodate the craziness of nighttime sleeping and waking up (yay for flexible work schedules!) and some days, I can hardly keep my eyes open by 9 pm. That means we don't always get a lot of time together, but I life still feels sweet.
I often say that Tim and I make a great team...because I believe it and because I'm thankful for it...so even when we're apart, I often feel that I am contributing to something that is beautiful about us- him and I together and as a family of three.
All of this- these desires to really soak Christmas up this year, actively love my husband and my son, and nurture each of us in our separate and together roles- all of this probably only added to my excitement about this next Christmas idea. The linked idea centers around husbands (so don't look, Tim, if you want it to be a surprise!), but the idea could really apply to anyone you want to give a little extra-special attention to during this holiday season.
I'm giving myself (maybe) 10 minutes to write this.
These days, it might take me days to write a post. I get a few thoughts down, and then...
it is time to feed my baby.
Change his diaper, his clothes, his anxiety into peace. Into comfort.
I aim to soak up every moment.
I love the written word, but I love my son (so much) more.
Things aren't quite the way I imagined them to be.
Some things are- there are times when I miss nearly unlimited time alone with my husband..time to explore, to watch tv uninterrupted, to sleep through the night. I think I knew I would miss him sometimes...
Although life as a mother has certainly been (and still is) quite a transition, one that includes fewer consecutive hours of sleep than I would like, it is a rich life.
There will come a day- much sooner than I would like- when I will have to begin the slow and painful process of letting him "go." I try to quickly shove such thoughts out of my head- especially at night, because the mix of tiredness and postpartum hormones leave me feeling sad. But I'll use those thoughts to compel me to soak up every moment that is now, that is right in front of me, that is precious and available to me.
These moments are so precious.
Just like my little boy.
This post is part of the Just Write link-up, a weekly exercise in free writing ordinary and extra-ordinary moments.
This is part 2 of a 2-part post on my son Nolan's recent birth. For part 1, click here.
Sunrise came without much of a nod from me. I was a bit too distracted to notice it.
Sunlight streamed into my room, and I kept doing my thing. Tim did his thing. Tammy did her thing. We moved on, from moment to moment, working together to bring Nolan from inside of me to the outside.
There were some disappointments. When I heard "4 centimeters," "6 centimeters," "8 centimeters," I felt a little let down each time. I'd been working so hard that I thought we must be closer to the pushing stage. But there's nothing to do after disappointing news like that but continue on. Maybe try a new technique. Yell a little if you have to (and I did. I was surprised to find out that I didn't snap at anyone...at least I don't remember doing so. But I did yell things like, "I want this baby out now!").
Continue on, we did, until fourteen hours after my water broke, I was ready to push.
I've heard stories of moms pushing just a few times, or for 20 minutes, or something like that before their babies said their first hello to the world. I'd also heard that every labor is different.
My labor was different.
When it came time to push, Tim, Tammy, and I were joined by another fabulous part of the Welcome Nolan Team, my nurse, Beverly. I learned about the art of pushing a baby out. I think my favorite position was the one that had me grabbing the baseboard of the bed and then bending into a deep squat. There was more yelling. At one point I wailed, "I am going to lose it!" Tim told me I wouldn't, that I was doing great. That man. I don't know if he kept his cool the whole time, but in front of me, he did. That, along with his encouraging words, helped me so much.
Labor and delivery are active..and I was running on some kids' lemonade, water, a little coconut water, a piece of fruit leather, and adrenaline. Mostly adrenaline. Beverly gave me an apple juice box to help buoy my energy, and it tasted incredible.
Two hours later, and Nolan had not made much of an appearance.
That's when I found out that 2 hours is the maximum amount of time I'm allowed to push at the birthing center. A transfer to the hospital was necessary.
Tim packed up our bags and told our parents (who were still in the waiting room!). Tammy made arrangements.
Tim helped me (slowly, painfully) make my way to the car.
I labored in that car. In a nightgown and Toms. Immediately upon arrival, valet parking and a wheel chair was waiting for me. Because Tammy also works at the hospital, we were able to rush right to the delivery room...where more fabulous nurses were waiting to join the Welcome Nolan team.
I was given a "whiff of Pitocin" to help strengthen my contractions. ( The thought of getting even a little Pitocin had me feeling nervous at first. Stronger contractions?! )
Upon arrival, we got to work.
When I say "we," I mean we. Tammy, Tim, and my new team of nurses did a great job of coaching me. I needed it. I needed the encouragement, the directions, the help with what to do next. I listened to them- or I tried to. The "don't yell, just direct all your energy into pushing" direction was difficult for me to follow, but I did try.
Still no Nolan.
More and more of his head would appear... and then it would recede.
A doctor was called to use a vacuum and forceps if needed.
We were coming up on another two hours of pushing at the hospital.
Then Tammy asked me if I wanted her to make a small cut to make more room for the baby to come out or have the doctor use a vacuum and forceps. I was so tired and hadn't really thought of either of those options as possibilities, so after a very short discussion, I decided a cut was the best option.
I think it was the right one.
A few more pushes later (maybe more? I remember it as a few because I just could not believe it when I was told he was really coming this time), Nolan showed up, his fist up by his shoulder. I found out later that as he emerged, his arm shot forward into a fist pump. How fitting- "Nolan" means "champion." (Some sources also list "famous" and "noble" as meanings of his name.)
He was immediately placed on my chest, with no threat of having him taken away until I was ready.
Even with such skin-to-skin contact, I could hardly believe he'd arrived. Together we stayed while everyone else did what they needed to do, while my placenta was pushed out, while I was stitched up...until I could begin to believe this-he-was real.
Then he was cleaned up, measured, and weighed.
Eight pounds, ten ounces, 20 inches long.
Some days I can still hardly believe it.
Some things that made labor more manageable
My team. Truly, I am amazed by how helpful, supportive, and encouraging everyone involved was. I don't think Tim, Tammy, and all the nurses involved could have impressed me more. My family waited so patiently for news, directions, anything and celebrated with me afterwards. There was no pressure from anyone, just a lot of excitement and support.
Hot baths! Sitting in a hot bath (or 3) led to much more manageable contractions.
Previous prenatal yoga classes. Much of what I learned in class was stored in my body and mind and used during labor...although I did have to be reminded to control my breath on more than a few occasions.
Some things that made labor particularly difficult
Nolan had his fist up by his shoulder, which added to the width I was trying to push out. That explains why he kept coming forward and then receding.
My uterus was not contracting strongly enough on its own by the end of the labor process. (I only know this because my midwife told me.)
Nolan measured in the 78th percentile in height and61st in weight, but the measurement of his head? 97th percentile. My child has a big (but adorable) head.
Some things that redeemed the difficulty, pain, and fatigue of labor
Everything about Nolan and Tim and all three of us as a family made the challenges of labor worth doing. I think that's really got me through- it was pain with a purpose. Even with that in mind, though, I had no idea how much good awaited me at the other end until I got there.
Thank you to those of you who celebrated with me in the comments, on Facebook, through cards, flowers, and gifts, and in person. Sharing the joy that is my little Nolan makes this new mama's heart swell.
I've been having a hard time deciding where to start and what, exactly, I should include. There is so much to tell- a lot can happen in 18 hours! Perhaps I'll start at the beginning? I will warn you, though, birth is messy. Certainly more than a baby came out of my body. If that thought alone makes your stomach turn, this post may not be for you. If your curiosity wins out, read on.
Nolan's Big Debut, Part One
One of my favorite ways to find out about what is going on in the world is by watching The Daily Show. I know. There are better ways to go about things, but considering that just a short time ago, I was getting almost no consistent input of worldly news, this is a step up. And far more entertaining (and memorable) than rifling through a newspaper or watching...well, any other news show.
Sigh. This could be long story if I explain my every action. I'll try to restrain myself, but I won't make promises.
As you might have guessed, Tim and I were watching The Daily Show. It was around 7:15 on Monday night, November 7th when we heard a pop. My water broke. I didn't realize that's what it was right away because I wasn't expecting it- I was told that only 10-15% percent of women start labor with their water breaking. I'd previously found this particular statistic to be a relief because if my water broke, I had to go to the hospital to be induced instead of the birthing center as I'd planned to deliver my baby. I had Group B Strep and we needed to get this baby out so he didn't develop an infection.
When I did realize it, though? There was a phone call, a mad rush on Tim's part to pack everything we might need into the car, a what should we do now? when we still hadn't received a call back, and then? a drive to the hospital (just a few minutes away from our house), because that's where we were going to be told to go anyway and standing around waiting was just not going to happen.
When we arrived and still hadn't received a phone call back, Tim placed a second call and went inside to find out how to get the maternity ward, I called my mom, and was interrupted by a call from my midwife. I was told didn't have to go to the hospital because my contractions had started on their own and I should call her in 2 hours to report my progress.
Tim and I laughed at ourselves, called our parents, and headed home to watch a movie.
Ha. No movie was watched that night.
I stood in the kitchen almost immediately upon arrival home and called my sister...and the rest of my "water" gushed out of me (apparently it doesn't always happen all at once?). I quickly ended the conversation and went upstairs to clean myself up. I never got to call my brother, because after the second-half-gushing-thing, contractions got fairly close together- around 3 minutes, I think? For those who don't know, first time moms are instructed to call their midwives when contractions are 4-5 minutes apart for an hour. Since mine were consistent at 3, Tim and I headed into the birth center an hour and a half after we'd last talked to our midwife (whose name is Tammy, by the way, and she is amazing!). Time to get this show on the road!
Soon my parents and mother-in-law arrived and we were able to talk and laugh between contractions. I (think I) breathed slowly in and out through each one; labor seemed intense to me but fairly manageable. It helped that my husband was such an incredible birth partner. (Seriously. I'm almost tempted to rent him out. He's that good.)
I cannot give a timeline of what happened that night. I'm not sure that I could have even if I had written Nolan's birth story the day of his birth day. I was living in a world of one contraction at a time. I was moving from birthing position to birthing position. I laid over an exercise ball and swayed back and forth and side to side. I leaned on the bed, put my arms around my husband and swayed, soaked in the tub, laid on my side, squatted at the side of the bed, squatted while Tim supported the weight of my entire body, knelt on all fours.
Anything that felt right at the time.
One contraction at a time.
I know that my parents and mother-in-law left the room early on in the evening (maybe 10 or 11?) when I was to be "checked" and spent the rest of the night in the waiting room, waiting on news and getting just a few hours of sleep.
I know that I'd packed lots of snacks for everyone present, but hardly any were eaten by anyone. There was too much adrenaline. Too much anticipation. At the urging of both Tim and Tammy, I tried to stay hydrated. Without their encouragement, I think I would have ignored fluids all together. I had business to attend to and hydration was the last thing on my mind. (Thank God for Tim and Tammy, hydration being just one of the many reasons.). (Honest Kids Berry Berry Good Lemonade and water were my beverages of choice. The coconut water that I thought would help me stay hydrated made me want to hurl.)
I know that eventually, conversation between contractions was not happening.
I know now that some of what I was experiencing is called "back labor." Babycenter, my go-to pregnancy guide, defines back labor as "intense lower back pain that many women feel during contractions when they're giving birth." Yup, that sounds about right.
I know that at some point, Tammy told me that she thought we might be having this baby by sunrise.
One contraction at a time.
and sunrise went.
I'll post the rest as soon as I can! For now, I have some snuggling to do...