Apr 1, 2015

Poop Problems

Yes, I am really about to write a blog post about baby poop. This is not an April Fool's joke.

I truly hope this post doesn't make its way to Z's high school classmates 15 years from now. If it does, I'm sorry baby girl. Mama needs to vent.
Who, me?

Z has not had any issues in the bathroom department since she's been born. I've heard urban legends of babies that only poop once every few days. This is not the case with our child. However, things have been abnormal lately. Without getting too graphic, it was enough for us to freak out and go to the doctor last week. No fever, happy(ish) baby, everything looked fine. Just keep an eye on it, we were told.

Over the weekend, things didn't improve. They said it was time to test her stool and to come pick up a stool sample kit from the lab. When I saw how much poop we needed to provide, I thought it'd be no problem. As mentioned above, not pooping enough has never been an issue. But days later, we were still struggling to fill up the 3 containers because guess what? Breastfed baby poop is like, 99% liquid and soaks right into any kind of diaper you use.

I called the doctor again today to see if there was a different way we could test things out. The nurse said no, they need that sample, and asked if I had tried putting plastic wrap in her diapers to catch the poop?

...

Okay, whatever it takes to get this darn stool sample. We've meticulously covered the inside of her diapers with plastic wrap all day and scooped/dripped/squeezed every dirty diaper into the plastic container. We still don't have one container even halfway full.

I've touched more poop than ever before in my life. (And don't worry, I've immediately scrubbed the heck out of my hands each time). We still aren't halfway closer to dropping the containers back off at the lab and I'm sure the lab will be closed Friday-Sunday anyways because of Easter so my guess is we'll have the results of the test maybe late next week? That is, if we get enough poop to get sample in sometime tomorrow.

The joys of motherhood, y'all. 5 months in and I'm already going to great lengths to collect my daughter's poop. If you thought being a stay-at-home mom is dull, you've got it all wrong.

(In all seriousness, please keep her in her prayers. One mom said it sounds like she could have E. coli or salmonella but considering she seems okay and hasn't really eaten any "real" food yet, I don't think whatever this is is that serious)

Mar 27, 2015

These Past 5 Months

Four and a half months ago, Zoe came into our lives. I hate to be cliche and state the obvious but...they really do grow up so fast.

I'm going to try my best to sum things up right now, but plan on delving deeper in future posts because Zoe is actually starting to sleep (a little more) and I am actually starting to have some more "free time". It's kind of crazy!

The first few weeks after her birth in November were rough. I didn't want anyone to help us. (Luckily, this feeling was relatively short lived and we are blessed to have both sets of parents living fairly close.) Breastfeeding didn't come easy for me, between an oversupply, having to use a shield to get Zoe to latch (for 3 loooong months), and thinking it was crazy that she was ALWAYS. HUNGRY. "Feed your baby on demand every 3-4 hours!" they said. More like every hour...

In December, things began to change for the better. I was put on medication for postpartum depression. I'm lucky to say it was never an incredibly scary situation, but being on medicine really helped me feel like myself again. We still weren't getting much sleep and after agonizing over how to improve sleep for all of us, we put her in bed with us. Even though it was broken sleep for me with her eating every few hours at night, it was sleep. I loved cuddling her and waking up to her smiling face. I also started to let go of what "should" be happening, and became okay with her needing to eat so frequently and needing to use a shield to get her to latch on. Having family and friends around and getting out of the house regularly was so wonderful. They helped make our first Christmas and New Year's with Zoe a super special time.

Sometime in January, we started to cloth diaper part-time. It's become a growing obsession. I actually enjoy washing the diapers and snapping them on her. She just looks so cute in them and I feel better knowing if we ever decide to stop, the resale value on them is great. Near the end of January, Z's latch became much better and my supply started to level out. Breastfeeding became easier. I actually began to enjoy it and cherish that time together.

The first time she belly laughed in February, we were completely caught off guard, but it was a magical moment Landon and I got to experience together. She's generally a pretty grumpy baby (one of her nicknames is "Grumpus") but her smiles and laughs are awesome. She's also what one book I read referred to as a "sparkler"; she goes from 0-60 (or 0-100 if you're Drizzy) real quick. When my milk stops flowing, she unlatches and screams. She wants to be put down? She doesn't just get fussy--she screams. We half jokingly call her our little extrovert. That God and His sense of humor, bestowing a crazy baby on two generally quiet introverts.

At her 4 month check up at the beginning of March, we got the "okay, you should really consider moving her into her own room" advice. And while I was slightly sad to move Zoe to her crib, the extra space in bed has been wonderful. Her 4 month regression and sleep training afterwards was kind of ugly, but from it all we learned she had been chronically overtired pretty much since she had been born. Cue the mom guilt. We thought taking her out at any time of the day, putting her to bed when we went to bed, and sleeping with us would make her adaptable and sleepy but we were so clearly wrong. Now she's in bed by 6:30 most nights and aside from waking every 3 hours to eat, she doesn't fully wake up until sometime between 6:30-9 in the morning. It's pretty glorious.

I'll save the rest of what I have to say for her 5 month update which is coming up in less than 2 weeks. What the what?! 

P.S. If you're still reading this, thanks for being so patient with me as I figure out all of this mom stuff. 

Jan 28, 2015

Let's Talk

Hi! How's it going? Gosh, it's been how long since I regularly updated this little blog?

I have a quick confession to make (not to be confused with the length of this post. This will be a longish post.):

Motherhood isn't quite what I expected it to be.

I think everyone feels that way though, right? Especially with your first baby?

I thought she'd be on a "schedule" after a month or so. I'd know exactly when she needed to eat and sleep, oh and she'd only have one dirty diaper a day. HAH!

After two months in, I was getting frustrated. Why was she so unpredictable?! All of these other moms have their babies on a schedule by now! All of these other moms have the hang of feeding and changing MULTIPLE children while running a successful business and keeping their house in order and having a social life.

I just did not see how that would be possible. Ever.

I felt like my days were slipping away and I'd be lucky if I got to run a single errand or do a load of laundry. I loved my new baby girl so, so much...but I was also missing that "me" time where I got to accomplish the things I wanted to do that day. You know, life B.Z. (Before Zoe)

I emailed Hannah and she responded practically right away (I was so surprised, because if you read her blog you know she's a busy mama!) with words that were just what I needed to hear. She reminded me that every baby is different. Every parent is different. Every baby + their respective parents = a gazillion different ways to go about the day. Comparison is the thief of joy. As many times as I've heard this in the past, I finally understood what that meant. The beautiful newborn baby days were slipping away and I wasn't appreciating them for what they were.


I can vouch for that now. Within the past week, things have changed so fast. Zoe's eating less often and sleeping more regularly. I'm already missing those days of nonstop nursing and taking naps together throughout the day.

The expectations I placed on both myself and Zoe were ridiculous. I knew they were, but for some reason I just couldn't believe people who said to enjoy this precious time. I was ready for our lives to get back to "normal" and when I first realized they wouldn't be, I ended up mourning my old life while simultaneously being so excited for what the future had in store for our little family. It was a strange time of transition but I can honestly say I already miss those first few months and wish I had just let myself enjoy our new gift of life instead of trying to sprint towards whatever was "supposed" to come next.

For all of those expecting mothers out there, please don't make my mistake. Soak those newborn days in because they truly do fly by before you know it.

Jan 5, 2015

2014

All together now...

"Where did 2014 go?!?!"

But really.

I love the bittersweet ending of each year. Spending time reflecting on the ups and downs of the past year and figuring out new goals for the next year is exciting. It's the same reason I love Mondays -- for the fresh start.

2014 was a strange year for me. I spent the beginning of the year frustrated, not knowing what it was God was asking of me. Even after learning I was pregnant and knowing my time as a stay at home mom was fast approaching, I just couldn't let go of chasing whatever I could be good at. I wanted a career...but I also wanted to be a mom that was there for nearly every second of my baby's life. It was an endless thought process in my mind, really.

Pregnancy wasn't exactly what I had expected it to be. It wasn't until after I had Zoe that I think I was able to fully appreciate what my pregnancy was for me. It was a time of rest, quiet, and endless amounts of love from my husband, family and friends. It was a break before the chaos of motherhood. I truly believe the health of myself, Zoe, and how the labor and delivery went were thanks to my 9 months of rest.

The first few months of motherhood have flown by. I had such a hard time believing everyone who said it gets easier but now I do. Everything became a new normal. I wake up once, twice, or five times a night to feed or help console my baby. Sometimes breakfast consists of coffee and some Triscuits. We have to plan our outings completely around Zoe's needs for food and comfort. It was hard letting go of my ridiculous amounts of "me" time I had during pregnancy as well as being able to do whatever Landon and I wanted to do together at any time but I can't stress enough how worth it it all was. Slowly I've been able to find ways to decompress, make sure we still have date nights, and learn how to be a decent mom.

2015 is going to be for growing in selflessness. For choosing more wisely how I spend my time. For being fully present and offering nothing but love in every moment with my family. For reading more books. For seeking out the balance that we all strive to achieve. For trying new things and saying to heck with what I should do or who I should be. 2015 will be for growth at a steady pace.

I hope you stick around as I continue to find my voice on this little blog of mine! Happy New Year :)

Dec 19, 2014

Checking In

I've missed this little blog of mine. There's so much I've wanted to write down but dedicating my small slices of "free" time to doing so is a lot easier said than done. I want to go into more detail about her birth, breastfeeding, motherhood, etc., so for now this will be a little check in to say hi, yes I'm still here and yes I still plan on continuing to blog. Hi!

I can confirm that everything people say about being a mom is true. Having a baby changes everything. Even with the help of Landon and family, I now have a little human attached to my hip (or should I say boob) for 20-24 hours a day. Getting ready for the day becomes a test of speed (how presentable can I make myself before she starts fussing?) and mental to-do lists become a mental to-do thing...singular. I threw dinner in the slow cooker the other day and called it a successful day. Time is so precious now. I don't take moments alone with Landon or watching Zoe fall asleep or even 5 minutes in the shower for granted anymore.

Watching Zoe grow and develop has been incredible. It blows my mind to realize she is this example of God's creativity. I didn't read much past having the baby while I was pregnant, so that mixed with what little I knew from experience has allowed for lots of surprises. We couldn't believe how early on she began to hold her head up on her own. She loves sitting up (with help of course) and looking around. Her little hands and feet already seem ginormous in comparison to their size the day she was born. She's packing on the pounds and already starting to fit nicely into 3 month old clothes (at 6 weeks). Her smiles are the best thing in the whole world.

In retrospect, I was doing things wrong during the first few weeks. I was consulting websites and forums and books like it was my job. I felt guilty for giving her a pacifier, supplementing with formula, using a nipple shield, wanting to co-sleep. There's so much out there on what's right and what's wrong and I couldn't hear what my motherly instincts were really telling me. Being realistic and making decisions that worked best for our family was when the fog of the first few weeks began to clear.

Besides Landon being around (and thank God he could take time off and then work from home), I said no to most outside help. This, friends, was one of the dumbest things I had ever done. Lucky for me, my family knows I am a stubborn mule and they were just waiting at the sidelines for me to admit that I wanted them around. Having my mom come into town to help when Landon went back to work saved me. Friends have brought us delicious meals and my inlaws have babysat, allowing for some much needed date time. Help has been essential and I am so grateful for all of those who have given their time to us.

As I sit here with my sweet baby girl asleep on our bed next to me, I still can't believe that she is finally here with us. One and a half months into having a baby and I can firmly say I pray we have the opportunity to do it all again. I'm trying to remember to take it all in and be fully present in this time together with my baby girl.

Nov 26, 2014

Gratitude

I have so much to be thankful for.


In fact, I often have gotten caught up in thinking it won't always be like this. Things won't always go so smoothly; pain and suffering is an integral part of life. When will my time for all of that come?

I think focusing on the good--all that I have to be thankful for--totally outweighs that kind of negative thinking. Worrying about what may be to come won't do any good, but expressing thanks will.

Right now I am thankful for...

Being married to my best friend
My baby girl falling asleep on my chest
The limitless love of Christ
A loving, selfless family
The roof over our heads and food on our plates
A vibrant parish community
Aggie football
Our safe neighborhood and city
Our health
TV shows that make me laugh
Old friends
New friends
Our two furry friends

I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving with your loved ones. The holidays are here!

Nov 19, 2014

Zoe Marie

Well, it happened! We had our baby girl, Zoe! She was born right on schedule on November 7th, 2014 at 8:31 PM. The past week and a half have been a big ol' blur because well, can anything really prepare you in advance to become a mom?

The labor and delivery itself were far from what I expected. For the most part, it was incredibly smooth and while I wouldn't say it was enjoyable, in hindsight I would for sure do it again. As most moms seem to say, the hours (and days) following giving birth make you question having more kids in the future but now that some time has passed I'd be more than okay with it especially if the whole process was the same.

(Moments after she was born. I didn't cry, but I did get pretty choked up!)

(So proud. So in love.)

The first week was tough. Adjusting to life with a newborn who is on absolutely no schedule while recovering from giving birth is difficult. I am so thankful for all that Landon and our families did during that time. He really took care of us, doing anything and everything without being asked. This week he technically went back to work and even though he's working from home, I already miss that first week where it was just the three of us snuggled up in bed together. As exhausting and painful as it was, it was perfect.

(Our tiny human going home from the hospital)

Let's talk about breastfeeding real quick. I didn't expect it to be easy exactly, but some problems arose that I was not expecting. The nurses (who were incredible, by the way) who assisted us before and after birth encouraged me to use a nipple shield when Zoe had trouble latching on. We also didn't have any strong feelings for/against pacifiers, so she used one of those right away, too. The morning after she was born though, a lactation consultant came by and discouraged the use of both buttttt, Zoe had lost something like 8% of her birth weight so her feedings needed to be supplemented with formula or else they might keep us there longer, we were told. A week into breastfeeding, Zoe still couldn't latch on without a shield and was regularly drinking some formula at night because I was in so much pain and boy was I frustrated. A trip back to the hospital to meet with the LC one more time helped immensely as she showed us a better way to latch and now the shield use has decreased and the formula feeding has stopped, too. I'm still nervous to breastfeed in public mainly because I've had the most success doing it with a pillow (My Brest Friend) or lying down and you can't exactly cart a large pillow along with you or lay down on the floor at Target. If anyone has tips for successfully breastfeeding in public, I'm all ears.

Zoe has consistently gained weight since we left the hospital and has been an all around champ of a baby as far as we can tell. We're getting better at listening to our parental intuition but it's pretty hard when the internet is brimming with opinions and advice. We've pretty much been complete zombies since the night she was born but that's to be expected for the first few months, right?

(If your baby started sleeping in 3+ hour stretches at night by week 2 please tell us your secrets. Thank you.)


I just wanted to check in and say hi and introduce you to Zoe! I realize this post is all over the place but until I start getting some more sleep, I think that's just how it's going to be. Thank you all for your prayers during this time! Believe me, I've felt them during it all and I am so thankful.