5 Months Old

It seems that just over night I went from having this sweet, cooing baby girl to a razor-sharp tara dactyl.  The nurses and doctors have joked that Cora is the strongest baby they have ever seen, some coming in to see if the rumors are true.  And that was a few weeks ago.  Nothing compared to now.

She used to do this sweet, slow, rollover while trying to get her dressed or change her diaper.  We would talk to her, tickle her a bit, distract her with a toy until the job was done and then smother her with kisses.  This week she flops over at an alarmingly quick rate, diaper flying, changing pad sliding around, lotion bottles falling off of the dresser.  Beware if she gets ahold of something, it will go flying across the room.  She screams at a noise decibel most haven’t heard and tries to escape.  I’m unsure of where she is exactly trying to go while I start dressing her from different angles, adjusting her diaper several times in an attempt to get it to an acceptable level of ON.

Following her bath last night, we skipped the changing table and went straight to the safety of the floor.  There I attempted what used to be a sweet conversation and a nice massage.  There is nothing calming about it anymore.  My legs held down her arms, while her legs repeatedly kicked my stomach and face.  Screaming commenced, there was no reasoning with her.  I got lotion where I could and called for my sister to come in for back up.  All hell had broken loose and there was no dressing her.  I was waiting for her to pee on me or the dog.

With back up in place, we determined one should hold her, dangling in the air, while the other attempted to diaper and put her jammies on.  This appeased the baby enough to laugh and only scream a few times.  Once finished, she sat on the floor, smiling at us, knowing she just won the battle.  My sister and I sat, sweating, out of breath, and wondering what the hell has possessed my independent child and why the hell we needed to bother with a workout that evening.

Laying her down for naps has gone this way.  Feeding her cereal has gone this way.  Don’t even get me started on getting her in the car seat.  If we are not doing something on her terms, then all out war is started and I barely escape unscathed while she will sit and smile sweetly at me, knowing she is slowly killing me, I’m sure.

But then in a fleeting moment, once I got her to sleep last night, I watched her awhile.  Peaceful and content.  Probably dreaming of ways to make me lose my mind faster.  And then she smiled.  I realized I haven’t seen her smile in her sleep in a long time, something newborns do often but then one day they seem to quit.  So I snuggled her a bit more and kissed her cheeks before I laid her down and slowly backed away before she woke.  (Those books that say to put them down while drowsy haven’t met my kid.)

And this is only 5 months.  Although, I wouldn’t trade my crazy tara dactyl for anything and I’m pretty sure this is why wine was invented.

It’s been a while and we are in the middle of 5 months of fun

Oh, hello blog.  No, I did not forget you.  I would like to tell you I have been busy but I hate the “busy” excuse.  Instead, I have made the mental choice every day to either have a glass of wine, workout or even take a nap instead of coming to write.

Don’t think I haven’t wanted to though.

I do.  Often.

I lie in bed at night and “blog” in my head.  I will write out full posts because it is how I can decompress.

All that leads us to here, where I’m about to write a rambling post to get not only you caught up but myself caught up.  Settle in.

The last time I was here we were getting rid of the swaddle and going through sleep regression.  Well, eventually Cora got used to not being swaddled. We also realized her other issue was a major cold that I eventually had to give in on and get her amoxicillin.  Have you had the joy of holding your child down to shove antibiotics down her throat?  You learn to do it when said child is naked and with nothing in a 3 ft perimeter that can be stained pink.  Good times not had by all. But she did start sleeping again (on her tummy like a starfish) once she could finally breathe through her nose.  And with a blanket.  I know, horrible parent right here.

Then I went back to work.  It was a roller coaster of what will I actually do and for how many days. At the final hour I ended up in a new office, with some friends in the business and only working Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  I actually felt good about going back to work.  I can honestly say the three days is perfect for us.  While I still don’t love what I do, this is something that works for now and is better than where I was at for the past two years. A step in a better direction and I can say I felt incredibly blessed to spend 4 1/2 months at home with Cora.

The month leading up to going back to work, I was doing drop-in days at Cora’s daycare.  We spent months trying to find the best childcare.  In my former life I spent 8 years working in public childcare facilities and just couldn’t see us going that route.  So we looked and looked for a home daycare.  In a small town that is really tough.  The good ones are full, don’t take part-time or have a wait list.  Finally, we found a woman who decided to stay at home with her little one and start in home care.  She was previously a nurse and her husband is a police officer.  All the “practice” drop-in days were great.  Both Cora and I were able to slowly get used to what would be our new normal so when the real day came for me to go back to work I had zero anxiety about daycare.  So far she loves it there and we manage to get out the door every morning by 7am with our shit together. Plus coffee, all the coffee.

We made it through her 4 month old appointment where we were told once again that developmentally she is quite ahead of her game and the doctor was shocked by it all.  I don’t know what we are doing but apparently it is right and it feels good to be told you aren’t fucking up your kid…yet.  We got the okay to start some cereal with her as well.  Slowly but surely she has grown to love it but the main person she likes to feed her is Daddy.  She will eat bowl after bowl for him.  For me, she will zip those lips shut and grunt.

At 4 months old we had her baptized.  If you have been around for a while, you will know that this was a tough decision for us.  In the end, I’m glad we did it and I feel I fed the Catholic guilt demon in me.  During the baptism, Cora was in great spirits while putting on quite the show for the entire congregation and our family that was in attendance.  What followed can only best be described as a Friends episode.  You know, the one where Emma turns 1 and she takes the longest nap, while every waits for her, so they can start the party?  Yes, that.  We went home from the church where Cora decided a three hour nap was needed, even though everyone came to our house for a party and lunch.  Eventually everyone else gave in and left without getting to really see the lady of the hour.  The only two left standing, when she woke, were her God parents.

At 4 1/2 months old, I sat behind Cora while she sat up playing.  I leaned over for something and realized she wasn’t going anywhere but instead stayed upright.  And so began her love for sitting up, unassisted, to see the world.  That is, until her dog comes along and knocks her over.  Really, she just finds that hilarious.  She has been furiously trying to figure out how to crawl.  Butt in the air, knees tucked under, but arms waving like crazy does not create forward motion.

At 5 months old we gave her a cup to distract her from grabbing at ours.  I wasn’t sure how to go about this so we literally took her to Babies R Us and let her hold all the training cups to basically pick herself.  No research, no asking around, no fore thought really, just a random parenting decision and it worked.  She seemed to like the Nuk training cups the best so we bought two.  She loves them and is getting the hang of drinking out of them after her bowl of cereal each night. Or tossing it over the high chair for the dog.  Whatever keeps her entertained while we finish our dinner is fine.

This past weekend we made the decision to move her from the pack n play in  our room, to her crib in her own room.  (Mom and Dad are ready to quit playing the “how quiet can we have sex?” game.)  She normally naps in her own crib so I didn’t think it would be too bad.  Wrong. So wrong.  After 16 times of laying her down we gave up.  She could be dead asleep and once she was laid down she would roll over and stare us down.  Over and over we tried until she landed back in her pack n play.  Now she has decided that she won’t stick to her just twice a night waking’s.  She is punishing us and has decided once an hour would be great.  Just for a cuddle, followed by three attempts to lay her down.  What the hell happened?  Basically we went from quiet sex to no sex.  Joke is on us.  #parentingfail

And last but not least, Cora gained her first little cousin.  My brother had a healthy baby boy and now our little nuggets are only 4 months and 4 days apart.  Putting the two babes next to one another is so shocking.  Cora looks huge! I can honestly say, there is no part of me that is jealous of them being 4 months behind us.  I’m glad we are out of the “fresh from the vag” phase and in the “let me scream you the story of my people” phase.  So much more fun.

I will make it back here more often now that we are settled into our new phase of parenting.  It gets easier, for the most part, each week.  We like our new normal even though sometimes we fail at it, we learn from it.

 

 

On Living In the Moment

My friends have come to visit on a regular basis.  They have made the drive from the city or from the next town over.  They make the trek up my road, that is hardly ever plowed and is merely a skating rink at this point.  They ask how I am doing and the ones that are seasoned mamma’s ask me the deeper questions.  Do I feel any baby blues?  Am I lonely out here all day, on my own, with a newborn?  Having maternity leave in the dead of winter, am I feeling depressed?

When I was pregnant I was worried about many of these things.  I watched friends get the baby blues over the years or go through depression.  I worried about the quiet of my home, with a newborn and no one around to talk back.  And trust me, no one has been more surprised than me, to find myself content and happy.

You see, my Husband and I met and spent 10 months quickly falling in love.  Our lives revolved around getting to know one another and him eventually moving in with me.  He then proposed and our lives became about the wedding.  Before the wedding was even here we were already diving into building our home.  With the wedding over the house building was full steam ahead.  Of course we had to head straight into something else as well so we decided to pull the goalie and start to try for a baby.  With the house building done we had to dive into why we weren’t pregnant and then that became our new focus.  With that it was pregnancy, birth and here we are today.

We have been on fast forward since the day we met, 5 years ago.  We always felt like we were trying to catch up with years lost.  We had our check list, our goals.  The funny thing is, we didn’t have much on the list after baby.  Bringing Cora home felt like a completion of a list in a way.  We had arrived at this unknown point that we created.  A point that meant we could sit down and breathe.  It felt like we had made it.

For the first time I’m not rushing to the next thing.  I’m not looking for what is next.  I’ve always had a hard time slowing down and enjoying the moment without thinking of what next week holds.  The amazing thing is, Cora forces us to do just that.  Slow down.  Breathe in the moments.  Don’t rush time.  Perhaps that is why I am happy to sit up in my house, with this amazing little baby and do nothing more than to look at her, talk to her, rock her and let her puke down my shirt.

There are times when she is up at 2am for a bottle, we stand at the window, I look out at the world sleeping and cannot thank God enough for this moment.  I am so very lucky.  If I find myself frustrated, while she fights sleep, I often remind myself that this too shall pass quickly.  I look at a photo of Rebecca and I am quickly reminded that they grow up so fast.  So I can look at the screaming baby in my arms, snuggle her in and wait out the tears until she gives into sleep.

I am oddly content in this little life of ours.  I am grateful for my Husband who works hard for us.  A man who I could never have dreamt of 5 years ago.  I am grateful for a home that was once torn apart by divorce and sorrow.  I am grateful for a baby who looks down on us from heaven each day and for a baby who snuggles against my chest each day with breath in her lungs.  I am grateful for a girl turning into a woman each day who first taught me how to be a Mom.  I am grateful for arriving at a place in my life where I get to experience such joy and peace.

Why We Will Never Co-Sleep

Whenever I mentioned to people that I would never co-sleep, with my baby, in our bed, some would shake their heads at me.  The “just you wait” comment would flow out of their mouth and I would just change the subject.  My mind would glimpse to images that I know will never leave my head.

In High School I worked at a day care center in the infant room.  I walked in one day to red eyes and sad faces, no one wanting to give me the news.  One of my favorite little ones, Brianna, had died the night before.  She suffocated while sleeping in bed with her parents.  I went to the funeral a few days later and saw that tiny coffin, with her tiny body lying in it.  Her face looking peaceful, as if she was just sleeping.  Not at all like a simple accident had happened that took her away from this world.  I followed everyone to the cemetery where I watched little Brianna’s mother throw her body atop the coffin before it was put into the cold ground, the screams and cries filling the air.  That, that right there is what will never leave my mind.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t even the last funeral of that nature that I had to attend.

From that day forward I swore I would never let my child sleep in bed with me.  And I kept that promise to myself.  Rebecca never did and Cora never has.

Trust me, it’s not like it hasn’t crossed my mind.  We all get to that point of exhaustion in the middle of the night.  Then the next set of problems enters my bedroom.  Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t put a baby in bed with my Husband.  He has been trained to sleep under Humvees, in the middle of the desert with missiles flying over his head.  He wakes for nothing.  There have been numerous nights when he has accidentally rolled on top of me in his sleep, not having a clue.  Some nights he will fling around in his sleep, looking for his gun, yelling at his men, having a PTSD moment in which a baby should not be stuck in the middle of.

So instead I have found myself and my newborn heading to the couch when the times have called for it.  I tuck the boppy around my waist, baby tucked in close on top of it, me barely sleeping a wink, just knowing that some nights she needs to be closer to my warmth and heart beat.  Wishing for a world where we could curl up with a little one without the fear of hell in the back of our minds.  For all those mom’s that rolled their eyes to me, no, I just can’t do it.  Sure there are plenty of nights that I get a lot less sleep but co-sleeping just can’t happen in this house.

Baby’s First Christmas

It looks like the holiday’s are officially over here and the dead of winter is setting in.  Last Sunday, I reluctantly took down the Christmas tree, the lights, the garland, and the nativity scene.  I tucked away all five of baby’s first Christmas ornaments along with baby’s first Christmas stocking.  As I carried it all back down to storage, I found it so sad.  The past couple of weeks and even the past month have been full of wonderful memories that complete what has been baby’s first Christmas, a time that only happens once.

Let me back up.  My sister had the past two weeks off of work.  Which I took full advantage of.  Not only did she want extra cuddle time with the baby, I needed to get out of the house and fight the crowds without the baby.  I finished my Christmas shopping, got an overdue pedicure, wandered through Target clearance, got my hair done, my eyebrows waxed and my Husband and I went to the comedy club with some friends.  The whole time I knew my daughter was safely at home, with someone who knew her schedule just as well as her father and I do.  That right there, priceless.

We traveled from family Christmas to family Christmas where Cora met all of her extended family.  This included her first trip to Grandma’s house, through a horrible snowstorm, that we counted 67 people in the ditch on the way.  We went out to eat way too much to celebrate every damn birthday we have in December.  We took Cora to see Santa and binged watched Hawaii 5-0 on Netflix.  Somedays didn’t require getting out of our pajamas.

In the middle of it all Cora decided to go from waking up twice a night to just once a night.  Her schedule slowly becoming more defined.  And then suddenly she found us hilarious.  The kind of hilarious where she has the biggest, gummy smile and laughs, coos and tells us stories.  She also decided to throw us for a loop and instead of increasing how much she eats at once, she would just like to eat the same amount more often.  Meaning she wants to eat every two hours instead of three, which makes traveling or going anywhere quite difficult.

On Christmas Eve I kept trying to convince myself that I wasn’t getting sick but my body had other ideas.  By Christmas night, I was going to bed early with Cora and fighting a cold, while wondering how to not pass it along to her.  Turns out, it happened anyways.  A trip to the doctor to tell me there wasn’t much we could do for her and we found ourselves on the couch every night sleeping.  Her right next to me in the inclined bassinet, humidifier running.  Baby’s first cold on baby’s first Christmas.  Which in turn meant we had to cancel our New Years Eve party and settle for a family dinner out only to head home to go to bed early.  I saw 2015 leave us and 2016 arrive as I was trying to keep the dog from barking at the fireworks, making sure the baby didn’t wake up from the barking and yelling at my Husband to quit snoring.

I slowed down.  I let things go.  I only took on what I could manage.  I was lazy when it felt right, worked out when it felt right, drank too much wine and sat every night thanking God that I could lay under the Christmas tree and stare at the lights with my daughter.  Cora won’t remember any of the memories her Dad and I have of this Christmas.  She will see the pictures and we will tell her the stories one day.  We will tell her that it was magical and just what it should have been.

I hope a little bit of Christmas magic found its way to each of your homes and I hope 2016 holds even more for you all.

Birth Control After Baby

My OB came into my hospital room the day we were to head home with our fresh newborn.  She took pictures with Cora, went over my discharge information, and told me to think about what birth control I wanted to use once I came in for my follow-up appointment with her in 6 weeks.

Shut the fucking door?! Birth control?! Have you seen the state of my vagina doc?  I just pushed out a human!  Isn’t that birth control?!

I laughed, ignored her and went on my way.  Well, eventually my vagina went back to a normal state and my Husband and I were itching for the clearance to get back to proper sex.  I suddenly remembered the very real topic of birth control my doc mentioned.  I started wracking my brain for the last time I was even on birth control.  All those years of trying to remember a form of birth control while I was banging on having sex that my 33 year old self is very jealous of.

It still seemed weird to have the conversation with my Husband but we had it none the less and off to my 6 week OB appointment I went.  The doc asked what my plan was going to be and it was tougher than what I thought.  Years of not getting pregnant and doing everything in your power to get pregnant…..now I’m trying not to get pregnant all over again?  I needed to pour a drink to wrap my head around all of this.  But I couldn’t because I was sitting in front of the doc, naked from the waist down, feeding Cora a bottle because of course now was the best time to decide to break schedule and want to eat.

We took that moment to discuss how the husband and I do want one more kid.  My younger, first married, never divorced, naive self, wanted kids 4-5 years apart and to be done with all that business by the old age of 30.  I also thought I would have won the lottery by now, so disappointing.  My 33-year-old self smacked my younger self upside the head and asked the doctor how long I could hold off trying again knowing my age and issues.  We discussed how no matter what, I should be mentally ready to want to be pregnant again and not be trying to get pregnant due to pressure because that sure isn’t going to help.  According to her, waiting two years or even three is perfectly fine.  From there she said we can try on our own for awhile or go straight back to the fertility doctor.  We just have to be mindful of our challenges.  No shit.

We are truly in no hurry to have another child.  Would I like one more, yes.  But there is no way I could do it all over again anytime soon.  I don’t feel like we are complete with just one but if that is all we have, that is okay.  Right now I just want to enjoy this baby.  Enjoy these moments and I’ll trust that I’ll just know when it is time again.

 

 

6 weeks postpartum

Six weeks postpartum and it blows my mind how quickly my body is going back to normal.  If I knew while I was pregnant that this was how it would be I could have saved myself a lot of headaches and worrying.  According to my doctor today, my vag is back to what it should be, which is what I suspected. My feet went back to their rightful size and my shoes fit once again.  I only have 6lbs left to lose of the 28lbs that I gained.  Which is a relief considering when I left the hospital I was only down 6lbs total after having a 7lb 4oz baby, that made no sense to me! Also, my abs, praise Jesus, are still there and I don’t think my sister or husband will let me live that down.  And I say that they are “there” in the since that I don’t feel like it will take me years to tighten things back to where they were prior.  Which I was also cleared to go back to working out again today!

I also owe a lot to the Belly Bandit that I purchased when I was still pregnant.  I went back and forth on the idea of purchasing it but so many people praised it like the second coming of Christ, I figured it couldn’t hurt.  It has given me a ton of back support and has helped pull things back to where I left them before Cora moved them.

All that being said, I am still very uncomfortable in 90% of my clothes.  The few extra pounds are enough to make me feel self conscious and make me realize that my clothes don’t fit just like they did before yet.  Being in sweats and yoga clothes for so long now makes it even harder to pull on a pair of jeans.

Mentally things have been a bit different.  The first two weeks, everything made me cry.  And I mean everything.  Happy tears, sad tears, and dear God every commercial deserved tears.  Hello, hormones.  While I have still had my moments, more out of exhaustion, the tears have subsided substantially and I feel like I have a better grip on the hormones.

Then there are the mental “mommy”hurdles.  The mommy guilt, lack of sleep, need to do it all.  And I know I take out my frustration on my husband.  My Husband who is once again, working his ass off and may only be able to give Cora one bottle in a 24 hour period or may not even be around to help even in the middle of the night.  That leaves me to do it all and man, can I take it out on him.  I provide him with a plate of daddy guilt basically.

The good news is, every week and even day, it all gets better. Both mentally and physically.  As each day goes by I feel like we are finding our groove.  Last night I had 5 girls over for my normal wine night, some brought their baby.  Appetizers set out, wine poured, my house clean and babies passed around for being held.  We laughed, we gossiped, we drank, we stopped to feed a baby and change diapers but my life wasn’t over.  As my tipsy ass went to bed I told my husband he had to take the 1am feeding because I sure as hell wasn’t and he owed me.  So he did.

I can tell you one thing, when the going does get tough, I remind myself that at least I’m not still pregnant because that shit was tough:)