Today I found myself weeping.
Weeping in the beauty of true rest. As a mom and a wife, I find now more than ever my title is "Cheif Do-er". Let me tell you, I'm not great at doing. I'm a dreamer, I love to create, and to serve. Serving and doing, are very different to me.
Serving is done with joy, doing is done out of lists and obligation.
I have found the to-do list too long, too overwhelming, too demanding. I found myself doing nothing. I felt paralyzed in my motherhood, in being a wife, for heaven sake I have even forgotten to feed the dogs in the morning when I should have.
I started to live inside my head, my world became too small, it was all too much, and I was doing too little.
The simple daily norms fell out of sorts, the coffee was never set the night before (not by me anyway), the house was cleaned out of obligation (and not well), the meal planning was never planned. I have so many thigs so overdue, thank you gifts, hospital visits to family... and I've done nothing, I've only let those weigh on my shoulders.
I desperately needed to recharge. I needed a good cry, a good pity party, a good friend to understand, and to REST.
I decided to handle my SAHM status like I used to handle projects at work, my version of control. I would create a weekly schedule, rotating the cleaning, planning, shopping. Then I surprised myself, I scheduled time for a morning devotional. I put on the You Make Me Brave album by Bethel Music, and opened my She Reads Truth tab on my browser... not sure I could be more trendy in my approach to God.
I found myself weeping, reading the Rest in Truth devotional and hearing *A Little Longer play in the background. It was like a giant hug just when I needed it. I found myself relaxing, allowing myself to weep, rest, and recharge. I thought I needed to control the situation better, and God found a way to tell me I needed to recharge.
"What can I do for you? You don't have to do a thing, simply be with me and let those things go"
- A little longer lyrics
“Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
-Full story - Luke 10:38-42
Everywhere I turned. REST.
I'm still going to finish my weekly cleaning, planning, shopping calendar. Now it will have moments to rest, recharge, reconnect.
Have you found ways that work for you? How do you find your rest? How do you recharge?
*the version I linked to A Little Longer is an older version that I've always loved, the album version is great, but this one just moves me.
** I almost waited to finish the spreadsheet so I could share it in this post, there I go again... doing.
Our little turned 4 months old today, this was the first time I had a reason to get dressed in something other than the "mom-uniform" of jeans or lululemon and a t-shirt. Unfortunately it was to attend a wonderful friends funeral.
I felt an enormous wave of guilt getting my baby ready to take to a funeral, as I looked at this happy new life bouncing and kicking around on the changing table I couldn't help but feel torn. Here I was the most happy I've ever been in my life, heading to remember a friend who's life was far too short.
The more I thought about this on the way the more I realized a "funeral" is not at all what we would be attending. As my friend helped, loved, befriended more people in his lifetime than most who lived twice his age. He had the most beautiful heart. Today we would celebrate his life, and that is exactly what his family did.
Like only a sweet baby can do, she got hungry mid-service and let it be known. I hid around the corner and did my best at feeding her with one of those coverall tarp contraptions. Being a 4 month old Nora now has the attention span of a goldfish so she latched on like she had never eaten before and not a minute later was distracted by the nursing cover or the birds chirping or both...Much to my dismay she dismounted and my super-soaker of a letdown went all over my silk shirt. I was in a new form of a mommy uniform and I couldn't help but laugh. Which she mirrored and my heart swelled with joy in a much needed moment.
She brings so much joy to life.
She also brings so much worry. Oh my goodness.
Nora started rolling over tummy to back around 3 months, and mastered back to tummy 2 days before her 4 month mark. YAY! and OH NO! She decided to become a tummy sleeper, no problem. She started this after a 2am feeding, no problem. My video monitor stop working at said 2am feeding, PROBLEM. Not being able to see her face in the monitor to ease my mind from the comfort of my bed I chose to forgo comfort and sleep (read: stay awake in a zombie like state and write angry emails to makers of the monitor) in the nursery. Once Nora woke for the day I tried the monitor again and wouldn't you know it would miraculously be fixed. What a jerk of an inanimate object.
All seems to be well with the tummy sleeping, except when she doesn't quite get her arm out from under her, I assume it falls asleep, when she wakes she is angry. ANGRY, so tiny, yet so much anger.
The little has inspired a business I'm launching next week, I am SO EXCITED about, can't wait to tell you all about it.
This last week my husband brought home the lovely gift of the black-plague-cold. Hubbs got the worst of it, I insisted he still kiss me so my body could make antibodies for Nora in my boob milk, then I got sick and thought to myself, "self, that was really stupid... now you have to take care of a 3 month old all day with the cold-o'doom accompanied by the aches." Nora seems to have gotten the least amount of the crud so maybe my theory worked?
I still plan on quarantining Nora and I to the upstairs next time dad brings home a sickness. No thank you.
Even with Nora getting the smallest fake sounding cough accompanied by a few more bats in the cave you'd think I was performing surgery, without anesthesia, every time I tried to clear her nose.
The bulb eludes me, I just get the boogers to the front line but never actually out of her nose. The Nose Freida seems to be less intrusive, but again it's like playing the opposite of wack-a-mole as I try to trap the slimy ends before they are anger sucked back into the tiny abyss. I tried using the loopy end of a bobby pin to lasso the little suckers, the noise that came out of my little one while i tried my hand at operation was nothing short of torture.
Being a new parent is really easy.
Our sweet little has started creating copious amounts of spit, which I read is to thwart of germs with her natural germ attacker in her spit... totally necessary due to the desire to stick ANYTHING in and around her mouth. The drool isn't very becoming and quite frankly grosses my hubs out, which makes us all laugh.
Speaking of laughter, she has just started having giggle fits, this might be my new favorite thing. The hearty giggle this girl produces is sure to brighten even the dullest of days. I keep saying to my husband "she is the best thing we have ever, and will ever do" he resoundingly agrees.
We have BIG DREAMS for this little love, and BIG HOPES for our parenting skills... I hope she dreams big, and we are smart enough to encourage her strengths and build up her weaknesses. That we don't push her into what we want her to do (unless that's NOT to date a halfwit) that she explores her passions (unless that involves her taking off her clothes, sparkles, or drugs)... OKAY, I hope she takes our advice, and that we advise her well. I guess I hope we "parent" good grief, mom/dad if you're reading this you really made parenting look easy, and it's SO NOT. Thanks.
Oddest moment thus far, having a woman I DIDN'T KNOW reach out to touch her head, whilst I was babywearing/grocery shopping. I recoiled. I tried to be as sweet as possible when I said, "please don't touch my baby!" - call me odd, but if someone reached out and tried to touch my husbands head I'd have the same reaction, however I wouldn't be able to wear my husband... maybe I should go eat something, this is taking a strange path.
We've decided that I'll be staying home with Nora instead of returning to work, I could not be more honored to be the one playing "where's waldo" with her poo explosions, seeing her first steps, making her laugh, and calming her cries. I'm so honored to be her mommy and humbled to have a husband who is able and willing to support our family.
Miss Nora has started swim class at Hubbard, and I dare say it... She's a genius! Bahaha I've totally turned into 'one of those moms' that see's her child as a shining star that can move mountains and change the world, and all she's doing at this point is giggling, and kicking around in baby splash.
Something babysplash has taught me is new moms CRAVE community (sometimes in a creepy stalking no sleep zombie way). While we have so many options of groups to join I'm hoping to organize a group of intentional, like-minded, non-swearing-around-kids, ladies to meet monthly. I hope to teach Nora to be kind vs. sharing, to be a leader but not bossy, to be exuberant (if that's her personality) without being a thunder-stealer, to find her happiness in helping others be happy. Those few examples of what I hope to teach her will take "a village", a village of other families with the same moral compass and setting intentional examples for our kids. If you're in the Phoenix area I'm open to group name ideas, places to meet and any other ideas you may have! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below. Or if there is a group I can join I'm open to that too!
The hubbs and I celebrated Valentines day at home with a delicious dinner he made, after bath time of course, on the back patio while our angel slept (don't worry, we have 2 monitors going). I told him I couldn't wait for Nora to be old enough to eat dinner with us, tell us about her day, as our little Nora-bug has gone from getting up once a night to eating every 3 hours, I'm a zombie... he gently reminded me that I'll probably miss these moments of being needed, of her being so very dependent on me, I have a wise hubby... I woke up every 3 hours to feed her that night, and quietly his words ran through my mind. Instead of wishing I was asleep in bed, I looked at her darling face and wanted to etch her being this little forever in my mind.
Items I can't live without:
Nora's favorite items:
One small roll for babykind one huge leap for baby Nora, yep she's a roller, officially. I was so overjoyed at this milestone. Honestly to think of the squishy blob we brought home 14 weeks ago to now is truly amazing to me.
I can't wait to see what she does next!
Oh my, "things get better" - they weren't lying!
That first month is ROUGH, like.. who is going to come pickup their baby, there must have been a mistake, why isn't there a college course/test on parenting required before procreation?!? ROUGH
Her blood boiling cries turn to smiling coo's, her disgruntled demeanor to contentment. Our fear of every waking moment turned to looking forward to getting her in the morning to be greeted with stretches, smiles and giggles.
Boy does it get better.
Now two months into mommyhood, I see how EVERY SINGLE PARENT EVER tells you they grow so fast, to enjoy even the tough days, one day you'll long for them. That you can't spoil a baby by holding it too much... I think they are really trying to tell you to stop, breath, hold her, enjoy every second of snuggles and cuddle before they grow up and no longer need to feel you near them to sleep.
Don't get me wrong, she sleeps in her crib, and has been since 2 weeks... but do I baby wear her to my hearts content if she seems more clingy during the day? You betcha!
We've been tackling BabyWise for her sleep schedule, and so far it is a dream. At 9 weeks we've already had a few nights of sleeping through, some nights of one waking, and on occasion (like last night) she still screams like an banshee...catapulting me out of bed and racing up the stairs like the house is on fire, only to find she's unswaddled one arm and woke herself up.
I may or may not have imagined far more dramatic episodes on my journey to rescue my little peanut-butter-cup, fortunately only my imagination is over dramatic, not my/her life.
I had a girlfriend ask me, "after all that research, what did you find you couldn't live without from your registry?" She too had a little peanut almost 6 months ago.
I absolutely couldn't live without the deep latch video from fit pregnancy (totally understand this wan't a "registry item" but an absolute life saver. (Warning: you will see some titty-tonga's in this video.. watch at your own ... risk?)
Items that were a waste
I can't imagine life without her smiles and coo's, I am so thankful that I went on that awful blind date so many years ago, never knowing that a few years after our blind date we would try dating again and never look back. I am so grateful for my Husband, he is my greatest love, my closest friend, my security and now has made me a mommy. Seeing him become a father makes my heart swell, he's swell, it's all really wonderful.
Cheers to everyone on this crazy adventure, it's worth it, it get's better.
And for my girlfriends that their day hasn't come yet, a girlfriend wrote a wonderful note on this "I could have a baby, but she could not" you may find it encouraging, I read this post before we even tried to get pregnant, I remember crying and hoping that I would be able to have a baby one day... I love you, I'm praying for you, my heart aches for you. I do hope that my posts don't bring you too much pain, as this joy is a hope unfulfilled in your lives.
"Humphries, it's time to go down stairs...but you have to float, backwards, very slowly" This was my hubbys way of showing this tired mamma I had LOST IT. I lived in fear of our sweet howler monkey waking up... I just wanted sleep, oh how I missed it.
I made requests like, shutting the windows and setting the alarm way too early in the evening because she happened to wake up every time we did that.
To turn down the TV volume slowly so it didn't go from noise to nada. (this is the very request that brought on the stairs comment to Humphries)
To keep the bathroom fan on after a shower because she liked the noise.
YET SHE WOULD SLEEP THROUGH A HOME REMODEL.
What I didn't know was making me nutters.
I didn't know that her blank stare into space, eyes glazing over, was her first sign of needing to go down for a nap.
I didn't know that an overtired bambino will fight sleep like she's just been entered into the hunger games.
I didn't know that my amazement for which milk shot out of my body could actually be why peanut was so fussy. THANK GOD a girlfriend/coworker called me and told me to feed for a few minutes, burp her, then continue...the gulping needed a burp break or it would turn trapped air and screaming fits.
I didn't know letting her cry for a few minutes she would calm down and sleep for her first 5 hour glorious stretch. TWICE in one night... 10 hours people, for a 5 week old. I feel like a new woman.
Knowing I wasn't alone mattered
I've been accepted into a mommy club I didn't know existed.. a beautiful encouraging support system of friends, acquaintances, and strangers cheering me on. While moments of frustration quickly crept in, I heard those words play over and over in my head, "it gets easier"... "stick with it, you're doing great!"... "I went through the same thing" Thank you for every encouraging word.
I received advice that has been invaluable, gifts of fellow moms favorite things to get me through, weekly food delivery from my parents, and a hubby that lets me "tap out" when I need to.
Now only just over a month into this journey, with 6 pounds to lose to get back to pre-pregnancy weight, I'm starting to feel like myself again. I'm starting to feel like I've got this!
I will say the most encouraging email I received was another new mom telling me she didn't really like her baby the first month, she loved her baby, but this was hard. Hard on her marriage and her sanity. This was the first moment I felt like I wasn't alone, thank God for transparency in friends. I needed to hear that.
You're not alone, it gets easier, you can do this!
Reasons I cried the first week home:
Life with a newborn is more frustrating than I thought it would be. Like, I know everyone says it's hard... but "everyone" also says the first year of marriage is hard...and it totally wasn't for us, so I figured "everyone" was blowing smoke up our tooshes about newborns too.
Little Nora-bug has acid reflux leaving me in a total state of panic every time we tried to lay her down... you'd hear her start to choke... needless to say we slept holding her until our pediatrician prescribed her reflux meds. So MUCH better. but it feels weird/sad to have a prescription for our newborn.
Now we're working on sleeping through the nights and balancing feeding and naps during the day. We're using Baby Wise and The Happiest Baby on the Block... Baby Wise for the sleep training and Happiest Baby for calming our fussy little lady... however the most effective calming we've found to be is holding her while sitting on a exercise ball and bouncing away.
I pictured Nora and I having our first fight, and the overwhelming love I have for her now... and immediately pictured the father/daughter scene in Armageddon... all in the 10 seconds my husband left the room for. He came back, saw me crying and said, "Is the chili THAT good?"
I have a k'tan baby carrier and put her in it for the first time, she looked so peaceful that I wanted to capture her expression... I DROPPED MY GINORMOUS IPHONE ON HER FACE. Then we both cried.
I ate a bean burrito for lunch and she had horrible tummy gas/pain that night.
To cap off the week, I started crying because I was so sick of crying.
Favorite moments so far:
We discovered she loves Wilson Phillips while watching Bridesmaids one fussy evening. Needless to say I immediately purchased the album that I fondly remember having a cassette tape of. We particularly enjoy Hold On and Release Me... putting her pouting faces to lyrics is comical. I can't handle the song Over and Over, it's too... Robin Sparkles- Sandcastles in the Sand for me.
I can drive in the carpool lane! This hasn't come in too useful as of yet, most of my outings are quickly running to Kohls (it's the nearest shopping to me) or the grocery store. But CARPOOL lane people.
Her giggles and smiles, they absolutely MELT me.
When she looks like she's plotting an evil plan.
The time she sucked on Ry's nipple through his shirt and freaked him out.
Finally getting a few hours of sleep at night (every other night she seems to sleep in 4 hour stretches)
The support from moms (and some non mom's, like her Aunt Holly) everywhere, I've experienced such an outpouring of encouragement. I am SO GRATEFUL for.
The feeling of being a family... not that we weren't when it was the two of us...it's just beautifully different somehow.
Things that baffle me:
When she's hungry but fights my tata like she's a gladiator.
The howler monkey hours.
The force at which milk can come out of my body.
First can we talk about the actual having a baby and the hospital stay afterwards?
I had a scheduled c-section for my little breech darling, we were cool calm and collected, even prepared, as we went to the hospital. We took a family photo with the puppers before we left them to go meet their new "bald puppy" of a sister, and we stopped to get the hubbs more eyedrops on our way to the hospital.
I understand this isn't a luxury most mama's get.
We arrived not really knowing what to expect. Mama and baby got hooked up via IV to meds and blood draws. They kept saying the IV was going to be the worst part of the day. I REALLY wasn't buying that.
Next they had Ry jump in his scrubs to be in the operating room with me (ps these wash up really well, next painting project attire anyone?). I met the anesthesiologist and he was a hoot, he asked how tall I was and didn't believe me... For the first time in my life someone thought I was taller. Then I stood up.
We were wheeled into the operating room, bright lights, cold, sterile, TERRIFYING. They had me hunch over in a ball (like they didn't know there was a ginormous belly in the way) where Dr. McDrugman used his finger to find the spot in my spine for the spinal. THAT was the worst part of the day believe it or not. Topical numbing, then the spinal, and voila! What legs?!?
Ry was now in the room and sitting at my head with camera around his neck ready for our little girl's first cry. He held my hand while they cleaned my belly prepping for surgery while all I could say was "OOOooOOooo that feels really weird" over and over.. That and "I feel like ____, is that normal?" Dr. McDrugman chuckled and asked if I was going to keep asking those questions. Yes, it's weird and is it normal? Tell me! :)
Within a few minutes I heard Nora's first cry, dad took pictures as they held her up for me to see and a gush of love I'll never forget overcame me. That and tears, so many happy tears... I'm actually crying again just remembering the relief and joy of hearing her announced happy and healthy.
I moved the sheet so I could check out Nora and her pop in action while they stitched me up... Which again, felt weird.
The first day is all a blur.
We stayed for 3 days, although ordering food that appears as if from nowhere on the TV is rad... we just wanted to sleep in our own bed and try to adjust to this new life.
It's been a month since we got to meet our daughter, I have a daughter... that still blows my mind. Recovery from the c-section was easier than I thought it would be... but still, not a walk in the park by any means. Losing the baby weight has also been easier than I thought it would be, but when you're breastfeeding on an elimination diet (no dairy, chocolate, caffeine, spicy or gassy foods... now I'm going to eliminate gluten and eggs too) trying to figure out what causes our darling little girl to turn into a howler monkey at night...darn it... you tend to lose weight quickly.
Time is flying by, all while if feels like it's standing still. It's frustrating and wonderful and awe inspiring all at the same time.