Re-framing

And just like that G is five weeks old. It feels like both an eternity and only a moment has passed. I still forget he is not inside me anymore and when I remember I feel a little sad. When we have playtime I marvel at how much he changes everyday. When he’s screaming for no apparent reason I have to remind myself its all part of the magic.

He’s now up to 8lbs and starting to both sleep longer stretches and be awake for longer stretches. We can get a good play in a couple times a day. He is so close to smiling- I can’t wait for that first true gummy grin.

I definitely feel like a real mom now, especially with the breastfeeding going so much better. I kind of know what to do- but I’m also finding that every few days you have a whole new situation on your hands!

It is true that you lose a lot of your old self. Not the core stuff, just the things that used to seem really important are no longer crucial. My schedule has totally changed, and it has taken a while to adjust to the chaos of a newborn. I sleep A LOT less, but I’m starting to get 7hrs consistently and I think that’s manageable. I long for those days of sleeping 12hrs then reading with coffee and a warm blanket the rest of the day, nothing to do and no where to be.

I’ve learned though that the most important part of having a newborn is how you frame it. My good friend grew up around a Mennonite community and she says the way they view children as a blessing and a miracle really changes your outlook on diaper changes at 3am. She says no matter how awful the baby, she never heard a bad word spoken about them. They were cherished every moment. I think in today’s world with all this pressure to raise the perfect child, to go back to work too fast, and to keep your whole life Insta-worthy, it’s easy to get frustrated and angry with a difficult baby. But I’m trying to slow down and enjoy every moment- even the not so great ones. To be present is changing the way I see G. Yes he’s a handful. He’s also a miracle that won’t stay small for very long. He’s already almost out of newborn clothes and his first few weeks were so crazy for both of us I want to make sure that I’m there for him in everyway possible from now on.

While I think its important for moms to be themselves as well as moms, sometimes letting your old self go a little bit can make you a better parent. After all, I CHOSE to have this baby. I wanted him. I can’t expect such a huge and powerful experience to not change me. I grieve my old life a little, I’m not going to lie- but allowing myself to change has made my outlook so much better. I’m happier for it. And getting peed on is no longer a hassle but hilarious.

Getting off meds

I can’t remember if I had mentioned before but I was/am weaning off meds to breastfeed my son. It was all planned out to be free and clear for his due date. But as we all know- ‘the best laid plans..’ Of course, he INSISTED on arriving 4 weeks early. This meant I had to ramp down my doses faster then originally intended. This, combined with the stress of NICU and normal birth hormone fluctuations means this last 2 weeks have been ROUGH.

I mean, laying sobbing while my baby screams. Sleeping about 3-4 hours a day. Forgetting EVERYTHING, including when last fed baby leading to very cranky baby. TMI but explosive poos for weeks (I have lost so much weight). Hardly eating and then stuffing my face. More crying. Waking up from 20 minute naps feeling like the world is spinning and I’m going to throw up.

Its been hard.

I feel like I am detoxing/depressed/manic most of the time. The first week home I was super mom, now I’m a shipwreck just hoping he stays quiet for at least 30 mins this time. Everyone keeps telling me ‘sleep when the baby sleeps!’ That would imply that I could turn my brain off, which would be lovely. Hubby drops off in 30 seconds. I stare at the ceiling all night, even when I am not ‘on shift’ and am SUPPOSED to be sleeping.

The lactation nurse in the hospital said: ‘you need to be on these meds’. I brushed her off and confidently told her I had felt amazing all pregnancy. Now I’m starting to wonder if she was right. The worst part is G won’t latch and I am still having to pump and bottle feed him. At least its not going down the sink anymore and into my baby. Dumping that bright yellow colostrum out felt like a sin. I keep telling myself (through tears of frustration as he screams in hunger while my boob is right there) that eventually we will figure it out and things will get easier and it will all have been worth it.

Having a baby was my dream for so long and now, through some miracle, I have one. I need to remember that and realize he won’t be a baby forever- I just have to make it out alive.

Swagger

I have come to the realization that being an adult is at least 50% swagger- confidently doing things or giving advice on things you really don’t know much about. Now when I go out I encounter people my age or younger in these professional roles and all I can think is ‘how much of this is bluffing?’ I know I am bumbling through life, just making it up as I go. Surely, they are too?

Now that I have all these children in my life it is fascinating to see how they develop. They all look up to us ‘adults’ as the authority. No questions asked- everything we say is gospel. I don’t feel like I understand how the world works yet, and I am now going to have to teach this little tabula rasa how to survive in it. It’s nuts. Which is why you need swagger. And Google.

Don’t get me wrong- I don’t advocate for blindly following your gut on complicated or important things. But I’m also pretty sure the reflex to call your mom is not always helpful. She was making it up too! Or read it in some horribly outdated book.

We must do our research and not latch onto the first thing we hear or read. There are so many opinions out there and we do ourselves (and our children) a disservice by not weighing them all. Obviously blatantly horrible opinions can be avoided, but as the expression goes ‘there’s more then one way to skin a cat’. What worked for you as a toddler may not work for YOUR toddler.

Sometimes though we just have to listen to ourselves. Like right now I am beyond tired and hired a woman to deep clean my house because I just CAN’T. It embarrasses me that I am ‘weak’- but it needs to get done and no amount of coffee is going to get me in that tub with Vim and a sponge. When the lady arrived I was so relieved to pass this chore on- it was worth every penny. But now I vocally extol the value of a cleaning lady to all! My swagger is in full force- I KNOW SOMETHING NOW. Ha! Nope. Some people ‘nest’ by cleaning. Some people enjoy the feeling of self-sufficiency. I know nothing! I have an opinion that should be taken in, weighed, and compared. But heck if I won’t tell everyone about it!

Swagger.

Knitted Onesie

Started this way back when my nesting instincts were nuts. A surprisingly simple pattern with all over moss stitch and crochetted edging. Ending up doing the 3-6mo size so it will theoretically fit bean in the fall.

The piece has a somewhat bizarre tie closure on both sides of opening. Going to try it out but anticipating needing to switch to velcro or snaps or something.

The crochet edging is simple and cute. I’m going to try it out on some matching booties and hats for a complete outfit!

Here is the free pattern on ravelry as “baby talk” if you are interested! Here’s the direct link: https://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=9054&cid=17

Adventures of the Bump

As my belly gets bigger and bigger I am noticing there are all kind of reactions to the bump.

So far, strangely, older gentlemen are the most happy to see me. They will jog forward to open doors and say hi with a huge smile. Older women are FULL of old wives tales and advice. They seem equally divided on whether I am having a boy or girl.

Grocery store check out ladies are also THRILLED to talk to you, usually about their own experiences but also about how you feel and how excited you are. The checkout lady at the liquor store on the other hand was hella concerned. I had to explain the wine was for risotto, not me.

Young people (teenagers) don’t give a shit, I don’t even think they notice.

Mothers hauling around a couple toddlers look at me with what I can only describe as “enjoy it now”. Mothers with older kids or teens look quite wistful, and then smile down at their own kids.

I also get a few double takes when I’m out exercising. I’m quite proud that I am still pushing myself to get active each day so the quick surprised looks make me feel good.

So far I haven’t had any problem with randoms wanting to touch my belly- thank you COVID! Some of my friends get a snuggle- but that is fine with me. My hubby keeps trying to catch the bean swimming around, but they seemingly have performance anxiety and he’s only felt a few kicks. Also, head is down now so when bean gets hiccups it just makes me need to pee really badly with all that low jostling.

I’m 32 weeks now so the countdown begins- bye bye belly and hello baby!

A Little Scare

Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

Not sure what was up with baby yesterday- but they scared the shit out of me. My normally super active bean was so quiet. I did a kick count and it was okay, but no where what they had been doing. I decided that if they didn’t perk up today I would go in for an assessment.

I did a kick count again this morning which included movement but mostly just little flutters. I decided to try to hear the heartrate with my stethoscope. Apparently the pressure of the bell pissed little bean off. They immediately started speed bagging the bell and I just laughed with relief! They kicked around dramatically for another few minutes and then forgave me and had a nap.

As weird as having a tiny human kicking you all day- it is even weirder when they stop. I’m going to stop complaining about bean’s acrobatics and enjoy growing a baby.

Building a Baby

Only 27 weeks! So much left!

I now understand all my mommy friends. Building a baby is no joke. You are tired and uncomfortable ALL THE TIME. Not sleeping well was just the tip of the iceberg. There’s all sorts of bizarre pelvic pains. Your belly feels like an over-full beach ball that bonks into things all the time and prevents you from properly bending over. You get winded on the stairs and you pee a little when you sneeze.

You also zone out all the time thinking about baby. My cleaning standards are way higher. And I am starting to freak out about how this giant baby is going to come out.

I have to admit that I am eating healthier now then I ever have. Knowing the bean eats everything I do is making me re-think candy and chips. Unfortunately, my ‘bizarre craving’ is super cold Dr Pepper. I always get myself one after grocery shopping. I also want milk all the time. I drink a 4L jug all by myself every week.

I was completely unprepared for the constant kicking. In my mind it was a little boot while your hubby was gently cupping your bump that was miraculous to everyone. In reality it an onslaught of kidney and cervical punches and full on barrel rolls that make even my enormous boobs bounce around. It is distracting and just plain weird. Bean is always most active after a workout when I’m stretching. So some belly rubs are now part of my routine.

Finally, there are the mental gymnastics you must do to deal with your changing body. You waddle around feeling oh-so-sexy, NOT. You can only watch in fear as your belly gets bigger and bigger. It’s hard sometimes to remember there is LIFE in there and you are not just getting fat as hell. I admit to some breakdowns early on about the changes in my figure. Now it’s almost comical how big I’m getting. The belly is a serious hinderance to almost every part of the day. Washing dishes or cleaning the tub are the worst. I’m also guilty of man-spreading when sitting down, I feel no shame.

The idea that all of this will turn into a screaming infant in approximately 13 weeks has not really sunk in yet. I am hoping COVID regulations ease up enough that I can go to a birthing class some time soon. In the meantime YouTube is my friend.

To Buy or Not to Buy?

So apparently there are like a billion things out there marketed to babies and moms. I’m almost certain you NEED almost none of it, but it is very easy to get sucked into what you WANT (usually cause it’s so goddamn cute!). I have caved and bought a few maternity tops. To my immense satisfaction they are actually built to house enormous boobs and look pretty darn good if you ask me. I may keep wearing them after baby.

I have also been added to some baby/mommy swap or sell facebook groups by other mom friends and the amount out there is astounding! Some of it is an amazing deal and it is soooo hard to not buy. Fortunately/unfortunately both my husband and I are terrified to jinx the pregnancy by starting to buy too early. I am just starting the second trimester and it feels like counting my chickens to buy a crib already. I think we are both natural worriers and incubating a baby is only making it worse.

We have decided to wait until the third trimester to start collecting the baby things. But that has not stopped us from rearranging the house to accommodate a nursery. It feels less permanent to just move furniture, but it is satisfying my insane urge to nest. Also, I have started a birth announcement cross-stitch that I work on when I’m feeling broody.

This part of the pregnancy is wonderful. No more morning sickness and the fatigue is lifting. Hubby says my skin is amazing and I look happy. I FEEL happy too. The only hard part is remembering you’re pregnant! Sometimes its painfully obvious (like trying to put on jeans) but other times you forget and then it comes rushing in (like almost passing out while trying to move a dresser downstairs). Everyone says to enjoy this part and I am doing my best to!

So amongst all the strife of what we need/what we can afford/what we want, little bean is happily incubating and causing very few problems. I am so excited to co-habitate right now that I am trying not to think about how bean will be exiting in a few months time.

Guess what!

Take a seat folks. This is big.

I’m pregnant! Due August 2020!

When we had finally given up, when I was all scheduled for my surgery, when we were planning our life as a couple- WHAM, Christmas fucking miracle (literally).

Since hubby is away so much we know exactly when this little bean was conceived. We were no longer trying but through the magic of the season this one made it!

After my in-laws left I just didn’t feel right, tired and nauseous. I don’t know why but I did a pregnancy test (I had one left over). When those two lines came up clear as day I screamed for hubby. He came running (he said later he thought I was dying) and I showed him the test. We both collapsed to the floor in tears. Could this be real?? After 3 years of failure, after years of tracking periods and ovulations, of fertility appointments, of frustration and disappointment- could this really be happening? By ACCIDENT??

I forced him to not get excited yet- I just couldn’t let myself invest in something that wasn’t real and his grin was contagious. The next day we went to the pharmacy and got the most expensive test they had- the one with the digital read out. It told me I was 3+ weeks pregnant. Holy Shit. After we cried and freaked out again we realized we needed to start planning- this was a huge wrench in the cozy child-free life we had settled on.

We decided to tell our parents and siblings on Christmas Day. I felt good to say it out loud, like it was real now that others knew. We understood it was probably way to early but hubby needed a little support since now I may become bonkers AND pregnant. My mother cried. His brother said “I hope you don’t like sleep.”

But why now? After trying for THREE YEARS, why now?

Well, several things changed in the months before conception. 1) I stopped taking Clonazepam for my anxiety and switched to CBD oil. Apparently, Clonazepam is quite toxic to babies. 2) I had lost about 20 pounds, most in the last few months before Christmas. Unfortunately I have gained most of it back- but some of it’s baby right?! And… 3) I stopped eating gluten. It looked like I’d lost even more weight because of the dramatic decrease in bloating. I can only imagine all that inflammation would not be super conducive to conception.

So who knows? Could be a combination of all three.

Now, like most people, I’m sure you are concerned about the other meds I’m taking. Well folks- SO AM I!! We have been to pharmacists, psychiatrists, and family doctors and together we are adjusting things around to keep me AND baby healthy. But of course I am still worried. I would hate to damage the baby in anyway. So with permission I have been cutting back slowly. The goal is to be med-free so that I can breastfeed when bean is born. Even if I only get a month or so before I must saddle up again- I want baby to get those early breastfeeding benefits.

While WE are so excited for this baby, but we are both unsure of how Dexter and Nori will react. Considering Nori is still trying to find a way to off Dexter, I’m not sure she will adjust well to a baby. Also, her typical boob snuggles will be vastly curtailed when baby needs them. Dexter cowers when babies cry, he thinks he’s done something wrong- poor guy. He also will miss morning coffee snuggles. So basically, our fur-babies may mutiny but who knows. Luckily due August means they will both be inside/outside pets and can go where they want.

And yes- this is why I didn’t get the breast reduction surgery, quite a shock to everyone involved trust me! When I called to find out what to do, they already knew from my pre-op bloodwork and had cancelled my surgery- thanks for letting me know right? Even the ladies at the Lab knew I was pregnant before I went in for the massive amount of pre-natal bloodwork I had to get done. They laughed about how long it took us to figure it out- which I will admit was WAY too long.

We’ve seen bean on ultrasound and heard their heartbeat on doppler. It’s getting real now. I am 12 weeks and the nausea is passing but the fatigue is big issue. I can’t wait till August to meet bean- and have my body back!

Anyway, the last few months has been so busy. All the appointments and scans- but we couldn’t tell anyone! Which was WAY harder then expected. I am so excited that the secret is out now and I don’t have to lie or skirt the truth anymore.

WE ARE HAVING A BABY!

Baby Mittens

It’s my niece’s first birthday on the 22nd! That beautiful, happy girl will be a whole year old. Since we can not attend the party we wanted to send a gift. Her mom requested hand-knit mittens for the on-coming winter.

Of course, being me, no pattern was exactly what I wanted. So I made one by hybridizing several from Ravelry. If you’re interested here it is:

Using 4mm dpns cast on 26 stitches.

Start k1p1 ribbing for 5 rows.

Over the next row increase 4 stitches evenly across the 26 existing stitches (which you will knit). You can use any increase you want since the edge of the ribbing will hide a lot of sins.

Knit the next four rows.

Purl one row.

Knit four rows. Purl one row. Repeat 2 more times.

Knit one row.

k3k2tog repeat across row.

Knit on row.

k2k2tog repeat across row.

Purl one row.

k1k2tog repeat across row.

Knit one row.

k2tog repeat across row. This should leave 6 stitches. Run tail end through to gather. Sew end into the inside of mit.

Next slide your yarn needle and some yarn through the front loops of every knit stitch in the upper most row of ribbing. Stretch the opening wide and cut the yarn to the appropriate length to still tie at the max stretch but not be too long when slightly cinched.

That’s it! Well, you have to make a second one obviously.

For the cord I chained 175st using a 2.5mm crochet hook. This part I am unsure of since the actual child was unavailable to me. I would suggest checking it out in your kid’s coat before binding off.

I will update once the mittens reach their owner if any corrections need to be made.