Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tired

I know it will get better but today is hard.

I know something better will come but today I grieve what wasn't.

I know one day I will miss the beauty that comes with the chaos but today I'm counting down to new milestones.

I know one day I will get sleep but today I am tired.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

every child


These boys. They color my world.

Liam is 20 months and we marvel at the new things he does and says. His vocabulary is quite extensive, and he repeats new words everyday. We have to be careful what we say now around our little parrot.

Oliver is 11 weeks and smiling so much. He just beams and coos when you talk to him.  It makes my heart melt.

Right after Oliver was born I asked Patrick what he thought. "He's perfect," he replied. Several months ago while driving in the car (before Oliver was born) Patrick said, "If I had known our kid would be like Liam, I would have had him 5 years ago." His love for his boys makes me swoon.

It's not just us who think our boys are the bees knees. Our entire family is nuts over them too. It makes my heart swell at how much they are loved.

But...

My heart breaks to know there are millions of children who aren't loved and cared for. I often stop and think about what if my boys had been born into a bad situation and not cherished for the precious souls they are. I can not bear it to think it.

"If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one." Mother Teresa

I remember so clearly when adoption was put on my heart. I was out to lunch with a friend who brought one of her friends along. Somehow in conversation it came up that her parents had adopted several kids from Liberia. During that lunch I had an aha moment. "This! This is part of my calling," I thought.

It's been eight years since the burden was first placed on my heart. Today life is a lot more complicated than in my early 20s. Two mortgages, two kids under two, and two full time working parents, the dream feels farther away than ever.

Every child should be in a family.  Every child should be cherished, loved, guided, and provided for.  Lord willing our family will be that for at least one.

I don't know how the pieces will fit together.  I don't know where the provision will come from.

But...

Today I'm dreaming dreams.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

in the weeds

I wrote this back in September, and I just want to reach back in time and give myself a hug. Things just a few short months later are so much easier. I know I will need this reminder again when the next baby arrives later this summer, so to any other mom's in the thick of it, this is for you. Wrap your arms around yourself and squeeze. Accept this as a big fat virtual hug from me to you. 

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Do you ever have a lot to say, but you don't know where to start? It's 9:30 pm and Liam finally went to sleep about an hour ago. I am so tired and really should be asleep, but I wasted an hour browsing the internet (namely Facebook...grr) and need to brain dump.

Life lately has felt numbingly exhausting. Are there any other 9-5 moms out there? How do you do it? Do you cook? Clean? Have hobbies? Exercise? Any of the things? I think about past seasons of life a lot. I don't live in the past, at least I don't think I do, but I am keenly aware of where I've been and how I got where I am today.

I feel like the rat race is eating me alive. Scratch that. Life in general is eating me alive. I feel like I need a life coach to come spend a day or a couple of days with me and tell me what I'm doing wrong and how I can fix it. Let me give you a little sample of my day.

Liam is my alarm clock. He wakes up between 7-8 am, and I swear it's always when I'm in a deep stage of sleep. His crib is in our room, so I roll over to see his smiley face giggling and light up when I roll over and acknowledge him. It's pretty cute actually. You can see for yourself here.

My mornings are followed by nights where my son wakes up between 3-6 times at night. Yes you read that right. TRHEE TO SIX TIMES. During the summer Patrick did almost all the night feedings, which were not as many as they are now, but now that he's back in school we share night duty.  I usually do the first 2-3 and he'll do the remaining. Regardless we don't get a whole lot of sleep, so I am a walking zombie. Little man was a dream sleeper from 6-12 weeks. I thought I hit the baby sleep jackpot because it was glorious. Right when I went back to work he decided sleep was for the birds, and it's been that way ever since. I digress.

I usually spend a little bit of time just loving on and playing with Liam first thing and then I change his clothes and diaper. I take him in the bathroom. He likes to stand at the toilet and bang on the seat, so that gives me enough time to brush my teeth. Then I put him in his johnny jump up which attaches to the doorway of our bathroom so I can see him while I get a shower. He doesn't love being in the JJU since he's extra mobile now. I usually have to shower pretty quickly because he gets upset after a few minutes. Sometimes I resort to singing songs and being generally ridiculous to buy me a little extra time to shave my legs. Shaving my legs everyday is a luxury I'm not willing to give up.

If he's not in hysterics by the time I get out of the shower I'll try to finish getting ready which consists of moisturizing, deodorant, hair product applying, drying my hair, and getting dressed. I don't even wear make up anymore.  Lately I've been able to get my hair dried while he pulls up on the side of the tup or the toilet and bangs around. However usually he's crawling off to go explore. Our room is not exactly baby proof, so there are a LOT of things not kosher for baby. I spend my mornings chasing him all over the place and doing things I never thought I would like saying, "No, no, no!" 100 times.

Our nanny gets here around 8:45ish. Of course we chat about how he was the previous day (Patrick gets home first) and/or other things. I try to leave the house around 9 am.

I get out the door to go to work by the skin of my teeth most mornings, exhausted, and with my sanity hanging by a thread. Then of course I work until 5ish. Sometimes my job is very draining and stressful. It all just depends on the day. I get home around 5:30-6. By now I am flat out, totally, and completely exhausted. There is limited time when I get home because Liam really should start going down for bed around 6:30. Sometimes we start bedtime stuff around 7, but either way it's not much time.

Sometimes we run out on an errand as a family. Sometimes we go for a walk. Sometimes we just play in Liam's room. Then it's time for bath (some nights), pj's, bottle, and bed. Start to finish this can take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. Tonight Liam fell asleep at 8:30 and Patrick soon followed suit because he's up at 5 am for work. I barely talked to my husband today, and a lot of days go like this. It's now a few minutes past 10 pm, and I need toothpicks to keep my eyes open. I'll go to bed (soon hopefully) and start it all over again in a couple hours when Liam wakes up wanting to eat.

I know this won't last forever. I know this. What I struggle with is being spread so thin and so exhausted all the time when I have this most precious little boy who is changing so much and growing so fast. I want to slow down. I want more margin. So 9-5 working moms. How do you do it? Any wisdom you'd like to impart because I'm all ears.

Friday, October 18, 2013

the thing with babies


Can I have this tiny baby back for just one more day? He seems giant now. Nine months and counting the fun has just begun!

If I could have newborn Liam again for one more day I know with certainty what I wouldn't be doing or worrying about.... I wouldn't care if I stayed in my pajamas all day, if I showered or even brushed my hair. I wouldn't care if the laundry was touched or if the sink was full of dishes. I wouldn't care about emails, Facebook or what was going on with social media and the world in general.

I'd only have eyes and attention for this baby who will only be a tiny little baby for a tiny little while. I'd study his every feature, movement, and sound. I'd allow my fingers to trace his tiny hands, fingers, toes, and nose just one more time. I'd breath in the newness and be still. This is easy to imagine in hindsight without the fog of sleeplessness, postpartum depression, or healing from a c-section.

The thing with babies is as soon as you think you've got everything figured out, they change. As soon as you've memorized them just the way they are, they grow. Those mental notes that don't get inked in some fashion can get forgotten because the next day brings all new experiences and memories.

In the daily grind I fight to find time, to MAKE time, to document this little life, but try I must. Some days there is simply no energy left at the end of the day to pick up a journal or open the computer and write. When I think the weight of motherhood will surly be the end of me, I tell myself this too shall pass, and I'll miss this season just as I miss the littleness when looking at pictures that are just a couple of months old. My heart aches at how fast he has changed.

I don't want to rush any season. I don't want to wait for the next time around to fuss less and be still. I guess this is motherhood. Trying to cherish and document the days with a mixture of joy and sorrow in our hearts. The days are deceiving because we gauge the pace at which life is moving by them, and in parenthood they are long. But the years? Oh the years, they will be short.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

guest blogging at Homebirth Cesarean Interational

I am guest blogging today at Homebirth Cesarean International.  I wrote an Open Letter to the Natural Birth Community. It's something I had been thinking about for a while, and I am thankful for the opportunity to share it with HBCI.

Something in me awakened when an LLL leader told me about this organization. I immediately found their facebook group and joined. It has been a huge help to have these women to share, process, and grieve our experiences.

HBC (homebirth cesarean) is the name this organization has given to women, like me, who planned an out of hospital birth but ended up with a c-section. They provide support and acknowledge our stories because they matter too. Our own natural birth communities tend to not know what to do with us. After reading so many stories from moms in the HBC group, I was inspired to write the piece on our behalf.

I struggled with understanding why I had to go through so much in my birth experience. I'm seeing more and more clearly that I am an advocate. I want to advocate for other women who end up with a birth story like mine so that their grief is not compounded by a lack of acceptance or support. Sadly today our natural birth communities have some work to do as evidenced by the countless stories that have been shared among our group. We can do better. Our hurting moms need us all to do better.



Monday, September 16, 2013

breast milk sharing: it takes a village

Regardless of how one feeds their baby, it is a lot of work. Sometimes we choose how our baby is fed. Sometimes we don't. I only exclusively breastfed Liam for 5 days. When it became clear I wasn't going to be able to meet his nutritional needs then came the question of what do we supplement with.

At first we gave him Enfamil Premium samples we'd received in the mail. All those comments I had made about getting this crap out of our house were served some serious, humble pie when in desperation I asked Patrick to get the formula from the garage at 2:30 am our second night home.

My midwife sourced some donated breast milk for us from another birth center mom who also ended up with a c-section. She was not able to nurse but had a tremendous supply via exclusive pumping. We started emailing, and she was a great support since she knew how I was feeling and what I was going through with my birth experience.

I was able to feed Liam about 50% of the time with her breast milk, so I started looking into homemade formula. In the mean time, we were feeding him Earth's Best Organic formula. Our lactation consultant told me about the Weston A. Price formula recipe. I believed it was a better option than organic formula, but I was completely overwhelmed by the time commitment. You have to make batches of formula everyday. It's not recommended to make large batches in advance and freeze them for later use. I didn't have the emotional capacity to take that on in those early PP days/weeks/months.

I learned about Eats on Feet and Human Milk 4 Human Babies.  Both are facebook groups that provide a place for moms with extra breast milk to share with moms who, for whatever reason, are unable to provide enough of their own milk for their babies. I was reluctant to source milk this way at first because I wasn't sure about getting it from strangers. However, I felt very passionate about feeding Liam breast milk even if it wasn't mine.

Through both of these groups, I've connected with a lot of mamas who have shared their liquid gold with us. A wonderful LLL leader also helped me source donations, which has been a huge help.  I saw how much better Liam did on breast milk vs formula, so I became committed to trying to feed him 100% breast milk whether it was the little bit I pumped or from another mama. Patrick and I feel a sense of excitement and relief when we stock up our freezer after a pick up. I've become a breast milk sourcin' networkin' feign!

I have been so amazed and humbled at the generosity of these women. Sometimes it's hard to explain to people what we feed Liam if they ask, but I answer honestly and openly. No, I was not able to breastfeed. Yes, I have a very tiny supply. Yes, we feed him donated breast milk that comes from other mamas.

One thing is for sure; the bond of mamahood is fierce y'all. Yes, there is a lot of negativity out there about "mommy wars," but what I have experienced has been beautiful, bold, and uplifting. The gift I have received by so many women has given me peace in my own grief of not being able to breastfeed. I have no doubt if we have another baby and I find myself in the same situation, I will absolutely go the donated breast milk route again.

If you're interested in learning more about milk sharing, you can go here and here.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

to everything there is a season: turn, turn, turn

Spring and summer are usually my favorite times of the year. The first signs of spring waking from its winter slumber are magical to me. Everything feels fresh and new. Possibilities seems endless and hopes and dreams bubble up in my heart. The first day when it's finally warm enough to break out the Rainbows, planning trips to new places, and mild days of weather perfection make me feel all is right and good in the world. So many fun and exciting seasons of my life have started right around spring time like my now husband asking me on our first date, getting engaged (just before spring), and finding out I was pregnant.

I barely remember what spring felt like this year. It came and went without me noticing. Earlier this year I was given counsel to just hang on until the summer. There were difficult situations and decisions that needed to be made, and I was feeling the pressure of having to sort it all out right then. The summer would bring reprieve and a welcomed change in routine as it always does. My husband would be home, and we could take a breath.

He went back to work three weeks ago and right before his first day I said, "You know we spent the first half of the year just waiting for this season and now it's over." A sense of hopelessness came with the start of a new school year. It felt like we were diving head first back into where we left off before summer, and it didn't feel good.

But then something amazing happened.  Everything didn't turn black, blue and gray. Things went rather smoothly and our feelings of hopelessness and desperation turned to, "Everything's going to be OK." I don't exactly have a tangible reason for this hope that is floating to the top, but I do know when I've experienced this in the past something good is on the way. Maybe not in time for fall or winter or even spring, but it's coming.

This fall feels kind of like New Years to me. A chance to reevaluate and reset. A chance for change and growth. A chance for tearing down and rebuilding. Cheers to new seasons that offer hope and even if the change I long for doesn't come quickly may my heart still sing praise and my eyes stay fixed on Him.