Thursday, December 4, 2014

Baby H: Newborn Photos

After what seemed like an impossible first week home we finally mustered up the courage to have our photographer come to our house for Mark's newborn shoot. Those first few days at home were filled with fussing and screaming and unpredictability so we were a bit uneasy about setting up a time for her to come thinking there would be no way she could get any decent shots of our first born. We kept our fingers crossed and our standards low thinking "as long as he's not screaming bloody murder in every single shot". 

Our expectations were blown out of the water once we finally got the images back from her. She was patient and soothing with our little boy and took some amazing shots that I will cherish for the rest of my life. And can I just say that I can't believe how different he already is!
How how I love this little family of mine. My heart is so full. 

all images c/o Echo Images 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

When the Days Get Tough

The last two days were tough.
In fact, they were some of the hardest days we've had as parents.
Sunday, we didn't get more than a 30 minute nap out of this little boy. In comparison to his 60+ minutes every three hours. We knew he was exhausted. His eyes would get heavy, he'd yawn and fuss. And like always, his tired cues signaled us to take him upstairs, swaddle him, give him the paci, turn on the fan and put him down. But like clockwork he'd wake up in no time at all.

Add in the problem of getting him to eat for any significant amount of time (which deserves a post all of it's own) and by the end of the night he was a total wreck. Too tired to get in a good feed. Too tired to contently sit in the swing or in our arms. Yet too tired to just fall asleep. Who knew babies can be so overtired that it's almost impossible for them to sleep. It seems so counter-intuitive. The night ended with me taking him into our room, stripping down to a bra and diaper (respectively) and finally getting him to sleep on my chest after 30 minutes of screaming, fighting, pushing and lots of tears. He slept there for nearly two hours and I was stuck in bed stressing.

Monday came (after a tough night with two feeds between 10pm & 7am) and I was hoping we were in the clear. His first feed did nothing to calm him and he cried for almost an hour before finally passing out for, yet again, another 30 minute nap. We've been worried about his feeding which prompted a stop by the lactation weight clinic and unfortunately no answers for at least another week.

I had to go into school in the afternoon meaning he would get a bottle while I was gone. As I'm sitting in lab I get a text from J, "Not eating anything" followed by "Just won't drink. Tried different bottles. Tired formula thinking maybe the milk was old. But not drinking an ounce." I immediately couldn't focus. He had gone almost 5 hours without eating a single drop by the time I got home which is totally unlike him during the day. Thankfully I was able to feed him a bottle as well as nurse him in the evening because this mommas heart couldn't take any more.

Feeding and sleeping are essential parts of Mark's life. Who cares if he has a paci until he's 4. It won't matter in the long run if he has to have a fan on at night to be able to sleep. There are tons of potential bad habits we might have to break him of some day. But he needs sleep and food to grow, to be healthy, to be happy. And it tears at your heartstrings when you can't give those things to the little one who needs you.

After spending almost the entire day focused on Mark's eating (or lack there of) and no time studying all the material I'm behind on in school, I felt like throwing in the towel. I couldn't help but feel like a failure in all things. That I should succeed at one, single thing instead of being half-assed at many things. There's no way I can justify passing Mark off to someone else when his eating or sleeping is on the line just to go spend hours upstairs at my desk. I'm his momma for crying out loud. And I feel like I'm failing him.

I know that this is just a stage, a tough one, but one that I'm sure will pass. I've learned to never quit anything on a bad day but sometimes that's so much easier said than done.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Baby H: Two Months of Mark

He...

[+] weighs 11lbs (18%) and is 22in (9%) long with a whopping 39.25cm head (70%). We think his arms and his legs seem so long all the time but apparently he's a shorty still. And we're keeping our fingers crossed that massive head of his means he'll have lots of brain power!

[+] smiles and coos and chats up a storm and it is seriously the best thing ever! His little personality is so fun.

[+] had a pretty decent rash going on for about a week which prompted a visit to the pediatrician. It seemed like hives but it progressively spread from his chest/stomach to his neck and arms and coincided with some changes in feeding habits which is why we felt the need to go in. Thankfully it was nothing, most likely a contact dermatitis, that we aren't sure the cause of but it seems to be getting better and we're watching what we put on him from here on out.

[+] realizes he has hands which means he's started putting his fists in his mouth and rubbing his eyes when he's tired. He has a seriously strong grip which means anything is fair game at this point. Most commonly grabbed items include my hair when it's down, my shirt when he's nursing and his paci right out of his mouth.

[+] has outgrown basically everything newborn size. We've transitioned to size 1 diapers and everything in newborn size clothes is too short except onesies. We might have a skinny green bean on our hands.

[+] is back to sleeping in his room for the last week after we moved him back into our room for a few weeks. We were told by a lactation consultant that sleeping in the same room on a different sleep surface for the first few months reduced the risk of SIDS and when someone tells you something like that you can't exactly ignore it. However this little boy makes so much noise in the middle of the night that one evening we just never moved his rock n' play into our room after his last nap and we haven't looked back.

[+] is a very hungry little boy and hates when he's fed on "slow speed". Nursing is that much more complicated because I have to quench is thirst quickly and then allow him to take his time which means switching back and forth between sides multiple times until he's satisfied. Whatever it takes though is fine with me.

[+] impressed the doctor with his head control while sitting and his standing skills. She said he has three-month level control of that massive noggin of his and that he stands better than a four month old she saw earlier in the day. Now just to work on that dang tummy time because he still hates that.

[+] nicknames are still Marky and Monkey with Baby Boy and Buddy thrown in too.

[+] likes: his paci, baths, bearing weight on his feet, the sound of the fan and dancing with mom.

[+] dislikes: being too hot, tummy time (but it is getting better), napping in his crib and putting on lotion.
I... 

[+] am starting to figure out the balancing act that comes with being a full time student while also being Mark's momma. It's complicated and I'm tired a lot. There's also a lot of guilt that comes with leaving him to go to class or spend time upstairs studying when I'd rather be loving on my sweet boy but I always know he's in the best hands and am thankful I can conquer my own dreams at the same time.

[+] am wearing all my old clothes now but some of them sure do fit differently now post-baby. Bottoms are all totally fine but tops are actually the challenge now. Thanks to new nursing boobs and a bit of a lower belly pouch still I've been sticking to a handful of shirts that don't make me feel blah. Good thing Christmas is coming up because this momma could use a few new wardrobe pieces.

[+] cannot wait for the holidays this year, even more so than other years, thanks to this little boy being in our life. He has no idea what's happening and what holidays even mean this year but I can't wait to celebrate with my new little family and start some traditions to carry on through his life.

[+] went my entire pregnancy without finding a single stretch mark only to find a single one post-baby after things have started going back into place. Thanks to my lovely decision at age 18 to get my belly button pierced I am now bearing a super odd looking stretch mark/scar/old piercing in the place of a piece of jewelry. Even though I took out the ring years ago, my teenage decisions are still haunting me. Ha!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Baby H: Maternity Photos

It seems like forever ago that I was pregnant, little Mark still safely tucked in my belly. And it's crazy to look back at that ever growing belly of mine as I almost don't even remember how pregnant I really was. I don't know if I was in denial about how big my belly got or if the gradual growth over three-quarters of a year just sneaks up on you. And goodness gracious, that belly button!

Regardless, I am so thankful J and I decided to have maternity photos taken, to look back on a time that will never happen again. Sure I might be pregnant again someday but it'll always be different. It will never be my first pregnancy again. It will never be my Mark-bump. It will never just be J and I again. Time is so fleeting these days and I cherish the images Amber was able to capture during such a momentous time in our life. Now if only I could decide on which to print, because I'm in love with them all. Enjoy!









all images c/o Echo Images 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Being a Momma

Mark made me a momma. 
And being his momma has been so much better and more rewarding that I ever imagined. But it's also so much harder and more stressful that I ever thought possible. 

I find myself doubtful all the time. Is he getting enough to eat? Am I loving him the way that I should be? Are we creating bad habits that will be hard to break? Every decision, every choice we have to make for this little boy is something that I contemplate far too long about. Pacis? Scented lotion? Bringing him in bed with us? Taking him out in the cold? How can I possibly know the answer to every question all while be responsible for every choice that I make.

I beat myself up sometimes that I'm not being the perfect momma for him. I have gotten too frustrated when his crying can't be soothed and sometimes find myself crying right along with him. I've dealt with a starving baby who refuses to nurse leaving me feeling more defeated than I've ever been before. I hate leaving him for hours on end when I have to be at school because I should be the one at home to nurse him, to sing to him, to snuggle him. We don't have the relationship that I hear some moms talk about. He doesn't instantly soothe in my arms after crying with someone else. Is that because I'm not around enough? Or is that because he's a high-needs baby? He doesn't nurse to sleep, ever. Does that mean he's still hungry and I'm failing him? Or is he just ready to play with a fully belly?
Being a momma is tough. It's hard work, physically and emotionally. I'm tired and I find myself feeling like I'll never get a full nights sleep again. It's constant and I battle between wishing for a break and feeling guilty when I wander down an extra aisle at Target just to spend a tad more time out of the house on my own.  

But the thing is, I wouldn't trade it for the world. Mark is my son and the second best thing that's ever happened in my life shortly following falling in love with his daddy. He is bits and pieces of each of us, combined into this perfect, screaming, feisty, smiling little boy and I would do anything for him. The love that I have for him has surpassed my greatest expectations and makes all the tears, all the heartbreak, all the sleepless nights so, so worth it. 

I would move mountains for you, baby boy, if it meant that you were happy.

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