one year ago

One year ago today I found out I was pregnant. Reggie and I had been trying to get pregnant for over a year without much luck and I was starting to feel defeated. I remember a few days before talking to my cousin Sarah over gchat saying that I felt really “off,”  a feeling I couldn’t explain but that there was no way I was pregnant because I was never going to get pregnant. But for some reason I woke up that morning and decided to test just in case. Much to my surprise the first test was positive. Thinking it was a mistake I tested again. Then one more time for good measure. What can I say? I am thorough.

Minutes later I was calling Reggie in tears, telling him he is going to be a father. The other line was silent. He couldn’t believe it either. But then with a shakiness in his voice I could hear him smiling on the other line, ecstatic that he would finally become a father. When he arrived home that day he walked through the door and held me for what seemed like an hour. We were so happy. Our dream of having a child was finally coming true.

 

Nine months later, Mr. Jax arrived and our lives have never been better.

We may live on less sleep but there is certainly more love.

 

reflections on motherhood

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When I think back on my first few months of motherhood I am sometimes ashamed to admit that it was less than perfect–that I was less than perfect. I had this image of me taking home my son and him crying only when he needed to be fed, changed, or burped. At the time, I was very idealistic. As you know, my precious little boy appeared to be so unhappy in his own body and spent what seemed like 3 months straight crying screaming. To say that I handled colic and reflux with ease would be a lie. I feel like I may have spent just as much time crying as he did. Mostly, I felt like a failure.

In reality, I was totally unprepared for how motherhood would change me. I don’t think anyone is. I had this whole “I’ll learn on the job” attitude which was great but I wish I had talked more with other moms about the realities of being a mother more than what the best swaddling blanket was for newborns. In that spirit, here are my thoughts on the first couple months.

Do not be afraid to admit you are struggling with your emotions.

Having a baby–and an extremeley fussy one at that completely rocked my emotional world. Days after we moved to our new home some of my family members came by to meet Jax for the first time. He spent most of the time fussing and screaming with me utterly embaressed that I could not soothe my own child. Again, I felt like a failure. Later I would find out that those same family members were telling everyone I was suffering from postpartum depression. At first I was hurt that people in my own family would choose to gossip about this—because there is nothing a stressed out, sleep deprived first time mom needs more than people talking about her mental well being. Did I have postpartum depression? No. Did I have a serious case of the baby blues? Absolutely. I never said anything to this family member because if that is what she thinks she observed, that is fine. As a culture, we need to talk more about the mental and hormonal struggles women face during those first few months of motherhood. There were so many moments where I felt like I couldn’t handle what was being thrown at me and I just needed a small break. I am lucky that I had a great support system in Reggie and he encouraged me to communicate any and every feeling I was having–both positive and negative. I think because of my husband I came out on the other end of the colic tunnel with an “I can do anything” spirit. Because seriously if dealing with colic, reflux, and a move in the first few months of our baby’s life doesn’t test a marriage, I don’t know what does.

Look to the future but appreciate the present. The tough part is over before you know it.

Just like our birth story, the first few months of Jackson’s life is part of his larger story. Reggie’s mom told me that her friend assured her when she was in month 6 of my husband’s colic that babies with colic are kind adults because they are very sensitive. My MIL remembered scoffing at this statement because, let’s face it, after 6 months of colic it is hard to believe. But as it turns out that woman was absolutely correct. My husband is incredibly kind in addition to being intelligent and still very sensitive. I am not saying that babies without colic won’t be kind because let’s face it, they already are by relieving their parents from 3 months of stress. But I see those qualities already in my dear Jackson. Just last night as I was nursing him to sleep, I started crying thinking about how much he had already grown. Almost as if he could sense my emotion he reached up with his hand and rubbed my face as if to say “it is okay mom, I love you too.” Love that sweet boy.

Stop trying to be perfect

At some point during the first three months, I  stopped trying to get him to sleep where I wanted him to, stopped trying to shove my boob in his mouth every time he cried and instead just held my son and rocked him. I stopped feeling like a failure and started realizing that babies cry. Sometimes they cry for no reason. And that is okay. Some days he takes great naps and I can get done all of the little tasks I have planned. But some days he wants to be held all day. Each day I am walking to fine line of allowing myself grace for my mistakes while at the same time pushing myself to be the best possible mother for Jackson.

Each day gets better. Just this morning I was thinking about how truly happy I am and how easy our day to day routine has become. I remember in the beginning I thought this day would never come. But it is here and I have never, ever been happier in my whole life.

my dragon baby

Since Jackson has been particularly fiery in the first few months of his life, he dressed as a dragon for his first Halloween. I am using the phrase “dressed up” loosely here because he lasted about 3 minutes in his costume before screaming for it to come off. But boy did he look cute.

Halloween was also the day we met with the gastrointestinal doctor to discuss his reflux. Thankfully, she wants to wait to do a scope and instead play with his Zantac dosage since he is approximately….huge (95th percentile for height and 90th percentile for weight). She also suggested adding some rice cereal to thicken some of his feeds a bit but I am holding off on that for a little while longer since he is not quite 4 months and he refuses a bottle.

The one thing she did confirm was that he is one smart, quizzy little dude. After watching me feed him she determined that part of his problem is that he loves to pop off my boob and “talk” to me, observe his surroundings and in the process sucks in a lot of air. That air makes him really gassy and really uncomfortable. The reflux is definitely a problem as well but not as dire as I thought.

Side note: That is the one good thing about being overdramatic–you are never disappointed in the result because you often build up the worst case scenario in your head or in this case, on my blog. I am working on that because the major downside to being overdramatic is unnecessary stress and occasionally annoying my husband. But he is my kid and I was really worried about him. So there.

Getting back to Jax…after one week on his new dosage I can honestly say I have seen a huge improvement in his feeds. He is much more comfortable and there is no screaming. As for me, instead of getting frustrated when he pops off, I talk right back to him. He laughs and smiles and the whole process is much less stressful on the both of us. He is still waking up quite often in the middle of the night but he is only 15 weeks old, I think I can cut him some slack. He will get to sleeping longer stretches when he is ready.

Take as long as you need buddy.

5 months would be nice.

Pretty please.

jackson: 3 months

Weight: 15 lbs, 4 ounces

Height: 25.5 inches

Milestones: Mirrors what I am doing (sticking out his tongue, cooing). Tummy time for 2-3 minutes at a time without screaming. Yes, I am considering this a milestone since he usually went 2-3 seconds before screaming. Pushes up to standing position on his own when I am holding his hands. So basically I think he is going to skip crawling and go right to walking. My sister did that at 9 months. Pray for me.


Challenges: SLEEP. He is still waking up every 2 hours at night and fighting every. single. nap every day. I am incredibly frustrated but in the end I know it is temporary situation. Reflux is still a problem but we are working on finding a permanent solution. We have changed his Zantac dosage so hopefully that will help.

Favorite Moments: This is going to sounds very selfish but my favorite moment this month is that he prefers being with me over anyone else. No matter how frazzled or upset he is the second he is in my arms, he is smiling. I had a really tough case of baby blues in the beginning and I can say at this point, I have never felt more connected to him.

Likes: Boobies, Pushing up to stand, the Jumperoo, Grabbing things, especially my hair, and his all-time favorite–BATH TIME. Whenever he is especially fussy I run a warm bath and he is all smiles.

Dislikes: Bottles, tummy time, massages, and of course, the car seat. There will be no road trips in our future.

Outings and Events: 4th trip on an airplane to San Jose, cousin Cody’s first birthday luau, started Gymboree music and play class, and lots of neighborhood walks in the stroller.




for the first time…

I am hosting Thanksgiving for my whole family. Sure, today is Halloween and I may be rushing the holidays with this post but I am so excited. We are going to be in Hawai’i for Christmas this year so Thanksgiving will be our only big holiday at our new home and I plan on going all out. I will roast the turkey, make some homemade cranberry sauce and decadent desserts and–my favorite part—decorate. Like a good blogger I headed to Pinterest to get some inspiration for the table and surrounding decor and for the first time in my life I may be more excited about decorating than eating. And that says a lot because I was pregnant last Thanksgiving. Here is what I am thinking so far:

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Plus, how cute is this kid’s table?

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P.S. If you are interested, you can find me on Pinterest here.

7 months

Reggie’s mom recently told me that baby Reg had colic for 7 months.

Let that marinate for a minute. 7 months.

How do you feel? Terrified? Us too.

I couldn’t help but think–what if Jackson’s colic lasts for that long too? I know in the grand scheme of his life 7 months is not that big of a deal but sometimes when you are trying to soothe a screaming baby time seems to stand still. And truthfully, things are not much better than they were a couple weeks ago. He hit 3 months last week and not much changed.  I thought I could say that colic passed us by–and maybe it has–but he is still very, very fussy and obviously uncomfortable most of the day. I am not so sure it is the colic anymore but the reflux. Our pediatrician seems to agree. So next week Jackson will meet with a pediatric gastrointestinal specialist at CHOC to discuss possible tests and stronger medication. The thought of my little boy hooked up to an IV and being put under anesthesia for testing makes me so anxious and terrifies me even more than 7 month long colic. But I know I need to be strong for him and realize that this is only going to help him in the long run. Having him live with painful reflux is far worse than the trials of finding a solution. And we will find a solution—even if it takes 7 months.

baby’s first pumpkin

Growing up in New England where fall isn’t just a season–it is more of an art form–each year I looked forward to pulling out my fall boots and cozy sweaters and welcoming in my favorite season. Apple picking, carving pumpkins were always on the agenda. Even in California, a place not known for a dramatic change in seasons, we can find places to do both.

Now that we have a baby, celebrating holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas now seem just as fun as they were when we were children. You know how that feeling of excitement fades as you get older? Well the feeling comes back with babies around. Everything feels new again. At least it does for me.  So we have pretty much had a pumpkin picking date scheduled since Jackson was born.

We had a great time at a local farm picking out a pumpkin for each member of our little family. Even though the weather was very warm, the act of picking our pumpkins made it officially feel like fall had begun. And so did a new family tradition. Jackson won’t remember this day when he is older…

But I certainly will.