Sunday, August 25, 2013

Back to School

Tomorrow is the day I've been dreading all summer:  the day I go back to school.  It's the reason I haven't blogged in awhile: it's been clouding my thoughts all week.  Yet, I didn't really want to write a whole post about it, because my emotions were too strong.

It really hit me on Thursday night, and I spent most of Thursday and Friday in tears, clutching onto my little girl like I was never going to see her again.  I don't think I would be exaggerating in saying that this is one of the hardest things I've ever done. It would feel more natural to cut off my arm, because that feels like less a part of me than she does at this point.

Dramatic much?  Maybe, but this is really hard!  She's only 6 weeks old! Luckily I think I got most of my crying out already.  I know God is giving me a peace in this situation.  My schedule isn't horrible, and I know she will be in great hands while I'm not with her, either staying with Luke's family or mine.

I just have to keep telling myself that I am doing this to give Scarlett a better life.  To be able to move out into the country someday where she can run and play to her heart's content.  To be a role model for her as a woman who can go out into the world and help people each day to help provide for her family.  Would I much rather be a stay-at-home-mom and never have to leave her?  Yes.  But that's more for my sake than hers.  I know God has plans for me, and I want to surrender to His will!

I think that's all I'll say about the subject right now.  I really do feel a peace about the situation, and I'm excited for the semester ahead.  If I dwell on it too much, I might go back to being depressed, and I don't want that!  I'll leave with a few recent pictures of Scarlett.  Because, why not?

Trying her robe after bathtime

With Aunt Julie

I bought her this onesie for Luke for  Father's Day.  It finally fits!

This is one of my favorite outfits of hers.  She wore it for a girls day out with me and my mom last week

...And some outtakes of her crazy faces 

Speaking of faces, she has been so expressive lately with her face, she keeps us pretty entertained all the time!

Here she is in her 'jammies.  I think you can tell here that she got Daddy's height!  < 3rd percentile for weight, 51st percentile for length!  she is one long, skinny lady!  She'll be happy if that keeps up when she's older! 

Quite possibly my favorite picture of her to date:

 And last but not least, we officially have a smiler!  She's been smiling in her sleep pretty much since birth, but we got her first real, social smile about a week ago, when she was 5 weeks old.  So the past 7 days have basically been spent doing nothing but trying to make her smile!  Ignore the flower in the middle of her head.  I'm a little OCD about where I like her flowers and bows on the side of her head.

I hear the little lady waking up now, so I will sign off!  I'm not sure what posting will be like during the semester, but hopefully I'll at least muster up a post or two each week.  Happy Sunday!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

One Month Old!

Dear Scarlett,

You are one month old today!

Somehow, the 9 months spent waiting for you were the longest of our lives.  But your first month here with us just flew by!  I guess it's because you kept us so busy!

You are such a sweet baby!  The first week we almost never heard you cry!  Since then, you have definitely let us know you have some serious lungs.  But you only seem to use them when you are either a.) hungry, b.) having your clothes changed, or c.) wanting to be held.  You also used to scream and cry during bath time, but suddenly you seem to love it lately!

You are quite the little snuggle bug.  You don't let Mommy or Daddy put you down unless you are sleeping!  We think you're too young (and cute!) to be spoiled, so we always indulge.

At night you usually sleep in 2- or 3-hour stretches. You go down for the first time around 10 PM, and are usually up for the day anywhere between 6 and 9 AM, so that means you're usually up 3 times during the night for about an hour each time.  Mommy doesn't mind, because she loves the time with you all to herself!  You still sleep for a good portion of the day too, so that gives Mommy a good chance to nap!

Your first weeks at home were a bit stressful, because you were jaundiced and having trouble gaining weight!  You weighed 5 lbs, 3 oz when you were born, but 2 weeks later you had dropped to 4 lbs., 12 oz.  Luckily, your jaundice cleared up quickly with the help of a glowing bili blanket that we had to keep on you 24/7 for about 5 days.  And your weight gain finally picked up momentum.  At your appointment a week-and-a-half ago, you were up to 5 lbs, 6 oz.  We have another appointment on Wednesday, and I can't wait to see how much you've gained!  

It is amazing to see how much you've changed in just 1 month!  Your first few days, it was rare to even see you with your eyes open.  Now you'll go hours at a time, wide awake!  Everyone is amazed at how alert you are.  You like to watch mommy and daddy while we talk to you.  You also like to watch the cats, the little teddy bear rattle from Grandma, and you like to look out the window.  You have quite the personality already, and you crack us up with your funny faces!  Your half smile is our favorite:

For as little as you are, we cannot believe how strong you are!  you like to push off of us with your arms and legs when we're holding you.  If I put you on your belly, you push up off of your belly on your legs.  You can support your head on your own for a few seconds at a time, and you lift it up when you're laying on your back or belly.  You also seem to have Daddy's long limbs, so he hopes that means you'll be tall! ...and an athlete.  And Mommy hopes that means you'll be a ballerina.  Of course, we will be happy if you are either, both, or neither of those things.  We just know God has amazing plans for your life, and as long as you live to honor Him, it doesn't matter what you do!

Your first month of life was pretty eventful!  Daddy had two weeks off from work, so we got to spend a lot of time together as a new family of three.  It was such a special time, and we'll never forget those first few weeks!  We kept very busy!  You went on a lot of outings, including: doctor's and hospital visits, shopping trips, church, Daddy's softball games, walks with Mommy to the post office, Family get-togethers, Great Grandma Steer's funeral and calling hours (we are so glad you got to meet her before she passed away!) and even the zoo for Aunt Julie's birthday!  We made some fun memories, even though you were asleep during most of them!  

Here's what you looked like during your first month of life: 

What a cutie!

We love you so much, and can't wait to continue to watch you grow!  Although we also kind of wish we could freeze time and just keep you this tiny and cuddly forever!

Mommy and Daddy

Friday, August 9, 2013

10 Things Nobody Told Me

...Or "Things people told me, but I didn't take them seriously enough."

1. You will feel like you got hit by a semi truck the day after you give birth. I know people say that expression a lot to explain how they felt when they had a cold or worked out a little too hard the day before.  But no, really, you will feel like you got hit by a semi.  I had been taking 800 mg Motrin pills all day the day after Scarlett was born for the pain, and decided to see if I could go without one that evening.  The last pill had worn off, and I leaned forward to get out of the bed to use the restroom.  I gasped as the pain hit me, and I realized I literally couldn't even get out of bed.  Obviously, I immediately paged the nurse and told her to give me the drugs!  Also, postpartum recovery is no joke. All those horror stories you've ever heard about it?  They're all true.  Every single one. 

2. Breastfeeding is simultaneously the most frustrating thing I've ever done, and also the most empowering and rewarding thing.  It has resulted in hours of crying, for both Scarlett and I.  But now that we're getting the hang of it, it is the most cherished part of my day. 

3. As a new parent, you will Google questions about the color, frequency, and consistency of your baby's poop. 

4. You will cry.  All the time.  Usually for no reason. 

5.  You will have trouble sharing your baby.  No matter how much time you spend alone with her, you will get jealous when you pass her off to someone else.  Even if it's your husband, sometimes.  (It's possible that this is just me.  And I think the fact that I know my days alone with her are numbered since I'm going back to school is not helping). 

6.  The nursery will never, ever, ever look as nice and clean as when you first set it up.

7.  Your infant will wear at least 3 outfits each day, because she will inevitably get spit up, pee, or poop all over everything.  Always bring a change of clothes for baby with you.  I repeat:  always bring a change of clothes!

8.  My mom was right.  About everything.

9.  You will do everything you swore you would never do.  

10. Motherhood is not glamorous.  It's a struggle for me to get a shower most days.  I've had baby poop leak out onto my t-shirt, and 3 minutes later while changing the baby, I've been projectile vomited on.  I've had as many as 4 bodily fluids on me at one time that weren't even my own.  My house has never been messier.  I haven't had more than 3 hours of sleep at a time in 4 weeks. 

But it's all totally worth it!  The sweet moments completely erase the bad ones.  I'm so excited for this little life.  I can't wait for her to experience all that God has in store for her!  I'm still blown away by how blessed I am to be her mom.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Scarlett's Lullabye

Scarlett and I have been having a tiring couple of days.  In the past 36 hours, I have barely left the couch because I feel like I've been constantly feeding her.  I can't figure out if she's going through a growth spurt, or just needs the comfort of nursing, but girlfriend has been working me overtime.  Last night when Luke got home and Scarlett finally finished a feeding, I immediately put her in Luke's arms and left the house headed for fast food, because I had barely been able to eat all day, and wanted to get out and get some food before Scarlett woke up and decided she was still hungry!

Last night Scarlett was up every 1.5 - 2 hours for an hour-long feeding each time.  This is pretty normal, but when Luke leaves for work, I usually put her in bed with me and we cuddle and sleep for another 2-3 hours.  I usually love this special time, just the two of us.  But apparently the little lady was up and raring to go at 6 today, and would have no part in our extra morning snooze.

All morning she has been fussy and hungry!  I tried to put her down a few times so I could eat, get dressed, and for heaven sake, brush my teeth already!  (I gave up on the idea of a shower hours ago).  Every time she would doze off, I'd lay her down, and she'd start to whimper.  The whimpers would quickly escalate to guttural cries, the likes of which I would never expect to come from a creature who barely weighs more than a bag of sugar.

I'm not a cruel person, and I do not believe a 4-week old is old enough to cry it out.  So each time I'd pick her up, comfort her, eventually feed her again, and try to put her back down.  A vicious cycle.

Finally it was closing in on 1:30, and I still hadn't so much as brushed my teeth.  (Her infant carrier has weight minimum of 8 lbs, so I'm really looking forward to her fitting into it in the next couple of months so I can carry her and be hands free!)  I was getting frustrated to say the least!  I finally decided we would just go in the nursery, stop worrying about what time it was and what I hadn't accomplished yet today, and rock.

I pulled her close and rested my cheek on her soft, peach-fuzz hair.  I turned a lullabye station on Pandora, and just focused on cuddling my baby girl.  She was still restless.  Then one of my favorite songs of all time came on: "Make You Feel My Love," Adele's version.

All through my pregnancy whenever I heard this song, I sang it to the little life growing inside of me.  

My favorite line says, "I could make you happy, make your dreams come true.  Nothing that I wouldn't do.  Go to the ends of the earth for you.  To make you feel my love."  Singing those words to her after our tough couple of days brought everything back into perspective.  I can't even describe the love I feel for this tiny baby.  I literally would do anything for her.  

As I rocked Scarlett and sang the words to her, I remembered all those months of waiting where I imagined rocking my baby to sleep someday.  Back then I wondered if that day would ever come.  And here I was today, totally unaware of what a profound gift and blessing it is that Scarlett needs me so much.  Today.  As I sang each word I felt her little limbs relax, and eventually her body went limp in my arms.  Tears were streaming down my face as I finished the song.  I thanked God for opening my eyes and reminding me what a special time this is, and what special memories these are. 

A couple months before Scarlett was born, our worship leader sang this song during a Night of Worship at our church because he said the song describes how the Lord feels about us.  The Lord has blown me away since having Scarlett, because I have these moments where I feel like I love her so much that I'm going to explode.  Like my body can't handle the magnitude of what I'm feeling.  And each time I have a moment like that, I am reminded that my love for Scarlett is only a tiny fraction of the love that God has for each one of us.  

He would and already has done everything for us.  He died for us.  For our sins even.  I hope you never doubt that you are loved!  Beyond any earthly love you could ever imagine! 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Zoo Trip

Monday was my sister's birthday, and to celebrate, she, my mom, Scarlett, and I took a trip to the Akron Zoo!

We had so much fun, and although Scarlett slept just about the entire time, I'm pretty sure she at least loved being pushed around in her stroller all morning.

Scarlett was totally pumped, obviously...

I had fun practicing some more with my new camera

 Mom treated us to soft pretzels along the way

Of course Grandma had to buy Scarlett a souvenir from her first zoo trip:

Afterward we went out to lunch.  It was a fun day!  Spending time with my mom and sister is always a blessing.

Happy Birthday, Julie!