Monday, July 30, 2018

Growing and Learning

As a new Mom I have been learning a lot of new things.  I have learned that I can run on very little and broken up sleep, I can do a lot of things one handed, there are a lot of things I CAN'T do one handed, a tiny human can frustrate me, there really is such a thing as unconditional love, I am a selfish human being.  These are just a few of the things I have learned so far and I am sure I will learn a lot more.

I have always known I had selfish tendencies but having a baby has really opened my eyes to how selfish I really am.  Just two days ago I was particularly sleepy.  Getting up at four AM to do online teaching has taken more out of me than I thought it would... Anyway, it was FINALLY bedtime.  Winry sleeps great most nights but does not always nap well during the day and her afternoon/evenings are typically full of crying. So, bedtime rolls around and I can't wait to put her to bed so that I can have a little break before I go to bed.  I breastfeed her, get her nice and sleepy, and lay her down.  Five minutes later she starts to cry... I roll my eyes, let out a grunt and wait a minute to see if she will go back to sleep.  To my dismay, she doesn't.  She starts crying... I pick her up and hold her, trying to help her get sleepy again, BUT I am SO frustrated with her.  I think to myself, why can't she just go to sleep.  All I want is a little break.  I am exhausted.  I am doing so much, I deserve a little break!  Why does she have to do this when I am more sleepy than usual!?

Surely I am not the only one that feels this way sometimes?!?

If so, I probably look like a total jerk.

Anyway, after a few minutes of holding her and looking at that sweet face, I start to calm down.  I think about how I am who she relies on for EVERYTHING.  She is too young to self soothe and when she is upset she turns to me for her comfort.  I should be proud of that.  I should offer myself freely to her.  Giving her whatever she needs and doing so matter how I feel and without being frustrated about it.

Then, I was reminded of the love God has for me.  Thankfully his love is perfect, unlike me... He never begrudgingly does something for me.  It is out of pure selfless love.  He does not throw a pity party.  His love for us is faultless.  When I come to him kicking and screaming, he comforts me.  When I need a shoulder to cry on, he is there.  He does these things despite my actions.  Even when I have done nothing for him, he is here.  

I can only hope that since my selfishness has been revealed to me I can do my best to fight it.  To fight those feelings of self pity.  But, I can also remember the grace of God during those moments and know that no matter how I feel, I am doing my best.  

I hope that I am not alone in this and I hope this post has helped all the other moms know that they are not alone.  We are all growing and learning together.  So let's be honest about how we feel.  Let's let others know that they are not alone.  Let's not be too quick to judge others.  Let's come together as moms and support each other.

Motherhood is an amazing thing but it can also be tiring, frustrating, and isolating.

Most importantly, know that no matter what, as long as you are doing your best, you are the perfect mom for your child.  And remember the grace of God in your "not so great" moments.  Keep up the good work!

Bonus pictures of our sweet rainbow baby...

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

She is here!

**Please note... I go into detail about our birthing story and there is probably TMI in this post but I feel like it's important to tell our story and I hope that some woman are able to relate to some of the issues I discuss in this post.**

Our sweet Winry made her entrance into this world on June 4th at 12:35 am.  She was 6 lbs 12 ounces ad 18 1/2 inches long.  I was in labor for about 25 hours...we were checked in at the hospital at about 2:30 am on Sunday morning but my contractions picked up around 11:30 pm Saturday night.  

When they broke my water they realized that there was some meconium.  This made me really nervous because I had read about it and knew that it could cause some problems.  I didn't dwell on it long because of everything else that was going on.  Before they broke my water I asked that they go ahead and give me the epidural.  Sadly, it did not work well.  I was still in a significant amount of pain and they had to redo it.  I have never responded well to pain meds... When they redid the epidural it helped with the back pain I was experiencing.  But, when it came time to push it had worn off significantly.  It's hard to explain but I was able to move my legs again, I could feel each contraction, I was even able to feel myself tear, but the pain was bearable.  I don't know if that was adrenaline or the medication... I pushed for about an hour and a half and then Winry was here.  I freaked out because she did not cry right away.  They placed her on my stomach once she was out but then took her to the NICU team that was in the room and they worked on her.  I could not see exactly what they were doing but I watched them pound on her, suck stuff from her mouth and nose and for what seemed like forever...she was silent.  They kept reassuring me her vitals all looked ok but I was a mess.  Finally we heard some pitiful quiet cries and they let me hold her for a minute before taking her away to the NICU.

Before they took us to our room we got to stop by and see Winry in the NICU.  They said she was having some fast breathing and had signs of an infection.  She was put on a feeding tube and oxygen. I really wanted to breastfeed and I was worried that her NICU stay would make that difficult.  I started pumping right away and was surprised at how fast my milk came in.  After about 3 or four days with the feeding tube they took her off and began bottle feeding, using donated breast milk (I had no idea this was a thing but am so thankful to those women that donate).  Once I was making a significant amount of my own milk they began using strictly my milk.  Then we began trying to breastfeed.  It was a struggle.  The lactation nurse came by to help and all it did was stress me out even more.  I know she was trying to be helpful but it was a very defeating day.  One of the nurses told me she would get me a nipple shield to try since she thought my nipples were too flat.  It made all the difference.  With it I was able to feed my baby.  But, let me tell you...these are apparently very controversial.  Women are shamed all the time for using them.  I had a nurse call from our insurance company and she gave me a hard time for using it.  She basically said that Winry was playing me... I'm sorry but when your baby chokes and gags while they are breastfeeding I don't think they are doing that on purpose.  I think my letdown was too strong for her.  But honestly, I don't care if she was playing me.  When your baby was tube fed the first few days of her life, you don't care how she just want her to eat!   I WAS worried about weaning her off of can be a pain to use.  She was always knocking it off and it would make feeding in public more difficult.  But I read a few articles and stories from women that said keep offering the breast without a shield as often as possible and when they are ready they will take it without.  Well, today was our day!  She had a successful feeding without the nipple shield.  So ladies, don't let others tell you how to mother your baby.  As moms, we truly know what is best for our babies and if you are having feeding issues, try the nipple shield, it may make all the difference and your baby won't have to use it forever.

Okay, enough of that.

On another note, I have been feeling pretty miserable.  I have mastitis... it basically makes you feel like you have the flu.  Mothering and feeling terrible is probably one of the hardest things to do.  On top of that, Winry has only been wanting mommy the past few days.  Thankfully she seems to know that night time is for sleeping by herself but during the day, she is only happy sleeping on mommy's chest.  I hate it and love it at the same time.  She is currently sleeping on me as I type this post. :)

I have learned real fast that as a new mom you have to learn to do pretty much anything quickly and one handed.  I am going to be buying a lot of meals that can be prepared and eaten one handed because it never fails... anytime I try to eat Winry wants to be right here with me.

I'm not sure how long it takes some people to go on a date night after having a baby but Casey and I went on a date this weekend.  I was reluctant but he really wanted to see Incredibles 2 and I knew deep down that it would be good for us to go out, just the two of us.  We had a great time and Winry was in good hands.  So new moms, if you have not gone out yet and you have people you trust to take care of your baby... do it!

I am so thankful to have this sweet on here.  Thank you for following our LONG journey.  This journey has been tough but I am thankful that the Lord saw us through.  He gave us strength when we were week.  He gave us hope when we had none.  He has truly shown us that even during the darkest of circumstances, he is working on a perfect, beautiful plan.  So, if you find yourself in a dark time, know that no matter what, He has a beautiful plan for you too.  You just may have to wait a while to see it.  Never stop trusting the Lord and his goodness.

I will continue writing about this journey and things that I am learning as a new mother.  :)

Stay tuned!      

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Now we wait....


I can't believe I have not posted since January.  Time has flown and I have been SO busy planning and getting ready for our sweet Winry to get here.  Things are pretty much done!  Now...we wait.

Waiting is not something I am great at but it is something I think the Lord has really been helping me work on these past few years.  The real bummer I have to wait from home, laying in bed.  At my appointment on Monday I was hopeful things would be progressing well and the doctor would say we could expect Winry any day.  She does feel that Winry could come at any time now...but she also said my blood pressure was too high and looking back at the charts, it has been slowly going up throughout my pregnancy.  So, bed rest it is.  It is one thing to "wait" and be least that way you have a way to distract yourself.  It is another thing to have to wait and not be able to get anything done or go anywhere to help the time pass.  I also have the added worry now... that if the bed rest does not help my blood pressure go down, it could affect Winry too.

That anxiety of something going wrong has never left.  It creeps in at the most random times and tries to consume me.  Thankfully with a lot of prayer, I typically don't go too far down those anxiety rabbit holes.  But, sometimes it is oh so tempting.  Especially now that I have plenty of time to do so.

Today I plan to make a schedule for myself so I actually feel productive and don't just binge watch tv shows for the next week. :)

So far I have had an easy pregnancy.  I never had much morning sickness.  I was nauseous for a while and have not been able to touch chicken since the very beginning of my pregnancy but never threw up.  I have had terrible heartburn and acid reflux from probably around the 5-6 month mark and my hips have been hurting while I sleep for what seems like FOREVER.  But, I know I am lucky.  Some women are miserable their entire pregnancy.

My favorite things about pregnancy would have to be feeling Winry move.  I have an anterior placenta so it took a while to feel really strong movements.  But, I love it.  I could just sit and watch her move around all day (I guess I could do that now if I wanted lol).  I also love my "bump".  I'll be honest, I feel more confident with my pregnant belly than I ever have without it.  I love how I look pregnant!  I am dreading to see what the aftermath of this "bump" will look like... but I am sure I won't care, at least for a little while.

I think my biggest worries at this point are if the dogs do ok with Winry, that we have don't everything we need (I am sure we do!), the pain of childbirth, and not knowing exactly when Winry will come.

But, I know everything will work out, I just need to have patience and WAIT.

I am thankful for all the love and support we have received throughout this pregnancy.  Everyone is already loving Winry so well!  She is one lucky little girl.  We had two wonderful baby showers.  One was done by my AMAZING coworkers and the other was done by my three WONDERFUL moms.  I am so thankful for all the support we have from friends and family.

Hopefully the next time I write will be AFTER sweet Winry is here!

Here is the picture from our previous sono.  She has the cutest chunky cheeks! Her head is on the right and arms/body on the left.

Romans 12:12
"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."

Psalm 55:22
"Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved."

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Hope in the Darkness

This has been a hard blog to write.  I know that some women will feel alone or forgotten when they read it.  I hope that instead they see the love of God shining through and remember that we all have different stories.  That even though they may find themselves in different circumstances they don't feel disheartened.  My outcome is not better than their outcome and I am not more "blessed" than they are.  God has a different story for all of us and I hope that we can love each other through our different life stories.  That just because God gives someone else what we want...that does not mean that He loves us any less or them any more.

So, now that I have said what I feel I needed to say, I hope this post offers hope to those looking for it.  That it reveals the love of God and his perfect plan for our lives.

The last post I made was after my miscarriage.  Just a short backstory for those of you that did not read my older posts... I struggled with unexplained infertility for about a year.  We tried multiple forms of medication to help but nothing did.  Shortly before we saw a fertility specialist my cycles came back.  We decided that instead of going forward with fertility treatments, we would try a few months on our own.  To our surprise, it worked!  We got pregnant on our own!  We went in for an early ultrasound...the baby did not measure on track and heartbeat was a little slow.  They had us come back in two weeks to check on the baby.  To our dismay, I had a missed miscarriage.  That basically means I had lost the baby but my body did not realize that.  I still had pregnancy symptoms and no sign of miscarriage.  I was confused.  Why would God allow us to get pregnant on our own after struggling with infertility and then lose the precious life he had given us...

The best thing I could find in my searching for answers is the fact that we live in a fallen world.  God is a giver a life but because this world is fallen, babies die.  Bad things happen.  But, I was able to find hope in the fact that no matter what, God is in control and he loves me.  Because of Him...I would be reunited with my sweet baby one day.  Even though I would not be with her on this earth, I would hold Felicity in heaven.

We decided to start trying for another baby as soon as the doctor approved and she said we just needed to wait for one cycle.  The month we got pregnant was a weird month and I had a hard time tracking my cycle "symptoms" to know when ovulation was happening.  I really thought I had missed it.  After a few weeks I noticed tender breasts...this was my first sign with the last pregnancy.  I tested for two weeks before FINALLY getting a positive.  I was filled with joy but overcome with anxiety all at once.  I just had to remind myself that nothing I did would make this pregnancy a success.  It was all in God's hands and I just had to live in the moment.  Be happy for what was happening right now.

One morning, before we started telling more people about the pregnancy, I prayed and asked God for some kind of sign.  My pregnancy symptoms were not very consistent which did not help with the anxiety.  When I got to work that day a coworker of mine told me she had something for me.  She said she had been working on it for a while but did not know originally who it would be for.  She said that the Lord told her it was for me.  She pulled it out and it was a pink baby blanket.  I could not believe it.  What a beautiful sign from God.  Even the pink was significant!  I am having a baby girl!  We would not find that out for a few weeks after receiving the blanket.

We had fun telling friends and family.  We had a gender reveal party to tell everyone we were having a girl and we also did a name reveal.  Her name is Winry Rose.  We already love sweet Winry so much!

Despite all the good... I still have my bad days.  Days filled with worry and anxiety.  This morning I came across a great verse that I feel anyone can benefit from no matter what is going on in their life.

Isaiah 40:31 "but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not become weary, they will walk and not faint."

So often, I look to myself when I am going through something hard.  I don't stop and look to the giver of peace and comfort.

You see, no matter your circumstances... whether you are longing to be a mother but fertility problems are making it difficult, whether you long to be a mother but doctors have told you that you can't possibly have a child of your own, maybe you have suffered a loss of an unborn child, maybe you suffered a loss of a born child, maybe you have five kids and had no issues whatsoever getting pregnant...all of us have had our struggles.  All of us find times where we have no hope, feel unloved, like God doesn't see us, like our cries are going unheard.  But, he does hear, he hurts when we hurt, He sees our struggles and it breaks His heart.  But, he gives a hope and peace, if we would just look to Him to find it.  If we would stop letting our circumstance determine how we feel.  He is here, waiting for us to look to Him for our strength.  He will comfort us when we don't understand His plan and I truly believe He can give is peace that surpasses all understanding.

I am praying for all of us.  That this year, no matter our circumstances we will look to Him and recognize the love He has for us despite our personal circumstances.  When I am overcome with anxiety I will remember how He has worked in my life...even when I was at my lowest, His love and peace was able to shine through... but only in the moments that I focused on Him.

On another note, Felicity's due date was January 31st.  Even though I am pregnant with a second baby, I can't help but think about what life would be like.  My belly would be HUGE and we would be awaiting Felicity's arrival in the next few weeks.  It breaks my heart to think about her.  To wonder what she would have been like.  What her personality would be.  Would she look more like me or Casey? Was she actually a boy!?  I really don't know if she was a she but I had a strong feeling I was having a that's what I am going with!  These questions won't be answered for a long time.

 I wanted to do something in honor of Felicity on what would have been her birth date.  So, if you would join me that would be awesome!  I want everyone to do something kind for someone but I want you to brag and post it online.  I am sure that day will not be easy for me but seeing your posts of the kindness you are spreading in the name of Felicity...that will make my day.  So if you will post about your kind gesture on January 31st and use the hashtag #felicitytapp, that would be great! :)

Thank you!