Posted in Baby, family, Inspirations, life, Mom, Pregnancy, Thoughts

Extra-Ordinary Love, part 2

Nikola has always been an affectionate baby but lately he seems to have an agenda when dolling out kisses. He has learned that if he gives you a kiss and then asks or points to something, he’s more apt to get it. Whether it be a set of keys you’re fairly certain he’ll lose or if he wants you to play Baby Shark for the umteenth time. With his chubby little hands, knuckle dimples and all, he’ll grab either side of your face and pull you towards his. His mouth open as wide as a largemouth bass. And then, there it is. The kiss that makes you melt, over and over again.

He knows exactly how to manipulate your heart strings. He is smart and perfectly mischievous in the most adorable way. And it’s one of the things I love most about him.

The most masterful linguist, the most articulate wordsmith, wouldn’t be able to scratch the surface of the feeling that is loving your child. It is indescribable in every way. What it means. How it feels. It’s depth, It’s reach. It’s pull. All of it. It is entirely different from every other kind of love that exists. And I understand how incredibly lucky I am to feel it all day, every day.

You don’t know what unconditional love is. You may say you do, but if you don’t have a child, you don’t know what that is. But when you experience it, it is the most fulfilling ever. ”    Regina King

Posted in Baby, blogging, family, Health, life, Mom

Time Management for Mothers: How to include time for Self-Care?

To be very clear, this is not your traditional “how-to” post. I am looking for an answer, not providing one. This is a question that I am sending out into the void hoping for some insight. This concept is something I’m having a hard time getting my head around. I’m not trying to be a martyr. I’m not trying to convince myself or others of what a selfless mother I am. I simply can not figure out what it means and how to do it.

Is getting a haircut self-care? I think it might be. I haven’t one in almost a year. And I DESPERATELY need one. And when I go over the excuses in my head as to why, it really boils down to time. And perhaps a smidge of laziness.

Is going to the doctor considered self-care? Perhaps. If so, I have indulged in that twice this week. I put it off last week and my illness got worse. Why didn’t I go when I first started feeling under the weather? Nikola had been sick and it was inevitable that I was going to get it. As a mom, I think it may just be commonplace that your primary focus is “I’ll be fine. Let’s get baby healthy.” And now, here I am. sick with a virus that has wreaked havoc on my respiratory and digestive system the likes of which I have never seen or experienced. And due to the contagiousness of the virus my mother had to come and pick up Nikola and take him to her house for a couple of days. This is the first time I haven’t been with him overnight and it has been hard. Is having a “night off” from your baby in order to recuperate self-care?

A few months ago, I posted about some terrible migraines I was having. I received messages from friends with helpful tips and one in particular from an accomplished Yoga Therapist with an offer to come in for an appointment. It was so kind and generous of her to reach out. And I wanted to go. I wanted to make an appointment so badly. But I just couldn’t figure out how to move that appointment to the top of my priority list. For whatever reason.

Time management as a mother has got to be one of trickiest parts of the title. Am I willing to sacrifice time with my son on Saturday to go get a haircut, or to go get a massage, maybe go to the movies? There has been this meme floating around that says something like “Society expects women to mother like they don’t work and work like they’re not a mother.” I have a full-time job that I love. By the time I pick up Nikola at daycare and get home its 5:30pm. Nikola has imposed on himself a strict bedtime of 7:00pm. He just passes out, every night, at that time. So Monday through Friday, I get one and half hours with him. That ain’t a lot. I miss him all day long, and then I miss him when he goes to bed. So, when Saturday and Sunday come along, I just don’t want to NOT be with him. There have been so so many weeks where I’ve said “I’m going to go to the movies this weekend. Have some alone time.” but when the weekend rolls around, those plans have gone out the window. I no longer want to go.

Today, there is such an emphasis on self-care. The importance of it, and I believe it is important. This blog is my main source of it. And even then, I can’t find the time or energy to write a post. While I have 23 posts saved to my “draft” folder. The time and energy it takes to complete, edit and post seems daunting. Even impossible. So, how do you all do it? How do you make time for yourself? What kind of priority do you put on your own self-care? I’m looking forward to reading your comments.

Posted in Baby, family, Health, life, Mom, New Year, Photography, Thoughts

I Don’t Like Having My Picture Taken.

This came up in my newsfeed a while back.  I read all 312 comments.  There were some common themes.

To grandmother – “See mom, this is why I want to take pictures of you”

To spouse – “Honey, please take more photos of me and the kids”

and most poignantly:

“I need to work on this.”

I do need to work on this. And I think I’ve made the first steps. This blog post is, by far, the most personal I’ve ever written. I’ve never shared these photos. Nobody has ever seen the selfie, not even my husband. Up until 2 weeks ago, we didn’t have a single photo of my husband and I with our baby. He will be 8 months old on the 13th of this month.

When my husband proposed, I immediately started planning our wedding. I had worked in the industry and knew the vendors I wanted to use. We had a budget and when we were going over everything, the idea of a photographer was mentioned. I hadn’t planned on having one. This hurt my husband’s feelings so badly. So much so in fact, that he said “why have a wedding?” Seeing how strongly he felt, I actually saw a therapist to help get over the extreme anxiety of having my photo taken.

It did help. We hired a photographer. A friend and colleague of my mothers. Oh yeah, did I mention my mother is a photographer? When I got the photos, I cried. Not because of how beautiful they were – but how terrible I thought I looked. I didn’t post them to social media and didn’t share them with anyone.

I have purposefully and conveniently led a life a living in the moment. Truly only because of how self-conscious I am. I would never suggest taking a photo of a friend or an event, an occasion. Anything. Because that would have inevitably led to someone saying “You get it in it too, Darci” . And then where would I be? Uncomfortable, half-heartedly smiling and looking awkward. And dreading the inevitable moment when, after the picture was taken everyone would go and check to see how it came out. I never needed to look. I always knew the answer.

And now, on top of struggling with my own self-conscious; I’m having a hard time remembering to take photos. Even with a camera at my literal fingertips, I forget to take photos. Don’t get me wrong, I have hundreds of my son. But those special moments, whether be a first milestone, or a photo with a family member. Something out of the ordinary that would be truly special – I drop the ball. Can consciously, consistently not doing something become a habit? Has a lifetime of purposefully not taking photos become a habit? I worry that may be the case.

I promise you, this is not me having a pity party, or looking for compliments. I don’t know what to call it or define it as. I really, truly don’t. But the intensity of the feeling demands to be acknowledged. As I said at the beginning: Moving past these feelings is something that I am going to make a conscious effort at. I can’t put into words how hard this blog post has been to write. It has been in my drafts since August. And today, I will finish it. This is the first step. And as I look at the photo below, I can feel my blood pressure rising. The anxiety creeping in. I hate this last photo of me, but love it of my husband and baby. This is the only photo of the 3 of us. We had our baby baptized a couple of weeks ago.

I need to know: Is this common? Do others feel this way? I can only assume by the number of comments on the Facebook post above it is. Give me your feedback. Tell me your experience. Fill me in on the secret of how to overcome it. Please, I’m all ears, err eyes.

Posted in Baby, blogging, family, Mom, Pregnancy, Thoughts, writing

THE CRYING HANGOVER

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This is our view from Nikola’s room at The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital.  Our baby was admitted this past Thursday because of a mysterious fever, rash, fussiness combo.  Since becoming a mom I have googled everything under the sun related to babies, but this one was too scary.  Their initial concern was Bacterial Meningitis.  It takes 48 hours for the results from the spinal tap to come back. So while their concern is immediate, the results are not. It has been a long couple of days.  When he was born and in the NICU things were tough.  But at no point was he in pain.  This time, that hasn’t been the case.  So many tests, pokes, and prods.  It took more than six hours for the doctors to collect all of the different fluids they’d need.  Nikola cried most of that time.  And so did we.  The feeling you get when your child is in pain is just as indescribable as the amount of love you have for them. I had to prop myself up against a wall, the crying was uncontrollable. Hence, the crying hangover.  I haven’t had one since I had to leave the hospital without him when he was born.  And before that, it was my brother’s accident.  They are every bit as awful as the ones induced by alcohol.  Just a lot sadder.

But we got some great news a little while ago.  His Doctor came in and said that everything had come back negative.  They don’t know the exact cause of the fever but are considering it a viral infection most likely picked up at daycare.  Effing daycare.  We should be able to go home later today.

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A few people have asked lately if I was still blogging.  During the pregnancy I had terrible pregnancy brain, I could barely form sentences let alone put together a coherent blog post.  And since giving birth, well, I’ve been a little busy.

But more than either of those reasons I worried I didn’t have anything to say.  I thought that my experiences and opinions weren’t of value because I’m so new to the role of Mom.  But all of the research I’ve done for everything from best diaper bags to infant cognitive milestones has largely been based on a matter of opinion.  Even doctors opinions differ.    To our great frustration, I might add.  Just today we’ve been told that he’d be going home at 1 and then were told that it would be 6. An RN just came in 15 minutes ago and mentioned something about tomorrow.  Nothing has changed in Nikolas condition throughout the day, just the doctor at shift change.

So maybe my opinion on Dr. Brown’s bottles would be of value to someone.  Or maybe sharing our experience of having a baby in the NICU or even the experience we’re having now could help someone. Somewhere. At some point.

So, let’s try this again.  Back to Blogging.

 

 

Posted in Baby, Career, family, Fertility, Health, life, Mom, Pregnancy, Thoughts

Pregnancy and the accompanying​ anecdotes.

I’m pregnant.  After 2 years and 11 months of trying, my husband and I finally got a positive pregnancy test.  We spent a lot of money on sticks that I had to pee on, went to doctors, had fertility tests (all came back fine), and even tried in vitro.  All with no luck.  But, as of 2 days ago, we are 17 weeks pregnant.

We found out the morning of October 11th.  The day we left for our trip to Macedonia.  I was about 5 days late at that point.  I’m a superstitious person and after not just months, but literally years of getting excited every 28 days, and taking a test early only to be disappointed, I resolved to wait.  Wait until I was really late, like reeeaallly late.  I didn’t want to jinx it.  My husband Kruno was getting more and more excited as those late days passed by.  When I did take the test, I didn’t tell him what I was doing.  It came back positive almost immediately.  I called for him to come to the bathroom.  Drudgingly, he came. He thought I needed him in to kill a bug.  I showed him the test and excitement ensued.

The last 17 weeks have been enlightening.  I learn something new every day.  About my body, my abilities or lack thereof, and places I can, all of sudden, no longer comfortably reach because of my growing size.

And with every minute of research I’ve done since that positive test, I’ve become more and more aware that I know nothing about pregnancy, labor, and perhaps even babies.  And I’d like to share with you all some of the more interesting revelations I’ve had.

 

WHATS HAPPENING TO ME???

This question came early and often.  Google became my most used app.  How could I have been so clueless?  In movies and TV, pregnant women are portrayed in a certain 10c18pway.   Emotional. Vomiting, Bitchy.  I thought I was mentally prepared for all of it, but the other symptoms and the pure intensity hit me like a wrecking ball

I get so emotional, baby…

The first to rear its ugly head was the elevated hormones.  I’m an emotional person to begin with.  But I naively thought “How much worse could this get?”  Well… Let me tell ya.

Every emotion I feel, I feel it times a hundred, maybe even a thousand.  If I’m sad, it borders on devastation.  If I’m angry, watch out. But the most notable change is that I am loving harder.  I love people HARD.  Wicked hard. Over this past holiday, I looked at my young nephews, I just wanted to grab them and not let go.  I wanted to look them square in the eyes and say sternly ” I love you, dammit!”  (Picture Rhett Butler saying that to Scarlet O’Hara in “Gone with the wind”. But, I thought better of it.  The boys are young and I didn’t want to scare the shit out of them.)  And when I left my grandmothers house to come back home, I cried for a long time.  She lives just a few hours away. I can go see her any weekend.  And as I’m typing this, thinking about how much I love these people and how much I miss them, I’m crying.  I’m a mess.

And my crying has changed. The act of it itself.  These crying spells last forever.  My tears have even gotten bigger.   The amount of fluid that is falling from my eyeballs is astounding.  My tears are the size of nickles, I kid you not.  Isn’t that weird?  Has anyone else experienced that while pregnant?  And because of all these things.  The dehydration from the size and quantity of tears, and the ease at which I cry, I have had to completely change how and when I view things.  For example, I’m spending far less time on Facebook these days.  I used to love watching the heart-warming videos. that would populate my newsfeed.  But no more. I can’t risk it. I also haven’t been able to watch several episodes of “This is us”.  I watched a few at the beginning of the season, but when I saw the previews of the one where Kate has a miscarriage, all bets were off.  Now the second part of the season is supposed to start and I’m in a pickle.  Do I devote an entire day to catching up on the season?  Let’s do that math:  4 episodes I missed = 4 hours of viewing. + 2 hours of crying time (conservatively) + 1 hour of recuperation to let the puffiness in my face dissipate.  That’s a big commitment.

 

My body is a wonderland

No, no it isn’t.  While it is mystifying me these days, I don’t think that’s what John Mayer meant.  You can read Pinterest posts, join the community group chats in your pregnancy apps and read “What to expect when you’re expecting” all you want, but I guarantee you, something is going to happen that will throw you for a loop.  From my albeit brief experience, I’ve come to realize that it’s important to use the mentioned resources as merely a guideline.  Most of my symptoms have occurred earlier than normal.

 

One of the most notable and noticeable changes were that things errrr… grew a bit quicker than I would’ve expected.  Below is a screenshot of a conversation I had with a group of friends about my husband noticing a change.
Pregnancy convo
My clothes got tighter right off the bat.  And I thought “Ok, no big deal.  This was expected  I’ll go buy some new clothes.”  But it isn’t that easy.  Nothing fits right.  Nothing.  I’m not big enough for maternity clothes, but my stomach is too big for regular clothes.  Everything I own at this point is frumpy.    And because of the heightened emotions, the ill-fitting clothing sends me into a spiral of self-consciousness and frustration.  There are days that I can’t even look in the mirror before I leave for work.  Those days are the “Fuck it” days.  And they are happening more frequently as the pregnancy progresses.
One other thing that I started noticing recently was my walk has changed.  I used to have a confident stride.  I don’t know why considering how clumsy I am, but I did.  I used to be able to comfortably wear heels up to a certain height. But that’s all gone now.  As the day goes on, and I get to feeling less and less comfortable, my walk transforms.  Slowly, subtly, into a waddle.  At work by 4 pm, as I go to and from the printer I notice my body shifting from side to side, with a brief but significant settle in each step.  I will immediately correct it, but I know deep down that it’s going to come to a point when I’m no longer am able to.  It is inevitable.  The waddle is coming.

Don’t you, forget about me

“Of all the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most”.  Mark Twain must have stolen this from his wife when she was pregnant.  People talk about pregnancy brain often.  But nothing prepares you for it.  I am not just forgetting things, but I’m thinking I do things or say things that I don’t.  “Didn’t I tell you that?” has become my most used sentence recently.  A few weeks ago I had mentioned to my boss that I had forgotten to text some family members back recently.  She was understandably concerned whereas my job is mostly following up with clients and remembering things.  I assured her that I only let it affect my home life.  And that is the truth. I noticed that this was starting to happen, so the moment I leave work, I totally shut off my brain.  So far, it seems to be working. While this doesn’t thrill my husband, it’s a sacrifice we’ll have to make until I figure something else out. I haven’t written a post in a really long time.  Not because I didn’t have anything to write, or I was too busy. I have been conserving all of my brain cells for work.  This post, in fact, has taken an exceptionally long time.  I’ve been storing up for weeks to finish it.  Now, I’m no neurologist but I think there might be some logic to it.

The end

While this is only a short list of the symptoms I’ve experienced, these are what has struck me as funny.  I think it’s important to keep levity at the forefront.  Because what awaits us at the end is going to be the most momentous experience of our lives. We are so excited to be parents and I am excited to share our little stories throughout the process. S