Parent Newbies

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Brady had his first bath about a week ago, which was – in my opinion – an exciting milestone for the little guy. :)

That’s one of my favorite parts of being a mom. When they’re this little, every single experience and discovery is so brand new and memorable.  Of course, that generally means that the experience is just as brand new and ‘memorable’ for mommy and daddy too. ;)

I had made sure that we had the video camera on hand for my baby’s first bath-time, but it quickly became clear that we were documenting more than our baby’s first tub experience. We were also capturing just how new to this we were!

Video take 1 – Nate started to put baby Brady into the tub with his diaper on. Delete. Let’s ‘do-over’ Brady’s first bath

Video take 2 – Nate started to put Brady into the tub backwards. Oops. Delete. Let’s ‘do-over’ Brady’s first bath

Video take 3 – I got peed on. Ha, ha. That was funny. But seriously, let’s ‘do-over’ Brady’s first bath

Video take 4 – I realized we had put too much water in the baby bathtub, when I was supporting Brady’s shoulders and neck… and suddenly his bottom and legs started floating off of the bottom of the tub. (Judging by how well the little guy kicked while floating though, I think he’s going to be great at swimming someday).

“Delete, Nate, delete,” I said quickly to my husband who was holding the camera at the time. “And come help me. He’s floating away!”

We laughed together, finished Brady’s bath, admitted to each other that the video wasn’t exactly turning into the precious keepsake we had planned on it being, and – thankfully – the second bathtime went much smoother. Because that’s the thing about being a parent… Sometimes you kind of just learn as you go.

And really, that’s okay.

Still, it’s a good thing that Brady won’t remember that first bath…  Ha, ha.

Before Brady was born, the last time I had changed a diaper was when I babysat a neighbor’s little boy at the age of 15. (So, you know, only about 16 years ago)! ;) Granted, at this point in time, I could change a diaper with my eyes closed. It’s amazing how many times a baby can poop and pee during the course of three weeks!  But still, before my little guy was born, I was nervous about how capable of a mother I’d be, since my childcare portfolio was pretty much nonexistent

Okay, you’re right. It was nonexistant.

I used to tell people that there was only one other person on the face of this planet who was more clueless about babies than me… and I married him. ;)

So, you know, we weren’t exactly the most informed couple when it came to bringing home a bundle of joy. (Thus my requiring myself to read three baby books before Brady was born).

I remember how scared I was when I brought Brady to his first Pediatrician’s appointment. He was a fresh-faced, squishy baby – just 7 days old – that the hospital staff had somehow trusted me to take home. I was terrified that the doctor would see through my calm poker-face and declare me to be unfit to be his mother. Surely she would see that I brought mostly love to the table. And even though a Hallmark card may disagree, babies do need more than love to thrive.

I didn’t exactly help my case. When the nurse asked me to take off Brady’s diaper, so that he could be weighed, I did so and then instantly carried him to the baby-scale. The only problem is that Brady had pooped his diaper, and – in my effort to respond quickly and casually – I didn’t pause to really process and think. So I didn’t bother to wipe his bum first. So after carrying a naked baby to the scale, I ended up with baby poop all along the sleeve of my sweater.

Think, Nicole. Think, calm down, and slow down, I commanded myself.

Thankfully our pediatrician was not only understanding of my nervousness, but she was also very supportive. She praised my breastfeeding efforts, as Brady had gained the weight they really wanted him to (after losing a pound at the hospital, as most babies do). YAY for that accomplishment (as breastfeeding really isn’t easy to get the hang of at first). And she answered all of my questions without making me or my husband Nate feel stupid . In fact, she left me feeling encouraged that we weren’t only just being parents.

We were totally rocking at it!

I’m learning that it doesn’t matter if you’ve read three baby books or written an entire library on them. Every baby is different and doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Countless people will provide advice and tips on what you can or should do. But at the end of the day, you have to listen to your gut, follow your intuition, and sometimes even learn from your mistakes.

And honestly, that’s part of the fun… discovering who your baby is and what he needs to be healthy and successful. In the end, no one else will know your child the way that you do!

Really, it doesn’t matter how many diapers you’ve changed in the course of your life. And, yes, your baby will need more than love to thrive… But your love will guide you to figure out what it is that your baby needs! It’s just up to you to embrace the journey… and to laugh when you get a little poop on your sweater or when your baby starts to swim away during bathtime.  :)

Just a Mom

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The first week of motherhood wasn’t all that difficult…  Actually, it was shockingly easy.  Brady slept most of the time, occasionally waking up to make adorable faces at us or to stare mesmerized at the Christmas tree.  (Gosh, he loves Christmas lights)!  Then I’d feed him, he’d sleepily blink his eyes a few times, and he’d fall asleep for a couple of hours.  Life was good… and practically perfect.

Then week 2 hit…

The acid reflux and gas issues seemed to hit him the moment day 14 arrived but progressively got worse throughout the week. My ever-happy baby was soon screaming in pain, his little face reddened and scrunched up in discomfort.  His cries could not be comforted, no matter how gently I rocked him.  The cramping in his belly and burning in his throat were just too much.

I cried. It broke my heart that my little baby was in so much pain, and I couldn’t make him feel better. Even though I knew it wasn’t the case, it made me feel like a failure as a mom.  I should be able to soothe him with my healing touch and to help him feel all better.

No matter how long I burped him, I couldn’t seem to get him to release the gas bubbles in his belly. And there was no instant-relief medicine in my bathroom cabinet that would help him feel better. Even a trip to the doctors didn’t give us any answers, other than the suggestion to give him gripe water and to begin a food journal (in case something that I was eating might be bothering him when I breastfeed).

There was no quick fix. Nothing to release the sharp pains that made him cry.  Finding a reason for his unhappiness (and therefore finding him relief) was all about the process of elimination.  Oh, how I wish he could talk and tell me what hurts and what I could do to make him feel better!

That’s the thing about being a mom… You want nothing more than to be able to kiss away your child’s pain. To chase away the bullies that make him cry. To scare away the nightmares and to replace them with happy dreams.

What you wouldn’t do to change places and to feel that pain instead, because nothing hurts more than to see your little one suffer.

But at the end of the day, you are ‘just’ a mom. And while – to your child – you might be superwomen and a safe place of comfort, you are also human. And as much as you long to, you can’t shield your child from the hurt and pain that he will experience along with all the joy and happiness throughout his life.  You can only raise him to be prepared for it…

You can, however, be a constant source of love in an uncertain world. You can always be there, when he needs you. Always a hand to hold, always a warm hug on a cold day, always a source of encouragement when others might not believe.

Always there.

Even now, when I can’t take away my Brady’s pain, I will let him know that his mama is here when he cries. Always.  Because sometimes, ‘just a mom’ is what a little baby needs.

“So sleep easy, my little one.  Mama will be here when you wake.  And hopefully, tomorrow will be an easier day, and you will feel better.  I love you… always.”

 

A 24/7 Job!

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I’ve had so many posts that I’ve wanted to write this week… but I just honestly have not had one free moment.  :)  Baby Brady is in a cluster-feeding stage and is eating every hour.  And since I’m breastfeeding, that means I’m the one who has to feed him every 60 minutes (even over-night), before I change his diaper (with lots of diaper-changing support from the hubby), burp him, settle him down a bit… and then do it again.  (Settling him down for rest isn’t very easy these days either, because he has a very gassy tummy and a bit of acid reflux, poor guy).

I honestly had no idea that someone could function on so little sleep.  Last night, I opened my eyes when he cried, and I was so exhausted that I saw double for a moment.  Wait, why are there two babies??  

And yet, at the same time, I had no idea that someone could be so happy.  :)

I have my moments when I feel a bit overwhelmed or just a little too tired.  I cry almost once every day thanks to hormones-gone-wild.  But then I look at his precious little face, and I realize that there is nothing else I would rather do!  Someday, I’ll miss these moments of snuggling with a squishy little baby who loves nothing more than to sleep on my chest and nuzzle his soft head under my chin.  So I am doing my absolute best to embrace every single moment…

Because I love him so much that sometimes I think my heart could burst!

Hopefully I’ll have some posts up and running next week.  But for now, here are some pics I took of my cutie-patootie!  At two weeks old, he already has a smile that melts my heart (which comes out when he hears his mommy or daddy’s voice), and he’s so strong that he’s already holding up his head by himself.  He loves Christmas lights, his pacifier, and fleece jammies. :)

 

Sigh…  I have fallen in love all over again!

 

 

Thank Goodness for Google!

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Because the doctors kept commenting on how well I was doing and how my C-section had been a textbook procedure(meaning it went exactly how it should without any complications or challenges), I started to drop hints that I really wanted to go home early.  Okay, fine, they were a bit more blatant than hints.  More like, “Gee, I’m feeling pretty good.  I wish I could go home today!”  ;)

Although I had pain at the incision site and still felt weak, pain meds helped to take the edge off; and I was able to get around quite well.  Quite frankly, after only two full days in the hospital, I was more than ready to leave behind the cafeteria food and lack of privacy.  Because Brady had been born so late on a Tuesday night, the hospital assured me that I could stay as long as Sunday, but I made it known that I really wanted to go home on Friday… as long as the doctor felt it would be safe for me and Brady.  And much to my relief, after one final exam that morning, the hospital staff agreed that I could be discharged by noon that day.

I think that both Nate and I breathed a huge sigh of relief when we walked into our home with Brady.  Nate walked me in first, making sure I didn’t trip on the driveway, which was covered with a thin layer of ice.  (Thanks to my dad, the driveway had been shoveled clear, however, so Nate didn’t have to worry about snow removal once we got home).  Then Nate ran back to the Jeep to grab our baby and carefully carried him into the house for the first time ever.  We looked at each other over the top of the carseat and took a deep breath.

We were parents and now we were on our own.  No more doctors and nurses down the hall to call whenever a question arose.  That’s when reality really sets in, if it hasn’t already.  And as you can imagine, a few things are bound to happen that will shake up a new mommy and daddy’s confidence.

We were home less than an hour, when I heard Nate yelling in a slight panic.  I was just feet away, unpacking my hospital bag, and I rushed over to him as quickly as I possibly could.  He was standing by the changing table, where a very naked Brady was lying… and peeing a nice arch of urine across the room.  Yes, our baby boy hadn’t wasted any time in christening his new home or his daddy.  ;)

By the time the second hour had passed, we were on the phone with the hospital to discuss a few questions.  They had answers, thank goodness.

And that night, just before bed, Nate and I discovered that Brady despised his sleeper / bouncer, which was supposed to act as Brady’s bassinet, while he slept in our room for the first couple of months.  His long frame was kind of hunched over in an uncomfortable way when we put him in it, and he fussed until we took him out.  And his crib – now put together in the nursery – wouldn’t fit through the nursery door, so we didn’t have the option of dragging that to our bedroom.  Desperate times called for desperate measures, and we went so far as to see if a blanket-lined hamper would work as a makeshift bassinet for one night.  (It’s not necessarily an idea that I’m proud of, but – like I said – desperate times and all…  It was late, and the three of us were quickly hitting over-tired status).  Thankfully, we discovered that Brady did love his swing, and he slept in it that night, all swaddled and cozy.

Actually, he has slept in it every night since then.  As I said, he loves it…  And it’s nice for the nights that he’s fussy and likes to be rocked to sleep.

Thankfully, we all slept pretty well that first night.  Brady woke up quite often to eat, but falling back asleep after he fed wasn’t an issue for either of us.  And Saturday was a new day…

Nate and I discovered that even though we were new to this parenting thing, a mommy and daddy intuition helped to guide us more often than not.  We just kind of sensed what he needed.  We sometimes just knew what to do.  And – as Nate likes to say – when there were moments that left us clueless, “Thank goodness for Google!”  :)

Our Thanksgiving – 2014

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Seeing as how there was a snowstorm on his due date, Nate and I really appreciated the fact that Brady was born a day early.  By the time the snow swirled in, Brady was held warmly in our arms, and we were safely recuperating in the hospital’s Delivery Ward.  From my hospital bed, I could watch the snow blow against the window and pile up outside.  And since it was the first day after my C-section, I appreciated the quiet that the storm had brought with it.

Because up until that point, it somehow hadn’t dawned on me that a C-section really is major abdominal surgery.  ;)  By the late morning hours of my first day in recovery, I was insistent that I wanted to get up and move around a bit.  The nurses encouraged my movement but insisted on staying by my side, as I ever-so-carefully swung my legs over the side of the bed and stood up for the first time.  I thank God for the motherly nurse who was by my side that day.  She caught me when I almost fell… twice.  She helped me clean up, when I bled.  And she chatted casually with me as though it were perfectly normal to have a conversation with someone while they were being sponge-bathed or having a catheter inserted. 

Gosh, I am REALLY thankful for her!  Everytime I tried to apologize for my inability to care for myself, she would have none of it.  I don’t know how she did it, but she somehow kept me from feeling crazy self-conscious.  Instead, she praised my small triumphs, like the first time I walked without assistance or even the time that I learned how to sit up by myself (thanks to the help of the electronic bed).  Because trust me, sitting up is nearly impossible when your abdominal muscles have been sliced into the day before. 

So, yes, recovering from the C-section was definitely a lot more intense than I had expected.  But at the same time, by day two, I was moving around quite well and had been allowed to shower.  (It’s amazing what clean hair and a quick makeup job can do for a woman)!  The doctor who came in that morning to check on me said that he had never seen someone recover so quickly.  So even if I felt as though I was taking baby steps, apparently I was recuperating a lot faster than most women do.  Hey, I’ll count my blessings!

It worked out well for me, because day two was Thanksgiving.  :)

My parents arrived late afternoon, a few hours after Nate’s family had come to meet little Brady, and they were possibility giddy to meet their first grandchild.

And I was possibility giddy for him to meet them.

It’s amazing how our family now has another member…  And how, even though he had only been a part of our family for two days, we now couldn’t imagine life without him.  Brady was very much embraced and loved from the very beginning!

That night, Nate and I swaddled Brady and laid him all comfy-cozy in his bassinet to sleep.  And while the cold wind blew outside, we sat down at our little table by the window and ate the Thanksgiving dinner my mom had brought for us.  It was actually very romantic.  And even though it was very different than the Thanksgivings we had celebrated in the past, it was special in a way that we’ll never forget.  Because it was our first Thanksgiving spent with our precious little son.

And if anyone had looked in from the snowy outside and caught sight of me and Nate – smiling and dreaming over our plates of turkey and stuffing – I’m sure they would have noticed that our window glowed warmer and brighter than any of the others.  Because you can’t get much happier – or more thankful – than we were that night!  :)

 

 

Brady’s Birth Story – Part 2

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Once I agreed to the C-section, things moved forward quite quickly. I was prepped on what the surgery would involve, and then the anesthesiologist came to walk me to the appropriate room, which was just down the hall. (Nate waited behind in the Labor and Delivery room, although I was assured that – once I had been numbed – he would be allowed in the surgery room with me).

I was quite calm until I walked into the surgery room. Once I saw the large, bright lights and the surgery table, it really hit home that I was about to get a major surgery in order to meet my baby. I was pretty nervous, and I realized that I was shaking uncontrollably, even though I knew that I wasn’t cold.

The anesthesiologist wiped my back down and then stuck me with the needle that would numb me for surgery. There was a sharp prick, but it wasn’t overly painful. As soon as he was finished, two nurses helped to swing my legs onto the table and strapped them down. Within minutes, I couldn’t feel my legs, then my torso… then my chest.

As my chest became numb, I had a sudden sensation of not being able to breathe. I had been warned that this might happen, but it didn’t freak me out any less when it did. I quickly took slow deep breaths to calm myself down, as a blue curtain was set up so that I couldn’t see the doctors during surgery.

The next thing I knew, someone took my hand, and I tilted my head to see Nate leaning down towards me. “How are you doing, Babe?” he whispered?

“Just don’t let go of my hand,” I whispered back.

I couldn’t feel a thing going on, although I began to sense a tugging. And then the doctor put pressure on my chest, as the baby was pulled out. It felt as though a man was sitting on me, and it was even harder to breathe.

Nate began to quietly sing How Great is Our God into my ear, and I closed my eyes. I felt such a peace in that moment, as I was reminded that God had everything in control… and I had an amazing guy by my side.

This all happened very quickly, and I was shocked when I heard a baby cry.

I heard the doctor exclaim, “Wow, we have a big boy here!” Then he laughed and said, “This guy is going to be eating solids by Thanksgiving!”

And Nate, standing up to take a look, said, “Oh, wow!”

There was something in his voice that I had never heard before. It cracked a bit… It was filled with awe, pride, and pure excitement.

A nurse carried my crying baby to the heat lamp to be cleaned up a bit, and she moved aside so that I could see him. He was waving his chunky arms and kicking his legs, screaming in protest as they rubbed him dry.

When they placed my precious Brady on my chest for skin-to-skin time, I saw that he was a very big boy. I noticed that he was beautiful, with perfect lips and chubby cheeks. But mostly, I experienced the most fierce, intense love that I had ever imagined. I wasn’t prepared for it, nor had I expected it. But I suddenly loved this baby boy more than I could put into words, and I knew that I would do anything for him. Suddenly, the pain from earlier in the day melted away, and I was left with this beautiful moment alone.

And with my husband’s arms around me, I began to cry, because I had never been so happy.

It was love at first sight!

(Oh, and since baby Brady weighed 10 lb and 7 oz, the doctor said that it’s a good thing that I did go with the C-section!  There is no way that I would have been able to deliver him otherwise!  Yes, he’s a big boy).  :)

 

Brady’s Birth Story – Part 1

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Because I had such high amniotic fluid levels towards the end of my pregnancy, I had been placed on a high-risk pregnancy list and warned that the breaking of my water could cause complications.  (The force of the water breaking could potentialy push out the umbilical chord before the baby was delivered, cutting off oxygen).  So my doctor made sure that I was educated in how to determine whether or not my water had broken (although she said that it would probably come out with such force that there would be no doubt) and also advised that I would need to head to the hospital the minute it happened.

At 6:30am, on November 25th, however, I woke up to a slight trickle of warm liquid between my legs, and I suddenly wasn’t so sure if ‘it’ had happened or not.  The trickle happened after my cat jumped onto the bed and landed on my side, so I was pretty convinced that I had just peed myself.  (Thank you, Stitchy.  Thank you very much).  Because the liquid was so minimal, I was quite certain that my water hadn’t broken; but – at the same time – I knew that I couldn’t ignore it, if I wasn’t 100% sure.

I called the hospital to let them know we were on our way (apologizing in advance for the possibility of coming in for a false alarm) and then got ready to leave.  I didn’t have any contractions at this point (and the release of water had been very minimal), so Nate and I were very calm and collected.  Nate hopped into the shower to wash up quickly, and I fed the cats and got dressed.  During the drive to the hospital, we were quite excited as we talked about how this could be D-Day!

“We might walk out of here with a baby!” I gushed to Nate, as we took the elevator to the third floor of the hospital.  Both of us were positively giddy, and I wasn’t nervous at all.  I was ready!

Once at the hospital, it was confirmed that my water had broken, but a cervical check showed that I wasn’t dilated… at all.  So the good news was that we were going to leave with a baby, but – unfortunately – we were told that it might not happen very quickly.  The doctor told me that he wanted to induce me and started by placing something into my cervix. (How’s that for detail.  Ha, ha!  I can’t remember what it was called).  :)

The contractions started almost immediately, and – by 10 am – I would have two contractions back-to-back with a two minute break in between the next set.  For awhile, the pain was very manageable, and I was able to watch television to keep my mind off of everything.  However, I soon reached a point where the pain nearly took my breath away. I rolled over onto my side and focused on a button on the side of my bed, while I began Lamaze breathing.

It was really difficult to get comfortable in the bed, but the induction implant required me to remain lying down. I was only allowed to get up to pee whenever I had to… which was often due to the IV fluids running into me. Nate was really sweet, helping me undo the monitors whenever I had to walk to the bathroom and staying by the door to make sure that I was okay.

Around 2pm, I felt a sudden gush of water between my legs that just wouldn’t stop. It continued to pour out of me as the nurse helped me out of bed and to the bathroom. I – and everything in my path – was soaked! Apparently, the earlier water trickle had been more of a leak, because there was no denying that my water had officially broken. Honestly, I couldn’t believe that this much water had been inside of me! (And I was shocked when it happened again about an hour later. So…much…water!!).

With my water officially broken, the contractions really got strong. Nate sat by my side, gently running his fingertips over my arms and whispering words of encouragement.  I was so focused on the breathing that I was pretty unaware of everything else happening around me. I was very much aware of how intense the pain was, but – with every contraction – I also felt in control. I was shocked, when I asked Nate what time it was and learned that it was already 3pm. The morning had gone by so fast!

Around 3:30 pm, however, I began to feel very tired, mentally and physically. The contractions were severe and back-to-back, and I figured that they would only get worse. So I asked for an epidural to help me get through the rest of the labor. However, the doctor checked me again, and I was still not dilated at all! (I was so very frustrated to hear that). The doctor said that he didn’t want me to have an epidural, as it would only slow down my labor. I hadn’t prepared myself for that kind of answer!

Instead, he had me hooked up to a Pitocin drip in the hopes that it would work better at inducing me. The contractions really got bad then. I just lay on my side and breathed, completely focused on getting through each one. When a nurses came in and asked questions, I’d have to hold up a finger, asking them to wait for the contractions to pass. There was aboslutely no talking through them.

At 5pm, I pushed the nurse-call button and again asked for an epidural. She had my cervix checked, and – this time – I was dilated but only up to 4 centimeters. I was beyond frustrated that eight hours of labor pain had only brought me to this point, especially when the nurse acted doubtful that I should get an epidural. She said that the doctor would come by to let me know how he wanted to proceed.

At 6:30pm, the doctor came into my room and told me that he wasn’t pleased with my progress. He said that I could continue to labor, but added that it could be another 5-6 hours before I was dilated enough. He added that he didn’t want to push me in any direction, but he was at the point where he would approve a C-section (especially since – weeks before – I had been told that my baby would be on the large side). He said that he would leave the room and let me and my husband discuss the options.

I shook my head and said, “I don’t need to think about it. I definitely want the C-section.”

I hadn’t researched C-sections very much, so I was nervous about getting one. But at the same time, I wanted the pain to end. I was tired! And I wasn’t about to labor for another few hours… only to be told that my baby wasn’t going to fit on the way out! ;) Getting a C-section definitely seemed like the right choice! (… to be continued)

 

Baby Brady is Here!

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I have SO many things to tell all of you!  So many things to write about!!  But for now, I just wanted to make the big announcement!

Baby Brady arrived November 25th at 8:20pm, weighing 10 lbs 7 oz.  (Yes, my friends.  You read that right!  Ten pounds and 7 oz)!  :)

Mommy and baby are now home and getting lots of rest!  (Mommy and Daddy couldn’t be more in love)!!!

My Not-So-Grownup Christmas Bucket List

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With Brady due so close to Thanksgiving, Nate and I knew – from the beginning – that the holidays were going to be very different this year.

But we quickly learned just how different… We’ve had several different doctors highly recommend that we not shuttle Brady to the usual, family Christmas parties due to its being smack-dab in the middle of flu and cold season.  They warned us that if Brady were to come down with the flu, he would automatically be tested for meningitis (which would mean a needle stuck into his spine as part of the testing).  Realizing that our little baby would go through so much, should he get sick, made the decision an easy one for us to make.

We aren’t willing to risk it, even if the chances might be low that he would contract something.  Therefore, we will be spending Christmas at home this year.

And honestly, the more we talked to new parents, the more we realized just how important the first few weeks are for recovery, rest, and bonding with the baby.  So due to that – and the fact that we’re going to delay his vaccinations until he’s a tiny bit older –  we’ve decided to ask for no visitors in the hospital or at the house – other than family – until Brady is the recommended 6-8 weeks old.  (This will also give this new mama plenty of privacy and time to figure out the not-so-easy adventure of breastfeeding).

We’ve already received a few comments about how ‘silly’ and ‘overprotective’ we’re being. And that did upset me at first, because I didn’t want to come across as one of ‘those’ helicopter moms.  But Nate, my family, and a few close friends quickly reminded me that there will always be opinions thrown at me.  At the end of the day, we have to do what we feel is best for our child.

So a quiet, holiday season at home it is!

We did decide to invite my immediate family over for Christmas Day (since we’ll miss out on my family’s party on Christmas Eve).  And Nate’s brother is hosting a get-together for his immediate family just two days after Christmas, and we have decided to go to that (as long as Brady doesn’t decide to hold off too far into December).  This way, we will have time with our family over the Christmas holiday, which was very important to both me and Nate.  Otherwise, our Christmas holiday will be low-key and spent at home with visits only from family (which I’ll probably really appreciate after going through labor and then the following amazing – but sleepless – nights).  :)

Anyway, to ensure that we don’t miss out on Christmas as we spend lots of quality time with our precious newborn, I’ve put together a Christmas Bucket List, of sorts.  If we’re too tired to do anything but one thing on this list, then the items will all be replaced with activities such as ‘sleep’, ‘nap’, and ‘ be lazy’.  ;)  BUT I wanted a list of fun, holiday activities handy, should we have the energy and desire to do them!    As you’ll notice, most of the items on the list are quick and super simple.  (Some might seem kind of silly too, but I’ve decided to embrace my inner-child and to just have fun with the childish crafts… and coloring)!

Christmas 2013! 058

I think that including some of these activities into our December will help us feel as though we did have a special, baby’s first Christmas.  But, with or without this list, I imagine that this will be THE most magical Christmas yet!  After all, for the first time ever, we’ll be celebrating as a family of… three!

Awwww, SO excited!!!!!!!

What are some holiday traditions that you’re especially looking forward to this year? 


My Not-So-Grownup Christmas Bucket List

  • Decorate a gingerbread house (We already bought a kit with all the supplies included and it’s prebaked for easy-peasy fun)
  • Sip on hot chocolate and drive around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights
  • Put up the Christmas tree
  • Make paper snowflakes
  • Watch Christmas movies (not limited to – but definitely including  – Elf, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Home Alone, The Santa Clause, It’s a Wonderful Life)
  • Have a picnic in front of the Christmas tree
  • Listen to Christmas music while picking out baby announcements
  • Wrap gifts while listening to Christmas music
  • Have a baby’s first Christmas photo-shoot
  • Eat French Toast and hot chocolate for dinner
  • Play games by the light of the Christmas tree
  • Color a Christmas picture
  • Paint fingernails a festive color
  • Bake something festive together
  • Read the Christmas story from the Bible together

 

Preggo Grumpies

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I’m not sure if I’ve declared this yet on my blog, but – just in case I haven’t – here it is.  I have officially entered the I’m-really-uncomfortable stage of this pregnancy.  Some may wonder at all of the positivity displayed in my previous preggo posts and wonder if I was being honest.  I have been, I promise!  Being pregnant, even with its expected discomforts, has been easier (and even more enjoyable) than I thought it would be.  But that being said, I am now 39 weeks pregnant.  So, yeah, as of this past week, I’ve felt better.

And I’ve honestly come down with a small case of the Preggo Grumpies.

My belly is uncomfortably large and heavy, and I’m left wondering why no one has yet invented the belly bra.  (Oh, wait, scratch that…  I just Googled it, and apparently it already exists.  Who knew…).  Anyway, there are plenty of other things to complain about… You know, if I felt like complaining.  ;)

preggo

These days, bending over to reach something off of the floor is close-to-impossible and often painful, so I tend to kick such items into a neat pile and then wait for Nate to come around to pick them up for me.  Nate saw this claw-like contraption at Target and wanted to get it for me, but I told him that would be a waste of money since I’m due so soon.  (Besides, a pregnant woman needs some perks, even if it’s the excuse to be lazy and to not pick up dropped items from the floor.  Hey, I’ll take what I can get!).

claw

The Braxton Hicks contractions are getting stronger and more frequent (usually at least two an hour, in addition to the menstrual-like-cramping that is almost non-stop), and they make it difficult for me to really get comfortable.  I heard that moving around a bit can help to ease them up a bit, so I’ve been baking a lot.  (I’m pretty sure that baking counts as a workout, at least when you’re pregnant).  The only problem with that is that pregnancy brain doesn’t always help the end result, and – for the time being – I’ve definitely lost my touch in the kitchen.

The other day, after a particularly rough morning of Braxton Hicks contractions, I decided to bake a homemade bread… and I didn’t realize that my yeast was expired until an hour into the rising period (when I noticed that the yeast hadn’t risen an inch).  I was really disappointed and instantly in a bad mood.  I mean, not only had I wasted an hour and a half of my day and dirtied a bunch of dishes, but I also no longer had thick slices of buttered, warm bread to look forward to.  In pregnancy terms, that equals devastation.  I mean, you don’t mess with a pregnant women’s cravings.  You just don’t…

Not realizing how upset I was, Nate tried to cheer me up and teased, “What’s the matter?  Did the yeast not rise to your expectations?”

I stormed away dramatically.

Oh, pregnancy hormones.  They have hit me at full force this week as well.  Seriously, they have no conscience and therefore no qualms about hitting a girl when she’s down.  One minute I feel like sobbing… and then the next minute, I want to punch something.  Sometimes this is due to rapid mood changes.  Sometimes this is only because I’m forced to pick one or the other, since I don’t have enough breath these days to punch something while also sobbing.

I don’t want to give the impression that I’m miserable, because that would be a major stretch of the truth.  I’m not miserable by any means!  But to say that I’m uncomfortable, ready to meet my baby, and more than ready to no longer have a watermelon strapped to my belly would definitely be accurate.  And really, I didn’t do too badly, considering that I’m just now at this point, and I’m only one day away from my due date!

Honestly, I think that my sudden case of the grouchies is mostly thanks to not knowing when the official, labor contractions will start.  I’ve been so patient all along, but now – with the end in sight – I’ve suddenly realized that -wow – I really am glad that this chapter is just about finished.  I’ve suddenly realized that I am tired, uncomfortable, and – mostly – just really eager to meet my little guy.  But I don’t know if I have one day left to wait… or a week.  And that messes with a girl’s head after awhile!  The last week or so of pregnancy is definitely tough, if only because the end is in sight.  The end is so close… yet still feels so far away.

Of course, once a pregnant woman reaches this point, she is more than ready for labor to start.  I’m really not worried about it at all, because I’m just ready!  So maybe God knew that – by this point – being uncomfortable (and maybe even coming down with a case of the grumpies) was just what a woman needed to mentally prepare for labor.  ;)

Bring on the pain!  I just want to have this baby!

Hmmmmm, I wonder if – when my doctor asks for labor symptoms at this week’s appointment – I should tell her that I’ve officially come down with a case of the Preggo Grumpies.  That has to mean I’m officially close, whether or not I’m dilated!  Right??  :)