Due date reflections

Today is Amara’s due date and I’m trying to imagine what it would be like to have still been pregnant these last three weeks. 
Three weeks!

My little Bean is three weeks old already. 

Impossible. Inconceivable.

I thought I might take a few moments and reflect on a few weeks of new mamahood…

I’ve decided having babies at 37 has it’s own perks and downfalls to having them at 27. My stay-up-late days have been behind me a long time so seeing 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. on the regular is hard on this body. It convinces me to pick my battles both in the dark early hours and all through the day getting back to them. When I spend all morning in the feed, change, coax back to sleep cycle and it’s afternoon before I’ve thought past those three things I don’t give any other plans a second thought. Cluster feeding in the evening the doctor said? Huh. Nope. It can happen any time of day, thanks. If I have managed to pee and grab a bottle of water in that dance it’s going pretty good. A cluster of twenty minute naps is also something to be proud of.

I try to listen to that ‘sleep when the baby is sleeping’ advice. Admittedly often that’s easier said than done. Laundry did wait until I actually ran out of underwear. We consider baking a frozen lasagne a homemade dinner now. I’ve stopped being so self-conscious of my hair. Like second day hair in a pony tail is totally fine for going out without a hat. Pre-baby that would have never happened, I can’t stand feeling like I have dirty hair. 

I think I’m sometimes more relaxed than I thought I’d be, and in turn less relaxed over things I didn’t expect to bother me quite so much. I’m not as careful as I imagine some new mom’s might be with getting her dressed and moving her around. I know she’s sturdier than she looks. I’m not a desperate cry stopper if the cry isn’t escalating. I can listen to her ‘I’m kindof getting hungry and my pants are dirty’ cry long enough to make myself comfortable before tending to her. Phrases like ‘you can be mad about it’, ‘I kiss your angry face’, and ‘I hear you, tell me about it’ are frequently heard around here. The commentary Amara and I have sometimes amuses me a lot. I speak for her when she’s upset and she says things like ‘I can’t do it, Mama, it’s too hard to be a baby today’ and ‘I don’t want to, no thank you’ when I ask her if we can get cleaned up and change her clothes. I’ve noticed I talk to her much more than other people; maybe because I talked to her so much when she was on the inside I don’t find it strange to do it now. Just this morning I explained what happens when we take a bath while she was bright eyed after her breakfast. She’s going to have her first bath today before we go celebrate our third and final Christmas with my in-laws.

I also thought I’d want to hand her off to people when she’s really upset. Like who wants to hold the screaming, scratching, inconsolable baby? Her Mom that’s who. I can’t hardly stand for anyone else to have her in those moments. You can hold her when she’s sleeping but when she’s crying I need her back. Even if I’m not getting her calm very quickly, even if you think you can help… Give the baby back. I was telling a friend it’s like she’s still a part of me in those moments and you are holding my screaming heart. She’s become detachable now, the cord cut, she can leave my physical person, but she’s not quite separate from me yet. That’s especially hard for grandparents to understand I think. They want to confort her too, to meet her needs and help. But honestly even when her daddy is taking care of her in those moments I have to restrain myself from taking her. Sometimes I’m better at it than others. ‘She’s half his’ my brain says, ‘he’s got this’, but my chest is fighting me the whole time. It’s a very strange feeling and one I hadn’t expected. 

I’m also paranoid of things I didn’t expect. Paranoid she’ll stop breathing while riding in her carseat. Or if I’m not in the room with her when she’s sleeping. Or if she’s sleeping in her Rock n’ Play next to the bed and I’m facing the opposite direction. 

Already Amara’s belly button is tucking itself in and she’s fitting better into her newborn sized clothes. These changes get me feeling like she’s growing too fast and I’m minutes from her walking and only days from her yelling at me to get out of her room and slamming the door in my face. I’m trying to live in the moment and cherish every little minute. If I feel like snuggling her while she sleeps over doing the dishes when I could technically put her down for a while I just do it. I’ve only got these moments for a little while. And when she doesn’t want to get put down, when every move away from my person wakes her and sets off crying and I might be tempted to wish it the other way I stop myself. She’ll only want me like this for so long as well; better to be tired, hungry, and unshowered than to take for granted her ‘I need you’ moments. 

What else? 

Her every little thing makes me smile. The way she grabs for the bottle and my fingers. The grunting whine she does when she’s getting burped and knows there’s a big one in there she needs to get out. The grunting cry when she’s working on a big poop. The smile and sigh when she’s fulfilled her task -filled her belly, gotten out the poop/gas, is content. The way her eyebrows scrunch and her big toes flex and point up when she’s concentrating. The fluffy duck butt of her hair. Of course I think I’m a normal mom in believing everything she does is magic and every bit of her being is perfection.

As for myself; my incision site has gone from sore to itchy in these few weeks. The swelling in my feet that got ten times worse than it ever did during the pregnancy has finally started going down. Which made the painful my-feet-are-going-to-pop-like-over-filled-balloons feeling go away. My lower back still gets tight and sore though and I have persistent numbness in my right hand. I think these problems would benefit by going back to the chiropractor which I’ve put off waiting for the large epidural bruise to heal. Despite having a newborn I have more energy than I did in those last several pregnant weeks and am excited/hopeful for that to continually improve.  

Because I’ve had a history with depression and have anxiety all the professional baby people, doctors, consultants, have asked me to be wary of baby blues. They’ve asked Darin to watch me closely in case I start acting strange and withdrawn. I think perhaps given my history it’s a little bit of grace that all my tearful moments have been gratitude induced or straight up sleep deprivation. I wish every mama could feel the overwhelming joy and contentment I have in these days. 

So three weeks has changed my world in so many ways; big and small. I’m learning to breathe through the frustrating ones, seeking amusement in our learning process, and just relish every imperfect glorious moment. These new chapters are becoming my most favorite and truly making my extraordinary ordinary everyday beautiful.

Waves

I am standing on a shore
In the tide line
I watch the waves break
The frothy sea rushing at my feet
It does not reach my toes
I smile and look up
I can see an endless horizon
Feel the warm sun on my face

I do not sense the change
I only feel the sand slipping beneath me
Looking down, the sea has claimed my toes
My instep, my heals
Sea overtakes my feet

Step back, I think, step back
I cannot move
I cannot lift my feet
I cannot lift my eyes
I can only allow the wave to come
Cover me, sink down in it
Wait

I think there should be a rhythm in the waves
A setting-off point
A noticeable shift before I am covered
Trapped

As unpredictably as it arrived
It slips away
The sea draws back
Only then can I move
A laborious tug of war
Drawing myself from the sand

I stand and watch the waves break
I lift my eyes

With Gratitude

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I should begin with saying this picture has absolutely nothing to do with my Thanksgiving celebrating. Since my Thanksgiving was spent watching football and CSI:NY via Netflix and eating Chicken and Stars Soup (it was a big step up from previous days) I didn’t think to document the day.

But, even though this has been a kinda physically painful week, I still have so much to be grateful for and the picture totally represents that.

Sunday night, after an early and really lovely Thanksgiving with my inlaws I had a (unbeknownst to me) gallbladder attack. I just knew I was in pain and a whole lot of it. It got so bad I ended up in the ER at three a.m. After an EKG, an xray, and an ultrasound, they finally determined it was in fact my gallbladder. After a couple doses of morphine I was much more comfortable although not pain-free.

I spend Monday in a Percocet induced fog and sleep. Tuesday my body didn’t need the drugs and I still slept most of the day. By Wednesday I was sore, bloated, and nauseous on and off…which is really just how my week has progressed. Everyday a little less nausea, a little less pain. A whole lot of love for my heating pad and finding anything I could eat to sooth my stomach.

So, Thanksgiving was quiet and that’s ok. It’s great in fact. Because everyday I’ve had wonderful people asking how I am, what they can do, praying and loving me. So my gratitude this year is for these amazing people God has put in my life. My family, my friends, strangers met along the way – I have been beyond blessed.

My husband who has been just loving, supportive and bend over backward awesome. My mom who would come running if there was any little something I needed. Friends who pray my pain away enough to sleep without meds. My brother who told me to try pancakes when I thought nothing would stay down. Pancakes! My phone has been a constant source of love notes and offers for help from all my amazing people.

The doctors, nurses, hospital and office staff who have come into my life this week have also been so wonderful. Kind, gentle, helpful, and joyful; they’ve made this somewhat frustrating week be not so bad. It says a lot about people who can make your ER visit and surgery consultation a good time. I’m sure God had just who I needed on duty just when I needed them.

It’s a without-a-doubt fact that The Best Things In Life – Aren’t Things. Thank you amazing people in my life, my gratitude is all for you!

Hope and a future

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   I have spent most of my years on this earth worrying over children. When my body was young and my children still wrapped tight against my back I worried. When my husband died and I gathered grain in the field, my children were left on their own and I worried. When my daughter was full with child and bringing new life was so hard on her body I worried. When sickness over came her and I was left with my grandson to care for I worried.

   Even when I was approached about getting my grandson into the Child Development Center I worried. Would they really do everything they said they would do? Would they feed him, educate him, would they give him a future?

   He came home with a smile like the sun the day his first letter from his sponsor arrived. They said it was just the two of them in their home now, their own children grown and gone and having children of their own. They said they lived in a small farming town in a place called Indiana. They said many things that made me think they might understand my worries.

   As their letters kept coming over many months they expressed their pride in my grandson’s school work. They said they prayed over our family and hoped I was well. They told him stores about when their own son was young and loved games like the ones my grandson enjoys.

   Many times I worried the letters would stop coming and my grandson’s heart would be broken. Then a letter would come, with news and blessings for us, and my worries lifted. This family from so far away made me feel like, after so many years of carrying the burden of this child’s future in my hands alone, I had a partner. They worried over him too.

   He comes home from the center and tells me of a man named Jesus. I’ve heard of this man from the sponsor letters too. Jesus has plans for my boy. Plans for a hope and a future. I would not have believed that before the center came into our lives. After all, what do strangers care about this one child?
  
   I’ve learned that Jesus has influenced many people on behalf of my grandson. He has influenced many people on behalf of all the children at the Child Development Center. He convinced these people to come together, to build a place of joy for children and their families.

   Through Jesus this family in Indiana has given me the greatest gift, they have eased my worry. My grandson grows strong and healthy, he laughs and plays, has food to eat and medicine when he is ill. He is learning new things every day and I can see a promising future in his eyes. He will be a good man, my daughter will be proud of her son. I can rest in that.

» September is Compassion Blogger month and I’m proud to join in. Even if only one child gets sponsored through my words here I’m proud. Every child counts, every child matters, every child deserves hope and a future.

Napkin to Drawstring Bag

In front of me I have a pile…
A tent (or 3, haha…only requiring one)
Sleeping bags
Blankets & pillows
A cooler…

Yeah, there’s a camping trip in my future. We have all the gear, practically all the comforts of home. I just needed one small thing…a laundry bag. Just a small one for socks and tees. A little drawstring something would do just fine.
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A friend gave me two cloth napkins with butterflies on them a few months ago. I really felt like they were too cute to use for napkins so they’ve been floating around the craft room waiting for inspiration to strike. And, it finally did! First thing this morning.

Here’s a little show and tell of my favorite kind of project – quick and easy!

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» Grab yourself a couple of napkins;  wrong sides together.
  I opted for that because I really like the yellow edging on my napkins and wanted to keep it visible.
» Stitch around the outside edge. Leaving the top open, of course.

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» When you get to the other side leave a little opening, making sure it’s large enough for whatever drawstring you want to use. (Option: You can do this on both sides of the top instead of just one and gather your bag from both sides to close it instead of a single side like mine.)

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»  Fold the top down on your new bag to create a pocket for your drawstring. Your little opening should be on the outside or on the top edge.
»  Stitch around the bottom edge to create your pocket.
  Almost done!

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»  Thread your string/ribbon/yarn around your bag through that pocket. I make it easier to ease it around by attaching a safety pin I can feel from the outside.

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»  Enjoy your cute new bag!

I think it’ll be nice to have a cheery handmade something with us in the woods. Even if it is just to hold the dirty hiking socks!

What will you carry in your new drawstring bag?

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