Monday, March 30, 2015

Transitions


Everything here feels so the same and yet completely different. I attribute this feeling to the fact that all the days run together and to the fact that I miss getting several consecutive hours of sleep every night. But this state of same-yet-different is life, isn't it? We become so wrapped up in the day-to-day that we miss all the little transitions that are happening between the lines. Even though this weekend seemed like a blur of wasted hours (forget about the errands I had planned to run), I realized last night that little transitions were happening.

Guess who has grown out of newborn diapers and clothing? Well, everyone in this house has, but most recently and most notably, Presley! At her one month check-up last week, she clocked in at one ounce shy of nine pounds (before she promptly peed all over the scale)! She gained two and a half pounds in one month, people. No wonder I can barely use the football hold on her anymore. We knew she had grown, but we had no idea it was by that much. After two diaper blow-outs this weekend, I realized that the newborn diapers were just too small now. Not only that, she looked like a giant in her onesies. The sleeves were too short, and we had to stretch the fabric every which way just to fasten the snaps. Goodbye, newborn things!

It seems my PC days have come to an end. Talk about being late to the party, eh? I had a Gateway (remember Gateway?) that lasted for six years, a Dell that lasted for five, and an Asus that lasted for four. All served their purpose and did rather well, but after countless nights of me pounding on my keyboard and ranting about the endless updates and twenty billion minutes it took to start up, my husband got online and ordered an Apple certified refurbished Macbook for me. And it's amaaazing. I felt instantly cool as I powered it on for the first time. It's so pretty. I'm afraid to touch it! I'm learning all the shortcuts and keyboard gestures and am constantly in awe at how much easier it is than my old PC. It also gets bonus points for having iMessage/texting and FaceTime on it. We do our best to keep cell phones away from the baby, so having those pop up on the Mac means I don't miss them! I can also take calls on the Mac, but that just seems weird to me, so I didn't enable that. Yet. One day soon, it probably won't seem so weird to me. We'll see.

Press has been sleeping better at night. Hallelujah! For the last few nights, she's slept for slightly longer periods (3-4 hours) a few times and even when she doesn't, I've been able to get her back to sleep much faster (30-45 minutes instead of 1-3 hours... hours!). I know that this doesn't mean that we'll never have a rough night again. Of course we will. She's a baby. At least I know that better sleep for her is within reach. If she sleeps better, so do I, and there is no better gift I could wish for right now (except more diapers... always). I got a total of six hours of sleep last night and rose like a spring chicken this morning. I was bright-eyed and kissing all over her little body and talking with that sing-song voice you only hear in Disney films. I had "today is going to be a great day" written all over me. And then 1:30 rolled around, and I napped so hard you'd think I was hit over the head with a mallet like Wile E. Coyote. We all napped. Press in the swing, me on the couch, husband in bed, and cats in the sunshine streaming through the window. So clearly, this will be our future for the next long while. Naps on the weekends! So wild. We followed the naps with an evening walk to negate any assumptions that we're becoming hermits. Anyway, sleep! Transitioning to better sleep!

I go back to the office next week, and I'm kind of stressed about building a breast milk stash. I currently have about 55 ounces in the freezer, but I'm hoping to build it up to 100 by next Monday. I'm a little nervous that I won't be able to keep up with what she consumes during the day while I'm gone. I will still nurse her when I'm available at home, but I'm gradually increasing my pumping sessions to four per day to keep my supply high and to continue to freeze milk. Wish me luck on both getting back into the groove at work and breastfeeding/pumping!

All of these little transitions seem small in the grand scheme of things, but they're big. I know I'll look back on this weekend and remember the changes that were happening, mostly that Presley has broken out of the newborn mold.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Our Favorite Baby Items in the First Month

In a way, this is our list of baby registry must-haves -- aside from diapers. These things really helped us out in the first month. Half of the list is for baby, and the other half is for mom. As Presley grows, her needs will change and other items will join the ranks, so I'll be sure to compile our other must-haves over the next few months. Without further ado, here are the goods!


FOR BABY

  1. My Brest Friend Pillow: This was highly recommended by my sister, and with good reason. This pillow is extremely sturdy and supportive which is soooo helpful when learning how to breastfeed, especially with a newborn's limp little body. It really helps me get her into position quickly before she gets too fussy and fidgety. Another plus is that it wraps around the body and buckles. If I ever need to stand up from the chair/couch, she easily comes with me while still nursing. It's like having a third arm which is awesome.
  2. Munchkin Warm Glow Wipe Warmer: "I love having a cold wipe on my bum in the middle of the night," said no one ever. Warm wipes keep her calmer during nighttime diaper changes.
  3. Gerber Prefold Cloth Diapers: These make excellent burp rags! They are really absorbent and rather inexpensive. We have them in her nursery, our bedroom, and in the family room at all times. What can I say? Spit(-up) happens. <-- See what I did there? ;)
  4. Baby K'tan Baby Carrier: Babies want to be held a lot, and while that's very sweet and lovey-dovey, it makes getting things done a little difficult. If Presley is too fussy to be set down, I'll wear her in this wrap carrier. She'll usually stay in there for about an hour. We also have an Ergo, but we haven't used it yet.
  5. Fisher Price My Little Snugapuppy Cradle 'n' Swing: Why did we not have this on our baby registry?! After several nights of swinging her between my legs in her car seat like a kettle bell (I'm not kidding), we bought this swing a week ago. It has been a game-changer. It cuddles her body, has a safety harness, plays music, and has a spinning mobile. Best of all: It swings side-to-side and front-to-back. She sleeps in it at night which I know isn't viewed as the safest option, but she is at my bedside, and we make sure she is secure. My husband brings it down to the family room every morning in case we need it to soothe her. It is a full-size swing but can easily be moved around the house when the legs are collapsed.



FOR MOM

  1. Lily Padz: I really liked the idea of reusable breast pads. If cared for properly, they last up to two months! I recommend using disposable breast pads until your milk supply is established and has evened out. When my milk came in, it was out of control. I would leak due to engorgement, and using Lily Padz at that point would have been messy and annoying. Now that my milk supply has normalized, I use Lily Padz (or nothing at all sometimes).
  2. Gilligan & O'Malley Nursing Tank Tops: I live in these. I have the same tank top in different colors, and I rotate them. They're long which gives them a slimming effect. Hooray for that! They are really good quality, and the snaps on the straps can easily be done and undone with one hand which allows me to hold Presley and prep for breastfeeding quickly. I highly recommend the Gilligan & O'Malley tank tops.
  3. Boppy Pillow: You might be surprised that this is on the "For Mom" list. What's even more surprising is why it's on my "For Mom" list! I used it as a donut cushion for the first two weeks. Childbirth puts a lot of, ummm... stress on the nether region (surprise, surprise), and on top of that, I did a drug-free delivery and  had a second degree tear and an episiotomy. (Insert Grimacing Face emoji here. Ha!) The hospital provided a donut cushion in my recovery room, and the Boppy was the replacement when I got home. Another brilliant recommendation from my sister.
  4. Motherlove Nipple Cream: It's 100% certified organic. It's safe for baby. It works.
  5. Lounge pants with pockets: Pants or shorts with pockets are a must, in my book. Now that I have a newborn that can never be left unattended, having pockets makes it easier to grab and carry things when I don't have spare hands to carry them myself. iPhone, charger, batteries, Kleenex, remote control, pen, nail polish, keys, infant socks, USB drive, washcloth, nipple cream, and eyeglasses are all things I've had to slip into my pockets so that I could hold Presley.


SPECIAL SHOUT-OUT
BabyCare Lite app: This isn't a registry item or thing to purchase. Even better... It's free! The BabyCare app helps track feedings, diaper changes, and sleep. It is very user-friendly too. I used it for the first three weeks in order to figure out our "normal." People warned me that babies go through a lot of diapers and are hungry all the time, but "a lot" and "all the time" are really vague terms. I wanted to get a feel for Presley's patterns to see if there were certain times of day or night that were busier. It was helpful as we got settled in at home and were starting parenthood.


Do you have any questions? E-mail or tweet me!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sweet P: 1 Month Old



I can't believe Presley turned one month old on Sunday! Although this little night owl has been keeping me up for longer periods during the night, my body has kicked into survival mode, and it's becoming my new normal. (Sigh.) We're one month in, and I guess that makes us one month closer to three months old which is likely when she'll transition into better sleeping patterns, or so I'm told. Please let it be true! Ha! That aside, can we please take a moment to just look at her? She is growing and changing so quickly! What was once an ever slumbering bitty newborn is now an alert, delightfully chubby beauty. I know that most moms insert multiple wailing emojis amongst desperate proclamations of "What happened to my little baby? Time, slow down!" but me? I love seeing her grow and emote and become more lively!

LIKES: Nursing, tummy time, sitting in the Baby K'tan wrap (for about an hour), being held by her dad, sitting up with her back against my chest, dirty-ing her diaper right after we change it, the sound of the vacuum, and her swing. Oh, the swing has been our lifesaver!

DISLIKES: Being swaddled, pacifiers, taking her probiotic drops (but we have to pinch her cheeks to keep her lips parted!), spitting up, and sleeping when it's dark outside (ha!).

Happy one month birthday, Press! You are so loved!


** Her monthly milestone stickers were a gift from my sister and are from Haute Bellies.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Presley's Birth Story: Labor and Delivery






We always expected that she would arrive mid-February, so when February 21 rolled around, I had already grown anxious and impatient. My parents had been in town for one week already, and every dinner conversation included, “Do you feel like she’s coming soon? Do you feel any different?” Due to a brief bout of elevated blood pressure earlier in the month, there was a short time where we thought I’d be induced. Thankfully, it passed, and we let her come naturally.

I woke up at 4:30 AM on Saturday, February 21st, to rain hitting the window and mild contractions. I had been awoken by baby kicks before, but this was different. It was a dull pain, kind of like a stomach ache. I thought, “Oh, my gosh. This is it. She might be born today!” I was excited and relieved. More relieved than anything. I went to the bathroom, saw that I lost my mucus plug, and went back to sleep. Excitement washed over everyone’s face when I told them later that morning that she was on her way.

The contractions carried on regularly but mildly throughout the morning. Knowing this was a special day, I felt compelled to put on make-up and curl my hair. My parents were surprised when I said I wanted to go out to lunch, but when a gal is in a great mood, even contractions won’t keep her from going to Bahama Breeze Island Grille. When we got there, the hostess asked when I was due, and I gushed, “She’ll be here tonight or tomorrow!” I was like a birthday girl riding around on her new Power Wheels convertible. Nothing could break my spirit! We ate delicious food and wondered what she would look like. When we got back to the house, we took one last photo as “just the two of us.” It was my last of my babybump photos. The rest of the afternoon was spent quietly doing things around the house, checking the hospital bags, and painting my toenails. (Zoya nail polish in Lulu, if you must know.)

Contractions grew stronger at home around dinner time, and I used the Full Term app to start tracking them. I was still talking and smiling through them, so I knew we still had awhile before she would be born. We had been hoping we wouldn’t be making a middle-of-the-night trip to the hospital, because sleep was a precious commodity as it was, but that was exactly the path we were headed down. Bummer. I chatted with my sister on FaceTime around 9:00 PM… and groaned through heavier contractions. She was understanding every time I had to switch to audio-only so that I could access the Full Term app for contractions which were about 5-7 minutes apart. She gave me a birthing pep talk and reminded me that I COULD DO THIS! My brother-in-law texted me a hilarious meme, and my sister explained to my nephew that the baby in my belly would come out soon.

We thought we were headed to the hospital at 11:30 PM when contractions had me surrendering on the floor. For good measure, and to avoid being sent home for going too early, my husband suggested that we call Labor & Delivery. I told the nurse that contractions were 5 minutes apart and lasting 1 minute each, but she advised that I wait a bit longer. I labored at home (meaning groaned and moaned... loudly) while everyone else was in and out of sleep until 4:30 AM when the pain got so strong that I started crying. I was unsure that I could stand the pain, so my mom said we needed to be on our way. At my request, we blasted Gounod’s Faust Waltz and Mendelssohn’s Symphony 4 in A Major as we drove down Germantown Parkway to the hospital.

By the time we got to the hospital, I was squatting to the floor and gripping the nearest sturdy object (table, chair, handrail, etc.) to make it through every contraction. I was 5cm when I was admitted. It wasn’t until the next day that I would realize how sore my arms would be from clutching the bedrail during every contraction. I had a steel grip on those bedrails. The next few hours were a blur. The nurses fluttered around preparing the room and checking my blood pressure. My husband sat by my side, and my parents occupied the couch against the wall. For some reason, I thought I could only have two people in the room with me, but the nurse assured me that all three of them could stay, if I wanted them to. I never asked my dad what he wanted to do; instead, he was simply never instructed to go to the waiting room. I thought it would be a special gift for him to be present for the birth of his granddaughter.

I was 7cm dilated around 6:30 AM and told that my doctor was on his way. I felt the heaviness of our daughter as she moved into position to be born. The pain was so strong that I wasn’t sure if I could deliver naturally, as previously planned. I thought it but never said it aloud. I wasn’t ready to change the plans just yet. I had progressed to 9cm by the time the doctor arrived, and I thought, “Well, I guess it’s too late to change my mind now.” I reminded myself of what my sister said: “There will be a point where you don’t think you can do it, because you’ll be in so much pain, but you can do it! Just stick with it!” My water was broken, and it was go time. I could feel myself bearing down with each contraction.

I pushed for a long time. An hour and a half? Two hours, maybe? I was a terrible pusher in the beginning. They reminded me repeatedly to hold my breath and push. Every time I opened my mouth to groan, they said, “Sweetie, you need to keep the air in and use that energy to push. Don’t let the energy out through your mouth.” My eyes were closed for most of the pushing. It felt easier to focus that way. Even though I wasn’t looking around the room, I was keenly aware of the conversations in the room.

The doctor’s cell phone rang, and a nurse called his wife back on his behalf.
The doctor told my husband to move in next to him to observe.
The doctor explained that the baby was working hard to get out.
(My husband saw her head twisting back and forth!)
The nurses told my husband to swing the washcloth for my forehead around like a helicopter to cool it off.

I was getting tired. My legs were achy, so they extended my legs between pushes. I kept asking “Why is it taking so long?” I felt like every push would move her down, and then the tip of her head would disappear again. They reassured me that she was almost there and that I was doing a great job. They were so encouraging. My husband didn’t say much, but every pat on my leg and stroke of my hair was his silent cheer. I was so anxious to meet our daughter, and I was getting excited. I was told to reach down to touch her head, and that was my final motivation to push. Before I knew it, the nurse said, “Can you look down? Look, Lindsay. Look, Lindsay.” Her head was out! “Watch her.” And the doctor pulled her out.

She was placed on my chest at 9:20 AM on Sunday, February 22nd -- right on time. I started crying and said, “Happy birthday, baby. We did it, baby!” At the sound of her first cry, the room let out a laugh of joy. That was the sound of our child. I can't accurately, fully describe the kind of love that took over my body and my mind. Presley was here, and healthy, and perfect. I watched my husband become a father. Three generations of my family were gathered together. My husband cut the umbilical cord, as we requested. As they took Presley's stats and prints, my doctor congratulated me on delivering naturally. (He had warned me weeks earlier that many first-time moms change their minds at the hospital.) I never got angry or slung the quintessential "you did this to me" line at my husband, and I only swore once. (I said shit.) Honestly, I didn't feel anything but excited and tired. (Well, and pain, obviously.) At one point, one of the nurses jokingly asked me if I wanted to punch my husband, and I gave her an incredulous "no!"

Presley was returned to me, and she started nursing like a champ. She was an incredible gift that we were lucky to receive. She was ours. I was exhausted and could have used a nap, but I couldn't help but stare at her and smell her.

I still tear up watching the video clip of her being born. I can even feel the energy in the room that morning. Birth is beautiful and magical -- almost supernatural. It's been one month since Presley was born, and I still can't believe it all happened. Saying that I feel grateful or blessed doesn't even begin to describe it.

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A New Frame of Mind

Thank you, friends, for your encouragement after Monday's post. Sometimes I forget who/how many read this little space of the internet until I receive thoughtful blog comments and text messages and e-mails and What's App messages and FaceTime calls. So much support, and I thank you. Really. From the bottom of my new mama heart 'neath a tank top doused in spit up, thank you. Having a newborn is such a gift. There are so many special moments with this tiny human being who has made me a mother and will, undoubtedly, teach me as much as I'll ever teach her, if not more. This child is priceless and wonderful, so naturally, no amount of difficulty in adjusting to this new life will ever outweigh how precious this time with her is.

Yesterday she fell asleep during tummy time, and then I fell asleep snuggling her. Check out my under-eye bags!

I felt like sharing that post, because guess what? Becoming a parent can be hard, and there's no shame in that. Sometimes, it's hard for five minutes; sometimes, two hours; sometimes, three months, as I'm told by friends who had colicky infants. It's different for everyone, and it's just a fact of life. Whatever length of time, it will pass, but it's okay for parents to say aloud that it's hard and exhausting and frustrating. I'm not afraid to be honest about that. Everyone shows their best selves on the internet for myriad reasons, but ultimately, someone's "best" isn't the same as "real," you know? I do not have postpartum depression, not that that would be shameful, but if I did, it sure would be nice to know/read that someone else is feeling defeated, too, even if just for a day. Without a support system in Memphis, the UPS delivery guy is our only visitor, so that makes this time a little isolating too.

Have you seen the movie About Time? I highly recommend it. (It was directed by Richard Curtis, the director of Love Actually. Both have that "life is so much more than we see in the moment," "feel good" quality.) Tim, the main character, closes the film with: "I just try to live every day as if I've deliberately come back to this one day, to enjoy it, as if it was the full final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life." Beautiful, right?

We're trying the five S's from The Happiest Baby on the Block, giving her daily probiotic drops, giving her fresh air and sunshine, loving on her ever-growing self constantly, and just plain ol' accepting that things are what they are today -- and that tomorrow is a new day.

Another good cure for the exhaustion? Writing her birth story. Nothing fills me with more accomplishment, joy, and wonder than reliving her birth and the several hours that followed. Story to come soon!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Newborn Parenting is Not for the Faint of Heart


This first-time newborn parenting thing is not for the faint of heart, my friends. Last week was tough. I'd cry, but even my tear ducts are exhausted. Countless people advised that the first two weeks are the most difficult, but "it will get better!" Now I'm not one to point fingers, but those people a) lied straight to my face, b) were under the influence of illegal substances when speaking to me, or c) have never lived under the same roof as an infant. Lies, I tell you. The third week of parenting robbed me of my sanity under the cloak of night.

I started breastfeeding Presley when she was about ten minutes old, and she's been a nursing champ ever since. I exclusively breastfeed her. Since I nurse on demand and she's a growing bitty one, there really is no routine or schedule. (Plus, routines can't effectively be implemented until about three or four months old anyway.) Whenever she starts getting fussy, we check her diaper. If that's not the problem, I see if she's ready to be fed. If that's not it, we assume it's gas and apply all techniques we've learned: belly massage, move her legs in bicycle movements, and tummy time. Despite those things, she has been inconsolable some nights, and I really mean inconsolable. We've been able to calm her, but just when we think she's ready to go down for sleep, she goes from zero to sixty in 2.2 seconds.

On Saturday night we were up with her from 12:20 AM to 3:15 AM trying everything we could to keep her from screaming her sweet little vocal chords out. She finally slept for about three hours, and then bing! She was upset again at 6:30 AM. I took her into the guest room to try to nurse and rock her to sleep so that S could sleep. I suspected I'd need to do the hand-off with him later in the morning so I could get some shut-eye. When S woke up at 9:30 AM, I couldn't even muster a greeting. "Help me. I don't know what else to do for her. This must be so frustrating for her!"

We spent the morning searching the internet for advice about fussiness, digestive issues, and colic. Also, I'm a member of a two Facebook mom groups (one for breastfeeding, one for general parenting) which are great for crowd-sourcing. (Both groups were extremely helpful throughout pregnancy as well!) Presley has never taken a pacifier, so I asked for recommendations for newborns. My hope is that a pacifier might help her self-soothe.

Following discussion with my sister and Darby, I decided two things. First, we would start Presley on probiotic drops which helped my nephew early on. Second, I'll cut dairy, spicy foods, chocolate, and caffeine from my diet -- the only big change being chocolate, although I did have frozen custard twice last week. It will take one week for those things to clear from my breast milk, but I'm hopeful that this will help Presley's digestive issues. Do you hear me? I'm cutting out chocolate. Oh, the things I do for this child!

I made a quick run to the store to buy MAM pacifiers, Mommy's Bliss gripe water, and BioGaia probiotic drops.

I'm down to my last week of true maternity leave. After this week, I'll be working from home for two weeks to transition back to the office. I hope I can sleep for more than three hours a night by then. Lord, help me. I feel like I've lost my mind. Pardon me while I go look for my glasses.

Never mind. They're right where I left them.

On my face.

Happy Monday!

** In all seriousness, we are so grateful for this child, and we knew that days/nights like this would come. This too shall pass! This stage is helping us to grow into the best parents we can be for her.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Influenster #XOVoxBox Product Reviews

Disclosure: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are mine alone.



There's nothing like getting a box of goodies in the mail to make a new mama feel pampered, eh? Influenster sent me their latest box, and now that I've had two weeks to use the products, I can tell you which items got two thumbs up and which items didn't. In no particular order, here they are.


Skinfix: This hand cream couldn't have come at a better time. One week before Presley was born, Memphis got a true taste of winter with low temps (9 degrees at night!), rain, and snow. Add the constant handwashing that we do in this house, and we're left with some pretty rough looking skin. Skin on one of my knuckles split open, because it was so dry! When I first applied Skinfix, I didn't think it would live up to the name. It felt too light to fully moisturize dry skin, but I was wrong. It clings to the skin just enough without feeling greasy. I love this stuff.

Verdict: Love it! This is something I'd purchase and keep in my purse and/or in my desk at work.


Tide Pods + Febreze: We used to be a strictly Tide household until we switched over to soap nuts and Seventh Generation Free & Clear. Tide never failed us, but we made the switch in an effort to cut down on chemicals in the house. That is not to say that we are terribly strict about being chemical-free; rather, we do what we can where we can. Every little bit counts. That being said, I knew Tide Pods wouldn't disappoint. Because we're used to scent-free laundry, I chose to use the pods on our guestroom bedding and guest towels -- which was a good call. I am not a fan of the Botanical Rain Febreze scent, at least not straight out of the dryer. It smelled better (meaning softer and more pleasant) the next day.

Verdict: I'll use the rest of the pods, but I won't purchase them in the future. If it had a Febreze scent of Caramel Apple Pie or Sugar Cookie, I might reconsider. ;)
 

Colgate Optic White Toothpaste, Toothbrush, and Whitening Pen: Three people I've worked with in the past have nicknamed me Colgate. I've been told over and over again since high school that my best physical feature is my smile. (Thanks for the braces, Mom and Dad!) Like the laundry situation, I've stuck to a "free and clear" dental hygiene regimen for years. Tubes of toothpaste are used for travel or staying at someone else's home. I had to try this Optic White system since it promised to whiten teeth in three days. The last time I whitened my teeth was right before my wedding. (It was a gift from my dentist!) It's a three-part system: the toothpaste, the toothbrush, and a whitening gel pen that fits inside the toothbrush. Although it was subtle, I will admit that my teeth were whiter after three days! The one thing I did not like was the toothbrush. It has rubbery "polishing bristles"which I did not like the feel of.

Verdict: I see these products as "special occasion" products, like whitening teeth for a wedding. My personal teeth-cleaning regimen has served me well for seven years (no cavities! breaks up stains!), and it's much cheaper.


John Frieda Frizz Ease Beyond Smooth Shampoo, Conditioner, and Primer: I have used the Frizz Ease Clearly Defined gel for nine years. Nothing tames my frizz and holds my waves better, and it's so good for the price. I've also used the serums. I really like the Beyond Smooth products. They smell nice, and they leave my hair feeling silky and soft without feeling weighed down (which other frizz-taming products have done for me).

Verdict: I'm pretty set on my usual shampoo and conditioner, but I'll be adding the primer to my styling product arsenal -- for, you know, the days when I finally start putting myself together every day again! #newmamatruth


Thanks for sending the #XOVoxBox to me, Influenster!

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Presley's First Two Weeks

Stickers: Haute Bellies (gifted)









It feels like Presley has been here for more than two weeks. Life before her seems so long ago. She has already changed so much. She has grown in size and strength as well as spunk. I think we have a lively little one on our hands! We've spent so much time looking at her, talking to her, and laughing hysterically at her perfectly-timed reactions to things we know she doesn't comprehend. Her scent is my happy drug. This wee being is filling up some very large space in our hearts. What I love most is how in tune she seems to be whenever her dad speaks to her. I know that mothers and babies have a special bond, but I can tell she feels safe in his hands. Those two are going to be so close. I just know it.

We are adjusting and creating a new normal at home. My wonderful parents were here to bask in the joy of their granddaughter and help out during her first week, but now it's back to "just us." We do the hand-off in the mornings to take showers and get ready for the day. (Let's be honest. Sometimes it's not until the afternoon.) I've been tracking Presley's feedings and diaper changes with an app on my phone so that we can try to establish some sort of anticipated "schedule" (I use that term very loosely!) when I transition back to work. Sometimes adjusting can be difficult. It's hard deciphering "hungry fussy" from "gassy fussy," and it is never easy getting up in the middle of the night to change a diaper and breastfeed her (and then change a diaper again). But no matter how foreign this new life can still feel sometimes, I look at her, and I fall in love with this new role I'm learning to fill. I get to be her mom!

Mama friends, do you have any advice about the first weeks or months that you wish someone had told you?

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Non-Baby Things of Late


As my Instagram account has proven, my life is much more appealing to others when I have a cute baby clogging the feed! Thanks for loving on this little girl of ours. My world these days is "all baby, all the time," but I thought I'd throw out some non-baby things of late.

These non-slip ruby slipper socks were gifted to me by my sister Christmas before last, and oh, my gosh! I think they received as many compliments in the hospital as Presley did! I was wearing them when I was admitted to the hospital, and I never got around to putting on the cozy camping socks from REI that I packed in my hospital bag. Every single person who saw my socks on delivery day chuckled and commented on them. Such a good ice breaker!

I am obsessed with Peglets. Have you heard of them? I want a set for Presley, but which one to choose? Harry Potter? Superheroes? Disney princesses? Our family? The options are endless.


Have you heard of a Dirty Dr. Pepper? Kara from Peglets told me it is Dr. Pepper with a shot or two of coconut syrup. I've been craving one for three weeks.

Movies we've seen lately include The Imitation Game (loved it!), Whiplash (ridiculously good!), Birdman (terrific), St. Vincent (funny and sweet), Into the Woods (great, if you love musicals), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (meh...), The Last Five Years (only makes sense if you already know and love the score), and Ida (terribly boring -- do not watch). Have you seen them?

I could watch HGTV's Rehab Addict all day. I wish I was a renovation bad-ass.

I'm really fascinated by essential oils. I follow a handful of natural living blogs and Instagram accounts, but truth be told, I don't even know where to start. Do you have any recommendations for starter kits?

I can't get enough of Earth Balance's coconut peanut butter.

A new website called Bloggish launched last week. Have you heard of it? Basically, it's the easiest way to find new blogs within a certain category/type that you're looking for. Check it out! You may see a familiar face in the crowd. :)

I'm a bridesmaid in a Maui wedding in August, so I've been dreaming of swimsuits. I love the simple fringe flair of THIS one, and just in case I don't have my pre-baby body back, I like THIS one too.

Okay. That's all. Happy Sunday!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Final Weeks Before She Arrived

35, 36, 37, 38, and 39 weeks pregnant. (She was born right on time at 40 weeks!)
The last month of pregnancy didn't go exactly as planned. For three consecutive appointments, I had high blood pressure which caused concern. My doctor suspected I might have had preeclampsia (which would have called for induction) and ordered some tests to be done. They all came back normal which made me happy, because I really wanted Baby Girl to show up on her own time instead of being induced. The cure for the high blood pressure was working from home until the baby arrived. That did the trick! High blood pressure, be gone! I am so grateful to have a boss who is understanding and supportive. I spent the last two weeks of pregnancy working from home.



While high blood pressure can be the pits, we had some fun in those final weeks too. We had weeknight movie dates after work. (For the record, The Imitation Game and Whiplash are amazing. Go see them.) We also had some last social hurrahs! We were given tickets to a Grizzlies game (my first NBA game), because S's friend performed the halftime show which was pretty cool. While the friend and his wife were in town, we also had brunch at the Peabody Hotel which was as decadent as one would expect for a historic hotel that has ducks parading through it daily. Delicious. The best surprises were visits from two of my best friends. Caitlin was in town for work and skipped out on an outing to have dinner with us. We hadn't seen her since our wedding, so it was really special that she spent time with us during the pregnancy. Annie and Kristian had simultaneous days off (which is rare for two people working in the hotel/event industry) and decided to drive three hours from Nashville (and three hours back) -- just to have lunch with us. Who does that?! Incredible best friends; that's who. We love them and are so grateful for their friendship and support.



My parents flew out from San Diego for Presley's birth, but the difficult thing about babies is that you don't know exactly when they'll arrive, unless you have a planned C-section. With the blood pressure issues in early February, we wondered if she would be born at 37 weeks, but then that problem subsided, so we were back to playing the waiting game. They arrived in Memphis on February 15 and camped out at the house as we went about our daily business (I was still working from home full-time) and sat down for dinner every night wondering, "When are you coming, Presley? Come on, baby girl. We're ready for you!" It seemed like a very long week of waiting. Admittedly, I was feeling impatient, but I was also thankful that we were both in good health and that she was able to come when she was ready. She was born exactly one week after my parents arrived.

Our last photo as two was taken on 2/21/2015 after a lunch date with my parents. I had been in labor for about ten hours.

Presley was born right on time -- February 22! In a way, I feel like she waited until I was ready. I finished my last big maternity leave prep work project and finished reading The Baby Signing Bible the day before I went into labor. Perfect timing, my dear.

The final weeks before she arrived were filled with surprises. Despite my altered work arrangements and temporarily high blood pressure, all went smoothly, and I couldn't have asked for a better final month. I kind of miss being pregnant and having her in my belly, but hands down, life is much sweeter with her here!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sweet P's Nursery











Welcome to the room I frequent regularly. Welcome to Presley's nursery!

While pregnant, I had several people ask what the theme or colors of Presley's room would be, and the answer never became clearer than "No theme. All colors. The furniture is espresso finish, if that makes a difference." It was hard for me to commit to something that would be so definite like an accent wall or a purple, white, and gold scheme. I wondered if I'd dislike the room months down the road or if it wouldn't fit her personality. Instead of creating a Pinterest board and raiding home decor stores for just the right shade of blush or turquoise, we bought what we liked and assumed it would all come together.

Her room is riddled with memories already.

Cards from her baby shower
Books from my childhood
Her first sonogram at 8 weeks
Her prints
Several special, personalized gifts from family and friends
A book box filled with notes of advice and encouragement from her baby shower

We left some empty spaces on the walls for photos of her. I'll get to those before I return to work (I hope). So this is it. This is where I nurse her in the middle of the night; where I whisper to her; where her dad makes her float through the air to calm her fussy fits; where we kiss her endlessly and marvel at our best DIY project ever.