To Do or Not To Do

To Do or Not To Do

Today Anderson is 6 weeks old.

In a way that sounds like just a tiny pocket of time, but for our lives it has been everything – a mini lifetime of newborn-dom all rolled into a month and a half.  Pregnancy feels like a long time ago, yet some days this mom thing still feels as new as day one.  Just the other day I was doing something in the kitchen and I found myself just staring in awe at Anderson, on the floor in his bouncy seat, saying, “You’re really here!  It really worked!”

Shocking.

We have had our share of brutally hard nights, wracked by insomnia, trying anything and everything to get this baby to sleep.  We have had days where rivers of spit-up and pools of other bodily leakage (I’ll spare further details…) have made for more wardrobe changes than Kim Kardashian on an average day in maternity clothes.  We have had ‘nice peaceful walks’ to the soundtrack of screams.  He’s cried.  And cried.  He’s made us cry.  And cry.  I once seriously considered running to the bathroom and jumping into a cold shower with all my clothes on, as a form of panicked hydro therapy in the midst of a “nothing will get this baby to sleep!!” night.  I compromised with aggressively splashing cold water on my exhausted face over and over and over, until I finally snapped back to the realm of the living enough to give it another go.

I had the pleasure of meeting Glennon Melton the other night.  She is the founder of the hilarious, honest, “brutiful” (her word) blog, Momastery.com, which I highly recommend anyone read.  She also just wrote a book, which I also highly recommend (so does the New York Times – it debuted at #3!).  Image

Anyway, got to meet Glennon, chat with her a bit and hear her speak about her life and her writing.  One of the things she said that has resonated with me the most at this stage in my life is (I paraphrase):  Do the things you have to do.  Then do the things you want to do.  Don’t worry about all the things you should do. 

For me, right now, that looks like this:

THINGS I HAVE TO DO:

Feed Anderson 8-12 times a day

Change Anderson’s diaper 8-12 times a day

Wake up 8-12 times a night (just kidding, it’s not that bad)

Brush my teeth to avoid further cavities

Eat something once in a while

Stay hydrated

THINGS I WANT TO DO:

Hold my son, especially when he’s being sweet

Take lots of stroller walks, especially if they involve getting coffee

Spend way too much time checking facebook and people.com because it’s a low brain level distraction that I can handle while nursing, trying to fall back to sleep, daydreaming about the outside world, etc..

Watch every tivo’d episode of The Voice and American Idol

Enjoy a glass of wine or a beer

Eat chocolate

Read

Write

Get pedicures, massages and facials any chance I get

THINGS I SHOULD DO:

Bathe Anderson more than once a week (we sometimes make it to two…)

Pay my bills more often

Eat fewer frozen Mexican meals

Vacuum

Properly care for my hair

Start thinking about nice things to do for our moms for Mother’s Day

Pray more (with the exception of short desperate pleas for mid-night sleep – those I’ve got covered)

I’m learning to prioritize the “have to’s” and the “wants,” and to forgive myself when I don’t get to all the “shoulds.”

The “have to’s” and the “wants,” – those are the things that you and the people in your life will remember.

All right, here’s the silver lining I’ve discovered:  No matter how hopeless and hard those 3am moments may feel at the time, the next day you recover.  You bounce back (sometimes not without the help of multiple coffees).  You find yourself laughing at some noise or new expression he makes.  You get excited to finally try out the new stroller after a string of rainy days.  You breathe in the sweet downy scent of the top of his head and can’t think of a better smell in the whole wide world.  And suddenly, it’s okay that you haven’t washed your hair in three days, opened a piece of mail in a month or spent more than five minutes talking to your best friend in the last five weeks.  It’s worth it because you’re all this baby has, and you’ll never get these first days with him back.  So I try to keep perspective.  I really try.  And I think I sort of succeed….most of the time.  But if you ever find me standing in the shower, at 2am, drenched in the same pj pants I’ve been wandering around in aimlessly for three days, you’ll know it is not the time to talk to me about perspective.

Please wait until I’ve had my coffee.

Welcome, Anderson!

Welcome, Anderson!

My how my life has changed since I last wrote for this blog!  Introducing my beautiful baby boy!

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Aaron and I welcomed our son, Anderson David, on March 6th.  As promised at the end of my last blog entry, I now have a baby (and many many baby accessories) at home, am no longer pregnant – and our child even has a name! The story behind the ultimate name decision is somewhat anticlimactic.  In the end, it just felt right, and once we were at the hospital and filling out the birth certificate paperwork, we never thought twice about it.  Funny how most of the things we stress about really aren’t worth stressing about, huh?

I really have been dying to get back to writing, and to share a bit about Anderson’s birth story and what this first month (ONE MONTH already – crazy!) has been like.  First of all, all the things you hear over and over and over again about having a baby are starkly true – you sleep less, you shower sparingly, live in yoga/pj pants, and know a love you’ve never known before.  From the moment he was born life has truly been a nonstop whirlwind – a cozy, messy, sleepy, calm, exciting, loud, quiet, beautiful adventurous ride that knows no bounds.  Rhyme, reason, schedule and structure of life before baby are gone.  But it’s the best, most beautiful kind of clutter, constancy and sometimes chaos you’ll ever know.

SPECIAL DELIVERY….

A bit about giving birth:  I could write pages and pages just about the 48 hours we spent in the hospital, but I’ll try and condense.  In short it was the most magical, sacred, empowering and surreal experience of my life.  It also went as well (in fact, better – thank you, epidural!) than I ever could have hoped and for that I am so grateful.  Call me crazy, but I’m actually already looking forward to doing it again someday.  Does that sound crazy?

I want to share some personal photos from that very special time that I haven’t shared on facebook or with anyone else.  I think they will really help tell the story of our journey bringing Anderson into this world, and his precious first hours of life.

Here is a picture of me just after being admitted to the hospital.  I was so excited to be there and so ready to get this labor going!

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I was induced on Pitocin due to low amniotic fluid (apparently not too uncommon when past your due date, as I was). That revved up my contractions, and after about 6 hours of gradually increasing contractions, I requested an epidural, which was always my plan.  Kudos to those iron women who brave labor without one, but that is not for me and I am a huge fan of this medical marvel – it is a godsend!!  I was blessed to have my awesome husband by my side, feeding me ice chips, watching Jeopardy with me in the early stages of labor, slow-dancing me through the pain of the later stages, sleeping in a windowsill for two nights, and holding up my numb legs for hours as I worked to bring our son into the world.  I also had an incredibly competent and nurturing nurse who made me feel so assured, comfortable and prepared each step of the way. Way to go nurses, and way to go Swedish for its 1-1 nurse-patient ratio – it was so wonderful to have the undivided attention of my nurse for 12 hours straight at such an intimate, sensitive time.  Rounding out the team, I truly felt I couldn’t have been in better hands with my delivery doctor and anesthesiologist who were both absolute professionals, calmed my fears and my pain, and delivered my son safely into my arms.  Thank you!!!

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I think I was awake for roughly 30 hours straight throughout labor and delivery and Anderson’s first day of life.  Yes, I was tired, but it’s amazing how your body sustains you and gets by on pure adrenaline and elation.  That first day we were just absolutely consumed with holding him, feeding him, smelling him, staring at him, watching him sleep.  We were immediately in love and fiercely protective over our new son.  As much as people try to describe how amazing becoming a parent is, there are no words that can truly prepare you. No description can substitute for experiencing it yourself.

This photo perfectly captures that first day and night with him.  I was holding him in my hospital bed during one of our many overnight wake-ups/feedings.  As exhausted and “running on fumes” as I was, I had never held anyone or anything so gratefully, so protectively, so….never wanting to let go.  This was a deeply tender moment that I vividly remember, and I’m so glad we captured it:ImageHere is our first family photo in the hospital:

ImageA sweet shot with Aaron:

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And a few of the many moments we’ve experienced in our “baby bubble” getting the hang of parenting a little more each day, this first month back at home….

His first bath:

ImageAaron grooming him to take over the family business (during a diaper change, of course – never too early to multi-task!):

ImageFirst “Starbucks run” (coffee is our friend!!):

ImageCuddles on the couch:

ImageFirst Easter as a family:

ImageAnd here we are.  It’s good to be home.

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