Thursday, August 30, 2012

And so it comes to an end

Wow, it has been over 2 months since I've posted anything. They have been the fastest 2 months of my life. I have loved every single second that I have been home with my amazing darling little son and have been the happiest I've ever been in my life. But they were also 2 very hard months, emotionally, and I'm still struggling a little bit. Ok, a lot.

I spent all of June getting used to being a mom and it was frustrating, exhausting, hard work but it was also wonderful. I spent all of July depressed and stressed out and anxious about my job, going back to work, and leaving my little boy. I've spent most of August feeling the same way but it has definitely gotten better. I believe there were some post partum hormones contributing to my anxiety and stress as well as being put back on the pill. The pill also screwed up my milk supply so I quit taking it and can tell it made a difference. (Mike and I need to be careful since we're not using any form of birth control but that is a topic for another post) So I think my hormones have leveled out and I feel somewhat normal again. At least, I'm not crying every single day anymore although I still cry more than I ever have in my life. I'm pretty sure I spent all of July in tears. Sleep deprivation probably didn't help either; and not because of Ryder, he is a good little sleeper. I just couldn't turn off my brain and the worry and stress I was feeling.

Thanks to my amazing fiance (Yes, Mike proposed! Again, a topic for another post) and some dear friends I really feel better about my abilities as a mother, a partner, and soon to be a working mother. I hate the idea of someone else taking care of my son and getting to spend all day with him but we found a daycare we are happy with, and coincidentally one where one of Mike's cousins happens to work, so we feel pretty good about that. But I just can't see going back to my old job, for so many reasons. The biggest one being that I don't want to work 60/70 hour work weeks anymore. But I also am so unhappy with how much has changed over the last few months. I have a new boss who is clueless (not his fault), some of my favorite aspects of my job have been taken away from me, every time I turn around they have made another change or taken away another resource, and a lot of my favorite people no longer work there due to all of these changes. So I am less than excited to go back to work. I've been applying for jobs left and right the last few weeks and part of me really wants to make a change but part of me really wants to be wrong - I want to go back to work and find out things are better than ever and that I will still love my job as much as ever. But  my gut tells me that that won't be the case.

I think I am just overwhelmed by so much change all at once. My job has changed completely after 5 years, having a baby, and getting engaged. It is a lot to process. And add to that some crazy raging hormones and the overwhelming love new mothers feel towards their babies and this whole going back to work thing is just a bit too much to take. I have always been career oriented and thrown myself 300% into every job I've ever had. This job was my dream job and it was my whole life, my whole identity. All of my relationships here in FL are a direct result of this job in one way or another. I never imagined a time where I wouldn't love my job and the life I had as a result of it but between everything changing with the organization, the people I work with, and my personal life, I just don't feel that passion anymore.  I know in my heart that I'd rather make my son a priority and this job just isn't family friendly. I think I am having a hard time letting go of that; it feels like I'm letting go of my whole identity.

Mike is wonderful and says he'll support me no matter what I decide. I have some money saved up so we could live off what he makes but our life would drastically change. And I can see myself slipping into a routine of laziness without the structure of a job to go to everyday. I think eventually I'd get bored. I know daycare will provide enrichment and stimulation for RPM that will be good for his development. And I know I've been luck with the 3 bonus weeks off I got thanks to the RNC. But this is still agonizing for me and I am still not ready to leave my son every day.

So there it is - what I've wrestled with, what has consumed my every waking thought for the past two months. And I have 4 more blissful days at home before going back to I don't even know what. I am determined to make the best of them and to enjoy every single moment with my precious baby. I just wish I could stop crying.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


I used to judge "frumpy" moms and think to myself "I will never be a frumpy mom". Now, I don't want to be one of those moms who is really cute but who is trying too hard and is not age appropriate but I do want to be put together. Hahahahahaha!!! Little did I know...

I like to think I'm pretty low maintenance to begin with. I do my hair and nails but wear minimal makeup (just eyes) and I'm not very trendy or stylish but I know what fits and looks good on my body. I keep it simple but I do enjoy good quality clothes and accessories. And of course cute shoes! Style sort of went out the window with pregnancy but I did my best to look decent. I couldn't wait to give birth so I could look normal again. And wear my cute shoes...

Well, I'm lucky to get a shower these days, let alone follow any sort of beauty routine. And my jeans & shorts don't fit yet and I have to wear tops that allow for easy nursing so my wardrobe is pretty limited. I also haven't managed to wear anything but flip flops.

It's almost impossible to have any kind of beauty routine right now - when I do get a shower it's a short one and the time I used to spend on lotions and makeup I now use for nursing pads, nipple cream, and panty liners (yup, still have lochia, that's fun...) my hair is now almost permanently in a ponytail.

My nails, however look fabulous! I normally can never grow my real nails and wore acrylics for years. But thanks to pregnancy & prenatal vitamins my nails are so long & strong that they look like acrylics. I love them! Sadly, my son is squirmy and I end up scratching him a lot so it's time to cut them off. I've taken some pictures to remember them by since I doubt they'll ever grow like this again.

My hair is also the longest it has ever been and despite the fact that Ryder loves grabbing onto it for dear life I refuse to give in and get a "mom cut". Nor that I have time to style it these days...

One new skill at a time

So after a month of breastfeeding we've added pumping and cloth diapering to the arsenal. My goal was to have breastfeeding well established and a daily routine down by one month before adding anything new but the routine part is still a work in progress. I guess I'm batting .500 so I shouldn't feel too bad.

I started cloth diapering this past week and I think I like it. My only complaint is that when he's wet the cloth gets cold so if it is nighttime he won't stay asleep as long. Mike isn't a fan (he hasn't quite mastered it) and RPM doesn't seem to care either way so we'll see how long it lasts.

I also started pumping yesterday. I was a little intimidated by the pump and all the parts but I finally tackled it last night and it was actually very easy. I was able to get 2oz and Mike was able to feed Ryder for the first time. I think I've got a plan for pumping moving forward but if motherhood has taught me nothing, it is that my plans may be great in theory but may go to shit in practice so we'll have to see how it goes.

Next on the list - getting back to the gym/working out. Now that Mike can feed RPM I will try to go in the mornings when he gets off work. Easier said than done considering that is usually the only time I get to sleep for more than an hour at a time. I guess adding a bedtime for Ryder to the list should really cone first...

I continue to live by my new mantra - one day at a time...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The great debate

Whew! The last 2 weeks have been rough ones. Ryder must have hit a growth spurt right in between weeks 3 and 4 because he was eating practically every hour on the hour. We sort of mellowed into a routine but then he got circumcised on Friday and it all went to shit.

He did really well with the circumcision - it seemed to only hurt for about 18 hours and then he was just kind of fidgety for a day and back to normal by Sunday. (I was in tears the whole time though, I think it may have been rougher on me than him!) However, he ate every hour on Friday and Saturday and didn't want to be put down so as a result I did not get any sleep for almost 3 days. Not to mention how hard it was to hear him crying from pain. He has a few distinct cries and I hope to never hear that one again (wishful thinking, I know). Every time he would start screaming I would burst into tears, it was horrible. And I dealt with it all alone since Mike slept during both days and worked both nights. He came home late on Saturday morning after his Friday night shift and I could have killed him! He normally gets home around 4:30am but didn't get home until almost 7am that day. He felt bad but I was livid. I was up all day and night with our poor little boy after his procedure and desperately needed a break and some sleep but because he was late I didn't get that until Sunday and I was not a nice person to be around. He made it up to me and all 3 of us obviously survived the weekend but it was not fun. So glad that is behind us!

Part of what made that whole weekend so hard is we are not using a pacifier. This is something Mike and I have fought about since about the minute we found out we were pregnant. He is totally against them and while I do think some parents abuse them, I think they can be necessary and definitely serve a purpose. We've fought about using one many times, including most of last week. Mike thinks they are a crutch for parents and that they teach the baby bad habits, encourage oral fixations (which he thinks leads to over eating and smoking) and can mess up their teeth and speech development. All of these things can be true but I think only if the parents let them happen. I believe (and am backed up by research) that babies have an innate need to suck and that the pacifier can provide comfort for them. I think the parents need to use them sparingly and wean the child off of them early but that they can still be effective and helpful to both the baby and the parents. I agreed to try not to use one but always maintained that it might be necessary one day. Everything I read said not to introduce one until the baby was a month old and breastfeeding was well established so those were my benchmarks. For the most part Ryder rarely needs one but there were a few times, and especially during the growth spurt and the circumcision recovery, when he needed one. Both of our families kept asking why we weren't using one but I backed up Mike's decision not to use one, even though I felt Ryder needed it. I finally got Mike to agree to discuss it with our pediatrician at RPM's 1 month appointment.

I am with Ryder 85% of the time since Mike works nights and sleeps during the day. He comes home and takes Ryder for a few hours so I can sleep (although there is usually a feeding or two during that time so I don't get a complete break) before he goes to bed. Then he gets up and cleans the house, cooks dinner, etc. before going to work. Typically he is awake to help me with the baby about 4 or 5 hours a day. The rest of the time it is all me. All day. All evening. All night. And since we are exclusively breastfeeding, I handle every meal. I like to think this qualifies me to know what my baby needs. And sometimes, not often, but sometimes he needs a pacifier. He is usually a very good baby, super alert and only fusses when he has a reason - wet/poopy diaper or needs to eat or burp. But each evening he would get fussy and end up using me as his pacifier. We'd go all day with a good pattern of eating every 2-3 hours and then at night he'd go to every hour or so and most of the time he wasn't eating, just wanting my boob in his mouth. I was starting to feel chained to the couch and very frustrated. There have a been a couple of times where he was really gassy and was pretty inconsolable (unconsolable?). And then there was the circumcision recovery. Unfortunately, Mike was not around for most of this. If Ryder is fussy around Mike he usually hands him to me and says "I think he needs to eat, he's trying to suck". Even if I knew he didn't need to eat I'd end up giving in and sitting there with him on my boob just to calm him down. I'd try to tell Mike he wasn't eating but it would just lead to another fight so most of the time I'd just sit there feeling angry and frustrated.

Don't get me wrong, Mike is an AMAZING dad. He is super hands on and Ryder just loves his daddy. Mike wants so badly to be a good dad and tries so hard to only/always do what is "right" and "best". I really admire him and am thankful for him. But this pacifier thing was starting to really strain us. We spoke with the pediatrician today (I love our pediatrician btw) and she was fairly neutral but she did back me up and she explained to Mike that if we did use one, we were in control and that it wouldn't cause all the problems he worried about if we didn't let it. After we left I told Mike that I had supported him for this past month but that moving forward, since I was alone with the baby most of the time, that if I felt he needed a pacifier I was going to use one; he needs to trust that I wouldn't abuse it or use it just to "shut him up" but that I would be thinking of my own sanity and for the comfort of our infant son. He said he would support me with this moving foward.

Today was a really good day with Ryder. He was happy during the times he was awake and back to eating every 2 hours. But after eating at 7:45 for 30min and again at 8:45 for 20min he was very fussy and after 30min of him crying (and me making sure he had a clean diaper and knowing he did not need to eat again so soon) I finally decided to try the pacifier. He took it with no problems and instantly settled down; he was asleep in my arms within minutes, happily sucking away making those cute contented baby sighs. He has been sleeping peacefully for the last 2 hours and even spit it out after about 20 minutes. I was able to actually get stuff done and am as calm and peaceful as my sweet baby boy.

I have to say, I am proud of myself for supporting Mike for so long because I feel like it proved to him that I really value his opinion and parenting skills but I also feel bad that I deprived my son of something that obviously comforts and soothes him, especially during the trauma of recovering from his circumcision. I think I also deprived myself in a way because I think he and I could have had more of a schedule down by now and I'd have a little bit of my life back. But that is all behind us and now we can move forward. It is really too bad babies don't come with instruction manuals and we have to figure this all out for ourselves. I can see how relationships and marriages can suffer when kids are born if both parents aren't on the same page about things. I can also see how kids can suffer when parents don't care enough to try to work through their differences (or don't care about doing what is right/best for their child but that is another topic for another day...)

On a side note, we started cloth diapering and while I love the idea of it, I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. It definitely takes longer to complete a diaper change and this may seem stupid but I hate how bulky it makes his cute little butt. I'm already sad he is growing out of his newborn clothes and with the cloth diapers now they definitely don't fit. (I know, I know, that is a dumb thing to be upset about). Ryder doesn't really seem to care either way so we'll see how long it lasts. Sometime in the next few days I will attempt to start pumping but after the last 10 days, I'm not sure I'm mentally ready to tackle anything else new. Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Ryder is 3 1/2 weeks old and time is just flying by! Here are some current highlights (yeah, we're going to go with highlights, even the negative ones)

Adorable - I have the cutest son EVER. I might be a little biased but he is seriously cute and I am totally in love with him

Breast feeding - see previous blog. Still having a hard time with this one and apparently it will suck even worse during the 6 week growth spurt but then will get better. So they say...

Circumcision - poor little guy gets his tomorrow. We didn't do it in the hospital because the pediatrician says his foreskin was too tight and we are seeing a pediatric urologist. I wish it was done already. I cry thinking about him being in pain that we purposely caused.

Daddy - Mike is seriously the best daddy ever. He is so involved and I can tell he and Ryder have a special bond already. It still brings tears to my eyes watching my love interact with our son and it is not the hormones!

Episiotomy - yup, the doctor had to cut me. For some reason I was more scared of this than any other aspect of childbirth; I was terrified of tearing or needing to be cut and even begged the doctor not to do it. But it really wasn't that bad. It wasn't pleasant but I was numb for the first few days and then mostly just sore for about 10 days. And now I'm all healed and practically good as new.

Fluids - poop, pee, puke, blood (me), we are still dealing with it all on a daily basis. Diaper changes are like little mini obstacle courses/races against the clock - gotta get him cleaned up and a new diaper on (and on securely so it doesn't leak) before he poops and/or pees again. Usually we "win" but when we lose it can get ugly! Apparently this only gets worse with boys. Fun times!

Growth spurt - I swear we are in the middle of a growth spurt. This child nurses for a half hour every hour to 90 minutes. We had been going 2 1/2 to 3 hours between feedings but not anymore. Plus now he spits up and is fussy at night and the boob is the only thing that settles him down.

H - my current cup size. I spent a small fortune on nursing bras (I was able to find 3 that fit) because I have to shop at Nordstrom. Ryder and Daddy both love my boobs so I guess I shouldn't complain but an H is just unnecessary if you ask me.

Innie - RPM has a perfect little innie belly button. His dad has a cute little outie which I think looks pretty sexy with his six pack, but I'm happy with how Ryder healed. My innie, on the other hand, may never be the same. It never "popped" during pregnancy, it just seemed to get wider & deeper. I used to joke that Mike could have had sex with it if he wanted. Let's hope it goes back to normal!

Judgmental - I find in some ways I am less judgmental of other parents now that I am one but in other ways I'm even more judgmental now than I was. I have very definite & strong opinions about how children should be raised. Luckily my friends are all great parents who I very much admire and respect so they are safe from my judgement.

Kung Fu Panda 2 - I've seen this move every day, or at least every other day, for the last 2 weeks. I've also seen Toy Story 3, Tangled, How to Tame Your Dragon, and the last 2 Harry Potter movies at least daily. I watch a lot of movies and TV these days since I am chained to the couch

Love - I never imagined how much I would love my son and love being a mommy or how much more I would love Mike. It overwhelms me sometimes. I've loved people before but never in that fairy tale/happy ending/country love song kind of way and it is new for me to be such an emotional and sappy person but I actually kind of like. I am so in love with the 2 men in my life!!!

Marriage - the burning question is when are we going to get married. And we are. Mike is saving for a ring; it is very important to him to do it the "right" way (which is debatable since we did just have a child) and we both want a real wedding, not a courthouse wedding, so it will be a while. But it is definitely in the works and I look forward to the day when I can say I'm married to my best friend and the love of my life.

Name change - it's official, Mike's last name is now Martin. We had the court date Tuesday. Now we can get his name put on the birth certificate (don't get me started on this... in FL they won't put the father's name on the birth certificate if you aren't married so right now it says Father: unkown which infuriates me. There is a form we have to fill out to have him added so now that the last name will match the one we gave our son we can get this taken care of)

One day at at time - this is my mantra. This is also new for me. I am a planner, I organize and plan things for a living and I'm good at it because it is my nature to be that way. I keep 3 calendars and make lists and have thins scheduled and planned weeks and months in advance. That is all out the window now. I don't even plan for the next day until today is almost over. Hell, I can barely plan meals or to take a shower! I have a really hard time with this one but we're making the best of it. I'm sure this is the topic of a future blog post

Pacifier - the debate rages on. Mike and I have fought about this since we found out we were pregnant. He is strictly against them and I think they have a purpose if used properly (not just as a mute button but during times when he is truly distressed or at night when he just wants to sleep with my boob in his mouth for hours). Mike thinks that pacifiers are evil and that by "allowing" one we are showing RPM that we are "giving in" to him. I think that is ridiculous and that a newborn has natural needs, one of which is sucking, and that he is too little to understand anything other than his needs being met. This argument causes me lots of anguish but luckily Ryder is a good baby and there have only really been 3 times where I would have even given him a pacifier, if we were using them. We are going to talk to our pediatrician about this.

Questions - I have a million questions about this mommy/baby thing, with new ones every day. I'm so grateful for my mom, my friends who are great mommies, and the internet. Our pediatrician is also wonderful but I know I can't call her 35 times a day. Too bad kids don't come with instruction manuels

Routine - try as I might, I am unable to establish a routine. Some days I think we're getting there and then the next day it all goes to shit. I guess we have a little bit of a routine - RPM is happy and awake and alert in the mornings so we play and cuddle. We also go to bed around midnight and he lets me sleep a good 3-4 hours. Then Mike gets home and plays with him until his next feedings. But the rest of the day is a crap shoot and the evenings are where it all really falls apart. Oh well, we'll get there one of these days. Until then, refer to the letter O.

Sex - I miss having sex with Mike. A lot. It has been 7 months since we've had normal sex. We had sex a dozen or so times during the pregnancy but it was always doggy style in the shower. I'm ready for some spontaneous sex, some love making, some true bonding with Mike. But we still have to wait about 3 weeks. And I'm so uncomfortable in my body right now that who knows when it will happen. Between my milky boobs and my stretch marks and that fun post-baby pouch I feel less than attractive. I worry Mike doesn't see me sexually anymore - between my pregnant body, watching our son be born, helping wrestle my boobs into his mouth to feed him, and my post-baby body, I just can't imagine him finding me attractive. He says he does so maybe it is all in my head. I guess we'll find out in a few weeks.

Tummy time - my son is super strong. He has been holding his up since birth and he is super alert and aware. During tummy time I swear he is getting ready to crawl away! He rocks forward onto his arms and his little legs are going a mile a minute. Again, I'm probably biased but I think he is really strong for his age and wouldn't be surprised if he rolled over, crawled, and walked early. He was super active in the womb and spends a lot of the day awake, moving his arms and legs so I know he'll be a super active toddler and child. Hopefully I can keep up!

Unproductive - This is a mental war I wage with myself every single day. My to-do list is a mile long and keeps growing but I get nothing done on a daily basis. The first week I could barely move from giving birth and the last two weeks I've been stuck on the couch due to my son's voracious appetite and lately him just wanting to be held. Each morning I think "I'll try to accomplish A, B, and C (or sometimes just A!) today" but inevitably I'm lucky just to get meal and bathroom breaks. A shower is a major accomplishment. I have a really really hard time with this and I had a mini breakdown a few days ago over it. But again, I refer back to letter O...

Vaccines - I wasn't sure how I felt about vaccines and considered the delayed schedule but after talking to our pediatrician we've decided to go with the recommended schedule. Living in Tampa we have a lot of immigrants and who knows what they've been exposed to. We are very close to Disney and Tampa itself is a bit of a tourist spot so we are exposed to millions of people from all over the country and the world on a regular basis and again, who knows what they've been exposed to. Not to mention I work in a building that holds 20,000 people on a nightly basis (at least 200 nights per year) and hockey attracts fans from all over the country and the world. Measles broke out just a few months ago. Better to be safe than sorry so our little guy will get all the shots, starting with his first ones next week. I don't know what upsets me more - thinking of him getting shots and being in pain or knowing he will be a month old already!

Weight loss - 10lbs to go to pre-baby weight and 15 to 20 lbs to go to goal weight. I'm excited to get back to the gym and I even signed up for a 5k in December to keep me motivated. I know my body has changed so I don't know what to expect but I'm excited to get back into a pattern of working out. Of course, we need to establish a daily routine first and I refer you back to letters O, R, and U.

Xhausted - I was pregnant for 9 months, working crazy hours the whole time (including being in labor my last 2 days of work), gave birth, and have a 3 week old baby who nurses constantly. I don't think I need to say much more about this one.

Yellow seedy poop - somehow we've become obsessed with Ryder's pooping. He's pretty good at it too. He poops about 8 times a day and you can hear it every time he does. It's quite explosive! We've gotten pretty good at recognizing the signs and it cracks us up to see his little face go all calm and then to hear that explosion. Which ever one of us changes him announces to the other the color, consistency, and amount of poop. We'll even announce when we think he is or we know he has just pooped. I never imagined caring so much about poop. I have quite the champion little pooper!

Z - GGZ, GGKate, Grandma Beth, Grandma Jane, Grandma June - This kid has more grandmas and great grandmas! He has 2 grandpas and GG Jack too. (I think it is so cute that the great grandparents have dubbed themselves the GGs). He also has tons of aunties - only one of which is an actual blood relation - scattered all over this country. Ryder is one very loved little boy

Friday, June 8, 2012

Breast feeding is one big adventure...

It was important to Mike and me to try breastfeeding but I wasn't sure I would be able to. The PCOS can make it so your milk doesn't come in and my boobs are so huge I wasn't sure my son would latch. Well, once again this little boy proved the doctors wrong! My milk came in perfectly and Ryder eats like a champ. But it is still a daily struggle. Something so natural and essential to the survival of a species should not be this much work!

In the hospital we could only get him to latch to the right boob; he wasn't interested in the left one at all. And getting him to latch took 2 people - I just didn't have enough hands to hold him, support his head, and maneuver the boob into his mouth. Once he did latch, he would only eat for about 5 minutes at a time and sometimes he would go 4 hours without eating. Like most new moms, I of course freaked out but the nurses and lactation consultants were great and very encouraging. They said he was normal, it was a learning curve for mom and baby, and that they were confident we would both get the hang of it.

Once we got him home, it was more of the same - I needed a 3rd and 4th hand to help get him latched on and at one point Mike and I were cracking up because it looked like we were playing Twister because we were all tangled up on the couch wrestling the boob into RPM's mouth. He still would only take the right boob and the best position was if I was laying down. I could not imagine going through this 8-12 times a day for the next 3-6 months! Despite how huge my boobs are, my nipples aren't that big and it seemed like he couldn't tell when my nipple was in his mouth so he wouldn't start sucking without a LOT of help from us. Lucky for us Nichole suggested a nipple shield and it made all the difference in the world - and was probably the difference between us continuing to breast feed and going to bottles. The shield made it to where he could feel the nipple in his mouth and latched right away. He even took the left boob (finally!) and started eating for longer stretches of time. My milk came in after that and for a day (and thank God only for 1 day!) my boobs looked like footballs sticking off my chest. They settled down after the first day and are still huge but not quite as cartoonish.

So after that getting him to eat wasn't quite as hard. He still only really ate well if I was laying down and it took over a week for the us to have any success using the boppy. Now I try really hard only to feed him laying down at night or if he is particularly fussy and I want him to sleep. Otherwise we use the boppy. He still doesn't do well if I'm just holding him unless I can get into a position where my boob is basically falling into his mouth which makes feeding out in public kind of awkward. After a week we started keeping a log of when he ate, for how long, etc., trying to establish a pattern/routine/schedule. Some days we do really well and some days it all goes to shit. We tried to get him to eat every 3 hours but realistically it is every 2.5. But then there will be stretches of cluster feedings where it is every hour. The other night he ate every hour on the hour for 5 hours straight - all I did was nurse and change diapers until we both just passed out.

Ryder is a really good baby. He only cries when something is wrong and tends not to be fussy. I can pretty much tell when he is hungry and when he needs to poop. Every now and then he'll cry because his tummy is upset and I can usually pinpoint what it is I ate that is bothering him; call it mother's intuition or just the fact that I'm usually just as gassy as him. We are trying really hard not to use a pacifier and mostly don't need one but there are those times when he is crying at night and I think he can't possibly still be hungry but the boob is the only thing that settles him down. I don't know if he really is that hungry or if he is using me as a pacifier. His dr. is happy with his growth and weight gain so I guess there is no harm in feeding him as much as he wants but it really frustrates me because I end up spending hours on the couch or in the bed feeding him and doing nothing else. (We have every single movie channel offered and I think I've seen every movie at least 5 times now)

Surprisingly, I do enjoy breastfeeding. For so long (since jr. high) I've been "the girl with the big boobs" and for stretches of time I've felt like that was all anyone saw me as or the only thing I had to offer. I've struggled through phases of showing them off, covering them up, loving them, hating them, and feeling like I was just a giant walking pair of breasts. It is refreshing to me (and something of a relief) that they are serving the true purpose they were intended for, feeding my child. I take pride in the fact that I'm successfully nourishing my son. I love the bonding that occurs when RPM is eating. I love seeing his little eyes looking up at me, I love watching his little cheeks while he is drinking, I love holding him in my arms, and I love when he throws his little arms around my boobs like he is hugging them. I love the little faces he makes after he is done eating, that "dairy drunk" look is so adorable! And I love when he falls asleep on my chest, totally content with his little life. I also love the hormone release that makes me feel peaceful and drowsy right along with him.

The problem is, I love all of this 4 or 5 times a day. The other 4 or 5 times I am just frustrated and annoyed and impatient because it means I'm not eating or using the bathroom or cleaning or accomplishing anything. Some days I feel like all I do is feed this kid while Mike does everything else. Or I will set a goal, like "after this feeding he'll fall asleep and I can get up and do laundry/take a shower/eat lunch/clean the kitchen/finish thank you cards/go to the gym/etc. and by the time he is done I am either wiped out or he won't sleep and just wants to be held and then a whole day has gone by and I've managed none of the things I wanted to do. I'm lucky to get a bathroom break. So I try really hard to lie there with him and just enjoy the experience while I can (I know he won't be this little forever or I won't have the luxury to lay around all day for long) and I get very upset with myself for feeling so annoyed and impatient with him and I end up cranky and exhausted. The whole process wears me out!

The other thing that bothers me is feeding him when we're out in public. If I'm visiting family or friends it isn't so bad but if we're at the store or mall or running errands there are no good places to nurse. The first time we were at the mall and Ryder needed to eat we went to a restroom at a dept. store, thinking it would be nicer than the regular mall bathrooms. And it was. Sort of. It was still a restroom so I felt kind of gross just sitting there. And listening to people go to the bathroom and flush disgusted me. I just kept thinking "I don't eat in a bathroom, why should my son have to?" and the longer we were in there (which was a while because invariable he pooped right as I finally got him latched which also took forever since we could do any of the nice comfy positions that make it easy to feed him) the more upset I got. I vowed never to feed him in a public bathroom again if I could help it but that just makes it even more impossible to get up off the couch and have a life while breastfeeding because now I have to think about any place I want to go and how long we'd be there (which is always longer than you think with a baby...) and will I be able to nurse him? So even on days where I get more than a 40min break between feedings (not counting burping and diaper changes) I'm nervous to try going anywhere. Which of course just leads to more frustration. Ugh!!!

I know I'm not the only woman to go through this. And I know that I'm doing what is best for my son. I also know I'm lucky to have a partner who supports breastfeeding and is willing to pick up my slack everywhere else in our lives. But I can totally see why women would give up and switch to formula. Trust me, I've been tempted! And I'm totally stressed out about pumping which we were going to try once Ryder is a month old. I even had an anxiety dream last night about trying to figure out how to use the pump! We're just taking this one day at a time, and when I lay there early in the morning snuggling my little boy while he eats I remind myself why we're doing this.

Next month we'll tackle cloth diapers....

(this is my enormous boob and my tiny son)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

10 days

7 to 10 days - pretty standard expression. It seems like everything happens in 7-10 days: shipping, billing, etc. And I gave birth 10 days ago (well, 11 now, it was 10 yesterday when I wanted to write this blog...) My son is 10 days old, he'll be starting high school next week and college in a month or so, I swear!

To mark the milestone his umbilical stump fell off. At first I thought "wow, that was quick" but then I did the math and realized it happened right when it was supposed to - 7-10 days after birth. And then I realized he was 10 days old already! So much has happened in that 10 days, it blows my mind.

One one hand, giving birth is sort of commonplace; my body was designed to do it and women do it all the time. In fact, they've been doing it for our entire existence, in far more primitive and dangerous conditions than I can even imagine. Women do it every day, all over the world, at all ages and despite heavier odds than I had to overcome. On the other hand, when you really stop to think about it, giving birth is pretty amazing. I grew a human, inside my body, and then pushed him out! I find this to be pretty miraculous, even if it did happen exactly how it was supposed to. I still can't even believe that I survived 9 months of pregnancy and gave birth to this precious little boy. I swear I just found out I was pregnant and yet here I am, 10 days post delivery already.

Looking back now I can say I had a very easy pregnancy (physically) and probably didn't take it as easy as I should have but I survived it and managed to grow a perfect little boy. And then to think about the process of actually giving birth, I still can't believe I did it. In some ways I still think of myself in the terms of never being able to have children, even though I have this little baby in my arms. When you spend over a decade believing something, it is hard to adjust your thinking. I know I was pregnant, I know I gave birth, I know I have a son, but it still seems like it was all a dream. I have to say it really feels like a dream during those 3am feedings!

I've learned a lot in the last 10 days. I've learned that my body can do incredible things. I've learned that a good chunk of my life and conversations now revolve around poop. I've learned that there really is no point in putting a shirt some days. I've learned that making plans for the day is kind of pointless because it all depends on Ryder. I've learned that I love Mike and Ryder more than I ever thought possible - to the point where I break down in tears when Mike leaves for work because I can't bear to be separated from him (hopefully this is just hormones and doesn't last because the tears are really getting old). I've learned that I adore being a mommy to this little boy.

10 days down, the rest of our lives to go...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Week 1

Well, exactly a week ago yesterday we were still in the hospital, waiting to bring our little man home. I can't believe a whole week has gone by already, and it has been such a blur! I'd like to think we've adjusted nicely but I know it is a little premature to say that since it has only been a week. I've also had a lot of help this week so I'm a little nervous about life moving forward (more about that later). I really wanted to record every single day this week because I want to remember everything but it didn't really work out so I'll try to remember what I can.

Coming home from the hospital was not very organized. My Dr checked on me around 7am and the pediatrician checked on Ryder around 9am and we took the discharge class at 10am so we thought we were good to go. I wanted to feed him one more time with the lactation consultant just to make sure Ryder and I were doing well so we were planning to head home around 3. Well, that didn't work out. We had to get his hearing test and wait for the birth certificate lady and do our discharge paperwork and it was 7pm by the time we were actually leaving. Mike and I hadn't eaten since breakfast because we kept thinking we were going to leave and I didn't want to pay for another crappy hospital meal so we were both tired and hungry and cranky. Right as we got to the car Ryder pooped everywhere and the backseat was full of all of our stuff so I had to sit in the front instead of in back with him and it was a very tense ride home (luckily we only live 10min from the hospital). I was a little nervous about leaving the hospital so soon too, wondering if we should have stayed a day longer. But even though walking into our house was a little crazy - needing to change the baby, the cat freaked out about the baby, Nichole was here waiting, we were starving and tired and Mike's mom was on her way over unexpectedly, I knew instantly that we'd made the right choice to come home. We ordered pizza, got the baby cleaned up (he promptly peed on us when we changed him) and settled in to a relaxing night. Taking a shower and laying in my own bed felt amazing and Ryder let me get almost 5 hours of sleep.

The next day is a blur. We took Ryder to the pediatrician at 9 (clean bill of health for our little guy!) I was really sore and couldn't sit properly or move very well so I was basically confined to the couch. I don't even really remember much about that first day except trying to get Ryder to breastfeed was a bit of a challenge. Wednesday was rough too... again all I did was lay on the couch, feeding and looking at my baby. I kept thinking about all the things I needed/wanted to do but I was so sore and and I was really loving just bonding with my son. It was hard for me to accept that it was okay to lay around and do nothing but tend to Ryder, that that was what I was supposed to be doing. Nichole kept telling me my job was to just get to know my baby and Mike was so supportive, he took care of all the cleaning and organizing around the house, making it baby ready. I just had a hard time with the concept that it was okay to lay around. Being a mom is quite the adjustment! Thursday my grandparents came over and brought us a bunch of food and met their new great grandson. My grandmas are really cute, they are good friends and hang out together all the time and have decided to call themselves the "GGs", for great grandmas. I love it! Ryder was really fussy all day and didn't nurse well and I thought it was from the distraction of everyone at first. Turns out he had tummy trouble thanks to the fiber cereal I was eating (I was still terrified of pooping at this point) and I was up all night with him, poor little guy. He was crying (well, more like screaming) in pain and I was crying because I felt like it was my fault, like I had hurt my baby. We survived the night and Friday I ventured out to the grocery store with Nichole. It was very strange being out in public and away from my baby and I was still pretty sore so it wasn't the most enjoyable outing but it did feel good to be productive in some way. Saturday Mike's mom came over to see the baby and yesterday my parents spent the day with us, cooking us food for the week and bonding with their grandson.  It was the first day I could sit normally and I even did my hair for the first time all week, so I felt somewhat human again. Last night we had Ryder's newborn pictures taken, or at least attempted to. He wasn't a big fan of all the outfit changes and was quite fussy. I think he had some gas as well.  Hopefully we got some cute shots!

Yesterday I actually wore my own underwear (instead of the mesh panties from the hospital) and a bra (which barely fits but what can you do) for the first time since giving birth. I didn't take any pain medicine either (it was pointed out to me that I must be pretty tough since I gave birth and have only been taking alleve for pain). Mike and I ventured out with Ryder to get a new camera and some baby supplies and it was really nice being out as a family. It felt weird pushing his stroller, like we were two kids playing house. But Ryder did really well and we survived a few hours out of the house. I have to say, kudos to Buy Buy Baby for having a changing/feeding room, we ended up taking full advantage of it! I was pretty sore at the end of the day, probably from walking around for a the few hours we were out, sitting straight for the first time all week, and not taking my pain meds but overall I feel pretty good; at least closer to normal than I have felt in months. My feet were even their normal size again and my rings fit, yay!

The days are flying by and I just want them to slow down so I can enjoy my little angel. I don't want him to get bigger yet, I love him so much right now. I love how little he is, I love watching him sleep, I love his little noises and the little faces he makes. I love being home and not on a schedule. I am just totally head over heels in love! He is a really good baby too, he only cries when something is wrong and stops as soon as we fix whatever it is. I'm sure every parent thinks this, but I think I really have a perfect little boy!

There have been some challenges too though. The first few days after giving birth my whole body hurt. even my skin felt tender to the touch, like I was one big bruise from head to toe. I hated how jiggly and gross my body was too, it seemed like everything was loose and flabby and I wondered if I'd ever get my old body back. It is better now, things have tightened up and I know I've lost a lot of weight but I have a ways to go before I'm back to pre-baby form. I did end up with stretch marks, despite using the creams and oils every day, so I'm a little unhappy about that but whatever. There are worse things in life. My boobs are enormous so I'm sure they'll be saggy when I'm done breastfeeding. But I don't feel quite so ugly and tired looking as I was a few days ago.

Breastfeeding was a challenge too. You'd think something so natural and necessary for survival would be a lot easier. That could be a whole blog by itself so I'll save that one for later.

My biggest challenge has been the "baby blues". I'm not sad or depressed, but I'm really really weepy. I cry 2 or 3 times a day. Mostly when I think about how much I love my son and Mike. I've also been really really anxious about Mike going back to work; like panic attack anxious. I'm so terrified that something will happen to him, it is completely irrational but I break down in tears everytime I think about it. It is tough too because I know it is a panic attack/hormones, but I can't take anything because I'm breastfeeding so I get all worked up and it sucks. Mike has been so wonderful and understanding but he ends up laughing at me because it is so ridiculous. I'd have to say I'll take the soreness and exhaustion and everything else if I could just not be so weepy and anxious. I have my dr. apt Monday so if it is still happening I will talk to them about it.

So that is my first week as a mommy in a nutshell. I'd have to say that overall I couldn't be happier with my family or more in love with the men in my life. I'm one lucky girl!

Friday, May 25, 2012

The debut

He's here! Mr Ryder Patrick Martin decided to join us at 6:36am on Sunday, May 20th and he is just perfect! Mike and I are so smitten with our little man and still can't believe he is here.

My original due date was May 26th and we had an induction scheduled for Monday, May 28th. I was originally going to work until Friday, May 25th but I was feeling so crappy and tired and my feet and legs were so swollen that I decided to leave a week early so Friday, May 18th was my last day. On Thursday I was feeling "off", I had woken up at 2am and couldn't get back to sleep so I took the day off of work and just took it easy. We had a dr. apt. that afternoon and she took one look at me and scheduled the induction for as close to our due date as possible. I was only 1cm dilated and 50% effaced and she said he really could come at any time, I was "ripe". She said my tailbone had moved and I had plenty of room to deliver vaginally. All that day I was having a lot of gas pains and my hips were just aching. Mike stayed home from work to be with me and we went out to dinner but I couldn't sit for very long so we came home. I'm thinking now that it was the beginning of labor and I just didn't know.

Friday was my last day of work and I still wasn't feeling great but went in to finish as much as I could, knowing it was my last day. My coworkers really surprised me with all their good wishes and kind words and how many people made an effort to come see me and wish me well. I ended up working until 6:30 and was exhausted when I got home. I was still having gas pains and hip pains and Mike was good at trying to make me comfortable. I took a hot bath and took the night easy. I had a little to-do list for the coming week while waited for our little guy, just some odds and ends I needed to take care of before he came but nothing urgent. One of my best friends was coming out from AZ to spend the week with me leading up to the birth so I had little things for us to do each day. I was really excited for the down time before our big arrival.

Saturday I was up super early again and still not feeling great. I went to see a friend's son's hockey game at 11:30 and went to lunch with them afterwards. After that I wandered around the mall for a few hours, picked up an outfit to come home from the hospital in and just sort of walked around - my pains weren't so bad as long as I was moving; sitting and/or laying down were really uncomfortable. I got home that evening and cuddled with Mike; we took a shower and joked about having sex to induce but ended up not doing it. My hips were really bad and the gas pains were worse so he just massaged me and helped me try to get comfortable. He left for work at 7:30 and by 8pm I realized that my "gas pains" were coming and going and feeling more like menstrual cramps. I had also started spotting and was feeling really nauseous. I wondered if I was having contractions so I gave myself an hour to see if they went away or got worse. I did my hair, ran a load of baby laundry, packed my hospital bag and Ryder's diaper bag (you know, just in case) and then realized that I was definitely having contractions. I couldn't sit or lay down, I had to stay up and moving. I called Mike at work but he didn't answer so I called my mom and said "I think I'm in labor" - it seemed so surreal to be saying those words.  I wasn't really sure but I knew something was happening so I decided to go to the hospital just to get checked out. My mom didn't want me driving so I called Mike again and he rushed home. We got to the hospital at 10pm and my contractions were every 4 minutes at that point. I knew something was going on but still wasn't sure it was labor. They brought us upstairs and the nurse checked us in. I told her I was 1cm on Thurs and she said they'd probably send us home if I still wasn't dilated. I sort of knew it and was totally prepared to head home even though my contractions were getting more and more intense. Well, she checked me and we were 4cm and she told us "you're having a baby!"

So of course there was a flurry of activity, calling parents and letting everyone know I was in labor. The contractions were getting really intense but I was still set on no drugs. The nurses looked at me like I was crazy and were trying to talk me into getting the epidural - not in a pushy way but in a "hey, it's here for you for a reason and no one will care if you get it" kind of way. I was still determined to stick it out but it was getting tougher. The dr. came and checked me around midnight and I was 7cm so he broke my water. It was such a crazy feeling and I looked and felt like I'd instantly lost half my pregnant belly. But the pain just got worse after that. Finally around 1am I couldn't take it anymore and asked for the epidural. I even started throwing up because the pain was so bad. I am SO glad I did, what a miracle drug! I was able to rest and visit with Mike's mom for a bit. I gave Mike his "daddy to be" present - a Bulova watch, and my mom her "grandma to be" present, a pandora bracelet. I even took a short little nap. At 4am I was 10cm dilated and by 4:40 we were pushing. I pushed for 2 hours, it was exhausting! It was hard to because I couldn't really feel what I was doing. My contractions had really slowed down so I couldn't push as frequently or know exactly when I was going to contract so it seemed to take forever. Mike and my mom and dad were in the room and they were so great; Mike helped me with my legs because I couldn't feel them and my parents gave lots of encouragement and helped watch for contractions. Finally around 6am the dr. came in (along with about 12 other people) and within 1/2 hour our little miracle was born. He did have to cut me but Ryder came much quicker after that. I can't even explain what it felt like to finally give birth, I couldn't feel a lot, just pressure, but there was a definite sort of "pop" feeling when he was actually born and I was so aware that he was out. I immediately burst into tears, tears of joy and relief and exhaustion.

Pretty soon everyone was crying, my mom, Mike, me, everyone but Ryder. He had a great apgar score (9.9) but he just didn't want to cry. He was very alert and very calm, he didn't even cry when he got his shot. He had swallowed some fluid so they wanted him to cry to get it up but he just didn't want to. It seemed like forever while the dr. stitched me up and the nurses got him cleaned and measured and weighed and finally put him in my arms. Mike and I were so overwhelmed, we just couldn't stop staring at our beautiful little miracle. He was so perfect - not wrinkled or smushed at all. He had a head full of blond hair and dark dark blue eyes (I think they will be brown) and just the most precious little face. He didn't look anything like I expected but he was so beautiful. It was definitely love at first sight.

We were very lucky to have awesome nurses the entire time (other than 1 that Mike really hated) and we felt like we were the only people in the whole hospital, everyone was so attentive and helpful and it seemed like everyone really fell in love with Ryder. He was such a mellow baby. Breast feeding was a challenge and I worked with the lactation specialist twice. Ryder wanted nothing to do with the left boob, only the right one and he would only eat for about 5 minutes at a time. We had to wake him up to make him eat but everyone kept assuring us he was doing great and it was normal and he'd pick it up in time. My epidural didn't wear off right away and my entire left leg was completely numb so I wasn't very mobile. I wasn't in too much pain but it was hard to move around and the most annoying thing to me was the IV in my hand, they wouldn't take it out and I could barely move that hand so holding Ryder was tough and breastfeeding was harder - I constantly needed extra hands to help. Nothing like having other people trying to smush your boob into an infants mouth. (On that note, nothing like giving birth to kill any sense of modesty. By the end I didn't even care that my dad was there seeing everything. I just wanted that kid out!)

That first day is still a bit of a blur but I vividly remember how much I loved laying in bed with my son in my arms, skin to skin. He had such a beautiful little face and such big alert eyes looking up at me. He makes the cutest little faces and noises, I was totally head over heels in love with him.

I have so much more to say, I want to remember every moment of the experience and his first few days but then this will be a very very long post. Now that we're getting the hang of having him and his schedule I'll be able to hopefully catch up more. I am just so smitten and want to remember everything - I know he won't stay little like this forever.

I still can't believe he is here...

Friday, May 18, 2012

39 weeks

Feeling pretty miserable these days. Yesterday I was up at 2am and only managed a 2 hour nap. My legs and feet are grotesquely swollen and look like they belong on someone else's body. I spend about 1/2 hour to 45 min in the bathroom every morning - thank goodness for stool softener!!! I truly don't understand those shows about women who didn't know they were pregnant - I call bullshit! Your body changes and goes through WAY too much to not know something is up!

Dr apt went well - due to my size and the swelling we started induction paperwork so if he doesn't come on his own then they will induce me on May 25th. I was so happy I could have cried! The end is in sight! My cervix is ripe (though not dialated yet) and my tailbone has moved and dr says I have plenty of room to deliver vaginally. They are doing a 2 part induction which only has a 20% chance of needing a c section so we're pretty happy over all. One more week! Plus, I work better with deadlines so now I have motivation to finish up that To Do list.

Well, time to head in to my last day of work. I'm so ready for this!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Some randomness

There was so much I wanted to write about during this pregnancy and it seemed like I had all the time in the world. Now here we are, ready to go any minute (although I guess technically I have 9 days but am praying it won't take that long...) and I never did touch on the following thoughts that I had floating around in my brain during the last 6 months:

1. Never Say Never - it is so easy to make judgements about other people's parenting skills and choices and there are so many things over the years that I've said I'll never do as a parent or that my child will never do - I'll never use one of those leash things, I'll never let my little boy wear his hair long so he looks like a girl, I'll never let my child go out in public covered in dirt/food/mess, etc. Well, I guess I'm about to find out how idealistic my ideas of parenthood are and what the reality will be...

2. Sacrifice - I have never appreciated my parents and everything they did (or didn't) do for me as much as I do now. Becoming a parent really changes your prospective on things. My mom and I have grown so much closer and I'm seeing a whole new side of her now that I'm about to be a mom myself. My son will have a much easier childhood in some ways because Mike and I are in a much better financial situation then my parents were and we are both about a decade older and wiser. He will have multiple sets of grandparents who are already spoiling him, and will probably not want for anything. Of course as a mother I don't want him to ever struggle or have to go without but I also think part of who Mike and I are comes from how hard we had to work on our own to get where we are today. We didn't have things handed to us and life wasn't always easy. We both learned to appreciate hard work and sacrifice and I hope we can instill some of that in our son.

3. Am I going to be a good mom? This is a big one. My whole life growing up all I wanted was to have a family. A decade ago I would have described myself as very maternal. But once I learned that it probably wasn't in the cards for me I mentally backed away from the idea of having kids of my own. It was a gradual, subconscious effort but I can see how my mind shifted and how I "accepted" that I wouldn't be a mother. Now I see it was more of a self preservation/protection thing than actual acceptance but either way it changed how I looked at children. And I got used to my life without them. Mike and I traveled, went out to fancy, expensive dinners whenever we wanted, and pretty much did and/or bought anything we wanted. In some ways it is good we had that freedom and got it out of our system but sometimes I question whether it is out of my system? I'm pretty selfish by nature and get a little freaked out thinking that every day of my life from now on will be dedicated to someone else's wants and needs, not my own. And this freaks me out. Will I be able to handle it? Will I resent him? Will I be able to be happy and content with my little family vs. my fabulous young and unattached life? I know it is normal for new parents to freak out and in some ways I've had many many years to live how I wanted at my own whims so it should be easy to move forward but it may also be even harder to give it all up. I don't know, I just really really hope I'm the best mother I can be to this little bean.

Well, I'm sure there's even more I want to say and I'll probably never get it all down but thats ok. I'm adapting to have a never ending To Do list these days! Off to the dr for our 39 week checkup, fingers crossed for news of progress and impending birth!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

38 weeks

The Bean is still nestled firmly in my womb and while I'd love to have him out I'm also happy for a little more time to finish up work and get totally (as much as we can anyway) ready for him.

Dr. apt yesterday was another uneventful one: weight staying steady, blood pressure low (100/70) and his heartbeat is staying strong at 140. I was 1cm dialated but 50% effaced so it really could be any day now.

Other than being constipated and having extremely swollen legs & feet, I feel pretty good. I've actually been getting at least one 4 hour stretch of sleep per night, no heartburn, no leg cramps, and the achey joints aren't getting worse. Mike & I both have had some freakout moments but we talk each other through it and are truly happy and excited to meet our little boy.

So this is my last week of work to get through and then it's time to sit back and wait for my newest little love to be born. RPM is almost here!!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Full term!

We made it to 37 weeks, woohoo!!! Boring but good dr apt yesterday:
BP: 118/70 (high for me but still low)
Blood count normal
Negative for strep B
Ryder's heart rate 142
Weight gain 30lbs (lots of it fluid, have you seen my calves/ankles/feet?)
Dialated "barely a fingertip"

So baby and mommy are healthy and just plowing along...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

So In Love

So I've done a lot of complaining on this blog and could do a whole lot more; I've hit that point where I'm basically miserable - I can't sleep, everything hurts, I weigh a ton so moving is very difficult, and don't forget the lovely hormones! I'm a cranky beast these days. So I'm doing my best to remind myself that I'm very lucky to be able to experience pregnancy and that it isn't all horrible. Here are some things I love about being pregnant:

I love feeling my son move. I love knowing he is in there, growing big and strong and that I'll get to meet him soon. I can share some of it with Mike (who just loves feeling him move and talking to him and kissing my belly, all of which are more things I love) but for now he is all mine. Our relationship is very intimate and as much as I hate being awake all hours of the night, there is some enjoyment in laying in bed in the dark feeling him move and being able to tell him how much he is wanted and loved and know it is just the two of us for now.

I love finally playing the pregnancy card (sort of). One of the things that drives me the most nuts about being pregnant is my loss of independance. I've become reliant on people to help me more than I care for and sometimes I don't have a choice, they just insist on doing things for me that I'm perfectly capable of doing myself, thank you very much! I've avoided playing the pregnancy card as long as possible but I'm finally at that point where I need to use it and I'm not hating it as much as I thought. Coming and going at work as I please (not taking advantage, just not pushing myself to do more than I can), having people move things for me, putting off housework and chores (because my feet are legitimately too swollen to stand on by the time I get home and I'm exhausted) and eating what I want. I'm not happy with my weight gain but it isn't out of control and a lot of it is water retention (did I mention my swollen legs and feet?) but overall it isn't that bad and I'm committed to being as healthy as I can be once he's born so for now I'll just enjoy eating Lucky Charms for dinner and my nightly ice cream sandwhiches, thank you very much.

I love feeling like I'm part of some exclusive club. From good friends to strangers, all of a sudden my relationship with women has changed. Friends who have babies have been an amazing support system and strangers open up to me like we are old friends. There are some coworkers who I've never really had a relationship with who have become very friendly and sympathetic and it has been really nice to have them to talk to. There was even a woman from the Girl Scout Board who has never said two words to me and last weekend at our meeting we had a great long chat about being a mom to little boys. I never even knew I was missing out on these kinds of relationships or this kind of female bonding and I'm really enjoying it. Part of it may have been self-inflicted with my whole jealousy/distance thing (see previous blog) but I'm so happy to have it now and am really enjoying it. It has even brought me closer to my cousin who I love dearly and was one of my best friends growing up but who I haven't been very close to in years. I love that we've been able to reconnect and bond over being mommies.

I love that my mom and I are closer than ever. She's never been big on being a grandma; she had me at 19 and my whole life she has pounded into my head that I shouldn't get married or have kids too young. And of course we both have thought for years I wouldn't be able to have kids so she wasn't ever expecting to be a grandma. But she has been an awesome support person for me throughout the pregnancy and I know she'll be a great grandmother. I love living so close to her so we can share this experience and I love that she isn't pushy or judgemental and is just there when I need her. I love seeing her get all teary eyed when she sees ultrasound pictures and I can't wait to see her hold her grandson for the first time.

I love how much I love Mike. This pregnancy has changed our relationship in ways I never expected but we are strong then ever. I could not have asked for a better partner and I honestly don't know how I would have lasted through this pregnancy without him by my side. He has been so supportive and so eager to be a part of this experience. He is so committed to being a good father and partner to me and I have seen him grow up (not that he really needed it, but he's made some really positive changes in his life and taken some big steps to be the best man he can be) so much in the past few months. I've seen him battle with his demons regarding his relationship with his own father and it breaks my heart to see him in pain over it but it solidifies that he will always do his best to be a great father. He tells me all the time how beautiful I still am to him and he has made sure that I haven't wanted for anything. He has let me cry on his shoulder, even when I'm crying over nothing. He is nesting right now so our bedroom has been rearranged, ceiling fans have been hung, rooms have been organized and cleaned, walls have been touch-up painted, and the garage is somewhat in better shape (still can't park a car, but hey, those millions of diapers are more important, right?). I didn't think I'd ever want to get married again but now I can't imagine not spending my life with Mike by my side and we are starting to talk about wedding plans and making things "official". My son couldn't have a better daddy and I couldn't have a better man to share my life with.

I love that is it is finally May and I will get to meet my son soon. The end is in sight!

36 weeks

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Are we there yet?

I don't even know where to begin - the last few weeks have been very intense. There is so much on my mind and so much I want to get down but I don't know where to start and I'm sure I'll miss a lot anyway. Here goes.

Pregnancy went from "I feel pretty good" to "are we there yet?" pretty much over night. Again, I think I've had an extremely mild pregnancy (from what I hear and read) so despite the fact that most of this blog is me complaining, I actually felt pretty good for being almost ready to pop. But about 2 weeks ago I stopped sleeping through the night, stopped having cute little fee , stopped being able to eat full meals, and started feeling extremely huge and uncomfortable. People who know me keep telling me how wonderful I look and how pregnancy agrees with me and even if they are lying, I need to hear it because my self esteem has disappeared along with my ankles. People who don't know me (all those random people out there) keep telling me how huge I am, that I look ready to pop, that "that baby must be due any day". I really want to hit them in the face. So yeah, the last few weeks have been a lot of swollen feet, achy hips, sharp shooting pains in my cervix (look at that, another C word) random crying spells, lower back pain, sleepless nights, and peeing every 90 seconds or so. Oh, and Ryder gets the hiccups about twice a day which was cute the first 2 or 3 times and now just drives me nuts.  The good news is, we're almost done and he will be here soon and this will all be behind me (and I'm sure I'll have a whole new cache of things to bitch about)

During this time a lot has happened. We had our big baby shower, I was in a wedding, shit went down at work, and serious matters of life and death have been discussed, among other things. Mike has continued to be my rock through all of this and my mom and I are closer then ever so it isn't all bad. But it sure is a lot for someone who may or may not be overly emotional right now (did I mention all the crying?)

Our baby shower on the 14th was perfect, everything I wanted (and nothing that I didn't want). One of my dear dear friends came to visit and it was so fantastic having her here. It sucks living so far away from some of the most important people in my life and while I completely understand that not everyone could drop everything and come to Tampa (and I've missed many occasions as well) it made the day so much better having her here. We spent the weekend catching up, hanging out, and remembering why we love each other so much. We also spent a lot of time talking about momentous life changes and it made me realize once again that I am very wrapped up in my own life. Many of my closest friends have been dealing with very serious, emotional, tough life problems this year and while I know about them and try to be there for them, it really is hard when I'm so far away. It makes my heart hurt for them to know that they are hurting and that I can't do more. Not to mention I've always had a bit of a guilt complex when it comes to being happy when I know people I love are not. I can sit here and say that I will be a better friend and stay in touch more and reach out more often but who am I kidding? I'm about to have a newborn. Thank God for Facebook and the artificial interactions so I don't feel like such a loser friend.

So the shower was great and a wonderful reminder of just how wanted and loved this little boy is. Mike and I both have pretty awesome families and our little bean is already very spoiled; I don't imagine this changing much over the years to come and we've talked about how it is our jobs to make sure he appreciates everything. In a lot of ways he will have an easier childhood than me or Mike and we hope that we can still raise a little boy who has compassion for others and an understanding of hard work, sacrifice, and achievement.

So we went right from an awesome weekend into one of the hardest weeks I've had in a long time. We had an unexpected round of layoffs at work that included my boss and several people I truly respected and had worked with the whole 5 years I've been there. It took place over two days and the mood at work was like people were dying. I don't really want to relive it but don't know if I can convey just how horrible it was to be at work during that time. There were whispers and rumors because no one knew it was coming or who was next and lots of fear because we could see people being walked out by security one by one but didn't really know what was going down. We had an all staff meeting to go over the changes, which were boiled down to "restructuring" but I have to say that it seemed very personal based on who was let go. I know every big organization has politics and part of it probably was just business but given our history I feel in my gut that this was a very strategic way to get rid of specific people. I wouldn't say my boss and I were really close but he was a great boss and I always knew he had my back or I could go to him for anything. I honestly feel lost without him and my whole department (all 5 of us) feel very confused, scared, and at a loss as to what to do. We are supposed to be reporting directly to the EVP of the whole sales department, and he has been really great during all of this (we can tell it was not his choice and that he isn't happy about it) but he is rarely around and quite frankly doesn't have time for the day-to-day operations at our level. The whole situation is extremely frustrating and stressful and I know without a doubt that it is worse because I'm very hormonal an emotional right now. You know, being 9 months pregnant and all. It makes me nervous because I'm about to be gone for 3 months and honestly have no idea what I'll be coming back to.

The day it all went down was the bachelorette party for  good friend and lead right into her wedding weekend. I felt horrible but between my physical complaints (that whole 9 months pregnant thing again) and my  mental turmoil, I was not at my best. I did all I could to grin and bare it during the festivities but it was a struggle. I was totally bummed out all day Friday and truly felt like I was in mourning. I was in a horrible mood the whole day and even getting my nails done with friends couldn't cheer me up (didn't help that it was the worst manicure EVER). At that point I was also on day 5 of no sleep which I'm sure didn't help. It was a very emotional, crappy day and I hate that it ruined my experience with the wedding plans. Luckily I woke up very happy on Saturday and was able to really enjoy being in the wedding. The bridesmaid dresses were purple so I looked a lot like everyone's favorite purple dinosaur, but it was still a really great wedding and I was so happy to be a part of it.

Of course, all the wedding/romance/hormone overload led to lots of talk between Mike and I about our own possible marriage. It is amazing how close we've become over the course of this pregnancy and there is no doubt in my mind that I want to spend the rest of my life with him. I can't wait to start our family and truly begin our life together. But I also know realistically that it won't happen anytime soon. However, we have talked a lot about it and we have our families' blessings so it will happen at some point. And I kind of look forward to the surprise element of it all, at least there will be some romance left!

I'm rambling on and on at this point so I think this is a good place to stop but I have so much more on my mind! Oh well. Time for our weekly doctor's appointment. That's right, we're going every week now. Ryder Patrick Martin will truly be here before we know it! Are we there yet?!?!?!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The "C" word

There are actually several C words that I associate with pregnancy and lucky me, they are very prevalent in this last trimester. I guess I can say I'm lucky that they've been non-existent or at least mild until now so I probably shouldn't complain, but I feel like I have a right to gripe a little bit...

"Cankles" this is a new one for me and I. Don't. Like. It! My feet and hands have been swelling pretty badly lately and my ankles and cute little feet tend to disappear for hours at the end of the day. I then lay around with my feet propped up on 15 pillows and switch between heat and ice to bring the swelling down. If Mike is home he will massage them for me (did I mention how lucky I am that he spent some time at massage school?). He doesn't even care if they have been in my shoes all day, he rubs them anyway because he hates seeing me suffer. Best. Boyfriend. EVER. But doesn't really make up for the fact that my ankles go MIA. I don't eat fast food (those cheeseburger cravings stopped around week 15), drink soda, or put salt on anything and I drink tons and tons of water so this doesn't happen every day but when it does, oh boy!

"Constipation" this one has been around my whole life, was really bad in the 1st trimester, got better, than got worse again. I stopped taking my iron supplement and started taking a new prenatal vitamin that has a stool softener in it which seems to help a little bit. But I can still go 4 or 5 days without going and when I do, I swear the soft part was left out of softener. I'm surprised I haven't broken a pipe with my boulders. (sorry if this is TMI) I eat lots of raisin bran, prunes, and fresh fruit, stay away from rice, steak, and excessive cheese but I still have this issue and it sucks. This week was particularly bad and when I was finally able to go this morning I felt like I'd lost 30 lbs, gained back the ability to bend over (somewhat, Mr. Ryder still gets in the way) and had no more stomach pains, gas, or cramps. Yay!!! I've never been that girl to talk about anything poop related and usually go out of my way to keep Mike from even knowing that I do poop but not anymore. Nothing is sacred once you are pregnant and poor guy knows all my woes. He is so supportive and concerned and is always reminding me to eat my prunes. I swear he would massage my butt if he needed to just to help me. Did I mention how lucky I am?

"Crying". I hate crying. Crying pisses me off. And lately I do it all the time. Everything makes me cry. Sad songs. Love songs. Happy songs. Romantic movies. Movies that just have romantic scenes. Anything involving kittnes or puppies. Thinking about how awesome Mike is. Thinking about being pregnant and my little miracle. Thinking about work and how much I love my job. Watching hockey. Literally everything. I've never been romantic or particularly girlie so this is all very new to me and I don't like it all. Well, I don't mind feeling all lovey towards Mike and our son but I could do without the tears every time I hear a song I like or see a cute little animal. I think Mike actually likes seeing a soft, tender side of me but he does a good job of not laughing (too much) when I get all mad in the middle of my tears.

"Comparison" I've always been the kind of person who compares myself to others. I think it relates to that envy/jealousy thing I wrote about a few weeks ago. Some times I feel good about myself when making comparisons with others but normally I am comparing how I fall short next to someone else. Being pregnant adds a whole new meaning to comparisons. I am obsessed with how much weight other pregnant women have gained, how big their bellies are, and how I measure up to them with my size and weight gain. I have to say  that one of the hardest thing about being pregnant, for me, has been mental: wrapping my head around the fact that I am pregnant, that I'm supposed to gain weight, that my body changing is all good - and so far on track according to my doctors. I look at pictures of pregnant women and judge them based on how big they look compared to me and how close we are in our pregnancies. I know this is awful and I know I'd be devisated if others did it to me (and I'm sure there are those who do, in fact I know of 1 in particular) but I can't help it. Part of it is in my nature and part of it is not knowing what to expect with being pregnant and looking to others for clues. Not to mention when I'm smaller then someone I get that little self esteem boost that is so necessary when you weigh the most you've ever weighed in your life!

I'm sure there are some other c words that I'm forgetting (cramps and cravings come to mind) but I think I'm a little complained out for now.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

My best attempt at looking normal & put together since I tend not to have the energy to be bothered most days. 33 weeks! Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

the last game

Last night was the last home game of the season (we still have 3 more games on the road but we are out of the playoffs so it was the last game that means anything). The Lightning played a great game and the crowd was so enthusiastic, you would have thought it was a playoff game. It was one of the best games I've watched all season. It was also the most emotional. I always hate to see a season end, I'm never ready for the last game, but this year feels different.

This has been the most challenging season in my 5 years with the team. For starters, I was pregnant the entire season so that presented it's own challenges. And the first 2 months of the season were so early in my pregnancy that no one knew I was pregnant - I spent my days in a fog trying to come to terms with the fact that I was actually really truly pregnant while managing interns, kicking off the season, and planning and executing 4 of my biggest events of the year all in the space of 5 weeks. I still don't know how I got through that time. I spent the rest of the season trying to balance being pregnant with my normal work load and the added pressure of our building being renovated around us the entire year, losing my office, losing some of my favorite projects to other departments, losing some of my favorite clients because they restructured who the sales reps work with, losing inventory because of the renovations, and -oh yeah, did I mention I was pregnant?

Through all the changes and challenges I still worked my normal 50-60 hours of work but I know I was not on my A game. I barely made my sales goal for the season (thank goodness I did hit it, but still!) and I went from being #1 two years in a row to being just another member of the staff (still in the top but not the top). I know I work my ass off, I know my clients love me, and I know that I meet/exceed expectations but I also don't want anyone to think I slacked at all or that I took advantage of my condition. I busted my ass to be "normal" all season and it wasn't until doctor's orders that I started cutting back my hours in the last 4 weeks. The problem is, I know it affected my work and I've been really beating myself up over it. And stressing about what that means for my future with the organization.

I struggled so hard to hit my goal and finish my events in my shortened hours that I have no prospects lined up for this summer. And I won't be working for most of the summer so when I come back to work in September I will be extremely behind. Who knows if my clients will wait or be loyal at all or if they will just buy from someone else in my absence. And I'll have a newborn so how will I work the hours that I need to make up the lost ground? Will I even still want to work those kind of hours?

For the first time in my life I don't feel defined my job. In AZ I was all about Cityscape, living there, working there, with all my friends living and working there. My whole life was wrapped up in that property, along with my self-worth. For the last 5 years I've been 100% devoted to the Lightning, at the expense of my previous marriage, my health, and pretty much every other aspect in my life. Mike and my family have always been supportive but I can see that I've been very selfish about putting this job ahead of everything and everyone else. But that has changed with my little bean - for the first time I realize that my job is not the most important thing. Instead of wanting to spend every minute at work and around hockey I now want to spend every minute with Mike getting ready to start our family. And for the first time in 5 years I know that if I were not to work for the Lightning anymore it wouldn't be the end of the world.

But at the same time I'm not ready to not work there. I keep telling myself it will all work out, there will be a way to balance my family and my job and still be a part of the organization I love so much.  But if my sales are down I won't make the money I'm used to and I may not get a choice in keeping my job if they don't think I'm performing. Right now I'm more stressed out about my job than any other aspect of having this little boy. Staying at home is not an option because Mike makes good money but not enough to support us in our current lifestyle (and he is in sales like me so nothing is guaranteed, income-wise) and he doesn't have insurance, I do. I also can't see myself not working, I enjoy it too much.

So sitting in the stands last night, watching the team I love play their hearts out, I couldn't help but wonder what next season will hold. Will I still be there to cheer them on through the last game? Will I even want to be? Feeling my little boy moving around (he got so excited at the end of the game that he gave himself a wicked case of hiccups - and yes, he was excited, I know he can hear and sense the crowd around us during games because he starts moving and kicking a lot more) reminds me that my priorities in life are shifting and that my life is about to change completely. Where will the Lightning fit into that new life?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I guess I don't really hate baby showers after all

The last few months have taught me a lot. I've learned a lot from books and research about being pregnant, giving birth, and raising children. I've learned that it is okay to lean on Mike when I need to, that I don't always have to be strong and stubborn. I've learned not to stress over the little things and while there is a lot that I worry about, in some ways I've gotten a lot more relaxed and laid back. I've gotten really good at peeing in a cup. But the biggest thing I think I've learned is that I have a serious jealousy issue. I've always known this but am now realizing the extent of the effect it has on me.

Sure, we all want things others have. I can't remember a time when I didn't envy those around me. Growing up it was people who had their own rooms, or pets, or brothers who weren't as difficult to live with as mine. In middle school I wanted parents who weren't as strict as mine. In high school it was people who had their own cars. As I get older the things I covet change.  But I've always sort of prided myself on my ability to turn jealousy and envy into motivation. I've been able to go out and get the a lot of the things I wanted through hard work and determination. But there are always going to be things that you can't control - wanting a different body, a relationship like that couple you know, a good job in a different field than what you studied. Or having baby.

My whole life I have always wanted kids. I've known since I was old enough to play with dolls that I've wanted to be a mother. I started nannying and babysitting at 10 and had "my kids" who I loved as if they were my own. I was a camp counselor. If I was anywhere where there were kids, I was the one playing with them or taking care of them. Apparently even in pre-school I was known as the little mother hen. Finding out as a teenager that I may have difficulty becoming pregnant was tough to take. At 21 I had surgery on my ovary and was told I probably wouldn't get pregnant which was devastating. I can actually pinpoint when my mindset started shifting towards "I'm never going to be a mom". I was hopeful at first that the doctors were wrong but the older I got and the more I had ovary issues the more I mentally blocked my maternal instinct. As friends starting having babies I found myself becoming more distant.

I would tell myself that I was making a choice to live a certain lifestyle that didn't involve kids. That I was lucky because I could work my dream job and travel and be as selfish as I wanted because it was just me. That I would be a great aunt and have pets instead of kids. Or that maybe one day I'd adopt but not until I got as much out of childless life as I could. I told myself that I hated baby showers. I still loved kids and babies but I purposely kept a distance so that I wouldn't love or attach to them the way I had "my kids" back in my nannying days. I tried to convince myself that maybe I wasn't really that maternal after all.

Being pregnant has made me realize that I really really wanted this. That as much as I was happy for my friend with kids and that I truly did love their babies, that I was putting up walls and creating distance so I wouldn't have to think about how jealous I was that they had babies and I couldn't. That baby showers weren't torture because they were dumb and boring but because I so badly wanted that for myself and didn't think it would ever happen. That it wasn't really my choice to be childless but that I was in denial about how much it upset me to accept not having a child. That I wanted to be a really great aunt to my friends' babies but that I used living far away and working crazy hours as excuses for not really being involved in their lives - that in reality I was just too jealous and didn't want to face my own anger and sadness at not having my own babies. I would dream about babies and wake up upset but I would tell myself it was anxiety and stress rather than admit it was because I so wanted that dream to come true.

I spent so many years convincing myself that I was fine with not being able to get pregnant that when it actually happened I couldn't accept it right away. I was convinced it wasn't true or that it wouldn't last or that something would go wrong. I was terrified that if I was too happy about it that it would go away. I was worried that I wouldn't be a good mother because I had suppressed those instincts for so long. It took me months to wrap my head around the fact that this was actually happening to me and get over my fears. Only in the last few months have I been able to let myself be truly happy about my pregnancy and the upcoming birth of my son. I dream about him all the time now and wake up so happy and excited to meet him. I think back to my friends' pregnancies and realize that I wasn't a very good friend to them during those times, not because I lived far away or was too busy but because I was avoiding dealing with my own jealousy and pain. 

It's amazing how clear this all is to me now when for years I really thought I was making a choice . I know now that it was a defense mechanism. It was like a lightbulb went off in my head and it all makes sense.  I still have to tell myself sometimes that yes, this is really happening and that it is okay to be happy about it and celebrate it. I am trying not to take a moment of this experience for granted because I never thought I would actually get to experience it and who knows if I will able to again. I love this little boy fiercely and am thankful every single day for him. I've worked so hard to reach other goals in my life or make other dreams come true and I still can't believe that now this one, the one I had no control over, is coming true too.  And I can't wait for my baby shower. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

musings from a deliriously tired pregnant girl

These past few weeks have been really crazy and I'm pretty burnt out on the work end of things. I still have 2 big events tomorrow, 1 Monday, and 1 Thursday so I have one more crazy week to get through and it should be smooth sailing after that. (fingers crossed!)

In the meantime lots has been happening outside of work too. Mike's uncle died and attending his viewing and service really made us think a lot about family, life, and death. There is nothing like being pregnant at a funeral to really hammer home the whole "circle of life" concept. Everyone is so sad at the loss of one life but so excited for the beginning of another. It is nice to be able to cheer people up, to be the bright spot in a tough time. I'm sure if I'd had time to sit and write during those few days I'd have a lot more, profound things to say. But it was an interesting and thought-provoking time.

During my pulled ligament fiasco we also learned that my tailbone is curved. I'd hurt it a few years ago and still have trouble sitting for long times or sitting on hard surfaces but didn't think too much of it. Apparently thought, since it curves under, the baby's head could get caught during birth. I was told that it is likely I'll need a c-section. This was really upsetting news; I have my heart set on a natural birth. We took our labor & delivery class a month ago (something else I didn't have time to sit and write about) and Mike and I agreed that I should try for a natural birth. For one, I have a high tolerance for pain and have been through a lot with all my surgeries so labor should be manageable. Also, I have a lot of drug allergies and we felt that in the middle of giving birth would be a bad time to find out I was allergic to the pain killers or epidural. I also don't agree with the side effects that can come with epidurals, or the other drugs you can end up needing when you have one. Mike didn't like the size of the needle or the fact that it would be going into my spine. So all in all we both were hoping for a natural birth. So now I have to come to terms with the chance it may not happen. Which is fine, that is how life goes. Most of my best laid plans didn't actually end up going the way I'd hoped and yet somehow things work out and life goes on. But it is still a a bummer. But I wasn't supposed to be able to get pregnant and here we are; I was supposed to get gestational diabetes and I didn't; so maybe my tailbone will magically straighten and I'll be able to give birth to our little miracle the way we want. But Mike and I both agree - however our little man needs to come into this world is fine with us as long as he is healthy.

We also have finally chosen a name: Ryder Patrick Martin. Ryder is the only first name Mike and I could agree on and since it isn't either of our first choice, it took some time to decide it was "the" name. It is unique enough for Mike and not too out there for me so Ryder it is. Patrick is my dad's name which I had my heart set on and Martin is Mike's biological father's last name and he is officially changing his last name to it (paperwork started). So our little bean has a name! His initials are RPM which Mike think is the coolest thing ever. I'm happy he is happy about the name we chose for his son. And relieved to have that off our to do list.

We are getting lots of things checked off that list and I'm starting to really love this pregnancy. The beginning was such a shock - I wanted this so much but couldn't believe it was actually real. It didn't seem real for a long time. There was one night where I woke up at 3am so convinced I had dreamt the whole thing that I took another pregnancy test, just to be sure. And the entire time I was terrified that something would happen and we'd lose our little miracle. It took months to really sink in. Then, once I was able to accept it was really happening the panic set in. I was worried about EVERYTHING. Money, my health, the baby's health, money, how I'd be able to still work, all the things to do before he came, money, giving birth, not being married, money, and just about everything else you can worry about when you realize your whole life is about to permanently change. Not to mention how crappy I felt during the first trimester, how tired I was with the iron deficiency and the crazy hours I work. Luckily Mike is amazing; he was my rock, he talked me off the ledge all the time. He stepped up and really started to show how seriously he took becoming a father and how much the baby and I meant to him. And our families collectively stepped up to provide us with all the big things we needed - nursery, car seat, stroller, etc. Now I'm at a point where I know this is really happening and we're very prepared for this little man to join our lives. I'm starting to enjoy the process of getting our home ready for his arrival. I dream about him all the time and whether I'm dreaming about giving birth or dreaming that he is here already, I'm always calm and happy. I wake up sort of disappointed that he isn't here yet. I can't wait to meet him!

Sometimes though, I'm still not mentally pregnant. I try to run around at work and do everything I normally do. I try working my same hours, running around the building on game days, taking the stairs, and generally acting like I'm not 8 months pregnant. Everyone is constantly trying to do things for me and normally I would be insulted but I'm starting to realize it is ok to accept their help. I am still me - a strong, stubborn, independent woman. Accepting help from people or admitting I even need the help doesn't change that. It is strange to let people do things for me, or even just help me out, but I am slowly coming around.

And I'm learning to trust Mike and depend on him in a way that I never thought I could depend on someone. Each failed relationship made me feel like I needed to be tough and not depend on anyone but me so that I couldn't be hurt or disappointed ever again. But the dynamic of our relationship has changed. I can tell Mike likes that I'm becoming "softer" and more lovey. And despite the fact I've been fighting against it, I'm actually starting to like being able to rely on him and letting him take care of me. Again, I pride myself on being strong and independent; I worked very hard to get where I am in life and to know that I could do it all on my own but it is so much nicer having a partner in life who is there when I need someone to share the load with. Mike is such an incredibly guy, I can't even put into words how much he's come to mean to me or how much I appreciate having him in my life. I can't imagine my life without him and I never imagined that I'd feel this way about someone - truly head over heels in love. I'm even excited at the thought of us getting married one day and I very much want to spend my life with him. I couldn't have a better man to start a family with. I am a very luck girl!

So that's enough rambling for now... hopefully it won't be weeks before I have a chance to sit and write again.