My baby is three months old! My little Snow angel. He’s happy, he’s healthy, he’s a dream baby and he’s a miracle. Every day I thank him for coming home to me. Every day I thank God again and again for letting me have my baby boy.
Sometimes I remember and get a glimpse of the fear that gripped me throughout my pregnancy. Sometimes it was out of control. I panicked. I froze. I couldn’t function. I had dark visions of things going terribly wrong.
After the loss of pregnancies 5, 6 and 7 I couldn’t bear to let myself hope. I watched and worried about every possible sign that something might be wrong. I wouldn’t let it catch me off guard. I couldn’t let my heart be broken again. I refused to connect with my baby. I was either ignoring him or panicking over his welfare.
I tortured myself to the point of causing cramping and bleeding many different times. I wouldn’t have seen the connection but a dear, life-saving friend who was kind enough to take my calls at those moments would talk me down from the ledge, remind me of my Savior’s love and help me give my fears and doubts and hopelessness over to him. And the bleeding would stop. So did the pain.
Things improved somewhat after the 16 week mark when I passed up pregnancy 5. And with the help of my earthly angels (you know who you are) I began to connect with my baby. I allowed myself to acknowledge and even fall in love with him. I asked him questions and got to know his sweet, genial personality. A few times I even dared to hope.
Late in my pregnancy, while I was reeling from a friend’s tragic loss, I received a priesthood blessing. During that blessing I had a sweet glimpse of my baby boy. He ran through our house, chasing his big brothers, trying to keep up. My heart knew it was true. He was coming home to me.
I will never forget the moment after he was born into the water. My husband passed him to me through my legs and I reached down to pull the biggest most perfect, slippery, beautiful baby out of the water and on to my chest. I didn’t ever want to let go. And I still don’t.
I still get a little nervous. I’ve slid back into being a slightly more paranoid, watchful mom than I’ve been in quite a few years. But the biggest difference isn’t that. The biggest change is that I don’t take one breath for granted. I don’t waste a moment that could be spent making my baby boy laugh or staring into his deep, knowing eyes. I’d rather hold him myself than share but his brothers all get their turns. I take advantage of my older helpers so I can drop what I’m doing and hold my boy when he needs me. Or wants me. Or when I want him. Everything else can wait. My baby is growing every day and I don’t want to miss a beat.
I wrote this in May of 2013 and didn’t share due to its depressing nature. I am happy to say that at the age of three, Clayton is finally sleeping! I still wish I’d pushed for a sleep study and continue to wonder if he has some kind of sleep disorder as there are still some funny things with his sleep. If I wasn’t so foggy and out of my mind I would have advocated for more help for him, I think. It’s hard to see things clearly when nothing is clear.
Now I am sharing for a friend who is having similar issues with her baby. You are not alone! As I went through this I commiserated with a few other moms and watched them all drop away as their little ones started sleeping well before mine. That will be you too! If not, consider getting things checked out and make sure there aren’t health reasons that are being overlooked. Good luck!
I am living in a fog. It clouds all the corners of my brain. I can’t ever remember what I’m doing or what I’m supposed to do next. I don’t have the energy for my greatest loves: my kids, exercise, friends, reading, etc. I have all but given up cooking for my family. I don’t have the time or focus. I get sick, cranky, emotional and anxious easily and often. I can’t trust my thoughts or feelings. My house is a disaster and my relationships are all under strain. I don’t eat many meals but I make up for it in snacks which I eat like crazy all afternoon and evening in order to stay awake.
This is what a year and a half of intense sleep deprivation looks like. I did the first year with our non-sleeping baby by myself. I take care of the babies, the man takes care of the big boys. That’s how we’ve always divided nighttime parenting responsibilities. I definitely got the raw end of that deal with this kid but with Allen heavy into school it worked out.
Clayton slept like a newborn for the first 9 months or so- to bed late, up every hour or so, up early and with awake periods here and there throughout the night. Then it got worse. Since then he hasn’t slept between the hours of approximately 12:30-3:30 or 4 a.m. For many, many months we experienced something akin to night terrors during that time. The whole time. And sometimes one earlier in the night or later in the morning. He screamed, thrashed, kicked, hit, shook and seemed terrified… never quite awake. I could tell when we were nearing the end of an episode. He was still screaming but his eyes would suddenly focus on something. He would, in small ways begin responding to his environment. Then I knew I could offer him a bottle or sippy and he would drink and fall asleep. We had survived one more.
I worried about the long term damage these episodes were doing. A body can’t be under that kind of stress and not incur lasting damage. And I don’t believe there are no negative psychological effects of spending that much time in terror. I don’t believe kids are quite that resilient.
I hesitate to say this out loud but I think we are past the night terrors. Our very wise, very gifted chiropractor requested a crack at the kid’s sleep issues. I’m glad she did. I’m very slow to actively try new options because I’m afraid that if it doesn’t work there will be nothing left for us to do. I’m afraid it will break me. Clayton’s been to see her twice in the last month or so. He always sleeps better the first couple of days but more importantly, there have been none of these episodes since our first visit with her. This has been a tremendous blessing.
But the lack of sleep continues. I think it’s just part of who this kid is. He doesn’t sleep. He doesn’t need but a couple of hours on either end of the night and often a good solid nap in the day. If I didn’t have three other children. a need for personal hygiene, and other responsibilities I might even be able to catch up sleeping at nap time.
I am very nervous about Allen starting PA school but very glad it will be summer for the kids. I regret that my boys will be giving up yet another summer when they should be exploring and experiencing the world as a family because mom is too tired. I want my life back. I want my family back.
For now we’ll just keep surviving…
Parts of my house look like a scene right out of Hoarders. I spent a month resting to try to keep my pregnancy, a week waiting for surgery and then a week recovering afterward. My sweet kids and husband have helped out so much but to them every shelf in the pantry is the same and the school room is the storage room. They have really tried! It just hasn’t worked out too well.
When my house is a mess, my brain is a mess and I’ve been totally paralyzed by the chaos all around me. I feel like I won’t be totally healed until my life and home are back on track but I’ve had a terrible time knowing where to start.
So, I was pretty thrilled when a friend posted about 40 bags in 40 days! I’m in! I’ve done the challenge before but this year I need it more than ever. This is not the worst shape my house has ever been in but I don’t know if it’s ever felt worse. I need this challenge. I need the support and I need to accomplish something.
It’s easy peasy. Every day for 40 days (except Sundays) fill a bag (any size bag) with junk and then get rid of it! Don’t think you have that much junk in your house? What until you start. I will be using the goal/progress sheet provided here to keep me on track.
I am SO excited to get going!
Who’s with me? Click here for more details.
I hit a big milestone a month ago and I never mentioned it because another even bigger milestone looms just around the corner. The big one. Or rather, the big one-oh-oh. Well, as it turns out that one might just take me a while. And that’s okay.
Just to show how very okay I am with it I’m going to brag about my last big accomplishment. Indulge me.
Late February this year my husband and I watched a movie that changed our family forever. We’d been working on getting our family eating healthier for years and were well on our way. There were lots of good foods in our diet including green smoothies, whole grains and other nutritious foods. But we couldn’t let go of the bad stuff. We couldn’t figure out where to draw the line.
So when we saw Forks Over Knives and over the next day or so underwent a huge change of hearts and minds (read more about our process here) it gave us just what we’d been looking for. We are diet haters. We don’t believe in dieting to get the weight off and then learning how to eat to maintain. We don’t get into diet trends and gimmicks. We’ve always been really snooty about it which is really funny coming from two fat people.
What this gave us was a healthy, doable, livable, lifetime way of eating that we could feel good about. A way of eating that we felt would improve our children’s lives and life-expectancies. A way to reverse the damage we’d done by so many years of dietary abuse. A diet based on healthful, delicious foods we craved.
I got into this not thinking about the scale (hoping but not dwelling). But the scale has done things this last year that I never would have thought possible. Ever.
[Find a couple more “before” pics here.]
I had a baby last December. In August I hit 100 pounds down from my delivery weight. That was pretty awesome. On October 6th I hit 90 pounds down from my “starting weight” from February. And later that month I hit a really comfy place that apparently I’m destined to be for the time being:
94 pounds down.
Ninety-four pounds! It’s obnoxiously close to a much bigger sounding number and it’s kind of an odd number to land on but I’ll take it. It feels good. I feel a little guilty when people congratulate me and tell me what a great job I’m doing and how hard I must have worked because all I’ve really done is changed the food we’re eating (except that it has allowed us to become more active).
I still snack, I still splurge, I still eat too much and I do “cheat” from time to time. I feel like the weight loss is a side affect of something I’m doing for my family and isn’t mine to celebrate. But this week I’m taking ownership for my accomplishment. I have done something great. And it has taken time, hard work and dedication, whatever my motivation. I have changed my life and my families’ lives and I did have a choice. I didn’t have to do it. So, today I’m proud. Tomorrow I’ll get over myself.
I know I haven’t posted about Clayton’s birth yet but I assure you, it’s coming. In the meantime, please enjoy this update on his first week on Earth.
At the end of Clayton’s first week of life we are:
- Cordless… yay! Mama loves a cordless baby.
- Pretty close to birth weight (9.6). Friday he weighed in at 9.1. Another yay! Cleft babies quite often really struggle to gain weight but we’ve been very lucky so far with him being a good eater.
- Worshiping Mandy Haberman, inventor of the Haberman feeder, a special bottle we use to get nourishment from my body into Clayton’s. These bottles are such a blessing!
- Sleepy. Clayton likes to play all night.
- Usually pumping. You can find me in front of my pump, washing bottles, or feeding Clayton. That’s about it.
- Wishing we had more hands. I’m used to being able to feed a baby and type, or hug another kid, or walk around, or work a remote control, or reach the phone, or talk on the phone, or whatever. With this system I’m pretty much just feeding the baby… all the time. On the upside, this gives me lots of time to stare into Clayton’s beautiful eyes and talk to him about life.
- Starting to collect a little baby acne.
- Fluffy-bottomed! Now that Clayton’s meconium and cord free he’s finally rockin’ the cloth diapers. So cute!
- Still looking a little like death. Okay, so this one’s mainly me. I’m hoping it’s just my refusal to put on make-up yet that’s the culprit. I hope I don’t really look this bad. Sadly all of the pictures of Clayton’s first week are marred by the haggard lady holding him.
- Smack in the middle of finals week. And Allen’s still killing it! What an amazing man!
- Waiting to meet with Clayton’s plastic surgeon, Dr. Todd Farnworth, on the 21st to find out more about what to expect for Clayton’s future.
- Adjusting to being a family of six. Jack is a natural at this big brother thing, Chris literally cannot contain his excitement about his new baby and although William had some reservations about adding another member to the family during my pregnancy, he has been a fantastic help and is very proud of his little brother.
For times when you need just more than a thank-you card and don’t have time to bake a plate of cookies, these sweet thank you’s are just the thing!
You will need:
Patterned cardstock (found in the scrapbook paper section of your favorite craft store)
Flower brads or some kind of accent (also in the scrapbook section)
jewelery baggies (craft store, jewelery section)
handwritten or printed tags
Step 1: Fill bags not quite to the top with a candy of your choice.
Step 2: Cut cardstock into strips just barely wider than the jewelery bags and then bend the strips over the bag to judge length and then cut.
Step 3: Punch brads or buttons through the cardstock and then bend it over the bags. Add accents, labels… whatever your heart desires.
I have done these as Easter gifts for the kids’ friends with jellybeans and pastel paper. We have also filled them with candy corns at Halloween, used a fun, ghostly paper and tacked on Halloween buttons. Get creative. Let your kids choose candy and paper for a teacher’s gift or grandparent surprise. Have fun!
I don’t have time to cook. Seriously. I chase two young children around all day, haul a six year-old to school and back and a husband to school and work, I work from home, work away from home, serve at church, help with school, sew, craft, be friendly, keep clothes on people and the house liveable… I don’t have time to cook. Still, my family needs to eat. Or so they say.
For this purpose was the Crockpot invented. Oh, Crockpot, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…. At least half of our dinners come to us courtesy of my trusty Crockpot’s lovely warm belly. I have lots of yummy Crockpot recipes but I rarely use them because I am a huge unmotivated dinner cheater. I have a loose formula that I use for my Crockpot meals and it hasn’t failed me yet. To try it for yourself, here’s what you’ll need:
Meat. Any size, any shape, whatever you’ve got.
(dry beans or lentils work great too)
1 package of onion soup mix or some garlic salt and your favorite seasonings.
1 can of cream of mushroom soup and/or 1 C of matching boullion
optional: garlic, onions, celery or anything your heart desires
Cook on low all day or on high through the afternoon and go from there. If I have a beef roast in the Crockpot, I will add onions, potatoes and carrots about halfway through the cooking process. I served these pork chops (above) over rice. Chicken? Leave out the onion soup and mix a package of Stove Top stuffing into a can of cream of mushroom soup and craisins and spread over top of the poultry and boullion.
The possibilities are endless, the crowds are pleased and tummies are full. The only flaw is with that yummy smell wafting through the house all hours of the day, by dinner time you’ll be ready to eat and eat good!
As I was setting the kids’ dinner plates on the table:
William (my 6-year-old): Ooooh… yummy! Did you make this?
Me: Yeah… who else makes you dinner?
William, throwing his arms around me: Thanks, mom!
Who says motherhood is a thankless job?