Under the weather

05/31/2011 at 4:19 pm | Posted in baby sunshine | 5 Comments
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Hi everyone,

I seem to have picked up a nasty cold that is plugging up my teeny nose and giving my mom a heart attack every 10 seconds. Seriously. It’s funny. If I stop breathing for the flashest of flashes, or make a gagging noise, she nearly hyperventilates. Will file away for future use.

You might not see much of me around here, since I’m mostly sleeping. Eating has become tricky, too, since I have to gulp for air and milk at the same time. And the snot? It’s tucked so far back into my nasal passages that even that annoying bulb syringe can’t get to it. Oy.

Before I go, some good news.

I weigh a little over 9 pounds! My thighs are gaining rolls, and my cheeks tend to rest on my chest. Today at my three-week appointment, the doctor said I looked good. Despite this dang cold.

And my mom? Well, she can’t stop taking pictures. Please tell her that there is nothing adorable about snot.

xo,
Sophie

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No small victory

05/27/2011 at 9:26 pm | Posted in baby sunshine, Motherhood | 12 Comments
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I nursed in public for the very first time tonight.

Wait. Let me rephrase that.

I nursed successfully in public for the very first time ever.

Sophie had been sleeping soundly on my chest when Marc suggested we venture out to our favorite Italian joint for our first “party of four” experience. After a brief flash of “no, I can’t do this,” I jumped on board. Sophie was snoozing, after all. I’d just fed her. She’d be good to go for at least a couple of hours, right?

Wrong.

Just before our food arrived, I heard the little bellow from her carrier. And soon enough, she was red-faced and demanding to be fed.

Crap. My chest tightened and that familiar feeling of panic swept over me. The same one that plagued me nearly every day for the first four months of Lily’s life.

But then, determination.

I grabbed my nursing cover (thank goodness for Bebe Au Lait — far superior to any other cover I’ve tried), swapped seats with Lily so that my back was to the dining room and wiggled that baby up to my boob.

And she ate. Contentedly.

I glanced around nervously. No one had even batted an eye at us.

A deep breath. I unclenched my jaw and peeked back down at the baby.

Just then, her eyes opened and she stared straight into mine. A look that said, “Relax, Mom. We got this.”

I’m trying, little baby. I’m trying.

These hands

05/27/2011 at 4:36 pm | Posted in Love | 11 Comments
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Before Marc and I got married, we had to participate in a program at the church that was mostly corny and uncomfortable. Until the very end.

The facilitators made each couple face each other and take each other’s hands. Then we had to recite the most beautiful words (that I can’t remember) about how we would use our hands to build a life together, make a home, love each other.

It was during the line about how our hands would hold our future children that I totally lost it. I didn’t look up from Marc’s hands, but I’m pretty sure my ugly-crying would have sent most anyone into hiding.

This photo reminds me of that moment and all the hope I carried in my heart that day.

Marc is an amazing father who loves and cares for his girls with astonishing grace.

How blessed we are!

Mental? Maybe. Totally thrilled? YES.

05/26/2011 at 11:43 am | Posted in Bloggy, PPD | 2 Comments
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What a treat to open my email this morning and discover that this here blog has been nominated for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Mental Wellness Blogs!

Thank you to the kind soul who nominated pretty swell. I’m proud to be in the company of some amazing women, many of whom I call friends.

Aaaaand here is where I ask you, my lovely readers, to help the cause. You can vote once a day through June 15. Like me and my mom will be doing. Just clicky on that little purple badge to the right.

Seriously. I’d love to keep my place on this list. Helping new moms survive perinatal mood disorders like PPD is one of the biggest reasons I started this blog nearly two years ago. Since then, an awesome community has formed here. And I like to think I’ve helped a mom or two along the way.

Whether you’re here as a mom, a bacon-lover or a Small Fry fan, we’d really appreciate your votes!

Thanks, friends!

Her nemesis

05/24/2011 at 5:05 pm | Posted in baby sunshine, videos | 3 Comments
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The one in which I eat my words

05/23/2011 at 2:47 pm | Posted in baby sunshine, Motherhood, PPD | 16 Comments
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So things have gotten a little tougher.

Big surprise.

The very day I sent this post out into the universe, a string of bad nights settled upon us. A not-so-gentle reminder that this newborn stuff isn’t easy, no matter how mellow the baby.

But I’m okay.

We’ve adapted and come up with strategies to help everyone get a little more sleep. Marc is giving Sophie a bottle at the beginning of the night, so I crawl into bed early and don’t have to be vertical until after midnight. And unlike last time, when I lay wide awake listening to Lily’s every little noise, I’m actually able to crash between feedings now. Thank goodness.

I’ve also figured out (I think) when Sophie is full. She’ll hang out on the boob thrashing around and crying, not letting go no matter the direction her head turns. Good times. This behavior totally confused me, so I’d try to soothe her and help her eat. And as a result? Two-hour nursing sessions in which she wasn’t really eating for the last hour and a half. By my husband’s grace, we realized that she wasn’t actually hungry and that by removing her from the milk buffet and simply rocking her, she’ll pass out cold.

I’m learning.

And I’ll say it again: I’m okay.

Happy, actually.

Sure, there have been plenty of tears. And I’ll admit that in frustration, I swear up and down at least once a day to quit breastfeeding.

But I haven’t come anywhere near the slippery slope of postpartum depression.

And I already feel so connected to this baby, it’s incredible.

Still pinching myself.

Sophie yoga

05/20/2011 at 3:34 pm | Posted in baby sunshine | 12 Comments
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the frog

the pretzel

the boxer

the "oy ... I'm full"

the "rock on"

the "hear no evil"

Yes, there is a fluffy bunny in this picture

05/18/2011 at 3:30 pm | Posted in Small Fry | 15 Comments
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school portrait

And he sniffed her face, causing a peal of laughter that sent my heart soaring.

She still talks about him. And I’m pretty certain she’d be willing to trade a certain newborn baby to have her very own “Marshmallow” at home.

So this is what it feels like

05/17/2011 at 10:10 am | Posted in Motherhood, PPD | 30 Comments
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Today is my first day home alone with the baby, and I’m not scared.

This is a big deal.

When Marc went back to work after Lily was born, my downward spiral accelerated. I didn’t want to be alone with her. She was so fragile and tiny and needy. I didn’t believe I was capable of taking care of her by myself.

I remember crying to my mother that I just wanted to wash a dish. To feel normal.

Not this time.

Of course, it helps that Sophie is one mellow babe. She cries only when she’s hungry (which is often) or poops her diaper (which also is often). She is consolable. She sleeps. She sits in the bouncy seat by herself, content.

These things never happened with Lily. She cried non-stop. Around the clock. For any number of reasons we simply couldn’t figure out.

I quit dairy, then stopped breastfeeding altogether. We tried 500 different kinds of formula, bottles, nipples. The doctor put her on reflux medication. And she never wanted to be put down.

To this day, I still don’t understand why she cried so much. But my instinct tells me (three years later) that she was hungry. My depression and anxiety, I’m convinced, compromised my milk supply. And this devastates me. I do still feel like I failed Lily in those first few months of her life. But I also believe that she has benefited — and thrived — from our undivided attention for the first three years of her life. She is healthy, happy and smart. She knows love.

I need to keep remembering these things as waves of guilt wash over me this time around.

By comparison, Sophie is easy. I never understood how new moms could find time to brush their hair or fix a meal. Push a weeks-old baby in a stroller. Check their email.

Until now.

And, believe me, I am taking not one second of this experience for granted. I am trying to relish each moment with Sophie. Moments that escaped me when Lily was so little. And I’m also trying to love on my big girl more than ever.

I can’t erase the dark memories of my paralyzing fear during Lily’s first few weeks of life, but I can focus on that which I know to be true: I am blessed to be mother to an amazing three-year-old. I am blessed to be given another shot at actually enjoying the newborn experience.

I am blessed. Period.

A mother's love

05/16/2011 at 2:54 pm | Posted in Motherhood | 7 Comments
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“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world.
It knows no law, no pity, it dates all things and crushes down remorselessly
all that stands in its path.”

– Agatha Christie, “The Last Seance”

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