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Baby, Family, Mom Life

Meeting Baby For The First Time


When I was pregnant with my first, I remember wondering what meeting him for the first time would be like. The anticipation. A mix of nervous excitement.

Would I feel like I already knew him? Would he know me? Would we feel like strangers?

The reality is what I imagine meeting someone you met online for the first time in person is like. Someone who speaks a different language. Someone you’ve communicated with for months using only chat, and relying heavily on Google translate to craft your responses. Meeting sans translator. Neither of you even remotely fluent in the other’s native tongue.

This is closer to what it really felt like after bringing him home.

Ours isn’t the typical story because he spent nearly his first month in the NICU. Read my birth story and Surviving the NICU posts for the full story. Like other mommas to be, my body was my translator during pregnancy. I didn’t have to think about what my baby needed. My body just knew what to do. After birth, his NICU doctors and nurses became my translators. Relying on them to relay his every need became my norm. As excited as I was when his NICU graduation day came, the idea of being home without my translating team felt so incredibly intimidating.

How would I know what to do?

His nurses were all so sweet, reassuring all would be well and I’d just know what to do. I’d know a hunger cry from a tired cry from a soiled diaper cry . . . Again, the reality being far from this.

Yes, I did learn to differentiate his array of cries. And the bond we’ve created is like no other . . . The key, however, being I learned.

We knew each other, but only to an extent. He knew my voice. The way he kicked just one leg reminded me of the little tap, tap, taps I felt against my ribcage during pregnancy. But we still had to get to know each other. And that took a mutual patience and trust. Patience in trusting my instincts and not second guessing my every thought and action. His patience in learning to trust that I would always be there for him.

Now pregnant with baby number two, I find myself wondering about baby’s personality. Will baby be patient? Insatiable? Quiet? Vocal? How will this first meeting compare to when I met my first? Will I just know more so this time time around, or will it be like meeting a familiar stranger once more? My expectation is that our meeting will be a lot like with my first . . . But I’m not putting too much on expectations this time.

I will just wait and see.

What was your first meeting like? Or are you currently pregnant and anticipating your first meet?

Peace,

Y

faith

One Year Free

It’s been a little over a year since the morning, while standing in my loft, I heard the words, “You haven’t accepted me into your heart,” clear in my mind.

You see, I’d been on a spiritual journey for several years at the time. Trying to find my place and myself in the process. Craving fulfillment. Desperate for more.

My search was long. Filled with many twists and turns. So many valleys and a few ant-sized hills. Full of questioning. Questioning my path. My decisions. My intentions and myself. Not knowing in what or whom to trust in or turn to.

Growing up, my understanding about God—what was ingrained in me—was that He was almighty and awesome, but also incredibly scrupulous. Always watching and waiting to dole out harsh punishment for every misstep. That coupled with the teaching that all humans were born flawed and incapable of perfection—and therefore were destined to make countless missteps—left my conscience weighed down with a load much too heavy to bear . . . And so I strayed further and further by the day.

My teenage years were marked by dark clouds of depression and anxiety, and it only intensified as I entered adulthood. Living in fear was the norm by my early 20s. Anxiety and depression were just a part of me. By my mid-20s I was physically ill. Every muscle was tense. I had chronic pain. Daylong, daily headaches. My immune system was shot. My digestive system all but shut down. I rotated through a slew of doctors and specialists. Trying to find the root cause of feeling unwell. Took every prescribed remedy. Half-a-dozen daily meds. Exercise. Rest. Therapy. I tried it all . . . Looking back, I realize now just how much a part of me anxiety was. It ran through my veins. Raced through my thoughts. And drove every bodily function.

Searching for something—peace, happiness, something more than life as it was—was my glimmering hope. I don’t know that I even really knew what I was searching for, or whether I believed I’d ever find it. But that’s the great thing about God. All it takes is a single drop of faith. And if you allow Him to, He’ll do the rest.

My path wasn’t by any means smooth, nor was it disastrous. I wasn’t always willing or eager. The door to my mind was opened just a sliver, but even that was enough. Little by little my mind and heart began to submit.

Leading up to that morning, I’d been pursuing faith casually. I’d found a pastor whose podcast resonated with me. I listened regularly while walking with my little guy. Tuned in every now and then to his online service. I’d also found a local church and mom’s group that took me in like a stray. Each day was a dance. A few steps forward. A pause. A step back. And then forward again.

I can’t recall exactly what day of the month it was—just that it was late January—or what I was doing. Just that I was in my loft watching my little guy play. In my pajamas? Going through a morning yoga flow? Watching an online service? Listening to a podcast? What I do remember are those words—and even they are probably paraphrased by this point—not audible, but more than just a thought. It’s as though I could feel the words resonating through my body. And just like that, a fog lifted—a fog I hadn’t even realize was there—and I understood with perfect clarity what I needed to do.

So there in my loft, wearing either pajamas or yoga leggings, with no witness other than my 10 month old, I verbalized what I hadn’t yet spoken out loud. What was on my heart. I accepted—welcomed and implored–Jesus into my heart and life.

This wasn’t taken on that day, but around that time.

It’s simple. On an ordinary day. No dramatic events. Heck, I can’t even remember exactly what I was doing! I blame that on sleep deprivation as a new and first-time mom, since my little guy was 9 months away from sleeping through the night at that point in time. But that moment changed everything. My heart. My mind. My life.

If you’re currently stuck in your journey and the end doesn’t seem anything but far, I want to provide this simple encouragement to keep going. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep seeking. Keep searching for more. Your day will come.

Do you have a moment of faith and clarity that changed your life? Do you remember when you relinquished control to let God take over? I’d love to hear it.

Peace,

Y

Uncategorized

Turning Inaction Into Action

It seems I’m always trying to make writing a habit. For more years than I’d like to admit, I’ve had ‘write daily’ on my list of goals. The thing is, I love to write. Always have. Why then do I consistently get stuck at making it a habit? Why do I need to MAKE it a habit at all if it brings me joy?

Instead of letting inaction eat into another year, I finally set my mind to take action by first digging deeper into the ‘why’ behind the hindrance.

Here are the three roadblocks I uncovered:

  • All throughout my childhood and teen years I wrote. I kept a journal. Many journals. Between the binding lived my thoughts, daily happening, poems, and fictional stories. Those pages became my safe space. To vent. To write down memories. To create and pour myself out onto…Then one day, that sacred place that held so much of me was breeched. My writing used against me. Ever since then, I have had a really hard time putting meaningful things down on paper (or a blog for that matter).
  • One thing I’ve learned about myself over the years is how hard of a time I have doing something solely for myself. I can’t ever just sit still and enjoy time to myself because I constantly feel pulled to do the things that NEED to get done. Dishes, laundry, mopping, cleaning, organizing, raising a little man…Becoming a mom has definitely intensified this feeling. Not only do I feel pressure to keep up the household, but I tend to pressure myself into feeling like every waking minute should revolve around my family and only my family. My inner voice says that anything just for me is selfish and therefore not something I should invest time into. And I realize how ridiculous my inner voice is being. I just haven’t been able to shut it out.
  • And lastly, I know I’m not the only one to think it…I always get hung up on not feeling like I have anything interesting enough to share. There are so many established bloggers and influencers out there. How could I possibly have anything worth contributing?

That’s the dirty.

And while I feel mildly ashamed for each of these thoughts, it feels cathartic to call them out. These three things have held me back for years. Naming them was enough to help me realize how fed up I am. With always being stuck. With inaction. With letting past experiences and unkind thoughts shut down my creative space.

So this is my dedication and commitment to doing more of what I love. More of what brings me joy. More of something that’s just for me.

acs_0715

And if it’s writing, I think it will come naturally. Lately, I’ve felt called to write. And I’m going to follow that calling for as long as it brings me joy.

Peace,

Y

Uncategorized

Rock Your World

Have you ever felt the undeniable draw (read: need) to make a big change? I’m not talking about updating your hair style or repainting your great room. I’m talking rock-your-whole-world-and-shake-it-upside-down-until-all-those-firmly-placed-pieces-fall-free-then-turn-it-all-right-side-up-again big . . .

I have.

In the past month my husband and I took that feeling and leapt right out into the deep, dark unknown that is the future. As I type, we are just three days away from leaving everything we’ve known for the past 15 years to move half way across the country.

Our whole life is changing.

Our home. The first house we purchased together and where we started our family. Sold and traded for renting. At least until we’re settled and ready to buy again.

Our comfort. There is definitely something exciting and nerve-wracking about trading in a steady position for an opportunity at a new company.

Our city. The city we know like the back of our hand. A radius of familiarity that includes all our favorite hiking and camping spots, coffee shops, restaurants . . . We will definitely have to get out and explore our new stomping grounds!

Our tribe. Family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances . . . It all adds up to the people in your daily life.

Sounds crazy yet?

I mean, who uproots their stable, comfortable way of life for the complete unknown? My husband and I agree that we may be a little crazy, but when you know you’re meant to do something, meant to be somewhere, meant to make the biggest change yet . . . there is no fighting it.

Our life in boxes.

 

. . . And more boxes.

It’s so strange to think we won’t be coming back here.

To all the adventures we haven’t yet embarked on. And to stepping out into the great, big unknown.

Peace,

Y

Uncategorized

‘High-Needs’ Baby

‘Hight-needs’ baby.

It’s a term I’d never heard before becoming a mom. Truth be told, I wasn’t a ‘prepared’ mom. I didn’t spend my pregnancy reading up on child development and parenting. I tracked the weeks and ‘fruit size’ of my growing bubs and that was about it. My husband and I were of the mindset that we’d learn about parenting through experience. And if I can be completely candid, we didn’t even know ‘parenting styles’ were even a thing. When people asked what kind of parents we planned to be, we answered with a confident, “Ugh, good parents. Duh.”

In a way our lack of a ‘plan’ was a blessing because when our little man did arrive, every expectation we could have was flip turned upside down. When you deliver a premature baby, your idea of what baby life will be like gets rocked. Regardless of how long your baby spends in the NICU, the timeline of starting life as a family at home changes. And all those typical milestones? They get tossed aside because your tiny human has his or her own set of preemie milestones to follow.

We found ourselves following a baby-led approach without much thought about our little man compared to other babies. It wasn’t until his cheeks filled in, his delicate cry gave way to a healthy set of lungs, his newborness faded, and his colicy days subsided, that I really realized how different he was from all the other babies I knew or saw . . . And I’m somewhat ashamed to admit, I began to question everything.

Why is my baby so different?
Why is he so much more vocal? Fussier? Less content than seemingly every other baby out there?
Why won’t he let me set him down for more than 30 sec? Or lay peaceably on a blanket, content to stare at the world around him?
What am I doing wrong?

My questions piled up. My anxiety intensified. Was I so terrible a mom that I’d already messed things up only months into mom life? I found my fingers reaching out to Google, desperate for answers. I searched and searched until my eyes fell on words ‘High-Needs Baby’.

A brief read into Dr. Sears’ overview of this very unique baby personality, and I exhaled for perhaps the first time since bringing my little man home. Inevitably, the tears began to flow pour.

This was my baby! He wasn’t alone in his insatiable need for everything! To be held constantly without break. To be nursed non-stop. To be ever in motion (read: bounded in mom’s arms because a rocker or bouncy chair is unacceptable). To be heard. I hadn’t done anything wrong. My little man just danced to his tiny drum. And he was just wired differently! I just needed to stop trying to fit him into the typical baby mold. Stop thinking I had to follow what everyone else was doing. Stop blaming myself for every little thing.

I’d love to go further into detail about the characteristics of a high-needs baby, but that is it’s own post. If you’re dying to (need to know out of necessity because you yourself have found that your baby is unlike any other baby you know), I highly, highly recommend The Fussy Baby book by Dr. Sears. Despite its title, it gives such a wonderful insight on this very unique personality.

The real reason behind this post is to encourage mommas out there who are struggling and feeling like they are doing it all wrong.

Maybe your baby isn’t quite high-needs. Maybe your struggle is realizing your parenting style is the complete opposite of what you wanted, expected, or planned it to be.

Just know that you are not alone in whatever it is you’re going through. 17 months in and having had countless discussions with other new mommas, I have come to realize that we’re all in the same boat. Even seasoned mommas can be thrown for a loop by having a baby with a personality unlike their other children, or realize that their parenting style has evolved since their last child.

It’s okay . . . To feel lost. To not have all the answers. To take advice from other. To take advice selectively. To do things that work best for your family, even if your way isn’t the norm.

I am of course no expert, but what I can advise is to follow your instincts.

Trust yourself momma. Your family and your sanity depend on it!

Peace,

Y

Uncategorized

Directionally Challenged

summer deals!

Over the years, I’ve had a few different blogs. Different platforms. Different names. And each time, I’ve come to a point where I feel like my post topic ideas are too broad. All the successful bloggers I follow have a niche. A ‘type’ of post that they always publish. Choose your theme. It’s blogging advice I’ve read over and over. You can’t grow a following if your blog theme is too broad…And that is so daunting when you have a zillion different things you want to blog about. So much in fact, that it stops my blogging dead in its tracks each and every time.

The other day, I was talking with a friend who has been blogging for a while, and asked how (if at all) she plans out her posts. And she doesn’t. She blogs about what’s on her mind at the moment…And as silly as it may sound, that seriously rocked my blogging world. Has the thought every occurred to me? Yes, of course…But that sort of blogging doesn’t fit neatly within the ‘rules,’ so I immediately threw it out as an option. Now however, I have decided to give it a shot.

At the end of the day, I began this blog to create a space for my thoughts and experiences. To talk about life. My life. And how can it reflect my life if I am constantly editing the content, and nixing posts before they’re even written?

So, while it may seem intuitive to some. Something others have done from the get-go, I am taking a step outside of what I thought a blog ‘should be like’ and am going to try blogging about what sparks my creative brain at that moment.

We’ll see how this goes over. To experimenting!

Peace,

Y

Uncategorized

Counting Sheep

Counting Sheep.png

When reading up on bedtime routines to write Nighty Night, I didn’t expect to become sleep obsessed . . . And yet, my daily habits now revolve around that oh-so-sacred shut-eye.

While my nighttime ritual is far from perfect—I have yet to even try drinking a digestion-promoting tea after dinner, don’t always strictly adhere to no-screentime 1 hour before bed (i.e.: writing this post within an hour of hopping in bed), and still struggle with eating dinner later than I’d like—I am much more mindful of how I spend my time leading up to bed each night. The one big change I’ve made (which actually didn’t even make my bedtime rituals list!) is implementing a set bedtime.

For years I’ve been told and read that having a set bedtime is necessary for setting your body’s circadian rhythm. Let’s face it though until I became a mom, my evening habits and hours of sleep logged each night weren’t even a blip on my mind’s radar. I slept just fine and caught enough zzz’s without any sort of real routine. I knew how far back I could push my bedtime without interfering with getting up for work the next day.  Even during pregnancy, while friends struggled with insomnia and/or frequent wakings, I slept soundly.

Nowadays, however, my days (and nights) revolve around caring for a mini human. After a year of wearing the mom hat, I’ve learned that as loving as my mini man is, he doesn’t care a single ounce about how well slept I am from day to day. He needs what he needs, regardless of the time of day or night. What he doesn’t know is that my sanity, happiness, and ability to be at my best for him hinges on how many hours of sleep I get each and every night (even if those hours aren’t uninterrupted). While I look forward to the days of getting quality sleep once more, the overall number of hours is my focus right now.

And so, this mom now has a bedtime. 10 pm. I recruited my iPhone to help keep me mindful and accountable. It’s sort of ironic to use technology to help with sleep when limited screentime is a factor. The ‘bedtime’ feature though is pure gold. I have it set to alert me 1 hour prior. It’s a great heads-up for me. My time between once baby goes down and when I need to be in bed is limited, so it’s easy to get caught up in working, spending time with my hubs, catching a sweat sesh, or hanging out on family dinner nights . . . So the little buzz on my Apple watch and alert on my phone are wonderful.

While there are still tweaks to be made to my bedtime ritual, making this one change so far has made a whole world of difference for me.

You can expect more from me on the topic of sleep as I continue to balance marriage, baby, freelance work, life, and sleep. Oh, and I just began a new bedtime routine with my little guy, in an attempt to lessen his nighttime waking. Yup, I am very much sleep obsessed over here.

Peace,

Y