Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Graduation...Mommy's Piggy Tales #14

Age 17 or 12th Grade

This was the year I realized that it was okay to be me. I stopped being ashamed of the fact that I love Buffy. I stopped worrying about what everyone thought of my clothes or my hair. This resulted in some pretty fabulous ensembles & pink hair. Yep, pink. My hair has also been black, blonde, brown, red & most other fun colors like that. I had great friends & a lot of fun this year, but I was ready for high school to be over.

I didn't go to my Senior Homecoming. I was at my Senior Prom for about 20 minutes - just long enough to see the most fabulous people win for king & queen! You know how normally it's the popular kids that just get picked for all those things & they win every year - yeah that's not what happened my senior prom. It was awesome & I loved it!

This was also the year I met my husband. (The picture above is me & a friend, not me & Lewis.) Our anniversary is coming up in October & I've got something planned to share more about how we met, but basically some friends of mine from high school introduced me to him. We went on a date in April of my Senior year of high school. We didn't actually start dating until August after I graduated. 

Overall high school wasn't that great for me - especially seeing how life got after I graduated. Things were harder in a lot of ways, but I found myself after high school & I discovered friendships that were stronger than a lot of things I know & I experienced things I never thought I'd get to experience. High school was necessary, but by no means was it the best years of my life.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

And away she goes!!!

We have a crawler, people!!! She started crawling this weekend & I was there to see it the first time!!! I've been worried that I'll miss big things since starting student teaching, but I'm not missing anything! I saw her crawl across her room & then she crawled all over the living room! She's such a little cutie.

And p.s. - I've decided not to write posts on the weekend while I'm doing student teaching. It's just too much. But I'm going to try to keep up with it during the week as best I can! Thanks for still following along!! I seriously love you all!!!

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Baby Sign Language: Getting Started

We have been trying to do some baby sign language with Isis, but I've had a hard time figuring out how to get started. Misty Weaver contacted me about doing a guest post on baby sign language & I jumped at the opportunity - if only because it would help me figure out what to do! I spent a lot of time on her site checking out her tips & charts & diagrams & it's really helping me get started! I hope her post helps you a little &  make sure to check out her site for TONS more information!!

Are you thinking of giving the gift of Baby Sign Language to your baby or toddler? If so, congratulations! Teaching your baby to sign is one of the greatest things you can do for her! And getting started isn’t as difficult as you might think. Teaching babies to sign is actually easy. It just requires a little bit of patience and a willingness to be a bit repetitive!

Before you can teach a sign to your baby, you have to learn the sign. Most parents start really slowly, with just one or two signs. We don’t want to overwhelm your baby, or his parents! Baby Sign Language is based on American Sign Language, the official language of the deaf community, so there are lots of resources you can reference if you want to know how to sign for a particular word. Do you suddenly feel the need to teach your daughter the sign for giraffe? Just google “ASL giraffe” and voila – you will have your sign. (And though the sign for giraffe is an easy one, you might not want to start there!)

If you are afraid that you will forget how to make a sign, you can print out flashcards from Baby Sign Language Flash Cards and hang them in strategic locations around your home. Forget how to sign for juice? Just reference the flashcard hanging on your fridge! Flashcards are especially helpful if you want to learn and teach a few signs at the same time.

Most parents start with one or two of the following signs: milk, more, and eat. Depending on how old your child is, it may take between two days and six months for him to learn just these three signs! (This is where the patience comes in!) But once your child has learned these signs, common signs to follow are: help, hurt, diaper, and bed. Of course, you are not limited to these signs. You can throw in whatever signs you know your child wants or needs to say! Some kids love bananas. Those kids could use the sign for banana!

To teach your child a sign, you simply need to make the sign every time you say the word. If you can make the sign, say the word, and produce the object at the same time, that’s even better! So, when you think your baby is hungry, ask her, “Would you like some milk?” and when you say the word, make the sign for milk. Then, produce the milk! You will probably start to feel like a broken record. That’s great! The key to teaching your baby to sign is repetition, repetition, repetition. Every single time you say the word, make the sign, and one day, your baby will sign back!

Realize that signs that represent objects are easier for your child to learn than signs that represent ideas or emotions. For example, “apple” is easier to teach than “sorry.” And if you do forget to make a sign, or if you make the wrong sign, or if you simply take a day off, it is not the end of the world. Just pick up where you left off, and before you know it, your baby will look you in the eye and sign “more cookie please!”

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Best Friends...Mommy's Piggy Tales

Age 16 or 11th Grade

I got my license!!!!!!! This was the year that I really started to feel like I was growing up! I think being able to drive does that to you. This was also when I had close friends & lots of people that I trusted & spent a lot of time with. Me & Diana were hanging out all the time. We carpooled to school together because her vehicle was cooler than mine. My other best friend actually had a baby this year. That was interesting considering we went to a private Christian high school. You can probably imagine that it didn't go over well there, but I look back on that whole time with such admiration & respect for her. She worked so hard in school & at home. We still keep in touch & I actually told her just a couple months ago that I had no idea how she did all of that & made it look so easy because I about fell apart the first few weeks with Isis & I was 25 with a husband! I still think she's amazing.

This was the first year I went to prom. That wasn't the best story. I actually did have a boyfriend for a little while my junior year (whoops I forgot about him until I was writing this) & we broke up because we just both knew it wasn't right for us. We weren't upset with each other or anything, so I assumed that we would still go to prom together like we had talked about, just as friends. Well I found out about 2 weeks before prom that we were not actually going together & I was dateless. I ended up taking my friend who had just had the baby because she needed a fun girls night & I knew she wanted to get out & see everybody from school. Diana & other friends ended up loaning me their boyfriends to dance with throughout the night. That was fun, but rather pathetic at the same time. Oh well.

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YWV...Mommy's PIggy Tales #12

Age 15 or 10th Grade

Sophomore year will always be important to me for two reasons. One is that I had my first "real" boyfriend (who was NOT the guy in the picture above - he was just a friend) - although real at that point in my life felt a lot different than real did when I started dating Lewis. Immaturity & hormones just don't mix well. I thought I was in love, but really I was just giddy to have a boy that actually really liked me & who I liked back! It didn't last long, but I didn't end up really dating anyone else until later in my Senior year. I was just over it. Not interested. I got really upset when we broke up & I just didn't want to do that again.

The other important thing about this year is that it was the year we started my Bible study that lasted through high school & some of college. We called ourselves "Young Women of Virtue" because we were cute like that, but it got shortened to YWV because nobody can say that mouthful everytime you talk about it. This group stuck together through a lot of junk. I posted more about all of us before, so you should read that

Those are really my two main memories of this year. I'm catching up with Mommy's Piggy Tales!

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

8 Questions!

I normally don't do these things, but Gina tagged me in this one & I love Gina, so I decided to do it!

1. You're wearing a button down blouse and in the middle of a conversation with a man, the top button pops off, bearing your cleavage. What do you do?
Just cleavage & no nip or anything? I probably wouldn't do much of anything except fix the button before wearing it again.

2. At a gas station, wearing a really cute skirt, a sudden gust of wind comes up, you're not wearing underpants. You know the men got their eyes full, are you embarrassed or proudly look at them and smile like nothing happened?
Now this would probably make me freak out & cry or something.

3. Pretend there is no such thing as bad food, meaning it doesn't contribute to any negative weight gain or health risks. What would you pleasure and delight yourself with the most?
Mexican food, pasta, cupcakes, ice cream & Japanese hibachi food!

4. What movie do you remember watching in the past that had such a profound impact on you emotionally, that you thought about it afterwards, for days? Name that movie.
 Legends of the Fall

5. Name one really bad habit you wish you could stop doing?
Leaving candy wrappers laying on the couch or something & not throwing them away

6. Tell a short funny joke that will make us all laugh.
 Knock, knock
Who's there?
Cows who?
No, cows moo!

7. Do you think your toes are pretty or ugly?
Ugly. I hate my feet. They're bony.

8. If money were no concern, what charity would you commit to supporting?
Oh gosh there's so many. Here's 3 off the top of my head: Charity Water, Invisible Children, YWAM (for Adriel!)

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Back to Work Breastfeeding Update

I started back to "work" (student teaching) at the end of August. I've been there for almost 3 weeks now. Unfortunately, the schedule & pumping has caused me to have a drop in my milk supply. I first noticed a big change when my normal 10:30pm pumping session abruptly stopped one day. Couldn't get a thing. Then I noticed that when I pumped at school during lunch, I got less. So now here I am 3 weeks in & I'm having to adapt to do what is best for me & for Isis.

I'm still getting something, so I'm going to continue to pump at school & after school on the days I have to stay late for staff meetings or team planning. I'm not getting enough for full feedings for Isis, though. She eats about 6.5 oz from a bottle if I'm not feeding her & I'm not getting that much. So we are going to start mixing breastmilk with a few oz of formula to get her bottles to 6.5 oz. 

This is a little emotional for me because it just seems like the beginning of the end of breastfeeding, but that had to happen soon anyway. When it comes down to it, after 3 weeks of student teaching, I am even more positive than ever that I am right where I need to be with teaching. On top of that, I have had almost 8 1/2 months of being able to breastfeed Isis exclusively. There are plenty of people who weren't even able to breastfeed as long as I have. I'm going to continue nursing her in the morning & last thing at night. So I'm not totally done. We're just on our way to being done. And I think that's ok. We're both growing up & transitioning into a new phase.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Guest Posting at The Mommyhood Memos!

I'm guest posting over at The Mommyhood Memos today! I shared a little about my process of getting ready to go back to work & how to balance everything! It's working pretty well so far! It took a couple weeks to transition, but I'm finally finding the balance!

Go to The Mommyhood Memos & check it out!!!

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What a doula does

As many of you probably already know, I'm a big believer in educating & supporting pregnant women in their experience. I used a nurse-midwife & because of that, I heard a lot about doulas. I didn't choose to use one this time, but I was informed on what they did and how to find them in my area, but I know that many women don't know what doulas do or what options they have. When Heather Green contacted me about the possibility of doing a guest post about what doulas can offer a new mom, I was happy to have the opportunity to share with all of you what was available from someone much more informed than I!

When I found out I was pregnant, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted a doula. Not only for me, but for my husband and my family. These amazing women are basically your guardian angels who guide you through the most difficult and painful time of your life. What most people don't know is that doulas do almost everything! From massage and hypnotherapy to taking pictures and relaying your birth plan to the doctors and nurses. My doula was a huge part of helping my husband remember his role during my labor and delivery and looking back, I don't know how we would have made it without her! Couples never know what to expect when it comes to giving birth, not to mention, every pregnancy and birth is different, so having someone that you trust who has been through just about every type of birth imaginable is a huge comfort. The peace of mind a doula gives you throughout your pregnancy is priceless. Many doulas are trained in nursing as well as other medical fields, so doulas are great go betweens when talking with nurses and doctors and understanding what is going on. My doula answered my every question (as dumb as they were) and gave me the 411 on everyone from area specialists to lactation consultants. Another plus, doulas are so affordable! We paid $200 for our doula and after my 8 months of endless questions and a 13 hour labor, my doula was still standing and ready for action. If you are considering hiring a doula, do your research, I highly recommend these amazing helpers.

Heather Green is a Christian mom, freelance writer, pet lover and the resident blogger for, a free informational website offering tips
and advice on online nursing schools

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Shopping, Vampires & Books!!

I have spent the majority of my free time this weekend watching The Vampire Diaries on DVD. I love this show so much!!! I also did some birthday shopping! I needed a dress for a wedding I'm going to in November. I got a gift card to Amazon & Target, so I got 7 new books & some new stuff from Target! How cute is this outfit from Target that I'll be wearing to the wedding...

Hopefully to look something like this...


Also this week, I'm going to be teaching Science lesson plans in my class everyday! I'm pretty excited about that. I've got 2 guest posts on my blog coming up. One about doulas & one about baby sign language! I'm also going to catch up on my Mommy's Piggy Tales. I've got Sophomore year, Junior year & Senior year of high school to cover! Then I've got to do one (or a couple in my case) on post-high school. But I will do that in future weeks.

Isis has been reading a lot! She used to seem really uninterested in books, but we kept reading to her every night & whenever we had a chance during the day. Since being with the babysitter everyday, I think she's read to even more & suddenly she loves it! She will laugh at the pictures & try to turn the pages & it's so fun! 

I'll also be reading a lot in the coming weeks. From Amazon I got 2 Sophie Kinsella books (Remember Me & Can You Keep a Secret), One Day, 20 Times a Lady, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Something Blue & The Hunger Games! I also have A Million Miles in a Thousand Years & The Me I Want to Be that I need to read soon! So lots of reading going on in my house!!!

Happy Weekend!!!

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Finding Balance

This is my sweet girl after a long day away from me! Every day it is just my favorite to come home & see her! While I didn't need absence to make me grow fonder of her, it's definitely made those moments we get together that much sweeter! She's growing up so fast! Two weeks ago, she was trying to pull herself up a little, but couldn't move around or crawl at all. Now she can crawl backwards & can get herself where she wants to go in this funny sit, bend & scoot kind of way. I'll have to get a video of that because it's hilarious!

I thought I would feel more like I was missing out on a lot, but surprisingly it doesn't feel like that! I know she is loving her babysitter & I'm enjoying student teaching! I get plenty of time with her & I love the weekends just me & her & Lewis! In my class, I helped a few kids one-on-one with math the other day & then today they were doing their homework & they really got it! Their work & their answers were perfect & I didn't have to help them at all! Seeing the light come on like that is so rewarding & I can't wait for this to be my job!

I think working moms learn to find a balance & I feel like I'm getting there! I've been reading everything in my Google Reader, so maybe Friday I'll have some links to share for weekend reading!!

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Teacher Tote Bag!

My whole life, my mom had this LL Bean tote bag. She used it to carry teaching stuff back & forth from home to school. I've decided that after I get done with student teaching in December, I'm going to ask for a teacher tote bag for Christmas!! I want an extra large one with long handles & monogramming that says Mrs. C...! How cute!!! I feel like it'll really kick off my teaching career!! I just can't decide if I want the traditional one or the customized one! What do you think??

Right now, I'm carrying a super cute tote bag that I got as a bridesmaid gift in the wedding I was in this past weekend. It has my initial on it! I love it, but I could already use a bigger one with as much stuff as I'm carrying back & forth. I have a student teaching notebook & then I carry textbooks with lesson ideas & papers to grade & things like that! I feel like a professional

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pregnant Ladies!!

Isis is excited to have new baby friends!
There are 5 pregnant ladies in my life right now! And one possibly soon-to-be pregnant one! It is crazy!! That doesn't even include my lovely blog friend Amy, who is also due soon! I absolutely loved being pregnant & while I know that not everyone feels the same - the experience can be so different for all of us - I still think it's just a wonderful thing when I find out friends are expecting! Isis will be so lucky to have more little friends in the world! 

I shared my new mom tips last week & then I have 5 blog friends help me out by sharing their new mom tips! I hope that some of you who are or will soon be new moms found some things helpful! Adriel at The Mommyhood Memos is starting her Moms Who Work series this week! I think it'll be really helpful for any of you who are or will be working moms! I've been staying home the last 8 months, but now am a working mom. It is really hard, but has also been so wonderful for me! I have such a passion for teaching & things have really just felt right since I've started back to student teaching. I'm excited about having my own classroom one day!

I am currently catching up on my blog reading & commenting. I also got several fabulous birthday gifts this weekend! I'm currently watching The Vampire Diaries season 1 on DVD & laying under my new quilt! Yay for birthday gifts!! I'm pretty pumped about TV shows starting back this week! Vampire Diaries starts on Thursday!!

How many pregnant ladies are in your life right now?
Any shows you're excited about starting up this fall?

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Friday, September 3, 2010

A letter to my pregnant self

This is a part of a series of guest posts for first time moms that I have put together from a variety of moms with a variety of perspectives. This one is written by Adriel of The Mommyhood Memos. Please stop by her blog to read more of her posts. You can also follow The Mommyhood Memos on Twitter or in her BlogFrog community!

Dear Adriel,

You are becoming a mom. Finally, after 32 long years your dream is coming true! And guess what? It’s going to be even better than you imagined.

I know that right now it seems like pregnancy will never end… but enjoy these last days. Soon—when he’s not all tucked up safely inside of you—you will have to share that precious boy with the world.

Don’t stress about him coming too early or too late. I know you’re concerned about your parents flying in from overseas and being there for Levi’s big debut… But your clever little one will actually be one of the few babies that decide to come on his due date. Isn’t that fun?

{What you couldn’t have known then.}

As his birthday approaches, I want to tell you a few things that I’ve learned since then. I hope you’re taking notes, because this stuff is good.

First of all, I know you’ve heard it a thousand times… but seriously, hear it one more time: life is about to drastically change. Don’t worry, you’ve prepared as best as you possibly can. But just know that you can’t fully prepare for the best parts of life… like this one.

{You were made to give birth.}

The day of Levi’s birth is going to be so incredible. It will be hard work, but you will sail through it. You are much tougher than you sometimes give yourself credit for. In fact, most all women are. You were made to bear children… and soon you will get to see that in reality. You have nothing to fear, nothing to be anxious for.

{There will be a change of plans.}

I’m sorry to break it to you, but Levi’s birth will not be un-medicated, or in the birthing pool, or most of the ways you’re imagining it right now. You know that little inkling that he might be breech and you could possibly end up having a C Section? Well, let’s just call that a mother’s intuition, because… you’re right.

Of course you won’t discover this until twelve hours into labor, but don’t be afraid. You’ll handle it beautifully, with grace and confidence. God knows that you can handle it; He’s promised to never let you go through anything you can’t handle, remember?

{Remember to look beyond yourself.}

In those moments when you’re first told the news, remember to tell your midwife that you love her and you’re not mad at her for misinterpreting Levi’s position correctly in time to move him. She will be feeling incredible disappointment and failure in that moment… and she, too, will need some reassurance and encouragement.

She’ll later tell you how much your sweet attitude and response meant to her. Because as much as everyone tells you this day is about you and your sweet boy, the reality is that many others around you will also be effected by this miracle of life and how you bring your son into the world. Birth is holy, treat is as such.

{Prepare to behold glory.}

The surgery itself will go quickly and smoothly and the doctors and their teams will do just as great as your midwife would have done. It will be different, but no less amazing. They’ll take wonderful care of you.

More importantly, be prepared to meet the most gorgeous being you’ve ever laid eyes on. (And on that note, no need to worry about your baby being cute or not… He is seriously as cute as they come... everyone says so.) You will look at his face and finally know:

This is what glory looks like.

And even though you won’t get to hold him straight away like you had always envisioned, when you do finally hold him any of the disappointment from the change of plans will feel small and petty as it melts away in the wonder of that moment.

{Be anxious about nothing.}

And about breastfeeding... Yes, you’ve heard all the horror stories and you’re prepared for the worst. Your willingness to try as hard as you can and your commitment to persevere through those first few difficult weeks as you try everything in your power to make it work is noble and wonderful.

But guess what?

You are one of the lucky ones who finds breastfeeding a breeze. So let’s just forget those worries now. No need for them. During those first moments of holding your dear son on your chest, he will easily find his way and begin nursing naturally. It will be as if you’ve always been together.

The ease of breastfeeding will be grace to you amidst the mixed emotions that come with your unplanned surgery. Enjoy it and give thanks for it.

{Let yourself be taken care of.}

Now about going home... You’re going to need to stay in the hospital for five days due to a mild infection. As much as this doesn’t sound ideal to you right now, please know that it is. We all know your inclination to try and be superwoman, but this is not the time. You really do need to take it easy and let others take care of you. Being in the hospital will gently force this upon you. This, too, is grace to you. Embrace it and enjoy being served. Receive.

You do need to be warned, however, that in Australia husbands aren’t allowed to stay overnight with you in the hospital. I know this is different to home, and it understandably hard, but you can handle this. During those five long nights you will enjoy some precious moments with your son, just the two of you. Do you best to look on the bright side. Your homecoming day will come soon.

{Don’t stress about your recovery.}

You know what they say about recovering from a C Section, and so it’s no surprise that you will be frustrated by the prospect. But this is another area that’s not as bad as you might have been led to believe. Within a few days of being home you’ll be ready for some short day trips, and by week three you’ll be able to drive again. Yes, there’s some lingering pain and you have to be careful, but you most certainly won’t be an invalid and you won’t even be housebound… so let’s just dispel that fear right now so that you can enjoy the afterglow of your son’s birth.

{Love: madly, deeply.}

Be prepared to love like you’ve never loved before. You are going to have moments where you’re singing to that little boy, or even just looking at him from across the room while someone else takes a turn holding him… and it will feel as if your heart will explode with a deeper love than you’ve ever experienced.

You’ll begin to understand the love of God in a deeper way, you’ll fall in love with your husband in a more profound way, and of course you’ll love your little boy enough to honestly want to give your life for him if need be.

It’s a fierce, strong, solid love that’s decorated with sweetness and laughter and more kisses-on-the-toes than you ever dreamed possible. It's a love that will drive you to miss him when he's tucked up safely sleeping. A love that cause you to gaze at his photo when you can't look at his face before you. A love that feels eternal and timeless and extravagant and pure. A love that begins to define you anew.

{You will step onto a roller coaster.}

But along with those highs there will be things that stretch you at the core of who you are as a woman. Insecurities will be revealed that you don’t even realize are lurking under the surface of your smile. There will be moments when fears that are new and foreign to you will seem to come out of nowhere and corner you in the dark.

You need to know that you can handle all of it. You are as ready as you’ll ever be. With the help of your husband and God and the loved ones around you, you will learn to ask for help, you will learn humility, you will learn patience, and you will learn to trust yourself more than you ever have yet.

{Having a child will grow you.}

As magical as it is, being a new parent is difficult. There will be times when you don’t know what to do and times where you second guess yourself. In those moments you need to try and remember that you’re the mom… you really do know what’s best, even if your emotions are telling you otherwise. You might sometimes feel like you’re grasping at straws, but the good news is that you and your son and your family will all learn and grow together.

I also want to warn you about the times when you’ll want more than anything to trade jobs with your husband. There will be days when you want to call in sick… or at least take a lunch break or sign off at 5:00pm. Those days are especially difficult because the reality is that you simply can’t.

But the sooner you figure out how to get some time for yourself to refresh and recharge, the better you’ll be able to handle those days. You’ll work it out. Just be deliberate. And in the meantime, know that having those days and those thoughts doesn’t make you a bad mom.

{You are the expert.}

And lastly, I can’t emphasize this enough… Every child is different just as every mom is different. Trust yourself. Go with your gut. Listen to your intuition. If something doesn’t work, just try something else. There are no “rules” that you have to go by.

Parenting is—and should be—fluid and organic. One lesson learned will flow into the next. Listen to the advice from others, read the books and websites that you need to, but when it all boils down, remember that you’re the mom and you know what’s best.

{Wash your brain in this truth.}

You’re a great mom. You’re a great mom. You’re a great mom. This needs to be your new mantra.

Make sure that you don’t try to be perfect or you’ll make yourself feel miserable in your failed expectations. But do remember that perfect has nothing to do with great.

Sear it into your mind… carve it into your heart… write in on your hand… post-it note it around the house if you need to: You’re a great mom.

me xx

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Why It's Best to Have No Expectations

This is a part of a series of guest posts for first time moms that I have put together from a variety of moms with a variety of perspectives. This one is written by Liz of A Belle, A Bean & A Chicago Dog. Please stop by her blog to read more of her posts. You can also follow A Belle, A Bean & A Chicago Dog on Facebook & Twitter.

I'm so happy to be here today, taking part in Cameron's New Moms Tips Week!  I'm Liz, a 32 yr old mom of 2 girls, and my tips below are what I learned following the birth of my first daughter, four and a half years ago.

I firmly believe in the power of numbers, and the saying, "It takes a village."  Motherhood is like nothing else imaginable, and surrounding yourself with as many Mommy Friends as possible will be beneficial to you. 

This story is mine, just like yours will be uniquely you.  I hope you can take away a thing or two that will help in your New Mom Journey...


Take a baby care class along with your child birth class - This would be my first tip for first-time moms-to-be.  So much of the emphasis and focus during your pregnancy is on your labor and delivery.  But during labor and delivery, you are surrounded by seasoned, trained professionals that guide you through the process.

A short 2 days later (or 96 hrs if a C-section), you are sent home with this tiny, new creature and left to survive the wilds that is parenthood all.on.your.own

I promise - a baby care class will be worth your while!

Don't assume breastfeeding will be easy - Sure, it's "natural" and what Mother Nature intended, but don't expect that the first (or even twentieth) time you put your newborn to your breast, that your baby will perfectly latch on and happily suck away.

Trust your mama instincts - The moment your child enters the world, you are a mom.  And along with that single, defining moment comes your mama instincts. 

If something doesn't seem right, just ask.  Your intuition is more insightful than you realize.

Don't hesitate to call your pediatrician's office you have questions - I really wasn't aware of all the services offered by most every pediatrician.  During office hours, you can call in and just ask to speak to a nurse who will either answer your questions or let you know if you are better off bringing in your baby to be seen by your doc. 

Also, most ped's offices have after-hours lines.  Typically, you call your ped's office, which is forwarded to an answering service, and you leave a message with them.  A nurse will call you back shortly.

Your baby will be seen by someone from your ped's office while still in the hospital, so your baby is a patient from that point in time.  Even if you haven't been into the office yet to see your ped for a well-baby visit, don't hesitate to call if you have a question!

=The 4 points above all factor in to my first-time mom newborn story=

When I was pregnant with my first child, I desperately wanted to breastfeed. 

Kate was born full-term, weighing in at 6 lbs 9 ozs., and we were discharged without as much as a peep that our teeny baby was jaundiced.

As a breastfeeding mom, you are repeatedly told that it can take 3-5 days for your milk to come in, and that your baby is getting what they need until then.

We got home from the hospital, and after one night and the following morning, Kate had not had a wet diaper.  I did not take a baby care class, but remembered reading somewhere about the maximum number of hours a newborn could safely go without having a wet diaper. 

Kate was absolutely beyond that point.

Craig first called back to the hospital, and the nurse again reiterated that it takes a while for a mom's milk to come in.  But it just didn't sit right with me.

A few hours later, I called the after-hours line at my ped's office, and spoke to a nurse.  I will never forget hearing her words, "Oh honey, you need to get that baby to a hospital!"

At that point, I handed the phone to Craig, tears streaming down my face. 

He finished up with the nurse and we headed to the children's hospital.

Long story, short - Kate was jaundiced and severely dehydrated. 

I won't get into the hell that was our time there...just that we spent 4 days in the kids' hospital before going home for good.

*Also, I want to add that my experience is far from the norm.  Most new parents take their baby home and there are no complications whatsoever.  Just make sure to ask questions and go with your gut if you feel uneasy. 

"Baby Blues" are very real, and in my case, so is P.P.D. - After you deliver your baby, your hormones level drop quickly and drastically, thus the source of the Baby Blues.  I had read all about the Baby Blues, what the symptoms were, and how they can last for 3 weeks after delivery. 

What I don't remember is exactly when I told Craig that I was concerned it was more than just the Baby Blues, but it turned out that I was suffering from Post-Partum Depression. 

Until I was diagnosed with PPD and began telling others about it, I was unaware with how - dare I say - "common" it is.  I think too many people still feel like it isn't a topic that is OK to talk about.  However, I found that someone in every circle of my life either experienced it themselves or had a close friend or family member who did. 

When I started Zoloft, I was still breastfeeding (although I had to supplement, too, due to her jaundice and dehydration).  I was hellbent on nursing my baby.  I was also pumping after each feeding in order to increase my milk supply.

Unfortunately, it wasn't enough.

Between nursing, followed by pumping and adding in my anxiety caused by the PPD, I wasn't eating or drinking.  I dropped all my baby weight in 2 weeks, and my milk dried up.

I had obviously been supplementing with formula, but I still had been hoping to eventually breastfeed exclusively.  However, it just wasn't going to happen for me.

There is a lot of emphasis placed on breastfeeding today.  And while I do believe it is natural and has more benefits than even the top formula, it simply is NOT for everybody.  Further, women who choose to move to formula should not feel guilty about it. 

Another point to consider would be that my generation is primarily formula fed because breastfeeding wasn't "in vogue" in the 70's.  And my mom, who is a child of the 50's, has joked with me, "God only KNOWS what was in OUR formula back then!"

The fact of the matter is this: Babies have been raised on formula for GENERATIONS, and have thrived and grown into healthy, intelligent, productive adults.  So if breastfeeding isn't for you, don't beat yourself up!  Happy moms make for happy babies!

I guess if I had to sum it up in 1 overall tip it would be: DON'T have any expectations.  There is no way to know what life's going to be like once that tiny human is placed in your arms, so don't put more pressure on yourself by thinking things have to be a certain way.  Just take it day by day, and do what feels right.

Best of luck on your new journey called mommyhood!

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