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Friday, March 3, 2017

The Sky Life

Holy mackerel, less than a month has passed since I last wrote! Things must be getting better over here. Not that they were ever rotten, but I'm finally out of the newborn haze.

But really, how do people do this with a toddler or two or three toddlers? How do you breastfeed and simultaneously make sure your other kids don't accidentally do something suicidal? I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, or I'll wait until Skylar is an independent 8-year-old before having another. ;)

I think back to my pre-Skylar mind and remember thinking everything was going to be "routine" and "normal" by our scheduled trip to San Antonio in February. I know a lot of people want to be their pre-baby selves at times during mom-hood, but man, I kind of think my pre-baby self was a self-righteous idiot. I'm not sure if there was any sort of routine worked out by the time we flew to SA last month! But events are becoming slightly more predictable in these unchartered waters...

A few reportables from Skylar's fourth month of life:

- Skylar laughed! It was brief but it was a telltale sign of a belly laugh in our near future. She's ticklish, but is not nearly as amused as I am with the "tickle monster". She reacts the first time, then looks at me like, "Mom, you're killing a bad way" for the next five minutes.

- Neck control. I never thought I'd be so pumped about my baby's strong neck, but it makes her so much more fun. She can go on airplane rides on my legs, sit in the eye-sore that is the Fisher Price Jumperoo (it's OK that it's not aesthetically pleasing since it can basically babysit my child), and actually see things other than her blanket during tummy time.
You can't see the full breadth of its vibrant ugliness in this photo--- but baby toys weren't meant to beautify your house, just pacify your life. 

- Getting her first cold. And it sucked harder than the booger sucker I used to help clear her congestion (and that sucked hard). She went from 3 nights in the crib with a 6-hour stretch to hourly coughing fits at my bedside in the Rock n Play. A sad regression, but the most terrifying part is watching your baby struggle to breathe. :( No one so new should have to experience phlegm. It took two weeks to clear, but she's now snot-free. Hallelujah!

Matt might kill me for posting this, but it was too Norman Rockwell-esque to not share!

- SLEEP. Beautiful sleep. She's been in the crib for a week and every night gets better. We've used the Baby Sleep Solution book (shoutout to Brandy and Phil Maben for the wondrous recommendation) to teach her how to self-soothe and it's been magic. We went from two nights of TONS of crying- interspersed with lots of mom and dad soothing crib-side - to nights of Skylar finding her hand to suck on instantly and falling asleep within five minutes. Voodoo, I know. We haven't followed the book's strict schedule by day because I feel like I need to feed Skylar more than every four hours to keep my supply up. That said, we do follow a sleep-feed-play schedule throughout the day. She takes 3-4 naps and is a MUCH happier girl because of the extra zzzs. Oh, and her mom is a much happier girl too.

- Merlin's Magic Sleep Suit. I'm really not sure which was more impactful, this marshmallow suit or the BSS book...I'm just going to say they've been a dreamy (pun-intended) combination. The sleep suit was designed to muffle young babies' Morrow (or startle) reflex, which often jolts them awake. It also lets them feel cozy, like they're still in a loving embrace (but they've actually been abandoned in a baby cage by the big human cradles they're used to...kidding, but cribs really are roofless cages, right?). Looking at Skylar, in her stay-puffed suit, in the monitor, never ceases to make me laugh out loud.

See? It's ridiculous. But magical.
Don't judge me for the make-shift nest below her. Not pediatrician-approved, I know. 


- Breastfeeding. Skylar's tongue tie has got me paranoid for life in this realm, I'm afraid. She wasn't gaining well in the beginning and was always hungry. I worked really hard to recover my milk supply and am still always nervous about it. She's still not a fat baby, so the concern that's heard around mom world "is she getting enough?!" is always resounding in my head. It's just weird to me that she's not chubby. MG and I both had way more thigh folds as babies.

And pumping is a whole other un-fun side of breastfeeding that nobody tells you about. I'm udderly (get it...) impressed by moms who exclusively pump. It's quite possibly one of my top three least favorite activities in life. I do it daily to keep my milk supply in check, but geez, I don't enjoy any sucky minute of it (last pun, I swear).

Synopsis: the responsibility of sustaining a life with a product of your own body is stressful. I totally understand why people switch to formula shame in it. I know plenty of hearty, healthy formula-fed babies. There are other struggles, but BFing is the highest on my list.

Ultimately, life with a baby is awesome. I stare at Skylar for irrational amounts of time and love attempting to see the world through her eyes-- seeing trees for the first time on our walks and trying to figure out what these enormous furry creatures are hovering around her. There are plenty of times I just want to go take an hour-long shower, but there's also every morning -- she smiles when she sees me for the first time and I have complete amnesia about whatever sleep loss she contributed to overnight. I just think "oh my gosh, it's been 12 hours since I last saw you in daylight! You're more beautiful than I remembered!".

Dear God, thank you for this incredible ability to make a baby and raise a baby! I'm loving the daily adventure.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Skylar Takes to the Skies, 3 Month Update

Amazing how slowly days seem to go with a new baby, yet how quickly they go when looking at my blog. I guess this blogging biz will remain just a monthly outlet until my Skylar becomes more predictable. There's only so much I can spit out during her 10-minute to 3-hour-long naps. :)

What was reportable about month three? Well, after the tongue tie fiasco (which isn't as rare as I had thought! Sky's dentist said 40 percent of babies have some degree of tongue tie), things got scary again. I thought her tie was reattaching, but I guess it was just scar tissue that needed loosening. Paranoid New Mom started to settle down as Skylar's weight steadily climbed.

Life is really an ebb and flow of paranoia and contentment. "Oh, she's smiling so much today-- such a happy, healthy girl!" or "Shoot, she's fussy after feeding...she's starving, her tongue is pinned again, we have the most difficult child in the universe!"

I have dreams about Skylar not gaining any weight. In one such dream, I was surrounded by my friends with babies. All of their babies were chunky and laughing and peaceful. They were all able to sit, independently, in adult chairs. I looked over at sweet 6-lb., fussy Skylar in a carseat and started crying. No, Skylar is NOT 6 lbs. in real life. She's climbed passed 13 lbs! She's far from a chunk, but she's (hands down) the most active baby I've ever beheld. I'm convinced she could pump her legs for 20 hours of each day. Every day is Leg Day for my bulging-quaded viking girl.

Skylar and I embarked on our incredible journey to San Antonio on Sunday, January 29. Matt was in South Dakota for a clinic, so I was on my own with Sky. I packed for a ridiculous amount of time, fearful I'd forget something integral to Skylar's survival. Really, I'm the only being integral for Sky's survival at this point (no pressure, breastfeeding moms!). I guess diapers are sort of important, but those are just a formality. ;) Don't worry, I didn't travel with a bare-butted baby. After loading up my Jeep and feeding my gal, we were off.

Faking confidence at the PHX airport.

I had the day mapped out in my head as I would a 100 breaststroke at a big meet. This is what I need to pack, this is what I'll do to prepare in the ready room (the airport) and this is how I'll efficiently move through my race (the flights). I was stressed out, but faked confidence...

I took my seat beside a man who immediately said, "I have three kids. You're fine!" He read me like a book. We chatted about his kids and he did a good job ignoring screaming Skylar when she was having trouble locating her fountain of milk beneath a nursing cover.

Timeout: Let's talk about nursing covers. I hate them. I don't want to get dirty looks for "freeing the nipple" but I know my daughter is not a fan of pecking around in darkness. Matt has told me he'd prefer I not be the one to attempt to un-sexualize breasts. :) But I totally understand the nursing mother's advocacy for a society less shocked by breastfeeding. It's how we're designed! I'm nourishing a human being and I'd prefer to not do it blindly. Rant over.

So Skylar screamed for a full 30 seconds of our 5-hour travel day. The guy behind me on the second flight (PHX to SA) got up after we landed and looked at me shocked, "Whoa, I had no idea you had a little one there. Impressive!" I was pretty impressed too! Helps to have two baby pacifiers as part of my anatomy. ;)

The best welcome to Tejas from the Mimster.

Major mom lessons learned this month: 

- A healthy baby does not necessarily mean a fat baby. My lactation consultant reassured me several times, "Annie, she's perfect! She's just growing at her own pace." She doesn't need to be in the 99th percentile in every category to be perfectly healthy.

- Colds suck for adults, but they're way worse when you have one and are empathizing with your helpless baby with a cold. Skylar gave us quite a scare with her 2 a.m. hacking fits. The poor babe is on the mend, but I wish I could use our Nose Frida to suck every bit of her sickness away.

- Nursing in public only sucks (pun intended) when your baby is frantic. Otherwise, nursing Skylar on an airplane was no big spectacle.

- I need someone to teach me how to not engage every neck, back, arm muscle while nursing. I used to swim tense; used way too many muscle groups at once. Now I nurse tense. I guess it's a workout? Static baby hold? And yes, I do laid back nursing when possible...but how about on a plane? And no, I'm not willing to carry a pillow with me.

- My sleep expectations are forever changed. We were a 9 to 10 hour per night household. Now I wear an activity tracking watch that also monitors sleep's better if I just don't check it in the mornings.

- Enduring baby's cries doesn't get easier. It gets harder. Every week, a new layer of Skylar's personality is revealed. Her crying hurts me more as she grows out of her fourth trimester/still-very- much-a-fetus stage. I planned on being that sleep training mom who had no problem with the CIO method...I'm not that mom. When she starts sweating from crying I just want reassure the heck out of her. I'll never leave you, little love!

- Naps are integral. I went to a BF support group where one over-tired new mommy said, "Aren't newborns supposed to sleep during the day? Is it OK that mine doesn't? I'm just...really tired." The LCs present said, "Some babies don't. They're their own people and that's OK." I wanted to whisper in the new mom's ear, "You're going to go nuts if baby never naps..." Skylar refused to nap when she was a starving, tongue-tied girl and I broke down once every few days.

I'll let Skylar fuss a little now before napping. I'm trying to make it so she's not up for more than an hour or two at a time after feedings. But we have to work for her naps. She's not one of those will-doze-when-tired babes. She likes a vigorous bounce and will fight her heavy eyelids constantly to make sure mom and dad are still close-by. If given a choice, she wouldn't nap. And we wouldn't get nearly as many Sky smiles. Everyone has their opinion on this, but I know my girl needs to nap. She doesn't want to, she needs to. And mommy needs her to. I'm a better mom when she naps.

Wow, this has totally turned into a mommy blog. Funny how things evolve. I think I started this while working at Anthropologie-- I was going to try to be a fashion blogger. Now that's funny. You should see my style now-- today I'm sporting fleece-lined socks, men's sweat pants, a nursing tank (which I also wore yesterday) and, of course, no makeup. I did, however, brush my teeth and put deodorant on. I'd post a pic, but I'm sure your imaginations will paint a prettier picture.

Peace out, friends who read my mom blog. xo

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Two Months of Humbling Parenthood

On January 9, Skylar turned two months old. I laid her down on the faux sheepskin rug in the nursery (that room we've yet to use for sleepy time..) to snap that perfect monthly photo. As soon as she parted ways from my chest, her face crinkled up into that devastatingly-cute cry face. The pouty lip slays me and Matt. We try really hard not to laugh at her sweet distress, but it's such a masterpiece of a face. Maybe she'll be an ugly crier in time, but right now she's downright irresistible when that pouty lip springs forth.

Don't worry...I wasn't spanking. Just letting her relieve some gas in a comfortable position.

So...the photo shoot was a mega fail. I should probably post those photos just to show a more realistic photo of what my child is like. :) But nay, I deleted them on the spot. I did eventually catch a radiant smile later in the day. But gosh darn it, there's no forcing my sassy gal to smile. She'll do it when she well pleases. Definitely not on cue for a photo shoot.

Every day with this child is an education. A truly humbling education. I read at least five parenting books -- various ways to structure the day, soothe your child, stimulate them -- and I won't say they were a waste of time, but reading so many just confused me. Now I have a guilt complex about scheduling or on-demand feedings! I can't win!

There are so many conflicting views out there. I told my mom I didn't know how parenting worked before Google, but now I sometimes wish I couldn't Google everything. Every kid is different. Everyone has an opinion of what's best. My sister-in-law said she finally felt like a confident mother when she stopped taking advice. Instincts are a powerful thing. I'm far from figuring out Skylar's language, but I learn something new from her every day.

I hired a lactation consultant when Skylar was six weeks old. Sibylle (the LC) came to the house and watched me nurse. I thought calling an LC was unnecessary, but I'd do it just to get affirmation that all was well.

I did have an inkling that something was up after reading about the magical "milk drunk" state that Skylar never seemed to experience. Moments of wakeful calmness were nonexistent in her first weeks. She was on a fuss-eat-fuss cycle. We would do whatever we could to lull her to sleep and get some peace. Sibylle checked her mouth after I'd nursed Skylar on one side and said, "Wow, your girl is really tongue-tied." I couldn't believe I'd never noticed how pinned the tip of her tongue was to the floor of her mouth. I also couldn't believe no doctors at the hospital or at our pediatric follow-ups had checked for it.

On December 22, Skylar got a laser frenectomy-- a procedure that freed up her tongue. The dentist who did the procedure said her tongue tie, the most severe type, would have led to speech and dental issues. And, had we not discovered it soon, I'm sure my milk supply would have dried up. The tongue is what helps stimulate production and Skylar's tongue was, quite literally, tied down. She was basically nursing with her lips and her gums. Yeah, ouch.

We are on week four of oral stretches to be sure her mouth doesn't heal up. Our mouths heal up rapidly, and we definitely didn't want Skylar's tongue to heal pinned down again. So these stretches are horrible. We wipe our fingers under her tongue and lift to be sure her frenulum (webbing under the tongue) isn't reattaching. As you can imagine, Skylar loathes these stretches. We're tapering off now, but we initially couldn't let six hours pass between stretches. Yeah, so that 3 a.m. stretch kind of sucked! So much for sleeping through night nursing sessions! She was roused to shrieks. But thank heavens, that phase is over. Now she's learning how to use her freed up tongue. She's still in the habit of chomping, rather than sucking, so the nursing game is a challenge. I'm constantly paranoid that she's not getting enough, but I hear that's a common mama syndrome. I am reassured when she takes a meal break to smile or sports a milk drunk face for a few minutes post-feeding.

But being content and calm just isn't my girl's thing. She much prefers to move every limb at once and have constant stimulation. She despises napping and will fight her heavy eyelids all day if we let her. One place she can't resist sleep is on our chests. She loves being worn or held. It's tough to kick her off my chest and put her in the bassinet after some feedings, but I also don't want her to only know how to sleep when nested on another human!

So, perhaps I'm making my child sound like a demon....she's not a demon. But she is a beautiful handful. Oh expectation versus reality.

I thought newborns slept all the time. Not mine!

I thought my child would be sleeping 8+ hours/night by now...if I had followed the feed-wake-sleep schedule I planned to. After discovering baby girl was starving, I started feeding her whenever she wanted and threw schedules to the wind. Her record is a 5-hour chunk of sleep at night. I'm perfectly pleased with two 4-hour naps though.

I thought my baby wouldn't change my life so dramatically. I was going to be the mom who hit the gym right away, got abs back instantly and needed the best jogging stroller because I'd be running with little miss by week two. Hah! What a joke! I'm actually mad at my pre-baby self for thinking motherhood was so easy. I'm sorry, mothers of the world, for assuming I could master life's most demanding gig in two weeks.

I thought I'd be a minimalist. No TV screens, no mobiles, no swing. Oh, you should see the nursery now! After fighting the urge to buy a swing -- the ultimate sleep crutch -- for 8 weeks, I bit the bullet and it tastes so good! Skylar is sound asleep in the swaying beauty right now.

Who knows. Maybe I'll have her on a more structured schedule in a few months, but right now, I'm doing whatever it takes! I have swallowed my pride and accepted that I was ill-prepared, as most (if not all) first time parents are. Matt and I have the added disadvantage of being the youngest children in our respective families. I never had to take care of anyone growing up! Pretty sure I couldn't even meet the needs of my American Girl doll. Poor Kirsten.

Thankfully, I have a mom who loved and nurtured her children so well. Thank the Lord for her example. That's really my motherhood manual. Unfortunately, I don't remember the first few years of my life, so I'll have to follow my instincts and her advice until my memory starts serving me...

I think calling that lactation consultant was the first time I followed my instincts and it reassured me that I'm not totally free-falling through this. As a super mom to four children under the age of 5 (Susana Starbuck!!!) says, "God gives you the grace you need." Susana has a boatload more grace than I do! But God has given me the grace I need to love and nurture my active girl. And He's a solid source, so I'll trust that supply....and pray that He can help me trust my milk supply. :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Month into Mommyhood

Alright, let's see how long Skylar's nap lasts...I'm on the clock! I've got heavy rain white noise YouTubed right now, so hopefully that's just what Sky needs for some solid sleep.

Speaking of solid sleep-- this girl (me) got 7 hours basically straight last night! New Father of the Year, Matt Grevers, took the night shift. I slept in the guest room. MG texted me at 3:15 a.m. to let me know when she was last fed, then again at 3:44 a.m. saying, "you missed her first projectile spit up." haha. I migrated to the bedroom at 6 a.m. As I crawled quietly into our bed Matt mumbled, "Careful, there's spit up over there." Eh, not enough for this mama to care.

I got up to feed Sky 45 minutes later and saw everything she had gone to bed wearing strewn on the floor. I pieced together the story of the night based upon the trail of clothes. Skylar must have spit up on her SwaddleMe wrap, then peed on her onesie while sleepy Daddy changed her at 3 a.m. The other two SwaddleMe wraps we own were dirty. I had thrown them in the hamper because our forever-puppy (but almost 3-yr-old) dog Gretel was snuggling with/chewing on them yesterday. They were in the dirty hamper with other christened-by-pee onesies and wet changing mats. But this morning, Skylar was snuggly wrapped in one of them. :D It still had a few Gretel hairs in it, but it probably just smells like loving dog sister to Skylar. So I'll go ahead and attribute my pristine newborn's current deep sleep to the Gretel saliva and hair swaddling her.

I'm a month into this mom thing and I'm not really sure what I've done right/wrong, how much I accomplish each day, but I do think our child is awesome. Really, I'm in awe of her every feature, function and sound. I read an article about maternity leave the other day and was firmly nodding along with some of the points made. One- don't have visitors...or if you do, make sure you are OK with them seeing you/your house at its worst. There's something in me that feels forced to play hostess, even when tending to a new human. Everyone says, "don't clean, don't cook, just hold your baby and lower your expectations." But that's not in my makeup (makeup: that stuff I no longer wear). If people come into my house, I don't want them placing their hand on a table and seeing their handprint in the layer of dust. We live in the desert and have a doggie door, therefore there is always a layer of dust. Pre-baby, I did a quick once over the house with a rag before people came over. With baby, I tried to do the same...pretend like the house was "in order" and somehow things were unchanged, but that is just a lie!

Everything has changed. No amount of reading I did before Skylar prepared me for the emotions newborn screams would rouse, the constant paranoia felt when baby does finally go to sleep (is she breathing?!), the feeling of incarceration of new mommyhood (gotta be available every 1-3 hours to feed the little piggy!), and so much more. The author of this aforementioned article talked about her naive view of maternity leave pre-baby. Constant snuggle time with large blocks of time in which baby sleeps peacefully. That's precisely what I thought the first month would be. Sure, there's snuggle time, but often it's as you have your wee one straight-jacketed in a swaddle and attempting to calm her down from a demon within. That demon is sometimes obvious- a dirty diaper, a hunger pang, an overtired babe - but often times it's unknown. A total mystery. And that's when parents go crazy. I now attribute 90 percent of Skylar's fussiness to gas. The poor girl farts as loud as a human 20 times her size. It can't be pleasant to house all that air in a tummy the size of an apricot.

Oh, she woke up...I shall return.

So as everyone says, there's no preparing for how hard this parenting thing is. There's also no way to prepare for the excitement I feel in the morning when I see her after a few hours of sleep. I swear every morning she gets prettier, her eyes grow wider, and she "smiles" more (or has more poops?).  I love my morning studies of Skylar. We learn a new cue of hers each day-- God's way of giving us a confidence bolster. A little "You kind of know what you're doing"...for a few minutes out of each 24-hour challenge. My mom told me shortly after Skylar's birth, "Now you know how much I love you." She was right at the moment...but with each day I love Skylar I can only imagine the depths of that love after 29 years of life!

No, I don't have much time to sit down and tackle a project right now. But I'm coming to realize Skylar is my project. She will be my life's work and no piece of writing is ever going to outweigh the importance of loving her and striving to meet her needs. Funny how God subtly prepares us for this child-rearing business. As a child, you don't really notice babies. As a teenager, I didn't know what to make of newborns. They looked all too fragile and needy for me to handle. In my 20s, I watched my brothers and sisters-in-law chase their kids around. I thought, "man, that looks exhausting." In the last two years, I've been transfixed by babies. Their features, their smell, their noises. Matt and I started looking at young parents and envying them (hah!).

Now we are those young parents. We walked around a crowded street fair on Saturday and I was wearing Skylar. She slept the whole time, like a perfect baby (a facade!). I heard seasoned parents and young people "ready" to become parents oooo and ahhh over tiny Skylar. The older parents looked at us with empathy, but also with a hint of jealousy. A look that served as a reminder that this phase is transient and sweet. Skylar's complete dependence will not last. "This too shall pass" is the new parent chant, but surely we'll miss her newborn perfume, her naps on our chests and feeling accomplished as we get to know more and more about our little human.

I'm standing and swaying as I wear Skylar now. I'm far from an old, wise mommy, but I already feel transformed. I don't go to the gym everyday (or ever) and I don't care. My little girl tones my arms each day as I lift her to my boob, bounce her as I walk and press her to my chest. The only reason I care about my body right now is because it's the vessel that is feeding my daughter. Vanity has been thrown to the wind and thank God for that! If I donned makeup, worked out six days a week and actually cared to change out of sweats, I'd be missing out on some of the most fleeting moments of my daughter's life. This mom thing is hard, but I can't think of a better occupation.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Skylar's Birth Story

It's been exactly 65 hours since the most excruciating pain of my life; the most joyful day of my life. On Wednesday, November 9 I woke up with period-like cramps. Nothing severe, but something new for pregnancy.

I walked three miles with a friend and her sweet one-month-old baby boy. The cramps persisted, but weren't crippling. I went about my daily editing and planned on coaching at 5 p.m., but as the afternoon wore on, the cramping intensified. I wanted to make dang sure this was no false alarm. Matt and I were so bummed to have been sent home from the hospital the week prior, I was going to read up and be sure what I was feeling was true labor. Everyone's descriptions of true labor contractions differ, but many described them as super intense period cramps. Matt casually timed them when he got home from practice. He put on some Bob Ross for me (Yes, the "happy trees" painter- our instant sleeper soundtrack). I tried to nap in the slight case that I really was in labor. MG cooked up mac 'n cheese and we watched "Poldark" together. I folded laundry and had to stop at some points because my contractions were getting so intense. We packed our bags, thinking if the cramping heightened after going to bed, we'd be ready to jet to the hospital. Whelp, we never made it to bed. I couldn't walk or talk as I finished packing my bag. MG said "I think we should go". I concurred.

We walked up to the hospital around 9 p.m. I had to take breaks whenever a contraction hit. I could hardly sign my name as we checked in. In the eval room, a sweet nurse checked my pelvis and instantly said, "well, your cervix is paper thin. It just went from 1 to 5're going to have this baby tonight!" Matt and I celebrated with a smile and a kiss and got ready to make our way to a delivery room. I had to pause and "hold up the wall" (as nurses say) during a contraction en route to room 7. The scenario was looking perfect. We got the penthouse room with a mountain view (8th floor) and my doctor happened to be the resident doctor that night! Thank you, God! Nurse Dona hooked me up to an IV then with my next contraction, my water broke. 'Twas an odd, messy gush. I rolled over helplessly as the nurse and Matt changed the sheets under me.

Then the nurse went to check my pelvis. It was 9:45 p.m. She looked a little startled and said, "You are 9 cm...well, actually, you're 10..." She walkee'd the doctors lounge, attempting to stay calm, saying "Room 7 is complete" (meaning fully dilated). At this point, contractions were hurting like hell. I was squirming in pain, gripping the railings on the sides of the hospital bed.  I looked longingly at the door, waiting for the anesthesiologist to walk through like a hero ready to administer my epidural.

It wasn't happening. Baby was coming. Drugs were not.

I took a moment to digest the truth that I was not going to get to numb any of this pain and our baby was going to be welcomed into the world soon and au naturale. "She's an inch from my finger" the nurse had said. Matt provided some counter-pressure to my lower back to try to take my mind off the gut-wrenching tightening throughout my abdomen. I tried to slow my breathing...though I really had done no prep for a natural labor. I was full-on primal moaning before I knew it. I was looking at the door as the anesthesiologist walked in. He soon realized he was too late. He came over and introduced himself and apologized. I apparently smiled and said, "maybe next time..." though I don't recall this kindness. My thoughts were exclaiming other sentiments...

Everyone went to work. Nurses and resident doctors tried to calm me, but I was shaking violently with every contraction. I basically went into shock. Like if you've ever been in a car accident and had the involuntary tremors for hours afterward...that type of shock. I squeezed Matt's hand as he held up my right thigh. The doctor instructed me on how to push...her instructions were too long. I zoned out. I grunted. I dropped an 'F' bomb or three. I pushed incorrectly about three times, closing my eyes as I wondered at the gravity of the pressure and the pain down there. Oh the pain. On the fourth push the doctor said, "Annie, when you make a noise you take power from the push. Hold your breath." I held my breath. This is where some swimming hypoxic work came in. "Push again! Now!" I wasn't getting enough oxygen. I was going to pass out. So this is why people get drugs, I thought. I still wanted drugs. No time for bitterness...

I survived the push, then the resident doctor said, "Annie, I can see her head. She's coming on this next push." It was the rally cry I needed. Let's do this. I pushed with every muscle fiber in my body and felt the head, shoulder, shoulder and legs emerge. It was the strangest, most satisfying release of my life. They lifted baby Skylar instantly to my chest. She gave us reassuring screams right away. She was perfect! Matt looked relieved and so incredibly proud. She was finally here!!! The time was 10:16 p.m. Skylar sprinted into the world. And apparently the sweet child preferred that mama feel every ounce of her 8 lb. 12 oz. self come out.

They measured her and we laughed as the nurse complained about her long feet not fitting on the printing pad. haha. She was literally "off the charts" as Matt punnily put it. 21.5 inches long. Our girl was big, but not as weighty as her parents at birth! I swore as I was pushing that I'd never forget the pain I was feeling in that moment...but as all mothers will say, the memory of that otherworldly pain fades fast.

The last two days have been a cocktail of bliss and a new form of exhaustion. I wouldn't want it any other way. Matt and I can't stop praising God for this miracle of a perfect little human. We feel so honored to get to play mom and dad to this gorgeous creation! But next time, if time allows, I'll take that epidural.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Baby Watch 2016

It's officially BABY WATCH time in the Grevers household! It's very difficult for me to focus on anything but signs of labor...but I need to because time is going by I feel like Halloween was a month ago, but it was a week ago. Wahhh. Speaking of Halloween, Matt and I take it seriously. We were planning on getting dressed up while a bunch of Wildcat alums were in town for Homecoming last weekend, but this rotund lady was ready for bed at 8 dressing up only happened in the intimate setting of our home. I hope our neighborhood trick-or-treaters enjoyed our efforts.

I actually wore my Smee costume to swim practice, so I had an audience of Ford cohorts and swimmers. When I got home from practice at 6:30, I walked in the house to a disheveled Captain Hook standing in the kitchen. I started cracking up at my husband, wearing burgundy tights, a women's jacket I bedazzled and a wig of black locks. He looked at me like a frustrated little boy, "I'm hot and uncomfortable...the mustache doesn't stick and the hat is way too small." I continued to laugh and tried to help with the faulty accessories. We self-timed a few photos in between doorbell rings. I had to laugh when Matt answered the door and was greeted by shrieks from children who were just terrified by his size. I'm sure the Captain Hook get-up was shocking to some, but as the night wore on, most of the costume was shed, so the kids were just gasping at sheer Matt mass filling the door frame. haha.

Here's one of our little family:
Gretel and Nala were cooperative mermaids. 
So this was one week ago. Since then, we've been to the hospital twice-- one trip planned, one not. Last Wendesday night (Nov. 2), the Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years. During the game, I was having regular contractions...regular enough that MG got out his stopwatch and started timing them. Every 10 minutes...pretty much like clockwork. I was on high alert all night, thinking labor was inevitable. In the morning, we timed them again. Seven minutes apart, five minutes, back up to six. They weren't every five minutes on the dot, but they were pretty dang consistent. After tracking what we thought was 14 hours of "early labor" MG and I grabbed our hospital bags and headed out, telling the doodles they just might have a baby sister the next time they greeted us.

In the evaluation room, I had not one but two pelvic exams...the first two of my pregnancy. And boy, they get up in there. One doc said maybe 1 cm. dilated, the other said either closed or .5 cm. Wohmmmwohmp. I instantly got impatient to get out of there. Alright, we're the over-excited first time parents...let us go and pretend we know what labor actually feels like. 

They kept us for an hour, tracking baby's heartbeat and my contractions. I was still having them every four to six, that's when you're supposed to come in, right?! They gave me a bottle of water and said "You should just drink more water." I was insulted. If only they knew what a hyper-hydrator I am! 

We headed home a bit disappointed, but not regretful for going in. I've been sleeping better now that I know this consistent abdominal tightening isn't the real deal. I just hope my water breaks or I have excruciating back pain to let me know when I'm actually in labor....

On a different note-- one pleasant surprise throughout pregnancy has been my body's ability to continue to workout. My doc said to keep my heart rate < or = 160. Sure, it gets up there pretty easily these days, but I'm far from a life of bedrest. I always assumed once you get to 37+ weeks pregnant you just waddle around holding your back in pain. I did decide to stop going in to use the Arizona Athletics weight room this week. The strength coaches look at me nervously every time they see me doing squats or cardio. One of them has made a habit out of yelling, "Chandler, you better not have that baby in here!" for the past four months. A little premature, I'd say. 

So, instead of going into the weight room, MG and I took a trip to Walmart and bought a cheap set of free weights. I did my first home workout today and felt like I was able to do quite a bit in my mini-home gym. Shameless home gym photo coming right up....those dumbbells look heavier than they are...they're plastic, so...

So new pregnant mommies-to-be, be encouraged! You are not only allowed to sweat whilst pregnant, you're encouraged to. You can consider it training for Labor day. Although I've really considered it training for the many post-labor days when I won't be able to workout due to a sore down yonder and learning how to take care of a brand new human. Perhaps I'll post another selfie one month post-baby and that bicep won't be as perky. But on the other hand, mama biceps kind of come with the motherhood territory right? Pretty much perpetually curling a baby. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

My Comments On Trump's Comments On Women

Like many of you, I'm perplexed at how we ended up here-- with two presidential candidates that don't seem to represent the majority of all. I don't like that these are my choices, and to be perfectly honest, I have no clue what I'm going to do on election day. 

But I want to write about an issue that's ruffled many of our feathers this past week-- an issue that's important -- not just to bold feminists, but to every man, woman and child on this planet. I listened to the full 2005 "hot mic" recording between Trump and Billy Bush. I also read the transcripts from Trump's appearances on the (repugnant) Howard Stern Show. 

I started to brush off his comments, because I've heard them before...

Athletes hang out with other athletes in college. I've overheard conversations so saturated in disrespect that they made me cringe and writhe in place, but I shook them off. It was "bro talk"-- usually a conversation I wasn't meant to hear.

Now let me defend the guys-- I've heard girls say nasty things too. Not necessarily objectifying men with their words, but perpetuating the objectification of women with their comments about other girls. 

As much as I hated listening to the lustful, arrogant words of Trump and Bush from 2005, I'm glad we're all being forced to hear this "locker room talk". I know and love a lot of people who, I'm sure, have let similar words slip from their mouths. I was a part of a college swim team made up of men and, let's not give us too much credit-- boys and girls.

I never heard the swim boys' locker room talk, and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have wanted to. As much as I believe many of my teammates (who became like brothers) had excellent role models growing up, there are urges/pressures for boys recently "freed" into collegiate life. A life of excess they never were allowed under mom and dad's roof is suddenly at their feet. They can drink as much as they want, forget what happened, then listen to their friend's recount their drunken adventures, which often include pursuing attractive collegiate girls. 

We women possess some naturally feminine qualities which lead to us being called "pretty" or "beautiful". I think most of us like these feminine qualities, hence why we accentuate them with make up. I  have no qualms with either of those words being used to describe me, as long as I'm not defined by them. I do however, have qualms with certain words also used to describe females.

If someone were to insert the word "beautiful" in front of these words: pussy, tits, rack...(you get the picture), I might punch them in the face. The fact that our bodies are being spoken about in circles of men, and referring to it as "locker room talk" is supposed to be a good excuse, is appalling. 

Have you ever overheard someone critically talking about a person you are not well-acquainted with? Typically whatever criticism I hear will be the first thing that pops out at me the next time I see that person. 

Is that fair?! Heck no. I have not formed an opinion of this person on my own-- someone's random critique of them is unfairly what I see/think of them. 

I can only imagine how this works with locker room talk. To simplify let's use the names Joe and Jane. Joe is in the locker room and hears his teammates/friends talking about the size of Jane's boobs. They go into intimate detail and Joe has never met Jane. The next weekend, Joe attends a party and is introduced to Jane. What do you think his first thoughts are of Jane? Boobs. And he knows exactly what they look like and which of his teammates have seen them. That makes me want to puke. This is not reserved to the male locker room. My first impressions of many individuals were tainted due to things I heard in the female locker room. 

Yes, this is an issue of respect but it's mainly an issue of self control. Our tongues are to be tamed. Trump is learning this the hard way. At least in 2005, his ego was swollen enough to make him think speaking these lewd thoughts aloud was OK. I have no doubt that pride and lack of self control have led many-a-person in his position to think themselves worthy/deserving of acting on these thoughts. Ew. 

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 
James 3:9-10

Our thoughts become our words become our actions. This is why faith must rule in my life. My thoughts are not innately good. If I were to always "speak my mind" I guarantee many things that would flow forth would be detestable. Some of the most convicting scriptures in the Bible revolve around being cautious of what you allow to enter your mind. 

You choose what you watch. 
You choose who you hang out with. 
You choose whether to engage in disgusting dialogue or bring it to a halt. 
You choose what you listen to (don't choose freaking shock jocks like Howard Stern). 

If you're at all like me, you know when you let something bad in. After watching a particularly disturbing or vulgar show, I have nightmares. It's almost a guarantee. I'm literally tormented by what I voluntarily allowed to enter my mind. 

Maybe you think this sounds prude. I'd like to argue that it's prudent. Show care for your future thoughts and what they could lead to. 

23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Proverbs 4:23