Come on be happy

I’ve had a mini-revelation.  It’s not earth-shattering and it’s not life-changing, but I think it’s still a positive revelation that I hope to make a positive change in my life.

A lot has happened which led to this moment – and you’ll learn about that later.  I don’t want to make this a mega-long post about all the craziness in my life this past year.

I want to focus on the good.  I want to be happy.

Isn’t that such a simple statement.  It should be so easy.  To be happy.  But we actually have to work on being happy.  That is insane!

I look at my beautiful almost 7 month old son, who becomes insanely happy when I make a goofy face at him, and think adult happiness should be that easy.  But alas, that’s not the world we live in.

But we can be happy.  And that’s my goal.  I have a million and five excuses not to be happy or to avoid doing the things that may make me happy.  And I generally have let those excuses win out.  Thus, here I am – not as happy as a I should be.

So I’m letting go of the excuses.  Sure, things will pop up that will make my well-thought out plans fall apart.  And I need to go with the flow, and make the best, and be happy.  Not get upset over lack of control in my life, but relish the opportunity to grow and find opportunities in the chaos.

Sounds beautiful right?  Well, I’m sure it won’t be easy.  I’m sure I’ll have my ‘why bother’ or ‘I give up’ moments.  But as I watch my son practicing his new skill of sitting right now, and watch him topple over (safely in a well padded pack n’ play) and get back up to try again – I got just get over those moments and try again.

So let’s do this, folks!

I’ve been complaining about not fitting into my pre-pregnancy clothes since I was about 4 months pregnant.  My son is almost 7 months and I’m still complaining – but still finding excuses not to exercise or watch my diet.  Still sitting on the couch and eating potato chips (literally) and feeling bad about myself.

So this week: I’m going to work out around 9am every morning.  I have DVDs I can do while my son is asleep – or playing in a safe environment – and of course those can be paused if he really needs me.  So there you go.  Week one task.  Stop letting the ‘I have a baby’ excuse keep me from exercising.  I’m interested to see how this one will go!

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Lack of independence

I’ve been writing a lot lately, but not publicly.  I have 3 documents saved on my desktop titled Document, Document1 and Document2.  All with thoughts I’m not sure I’d ever share with anyone.

I’ve been going through some major stuff.  Some of it I’m sure is all in my head.  But some of it I know is not.

But there are some things I don’t mind putting out there into the world.  These are the minor things that bug me, but are not causing me to write private, tear-inducing novels that will most likely end up in the trash bin on my computer.  These little annoyances I’m happy to write a blog about 🙂

I was aware that once I became a mother timetables would change.  That I would be living by an infants schedule instead of my own.  But, I didn’t really realize what that meant.  Since I saw Facebook pictures of my friends running 5K races 3 months after their child was born pushing their perfectly adorable babies in jogging strollers, and heard of Mommy groups that meet up weekly at coffee shops and lunch places, I thought it wouldn’t be so bad.  Sure being home by 7pm for bedtime might make going out to eat a rare thing, but that wasn’t so bad.  We didn’t go out to eat that much anyways.

Well, reality comes.

I rarely have time to brush my teeth, let alone put on an acceptable outfit to go for a jog.  In between diaper changes and feedings (the actual feeding takes about 10 minutes – but reflux babies require 30 minutes of sitting up after their bottle – so it’s a 40 minute ordeal at least to feed him), having tummy time and fun time, cleaning bottles, laundry, cleaning up the toys, floor and sheets that end up covered in spit up, and caring for my 15.5 year old dog, there may be some time for me to grab a cracker.  And of course I work from home too – so yeah, there’s no time to jog.

And having a baby with reflux makes public outings very scary.  Because all babies have a little bit of spit up that might dribble on their onesies and may even get Mama’s shirt, but after a quick wipe with a burp cloth, nothing is noticeable.  My kid doesn’t have dainty little spitups.  My kid has monstrous spitups that cover us – he is covered head to toe and so am I, and usually so is the chair or floor beneath us.  And these spit ups come at any time of the day, not just after a meal.  It could be 3 hours post bottle, and here comes the flood.  So going to a coffee shop or lunch place, or even to the grocery store, seems incredibly scary.

So I do most of my outings while someone else takes care of the baby.  This someone else is my Mother.  (My husband for some reason is scared of staying alone with the baby.)  So I’m not only on babies schedule, but on her schedule too.  I never have a say in when I get to go anywhere.  I’m told when.  And that makes me feel more like an infant than my son.

I know this is a tiny thing to complain about, but you never know how much you appreciate being able to go out to grab a sandwich when your fridge is empty or go meet a friend for a walk until you can no longer do so.

Independence has always been a big deal to me – and that has been taken away completely.

Who knew?

Project Smile

I try to take daily walks, and I occasionally jog short distances during my walks.  It’s part of my get back in shape plan after pregnancy, but it’s also good for my mental and emotional health.

I often listen to podcasts during these outings.  If I listen to music, my mind will start wandering, sometimes to things I don’t want to think about.  A good podcast will keep my attention.

I’ve been listening a lot to my churches podcasts.  The weekly sermon, which we have not attended in more time than I’d like to admit, is often my choice.  And as I’ve listened to the past few months sermons over the past week (I was pretty backed up on my podcasts), the same theme was used over and over again.  The world is so filled with fear and hate – and we need to start moving towards love.

Ever since my son came into this world, my heart has been overfilled with love.  I have so much love to give him.  And when I see the faces of strangers, no matter how different they are from me, I am reminded that they are someone’s child.  Someone’s heart was overfilled with love when they came into the world.  And it makes me smile – at them.  And I love the feeling I get when they smile back.

It may seem simple, but that’s how I show love to the world right now.  Smiling.  A form of respect.  A simple gesture that says “you are cared for.”

I know that won’t end any of the craziness in the world.  But as my minister said, if we can change just one person’s heart – keep them from doing any act of hatred that is on there mind that day, then it’s worth it.  And you never know how far a smile can go.

Signs & Symptoms of Infant GERD

My son was diagnosed with Gastro Esophageal Reflux (GERD) at 6 weeks old.  I felt horrible but relieved at the same time.

He would cry and cry and cry.  Constantly crying.  The only thing that would calm him down was a bottle.  And he would spit up most of what he was eating.  He would eat, spit up, cry, eat, spit up, cry and then finally fall asleep for about 10 minutes and then wake up, cry, eat, spit up, etc.  That was my life.  Babies spit up.  I knew this.  But I was confused because my son seemed to spit up everything he ate.  I read stuff online about spitting up that said that it’s probably less than it looks like and as long as your baby is gaining weight, not to worry.  Well, he was gaining weight, so I tried not to worry.

Since everything I read told me not to worry about my son, I just worried about my sanity.  I couldn’t do anything but try to soothe my crying son, feed him and then clean up his puddles of spit up, and then run to the bathroom while he was able to have a short nap.  There were times I looked at him as he cried and screamed, cried myself and just begged him to calm down.  I felt like the worst mother in the world because no matter what I did, I couldn’t soothe my baby.

I ended up figuring out all the puzzle pieces – though it took more work than I thought.

  1. I finally convinced my husband that I needed help.  And that I needed the help of my mother, who is a pediatric nurse.  This was harder than it should have been – but I’m not here to talk about that.
  2. We finally got the doctors to pay attention by describing more vividly my son’s symptoms.  Spit up and crying is not a red flag for GERD.  This is just normal baby reflux to doctors.  But things like back-arching, constant cluster feeding, neck arching – those are red flag symptoms for GERD.
  3. I finally realized my baby was sick – and I could focus on helping him get better instead of worrying about how good of a mother I was.  Of course I couldn’t soothe him with lullabies and cuddles when his throat was burning.  But I could do my best to make sure he got the right medical care.

And it’s still a journey.  And it will be a journey until finally he outgrows his GERD.  But that’s how baby GERD goes.

I didn’t know

As I went for a walk in the late-morning heat, after my podcast ended, it came.  The guilt.  The sadness.  The need to fight back tears.  This time it worked.  I didn’t cry.  Sometimes it doesn’t and the tears flow.

I have a wonderful life.  I have a great husband.  I have a beautiful baby boy.  But I didn’t know.

I knew that life would change when we became parents.  I knew things would get trickier, stickier and crazier.  But I didn’t know the big change that would come.

I read a lot.  I read professional sites.  I read blogs.  When talking about getting pregnant, actively trying, and being pregnant.  I read.  Asked friends for advice.  I left no stone unturned.  But I still didn’t know.

I knew that babies cried.  I knew that they spit-up.  I even knew that babies got reflux that caused them pain.  But I didn’t know how difficult that could be.

I didn’t know that my baby would spend the first 6 weeks of his life crying, eating and spitting up almost everything that he ate, leaving me exhausted, frustrated and baffled as to what was going on.  And I didn’t know how difficult it would be to find relief for his anguish.

I knew that babies could have head shape issues.  I knew that they could end up in helmets.  But I didn’t know that they would wedge themselves in-utero in such a weird way that would not only lead to a virtually impossible delivery, but a misshaped head that is virtually impossible to fix without interventions.

I didn’t know the guilt.  I knew I would worry.  I knew I would feel pressure.  But I didn’t know I’d feel horrible for “not growing him right”.  I know that’s not true – but the guilt still remains.

And I didn’t know the extent that outside pressures would create chaos in my should-be happy home.

I didn’t know that this would create a perfect storm of emotional upheaval for me.  I never read about babies going from formula to formula, med to med, and still not finding relief for severe reflux.  I never heard of the pain of trying to position your baby in just the right way to best “fix” their head shape problem.  And I never knew that trying to be a good Mom would cause me so much agony, let alone what other issues lie outside my motherhood journey.

So that’s why I’m restarting this blog.  I have a happy life.  I have had some severe struggles and continue to have struggles.  I know that will never end, but if I knew, maybe things could have been a little easier.  So I’m writing this so others may not say “I didn’t know”

My 34th Week

I’m on the last day of my 34th week of pregnancy.  And I’m happy to see the days ticking away!

This week can be characterized in one word: EXHAUSTION

I have had little to no motivation to do anything, but of course my calendar was pretty full most days.  So the days I had little to nothing to do, that’s exactly what I did: little to nothing!  Which makes me feel lazy, but I keep reminding myself that my body needs this rest right now.

Symptoms:

Exhaustion and Fatigue.  I find myself napping a little less than I used to, but I still just want to lie on the couch all day long!

A bit of nausea.  I think this is related to my stomach getting even more squished though.  I find if I eat too much (which is more than a sandwich), I get nauseated.  And if I’m not hungry but craving something – if I give in and eat, I regret it!

Thirst – I’ve been pretty thirsty lately – but it has been warmer in NC this past week, so I’m guessing that is playing a big part in my thirst.

Hot Flashes – I’ve always, always been the cold one!  But now I’m sweating like a pig if the temperature outside is above 50.  Everyone in Charlotte seemed to love the high 60s we’ve had this past week.  But not me!!

Cravings:

Ever since my glucose test, I’ve been craving sweets: blueberry muffins, cake (though I haven’t given in to that one yet), chocolate chip cookies and brownies.  As the weather was warmer – I really wanted a brownie sundae, but I didn’t give in.  It’s February and I feel it’s wrong to buy ice cream in February.

Other strong cravings: Orange Juice and Doritos (not together though!)

Aversions:  I still don’t really like just a plain piece of chicken placed in front of me, but I begrudgingly eat it.  It has paid off though as my iron levels have been excellent!

Sleep: Not bad.  I wake up a few times a night to go to the bathroom and a few more times to switch sides I’m sleeping on, but not too many nights where I can’t fall asleep.  I read for at least 30 minutes before turning in which really helps.

Feeling: Over pregnancy!  I feel a little guilty saying it but I’m so ready to have my body back!  I want to be able to sleep in any position I want to, eat or drink whatever I want to, take some ibuprofen when I have a headache.  These are such tiny little things in the grand scheme of things, I know, and the payoff is definitely worth what I’m giving up, but it’s still what I’m feeling.

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Don’t fight that feeling

Ugh.  Ugh is all I can say to describe the past few weeks.

Pregnancy symptoms aren’t fun.  And I was having some very un-fun ones these past 10 days.  And the thing with pregnancy symptoms are they are just plain confusing.  One symptom can be completely normal in some women and a bad sign in another.  So there was a lot of confusion on my part.

I hate to be one of those pregnant ladies who calls her doctor every time something different pops up and I tried not to be.  But it took me 3 calls and 8 days to finally get an appointment with the OB on call.  And it wasn’t anything horrible – but it was something that needed attention and treatment.  (I’m sparing you the details because pregnancy details are just TMI.)  So now I’m in the treatment phase and hoping all turns out well.  Whenever you take any medication when pregnant, it’s a little nerve-racking.  But I just have to trust and have faith.

During this time I really did nothing.  I tried to rest as much as possible.  And it was horrible.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my couch time now.  The third trimester is pretty exhausting.  But there was a span of 5 days where I spent 99% of my time lying around our house.  I can’t lie, it made me a little irritable and depressed.  I got over it – I just had to let myself feel my feelings and then they passed.  But man, that was a bad 5 days.

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So now I’m working more, doing a little bit more (though I’m not exercising until I know I’m all better) and feeling generally better about life.

That’s the thing: sometimes your circumstances can dictate your feelings.  Even though everyone says it’s your attitude that makes a situation good or bad, that’s not always the case.  Sometimes you can’t do anything you want, and it bums you out.  It’s hard to look on the Brightside when you are fighting possible illness, bored out of your mind, worried about your health (and your babies help) and frustrated that you can’t do anything.  And it’s ok to be sad.  It’s ok to be frustrated.  It’s ok to feel exactly what you feel.  I’ve had to learn that the hard way.  Fighting sadness, frustrating, depression, etc. will not make things better.  You just have to live in the moment – allow yourself to be in the mood you are in – and once you have felt all the emotions you need to feel, you can move on.

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So hopefully, I am moving on.  Fingers crossed this medication works and little baby and I will be fine by the weekend!

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Good intentions

Full of good intentions.  I feel like I’m always full of good intentions, but the majority of the time they stay intentions – not realities.

My prenatal yoga classes were cancelled for this week.  I’m not sure why, but it was a bit of a bummer.  I have a busy week and it would have been nice to have some relaxation time on the schedule.  But to be 110% honest, I wasn’t quite feeling it Tuesday morning anyways.  I wish they had them later in the day, but they don’t.

Monday was my pregnancy glucose screening.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with this test, you drink a big glass of nasty tasting glucose water, wait an hour, then get your blood drawn to check your blood sugar levels.  It’s not the most fun experience in the world.  I gagged a few times while drinking the solution (you have to drink it within 5 minutes), but after I got it down I felt ok.  I wish I could have had some plain water to get the taste out of my mouth, but no food or liquid is allowed during the hour wait time.  Luckily my doctor was running late (who ever says that?) so the hour wait time didn’t seem as long.  But all in all I was at the office for around 2 hours.  That was bleck.  And since the first thing I put in my body in over 14 hours was basically sugar water, my blood sugar was out of whack all day long.

Tuesday was a fun filled day of errands and cleaning the house.  I did get some time to read and I’ll write about the books I read later on.

Today is a busy work day, which is thankfully over until tomorrow.

But I went ahead and signed up for the prenatal yoga class next Tuesday.  I’m trying to turn my good intentions into realities!

 

New Years Annoyance

The New Years fitness craze is, well, crazy!  I’m all for fitness.  I love exercise, trying healthy recipes, and so forth.  I’ve been working out since I was around 15 and have been going strong ever since.

But come January, fitness starts to get on my nerves.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that people are trying to do good things for their bodies.  We all should be striving for good health.  But when my gym gets overly crowded, or as I found out this week, all workout clothes are gone from stores, then I get annoyed.  I just want to do my normal routine, and I can’t in January.  As a fitness-addict, this is really a struggle.

So I tried to find maternity workout clothes – and there’s nothing.  All is gone.  So I have not tried my prenatal yoga class this week.  But I’ve decided workout clothes be darned – I’m going to class next week.  I have a pair of sweatpants that fit, and I have a yoga top and sports bra that are a bit snug, but will work.  I can’t let the New Year’s resolution crowd cramp my style (though I will definitely not be stylin’ in class!).  And really, if people judge me because I’m not wearing nice yoga clothes at 7 months pregnant – then it’s not the studio for me!

Other than that unfortunately this week has been fairly routine.  Doctors appointments, running errands, work, moderate exercise, reading and resting.  It went from 70 degrees last week to 36 degrees this week in Charlotte – so I’m ok with this.  I’m not exactly stocked up on winter maternity clothes either.  But I am itching to do more, try more, go more.  So it’s good that the itch is still there.  Next week will be the week my itch starts to be relieved!

New Year, New Me?

I usually thrive in January.  Goal setting, resolutions, making plans — it’s kind of my thing.  I love it and a lot of times I actually live for it.  Setting goals and trying to accomplish them – it’s a way of life for me.

This January feels very different though.  I haven’t set any goals or resolutions.  I can’t even wrap my mind around making goals or resolutions.

The reason: I am (happily) 6 months pregnant – just a little over a week away from being 7 months pregnant.

So goals have taken on a new meaning for me.  My goal is to make it through the day without being emotionally, mentally or physically overwhelmed.  And that’s really all I can focus on these days.

I am not one of those women who feels great while pregnant.  Since pretty much week 6, I’ve felt crappy the majority of the time.  And while symptoms have lessoned as I get closer to the 3rd trimester, I still fight to get through the day in one piece.  I can’t say I’m surprised.  My body doesn’t handle change very well.  So of course this huge change in my body is creating a bit of havoc.  But it’s worth it.  And really, I am happy to be creating this beautiful life inside me.

But I also feel a little lost at times.  My life has turned into work and trying to survive pregnancy.  I don’t feel like I’ve had a lot of time to really be me.  I do try to exercise 3-4 times a week (depending on how I’m feeling), but it’s been mainly to maintain health, not to challenge myself or grow in strength or endurance.  I don’t cook anymore other than making a less than 10 minute dish because being on my feet wears me  out.  I haven’t written in ages because I feel like all that will come out is complaints about pregnancy.  So a big part of me I feel is gone, which scares me because I know even more of me can and may disappear once this little baby makes an appearance.

So how do you find you in pregnancy?  After almost 7 months, I’m still having trouble figuring that out.  But since it’s January, I have a little more motivation to set out on how to do that.  My life doesn’t have to be going to work, coming home to rest and feel icky, and planning a nursery.  It can have time for me in it before and after baby comes.  I logically know this.  But when you feel blah, it’s hard to get yourself motivated to make the change.  Especially when you have an awesome and loving family who tries to do everything for you because they know you feel yucky.  But it’s time to kick my butt into gear.  Step 1: get off the couch more.  Step 2: get out of the house more.  I have plans to attend a prenatal yoga class.  I love yoga but have not taken a class since I become pregnant due to many reasons.  But I think going to a class filled with other women who are pregnant as well will help me feel better, feel motivated, and get my butt into gear.  So step 3, go out and find some yoga pants that fit me right now 🙂  And then step 4, attend class.  So tomorrow, Maternity store – here I come!

Isn’t it funny how goals and resolutions can change over time?  This time last year I was thinking of running half marathons, doing handstands and pull-ups, and this year it’s finding yoga pants and just going to a class.  But I’m not going to compare these goals.  Both are great, admirable and needed goals for me during the specific time in my life.  I need to embrace my body, embrace my feelings, and live my life.  Because that’s step number 1 to being a healthy, happy me!