Best Laid Plans…

Here was my post-work plan for yesterday:

3:30-Pump at school

3:40-Leave School

4:10-Arrive Home, Get things Ready for tomorrow, Quickly Make Dinner

5:00-Enjoy dinner with my family

5:30-Do Dishes

5:45-Hang out with my Boys

6:30-Put Jude to Bed

6:45-Enjoy time with Dustin

8:00-Go to Bed (I stayed up entirely too late the night before)

Here’s what really happened:

3:30-Pump at School

3:45-Leave school, Call Dustin, who needs me to stop at the grocery store before I come home to get ingredients to make him a casserole to take in his lunch this week

3:45-4:30-Get stuck in the traffic that was rerouted from the highway which adds 15 minutes to my drive

4:30-4:50-Shop for groceries, and feel stressed that what was to be a quick stop at the grocery store cost $60!

5:00-Arrive Home, discover that Jude didn’t sleep as long as he needed to this afternoon, but he is currently refusing to take any kind of nap.  I spend the next hour alternating between making Dustin’s casserole, making our dinner, and comforting my son who has decided that he will only be happy if he is being held by his mother

6:00-Finally sit down to dinner, Dustin doesn’t feel well so he doesn’t eat very much, Jude is just unhappy and is not happy about being forced to eat.  I eat as much as I can inbetween feeding Jude

6:25-Decide that everyone has eaten as much as they are going to eat and take Jude upstairs for his bath

6:40-Put Jude to bed, come downstairs to finally do my dishes and get everything ready for tomorrow

7:30-Finally sit down, but am too tired to enjoy it

8:00-Remember that I need to shower tonight

8:30-Fall in bed completely exhausted…

Today I have no plan-I’m assuming that’s best =)

Learning Curve

I have been having one of those weeks were I keep hearing myself saying things like “the next time I have a baby I’m going to do __________ differently.”  I don’t say that to be disparaging-Dustin and I have certainly done the best that we can do being first time parents, but I guess I have just realized how much I have learned in the past six months.  Sometimes it’s the little things like learning that I absolutely must bring toys along to the doctor’s office for well-child visits because Jude just can’t handle sitting there will nothing to do until the doctor arrives or learning that I need to take my showers at night so that our mornings go smoother.  Sometimes it’s bigger realizations-Jude was jaundiced when he was born and after they sent us home from the hospital, they made us come into the hospital everyday for eight days to have blood work done, but they wouldn’t give us a bili-blanket.  If I had it to do again, I would either insist that they give us the bili-blanket, or only go in every other day, because those trips did nothing but further exhaust us as we were learning to function on little sleep.

I have also learned a lot about myself.  I know now that I can survive on very little sleep, and I can function surprisingly well in the middle of the night.  I have learned that few things have made me feel as fulfilled as meeting my son’s needs.  I have learned that I do need a few moments of “me time” every once in awhile to maintain my sanity.  I have realized how judgmental I was of other parents before I had Jude, and I am learning to much more gracious. I have also learned that I am very sensitive when others give me advice about raising Jude, and I sometimes struggle not to be defensive.  I have learned that spit up and poopy diapers don’t phase me.  Overall, I just love being a momma, and I don’t think I realized how wonderful it would be until I held my little man in my arms.

Both Dustin and I are eldest children, and we turned out pretty well, so I know there is hope for Jude =)  And if God gives us more children, I’ll be glad to have a little experience under my belt!

Have a happy weekend!

Snow and Drums

Today was soooo very nice.  Here in south central Pennsylvania we had a forecast for a few inches of snow last night into this morning, which I’m happy to report that we received.  I made sure to get groceries yesterday so that we could stay home and just enjoy our time together.  Little man is a too little to really play in the snow, especially since it was topped with a thin layer of ice, but we took him outside for a few minutes just to experience the snow.

Jude & Daddy

Jude & Mommy

The cutest grizzly bear in the area!

For those of you that don’t know, my husband is a drummer, and I knew that it wouldn’t be too long before little man would spend some time with the drums, and this weekend Jude had his first taste of playing with his daddy.  I’m pretty sure he enjoyed the lesson =)

Jude & Daddy on the drums

My drummer in training

I hope everyone else enjoyed being snowed in!

Family Table

Now that Jude is six months old, we have entered the wild and wonderful world of solid food.  Don’t let the adorable picture fool you-in general, Jude is not a fan of the new menu.

He will eat very runny cereal (made with my milk) if required.  Over the summer I froze some applesauce, peaches, pears and green beans for my little peanut, but so far he can’t really get past the texture.  As I was a very gaggy child, it should be no surprise that my son would follow in my footsteps =)  Now that we have started solids, he has dropped a feeding in the early evening, and he has actually stopped needing to nurse as much during the middle of the night.  I really like nursing, so less nursing, and more pumping to have milk for his cereal is kind of sad, but I at least can still nurse him a lot over the weekend.

This week we put him in a booster seat that puts him at the same level as we are at the dinner table, and we have been feeding him (in between bites) when we eat dinner, and I have thoroughly been enjoying this set-up!  Since he was born, dinner has always been a struggle-we would either try to eat while he was down for a nap (which usually didn’t work), or we would try to entertain him in his bouncer seat, and he would get annoyed.  However, as soon as we tried this set up, he has been happy as a clam!  While he doesn’t enjoy the actual eating portion of the meal, he seems to enjoy sitting with us, and he plays with his spoon while we are eating-all in all, I love sitting together and catching up over our meal.

Growing up we always ate dinner together, and I had a “I’m really a grown-up” moment this evening while I observed my little family having dinner together.  I mentioned here that one of my goals for the new year is to cook and eat at home most evenings, and I’ve been pretty successful so far.  An amendment to that goal is I that I need to figure out meals that I can prepare in advance and stash in my deep freeze for busy nights, or that I can throw in the crock-pot. I think that doing those two things will increase my chances of following through on my goal long term =)

Have a blessed start to your weekend!

Six Months of Pictures

It is amazing how many pictures I have of this boy! I love seeing how much he has grown!

Happy Birthday Jude!

Jude at 2 weeks

Trying out of bouncer seat at 1 month

Daddy giving Jude at bottle at 2 months

10 weeks in our Bumbo seat

Going for a stroller ride-3 months

Rocking a pumpkin hat at Halloween-3 1/2 months

Our first Thanksgiving! 4 months

Opening presents! Our first Christmas-5 1/2 months

Playing with Great-Grandma-5 1/2 months

What a fun six months we have had!!

Happy 6 Months!!

Tomorrow my sweet boy will be six months old!  Isn’t he becoming quite a handsome boy?? =) Just ignore the drool…

It is unreal to think about all of the ways he has changed in the past six months!  He has learned to roll over, sit up, stand up (with help of course!), smile, “talk”, sleep (we are making progress anyway!), and use his hands to get what he wants!

Of all the milestones we have accomplished, I am particularly excited that at six months we are still nursing and I have never needed to supplement with formula!  I’m sure we have saved a lot of money by not needing to buy formula, but there have been so many other benefits as well.  Jude has been so healthly-we have not yet needed to go to the doctor for any appointments other than his well-child appointments.  I used to scoff at the idea of nursing being a bonding time, but it really, really is!!  Especially three or four months into nursing, it became a time of cuddling and smiling, and I love it.  In fact, that will be the part I miss the most whenever we do stop nursing.  Nursing my baby has also meant that I am forced to stop, sit down, and rest every few hours, which I think is healthy.

My plan is to continue nursing for at least another six months.  We have started giving him cereal, which I have been mixing with my milk.  Pumping at work is not my favorite thing, but these past six months have FLOWN by, and I’m sure before we know it he will be a year old and my pumping days will be over.  I better not blink…

Surviving a Miscarriage

It has been on my heart for awhile to share the story of my first pregnancy, and I decided that today was the day after I heard of yet another dear friend losing a baby when I checked facebook in the middle of the night last night.  On July 27, 2010 Dustin and I learned that our first baby had died shortly after we had discovered that we were pregnant during an internal ultrasound at what was to be our 10 week appointment, which at the OB-GYN I go to is the first appointment that you have if you do not have a history of problems.  Obviously we were devastated-even though I had read about the possibility of miscarriage, you never really think that it is going to happen to you.  I was given the option of miscarrying on my own at home-a more in depth ultrasound showed that I was hemorrhaging, and left on my own I would miscarry within the week.  I was also given the option of a D & E surgery (I know that everyone else calls it a D & C, but this is what my office calls it-Dilate & Empty), which is what we decided to do.  My initial appointment was at 7:30 AM, I was in surgery prep by 1:30 PM, and we were home by 5:00 PM.  It was certainly one of the worst days I have ever experienced, but I also had a lot to be thankful for.  First of all, it happened when I was off of school for the summer, so I had 3 weeks to get myself physically and emotionally stable before I headed back to work.  Second, I was so grateful for the medical insurance we have.  When I was given the option of surgery, no one really ever mentioned the cost, and once we were home, I thought, “I really hope I didn’t just send us to the poor house by having this surgery.”  The surgery cost almost 10,000 dollars, but every penny was covered by insurance-thank you Lord!  Third, losing the baby brought Dustin and I closer in a way that I had never imagined, and I am grateful for the depth that it added to our marriage.

As I worked through my grief, I realized how few people talk about miscarriage, and I really understand why-it is painful, and if you are able to forget, even for a little while, you do.  However, I really want to share some observations I made along the way, and if you or someone you love is going through this loss, perhaps they can help alleviate some of the pain, or at least let you know that you aren’t the one experiencing these feelings.

  • It is not your fault.  I had to start with this one, because feelings of guilt can make the grief that much more unbearable.  At least 1/3 of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, and it is almost always the result of a genetic abnormality in the baby that would not allow for full development.  Be at peace-it was not the turkey sandwich that you had before you knew you were pregnant, it wasn’t the hard work-out session that you had, and it wasn’t because at one time you used birth-control pills.
  • You may grieve very differently than others that went through the same circumstance.  I remember when a good friend of mine lost her first pregnancy, much like I did, and at the time she told me that she hated receiving cards in the mail or receiving flowers because every time she looked at the them it just reminded her of the pain.  However, when I experienced my miscarriage I desperately needed to know that others were thinking of us and praying for us, and I clung to every card that was sent and every facebook message I received.  Neither is right or wrong, and it just depends on how you personally grieve.
  • People will say stupid things to you, but they are said out of love.  After I lost my baby I just came to the realization that it is hard to talk to someone who just lost a baby because certain words that may have been a comfort to me, may be absolute torture for you.  However, you just have to realize that people are trying to help, and you have to choose to focus on that.  If you are not the one experiencing the loss and are wondering what to say to someone that is, sometimes just letting the person know that you are willing to talk if she every wants to is enough (and sometimes it is a relief NOT to have to talk about what happened with every person you meet).
  • Your husband will finish grieving before you do.  This is a hard one.  I remember being so frustrated when I realized that Dustin had moved on, and I was still routinely falling apart.  I guess I wished that I was also to the point of moving on, but it just wasn’t the case-I mean I was the one to carry the baby, I had the crazy mommy hormones, and I had a surgery to recover from.  It isn’t surprising, and from talking to other moms, it is very normal.  Thankfully Dustin was very understanding through the whole ordeal, and he rejoiced with me when I had finally moved on as well.
  • You may want to keep some sort of momento of this baby.  As I mentioned before, I found out that my baby died during an ultra-sound, and because of the situation, they very quickly got rid of the sonogram pictures and never offered them to us.  Looking back, I wish that I had asked for them, because once I was home I realized that I wished I had something to remind me of the baby.  When you mourn for a grandparent, you have pictures to look at, memories to dwell on, and a funeral to provide closure.  With a miscarriage, you don’t have any of those things, and for some people having something to remind you of your pregnancy may be a comfort.
  • You will have more nerves during your next pregnancy.  Again, sad, but true.  To add to any additional nerves you may have now that you know what it is like to endure a miscarriage, your OB-GYN will probably have you come in earlier, and more frequently, which gives you more opportunities to be nervous.  I wish I could say that it wasn’t so, but during my pregnancy with Jude, it really wasn’t until I could feel him moving around all the time that I stopped having near panic attacks in the waiting room before my appointments.  One of my pastors wisely told me that the extra nerves are unavoidable, but to use each time as an opportunity to pray more.
  • It may take months for everyone to find out about your loss.  Sadly, some people will hear of your pregnancy, but not hear about your loss, and you will have to endure, “How is the baby?” questions months after your miscarriage.  I lost my baby at the end of July, and it was October until I ran into every person that knew about the baby but didn’t know about the miscarriage.  There really isn’t much you can do about this other than to have some of your friends and family spread the news so that you don’t have to.
  • There IS hope for future pregnancies.  The one thing that a miscarriage does tell you is that you are able to get pregnant, which is definietely one step in the right direction.  I know so many women that have had miscarriages and almost each and every one of those ladies went on to have children.  It took us 3 months to conceive Jude after my miscarriage, and they were 3 of the longest months of my life but every time I look at my sweet boy’s face I feel nothing but gratitude.
  • The intense pain you now feel will subside.  I know all too well how intense the pain can be-for at least 3 nights I didn’t sleep AT ALL.  I spent the entire night crying and praying and thinking…finally, my sister bought me some Excedrin PM and I finally got a night’s sleep.  I remember thinking, “how will I ever get over the loss of my baby?”…but you do-over time.  For me, it was getting pregnant with Jude.  As I prepared for his arrival I had something to focus on, and before I knew it July 27th had rolled around again, and instead of spending the day in mourning I was hanging out with my 2-week old little boy.  I certainly thought about my first baby, but it was without the sting.  Now, I still become emotional-if it is too early in the morning, too late at night, or if I just found out about someone I love losing a baby, it can hit me like a ton of bricks, but that only happens once every couple of months instead of every day. For some people it is a new pregnancy, for others, going back to work provides a suitable distraction.  Whatever it is for you, give yourself time.  Your friends and family love you, and they will understand if baby showers are simply too painful for you to attend, or if you need to stop covering nursery duty at church.  They will understand when you don’t want to go out for dinner, and if they are friends worth having, they will be there to laugh with you again when you are ready.
  • God is still in control.  Some people have a hard time dealing with the realization that God has the power to fix our babies that had problems that didn’t allow for growth and He chose not to.  At any moment he could have altered our situation, and He didn’t.  Why?  Why was Jude allowed to survive and my first baby didn’t?  I know that I will probably not know the reason why this side of heaven, but I choose to believe that God is a good God and I submit myself to his control.  I also know that Jesus mourns with us-In John chapter 11 Jesus is going to meet his friends Mary and Martha.  They had requested his urgent arrival because their brother Lazarus was dying.  Jesus, however, did not arrive before his death, and when he came upon the women in their grief, it says that he wept.  Not shed a few tears-he grieved for his friends, and I truly believe that this is how he feels when he sees us going through a loss.  Jesus is, however, still in control of the situation and he chooses to resurrect Lazarus.  He may not choose to resurrect our babies, but He can be a friend that offers true comfort during this time.

I know that this is a super long post already, but before I close, I just want to say a word about being a friend to someone that has a miscarriage.  I have stated that everyone grieves differently and what one person appreciates, may torture another person, and I stand by this.  However, this does not mean that you shouldn’t try to help, because if there is one thing that a couple needs during this time it is support.  Some people may appreciate meals, others may love a bouquet of beautiful flowers, some might like a visit…If you are not sure what to do, I really recommend sending an e-mail or facebook message just asking the person/couple what would be most helpful.  Face to face communication can be such a strain immediately after the loss, and this way the couple doesn’t have to do that, but they can still reach out for help.  Second, try not to put the person in a situation where they have to pretend that everything is okay, or worse put them in a situation where they are comforting you because you are sad for their loss.  Third, I had a lot of people that “made” me talk about what had happened because they wanted to make sure that I had someone to talk about it with, which isn’t always helpful.  What they didn’t necessarily realize was that I was having this same conversation with sooooooo many people, and sometimes it was such a relief to just talk about normal things, and to be allowed to talk about it when I was ready.  Finally, don’t forget about the other people effected.  Not only did my baby have Dustin and I, but he or she had grandparents, aunts, uncles, and great-grandparents, and not only are these folks also mourning, they are probably taking care of the couple that lost the child, and they could probably use some support as well.

If you are presently going through a miscarriage, and need support, please e-mail me at christina.martin1983@gmail.com or find me on facebook.  My thoughts and prayers are with you.

To sleep or not to sleep…

If you were to ask me what the biggest challenge about being a mommy has been, HANDS DOWN it would be sleeping.  True confession: I hold my baby when he naps, and I have done so since he was born.  He has also woken up in the middle of the night, at least once, all but 2 nights since he was born.  I have been told that he would grow out of it when he reached 10 pounds, when he started solids, as he aged…but so far nothing has worked.  I really don’t mind our set-up…because I go to work, I love holding him for naps on the weekends, and even in the mornings before work; however, I realize that at some point he does need to learn to fall asleep on his own, or at least stay asleep when he was moved to his crib.  As far as the middle of the night, if he needs to nurse, I don’t mind getting up, but recently it really seems that he doesn’t necessarily need to eat.  It’s more like, “well since you’re here, I’d love a snack!”.  One of the books that was recommended to me on sleep habits really stressed how important a good night’s sleep (meaning an uninterrupted full night’s sleep) is and we were feeling more and more like it was time to address these two issues. Before the holiday break I was reaching a level of desperate exhaustion, and with all of the holiday madness Jude’s sleeping schedule has been pretty crazy and we wanted to get a handle on it.

The book suggested two things that we were going to try: making him nap in his crib, and putting him to bed earlier than we had been in the past.  In this book there were all these testimonials of “he cried for five minutes and then slept peacefully for hours…” I have NEVER been into the crying it out methods, but I thought, hey, five minutes isn’t so bad.  Also, I was recently at a friend’s house whose son had to fuss for a few minutes before he went down for his nap, and it didn’t seem so bad.  So I held him for his morning nap this morning, and he woke up a happy baby.  We had a lovely time playing and then he was showing signs of sleepiness, so we put him in his crib while he was still awake, but drowsy.  He was having none of that and cried quite vigorously for about 15 minutes, so I got him up and thought, we’ll try again a little later.  I thought that perhaps the problem was that he just didn’t know how to fall asleep on his own, and not wanting to try and change so many things in one day, I actually nursed/rocked him to sleep at 12:30 and I gingerly moved him to his crib.  Eyes fly open.  I try and calm him.  I leave the room….12:45 still crying…1:00 still crying….Dustin and I decide to let him go-surely he can’t cry for much longer….1:30 still crying-now we are late on our afternoon nap, but we decide that it will all be worth it if he falls asleep…2:00 still crying-my nerves are about fried and I am afraid that if he doesn’t fall asleep now he is going to completely miss his nap, and I simply can not endure another day of that so I go into his room.  One look at his face and I promise Jude and myself that we are NEVER doing this ever again.  He falls asleep within seconds of me picking him up, and I fight back tears as his finally subside.

So when it reached bedtime I gave him a bath, read him a book, nursed him a little, and rocked him to sleep before laying him in his crib, and thankfully, he stayed asleep.  Tomorrow he goes back to day-care and our nap dilemma will wait for another day.  After all of that, I can’t help but be reminded of how unprepared we are for parenthood.  You can read all the books and listen to all the podcasts.  You can discuss every issue with every mom you know, and still not know what to do for YOUR baby.  I’m completely fine saying that I’m his mother and I know him best-but I just do not always know what it the best thing to do for him.  I also find myself saying that I’ll do better with the next baby, but I think God just smiles when we think those things because I know very few siblings that have the exact same personalities or temperaments and what works for Jude may or may not work for any other little ones we are blessed with.  All I know is that I’m glad that Jude will have no memory of this afternoon, and I only pray that I can forget it as well.  Now I think it’s time to go to bed-it is hard to say what tonight will hold =)

Happy 2012

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  It is hard to believe that I haven’t managed to write a post since the day before Thanksgiving, but as you all know, the time between Thanksgiving and the new year is certainly the busiest time of the year for me, but now that all the concerts, parties, and family get togethers are almost over, I managed to find a few minutes to reflect on the holidays and the coming year.

Holidays with a baby have been crazy!!  I have always been a go with the flow kind of mom.  I have never wanted to be the one that dictates when and where all the holidays can occur, just so my baby could have his nap…until now =)  Before Thanksgiving we had reached a pretty consistent routine of putting him to bed around 7:30 and he would get up between 2 and 3 to eat.  However, starting at Thanksgiving we somehow managed to get back to waking up twice, with the first time being as early as 10:30.  I can not even describe the level of exhaustion I had reached with getting less sleep at the exact same time that my responsibilities at school and church increased with all the Christmas festivities.  At any rate we just have one more gathering today, and then we are going to try some new sleep techniques tonight and tomorrow once we are able to establish some consistensy.

I have adored all of the time that I have had with Jude over Christmas break.  In just the time that I have been off school he has learned to sit up by himself (just for a little while), roll from his back to his belly, and make more specific movements with his hands.  In his own little way he gives me hugs and kisses, and I could not be more in love.  It seems like each stage just keeps getting better and better.

At the beginning of the year, I hate to say that I make New Year’s resolutions, but it does seem like a good time to set some goals for the coming year since the following weeks and months will be calmer and our schedules more consistent. Here are a few things that I will be focusing on in 2012:

  • Daily Bible Time-I had been so consistent at reading my Bible and having a prayer time every evening and somewhere in the midst of middle of the night feedings and trying to get any amount of sleep that I could, I lost this.  I definitely need this time, and I need to focus on getting this back in my schedule.
  • Cook 6 suppers every week-The fast food restaurants in Greencastle have earned a lot of revenue from the Martin family since momma went back to work!  On one hand I feel like it is a fair trade off to eat take-out so that I don’t need to spend the time cooking dinner when I get home and I can focus on my boys; however, I am not losing my baby weight, in fact I think I have gained a little back of what I did lose, and it just isn’t a habit that I want to start.  My mom always cooked every night but Saturday night when I was growing up…I don’t know if my night off will be Saturday, but it seems like a good model to follow.
  • Clean my house every week-Again, on one hand I know that my house can be cleaned when Jude is grown, and on a normal week, there aren’t many people besides the three of us that even see the inside of my house; however, it bugs me.  Maybe it shouldn’t bother me, but the reality is that even thought I try and forgo cleaning my house so that I can relax, I can’t really relax because all I can think about is how my house needs cleaned =)  Sad, but true.
  • Be who I want Jude to be-During a recent sermon at church, one of the pastors spoke about how to teach children the traits we want them to have, and something about the way he said it really stuck with me.  Basically, it was that we have to be what we want our kids to be.  If I want Jude to be generous, then he must see me give generously of my time and resources to others; if I want him to be a good listener, than I must be willing to stop and give him my undivided attention.  I know that I will mess up, but hopefully I can give more thought to my words and actions as I reflect upon this lesson.

I know those are some pretty big goals, but that is just how I am, and I don’t know how to be any different!  May you have a blessed beginning to 2012 and a strong start to any goals you may have for the new year!!