Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Exciting News for Our Little Family

Our family has some exciting news to share-we're having another baby! Just kidding. As exciting as another baby would be we are enjoying loving on our one baby now and for the foreseeable future. Speaking of our one baby, becoming a mom has been the most life changing thing that has ever happened to me. I swear my heart is full of so much love for my baby boy and his dad it feels like its going to explode out of my chest. Every stage with Porter I just adore more and more.motherhood is equally hard as it is beautiful, I am tired, oh so tired, but happy. 

I went back to work when Porter was three months old and it was the hardest thing I've ever done. I honestly truly love my job and the people I work with, but every morning as I sit in Porters nursery, snuggling him as he nurses, I physically ache knowing I have to leave him again. Five days a week, for almost nine hours a day, I'm away from him. Evenings are a blur, as we try and make dinner and spend time with Porter, wash bottles and pump parts, feed, bath and bed for baby and then we get up and repeat the next day. Its been brutal and I've cried from exhaustion, from feeling overwhelmed, from feeling like I was failing in every possible area of my life: as a mom, as a wife, as an employee, as a friend. 

We've prayed for over a year now that God would open a door for me to work less, so I could be home more with Porter. In my small, human mind, I believed God would answer this prayer by giving my husband a huge fat raise and I could stay home or work part time and all our worries would disappear. But, it turns out God's plans weren't quite the plans I had so carefully laid out to Him. Last month, I was presented with an opportunity to work part time at another company, meaning I'd have to completely leave the job I have now. And we're taking a significant hit to our finances, which will require us to live a little more simply then we're accustomed to. And to us, the reward of me getting to spend a few more days at home with Porter a week far outweigh the costs. The Lord is so so faithful to us and I am just in awe of the way he has answered this deep prayer of my heart. Oh, it doesn't come without a sacrifice but no good thing does, does it?

The decision to accept the position is one I honestly struggled with. I prayed a prayer that honestly, I don't know for certain that I really believed God could answer it. I prayed it, but did I believe? And then when God answered it by presenting this opportunity that is the perfect fit for me and our family, I doubted if it was the right thing to do. Mostly, I was (and am) afraid. Afraid of change, afraid of the unknown, afraid that financially it might be hard. And it might be hard. And it might be scary. But the life I want is one where I can snuggle my baby just a little bit longer in the mornings. I want more than an hour and a half with him in the evenings before he goes to bed. I want to have time to just breathe, to enjoy my husband, to feel like my house isn't a constant battle zone I am just trying to survive in because I don't have the time or energy to do dishes and laundry and vacuum after working all day and taking care of a baby in the evening. I want to have more time with Porter where I am not trying to multitask and get dinner going and laundry folded and dishes put away at the same time. Long term, I want to be able to send Porter off to school and be there when he gets off the bus. 

This new job, its going to allow me to stay working in my career field, but work more flexible hours. I will work three days in the office, and do some additional hours from home.Its exactly what we need in this season of our life, and I am just so incredibly grateful for the way God has answered this prayer, even in the midst of my doubt. 

I'm hoping with some of my free time, that I can show up in this space a little more frequently as well. 

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Hey New Mama...Its OK!

To all the new moms, and moms to be-its okay. You don't have to have it all together. You are a GOOD mom, and God chose YOU to be your baby's mom. You are the mama he needs, and even when you feel like you have no idea what you're doing-you are doing a good job. Your baby is going to grow up knowing how loved he is, and that is the best gift you can give to him.

Sheesh. Am I the only one who sometimes needs to tell myself that over and over again before I believe it?! Because I do-often. But its okay to have doubts, its okay to worry, its okay to wonder what the heck you're doing. As a new mom, there is so much to figure out, so many new normals to get used to, and a new little person with his own likes and dislikes that you are trying to take care of. 

As a new mom, remember that it is okay:

...To let the dishes stay in the sink and the laundry sit in the basket unfolded and take a nap.

...To ask for help.

...To get back in bed with your baby and watch Greys Anatomy on Netflix when your baby won't let you put him down.

...To admit that being a mom is really hard sometimes.

...To leave the baby with Grandma and Grandpa and go on a date with your baby daddy.

...To ask for help.

...To stop apologizing when people stop by your house and its a mess.

...To choose to feed your baby however works best  for you and your family.

...To chose eating lunch over showering when you only have enough time before your baby wakes up for one.

...To have different opinions on motherhood and things like vaccines, breastfeeding, sleep training, etc. than your mommy friends-agree to disagree!

...To have your pediatricians phone number memorized because you call them so frequently when you're worried about your baby.

...Not have dinner on the table every night when your husband gets home.

...To still have 15 pounds of baby weight to lose at 6 weeks postpartum...or 6 months postpartum. Whatever! Your body did something incredible and gave life to another human-own it.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Porter-One Month

This post is only about two weeks late-woops!

Baby P was officially one month old on Friday. Last week I packed up almost all of his newborn sleepers and cried while I was doing it. He is a little small for the 0-3 month stuff but he definitely has outgrown the NB clothes. We're finishing up the last box of newborn diapers too, and we've been pushing it with those for at least a week. 

This last month feels like it went by so fast-I blinked and now my baby is one month old. What a life changing month it has been. Porter has been eating like a champ and growing and gaining weight really well. We went to the doctor last week and he was up to 9 pounds, 2 ounces, up from his birthweight of 7 pounds, 9 ounces! His little thighs are chunking up nicely too and his belly is really filling out. Chunky baby thighs, is there anything better?

Porter is sleeping well at night for me, he takes his last late night feeding at ten, and then eats again usually around two and six ish. He usually will let us go back to sleep until nine or ten, especially if I bring him into bed with me. Some mornings I try and wake up at a decent time but other mornings I go back to sleep with a happy heart. Porter usually sleeps in his own bed which right now is the Rock n Play or but sometimes he ends up in our bed when he's really fighting sleep or I just want some extra baby snuggles.

Porter is a really alert baby who does not just fall asleep anytime, anywhere like I thought all newborns do. Surpirse! Getting him down for a nap sometimes feels like I am going in for battle. He fights his sleep and needs to be swaddled and rocked and shushed and swayed (while standing) to get him  to sleep during the day.  He loves his swing and his mamaroo but never falls asleep in there if I put him in awake. He loves to be snuggled up close when he sleeps, but we're working on him sleeping in his bed. Its crazy to me that he sleeps better at night than during the day, but I'll take it!

He recently was diagnosed with Silent Reflux where he has acid reflux but doesn't actually spit up that often-he usually swallows it which is so sad to me and he cries and cries inconsolably about an hour after he eats, which happens to be about the time I am trying to get him down for a nap. He was just put on an antacid so we're praying that helps him feel better. Its heartbreaking to see him in pain and not be able to do anything for him! 

 Porter is nursing like a champ and he also takes a bottle of pumped milk a few times a week. Sometimes Daddy gives him his late night feed since he's hard to wake up for it and the bottle is way less work than nursing for him, and he also has been to Grandma's while mom & dad went on a date and took a bottle from Grandma too. He sleeps swaddled for every nap and at night, but always, always manages to break at least one arm out.  We love the Ollie Swaddle and it was worth every pretty penny I spent on it. 

We have been getting out of the house at least a few times a week otherwise I go a bit stir crazy. We've gone to play dates with the moms from church, to doctor appointments and to church, grocery shopping and baby clothes shopping. We've also had visitors 3-4 nights a week which has been amazing because they are all blessing us with meals and loving on baby P. Now we're back on our own as far as meals go and I am wondering how I am going to fit in prepping dinner in my day when sometimes I can't fit a shower in for a couple days and often I eat lunch at 3 PM if I eat at all! 

I can't believe my baby is one month old-oh these last few weeks have been full of the highest highs and even some really dark, sleep deprived, overwhelmed moments as well. But I wouldn't trade them for the world. He really has made my heart grow at least 10x the size it was, and I have experienced such true, unconditional love for this baby, its incredible. Somedays I can't bear to set him down because he's just growing so fast and I am afraid I'm going to miss something. I am so so thankful to be Porter's mom, to have such a supportive and involved husband, and for our community of friends and family who have been loving and encouraging us every step of the way. Porter is already so loved and I look forward to watching him grow and learn and change.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

The Best Nursing Cover Around-Covered Goods Review + Giveaway

When I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to nurse my baby boy. Besides all the health benefits of nursing, I also wanted to have that special bond with him and admittedly, I wanted to save the outrageous cost of formula. Our first few days of Porter's life, breastfeeding didn't come easy.  I felt like I was fighting with him more than I was bonding with him at every feeding, and it was such a production. I needed my nursing pillow and to be sitting straight up with my back supported and Porter needed a nipple shield to latch and it was just exhausting and hard.

I remember feeling so anxious about going out in public with him because I was so afraid of trying to nurse somewhere where I couldn't just strip off my top and cart around my nursing pillow. More than anything, I was nervous about trying to nurse him in public because I am not someone who is comfortable without full coverage of my lady parts, especially somewhere like church or around people I don't know well.

Thankfully, I had THE most amazing nursing cover and just one week after Porter was born, I decided to try it out at home when my girlfriend was over and see if I could get the hang out of nursing under a cover.  I was pleasantly surprised-my Covered Goods cover not only is lightweight, stretchy and an adorable pattern, it also covers my front AND my back, which was  a huge concern for me. No postpartum belly or back fat flashing the general public while I try and nurse is a win in my book!

By Porter's second week in the world, we went to church AND to a picnic in the park after. I didn't have to stress because I had my Covered Goods cover and was able to modestly feed Porter without exposing any part of my back , stomach or chest AND we both stayed relatively cool, despite the 90+ degree heat! Covered Goods makes special summer, lightweight covers but mine is a traditional and I still didn't overheat under it.

Breastfeeding can be really challenging for new moms, and having a cover that made me feel comfortable nursing my baby in public has been a lifesaver. I tend to go a little stir crazy so its great to be able to leave the house whenever I want and not have to plan it around Porter's next feed because I have confidence knowing my Covered Goods nursing cover is in my bag. I've already talked almost all my new mom friends into switching from the traditional covers that only provide front coverage to this amazing cover! I never feel awkward or uncomfortable while nursing in public and it provides a stress free, private way for me to nurse Porter anytime, anywhere.

Covered Goods is generously offering a $34.99 shop credit-that is the cost of one Covered Goods cover so you will just pay $5.00 in shipping- to one lucky reader and all you have to do to enter is be a Facebook fan of Grace in Grey & Covered Goods. If you're a new mom or mom to be, trust me when I say you need one of these covers. If you don't have a need for a nursing cover but know someone expecting, this is one of the most practical baby shower gifts I can think of! To enter, make sure you like Grace in Grey  and Covered Goods on Facebook and then use the Rafflecopter below to enter. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Porter's Birth Story

Porter came into the world on his own timeline and on his own terms. He was four days late, but I always had a strong feeling he wouldn't be on time. He gets that tendency from his Dad ;) I was due on Saturday, June 20th and went to see my doctor on Monday, June 22nd.  They had me scheduled for a non-stress test that day, and on Saturday I  had gotten an ultrasound to check his fluid levels. My doctor started discussing induction plans with us, and I was so disappointed because I really wanted baby P to come on his own. She said depending on his fluid levels, she would wait til Saturday the 27th to induce at the very latest, but she would be on vacation so it would have to be an on call doctor to deliver. If his fluid levels were too low at his next check on Wednesday, she was going to induce me Thursday. I prayed and prayed for Porter to make his appearance before then-I wanted my doctor to be the one to deliver but I also didn't want to induce early based on her vacation plans. 

On Tuesday morning around 4 AM I woke up with strong period like cramps. I started timing them, and they were about ten minutes apart. They weren't super painful, but painful enough they kept me awake, so I decided to take a bath and see if they stopped or progressed. By seven that morning they were still the same intensity and frequency, and I was really tired, so I texted my boss and told her I wouldn't be logging on to work from home that day and laid back down and tried to sleep. When I woke up around ten, the contractions had basically stopped. 

Later that afternoon, I lost my mucus plug & knew that SOMETHING was happening! I didn't want to get my hopes up, but I told Ronnie I thought Baby P was thinking about making his way into the world. I laid around and watched Pretty Little Liars all day, and then after Ronnie got home and we had dinner, we decided to go walk around the mall because I wanted to get things moving but it was over 100 degrees outside. I made it through one store before I was just over it and wanted to go home. I felt uncomfortable and huge and hot and bad for myself, surrounded by all those cute clothes when the only thing that fit me were yoga pants and my husbands oversized tee-shirts.

That evening, the cramps started up again really inconsistently and not too painful. We got the best sno-cones on our way home (Tigers Blood with coconut ice-cream in the middle!) and I went to sleep, hoping to wake up in labor. My wishes came true, because at 4:00 AM,  a contraction woke me up and I was 100% sure it was the real deal. The pain was much more intense then what I had been feeling the previous day, and I started timing them, and they were 5-7 mins apart. I told myself I'd wait til 5:30 AM when Ronnie woke up for work to get in the bathtub so I didn't wake him, but by 4:30, I was in so much pain I couldn't wait. I woke him up and told him I was having consistent and painful contractions and that he should probably get his bag packed and have a good breakfast. I lasted about fifteen or twenty minutes in the bathtub, and by 5:00 AM I was throwing up with every contraction. I expected to labor at home for a lot longer, but I was not tolerating the contractions well at all so by 6:30 we were on our way to the hospital!

When they checked me in around 7 AM, I was 3 cm dilated and 70% effaced. The nurse mentioned that they might have me walk around for an hour to see how I progressed but I looked at her with a sheer look of terror and told her I could absolutely not walk around! They called my doctor who told them just to admit me since I was overdue and she was planing on inducing me in the next couple of days anyway. They checked me an hour later and I was at a 4, and still 70% effaced-praise the lord I was progressing! I was still throwing up with every single contraction though so I didn't celebrate too much at this point.

At this point, the nurse asked me what my plan for pain management was and all I could say was "I want drugs." She asked if I meant epidural or IV and I remember thinking to myself that I want the GOOD stuff. Sign me up for the epidural, please and thank you. Then she left the room to call my doctor to update her on my progress and give the anesthesiologist a heads up. The nurse came back shortly after and told me my doctor wanted me to get 100% effaced before I got the epidural and I wanted to throat punch her, and my doctor.

After another grueling couple of hours, at 10:00 AM finally I was 100% effaced and in walked in my favorite person in the world-the anesthesiologist. I was so anxious for the epidural my entire pregnancy, I was terrified of the needle in my spine, terrified of something going wrong, terrified of it not working. I thought for sure it was going to be a horrific pain getting that shot in my back but it literally hurt less then the shot I gave myself once a week for my RA. Within minutes, I was feeling like a million bucks and told Ronnie I wanted to name our baby after him. The nurse said about 10 minutes after I got the epidural "Well your demeanor changed!" After getting the epidural I stopped throwing up, started smiling and laughing again, and honestly the rest of my labor was a breeezzeeee. 

My doctor showed up around 11:00 AM to check my progress and I was at a 5 at this point, so she broke my water and it looked like on the monitors that my contractions were slowing down and not very strong, so she ordered some Pitocin at 12:30. They started it at the very lowest dose and within 20 mins baby's heart rate started dropping, so they turned it off by about 1:00 PM. At 1:30 because the contraction monitor still didn't seem to be picking up contractions, they were getting me prepped for an internal monitor but when the nurse checked me before placing it, I was 9 cm dilated! 

Everyone was so surprised because they had thought my contractions had stopped or slowed so significantly, but it turns out the monitor for some reason just wasn't picking them up. At 2:30, I was fully dilated and they said they'd call my doctor to have her come back over from her office and have me labor down before I started pushing. I asked them if they could lower my epidural dosage because I was SO numb, I couldn't even feel Ronnie when he would poke or lightly hit my leg. I was worried I wouldn't be able to push being that numb, so they lowered it which helped, but I still had zero control over my legs until after he was born.

The nurse had me do a practice push at 3:00 to try and gauge how long I'd be pushing for. She told us most first time moms pushed for about two hours, so I did one practice push and she told me to stop pushing because they could see his head! I asked if he had hair and they said yes! This was the most uncomfortable part of labor, because his head was so close to crowning but I had to wait almost 30 minutes for my doctor before I could push! When my doctor finally arrived and got set up it was 3:30 and I started pushing. After a couple pushes, we waited for another contraction and all watched the monitor for at least five minutes and it looked like I didn't have one, but then my body just kind of took over and started moving the baby out itself. I was having contractions but that dang monitor for some reason wouldn't show them! At this point, Porter's heart rate started dropping again and the doctor said she might have to use the vacuum. She asked the nurses to get it prepped and right when they were bringing it in, I pushed once more and he was born at 3:56 PM!

The rest of the evening was kind of a blur between family and friends coming to visit and all the nurses in and out cleaning and weighing and measuring Porter, helping me to the bathroom, helping me try and nurse Porter (which is another story for another day), etc. We were so blessed to have so many amazing friends and family stop by, bring us meals and treats, and love on us while we were in the hospital. We also had the BEST care from some incredible nurses. I was pretty emotional those two days we spent at the hospital because of some very minor health issues with Porter and because he was struggling to nurse, but the nurses were so amazing, caring and supportive I was kind of sad to be leaving them when it was time to go home!

Porter will be one month old on Friday, and I have more blog posts about his first month of life planned, but this post is plenty long enough as it is. Kudos to you if you red the entire thing! 

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