Monday, June 25, 2012

Baby Mac - 1 Month



Dear Mac,

I can't believe you're already a month old.  Sometimes I'm amazed that it's already been four weeks since you arrived and other times I'm amazed that it's only been four weeks.  You're such a wonderful addition to our little family.  These four weeks have been the most challenging and incredible weeks of my life.  Despite all the reading and research I did before you got here, nothing prepared me for being a new mom and the emotions that come along with it.  I've never loved anything so much and I'm constantly shocked at how intense that love can be - it's buried deep within my soul and grows exponentially stronger by the minute.  It's such a consuming love that it overwhelms me sometimes and I find myself in tears wondering how I'll ever be able to keep you safe your whole life.  I definitely see how mothers can pick up cars for their children...I think I could move a semi-truck for you if I needed to.  


I know I'm totally biased, but you are the most beautiful baby I've ever seen.  You have deep bright wise eyes that I can get lost in.  Right now they're still a dark grey and we have no idea whether they'll turn blue (like mine) or brown (like your dad's).  You have the softest lips and the cutest little nose, which I used to think was mine, but now looks like your dad's.  You have giant hands that we call mitts (all the better to play baseball with), long skinny legs and huge feet with monkey toes (all the better to swing from trees with).  Your dad thinks you'll be a great swimmer with those paddles on your feet!  Your umbilical cord fell off after about three weeks and now you have the most adorable little belly button.  You have a little birthmark on your butt that we love.  Everything about you is perfection.


You're already such a wonderful little person.  Your personality is just starting to show and you are funny and happy.  You make the best little squeaking noises and squeals when you're happy and the funniest faces and grunts when you're not.  You have a great O-face when you're trying to poop that cracks me up.  You love tummy time and you love hanging out on your changing table.  You just kick away and talk to me.  You get the hiccups daily and you hate them.  You sneeze all the time and I pray  that you're not allergic to cats or dogs - surely not, as you're constantly covered in dog hair, like everything else in our house.  You're a good sleeper, as long as you're sleeping on me or your dad, which most of the time is fine with us.  We can't get enough of you and I have the hardest time putting you down (you're in my arms right now).  I spend hours just holding you, cuddling you and staring at you.  You and I pass our days in a warm spot on the couch, just being close to each other.  I have a crazy desire to memorize every inch of you and I never want to forget every second of our time together.  I can't seem to get anything done because I'm too busy just absorbing you.  You get about six thousand kisses a day, which is never enough.  


Your only issue right now is your insatiable hunger.  You're just like your daddy in that you want to eat a lot and you eat FAST.  When you're hungry, you can't get food into your belly fast enough and you end up gagging and choking and sucking in a lot of air in your attempt to eat as quickly as humanly possible.  Sometimes you forget to breathe when you're eating and then panic to get air, which leads to a freak-out by both you and us.  We joke that you already have a drinking problem.  We remedy the situation by trying to feed you while you're still mostly asleep, which works much better.  And despite the issue, you're getting plenty to eat and are already up to almost 11 pounds!  You're finally getting some chubby cheeks and a few little rolls on your thighs.  The other day I swore you had a double chin...I absolutely love it!  


Of course, this first month of your life was filled with so many "firsts" that it's been hard to keep up with them all.  Your first car ride, your first bath, your first walk around the neighborhood, your first trip to the farm.  You're going to have so many "firsts" over the next few years and I'm so excited and honored to get to experience them with you.  Each one has made me proud and yet also a little sad that you're already growing up so quickly.  I'm trying to document everything and my camera is quickly filling up with thousands of pictures that I probably won't have a chance to go through until you're in college.  I don't know how other mamas manage to take (and process) so many photos of their kiddos and write full daily blog posts to go with them.  I'm lucky if I can get one post done every couple weeks!  I typed this one with one finger on the iPad while holding you, and it's already a week overdue.  Hopefully I'll get better.  


You are more than I could have ever imagined. little man.  I spent so many days and nights praying for you and dreaming of you, it's just the most wonderful thing ever that you're finally here in my arms, sqirming and squeaking.  I'm so proud to be your mama.  Thank you for being my baby.

Love,
Mama

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day


I think one of the most amazing parts about having a child has been watching my husband turn into a father.  I always knew he'd be a great father, but I was really blown away by just how wonderful he is with the baby and how helpful he's been with both of us.  Mac and I would not have made it through this past month without him.  He's attentive to all the baby's needs; patient with him when he cries and with me when I'm a hormonal wreck; energetic enough to clean the house, do the laundry and make dinner for us every night; humorous with his silly songs and funny faces; and more loving than any man I know.    He's seriously been Super Dad.  He seemed to have an instant bond with Mac and I'm already jealous of their future father-son relationship and all the hunting/fishing/golfing/baseball/swimming that they'll do in the years to come.  He's such an amazing father already and it's only been a month.  I swear, marrying that man is the best decision I ever made...I hope my son turns out to be EXACTLY like his daddy.


 From the looks of things, I don't have much to worry about in that department.


 Happy first Father's Day, Ryan.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Big Cry


This is a tough post for me to write.  Like most people, I hate admitting that I'm not good at something or I'm not as strong as I thought I was.  But sometimes you're given a hand that you just can't handle and you lose it.  This happened to me last week in a major way.  After I got home from the hospital with the little guy, my friend Brooke warned me about "The Big Cry."  You know, the uncontrollable meltdown that all new moms will have within the first few weeks of being home with a new baby.  She warned it would happen soon, that it's normal and that it's ok to just let it all out.  I'd been so emotional and hormonal and crying off and on for days, so I figured maybe I'd just get my "Big Cry" out in little episodes.  Yeah, not so much.

Last Tuesday the baby was fussy.  Incredibly fussy all morning long.  By noon, the fussiness had turned into full blown scream-crying.  I'd try to feed him and he'd scream.  I tried to burp him and he'd throw himself all over the place.  I'd try to swing him and he'd spit up everywhere.  I'd swaddle him and he'd panic and scream louder.  Nothing worked.  Not singing, not shusshing, not swaddling, not eating, not sucking, not tummy time, not bouncing, not inside, not outside, not swinging, not music, not burping...nothing.  NOTHING.  My diagnosis is that he had an upset tummy (based on all two weeks of mommy experience I had), but I had no idea what I could do about it.  He was rooting and acting like he was starving, but every time I fed him, he'd take a little and then start screaming again.  He couldn't catch his breath, he was so worked up he could barely eat, he would take a couple giant sips of milk, swallow and scream bloody-murder.  He was eating, but I felt like feeding him was causing him physical pain.  He would cry and I would cry.  The worse he got, the more upset I got.  Around 3:00, after hours of this, we both absolutely lost it.  Cue my "Big Cry."  

Reinforcements were called - my husband rushed home from work to help me out and I cried and cried until he got home.  Mac was crying and I was singing, snuggling, bouncing and telling him over and over again how much I loved him and how much I just wanted to make him better.  Of course a baby can't understand any of that, but he did eventually calm down and fall asleep in my arms just a few minutes before Ryan pulled into the driveway.  I felt like such a failure.  Such a wimp for calling my husband.  Such a crybaby for not being able to pull it together.  Such a loser for letting my emotions/hormones get the best of me.  Such a bad mom for not being able to calm down my poor baby.

Here we are now, a week later and I have a little more perspective on the situation.  He's had plenty of meltdowns after that one and sometimes the crying (his, not mine) has been even worse, but I've handled them much better since that day.  I don't know if it was the lack of sleep or raging hormones or just the initial panic of being all alone with a screaming baby and not knowing what to do, but it got the best of me.  Knock on wood, but I haven't had another meltdown in nearly two weeks.  Maybe that means I'm getting more used to the crying; maybe it means I'm getting better at reading his cues and knowing what he needs; or maybe it just means that I'm due for my next meltdown very soon.


Anyone else out there have the Big Cry?  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mac's Newborn Photos

You all know how obsessed I am with photography, so it's no surprise that I called in the "big guns" for Mac's newborn photos. In my humble opinion, Jodie and Kim at Fresh Art Photography take the absolute best newborn photos in St. Louis. They are true baby whisperers and know how to get the cutest poses from little guys. With 10 kids between them, it's no surprise that they know what they're doing. So, the day after we got out of the hospital, at 5 days old, Mac had his session. And a few days later, we got a sneak peek. Amazing!

















Love love love.

I'm still blown away at how beautiful they are.

 Check out Mac's bog post here and let Jodie and Kim know what an amazing job they did!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Baby Mac - The First Two Weeks

I can't believe I've been a mommy now for two whole weeks.  Two weeks ago, I left for the hospital with a giant belly and got to leave with a tiny beautiful baby...it still blows my mind.  They have definitely been the most amazing, most emotional, most stressful, most exhausting, most wonderful weeks of my entire life.  I've tried to soak up every second of mommyhood so far, but I know with the lack of sleep, overwhelming emotions and raging hormones I probably won't remember as much as I want to.  So this is my attempt to document Mac's first few weeks of life.  It's more for me than anything, but I'll throw in some cute baby pictures to keep you entertained.


We were in the hospital from Sunday morning until Thursday afternoon.  The staff at the hospital was great.  There was only one nurse that we didn't really care for, and one nurse that we fell madly in love with.  The first few days were incredibly emotional (and very hormonal).  I think I cried at least a dozen times.  Mostly because I was so happy, but also because I was terrified.  It's such a surreal feeling to be handed a child and expected to know what to do with him.  It's such a huge responsibility and can feel so overwhelming, but then you look into those little eyes and your heart melts and you know that you will do whatever it takes to give this child absolutely everything he needs or wants.  


Those first few days are already a bit of a blur to me.  I know that Ryan and I just sat and held Mac, staring at him in complete amazement.  A little bit of me and a little bit of Ryan; our love wrapped up and incorporated into a tiny new person.  We were humbled.  We were in awe.  And Mac was beautiful.  I couldn't believe how gorgeous this kid was.  His skin was perfect, he had great color, his eyes were bright and clear.  He had my nose and Ryan's mouth. My eyes and Ryan's crooked toes.  We made him.  We get to keep him.  He's ours.  Unreal.


We left the hospital and brought Mac home on Thursday.  It was a crazy chaotic experience.  As prepared as we thought we were at home, we weren't even close.  Since I had a c-section, I couldn't take the stairs, except to go up at night for bed.  This meant that we'd have to have a baby station upstairs as well as downstairs.  Ryan and I scrambled for hours getting the house ready and set-up and comfortable for our new lifestyle.  By the time we went to bed that evening we were absolutely exhausted.  And in true newborn fashion, Mac didn't make it any easier on us.  It was a hell of a night and we didn't get much sleep at all.  Mac had meltdown after meltdown, all night long.  The crying nearly brought us both to tears.  We were horrified - what happened to our sweet peaceful baby?  What were we doing wrong?  How do we fix it?  What does he want?  We still have so much to learn.


The next day, our angel baby was back.  We had his newborn pictures done and he slept like a log through the entire session.  He was perfect.  He slept all day, obviously exhausted by our all-night scream party the evening before.  But this also let Ryan and I get some rest too.  By the end of the day, we were ready for our little "night terror" to appear again.  This time we had a plan.  We devised schedules.  We were ready.  But, Mac was a perfect baby all night long.  He went right back to sleep after feedings, he slept until we woke him for food, he barely cried at all.  Go figure.  Every day is a new experience, every day is different, every day is an adventure.  And I can't wait for the next day, to see what it will bring.

At our first pediatrician appointment, Mac was up in weight from when we left the hospital.  The doctor told us we were doing a great job.  That stamp of approval was the best feeling in the world.  We'd managed to keep him alive for an entire week...now we just had to keep it up for 18 or so more years.  Easy as cake, right?  And just when it felt like we were getting the hang of things, Ryan had to go back to work and left me and Mac home alone.  I have to admit that I was terrified of needing help with the baby and not having Ryan around, but we made it.  I still can't seem to get anything accomplished during the day, which blow my mind.  When Ryan gets home I still haven't showered or eaten or cleaned up or anything, but the kid is well-fed and that's all that matters.  Seriously, where does the time go?  Surely I'll get better at this, right?  (please say yes)


After three days, it was so nice having Ryan back home for the weekend.  We spent most of Saturday in a complete sleepless stupor, wanting desperately to nap, but unable to get the baby to sleep.  He was up for hours - gassy and fussy and just plain uncomfortable.  It is the hardest thing ever to feel so helpless and not be able to make it better for your baby.  I had no idea that as his mom, I would physically hurt and feel pain when my child cried.  When he hurts, I do too.  It's an amazing connection.  But then to make up for it, he slept like a log all night long.  We woke up Sunday rested and ready to take on the world again.  Down one day, up the next - the new story of our lives.  After spending all day Saturday cooped up, we were determined to get out of the house and get some fresh air.  We packed up the baby bag, the stroller, the dogs and everything else we might possibly need for an outing (which only took about 3 hours to accomplish), and headed to the park to go for a walk.  However, Mac wasn't having it.  Within 10 minutes he was screaming bloody murder and I was in tears.  We couldn't figure out whether he was hot or hungry or what.  We panicked and packed everyone back up and headed back home.  Turns out he was just hungry...only 45 minutes after his last feeding, he was starving again.  Once he ate, he was out like a light.  So much to learn.


These first two weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster, but I wouldn't change them for the world.  Despite the pain and the exhaustion, these two weeks have been the best weeks of my life.  I still can't believe this tiny little human is mine.  I spend hours just looking at him in complete amazement.  He has giant hands and the biggest feet I've ever seen on a baby.  He's super long and loves to stretch his legs out and spread out his monkey toes.  He's almost too long for his newborn outfits.  He makes the funniest faces when he's trying to poop.  He squawks when he eats and makes little baby love noises in his sleep.  He sneezes all the time.  He loves to be held, so I hardly ever put him down.  When he's awake he studies my face with intense concentration like he's trying to memorize it.  He gets the hiccups every evening.  He has fuzzy blonde hair on his shoulders and ears.  He loves to dance to with his daddy.  The tip of his nose is slightly cooler than the rest of his face.  He sticks his tongue out at my when I give him kisses.  I think his eyes are tuning brown.  I swear he laughed for the first time last night.  He smells like heaven.  He looks just like his dad.


Two weeks ago, I became a mom and my life will never be the same.  

It's much better than I ever imagined.