Category Archives: Mama

Favourites: Mommy Resources

As a first time-mommy, I once was in a vast land of options and opinions with very little direction. Eventually, I found my way to a few resources that really helped me to focus. The first of these resources is Baby Center. Not only does Baby Center have answers to many, if not all of the questions I had. Once you sign up, you get to follow your pregnancy with a timeline that sends you emails every week with progress. This progress continues once your baby is born! It’s funny, because Brady always checks baby center every time that Atlas has a new month birthday; reading the expected milestones out loud and discussing Atlas’ development with me. It’s really exciting that he is taking such a keen interest in our baby, and I love that Baby Center makes this information available to us in an easy to understand and access platform.

There’s also ‘birth clubs’- I happen to be in two, because Atlas was due in September so I was a member of the Sept 2013 club my whole pregnancy, then joined the August club when he was born early. I really enjoy being in contact and discussion with other moms across Canada who’s babies are the same age as Atlas. It’s a great way to share your progress, questions and concerns with like-minded Canadian mommies.

Prior to having Atlas I was overwhelmed with options for registries. While I was far from family and not expecting a baby shower, I do like to keep things organized and I did have friends asking if there was anything they could gift us with. I found Baby List after the babies’r’us registry on the website didn’t work. I was glad that I did. It is a really neat website that allows you to build a comprehensive registry with products from any website. I put a lot of ‘generic’ products in, too. Since we weren’t picky about brands and cost (thrift shops for the win!) I wanted a list built around ideas, rather than specific brand-names. (This was also born of my inherent discomfort in the idea of ‘registries’- I hate feeling like I am ‘expecting’ or asking for a gift, or being entitled to something.) At any rate, I built our ‘registry’ really easily with this site, and found sharing it equally easy.

What’s even better, is that now that I’ve been a mom for a while, I’m enjoying writing reviews of products we’ve enjoyed or regretted buying on weeSpring. It’s an awesome site made even better if you have friends using it. The idea is that people you know are writing reviews on products; instead of some random stranger on the toys’r’us website, it’s me or you writing the review for our friends to read. There’s also the option of selecting ‘I want’ on products that I don’t have, which is kind of like continuing a registry, or at least an organized compilation of wants. Also, because I had reviewed enough products and showed interest, I was made a featured parent on the weeSpring site! This means I got a blurb and new members might get directed to follow my reviews on products. It’s pretty exciting and while I am still a new mommy, I did feel that our view of functionality following form and appreciation of affordability and quality was a valuable one.

So go check them out and see if they’re helpful to you!

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Throwback: Two months old

Dear Atlas,

 

You were such a sweet little guy when you were this little. You couldn’t roll or squirm away from my snuggles and kisses. You just loved staring at me, and I loved staring at you. Your eyes were so big and curious and blue; I could look at them for hours. You just started discovering facial expressions. From a blank stare, your face would transform into the most brilliant smile when I would coo at you. You also discovered the ‘sour’ expression, from which we all got much glee.Your biggest joy was eating, and of course, snuggling. You would sleep in my arms for hours and hours; so content nuzzled up to your mama’s skin. I loved the feeling of you in my arms, pressed against my heart; where you belong.

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Now I look back at these photos and what life was like then, and I remember thinking I couldn’t love him anymore. That he couldn’t get more interesting and exciting and beautiful and wonderful than he was in that moment. And while, yes, my experience at the time was fantastic, and he was definitely perfect- he’s changed so much since then and we’ve grown so much in our relationship.

Back then, even at two months, I was still so unsure of myself as a mother. I felt, partly, like someone had put this doll in my arms and said, “feed him when he cries, change his diaper when it’s dirty, and don’t wake him up if he’s sleeping” – and that was it. I had nothing else to go off of. Oh, sure, I have four little brothers that I grew up helping care for, and yes, I did my fair share of babysitting in my youth, but none of that really prepares you for being the SOLE caregiver for a human life.

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As a big sister, mom and dad were always just a holler away, or maybe at work or the shopping mall- but they were always coming back and I didn’t have any real responsibilities other than to keep my brothers from killing one another while they were in my care. As a babysitter, the parents always came back in a matter of hours; if I was lucky, the kids were in bed the whole time. Worst case scenario I had to feed a baby some food, change one diaper, and plunk it in a crib. Done.

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There were no parents coming to get this little boy. No one to give me a well-detailed schedule telling me when and how to feed him, what time he should go to bed and nap at, how long he should nap for, and if this or that were normal. No one to tell me how to do this.

And even two months in, I was still struggling.

I was drained mentally, emotionally and physically. While, yes, he was a fairly ‘easy’ baby as far as babies go, he was still a baby and I was still recovering from his surprise, two-week-early- arrival.

 

I am not really sure where I’m going with this other than to say that it took me a long time to feel comfortable. To feel confident in what I was doing. Even now, I struggle and I imagine I will struggle forever. Even when my kids are old and have kids of their own; how can you ever really know if what you’re doing is the best for them? It’s so hard! There are so many choices and things that could go wrong. It’s hard not to worry that you’re screwing your kid up royally by putting him to bed at the ‘wrong’ time or feeding him the ‘wrong’ baby-cereal (or cereal at all for that matter)

Now, now, I feel much more like a mama. I feel like I know my baby so much better than I did before- which I suppose only makes sense seeing as how we’ve spent every day for over seven months together… instead of just one or two. But it just seems crazy how much things can change in such a short span of time.

Maybe I’m feeling reminiscent because he looks so big lately; like a toddler more than a baby sometimes. Plus, when he holds his head just right, he looks so much like his daddy that it breaks my heart a little- in the best way possible. And I imagine what he will be like as a man; a good man, just like his daddy. Realizing that that’s actually going to happen one day makes me so freaked out.

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Okay. Well. That was really rambly; I’m sorry. Hope you enjoyed the adorable photos, anyway. 🙂

Oh, Hello Again.

ImageSo. A few months have gone by. Okay, eight months. That’s a lot of months. Oops. Pregnancy treated me okay until two weeks prior to our due date, and – BAM- the baby decided to show up! Labor was intense. The pain was essentially what I had anticipated, however, I did NOT anticipate the lack of breathing room between contractions. Everything – television, movies, the Doctor (for pete’s sake) parenting class- Everything said that I should be able to time my contractions, and that that was how you can tell if and when you are progressing. Well. Let me tell you; there was no space between contractions. I didn’t even realize that one contraction was letting up until all of the sudden it was a million times worse, so I just assume it was the next contraction. They rode one another for 24 hours until he finally decided to show up. There. Was. No. Space. Between. Them.

Essentially, about 12 hours into labor, I started feeling like I was having seizures- my whole entire body was locking up, my muscles wouldn’t relax and I was shaking uncontrollably. I caved and got the epidural; I hadn’t wanted to, and I sometimes wish I hadn’t, but at the time, it was realistically the best option. I was slowing down labor because I couldn’t relax, I was fighting the relentless contractions and stopped progressing (and after a speedy 3 cm in 2 hours, slowing down was awful!)

He did show up eventually, though, with the help of a vacuum and approximately two thousand doctors, nurses and interns in the room with us. That was fun. But seriously I was so thankful for all the healthcare professionals- I felt so well taken care of. They got my baby out and kept us both healthy and safe. It didn’t go how I planned and envisioned, but we were both safe and sound, and that’s what counts.

He was 6lb, 11.5oz and 21″ long. Born at 8:12am on August 20th. Thirteen days early. We named him Atlas Dwight (middle name after Brady’s dad)

He is my world, he is so beautiful and funny and stubborn and amusing and strong-willed. He is gorgeous even when he’s sticky and dirty and smelly and tired and cranky; he is a miracle and I love him. He is my heart outside my body, as I’ve heard it explained. I have thought on ocassion, “What if we had had a girl?” Then I look at my boy and think, “No. That couldn’t have happened- he had to be him, he is perfect, he is perfectly who we were meant to have.”

Anticipation!

We are three quarters of the way there! To where, you ask? To baby boy being born, of course!!  He has gotten so strong; kicking and flipping and rolling around in there. I can feel him as a hard spot when he is pressed up against my side now. It’s really weird- like he’s so much more real in the last few weeks. Hiccups, too, lots of hiccups!! It’s so bizarre to think there is a 3lb, 15″ baby inside of my abdomen. If I contemplate it for too long it does, admittedly, freak me out a bit. But that’s okay. Despite the fact that there’s an alien being in my guts, I am still utterly Week 30excited and amazed by the miracle that he is. Also, so terribly and fantastically excited to meet him.

Ten more weeks.

Next Friday is our routine prenatal appointment. They have been every 4-5 weeks up until this appointment, then after this one they will be every 2 weeks. Every 2 weeks! That, I feel, is going to make time fly by in bigger chunks. Right now I survive weekly, looking forward to our bump photos being taken every Tuesday, but a doctor’s appointment every other Friday is going to be a great way to measure the leaps and bounds in time.

I am starting to get a little bit stressed about being unprepared. Brady is great at calming me down, but his pep-talks only seem to ease my distress for a short period of time. Then the concern starts to creep back in. How are we going to make this tiny one bedroom apartment work for us? I am going to go stir-crazy in here come September! How is he going to be able to get any homework done with the baby in the apartment? Am I supposed to lock us up in the bedroom as soon as Brady is home so he can work on his projects at the desk un-hindered?

The frustration of not having a ‘real’ nursery is also wearing on me. I know, I know; I made sacrifices like ‘not having a nursery’ so we could start our family earlier than 2045. That, however, isn’t making me feel a whole lot better about the situation. I have been knitting our kid some pretty awesome stuffed animals and sweaters and booties, but I feel like that’s not really making up for his lack of personal space. And while I realize that a newborn baby, and heck, a 9 month old baby, isn’t going to care that he doesn’t have a pintrest-pimped out nursery, his mommy does!! I have dreamed of that nursery and all of the love and care and hard work that would go into it for so long. Now it’s just not a reality and it’s kind of crushing. Sad. But I can revel in the joy of my baby boy, feeling him roll around and kick at my ribs, bladder and belly button with ferocity. I can laugh as he kicks and topples the bowl I try to balance on his bump. I can pray for his health and safety in the following ten weeks.

Fear of labor and delivery hasn’t really sunk in just yet, but stay tuned! I’m sure it will be showing up soon enough.

ps- should also mention that these vegetables that these baby websites compare your growing baby to are silly. How is my baby the size of a cucumber? He is definitely wider than that- so is he just as long as a cucumber? Why doesn’t it say ‘your baby is as long as a cucumber’ not ‘the size of’… Oh well! I’m kind of relying on them at this point!