My dirty little secret

imageOnce my husband had returned from deployment we were not “not trying” to get pregnant. We were both in our late twenties and had been married for three years and most of our friends were either pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Just a few weeks after zach’s return from Afghanistan we found out we were pregnant. I was elated at first.

But here is my secret…after the novelty of pregnancy wore off I had some major reservations and apprehension about having a baby. What the hell did we know about babies? Not a damn thing. I never even babysat! Zach had just returned from a 9 month deployment and we were still trying to get aquainted after a long, hard deployment. The extent of my baby knowledge stemmed from what I learned in physcial therapy school. So I could tell you by what month does baby walk, crawl, roll and all the gross motor milestones but ask me to change a diaper or make a bottle?! Everyone kept telling me, “your mommy instinct will just kick in”. But what if it didn’t?!

You do not need to hang out with me long to know that I am as laid back as it comes. This laid back “type B” personality is a blessing and a curse. Not much ruffles my feathers but my laid back personality usually results in procrastination and passiveness. I had enough difficulty keeping up with my own appointments and responsibilities, how was I supposed to be a primary caregiver to something so fragile and helpless.

Another apprehension was losing control of my body and body image. I had worked three long years to lose over 50 pounds. I was finally at a place were I felt pretty again. I knew that stretch marks, excess weight, and hormonal changes were a likely possibility in my near future. And as vain as it sounds it was truth.

This was my secret. Behind the smiles and words of excitement I was utterly terrified. No one wanted to hear that. If I would bring up any apprehension most people would either ignore or dismiss my reservations. Was I ready to give up most of my social life? Was I ready for sleepless nights? And what about my career and work life? Would the stress of a baby affect my marriage?

So speed up the clock and Mason is here. I am still utterly terrified but there is something different as well. I have never felt so much love in my life. I would look at Mason and I could feel my heart swell. I have never felt such a pull to protect and love something so much in my life. I found myself  watching him sleep in utter disblief that he is mine and how how perfect he is. I was so completely exhausted from labor but I did not want to miss one sweet breath from my little one. And the strange thing I feel like I’ve been waiting for him my whole life. Like fate had been preparing me for the moment of becoming his mom. All the pieces fell into place just like everyone had said they would. I still didn’t know how to change a diaper or how to breastfeed or make a bottle but as a family we would figure it out. Mason would look at me with his big brown eyes and know that I would love him forever and we’d be okay.

Life is different know. My bedtime is usually closer to 8:30pm rather than 1:30am. I find more enjoyment buying baby clothes than buying dresses, shoes, and purses for myself. My saturday nights consist of Mason’s bath at 5 followed by bedtime stories, kisses goodnight, and watching some red box movie with Zach while I sip on some wine before I pass out. My priorities have changed and where I used to be #1 someone more special and deserving has taken my place. Things have not changed in that fact as I’m still learning as I go but I’m not scared anymore. I know that God has blessed me with privelage of being Mason’s mom. I might not know it all but I know what matters most and he calls me mom.



If I were stranded on a deserted island with my baby and I could only bring 10 items they would be…..


1) Rocker and ottoman
My husband and I initially said that we were not going to spend the extra money on a glider. I mean would it really make a difference? Yes…it makes a huge difference at 3 o’clock in the morning when your little one is screaming for apparently no reason and your nerves are about as fried as Colonel Sanders Friday night fried chicken bucket. We decided to splurge and get a matching ottoman as well and I’d say its well worth the dough people. There is just something soothing to that gentle rocking motion and babies dig it

2) Gripe water
We didn’t come across this miracle liquid until Mason was about 3 months old. Gripe water is natural liquid mixture of ginger root and fennel root extract. You can add it to formula or breast milk and it is supposed to help with colic, gas, and hiccups. It comes with its own little syringe and doses are anywhere from 3-5 mL depending on your baby’s size. We add to it our little boy’s night bottle and when he is cranky and it seems to help when he’s a grump. There might be some sort of placebo affect but if it works, it works.

3) Baby Borjn
Strap him in and let’s go. Grocery shopping by yourself with a car seat and all your other baby paraphernalia is a tricky task. Once you have baby, car seat, diaper bag, and purse in cart you shortly run out of room for any groceries. I used to put Mason’s car seat on the top rack of the cart but a fireman stopped me and told me that doing so can damage the locking mechanism for attachment to the base. The next time, I brought my baby carrier and it was a breeze shopping compared to luging that damn car seat everywhere. Also, Mason seems to like being able to be close to me and looking at all the commotion of the grocery store.

4) Motorized Swing
We borrowed a swing from a friend because we had gotten a hand-me-down swing that broke shortly after Mason was born. We again doubted the usefulness of such a product. Boy were we wrong. Mason L-O-V-E-D his swing. If he was cranky a few swings back and forth and this kid was in heaven. One night the batteries died to the swing and Mason was being especially indignant. My husband sat for three hours pushing it with his foot. Oh the things you will do to pacify a crying baby…

5) Soothie pacifiers
Mason would not take to any pacifiers other than the Soothie brand pacifier. Babies find that sucking is soothing and pacifiers have been found to reduce the risk of SIDS. Mason found it especially difficult to self soothe on his own especially when he was a newborn. We do not use it as a sleep aid but on those occasions that he can not calm himself it really does help. The most difficult part of pacifiers is remembering where you put it down last. Pacifiers are always easily accessible and present until that moment your child is about to break the sound barrier with deafening screams. On a side note, our lab, Bailey, is also a big fan of chewing on Mason’s pacifiers as well.

6) Sound Machine
I’m sleepy just thinking about the gentle swooshing of Mason’s sounds machine. Mason is a big fan of the white noise and tends to get close to his sound machine as the night goes on. We do keep the volume pretty low because we read an article saying that sound machine may have contributed to hearing issues in infants. Take home message: Don’t blare your sound machine like your front row at a Bon Jovi concert

7) Rock ‘n’ Play Bassinet
Mason slept in this bassinet next to our bed for about 6 weeks. It was nice when he was a newborn because the head was elevated for reflux issues. Mason liked the snugness of it and I liked that it was portable and that it rocked. Mason would often times fall sleep in it and I would drag it throughout the house to wherever I would pass out. If he woke up I would through an arm over the side of our bed and rock and pat him back to sleep. Also, being a new mom I was very nervous about my little one sleeping in that big ol’ crib by himself. At about 6 weeks he was too long for the bassinet and we switched him to the crib with no problem.

8) Those damn snaps
If I could do it all over again I would specifically ask for zip up only PJs for Mason. I can not tell you how difficulty it is to correctly snap up Pjs in the middle of the night, in the dark, on a squirming baby when you are half asleep. Next baby (dare I say the words) zip up only people.

9) Swaddle Me swaddlers
Mason had these demonic moments every now and then where his face would turn completely red and he would be so angry he let out the dreaded “silent cry”. If any of you know about this cry it is the precursor to something much much worse. At this point for one reason or another, Mason would be almost inconsolable usually due to gas the poor baby (this was prior to the gripe water discovery). It is difficult to get a swaddle blanket around a child who is in the throws of anger. These swaddlers are wonderful. You put their feet in and basically strap them in and they are snug as a bug and you can pat and shoosh and rock until all is at peace with the world. My one contingency is to stop use when they can roll because since they can not move their arms and if they roll on their face they can suffocate. Also, (now this is the physical therapist coming out in me) do not keep your baby in it all times because I would think that it would keep them from discovering and performing those gross motor movements they need to learn to reach and kick and all that fun stuff. Okay, exiting soap box….now….

10) Refreshments please?
Coffee…..Dear baby Jesus thank you for this wonder drink that keeps me from turning into a zombie from night of the living dead after being up all night nursing this child every 2 hours. I don’t understand it when people tell me that they don’t drink coffee. That’s like me saying I don’t breath air. It’s a necessity for me and this exhausted momma needs her bean juice.
And then of course by the end of the week Momma needs her bottle too. After Mason is down for the night I grab a glass, uncork that bottle, and enjoy a glass of vino(or two) before bed.



imageYou’ve been waiting for this moment for nine months! You are so excited to hold and kiss your sweet little cherub. You envision the picture perfect moment of snuggling with your little one and being engulfed by the serenity of the little miracle you just created. Then reality sets in and you realize that all your mommy friends forgot to tell you that postpartum life is all but glamorous.

1) You never thought you’d wear mesh panties—and love it
Thats right. Mesh panties. After you deliver your body will begin the process of pushing out all the excess blood and tissue your body needed to nourish your little one during pregnancy. The flow is HEAVY at first and blood clots may also be present. Those sexy mesh panties work perfectly with a large maxi pad since you will not be able to use a tampon. Since your belly will still be swollen and maybe sore, the elasticity of the mesh panties is not only comfortable but they are disposable! My nurse told me that clots up to the size of credit card are normal. This was a bit shocking when she told me this to say this least. To top it all off, you may also experience abdominal cramping as your uterus begins it journey from the size of whatever fruit What to Expect told you down to about the size of your fist. I especially noticed sharp cramping when I was breastfeeding due to those good ol’ hormones telling your uterus to shape up.

2) Am I breastfeeding a vampire?
I’m not sure I would have made it through without Lanolin and soothie pads. Lanolin is a natural protectant that you can apply to your poor painful cracked nipples to help with healing after your little one has veraciously attacked your boobs like a hyena. I would highly recommend looking over a breastfeeding book before your little one comes and during as needed. I read that painful nursing is usually due to a poor latch. You can detach your little one from your nipple by slipping a finger in his mouth and gently slide finger out to the corner of their mouth to break his seal. Those soothie pads are wonderful with a capital W. However they are pricey and are only good for 72 hours. Also, my lab Bailey really liked to eat those expensive buggers. Don’t worry we found them later in the backyard. Don’t worry…no animals were harmed during the breastfeeding process.
3) Coochie Coolers!
Amen to Tucks pads or coochie coolers! I delivered my little one via C-section however I pushed for several hours up until the point we found that it was fruitless. Tuck’s pads are given to you by the hospital and are basically maxi pads that have cooling beads in them. They are the next best thing to sticking your hind end into a freezer. I have seen pins on Pinterest of homemade coolers but have not heard many reviews.

4) Nap time nightmares
I never babysat. I really never had to care for young children until Mason! I was under the impression that babies just go to sleep when they are tired. Well…some babies might do that but my little stink had other plans. Some babies need to be put down for naps! Mason continues to this day to fight naps however he is a much happier baby when he gets those naps in. Late to bed does not necessarily mean late to rise. An overly tired baby is a TERROR. We found that we would watch him like a hawk and look for tired signs such as yawns, rubbing eyes, moving legs and arms with less coordination/spastic, and he likes to rub his head on our chest.

5) Hungry Hungry Hippo
When I was breastfeeding, I could not eat enough! Don’t be surprised if you have an increased appetite when you are breastfeeding. I have read that you burn about 20 calories per ounce of breast milk you express! If your little one eats 3 oz every 2-3 hours you have already burned at least 720 calories by just being an awesome mommy!

6) Home cooked Delivered meals are a godsend
We were so thankful for the outpouring of love and gifts from all of our friends and family showed us especially home cooked delivered meals. I am pretty sure that my husband would have starved if we didn’t have some of those delicious meals. Those first couple of weeks I barely had enough energy to shower. I literally was in a nursing bra and robe for weeks. Cooking dinner those first couple of weeks was the last thing on my mind. I think next go round I am going to get my pregnant butt in gear and make frozen meals ahead of time so I don’t have to worry about my husband starving to death.

7) Why do I still look pregnant
After delivery you lose around 10-15 pounds right off the bat! Hell yea! But wait a darn minute what is this sad squishy pouch where my stomach used to be?! *sigh* Yes, you will sadly still look pregnant after birth of your little one. Don’t worry those first 6 weeks you wont really feel like working out anyways and if you do…I hate you.

8) That first BM is scary
Yes i’m talking poop here. After hours of pushing you are not sure what the hell is going on down there. Just make sure that you are taking stool softeners as directed by physician especially if you are still taking prenatal vitamins. You’ll get through it just breathe. I think we have covered that topic. Check.

9) You wont get much sleep at the hospital
At our hospital all babies roomed in with the new parents. There was always an array of doctors, nurses, aides, housekeepers, lactation specialists, and even a photographer?! coming in and out all day and night. Every change of shift 7-3, 3-7, 7-11 expect someone to come in and check on you and baby. We were pleased with all the attention but definitely were ready to go home to some “relative” peace and quiet after discharge with our baby boy.

10) Life after baby
Getting out the door to just go to the grocery is a major event. When did the baby eat last? When was his last nap? Does he need to be changed first? Where’s the damn binkie? Have the dogs eaten today? Simple errands now require the planning of a four star general. Don’t forget to continue to date your spouse and find some time to have fun and relax. And always remember that bottles just aren’t for babies. Pour yourself a glass of wine and relax mom you deserve it…