Where’d My Baby Go ? 

Last night, I was laying in bed with Nola, like I do every night. And I found myself staring at her for a really long time. She wasn’t the 7 lbs little baby i brought home almost ten months ago, anymore. She’s almost one. She’s basically a toddler. 

When did she get so big ? 

I feel like so much of the beginning of her life was spent in a sleepless, sore, crying-filled haze that all blends together when I try to look back at it now. I feel like I didn’t absorb as much of her little baby days as I should have. 

But, honestly how could I do more than I did ? There wasn’t a single moment I spent apart from her. There wasn’t a second that she wasn’t in my arms, on my boob, or in the same room with me. She sleeps in my bed. She takes a bath when I shower. She comes to work with me. Not a moment apart. Yet, it still feels like there are memories that I’m missing. 

Maybe it’s because, for almost three weeks, feeding her would cause me massive amounts of physical pain. 

Maybe it’s because I was (and still am) the only one getting up with her every night, every single time she would wake up. Sometimes, I would get two hours of sleep MAX. 

Who knows. 

I looked over at her and realized my baby wasn’t such a baby anymore. 

She waves “hello” and “goodbye.” She says “mama” when she wants me to hold her. She feeds herself. She is so smart and strong. 

As I’m wirting this, she’s sitting in the middle of the floor, analyzing her toy box. She isn’t looking to me to be held or coddled. She doesn’t want attention. She’s being independent. 

I’m so proud of her. I’m so proud that she is the way she is. So smart, silly, always learning, always curious, always looking for something to investigate and get into. 

In such a short time, she’s evolved into a small person. She’s not the little baby who sleeps on and off all day. She interacts and plays. 

I suppose there wasn’t too much for me to remember when it comes to her little days. Lots of sleeping. Lots of eating. Lots of people telling me she shouldn’t sleep in bed with me. All that jazz. And I remember that, and honestly that’s all there was to it. Mostly. 

Now is when the memories start to become more substantial. Crawling, talking, big girl food, walking.

I was there when she first crawled. When she first babbled. When she first sat up. When she first age big girl food. The first time she went in the snow. The first time she went to the park. The first time she pulled herself up. Her first teeth popping up. Her first smile and laughs. 

I was there for all of that. And they’re such beautiful memories. I’m so thankful to have them. 

While she is transitioning from a baby to a toddler, I’m excited to embrace all of the new things that are in store for her. Walking, talking, reading, writing, friendships. There is so much life for her to live and it’s only barley started. 

The memories are just beginning. The future is exciting. 
-Em

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Baby Talk

Today, as Nola was playing with her toys, something happened. Normally, when I put her down, she holds up her arms and cries to be picked up. But, today when I set her down, she didn’t cry, she didn’t look up at me or watch me walk away; she looked at her toys and decided to play with those instead. 

One thousand and one times I have put her down and gotten irritated that she immediately wanted to be picked up. I just needed two minutes to go to the bathroom, make food, rest my arm. Just a moment for myself where I didn’t have a 17 pound baby attached to my hip. A second where my glasses weren’t getting smudged by wet baby fingers, my hair wasn’t being pulled, my face wasn’t getting gnawed and sucked on. Just. One. Second. 

Then, today, I put her down- very well expecting her to cry and put her arms out to be picked up. But she didn’t. She didn’t cry or fuss or stiffen her legs so I couldn’t sit her down. She looked at her toys and decided to play with them. 

At first I thought “yes. Thank you goddess.” But, then I was sad. Why wasn’t my baby reaching for me like she always does ? Why did she pick her toys over wanting to be held ? 

In that moment I realized how big she really is. I recognized that she is on the cusp of so many big things. She’s almost mobile, so she won’t soley rely on me to get around. She’s eating more and more solid food, and our breastfeeding journey is getting shorter and shorter everyday. 

I look at her and see that, yes she’s still a baby, but she’s not the little tiny thing I brought home, what seems like, yesterday. She entertains herself and communicates. She interacts and explores. She laughs and babbles and smiles and growls and yells. She smiles and wiggles with happiness when she sees her aunties and nana and papa. She squeals with glee when I walk into the room. And it melts my heart.

And it makes me think. One day, she won’t be happy to see me. One day, she is going to be a teenager-and lets be honest, teenagers are awful. One day, she won’t want to cuddle with me and she won’t let me kiss her a million times a day. 

It feels like 7 months have sped past at super sonic speed and I haven’t had a chance to savor any of the moments. I realize now that, when she lays on my chest, she is a little heavy and a little longer than I remember. When she nurses, her little legs don’t stop at my tummy anymore; now then wrap around to past my hips and her little hands reach up and grab my face. 

As excited as I am for the future-for preschool and art projects and Halloween costumes and dance recitals and little pig tails and the first days of school-I already miss my little baby. 

I intend to savor every moment, because it truly has gone by much, much too fast.

-Em

Labor: The Tale of How Nola Came to be 

Like I’m sure most moms do, I love talking about my labor experience. I don’t know why, but it’s my favorite thing to talk about. So, talk about it I shall. 

Nola was due on July 1, 2015. And where was I on that fateful day ? The grocery store, running errands. 40 weeks pregnant, on my due date, standing in the deli line. I knew I wasn’t going to deliver or even go into labor on that day, but it was still not how I wanted to pass my due date. 

I also had a doctors appointment that day, so I went to that, too. They confirmed that I was only 3 cm dilated and my water was intact and Nola wasn’t going anywhere today. Well, I was not having that. I wanted her OUT. So, I asked to be induced. As fate would have it, my OB who I planned on delivering my baby, who I had grown attached to over the past nine months, was on vacation. So, I asked this new lady if I could be induced and she said she would call me with an answer later in the day. 

She waited until 8 PM to call me. The anxiety of waiting for the call about gave me a heart attack. But, she called and told me that I was scheduled for induction the following day at 9 PM. Oh man was I excited. 

 The night before the 1st (whatever the last day of June was) I had contractions. They were about 30 minutes apart, but they were strong enough to keep me awake all night. The night before induction. I had started having contractions again, but they were 20-23 minutes apart and still intense, so mark night number two of no sleep. 

So, the day dragged. Hours ticked by and finally it was time. I was anxious and nervous and tired and ready to have one night of good sleep before the baby came. I drove to the hospital and my parents came with me. They were planning on going home that night and would be back in the morning. 

When we got there, I got all checked in and the nurses got my port all set up in my arm (for the IV and pitocin). They got me all set up and said I had an hour to get all settled in and then they were going to start me on the pitocin. 

Well, as it turns out, Nola didn’t need the kick of the pitocin to get labor started. Almost immediately when I got checked in, contractions started. They started and were about 90 seconds apart. The nurses checked and I was only 4.5 cm dilated, so they couldn’t do anything except let labor take its course. 

My mom, who is a nurse and a mother of four, told me that we should walk around “it brings on labor!” she said. So, we’re walking around the maternity ward and I’m doubled over with abdominal pain that could end my life. It was intense. I went back to my room and was a miserable mess, and I couldn’t help but cry from the pain. Of course, as dads do, my dad is making fun of me almost the whole time. Thanks dad. 

  
I was checked several more times and I was stuck around 6-7 cm dilated for the next 10 hours. Eventually, the pain got so bad they gave me something to try to take the edge off. And whatever it was didn’t really stop the pain but it was still fantastic nonetheless. I asked the nurse if she could give me the street name of whatever it was and she thought it was hilarious. Wasn’t a joke, Melissa. 

My mom predicted that Nola was going to be born during the night, so she stayed with me. She was wrong. My contractions were still 90 seconds apart and whatever they gave me had worn off, so I requested an epidural. My anesthesiologist was hilarious and the experience was painless. 

  
HOWEVER the epidural did not make anything painless. It didn’t take. I could still feel every cramp, contraction, pressure and shooting pain. So, despite the medication, it was essentially a med-free labor because it did not work. 

Around 3 AM my water broke. And my mom was asleep so I didn’t want to wake her up. I pressed the nurse button and they came in and were like yup, that’s broken. I thought I deserved a little more than that, but whatever. 

Around 7 AM the following morning, my labor nurse, Nancy (who is a wonderful woman and I love her forever), came in and she checked me. I was stuck at 8-8.5 cm and she said she’d give me a third thing for the pain and she’d come back and check me in another hour. 

Whatever they gave me didn’t work. Medication will not be a part of my next delivery because it is a MYTH. 

Nancy came back and I was a mess. I was crying from pain. My legs were heavy from the epidural, but not numb. I had to poop. I was hungry. It was just a mess. 

She checked me and said “okay, start pushing” like oh okay Nancy, because I know how to do that. Now, Nancy was a seasoned nurse and wasn’t going to take my shit. She told me to stop crying and suck it up and push this baby out ! I didn’t listen and had convinced myself that she wasn’t coming out. Nancy was not having that. 

And can I just say; I thought that labor was a much more medically involved process. When I was pushing, I had my one nurse and the doctor was in there at the very end. Nancy was on the computer entering in data and she was in and out of the room while I’m pushing a damn person out of my lady parts. I don’t know, I guess from watching it on TV I thought labor involved more people. Apparently, I was wrong. 

Well. An hour of pushing went by and there was no baby and I was, mentally, a puddle. Nancy told me that if I wanted this baby out then I needed to be serious and PUSH !!! 

And then something clicked in me and I grabbed my knees and started pushing as hard and as long as I could. For another hour I gave 100% to pushing this little baby out. 

After 14 hours of active labor and 2 hours of pushing, at 10:48 AM on July 3, 2015 my little baby was earth side. She was perfect. They dried her off and opened my gown and plopped her down for skin-to-skin. Her cord was not clamped or cut until it stopped pulsing. She was not bathed, weighed or measured before I could hold her. 

  
While I was holding my brand new baby, I felt some serious sharp pains. Turns out, I had tore and the doctor was stitching me up right there. 6 stitches later and she was out. Everyone left and I was able to having uninterrupted bonding time with my baby. 

  
She nursed for the first time a few minutes later and ate for an hour. She latched wrong, which I didn’t know, but that’s another story for another time. 

It was beautiful and wonderful and painful and amazing. And that is the story of how Nola was born. 7 lbs, 3oz, 21 inches long. Heathy, happy, beautiful, perfect. 

  
I would like to comment on how amazing Sherman Hospital in Elgin, IL was. The staff was phenomenal, the nurses were personable, compassionate, dedicated, kind and caring. I cannot say enough good things about the mother-baby nurses or the labor & delivery staff. They honored all of my wishes and allowed my labor to be exactly what I wanted it to be. 

-Em

To My Daughter (part 2) 

Today, you ate your first big girl food. You had some avocado !! Granted it was mixed with breastmilk until it was a pasty-liquid. Still counts. You loved it and I loved it and it was so fun. 

I use to hate avocados. But, when I found out I was pregnant with you, I started to eat them. I started because they’re so good for you and they’re a great health food. They were so gross, but eventually I learned to love them, and now you do too. It got me thinking about all of the things I would do for you. All of the yuckie food I would eat, all of the hours I wouldn’t sleep, all of the everything I want to teach you. 

  1. Try new things. You never know what you’ll discover. 
  2. Be adventurous ! Take road trips, meet new people, climb mountains, drink kale smoothies (that’s the most adventurous thing I can think of). 
  3. Dye your hair fun colors ! It’s just hair, it’ll grow out. Plus, it makes for fun pictures to look back on and giggle at. 
  4. Don’t tell people secrets that you actually want to be secret. 
  5. Most horror movies are terrible and not worth watching. 
  6. Medical dramas are the best. Don’t even argue with me. 
  7. Wine is an acquired taste, I still barley like it. 
  8. Sometimes, a good cry is all you need. Smearing the mascara is worth the emotional release. 
  9. Animals are your best friends. No matter what your dad says, we will always have animals in the house. 
  10. There are going to be days that just suck. And even if I’m the reason they suck, I will try my best to make them better. 
  11. Learning to cook is one of the best things you can do for yourself. And I will teach you. 
  12. Math is hard. No one will judge you if you’re not good at it. 
  13. Chemistry is hard, too. 
  14. You will never be too old to get into be with me and cuddle. I will always love and accept it. 
  15. Girls fart. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. 

Mommy loves you. 

To My Daughter (part 1)

As you grow up, there are a million and one things I want to teach you. I want to teach you about life. About love. About respect. About numbers and letters and color. I want to teach you about feelings and heartbreak and joy and happiness. But, that will take years and years and years. I only have so many lessons in mind and so much space available so here are a few to get started. 

  1. Not everyone will like you. Likewise, you will not like everyone. I’d doesn’t matter; be kind. 
  2. To elaborate: be kind, even if sometimes people are not kind to you. You never know what is happening behind closed doors. 
  3. But, do not be a door mat. Do not let people take advantage of your kindness. 
  4. Be strong. 
  5. Stand up for yourself and defend yourself when you need to. People are cold and they will be mean for no reason. 
  6. Be bold enough to leave people who do not value you the way that you value them. It will be hard and sad, but life replaces them with much better people. 
  7. People will come in and out of your life: it is your job to figure out who you will continue welcoming into your life and who you will not allow back. 
  8. Be understanding. Life hands out cards that people can’t always play with, so you either need to help them or leave them alone. 
  9. Do not hinder anyone’s growth. Especially your own. 
  10. You do not need to be friends with everyone. In fact, having fewer friends is actually better. 
  11. Drama happens. How you deal with it is what matters in the long run. 
  12. Girls are mean, that’s all there is to it. 
  13. It’s okay to cry. Get it all out when you have to and then dry your tears and find a reason to be happy. 
  14. You will fall in love, and then get your heart broken. And I will always be here for your tears, your swearing, your bad mouthing and your inevitable getting back together with said heartbreak. And I will be here when the cycle continues.
  15. Always be true to who you are, no matter who that person is. And I will always love you, no matter who you end up being. 

More to come, my little princess.