Monday, December 31, 2012


What a year...

Last year was an incredibly difficult year for our family.  We entered the new year with broken hearts, but high hopes.  2012 did not disappoint.

Early in the year, we found out we were expecting a baby.  Shortly after, we found out our baby was a little boy.  The rest of the year was a mixture of anxiety and excitement.  We kept the news very close for a long time.  It was difficult to believe we might meet and hold our son before the end of year.  Now, as the year closes, Colin is curled up on his daddy's chest taking a nap.  Even when I'm holding him, it's hard to believe he's here.

As the year close, it feels like a dream.  A terrifying, wonderful, fantastic dream.  I am so grateful for everything this year has brought.  I'm looking forward to 2013.

I'm so grateful to the friends and family who have supported me, especially the last two years.  Thank you for your love, your patience, your kindness.

May 2013 bring you and your family peace and joy.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Motherhood one month in

I can't believe it's been a month since my little man was born.  The days have flown by and it's been wonderful.

Colin is such a sweetie.  I love that he's becoming more aware and making eye contact more and more. He's grown so much already!  (I have a feeling that's going to be one of the most common feelings I have over the next, oh, 18 years or so).

1 Month
Some things are just as I expected they would be.  Gavin and I trade off responsibilities and tasks pretty seamlessly   The pets are all adapting well and we've had no conflicts or problems with them.  I actually sleep more than I thought and overall my physical recovery has been speedier than I expected.  I can't believe the difference in how I feel from the last weeks of my pregnancy when everything was so uncomfortable and even moving was difficult.  I'm still trying to take it easy and things are not back to 'normal' yet, but overall I'm pleasantly surprised.  I'm looking forward to getting into an exercise routine after my six week check up.

Some things are much different than I expected.  Feeding is going incredibly well and despite our hangups at NICU, we have been exclusively breastfeeding since we've been home.  I thought there was pretty much no possibility of that and it's a pleasant surprise.  Colin is also much more easy going than I was expecting.  We read "Happiest Baby on the Block" (highly recommend it, by the way) at the suggestion of our pediatrician before Colin was born and I was fully expecting hours of an inconsolable baby.  Overall, baby only really cries when he's hungry (which is admittedly quite frequently) and only fusses occasionally and never for long stretches.  He loves to be held, and we love to hold him, so that works out well now although may not be sustainable forever.

I also wasn't expecting that I would be quite so different.  I'm not sure if it's just the hormones or what, but I am much more easy going than I've ever been and I deal with minor setbacks and problems much better than I ever have before.

I also wasn't expecting how necessary help would be, especially in the first few days.  Gavin and I have been incredibly lucky to have family around to take care of us and the things we haven't been able to do for ourselves.  I think we could have done it alone, but it would have been much more stressful and much less fun.  I will always be so grateful for all of the help and love our family has surrounded us with.

I have quickly formed opinions on some baby 'stuff.'  For example, I really wanted this close and cozy co-sleeper play yard.  Baby hates it and rarely sleeps in it.  I was a bit skeptical of wraps, particularly Moby, which I now own and adore and we spend at least an hour in each day.  I had no idea how valuable cloth diapers would be (not for diapering, but for every other thing possible).  I was also quite concerned about not having a stroller, since the Versa hasn't hit the shelves again yet, but we bought a snap and go and it's working great for right now (I'm really looking forward to having a proper stroller though!).  The boppy is great for photos, but I've never used it for feeding the baby.

I look at him and I still can't believe he's here.  It's amazing and slightly terrifying all at once.

I'm most looking forward to getting a bit more of a routine going.  I thrive on routine and while 'feed the baby, hold the baby, sleep' is technically a routine, I'd like to get on a sustainable routine someday soon.  I'm also curious to see how our plans for the new year hold up.  I feel Gavin and I have done a great job of discussing how we'd like things to go and then being incredibly flexible with how they are actually going.

Happy One Month Birthday, Colin!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas!

The most magical Christmas I could ever imagine.

Our first Christmas with our son.

Filled with love, family, presents, and cuddles.

Merry Christmas, Colin.

The best gift I've ever been given.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Christmas Spirit

I deal relatively well with adversity.  I dig my heels in and charge ahead.

I don't deal so well with minor setbacks.  Traffic jams, missing keys, and spilled milk have all been known to send me into a minor tailspin and likely ruin my afternoon.  At least they used to.

Today I had a long serious of minor setbacks starting with a necessary, but extremely ill advised, trip to Toys R Us three days before Christmas.  The trip was a failure (including a projectile vomit incident in the carseat/car) and I came home to make the necessary purchase online.  Only to have to call them three times.  After almost two hours dealing with Toys R Us to purchase one item, it's on it's way, but we've been charged the wrong amount and have been billed twice for the same item.  Frustrating.  Exactly the type of setback to ruin my afternoon.

Only it didn't.  I was slightly irritated and it was a bit of a challenge trying to feed Colin and talk on the phone and make an online order all at once, but as I hung up on my last failed phone call I realized I am so incredibly grateful to have a reason to be shopping at Toy R Us, as frustrated as I am with them.  So I wrapped my baby in a Moby wrap and decided to go for a walk.

On my door step was a small package with a note that it was a random act of kindness in memory of one of victims of the Sandy Hook shooting, Charlotte Bacon.  Any remaining frustration melted and I hugged my son closer to my chest.  Even with my intentional sheltering from the outside world, it's been impossible not to follow the news of the families in Connecticut.  My heart breaks. 

In the hustle of the last few days before the holidays, I think we could all use a reminder to stop and remember what really matters.  Hug your children close, call your mom and tell her you love her, and let that guy merge in front of you in the mall parking lot.  

Merry nearly Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Gavin and my wedding day was, up until very recently, the happiest day of my life.  I love that man so much and I thought there was no way I could love him more than I did on that day.

I thought that until I saw him put flowers on Taylor's grave for the first time, until I saw him whispering to my belly as our baby grew, until I saw him hold our son.  

One of my fears, which I shared with Gavin, was that after the baby was born, everyone would forget about me and I would bleed out on the operating table (We thought for sure I'd be a C-section) while everyone held the baby.  What I didn't anticipate was that I would completely forget about me but that highly trained doctors would take care of me and baby.  When our son was born, and headed for NICU, I wanted his daddy to go with him.  I think it was a difficult moment for Gavin because he was still worried about me, and he knew I had gone into this afraid. I saw his heart being torn as he tried to figure out what to do.  "Go!" I urged him as the baby entourage rolled out of the delivery room. 

When I arrived in NICU a few hours later and saw Gavin holding our son, my heart swelled.  

I knew Gavin would be a great daddy, but he is even more incredible than I imagined.  In the hospital, he didn't eat, sleep or shower , he was so busy taking care of Colin and me when he could.  Since we've been home, he's taken care of me, done the chores I haven't been able to do, stayed up with the baby at night when I needed sleep, encouraged me when I was feeling frustrated, told me I was beautiful at least once a day, bought flowers, written love notes, and become the task master while I've floated through my new mommy euphoria.  I am so incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful man by my side.  

Thank you, Gavin. I love you. <3

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ronald McDonald House

Colin's arrival into the world was a miracle that I will never forget.  The day of his arrival was a challenge for mommy and baby.  Soon after he was born, he was unexpectedly whisked away to NICU at CHOC hospital and the longest few days of our lives began.

Colin's ride to NICU

We are so incredibly happy and humbled that Colin is home safe and sound and thriving, but those days were still a challenge.  At the hospital we delivered, the Children's hospital is separate from the main hospital.  While I'm sure there are lots of good reasons for this, it makes it very difficult when mom and baby are patients at different hospitals.  The days Colin spent in NICU, I spent racing between his bedside and my hospital room in time for medications and mandatory doctor visits.  Neither Gavin or I ate or slept much and we were tired and becoming increasing frustrated with trying to understand and coordinate Colin's required care.  Up until the minute we signed the release and rolled out of NICU, we weren't sure when he'd be coming home.  

Wired baby
The distance between the 2nd and 5th floor of Mission Hospital felt like a million miles when I was on one and he was on the other, the thought of coming home without him, and trying to feed him and care for him from here was more than daunting.

Very tired momma
One day, one of the NICU doctor's comforted me by explaining that if Colin's stay were extended, I would be likely be able to stay at the Ronald McDonald Room to continue to be close to him.  Knowing that I wouldn't have to leave him meant the world to me and brought me so much comfort and peace during a very stressful time.

In the Children's Hospital, there is a Ronald McDonald House hospitality room for patient's families.  One of the few things I ate during my stay was a muffin from one of the RMDH volunteers.  While I had limited interactions with them, they were always incredibly positive, helpful and friendly.  

I know there are tons of fantastic charities out there, but if you are looking for a place to donate this Christmas, please consider Ronald McDonald House.  I think prior to our hospital stay, I had an idea of what they did, but I had no idea what a valuable service they were providing to families facing what is likely some of their darkest days. 

Thank you to Ronald McDonald House for helping keep families together.  I hope we never need to experience your kindness again.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sparkling Clean Baby

Bath time has long been a favorite part of the day at our house.  I know it's going to be a favorite part of Colin's day, too.  Right now we are stuck with sponge baths until his tummy is better, but they are still fun.

Colin's First Bath:

Hey! Who let the cat in here??

Speaking of cats, the animals have shown a remarkable lack of interest in all things baby, despite the photo above.  Particularly when I'm holding the baby, they tend to stay away.  He's been sniffed a few times, but that's it.  No one is acting up and we've had no major problems.  I think Penny is feeling a little left out, but she's had lots of attention from our visitors and seems to be happy in our new 'routine' (lets be honest, we have a 2 1/2 week old baby, there is no routine here).

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Merry Christmas, Santa!

Gavin and I decided to brave the mall to meet Santa!  We went early on a week day (an entirely different crowd than my former mall visitation time) and had a great time.

And we met Santa!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Beautiful Daze

We are having way too much fun with our son.  Gavin and I spend most of our time these days smiling at each other or the perfect baby boy we can still hardly believe is ours.

I think Colin and I, and Gavin to a lesser extent, are all coming out of our newborn daze.  The rush and lack of sleep at NICU followed by the joy of a healthy, happy homecoming, and just healing from birth has left us all exhausted.  We are so incredibly lucky to have loving, caring grandparents who were here to take care of all of us and keep us fed and hydrated while we bonded as a new family.  Now, as we settle into a routine on our own (for a few days before more visitors arrive!)  I am thrilled to report that the days are still beautiful and wonderful.

Some things are just like I thought they'd be and others have caught me completely off guard.  I didn't expect things to feel so natural most of the time.  I expected to struggle a bit more with the idea of my role as a parent.  I didn't expect I'd be nearly as crunchy as I seem to be tending towards...

Today we ventured into the 'real world' a bit.  I'd made a few short outings, but today was a big one: Our first trip to the Mall and Target.  It felt a bit odd, like trying to ice skate for the first time.  Navigating the world for the first time with a stroller was a bit disorienting.  Still, even with a few *ahem* messy surprises, we had a great time.

So here's today our beautiful daze giving way to beautiful days!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Everything has Changed.

On November 27th, 2012 at 9:23 pm, my life changed forever.

My son Colin Elijah was born.

Nothing could prepare me for that moment.  In a second, a flash, everything changed.

The last two years have been the hardest years of my life.  Losing the children we desperately wanted to meet and hold and raise shocked our marriage, our beliefs, and our very lives to the core.  There were many days I didn't think I'd survive.  There were times I didn't think Gavin and I would make it.  There are still many days I refuse to speak to or acknowledge my God.

During my pregnancy, several people made comments about Colin healing the hurts of the last two years and I angrily refuted the possibility.  Nothing can replace those we have lost.  On December 6th, we attended the annual memorial at the cemetery where our children are buried and as we sat in the candle light and held our miracle, I reaffirmed that nothing can replace them.  But I also learned that Colin has brought healing to a part of my heart I didn't think could heal.

I am reminded multiple times a day that Colin's presence is a miracle.  His tiny hands and prefect features a precious gift. And as I stare at him, learning his features, his sounds, his scent, I know that I am a different, better person because I am his mother.