The Life Not My Own

Monday, June 30, 2014

Good News

Our follow up ultrasound was today and I'm very thankful to say baby girl was just fine and the enlarged brain ventricle is no longer enlarged!  Baby Baker was moving like crazy, as usual, and measuring 2 days ahead.  The ultrasound tech even let me see her in 3D for a minute.  

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Love You Still

It’s funny how everything can change in an instant.

One minute you’re sitting in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, feeling your precious baby full of life within you.  The next you’re watching that same precious baby on the ultrasound screen with your husband and your son and you know before you’re told that it’s a precious girl.  The tech tells you that all is well, and your husband takes your son to the car while you meet with the doctor.  You’re trying to wrap your mind around having a little girl when the doctor finally comes in and you learn that all was not, in fact, perfect.  She’s calm and optimistic, but her words blur in your mind.  Slightly enlarged brain ventricle.  Follow-up ultrasound next time.  Will probably go away.  If not, you’ll need to go to Little Rock for a level two scan.
 
You’re calm as you check out, as you walk out to the car, as you inform your husband.  Slowly, as the words start to sink in, your peace ebbs.  Later that night you make the mistake of searching on the internet about what this could mean.  You only read one page and then you get off, trying not to think about it.
The next morning you wake in the still, last hours of the night, thoughts and worries swirling through your head driving you mad.  You think about how you haven’t been as careful with this baby as you were with your first.  You think about your daily caffeine consumption, the soda you’ve indulged in here or there, your not-so-perfect diet.  You find yourself sick with guilt and overwhelmed with the thought that there might be something wrong with the baby…and it might be all your fault.

You know the thought is ridiculous, but you can’t shake it.  Stressed and uptight, you open your Bible.  As you read Psalm 139 aloud, you find yourself sobbing brokenhearted, worried tears.

Yet, as you read, it hits you…you love this baby more than life itself.  For so long you harbored guilt because you weren’t as excited about this baby as you were about your first.  Yet here you are, worried sick and unable to sleep over this very same baby.

In the end, what does it matter anyway?  You know without a doubt that you want this baby and that you will love and cherish her, no matter what.  Most likely, everything is normal.  Yet even if there is something wrong…even if all is not right, you will love her the same.  You will still ache to hold her, to feel her heartbeat against your chest, to watch her grow. Her life is still within God’s perfect plan, her days already written in His book.     

Peace floods over you as you realize that He knew that this would happen and He knows what will happen…even if you may not understand the whys.

 “Where shall I go from your Spirit?  Or where shall I flee from your presence?…even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me…even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you…For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works, my soul knows it very well…Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.”

 Sweet Baby Girl,
We love you.  We always have loved you, and we always will.  In my dreams, you are healthy and normal, without a care.  Yet, even if something is not quite right, you are perfect in God’s eyes…and in mine.  Nothing could alter or lessen my love for you.  Yes, even if they find something wrong.  Even if you are not completely healthy, it won’t matter at all…I will love you still. 
Love,
Your Mama

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

First Baby Regrets



We all have regrets.  It seems that life can’t be lived without them.  Nobody knows this more keenly than us mamas.  They tell you that it’ll go fast and to savor the moments, and you believe it will, but then you still lose precious time.  Here are some things that I wish I’d done, didn’t do, or done more of with Miles that I’m hoping to at least try for this second baby:

-Stop reading books and googling things.  My first baby just did not fit the mold.  He didn’t fall into his own schedule by three months, he didn’t like the bouncy seat, he hated riding in the car, and he didn’t sleep as much as he was “supposed” to.  I wish I’d stopped looking things up, thinking there was something wrong with me, and just embraced my precious son for who he was. 

-Stop the Diet Coke addiction.  I rarely drank sodas, but somehow in the first month of exhausted, colic-filled motherhood it became a ritual for me to drive to McDonald’s every afternoon, order a giant Diet Coke for 69 cents (because that evil special happened at my most vulnerable time), and drive around while my son slept for a few precious minutes.  While there was nothing inherently wrong with that, I really felt like I wasted a lot of time when I could have been drinking something more nourishing (tea or even COFFEE anyone?), perhaps napping myself, and not pouring aspartame into my body.  Plus, as tired as I was, I probably had no business driving. ;)

-Be okay when baby cries.  Sometimes, no matter what you do, the baby will just not stop crying.  Instead of feeling like a failure as a mother, accept this, know it won’t last long, and move on.  Keep dark chocolate on hand for moments such as this.

-Ask for help.  I really am too stubborn and independent for my own good.  I needed to ask for help more, even if it was just asking my husband to vacuum the living room. 

-Kick the old men off the church couches.  Miles was never one of those babies that would sleep through church or quietly coo.  From the start he was LOUD.  He was also a very noisy nurser, especially when we were having troubles in the first few months.  I usually got stuck in the nursery or in the lonely, depressing, nursing mother’s room.  The church lobby has monitors, but the nice, cushy couches that you can actually see them from are always taken by this group of older men.  I wish I had been more vocal and asked them to scoot over.  That would have been the perfect spot for me and my noisy baby.

-Give yourself some slack.   I felt like such a failure those first few months.  I would think about all the things the new pioneer mommas had to do and think there was something wrong with me.  I couldn’t even keep the dishes clean or the floor swept!  You know what?  I needed to stop comparing myself to some imaginary standard that wasn’t even real, and just do what was possible for me.

-Stop pushing baby onto the next phase.  People tell you not to do this, but you don’t really get it until you experience it yourself.  All too soon that sweet baby will be rolling over, crawling, and walking…and all too soon they’ll be wanting daddy instead of you.  Embrace this season and moment, because it’s all too fleeting.  Yes, it may seem like life will be much easier when they don’t have to be held all the time…but you’ll miss those sweet snuggles.

-Be more vocal in general.  It really is okay to decline a get together with friends or family because you know it will be way too over stimulating to your high-needs kid.  It’s okay to ask to dim the lights or turn the tv off or to have your fussing baby back.  Don’t put your desire not to step on people’s toes above your and your baby’s needs.

-Let baby come into bed.  I felt guilty for a long time for not being able to get Miles to sleep anywhere but beside me.  I shouldn’t have.  For awhile, he needed that.  My almost-two-year-old now tells us he’s sleepy and asks to go “night night” in hi own bed.  It won’t last forever…savor the sweet snuggles. 

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Favorite Freezer Meals

I mentioned in my last post that I'm planning on having a lot more freezer meals ready for when this new baby comes along.  Several of you have asked me what meals I'm making, so I thought I'd share with you a few of my favorites.

For now I've been compiling a list of my favorite freezer meals on Evernote.  With my first baby, I made a few freezer meals, but really wasn't too happy with the majority of them.  Most of them needed to be thawed a day before (which I always forgot to do), and many of them took a lot of extra prep before the meal was complete.  Since then, I've discovered that my absolute favorite freezer meals are those that can be dumped right into the crockpot, and don't take a lot of extra prep.  I also look for meals that are relatively healthy and inexpensive.

This is my favorite blog post (blog posts really...there are 5 or 6 of them) with freezer meal recipes.  I have made the majority of them, and of the ones that I've made, most of them were big hits with my boys.  They were also really easy to make.  They're not completely healthy, but most of them can be tweaked a bit.

Since my successes with those recipes, I've been experimenting with more meals.  Small scale freezer cooking has really been a lifesaver during the afternoon exhaustion and morning sickness of this pregnancy, and I'm hoping that larger scale freezer cooking will save me (and my sweet family) after Baby Baker #2 is born!

For those interested, here's a list of what I plan to make so far (I've starred the ones that are from the link above):

-Salisbury Steaks *
-Cream Cheese Chicken *
-Roasts *
-Fajitas *
-Italian Sausages *
-Chili
-Stew
-Lasagna
-Baked Spaghetti
-Shepherd's Pie
-Stuffed Bell Peppers
-Beans and Rice
-Tortillas
-Bread
-Breakfast sandwiches
-Breakfast burritos
-Individual soup servings
-Individual beans and rice servings
-Chopped up veggies for stir frys
-Granola bars
-Prepared veggies for other dishes
-Cooked meat and onions

I'm adding to the list daily, and hoping to get started on it in the next few months.  As a note, I'm planning on making quite a few batches of each.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Second Baby Forethought

When Miles was born, I thought I was prepared.  I had all his clothes washed and folded, a few meals in the freezer, and the gear I thought I needed all ready to go.

Those first few months, I was anything but well-prepared.  We ate fast food WAY too much, the dishes piled higher and higher in the sink, the house looked like a pig sty, the laundry never got done, and I pretty much lived in a sleep-deprived, caffeine-addicted haze.

This time around, I’m hoping that knowing what to expect will help enormously.  I know not to stress about getting things done, to not worry about being the perfect stay-at-home mom and housekeeper, and to not expect my baby to “follow the book”.  However, there are a few things I’m working on getting prepared that I’m hoping will make the addition of another baby a tad bit less chaotic.  Hey, you live and learn, right?  Here’s my list of preparations for this baby:

-Freezer Meals.  Lots and LOTS of them.  Especially the kind that you dump right in the crockpot and don’t need to make a side dish for.

-Stockpile of Paper Plates, Napkins, Utensils, and Cups.  I really hate using disposable things.  They make me feel so uncaring of the earth…so lazy.  Yet, I know from experience that trying to keep up with all the dishes is just not worth it.  Period.  End of story.  We can get out my nice plates again sometime in the future.

-Stockpile of easy, premade things that my husband can pick up.  Again, I really try to avoid processed, prepackaged foods as much as possible.  Yet, somehow I think that the store bought granola bars are going to still be better than the candy bar from the gas station.  Prewashed fruit, bagged lettuce, frozen rolls, instant oatmeal…these all suddenly make the cut.

-Snacks.  Specifically for Mama, but also for toddler boy.  When Miles was a newborn, eating enough was SO hard because I just didn’t have quick things on hand that I could just grab without prepping.  This time I’m making a list of snacks to buy/make, such as hummus, carrots, granola, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, etc.

-Simplified cleaning.  I’m making a list of the minimum basics that need to get done, and letting the rest slide.  In addition to cutting myself some slack, I’m stocking up on things that make cleaning a little faster…magic erasers, swiffer wet pads, etc.  Basically, things I usually turn my nose up at that would actually make life easier. ;)

-Books, movies, and NETFLIX!  Confession: we didn’t get real, honest-to-goodness internet until a few weeks ago.  And we’ve been married four years.  This time around, I’m hoping the addition of Amazon Prime and Netflix will make those first few weeks of near-constant nursing a little more bearable.

-Cash Stash.  Let’s face it…despite my careful planning, we’ll still need to pick up a quick meal every once in awhile.  I’m hoping to have a little cash set aside for this, so I don’t get too stressed about our increased eating out "eating" into my budget.  Pun intended.

-Bills Paid and/or Ready to Pay.  I do most of the bill paying, checkbook balancing, and budget figuring in our house.  After Miles was born, I got pretty far behind.  I just was not organized and bills would sneak up on me.  I’m sure we’ll still have a few late payments, but I’m hoping to have everything either paid or all ready to pay (aka, check written, envelope sealed and stamped). 

-Moving the rocking chair into our room.  Why did I make myself walk halfway across the house to nurse Miles in the middle of the night?!  No wonder he ended up in our bed so quickly!  This time, the glider, diapers, and wipes will be in our room. 

-House Folder.  This will include food lists, budget info, etc, as well as any pertinent numbers and info.  You know, the pediatrician’s number, the phone number for pizza delivery (okay, I wish…nobody here delivers!), etc. 

-Lists.  I pretty much have a list going for every one of the things listed above.  Lists I can just hand to Andy to take to the store.  Lists I can pull out and look at (or pull up on my phone…love Evernote).  Lists just make my life better.


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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

It's a...

About a week late, but wanted to share with you that we had our anatomy scan and it's a...

video


Or, if you don't want to watch the whole video, just look at the candy color:


Yep, that's right...its' a sweet baby girl!!!  We're excited, but still a little in shock.  We're in such "boy mode" right now.

Here's our sweet baby girl:


And her apparently enormous feet.  Not sure why, but I think she might be tall (if you know us in person, you'll know why ;) ):






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