Letter to my daughter after the Las Vegas shooting

Dear Daughter,

On Sunday, we asked you how old you are and you happily replied, “I’m two years old!” Later that same day, a mass shooting occurred in Las Vegas at a country music festival. Many lost their lives and many were injured.

You are only two years old. As you grow, you’ll begin to understand things like hate and tragedy and injustice. You may wonder if it’s better to “stay home/play it safe” or live your life and risk being caught in crossfire (these hate shootings have happened at school, at a movie, at a concert, etc). And how do we respond after tragedy? Baby, your momma doesn’t have all the answers. But I want to share with you what I do know to be true.

After first learning of the shooting and through out the day, I couldn’t help but cry. As Glennon Doyle says it best: “you are not a mess. you are a feeling person in a messy world.” That describes me well. Your momma feels things deeply. You may too. Despite what society may tell you, this is OK. The Bible even instructs us to “mourn with those who mourn.” After tragedy strikes, you aren’t weak if it impacts you. You are a feeling person in a messy world.

Unfortunately, life is not safe. Even for those of us who live in the 1st world. Life is fragile. There’s no guarantee on how our lives will play out. Life is not fair. Bad things happen to really great people. Baby girl, safe can’t be the goal. I can’t even keep you safe all of the time. Despite this reality, we can be brave (doing the right thing scared). And we can focus on the things within our control like living and loving well by doing “small things with great love” – Mother Teresa. With whatever number of days we are given, we can love God and others more and more, and we can find joy in ordinary moments. Life is short but we can live it well when we live with this understanding “there’s a reason I’m alive for the blink of an eye” – Mercy Me.

Lastly, when tragedy strikes, remember this quote by Mr. Rogers. And in addition to noticing all the helpers, be one of them.

Rogers

I love you baby girl. Always & forever.
-Mom

Thanksgiving: when you’re feeling anything but happy

Tomorrow is American Thanksgiving. More Americans will make it a priority to be with their family & friends tomorrow than any other holiday (yes, even Christmas!). The day before Thanksgiving can be filled with anxiety that has nothing to do with baking or traveling. There’s a type of anxiety that is present for those who have seen heartbreaking changes since last year’s gathering. Death. Job Loss. Divorce. Diagnosis. These are just a few examples of what has happened to too many families over the past year. Individuals and families have been rocked to the core. Things don’t look or feel like they did a year ago. People are holding their breath and hoping for the best for tomorrow.

Thanksgiving can sting more than any other holiday because the focus seems to be pretty much all about family. The message society gives is one of showing up at Thanksgiving as a happy, happy family. To prove this point, what is the greeting that is said at Thanksgiving? HAPPY THANKSGIVING! But we know that for so many, tomorrow does not evoke happy feelings. For several, sadness or anxiety seems more appropriate than “happy”.

If you or your family are struggling on Thanksgiving eve, remember that you aren’t alone. Remember to take it one hour, one moment at a time. Take deep breaths. Hold a hot beverage in your hands all.day.long if that’s soothing. Go for a walk. Leave the party early if you need to. Do whatever will help you. Thanksgiving is about family but remember this: you are a branch in the family tree! You need to stay healthy so that you can bear fruit, too. You matter just as much as anyone else.

Instead of wishing you a “Happy Thanksgiving”, my hope is that you are able to find little & big things to be grateful for in the midst of the sad. Don’t deny your sad. But don’t miss seeing the good, too. With this perspective, show up tomorrow in the best way that you know how while also taking good care of you.

Transitioning baby to crib

Baby girl has been sleeping in our bedroom since day 1. The SIDS recommendation (and what we were told leaving hospital) is to have your baby sleep in your room for the first 6 months. As 6 months was approaching, I was absolutely dreading moving her out of our room and into the nursery. There’s just something about having her right next to me. I’d often wake in the night and take a quick glance of her sleeping. To be honest, I also checked her quite often to make sure that she was breathing!

this is the "bassinet" that our daughter has slept in. still fits her at over 6 months!
this is the “bassinet” that our daughter has slept in. still fits her at over 6 months!

Then the week leading up to 6 months, everything started to change. Suddenly, our girl started to sleep horribly. She started getting up just as often if not MORE than she did as a newborn. At 5 months, she was only getting up once in the night; requiring a diaper change and feed. She was sleeping 8pm-7am. It was glorious! I felt like I could do getting up once in the night forever. Then at 6 months, the minimum she’d get up in the night was 4 times. Sometimes it was every hour. Or twice in an hour! It was brutal. I feared that I was losing my sanity. I was on high alert re: wondering if I may start getting depressed. After nearly a month of horrible sleep, I decided that IT WAS TIME. It was time to attempt sleep in the crib in the nursery. While I wasn’t convinced that it would help her to sleep better, it was time to try it. In fact, I assumed that sleep would be just as bad or even worse for the first couple of weeks. But we were barely surviving as it was. The sleep deprivation gave me the push that I needed to transition baby girl to her nursery at night.

So here’s how the transition to her sleeping in her crib has gone so far (keep in mind that prior to this she was waking every hour crying):

Tuesday night (Oct. 27th) – 8pm. Lay her in the crib on her back. She rolled to her side immediately. Then an hour later, she woke up, fussed (but not crying) and rolled herself to her belly and slept until 2:30am straight! I kept checking the monitor every hour though 🙂 Then she was up from 2:30-4am WIDE AWAKE. She finally went back to sleep until 8am.

Wednesday night (Oct. 28th) – 8pm. Lay her in the crib on her back. She rolled to her side immediately. Then an hour later, she woke up screaming. She continued to wake every 30-60 minutes crying until 12:30am. I took her to our bedroom at 11:30 to see if she’d sleep in the bassinet. Luckily, she wouldn’t go for that either so I went back to the nursery to persevere. At 12:30, I decided to lay her down on her belly. Something I didn’t want to do BUT I’ve realized that she’s waking because she can’t get to her belly without waking herself up. I was leaning over the bassinet with her head on my arm (while she was on her belly) and patted her back. She fell asleep and slept straight until 7:30am! HALLELUJIAH.

Thursday night (Oct. 29th) – This was the night of the tree crashing into our house (more on that later). It’s so fuzzy re: how she slept that night. Insurance would have paid for us to sleep in a hotel for up to 3 nights. With a baby, that didn’t sound too fun. Plus, I feared undoing the progress we’d been making up into that point with her sleeping in her crib. I believe that she was up a couple of times before 11pm and then slept straight through to 7:30am. The next morning was the first time that I was awake prior to my baby waking (I couldn’t sleep any longer after 5am due to the events of the day before). It was so fun to hear her wake up and go into her nursery. She was so excited to see me!

Friday night (Oct. 30th) – Went down around 8:30pm. Fell asleep on belly (did the letting her head lay on my arm/back patting thing). She didn’t wake up again until 5am! We did a diaper change and feed and she went back to sleep in her crib from 5:30-7:15am.

Conclusion: I am so glad that I decided to start the transition to her crib and have stuck with it. I cannot believe how much better she’s sleeping. I think she needed the space that the crib affords for her to move around in her sleep. And she also needed to figure out how to sleep on her belly and not freak out. The two teeth buds could have played a secondary role as well. I don’t assume that it will be smooth sailing from here on out. But I am thankful for the increase in sleep. I was being knocked down emotionally and physically when I was waking every hour. I’m also so glad for baby girl that she’s sleeping better! She needs good sleep to grow and develop well.

P.S. We have a sound machine in her room and have kept the night light on. We turned the night light off one night and she woke up in the dark screaming. So for now, her room isn’t pitch dark at night. But if she’s sleeping, we don’t care 🙂

What pregnancy has been like so far (up to 15 weeks)

Disclaimer:  I plan to write about pregnancy on my blog but hopefully that’s not all I will talk about! I’ve decided to use my blog as the place to do this instead of facebook. I follow and appreciate a lot of bloggers in the midst of infertility and uncertainty. Know that I understand if you don’t feel up to reading my pregnancy related posts. I’m going to keep following your journey and cheering you on!

Pregnancy. I’m 15 weeks. What has it been like so far? Hard. Exciting. Surreal. When I say hard, I don’t mean lying on the bathroom floor puking 8x a day hard. My nausea began at week 6 and continued to week 10, I’ve had it off and on since then. I didn’t puke in my nausea filled weeks but felt that if I didn’t eat something every 2 hours I was surely going to be sick. No, it wasn’t until recently at 15 weeks that I puked for the first time! Go figure. Hopefully that’s the last. Back to Hard. What has been challenging for me re: pregnancy is the worry. The fear that your little one has died and you just don’t know it yet. The panic that would set in when I spotted off and on weeks 6 and 7 and terrifyingly again at weeks 12-13. Anxiety over losing this little life was the most challenging part of the 1st trimester for me.

sourceDerek’s been wonderful. When the pregnancy test turned positive on August 5th, he suggested we go out to dinner to celebrate. When I’ve been consumed with worry and cried a couple of times, he’s held me and prayed for me and our baby. He put up with days where I either didn’t have the energy to cook or couldn’t stand the idea of cooking. He’s been to all of my appointments with me. A true partner.

Weight wise, I weigh the same now as I did back in early August. But that’s just the scale speaking. My pants feel much tighter and some of them I can’t get into anymore! I’m not showing yet, well, I’m showing like I’ve been eating too much rather than a nice obvious baby bump!

The other day, Derek wanted to get a Starbucks drink before we did some shopping. I said to him, “if Starbucks no longer existed I’d be perfectly okay with that”. This was an only-when-pregnant type statement from me! I used to LOVE Starbucks and coffee. I was an addict. But when week 6 hit, I lost all desire for coffee (even decaf). You couldn’t pay me to drink coffee. I also lost all desire for raw vegetables and just the thought of cucumbers made me want to gag. Eggs, especially hard boiled ones were difficult to even look at (LOVED them before). Unfortunately, during this time I started craving crabs more! Previously, we were eating a very healthy diet. I’m sad that pregnancy made some of that difficult. I did try to still eat healthy and Derek was great for helping me to brainstorm healthy alternatives for some junk that I was craving. He found me a bag of organic/all natural cheesies, go figure! and instead of eating candy I’d snack on dried apricots.

15 weeks. Second trimester. It feels surreal to be here. My anxiety has lessened since I left the first trimester. But I’m not naive enough to think its gone for good. What no-one told me about the first trimester is that anxiety can be hardest part of it all.