Things I would have done differently

Hindsight is 20/20. And since I know many first time parents who are due soon, I thought it would be helpful for me to make a list of what I would do differently knowing what I know now. Getting through the first year is a challenge and a victory so here are my suggestions. 

Now I will preface by saying I’m very much an attachment parent. So if you’re not, these may not work for you and that’s ok.

Things I would do differently in the first year

1. Get a convertible car seat from the beginning

We are very fortunate to have been gifted a nice and expensive travel system when J was born.  And for the first month of his life,  it actually got some use but not so much after that. We still have the stroller on the off chance we use it but it ended up not fitting our lifestyle.  We switched to a convertible car seat at 6 months and the infant seat was in a car accident shortly after so it’s waiting for the next trade in event. The convertible just fits our lifestyle and will allow us to rear face for a few more years.

2.  Side car our crib

We used a rock and play until J could roll over in it at around 4 months.  And he hasn’t liked his crib since. At some point during a blur of simultaneous sleep regressions, teething  and growth spurts we ended up bed sharing.  It wasn’t my plan as I have a public health education but we both ended up getting sleep and it helped with nursing. I made sure to research safe practices and eventually I accepts it. Now I think I will take it harder when he transitions.  I think if I had side car’ed his crib,  he would be more comfortable with it but still be close enough for snuggles and nursing.

3. Started cloth diapers at the hospital

This one may be more practical with a second child because I had no idea what I was doing. Poor J had a consistent diaper rash with disposable diapers and wipes. We were able to still start early at 3 weeks once our gifted diapers ran out but next time,  I’ll start right away. 

4. Use wovens right away

I loved our stretchy wrap but now that I’ve found wovens,  I wish I would have found them much sooner. Maybe J would be bigger into being wrapped than he is now. He’s a tula boy.

5. Waited longer to ask for nubane (spelling?)

I knew I didn’t want pain medication during labor but I was open to other less strong medications.  I liked that nubane would still let me feel everything but relax me. But I asked for it right away in hopes that I could sleep. Which I did. Looking back though,  I wish I would tried to see how long I could go without it.

Oh well. 

6. Not been so enthusiastic about starting solids

We started on solids right at 6 months.  J was not a fan of purees so we ended up doing more of a BLW approach at 7.5 months. At which point he started self feeding. I think in the future I would wait until the child could pick up the pieces on their own. 

7. Not used any baby cereal

Even with it being whole grain exclusively,  it still was hard on his digestive tract so I’d skip it in the future and start right in with vegetables. 

8. Registered at buy buy baby instead of BRU

Because…cloth diapers.  They sell the brand I mostly use and have a better selection of baby carriers. But I didn’t do enough research.

9. Finalized social media privacy policy

Social media is not a friendly place. And while I knew from the beginning I wanted to be smart about it, it took some trial and error to define what that meant. 

10. Skip the jumper things

We used an exersaucer and a jumparoo. It took us a while to get into our babywearing groove. In the meantime, I used these things to babysit while I ate a meal. Granted,  that was about 20 minutes but I think I would be able to wear or do free floor time next time around. I felt so detached from J when he was in them and I’m not a fan of that feeling. 

We did however love the bounce seat and I would use it again.

This list is probably not conclusive but has been on my mind.

These things may or may not apply to you but I thought I’d share my experience anyways.

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Letting go

I’ve been a bit pensive lately.  I’ve had to consider the possibility that we may end up as an only child family.

I’m wildly thankful for the one we have but babies…are kind of addicting.  Even as toddlers.  I want to have all the babies.

But…

We don’t know if we will still battle male factor. We do know if we need treatments again,  there will be some conditions.

1. Jude has self weaned
2. We have the funds

So we know that if it doesn’t happen like magic,  it’s going to be at least another year,  probably 2 and maybe more.

That’s a bit difficult to swallow.

And yet.  I’m letting go.

God and I have been negotiating.  He won.

Regardless of what happens,  He’s still the same.  And I will still follow.

If you feel so lead,  please consider praying with me.

God,
Thank you for the precious child you’ve placed in our care. Thank you also for the ones yet to come as your perfect will allows.  Your provisions are abundant and you are good. Thank you. 
Amen

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To the one who waits…

Mama,

I see you.
I see your heart.
I hear you.
I hear your silent or not so pleas.

I haven’t forgotten. 

Maybe you’re out this Sunday afternoon,  aching inside as you watch mothers at lunch.  They’re rocking babies and chasing toddlers.  Theyre helping preschoolers and listening to the joke over again.  They’re reasoning with teenagers and watching adult children wondering how that happened.  You’re so acutely away of their presence.  Your lunch is losing flavor.  You’re not sure you can make it through. 

Mama (you are…in your heart…where it starts),

I know it hurts. 
I’m sorry. 
I know I may be the one you’re watching (I’ll be chasing a toddler).
I’m sorry. 

I want you to know that even if you may not know it, this may be the last mothers day you spend waiting.
Or it might not.
But you’re not alone either way. 
You’re not less important. 
You’re not void of hope.

You are strong.
You are worthy.
You are valued. 
You are seen.
You are mom.

Maybe this mothers day, you’re not going out. You’re not leaving your house. Your can’t take any more pain right now. You heart is weary from waiting. 

To you I say…

Good for you. If you need a day off of waiting,  take it! Spend the day doing what make you happy.  Or spend it under a blanket watching sappy movies and eating far too much ice cream.  Take the day off.

But please, when you wake up tomorrow,  attack your waiting with force. We need you to be ok.  We need you to be whole.

Never forget:

You are strong.
You are worthy.
You are valued.
You are seen.
You are mom. 

Regardless or how you are treating this day, thank you for existing.  Even in this waiting period,  we need your presence.  You’re so important to our world.  Don’t lose hope. Don’t lose faith. Don’t lose yourself. 

With love…

Hannah

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This year…

When we were waiting for our BFP,  mothers day was the worst. Well all holidays were hard.  Mothers day though just stung a bit deeper. It was hyper focused on exactly what I couldn’t seem to get/do/be.

Now, heading into my second mothers day and it still feels awkward. Not because I am ungrateful or anything. It’s just that I know it’s hurting another mama…

Is that mama, you?

I say that this year we focus on you.

This year, let’s celebrate you. 

Let us focus on what is yet to come for you (tiny feet or new dreams).
Let us celebrate your heart,  that’s where a mother starts.
Let us celebrate your angel babies and also mourn with you.
Let us remember the mother you lost and celebrate her life.
Let us honor the mothers who aren’t— sisters,  aunts,  fathers— but have stepped up for love. 
Let us thank the step mother who loves us as her own.
Let us honor and value the moms who answered the call to foster, adoption and surrogacy.
Let us not forget the moms who chose a non violent path through adoption.
Let us also celebrate all of womankind as we all work to better the world. 

This year, we celebrate you.

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Remembering

Yes, this is my second post today…but I haven’t had a chance until today to write my NIAW posts.  So here goes number 2.

Anyone who has been waiting for a life to begin has undoubtedly experienced a sense of urgency with time.  Each day that passes without any sign of that tiny new life existing is like a hundred years in a heart. Waiting is hard.

I remember the waiting. Once we had decided we were “ready”, the expectation was that we would get pregnant right away. Maybe a few months later.  Possibly 6 months.  Definitely not longer than a year. OK,  maybe in the second year of trying it will happen.  Or right after we start diagnosis and treatment procedures.

But it didn’t.  There was more waiting.

This delay really wears down on the soul. It’s draining and makes the forward progression of time feel like an undeserved curse.

“This is the month…” Every month.  Until I stopped believing that it’s possible. 

After several failed attempts via IUI,  we got the unexpected news that we could try it just once more rather than progress to IVF. But we’d have to wait 3 months, it ended up being 4,  for medication to kick in and recovery from laparoscopy to happen. 

So I prayed.

Those months I prayed and thanked God for the child I didn’t think I would ever have. I stepped out in faith.

It was also around this time that our church introduced a brand new song.

Lyric Video

During a time of waiting and what felt like a delay the words resounded in my core.

Oh my God,  He will not delay…

A few short months later, after being told the IUI probably wouldn’t work…  Our RE congratulated us by saying “this is a miracle”

I believe God used our treatments and expanded their capacity for healing. We now have an independent,  opinionated and completely sweet one year old boy for whom we are so very grateful.

When the waiting is hard. Take comfort that you’re not alone and there’s somebody else in control.  I don’t know what will happen in your infertility journey but I promise you, it can be used my God.

He loves you and so do I.

I still remember waiting…

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#StartAsking

I’ve recently come to the realization that I may not get to do the whole pregnancy and newborn days again. Not be I don’t want to do them but because if we need to do treatment again,  we may be out if luck.

You see,  the first time around, the Affordable Care Act made it possible to continue as a rider on my parents plan which covered infertility expenses 100% until lifetime max was reached (the life time max would almost cover one round of IVF).  And while I may have protested when my mom first suggested it (because I like paying NY own way), I’m so glad I listened to reason.

We’ve never before or since had a plan that even remotely covered treatment associated with infertility. Those are “elective”…

I hope we don’t have to seek treatment for the next child but if so we may be out of luck.  It’s a big expense to save for and while we would,  it would be a race against biology.

This is why it’s time to #StartAsking.  It’s time we require more from insurance coverage. It’s time we change the social constructs surrounding the disease of infertility. 

We were lucky (read: divine provision)…everything happened in exactly the right time frame that allowed us the honor of being parents.

And it’s the greatest. So of course I want to do it again but we don’t know what the future holds. 

While we pray in faith, we also hope that the tangible aspects of treatment become available should they be needed.

Others have not been as fortunate as we have,  and this why the time is now to make a change and remove the shame.

How will you #StartAsking?

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Breaking Hiatus

If you haven’t noticed,  I haven’t really been writing much. I apologize.  It’s not that I haven’t had ideas, it’s that I’m in an uncomfortable place right now.  I don’t know how much I’ve spoken on some of my post partum struggles.  Mostly because they haven’t been unmanageable but recently I’ve been in a dark place.

My anxiety has seemed to escalate with each month. I spend so much time consumed by “what ifs” and micromanaging life. If I’m not in control then I don’t know what COULD happen.  If I don’t do A…B…C…then something bad will happen. If I obsess over all the details then I can avoid these “things”.

Yet…I’m completely without any real control.  A fact of which I am less than thrilled. I just don’t know what I would do if these “things” actually happened.  I would unable to cope. I’d be a shell.

But as someone with a recurring history of depression,  whose fought to regain her peace,  I’m gearing up my soul for war. I will not hesitate to fight the toxic thought patterns that keep me hostage. It will not be easy and I’ll probably stumble and fail more than several times before I can claim healing.  I’m going to try anyways.  I have to because my health – body,  soul and mind/heart- are directly related to my capacity to mother well.

So today I’m taking comfort in the following song.

https://youtu.be/f8TkUMJtK5k

If you’re struggling with poisonous thoughts and ready to talk, I’m here for you. 

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