Reflections on Motherhood: Two Months and Counting

I feel as though I needed to write this post to assure you all that I am still alive. And Grace is still alive. And Chris is still alive. We are all living – running solely on coffee and love. Mostly coffee.

Two months have passed and things have gotten better. Not easier… but certainly better. Not sure if Grace is crying less/hating her life less; or if I am getting used to her misery and tuning it out. I think it’s a little of both. After months of trying to figure out why my child is so miserable, I believe I’ve finally thrown my hands in the air and accepted that this is just how it is. Don’t even try to make a suggestion on how to fix it. Because I’ve tried it. Out efforts include:

  • Colic Drops (Probiotics)
  • Happy Tummy heat pad
  • Giving up dairy
  • Giving up about EVERTHING in my diet
  • Bouncing on the yoga ball
  • Car rides
  • Football hold
  • Gripe water
  • Gas drops
  • The womb app
  • The swing
  • The mamaroo
  • Doing bicycles with her legs
  • Chiropractor (for the record I’m convinced this is the only thing that makes a consistent difference)

It would be unfair to say she cries all the time. I am counting my blessings where they come. She is a great sleeper – particularly at night. Also, she’s started smiling and cooing. And while it sounds incredibly cliche, this all gracemakes the misery worth it. My shirts are covered in leaking breast milk, my arms and hands are consistently soaked with drool and there’s poop under my finger nails (because who has time to wash their hands)… but it’s really worth it.

In just the last week we started putting her in the crib to nap. Previously she was napping in a wrap while we wore her, or in our arms. I cried when she took her first nap in the crib and felt completely morbid because I thought her silence must have meant she died. I’ve also started putting her to bed on her own before us. She goes down between 8:30 and 9:30. And it’s glorious. Seriously. I have time to write this blog post.

And while I now have a little bit of time to myself in the evening and several hours during the day while she’s napping – motherhood is still hard. I’m currently on a diet where I eat only meat, beans, vegetables and fruit. I am hangry all the time. I’m freaking starving. I can’t go out to eat. I can’t go to anyone’s house to eat. I spend a small fortune at the grocery store on flax milk and quinoa pasta. The worst part is – I’m not convinced it’s doing anything. I will be having a heart-to-heart with the pediatrician next week about this. I cannot live this way.

Phew! Now to positives. Grace is so stinking cute. She’s growing and learning every day. She’s laughing, “talking”, trying to imitate my hand movements, kissing (with her mouth wide open) and bringing me incredible joy. I feel as though my greatest success as a mom is our great breastfeeding relationship. She’s a great eater and I love feeding her. In my next life I want to be a lactation consultant and empower women to breastfeed for the health of babies and the incredible bonding it ensues.

We’ve also been surrounded by incredibly loving, caring and supportive people. People that we are proud to surround our daughter with. To help us love her, pray for her and teach her. It takes a village, and we have an amazing village. Right now, these people are mostly loving on us, encouraging us and praying for us, but we know that it will translate into raising a beautiful, loved, woman of God. And this is the true desire of our hearts.

So again, we’re still alive. I could not believe the amazing outpouring of encouragement I received from my last post. The amount of women – some who I know and many who I don’t – who shared that my experience was also there’s gave me great hope and encouragement.

Hopefully I will get back to crafting and cooking soon and will post something other than an update on motherhood.


The First Four Weeks of Motherhood – Is This Real Life?

Damn. This is hard. Everyone tells expecting mothers (often in a taunting or demeaning manner) that motherhood is the hardest thing they’ll ever do. And sure, I understood it would be hard. But, damn… this is hard.

I consider the first four weeks of motherhood successful because Grace is still alive. And that’s the ultimate goal right? To keep this totally dependent new life alive. Here’s how I am measuring the first four weeks:

  • 4 emotional breakdowns
  • Over 400 tucks
  • Over 100 pads/panty liners
  • 10 depends
  • 16 pounds of epsom salt
  • Hundreds of diapers (who can count?)
  • 7 packages of wipes
  • Too few hours of sleep
  • Close to 300 times of whipping out the breastarants for feedings

The final round of family left this past Wednesday, and if it wasn’t for them I don’t think I would have eaten, slept or showered over the last four weeks. Let me tell you what mamahood is like…

Time is no longer a reality. I have zero concept of day, night, Monday or Friday. It doesn’t matter. The only reason to keep track is I have an occasional doctors appointment.

Grace doesn’t like to be put down so I’m still trying to master a one-handed life style. And for those of you reading this that roll IMG_9626your eyes and think I’m spoiling my four-week-old rotten because I’m not letting her “cry it out”… let me drop some knowledge on you… It’s impossible to spoil a four-week-old. Talk to any decent pediatrician and they’ll back me up.  Anyway, back to my one-handed lifestyle – I can’t put her down while I heat up dinner (because making dinner is no longer a reality), or eat dinner. So her clothes are covered in food that I drip all over her. And showering? Only on days when Chris goes into work at 2pm do I shower. And makeup? HA!

I still have yet to recover 100%, so I spend most of my days sitting. Primarily on the couch, but occasionally outside. I’m fairly tired of sitting and can’t wait to walk and run again. Just when I think I could maybe walk about the block, I bounce Grace  around the house to pull her out of a freakout moment and I’m sore again. Ugh.

My house looks like a bomb went off. Seriously. My family cleaned multiple times when they were here and it was wonderful. But now that they’re gone… it’s a disaster. You can’t clean with one hand very well. Also, I said I would never let my house be overtaken with kid crap. Well, I now have receiving blankets strewn across the living room, a play mat, a napper and a swing. I bite my tongue.

IMG_9748Grace hates taking baths. This makes me very sad because I thought this would be one of my favorite things as a mom. But instead, her screaming is mind-numbing, she moves around so much I fear she will drown and she craps in her towel EVERY TIME we take her out.

A few other highlights from the first four weeks – I had an emotional breakdown to a total stranger who came to drop off dinner for our family. I went to bed in the clothes I wore during the day on Wednesday because I was afraid to get out of bed and put Grace down to put my PJ’s on, for fear that I would awaken the beast. No one has seen Grace in my favorite outfit yet because every time she’s in it she craps out of her diaper and up her back before we can leave the house.

So I’m making it seem like I hate motherhood… but this is not the case. I love Grace. And I love being her mom. I have spent most of my days since Grace sitting on the couch, feeding her and staring at her. You would think this would cause time to stand still, but when the sun goes down each day I can’t believe another day has passed. Each day passes and she’s one day older, it’s one day closer to when I have to go back to work and one day closer to when she won’t want me to hold her all the time anymore. And as easy as it is to be frustrated that my hygiene has gone down the tubes, that I have no time to bake or cook, that my house is a mess and that I’m so sleep deprived that I can’t see straight… I am cherishing these moments when my daughter needs me and wants me. Because one day neither will be the case and I’ll look back on this time fondly.


My [Unplanned] Birth Story

Disclaimer: If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, maybe you should reconsider reading this. Unless, of course, you want to hear a less-than-perfect birth story to fuel your fear of labor. Then, by all means, read on.

Grace Aline came into the world on April 1 at 10:05 am. She was 6 lbs 12 oz, 20 inches long and literally the most beautiful IMG_9565thing I have ever seen – though I could be biased because I made her. This entrance, however, was not easy on either of us.

March 31 at 4:30 am I had my first contraction. I wasn’t sure if I was experiencing contractions until a few hours in when I Googled “what does a contraction feel like.” Let me tell you what it feels like – the worst menstrual cramp of your life + someone is wringing out your uterus like a wet dish towel. Throughout the day I worked, rested, drank electrolytes and baked brownies, and by 5:30 pm I was no longer able to focus on much of anything. All the while Chris was counting my contractions on his contraction counting phone app and waiting for 3-1-1 (contractions 3 mins long, 1 min apart for 1 hour). This is when we were to call the midwife.

The contractions were never this close, but my water broke at 1:30 am, while I was on the couch. I ran to the bathroom like a raving lunatic screaming that the amniotic fluid is everywhere! Chris assured me that it was not everywhere – just all over me – and called the midwife. We decided to go to the birthing center at this time – to which I rode in the passengers seat backwards, on my knees, hugging the seat and writhing in pain. Very illegal – in case you were wondering. Upon arrival at the birthing center I remember very little except that I was 9 cm dilated. So I thought – Yeah! I’m going to push out a baby in less than an hour! HA! What false expectations. Two hours of pushing later there was no baby, really not even any progress and meconium on the bed.

IMG_9569What I also remember at the birthing center was the loving support of the midwife, Chance, and the nurse who was coaching me, breathing with me and speaking words of encouragement – even when I said I couldn’t do it. The midwife shift change happened just as the meconium was discovered and my favorite midwife, Laura, was the new midwife and encouraged us to consider a transfer for Grace’s safety. So off to the hospital we went (I should mention the hospital is across the street). Chris drove, Laura was in the passengers seat (with three pairs of my underwear that Chris threw in the car in a state of panic) and I was in the back seat on all fours with my head in the car seat screaming. It’s actually fairly hilarious when I think back on it.

At the hospital I was blessed with the most amazing labor and delivery nurse – Yarka. Additionally, my blessings kept coming with an incredible Doula and friend, Lauren, AND my midwife who both stayed for the whole delivery. All three of these women, in conjunction with my husband, spoke words of love and encouragement to me, gave me strength to continue and helped decipher the less-than-caring words of the a-hole doctor who delivered Grace.

The hospital was a total blur, but I can tell you this much – while an epidural was offered and encouraged by the doctor I didn’t take it. The thought of getting a HUGE needle in my back, in conjunction with all the side effects of an epidural for both me and Grace were MUCH more terrifying than continuing on with no drugs. Plus, then I wouldn’t have gotten the self-dubbed title of badass mama. So after 2.5 hours of pushing at the hospital and no baby, but significant progress, we decided on a local anesthetic and a vacuum to assist in getting Grace out.  In case your not familiar with the vacuum, it’s not an electric suction. Instead, it’s a little suction cup that goes on the baby’s head to help guide her out. I still had to do all the pushing work.

So after 5 hours of pushing, 2 catheters, 13 hours with little-to-no food, a hospital transfer and a vacuum – Grace FINALLY came out. Granted, she was covered in poop and had a very pointy head – due to the vacuum – but she was still beautiful. All in all, I’m happy we were transferred to the hospital for several reasons – the biggest being that she would not have been able to come out without a vacuum. Also, the postpartum care I received from the nurses was incredibly helpful, as I had significant tearing and could hardly get out of bed. But, will I go to the Midwifery again for baby #2 (which will be several years down the road)? You bet!

Living Room Progress – Still a Work in Progress

We met the neighbors behind directly behind us the other day, and they are a nice young couple who put recently just put in a chicken coup! I am so envious of their chickens, as I’ve been asking Chris if we could do this for months. I mean, I don’t plan to clean the chicken coup – that would be Chris’ job – but his excuse for not building me one is that  it will be too big of a mess. I’m hoping Tommy and Dani (our neighbors) make it look clean and appealing enough for Chris.

We’ve been discussing our home exterior more and more as the weather turns warmer, but there is still much to do on15-color-yellowground-1108-xlg the interior. And while that’s the case, I’ll share a few photos of our living room. First, I should mention that every room in our house (except the kitchen) was a yellow/beige color. And not the pretty kind of yellow/beige (if that even exists). So when deciding how to decorate the living Chris suggested we just paint over the color, and I’m SO glad he did.

After painting our ceiling and walls, the biggest obstacle was covering our hideous eye-sore of a swamp cooler. If you’re not from Colorado (or another state with an arid environment) you most likely don’t know what a swamp cooler is. It’s basically an evaporative cooler that cools air through the evaporation of water. Despite my overwhelming desire to  desire to take it out of the wall, I know I’ll be thankful for it in the summer time. So with the help of my brother’s wife’s mother (I know you had to think about that for a second) and her creative catering and party planning friend, I was able to successfully cover my ugly swamp cooler AND put together a few items I already had to semi-complete our living room.


Can you guess where the swamp cooler is?? It’s behind the big map. Yeah – that’s how big it is. I purchased several maps from for $4 a piece, put poster board behind it ($.25), attached magnets ($2) and snapped it onto the swamp cooler (I should mention that the swamp cooler cover is metal). The additional frames surrounding the swamp cooler are map from our travels, money from our travels and a collage made by a very special person.

IMG_9557I should also mention our unusual pendant lamp. Our living room is dark and in need of all the light it can get. A hanging light was definitely the best option, but I definitely did not want to pay a lot of money for one. So, the solution was a $5 pendant light chord from Ikea, an awesome vintage lightbulb we found in our basement and a $3 lamp shade from Goodwill that I ripped the cover from. I covered the metal of the lampshade with yarn and the light chord with twine. And voilà – a $10 hanging lamp. We still need to hide the chord coming down the wall and hide the wall outlet with a floor plant. But those are minor details…

On to my favorite piece in the living room – our dresser turned TV stand! I IMG_9560LOVE this dresser. There’s an adorable mid-modern furniture store down the street from my house that was having a 50% off sale; so I got this gem for $75. It took a little convincing for Chris to go for it, but he did and I don’t think he regrets it.

We don’t ever want the TV to be center of our living room or our lives. But we do enjoy watching SNL and, Chris, the occasional baseball game, so we do own a TV. Among the globe I found at a flee market and Chris’ field guides (including Rocky Mountain Scats and Tracks) held between the extremely heavy jade lions he brought back from China – the TV isn’t much of a centerpiece. Also, above the TV are a couple other maps I bought for $4 and attached to poster board.

Lastly, can’t have a map themed room without some vintage luggage. Chris’ mom and grandma were here a couple weeks ago and seemed very puzzled that I would use these as decoration – since they use them for traveling. Oh well. Not everyone can get my decorating style. But I will tell you that the adorable blue vanity case is hiding diapers and wipes for a convenient changing station in the living room.

So these are the living room highlights! Again, the house is still work in progress but Chris and I are slowly making it our home.

39 Weeks Preggo

39 weeks has brought the “I’m so done with this” attitude. Truly, I have little to complain about. I don’t feel sick, I’m not too IMG_9550uncomfortable, I’m sleeping pretty well and I have zero heartburn. So I’m basically throwing myself a huge, unnecessary pity party because I feel as though I’m entitled. And while it may not be anything new – I’ve been particularly emotional, crying about everything and nothing.

A very sweet friend asked me my “secret” for my comfortable pregnancy – particularly for my apparently super-human ability to not swell up like a balloon during my last weeks. So here’s my recipe for a lovely pregnancy:

  • Good genes. Pregnancy is just poison to some women. But not me.
  • Get in shape. Before we decided to start trying to have a baby, I knew that I wanted to be in prime baby carrying condition. Not sure what that looks like – but basically, I wanted to be the healthiest version of myself I could be. So I started running and eating super healthy a year or so before we got pregnant.
  • Stay in shape. I walk every day 2 to 3 miles. As I’ve gotten bigger it’s been more on the end of 2 (mostly because I have to pee so bad by 2 miles I can hardly walk anymore). I also do prenatal yoga most days. I do not know how women do pregnancy without prenatal yoga. I found a series of 5 videos that I do religiously and to which I owe most of my comfort in pregnancy.
  • Water and more water. I drink a disgusting amount of water. AT LEAST 3 liters a day, but most days it’s closer to 4. We had an ultra sound for the first time since 18 weeks 3 weeks ago and the midwife kept commenting on the amazing amount of fluid I had for Grace and how healthy it is. Considering the amount of water I drink – she should literally be swimming.

So, that’s my advice for all you pregnant women and those who hope to become pregnant. It’s pretty basic – but sadly, many care providers during pregnancy do not encourage these things as they should. When we were seeing an OB I was NEVER asked about my diet or exercise routine. Because healthcare providers aren’t talking about these things they are failing mamas! So I’ll get off my soapbox now…

38 Weeks Preggo

[Note: this picture was taken days ago – since I’m 39 weeks tomorrow!] 38 weeks and no baby. I often get questions IMG_9540like, “Are you feeling close?” or “Do you have a feeling of when she’ll come? Like a mama’s intuition?” To the first question I say – no. I don’t feel near miserable, swollen or cranky enough to be close. To the second question I say – no. If she has sent me a personal note with the date of her arrival I would have told you. And PS – thanks for making me feel self-conscious about my “mother’s intuition.”

Pregnancy also must put a huge sign on my head that says, “please tell me your horrific birth story.” It seems like the worse the story the more anxious people are to share. WHY? The teacher of my natural birth class says an appropriate response is, “I’m sorry that happened to you. But that’s not my story.” I prefer, “that sucks. Now shut up.” And no, I haven’t actually said that to anyone.

When Chris tells people that we’re delivering at the birthing center he says he often receives the following response, “oh yeah… my wife said that she didn’t want drugs. She’ll change her mind.” To which he wants to say, “you don’t know my wife.” But really… drugs aren’t even an option at the birthing center. And even if I do need to be transferred to the hospital and have drugs – at least I tried. And that will be my birth story.

Again, to quote my wise father [and Grace’s Poppy]: opinions are like assholes – everyone has one and they all stink.

In other news, today Chris and I practiced folding up the stroller and putting the car seat into the stroller adapter. Needless to say – the directions were easier to follow than the Pack N’ Play. It took us an hour to set up the Pack N’ Play. The directions were very minimalistic and gave extremely unrealistic expectations of it’s ease to set up. Lies. If you ever need to put together a Pack N’ Play – call parents who have done it before.

We cannot wait to meet our little girl! Please join us in praying for my continued good health, for Grace to be a healthy and happy baby, and for a safe and natural birth at the midwifery.

37 Weeks Preggo

I’ve hit two major milestones in my pregnancy this week. The first is that I was able to use my belly as a table for the IMG_9538first time – resting my bowl of pretzels on the baby bump. The second is that I now waddle. I guess the waddle is to be expected when a baby’s head has dropped so low that it’s practically between your legs.

With emotions at an all time high today, I’m feeling a bit of anxiety about Grace’s arrival. We’re mostly ready – if you can say ready is having the car seat installed, an excited daddy and a clean house. My sister-in-law sent me a link to a hilarious blog today. If you are a pregnant mama I’d encourage you track your pregnancy with woman’s verbose and witty take on pregnancy.  For her week 37 entry she says:

Despite feeling whale-ish and slow and awkward, and despite not even remembering the last full night’s sleep you got, many pregnant women get a burst of nervous energy in the final weeks. You’ll get the patronizing “oh, you’re just NESTING” from everybody else, but not from me. I understand. There are fingerprints on those windows and unless you just go get the Windex right this minute you’ll be looking at those fingerprints six months from now oh my God get the Windex right this minute WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR.

This is true and hilarious. I said to Chris last night that we needed to make sure the house was clean at all times. Nothing would be worse than coming home to a dirty house with a new baby. (Well, at least I would assume, since I’ve not done it before.)

36 Weeks Preggo

ONE more week and I’m considered at term – meaning Grace will have fully developed, healthy lungs, and will be IMG_9533able to survive on her own outside the womb. Wow. Now, we’re in no rush to get her out of there, but 39 weeks would be about perfect! It’s got to be getting close because I believe she has dropped, but I’m no midwife. When comparing photos from a week ago my belly is quite a bit different. Also – her hiccups are MUCH lower than a week ago.

This week we put together Grace’s nursery and finally hung things in the living room! We got our butts in gear because we hosted our first part on Sunday – a keg and wipes party. In response to those who asked why we were not having a shower in Colorado and when they could see our new house, Chris got a couple kegs of beer and guests arrived with wipes and diapers to see our house and celebrate the upcoming arrival of Grace. We had a ton of fun visiting with old friends and new friends and feel SO incredibly blessed.

On a completely unrelated note, I thought I’d share my new favorite song. I recently discovered the band Page CXVI, whose mission it is to sing and record hymns to make them known again. I love this hymn and I love their rendition; and particularly as I’m experiencing anxiety and anticipation about Grace’s arrival – it’s a comforting message.

Grace’s Shabby Chic Nursery

The long-awaited photos are here!! While it’s not 100% finished, it’s picture ready. Items left to do: rug and glider. The glider should be arriving shortly before or after Grace.

IMG_9520If you know me, you’ll know that part of the joy I have in decorating is doing it well… with as little money as possible. Embroidery hoops are cheap – especially when you have a grandmother-in-law who sews and a friend who hordes an excessive amount of them. The fabric in the hoops was all thrifted and includes pillow cases, fabric shower curtains,  and twin sheets. Each cost only $1-$3.

The mobile is an old lamp shade which I tore the fabric from and wrapped the wires in scraps from one of the pillow cases. I got the idea here. For the hanging pieces, I bought a HUGE book of scrapbook paper from Michael’s and some clear jewelry wire (which resembles fishing wire).


IMG_9524We needed to figure out to do with the awkwardly shaped window in her room. The window is small and high – so it’s unlikely that anyone would be peeping into it – but it makes me feel better to have some sort of covering. I had tons of fabric left from the embroidery hoops so made a fabric garland using fabric strips, some lace ribbon and twine.


IMG_9525With all the extra scrapbook paper left from the mobile I modge-podged paper onto some cardboard letters from Hobby Lobby (each cost $1). I was going to do the entire alphabet, but I thought better of the idea and thinking I might become hateful toward modge podge – and the alphabet – by the end of the project. So instead I simply completed the letters of her short, 5 letter name. And just to instill the English language into our sweet little genius, I bought a vintage-style alphabet poster that I hung from a wooden pant hanger. The poster was purchased from for only $4 [note: it’s actually wrapping paper]! I also loaded up on awesome maps for $4 a piece that are in my living room. This website is worth a look.


Considering we received a TON of books from my baby shower we needed a bookshelf, and I wasn’t really loving any I was seeing while thrifting. Our living room makeover freed up a cheapo laminate bookshelf I bought at Walmart 8 years ago. Instead of throwing it away, I found a great tutorial on how to paint laminate furniture and enlisted my husband (dad of the year) to do the job. NOTE: do not do this tutorial if your an expecting mama. The fumes are are horrendous.


And now for the changing area. Chris’s grandparents had this old dresser in their basement so we snatched it up! The changing pad (which is HUGE, by the way) doesn’t quite fit, but Chris will cut a piece of wood that will help stabilize it. No one wants a poopy baby falling off the changing table! The hanging dress is Chris’ family baptismal gown that Grace will wear at at her baptism. However, my baptismal gown (which was made for me by my Aunt Robin) will actually hang there once Chris’ grandma gets the puke stains out of it.

So that’s Grace’s room! Glad to have it [mostly] finished. More photos of the house coming soon!!

35 Weeks Preggo

It’s hard to believe that in only 1.5 weeks I could deliver a perfectly healthy and developed baby. The average mama at Mountain Midwifery delivers at 41 weeks and 3 days. It would be super convenient if Grace would make an on-time arrival (which would be very unlike her father and mother).

This last week we were able to take our birth recovery and infant care class. It’s our favorite class to-date. We are IMG_9515incredibly excited to bring Grace home and love and care for her – even if we really don’t know what we’re doing. I think some of the things we are going to choose to implement for our family won’t be understood by most and will solicit much unwanted advice. But, as my very wise father says – opinions are like assholes; everyone has one and they all stink. I will remind myself of this often in the first few months of motherhood, I’m sure.

Since there’s really nothing else thrilling going on, I’m going to brag on my husband. Chris works a lot. He works weird hours. Whenever he’s not working he’s doing something for our house or for Grace. Not only is he showing acts of love through service, but he’s taken much of his extra time to go to all these baby classes – which most men would find to be agonizing and useless. Each class makes him more excited to meet Grace and more amazed by the entire progress (despite the fact that his years of Biology courses have given him more knowledge of reproduction and birth than most people).

Even with everything else going on, Chris is constantly seeking to serve me. He’s always asking what he can do to help me, constantly tells me how good I’m doing and compliments me on how good I look. Watching Chris seek to serve me and serve our unborn daughter I know he’ll be a great dad.