Dear Lucy – Month Two

Dear Lucy,
As I write this you are currently swinging to the sounds of a babbling brook, which is the only thing that seems to soothe you today. So all the advice about letting babies nap in a swing is thrown out the window because you NEED to get a nap.

At two months old, your personality is really coming through. Stretching remains your absolute favorite thing, and interrupting your post-nap stretching routine leads to some pretty serious brow furrowing. Your favorite place? The changing pad. Don’t know what it is about that spot, but you love it.

This week we bought you a play mat with a kick piano, and even though hearing those same four tunes is driving me a bit mad, I can’t resist letting you play on it because it makes you so happy. The past couple weeks you’ve really been discovering the world around you, and it feels like you’re becoming a tiny person now.

Every day when Dad gets home you guys have a little dance party in your crib (you’re very into Odesza right now), and it just about breaks my heart every time. You smile freely and often, and those smiles really light up this house. Usually you smile when you first wake up, or when we make funny noises for you. Or right before you spit up… You are also pretty chatty – Dad and I must sound really weird repeating your noises back to you, but we do it anyway.

Lately you seem to get frustrated that you aren’t more independent and mobile, you seem to want to walk and crawl and be off on your own, but I will keep you close for a while longer.

Last night Dad and I talked about traveling the world with you and showing you things none of us have seen. It’s hard not to look forward to when you’re older, but I know I will miss these early days, even though they have been hard. It’s very strange to be with someone all day who is changing so quickly, when as an adult I feel as though I never change.

I can’t wait to see what the next months brings – fingers crossed for more sleep.

Love, Mom

Dear Lucy – Month One

Dear Sweet Lucy,
Today, you are one month old. And it’s been a hard, strange, wonderful month.

I knew I would love you, but I was not prepared for the tightening in my chest when I look at you, or the heartbreak when you clutch my finger. Loving you is overwhelming and difficult, and also comes so easily.

You love a good stretch, and will often spend 5 minutes groaning and stretching when you wake up or finish nursing. Speaking of waking up, you seem to fight it sometimes and whine (“Five more minutes, Mom”). You also make the greatest faces, and I’ve been trying to get photos of them all before you outgrow them. Your sweet, gassy smile is my favorite, and I can’t wait until you smile at us because you mean it.

For the first week we brought you home, you made this adorable snorting sound when you were hungry. Sadly you stopped and I already miss it.

You grunt in your sleep, and you can’t decide whether you love or hate to be swaddled. The dogs still don’t know what to do with you: Ridley just wants to play, and Midas is quietly cautious. You love the swing and the bouncer – but only for 30 minutes, max. You only weigh 7.5 pounds, but I’m so proud of your weight gain since we left the hospital.

Sleeping is still unpredictable – some days you nap well and sleep well at night, others you won’t go down all day and fuss after every night feeding. In short, you’re a newborn baby.

I can’t believe it’s already been one month with you. Time seems to be flying by and while I’m excited for you to continue to grow and develop, I also wish I could hold on to each day with you and keep you just as you are. I’ve spent hours trying to memorize your tiny hands and feet, and I’m gripped with fear that I’ll forget the details of these early days with you.

You’re the best thing we’ve ever done, baby girl.

Baby Bradshaw – Week 37

I’m a day late on this, having hit 38 weeks this morning, but that’s OK.

Exciting news! My OB told me that Baby Girl is very low and could come any day!

Or…it could be weeks.

So, the news isn’t really that exciting, honestly.

I’ve been feeling pretty good. 90% of the time I’m fine, the other 10% I’m begging Chris for a time machine so we can fast forward to when baby is here and I’m not pregnant anymore.

My hands are still swollen, and it’s worst at night. Sometimes I can barely close my hand enough to turn a doorknob, and they often go numb. It’s uncomfortable, but at least there is an end in sight.

Last weekend we completed a massive shopping trip at Babies R Us to get ‘everything else’ – although I’m sure there are things we’ve forgotten, or will need more of, or didn’t realize we needed. The nursery is almost finished and it’s mostly down to hanging decor on the walls.

Overall, I’m feeling pretty ready for baby to be here. I know it will be incredibly hard, but at this point I feel like I have done everything I can to prepare and we’ll just have to wing it on the rest.

Things I’m looking forward to after pregnancy

Even though I haven’t been one of those ‘earth mama’ type pregnant women who gains this cosmic perspective on life or whatever, I do have to say that pregnancy has helped me appreciate the life and body I had before getting pregnant. I am so grateful to have been able to carry this baby, but it has been HARD (even though I had an easy pregnancy). Being pregnant has made me realize the beauty in a lot of small acts and freedoms that I absolutely took for granted prior. And I can’t wait to get back to them.

1. Laying on my stomach and flat on my back
2. Curling my knees up to my chest (this is my preferred sitting position)
3. HOT baths
4. An ice cold glass of white wine
5. All the sushi
6. Pants that zip
7. Running
8. Rolling over in bed
9. Wearing my wedding ring
10. Having more clothing options
11. Being able to stop worrying about protecting my belly from the dogs.
12. Easily shaving my legs.

It really is the simple things…no?

Baby Bradshaw – Week 36

Oops! Missed Week 35.

This week my sisters in law and friends threw a gorgeous baby shower for Baby Girl – lots of yummy food and an adorable onesie making station. In general I feel pretty uncomfortable at parties thrown for me, but it was fun to celebrate with everyone and it made me realize how close we are to the end.

I finally bought a book about raising a baby, and I’ll have to do some cramming over the next few weeks. To be honest – I don’t know how to change a diaper, or bathe a baby, or anything, really. I am very much counting on instinct to kick in, but I’ll also be studying up.

Physically, I’m starting to be uncomfortable more often than not. The days are still relatively easy, but by the end of the day my back hurts and I feel stretched and exhausted. I’ve also been getting charlie horses in the middle of the night, and my hands are so swollen that it hurts to bend my fingers most of the time. Describing it makes it sound worse than it actually is. Most of the time, I feel totally normal. But there are times (right now, for instance) that my back is killing me and I just want to sleep through the next few weeks.

The nursery is really coming together, and Chris and I are planning on wrapping up everything this weekend. We have a list of what else we still need (mainly diapers and onesies) that we’ll take care of and hopefully just be able to relax for a little while before the baby comes.

Even though I don’t want to be pregnant an extra month, now that we are so close to being done it would be really nice to have an extra month of just Chris and I, before our life is turned upside down.

I haven’t developed any additional stretch marks (at least that I can see) other than the few that showed up a few weeks ago. Belly button is still an innie, feet and hands are pretty swollen though. My eyes have also been puffy – I think I’m just swollen in general. So, things are going well and I’m really just counting down.

Baby Bradshaw – Week 34

I can’t remember a time in my life when I’ve had as bad a sweet tooth as I have right now. I made sure we didn’t order any Girl Scout cookies because I do not have the self control to stop myself from eating a box of Samoas in a day.

We finally made some progress on the nursery: the crib is painted and assembled, and I made the pom pom trim curtains and bought a curtain rod. There is still a lot left to do, but now that the painting is done we can move forward. I’m a terrible decorator, and I don’t want to spend a ton of money on the nursery, but I do want it to be a nice space for Baby Girl (and me, because I’m sure I’ll spend quite a bit of time in there).

My baby shower isn’t until next weekend, so I’ll be 36 weeks by then…the weekends after that I anticipate will be spent filling in the nursery and baby supplies. And probably obsessively cleaning the house and making lists, because that seems to be how I’m coping with the stress these days.

Physically, things are pretty much the same. Many nights it’s hard to breathe, and I’ve started getting some intermittent sharp pains and more heartburn. With just five(ish) weeks left I’m definitely feeling like I’m ready to be done being pregnant.

Baby Bradshaw – Week 33

Wisdom from my OB this week: “Pregnancy is a great time to get a new mattress.”

A good night’s sleep is a distant memory, and I guess my OB could tell at this week’s appointment. I keep telling myself that it’ll just make the transition to having a newborn easier, but I can’t help but be sad thinking that my days of sleeping through the night are over, potentially forever.

I’ve been much hungrier lately, but my attempts at eating are thwarted by the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any room for food. I try to eat small snacks and calorie dense foods, but balancing that with eating healthy is difficult since fruits and vegetables typically need to be eaten in larger volumes to get an equivalent amount of calories. So I just do the best that I can, and continue to count down until the end of March.

I put an appointment on my work day calendar at 8am that says how many days I have left of work, and it’s actually really comforting to see them tick down – even if I am not at all prepared for maternity leave or being a mom.

The nursery is currently covered in plastic sheeting while Chris sands and repaints the crib. He calls it a murder room, which is horrifying, but I have to admit it’s not too dissimilar from a few scenes in American Psycho. Once that’s done we’ll be able to assemble the crib and really get started on prepping everything for baby. I’ve been putting off stocking up on baby things because 1. I haven’t had my baby shower yet and 2. I didn’t want everything piled up in common areas, since I find clutter stressful right now.

No swollen feet yet, but my hands are definitely puffy enough that I can’t wear my wedding ring anymore. My face and body look very different to me, but Chris says I look the same (apart from the belly, obviously). I still haven’t weighed myself so I’m not sure how much I’ve gained, but I am starting to feel it in my arms and legs which is a bummer.

My skin has cleared up dramatically thanks to a new skincare routine – maybe I’ll document that in a separate post. My hair is also back to normal, no more oil slick by the end of the day!

 

Lessons Learned from My First Quilt

To be fair, this wasn’t my first quilt. But it was my first in a decade, and my first time quilting and binding (someone else did that for me last time and I just did the piecing). So technically, it’s my second quilt. I’m a liar.

  1. Don’t skip the ironing. Where I sew, it’s not convenient to leave the ironing board out all the time and it’s a pain to put it away and set it up frequently. However, I can definitely see the difference in pieces of the quilt where I took the time to press the seams correctly not only for piecing but also for measuring and cutting.
  2. Gather everything you need for the whole project from the start. This quilt took much longer than it should have to finish, and I attribute that to a combination of pregnancy and lack of preparation. The pregnancy I couldn’t have done anything to change, but I easily could have been more prepared before I started the project. Between the two items below, I ended up losing a lot of momentum and I’d leave the quilt for days or weeks without working on it.
    • I didn’t have backing or binding and ended up using a white flat sheet for both. It was super wrinkled (and I was too lazy to iron) and ended up being difficult to work with.
    • I also didn’t have a walking foot for my machine, and had to order one online as I couldn’t find locally.
  3. Use the right tools. Because I’m pregnant, I wasn’t able to use a spray baste product and ended up using straight pins. Next time I’d make sure i have the curved safety pins as I think it would have made the process easier, faster, and delivered a better end product. I ended up abandoning the pins after I’d quilted a few lines because I was tired of getting poked.
  4. Take your time. This is pretty obvious, but I do feel like I rushed some parts of the process and the end product suffered as a result.
  5. Make wider binding. I read several tutorials on machine binding a quilt and while they all used 2.5″ strips for binding, I personally need to use something wider in the future. I am still not a very precise sewer and I struggled with keeping the binding straight when it was so narrow.
  6. Read, read, read. Read the pattern, read the sewing machine manual, read the pattern again. Read tutorials, several times, and for different processes. Read until you comprehend not just the steps, but why you’re taking those steps.
  7. Just do it, no fear. This was, for me, the most important lesson. It’s easy to put off trying something out of fear of failing, or because it may not turn out perfect. I can’t tell you how many crafts or recipes I’ve bookmarked or pinned on Pinterest and never tried. With this quilt, I found a roll of fabric strips on sale for $7, used a white sheet from Walmart as the backing (probably another $7) and got started. I figured that if it turned out horribly, I hadn’t wasted a lot of money or fabric, and I’d learn a lot along the way. And guess what? It’s not awful. If you look closely it’s easy to see the mistakes, the puckers, the less than ruler straight lines. But from a bit of a distance, it looks great. The only way anyone becomes an expert at something is by first being an amateur. 

 

Baby Bradshaw – Week 32

Has it really been 9 weeks since I last did a weekly post?

I stopped writing these because they started feeling redundant…I was still pregnant, week after week, getting more and more tired and uncomfortable. New symptoms weren’t developing in the same way as they were in the beginning, and pregnancy really started to feel like a waiting game more than anything else.

In the beginning, I fluctuated between excitement about being pregnant, and being distracted by how sick I felt. My mind was completely consumed with the pregnancy, and it felt like my body was changing rapidly. Around mid-November, I started to feel bored with pregnancy. I was about halfway through my 40 weeks and I was staring down the barrel of another 4.5 months. It seemed like forever.

The strange thing is, even though it didn’t seem like I was experiencing new symptoms, the last nine weeks is when my body visibly changed drastically. I went from just looking like I put on a little weight, to being obviously pregnant–and dealing with all the comments that come with that.

Now that I’m about 7 weeks out from Baby Girl’s arrival – I find myself totally focused on the baby again. I’m constantly making lists, reading reviews and articles about babies, and probably talking about it nonstop. I don’t really sleep anymore, and I’m uncomfortable 75% of the time. Sometimes I’m so tired of being pregnant I have to hold back tears. But overall, I’m OK. I am not living in pain, and I’ve been keeping the anxiety in check.

This week I made an effort to buy real groceries and cook some meals, and I have to say it feels really good to be excited about cooking again. For months, food didn’t interest me. Every night would be a battle of Chris trying to convince me to eat dinner and me not wanting anything and insisting we just go to bed instead. Orange Jello is still the best thing I’ve ever tasted. I wish everyone could experience joy akin to what I feel eating orange Jello while pregnant. It is a revelation.

 

Happy 2016!

Sometime around Thanksgiving I decided that it would be a great idea to throw a New Years Eve party. Because when you’re six months pregnant, the holiday you choose to celebrate should really be the late night one, not something easy like Easter which is typically celebrated mid-afternoon. 

I tend to stress over parties and convince myself that I don’t have enough food and that no one will show up. Which is funny because if I don’t think anyone will show I’m not sure who I need more food for. Needless to say, I overdo it on the food and drinks and end up drowning in leftovers, but it was a great night. Turns out, staying up until 2:30am when you’re six months pregnant is the equivalent to drinking nonstop until 2:30am when you aren’t pregnant. So yesterday morning was rough. 

Luckily, we had no plans and indulged in a lazy day binging Parks & Rec on Netflix, eating junk, and talking about what we want to do this year.

Really, my only ‘resolution’ for the year is to bring Baby Bradshaw into the world. But we decided to add a couple others, just for fun:

1. Have a baby

2. Snuggle the dogs more

3. Write a sci-fi-western-comedy screenplay

Here’s to a wonderful new year, a healthy baby, and happy dogs!