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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ten Weeks

Ten weeks was an important goal in my pregnancy with Lily. While I had carried a baby until eleven weeks before, none had ever survived with that tiny, flickering heartbeat past nine weeks. I remember being so eager to make it past that point and get to ten weeks. Of course the next big milestone was to actually make it to the second trimester, which I had never done in six pregnancies.

Those were some truly scary times for me, as we waited in between ultrasounds to find out if our baby's heart was still beating. All I could do was hope and pray... and wait.

Today my girl is ten weeks old. It's amazing how slowly that time seemed to creep by during the pregnancy and how quickly it has passed since she was born. Ten very nervous and fearful weeks with her inside of my womb, and now ten wonderful weeks of looking at this sweet face.


I'm so overwhelmed, and so very, very thankful.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful

This year it's easy for me to say that I'm thankful. I have an amazing baby girl who is healthy and happy and here to stay, and that's something that I wasn't sure could ever happen. That is certainly reason to give thanks to the Lord! My heart is full of joy for this holiday season.

For many years it was hard for me to say what I was thankful for. Don't get me wrong; it's not that I wasn't thankful or didn't appreciate my loving family and precious friends. I have a husband who loves and supports me no matter what, and I loved the life and the home that we'd made together. All of that was true, but at the same time my heart was hurting. I knew that, if asked at Thanksgiving what I was thankful for, I wouldn't be able to speak without breaking down. For a long time I allowed the wonderful things in my life to be overshadowed by my grief and heartache.

It was around the time that I began to blog and really open up about my feelings about recurrent pregnancy loss that my heart started to change. I felt like there might be some meaning in all of this and some way of reaching out by sharing my experience. I had no idea how large the community of IF bloggers was when I started, but finding it really helped to give me a sense of purpose through that trial. To know that there were others out there who understood was also a huge help for me. Before long I was once again able to feel thankfulness -- even though I was still in the midst of a painful struggle.

Soon I realized that I could be thankful not just in spite of what I'd been through, but because of it. Let me be clear about this, though. I'm NOT thankful for miscarriage. I wish I had never gone through that horror in the first place and I wish that no one else ever had to experience it either.

But I AM thankful for...

  • Learning to lean on my Heavenly Father, and knowing from experience that He will never leave my side, even when I'm full of fear, doubt, and anger.
  • Learning that with God, nothing is impossible.
  • Seeing firsthand that I was much stronger than I ever thought I could be.
  • Reassurance that I married the most caring and loving man who would stick by me through thick and thin.
  • Renewed faith in the love and support of family and friends who prayed for us so faithfully.
  • An entire online community of new friends who encouraged me along the way and helped me find some good in a bad situation.

I could really go on and on! All of this came out of some pretty dreadful years when I felt like I was struggling just to keep my head above water. Those are the reasons why I can look back on that time and be thankful for what came out of it. I can now be so grateful for where I am today, Thanksgiving 2010.

Thank you for contributing to that, for sharing in my joy now and for holding me up when I needed support then. Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Girl

Today I just want to write about her. My little Lily.

When I was pregnant with this sweet baby and after I finally let it sink in that we might actually bring her home, I used to wonder about her personality. Sure, I often thought about what she might look like, but I was most curious about what would make her "her." What would she like or dislike? What would her unique personality traits be? Now, I know she's only two months old (nine weeks today, to be exact), but I love seeing that little personality come out! Today I want to tell you all about my girl.

Some of my favorite nicknames for her are: Sweet Pea, Lily-girl, Lily-poo (which her daddy has promised not to call her in front of her friends), Lily-pie, Pumpkin, Pumpkin pie, Peanut, and sometimes even Peanut Butter.

She is now 11 pounds and almost 23 inches long. Her hair is beginning to lighten a bit and she is getting that trademark baby bald spot on the back of her head. Her eyes are still a dark bluish-gray. Sometimes in the light I think that I detect some green, while other times I think I see some brown tones. I feel sure they will turn out either green like mine, or brown/green hazel like her daddy's.


Lily's temperament is pretty easy-going. She loves taking a bath and taking short walks outside, but those are her "serious" times. I know she really enjoys both activities, but those are not really the moments that make her smile. Instead, they are the times when we see her curious and contemplative side.


We know that her big smiles come when she is on her changing table or in her bouncy seat. It's pretty easy to get a smile out of her now. All we have to do is make eye contact and talk to her, and her sweet face lights up with a big smile. From the very first day she was born, Lily has enjoyed looking at people's faces and really studying them. People have always commented on how attentive she is. Now she smiles at every new person she meets. She especially loves to smile at her daddy. I'm not sure what it is about him that she finds so darn funny!


I guess you can't write too much about an infant without discussing sleeping and eating patterns. Here's how we spend the majority of our time:

Eating: My baby girl is a very good eater. She has a great appetite and has adjusted so well despite our nursing challenges in the early days. We've been exclusively breastfeeding for a month now and I'm so proud of her! I still pump twice a day if possible, right before I go to bed and right after her morning feeding. I'm happy to see a pretty good supply building up in my freezer. We have a routine going where her daddy feeds her a bottle of breast milk (usually about 4 ounces) before we put her down for the night. This has consistently earned us at least one good stretch of sleep for the first half of the night. She is much more fitful during the second half.

One of my favorite things about Lily is that she does the cutest things with her hands. When she is eating, she almost always has her fingers spread and straight out. It cracks me up! I love looking at her sweet hands.


My baby girl likes her pacifier. She doesn't want it all the time, but it does help during the day if she gets fussy and it helps her to fall asleep most of the time. She doesn't seem to need it during the night at this stage.

Sleeping: Lily will sleep for at least 4-5 hours before waking up to nurse usually just once per night. We have been pleasantly surprised a few times when she has skipped her middle of the night feeding and slept for 7 hours! When she does wake up during the night, she doesn't cry. She will grunt and whimper off and on until we recognize that she's ready to eat and not just making little noises in her sleep. Her daddy handles the night-time diaper changes, and most of the time lately I can hear her happily cooing at him in the middle of the night from all the way across the house! It's the sweetest thing.


Lily likes to nap a lot in the morning. She does her best napping when she is being held. This is how she would prefer to sleep all the time, although she will sometimes nap in her bouncy seat but only after I've rocked her to sleep first. She is getting old enough now that we want to start practicing letting her soothe herself. Just today I was able to put her down in her crib and she fell asleep on her own for a short nap. Although she loves playing in her crib, she has never slept in there, so I was pretty excited about that. I'm not used to her sleeping in a separate room, though, so I sat in the chair in her room and started this blog post while she napped so I could hear her breathing. I can't help but remain pretty obsessive about that, checking on her constantly when she's asleep.

And finally, Lily still likes to sleep swaddled. She occasionally gets her hands out through the little holes where the top meets the bottom of her swaddler, so we put mittens on her hands to keep them warm if it's a chilly night.


I noticed the other day that she kinda reminds me of something...


Oh yeah, Happy Thanksgiving! :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Transitioning

It's so hard to believe that baby Lily will be two months old in just a few days. On the other hand, it feels like she has been part of my life forever.

The transition has been an interesting one. Sure, caring for a new baby is pretty different from how I used to spend my days. It's hard to put into words what it felt like to go from losing multiple pregnancies to finally bringing home a baby. I guess part of that is the fact that nothing can bring back what was lost. With that being said, though, there has also been a lot of healing that has taken place in my heart over the past two months. I am so grateful for that, and I'm reminded of it every time I see her precious face!

For more than eight years I was a stay-at-home wife. Yeah, try explaining that to people when you first meet! It always opened the door to a barrage of questions about why we didn't have children and why I didn't have a job. It was difficult to explain over and over again that I had stopped working when we moved to a new state and started trying to have a baby. And then miscarriage entered my life, and before I knew it nearly a decade had passed. We had no idea how long that stage of our life was going to last. I certainly never could have predicted all that unfolded during those years.

Now I've become what I'd always wanted to be. I'm a stay-at-home mom. Bringing home baby Lily fulfilled that lifelong desire of my heart. She is my dream come true!

But dreams are funny things, you know. Sometimes mine manage to bring up some of those old fears. A few nights ago I had a dream that Lily wasn't really mine and my time with her was up. I had to return her to her real family. I seriously woke up with an empty feeling in my stomach and I gave her lots of extra snuggles that day.

Even though caring for a new baby is a full-time job and is at times very challenging, I love this place where I finally get to be. These two months have been full of some very happy times and some difficult ones too, but we're getting settled more and more each day. I'm finally feeling comfortable in my ability to read her baby cries and meet her needs every day. And although it was a bumpy road to get here, our nursing routine has finally worked out as well. Things began to improve after the second week and especially after the sixth week, and I'm so happy about that! I've heard that in terms of breastfeeding the three-month mark is another milestone, so I'm looking forward to making it that far. Lily Rae continues to amaze me. I know I'm biased, but even on her fussy days I remind myself that she truly is such a good, adaptable baby.

Our new favorite thing is her smile. This month she has really started responding to us when we talk to her. It is the most precious thing to see her little mouth transform into a big, gummy smile! Today I even caught her smiling at the ceiling fan a couple of times. :)

Here's a recent pic of her sweet smile. You can also see her little "angel kiss" between her eyes -- in the same spot where I had one as a baby. (Thanks to my blog friend Jo for the cute outfit!)

Monday, November 1, 2010

At Last



At last, my love has come along
My lonely days are over
And life is like a song
Oh, yeah, at last
The skies above are blue
My heart was wrapped up in clover
The night I looked at you
I found a dream that I could speak to
A dream that I can call my own
I found a thrill to press my cheek to
A thrill that I have never known
Oh, yeah and you smile, you smile
Oh, and then the spell was cast
And here we are in heaven
For you are mine
At last