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I think when I pictured coming back to work everything would be on a smooth schedule.

I’d wake up refreshed, after Brooklyn slept through the night, in her crib, in her own room. I’d say bye to her and she’d give me a big smile and I’d head to work, excited to get a little me time again. I’d come home, excited to see her, play with her, read her a book before putting her to bed then having a little me time to eat dinner and relax before bed.

HA-HA.

Monday I started work again. To say I was (am) a big ball of emotions is an understatement.

For one, I’m exhausted. Long story short, we determined a few weeks ago that Brooklyn has silent reflux. She started to refuse to eat – basically she would eat an ounce or two then scream bloody murder for an hour. It became alarming when it happened with every bottle, and worse when the ounces she was eating started to dwindle day by day. 5+ weeks of trial and error – doctor visits (including one amazing doctor at Children’s hospital), medications, tears, and a lot of patience (i.e. keeping her elevated 30 minutes post eating and when sleeping, feeding her slowly and burping her lots), and we’re in a better place (still not 100% but MUCH better). Anyway, because of this, she’s still eating much smaller amounts more frequently – I’m talking practically newborn state again. I’m thankful that this is something she will grow out of and blessed that while it may be a tough few months, overall she’s healthy.

Anyway, she’s actually sleeping in our room, in our bed. She “goes” to sleep (on me/in my arms) around 8, up to eat again around 10:30, asleep around 11, up again at 2, asleep around 3, up again at 5 and sometimes back asleep, sometimes not. Meaning I’m averaging truthfully, about 5 hours of broken sleep a night.

So right now…this is a new day in the life…

2:00am – Brooklyn stirs. Quickly pick her up before she goes into full on screaming mode. Feed her 4 ounces. (This is usually the largest feed she’ll take since she’s half asleep. During the day we’re still only getting 2-3 ounces in her at a time.)

2:40am – Lay Brooklyn back down after finishing bottle, burping her, holding her upright for at least 20 minutes.

3:00am – Finally drift back off to sleep.

4:30am – Stirring. Not sure if it’s the medications or just the immaturity still of her digestive system but she writhes quite a bit in her sleep. Always wakes me up.

5:00am – Scream fest begins. Feed her another 2 ounces. Try to settle her but she just isn’t settling.

5:45am – She finally drifts off. I contemplate sleeping another 20 minutes or just getting up. Try to lay down but all I can think about is work so I get up and shower.

6:00-7:20am – Shower, dry hair, get dressed, get Brooklyn’s medications out, wash and fill bottles for my MIL who is taking care of her most afternoons once the Husband goes to work until we start a few days of daycare in June. Lay out clothes for her. Throw laundry in. Throw dishes in dishwasher. Drink coffee…x2

7:30am – Leave for train station. Cry en route. Strange mix of emotions – on one hand I love my job and it feels good to work again. But there’s this inner struggle – I feel guilty for wanting to work. I feed sad for missing out on moments with Brooklyn. And really, I just plain miss her. I’m so overwhelmed with emotions and exhaustion that I wish I could just drive to a secluded island by myself.

7:50am – Train to the city.

8:40am – Starbucks en route to my office. Try to order a grande blonde roast, only twice it came out as a Blondey roast. Barista laughs at me and asks if I want a venti instead.

8:50am – Sit down at my desk..with my venti.

9:00-4:00ish – Work, work, work. Go into the bathroom and cry twice (hey I expected more!) Connect with other new moms at work and get confirmation that the first month is really hard and that’s normal. Check in with my MIL a few times, ask for pictures. Hear all the new drama, get a crap ton of new work, and try to ease back in. There are moments where it just feels really good to be working again.

4:25pm – Train home. My manager leaves by 4 and comes in later than me so as long as I can, I plan on being efficient enough (I skip lunch anyway) to leave at the same time too.

5:15pm – Walk in the door and immediately grab my girl. Slightly heartbroken she doesn’t seem more excited but I know 5pm starts her fussy time and at least I get a smile. (Also, I’m not sure what I’m expecting from a 14 week old, ha.)

5:30pm – Changed out of my work outfit, took Bentley outside and get updates from my MIL before she leaves.

5:45pm – Attempt to feed her, get only 2 ounces in and then she refuses more.

6:10pm – It’s beautiful out so decide to take her on a quick stroller walk around the neighborhood for some fresh air. Chat with (at?) her the whole time – people must think I’m a nuts.

6:40pm – Come home, change her diaper and “read” a book (read to her while she laughs at me / looks around), tell her about my day.

7:15pm – Give her medication and draw a bath. She’s in clingy mode so carry her around while doing all of this.

7:30pm – Tubby time! Sing her the tubby time song (“tubby time, tubbbby tubby tubby tubby time, time to wash all the yuckies away, it’s the best part of the daaay” (Don’t ask.) She truly loves tubby time and it actually is my favorite part of the day.

7:50pm – Get her in a clean diaper, put her in her jammies and settle her a bit. Carry her in one arm while eating pasta salad (my dinner) with one hand standing at the counter while Bentley begs at my feet.

8:15pm – She’s hungry. This girl goes from 0-60. Warm a bottle while she starts to pant and panic.

8:35pm – Got 3.5 ounces in, not too bad. Burp burp burp. Sway sway sway.

8:50pm – Rock her / keep her upright.

9:00pm – Lay her in the rock-n-play (since it’s more upright) and run around like a chicken with my head cut off. Pick out work outfit. Take out contacts. Go to the bathroom. Chug an emergen-c (fighting a cold). Brush teeth. Bring bottles up for nighttime feeds. Set up bedroom – nightlight, sound machine/fan. Give Bentley water/food.

9:12pm – She’s awake…

9:15pm – Walking around while carrying her, trying to resettle her.

9:30pm – Husband gets home from work. He’s had a really long day – court in the morning then a 9 hour shift.

10:00pm- Head to bed, with Brooklyn. Get about 1.5 ounces in her before calling it quits.

10:28pm – Last time I look at my phone before falling asleep…hoping for at least a 4 hour stretch. (Spoiler, I got about 3.5 hours)
****

Even though I’m exhausted, overwhelmed by emotions, sick (thanks Husband for this awful head cold), and life is just so different now…I love it. I really do. I mean I don’t love all parts of it of course, but I love this little girl, I love our new expanded family, I love shaking up what was once our routine (we thought we were “busy” before…we sure watched a lot of tv) and I love how special everything feels now. I have learned pretty quickly that each phase/hard time/new normal with a baby passes quickly. The good ones and the bad. So as much as I’m a type A, need a schedule and routine and to do lists type, I think for a while I’m ok with just enjoying this roller-coaster of a time period.

My journey with breastfeeding has not been as easy one. In fact, almost to the day that it became easy, it became a whole lot harder.

I always knew I wanted to breastfeed, but to be honest I wasn’t looking forward to it or thinking of it as something that would be some amazing bonding experience.

But I couldn’t have been more wrong.

After quite a few lactation appointments, practice with a nipple shield (thanks flat nipples!), and a few days of excruciating pain (razor blades to my nipples pain), we got into a routine. Somewhere around 4 weeks, I started to look forward to our nursing sessions. It was 30-40 minutes of tenderness and quiet. I can’t quite explain it, and maybe a big part of it is hormonal, but I really started to enjoy it. The feeling of being needed, of nourishing her, watching her and stroking her hair. It just felt special.

Around 5 weeks I started noticing that her diapers went from normal breastfeed yellow color to a strange mucousy green color. At that same time she started to become inconsolably fussy. She would nurse, appear happy and then like clockwork, about 30 minutes later start to scream. Not a “I’m wet cry” but an “I’m in pain scream”.

After a few calls with her pediatrician I brought her in only to be told they thought it was maybe a virus, or something I ate that caused her to react like that. They reiterated she was doing okay, although her weight gain had slowed slightly. They noted that we should watch her skin – all along we were told she had “baby acne” but we should gently wash it a few times a day to hopefully help clear it up.

I left that appointment feeling like something still wasn’t right. On top of that, the fact that her weight gain slowed down made me terrified that maybe I wasn’t producing enough milk if she wasn’t gaining as fast anymore.

A week later, and many more mucousy diapers, and a lot of very bad days and I just knew. I won’t lie, everyone around me thought I was overreacting. It’s “colic” they said. In fact the morning I asked the Husband to drop off a diaper at her pediatrician to look again, he flat out said I was overreacting. But something in my gut knew, no this isn’t right.

An hour later they called. Blood in her diaper. They suspected – between her skin, the lower weight gain and the mucousy/bloody diapers that she had a milk intolerance. Different from an allergy or being lactose intolerant – just that at this point apparently she was having a hard time digesting milk protein.

And so committed to still breastfeeding, I gave up everything with dairy and soy. Soy because apparently most milk intolerances come with soy intolerances as well. It wasn’t just the obvious milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, etc. but I read every single label carefully. I quickly replaced my old Siggys yogurt with Almond milk yogurt. I started to eat plain meat, eggs, veggies and fruit and actually felt pretty great.

Brooklyn’s skin started to clear a little bit, but 5 days after starting we had probably the worst day of all. 7 hours of crying – again the high pitched, I’m in pain, inconsolable crying. So bad and so long her voice went completely hoarse. At her 5am feeding I couldn’t find it in me to nurse her again only to follow it with screams so I took out the hypoallergenic formula that I made sure we had on hand for emergency purposes. She gulped it down and went to sleep. And I cried, if you can call those deep sobs just crying, for four hours straight.

The next day we went back to the pediatrician and this time they said, well it could be eggs or tree nuts also, but the only way to know is to do a total elimination diet. Eat (real) turkey breast, white rice and carrots for two weeks to see but to know that it could take up to 8 weeks to fully get out of my system and then hers. That her diaper did still have blood, but she had gained weight and she did have a visible sore inside her anus, causing the blood, a result of her GI tract being pretty messed up.

I left that appointment feeling pretty sad. I think deep down I knew what was coming.

So for two days straight I ate nothing but turkey, carrots, and white rice. I was miserable. For the most part Brooklyn was miserable too, not taking a single nap during the days. And when she tried, she would wake up screaming in pain.

And so last night, I decided to sleep on the couch with her. We co-sleep anyway – a post for another time – but I wanted to be closer to her. To nurse her through the night, knowing deep down this was likely the end of my nursing her.

It was not a decision I made lightly. In fact, I’m still on the fence about it all but deep, deep down I know this makes sense and it’s what is best for both of us. I know, after feeding her formula and watching her laugh through tummy time and then drifting off into a peaceful nap, that this is best.

I have only a few weeks left with her before I go back to work. I want to enjoy this time with her. I don’t want her in pain because I slip up or accidentally eat something that hurts her. I don’t want to spend the next few weeks on an elimination diet, only to find it doesn’t work, and to find myself completely consumed by this all and missing out on all the so many other special moments. The doctor also recommended that we make sure if we do plan to use formula that this one works (which I knew when we went back to work we would supplement anyway) before we put her in daycare. They weren’t yet sure if she would potentially need a prescription for formula.

So this morning at 10am was the last time I nursed her. To say my heart aches thinking about not getting to nurse her again is an understatement.

8 weeks we made it.

And for now, I pump and dump. Ironically, it turns out my supply is just fine, more than fine actually. Slowly I’ll have to lessen my supply.

I feed her a bottle of formula, and put a smile on my face and look her in the eyes and tell her how much I love her. That she is my world. That she is smart, and kind and perfect.

But it’s the worst heartbreak I have felt. Ever. It’s the hardest I have cried, well, ever. I sob while washing the bottles and plastic nipples.

I know in time I will feel better about my decision. I know I’m a good Mom and that I love this girl more than anything in this world – and no longer breastfeeding doesn’t change that.

But right now, I can’t help but still feel guilty. Still feel like I could always somehow do more. The breastfeeding Nazis everywhere don’t help that. Most of all I’m just sad. I’m mourning the end of this relationship. The first of many ways in which I experience heartbreak when it comes to her.

And so I want to end this post by saying. Please never judge a Mom for her decisions when it comes to breastfeeding. Breast is best is thrown around so much, but ultimately, whether by breast, expressed milk or formula, just remember you’re still feeding your child with love.

The first month.

I’m sitting here, finally with the energy and time to write this post, with my daughter sleeping next to me.

My daughter.

Sometimes I look at her and cry (happy tears). I’m sure it’s part hormones, but I still can’t believe she’s here, and she’s mine, and she’s so incredible.

I’ve always heard parents say how hard it is to describe the love you have for a child and now I get it. I really get it. Actually, I read somewhere recently – probably in one of the scarymommy articles, the following quote:

 “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

It’s the best description I’ve read so far.

I watch this little girl sleep, as she squeaks and grunts (who knew newborn sleep could be so active at times) and the love I have for her is so strong it physically aches.

I keep thinking I’ll have the time to write out her detailed birth story and the weeks after but time is flying. And so… I figured I would just write it all out. Fragmented sentences. Likely misspelled and grammatically incorrect since I’m running on four hours of sleep.

She came 3 weeks and 2 days early. Because of those 2 days they considered her pre-term.

I felt sick all day January 29th. My stomach hurt constantly. They told me they thought it was indigestion. I just knew it wasn’t.

That night I woke up and had lost my mucus plug. Bleeding and the start of cramping and I knew.

Friday morning we went to the hospital. The midwife thought that at only 1cm dilated, and it being so early, my body could easily stop and wait another week or so before going to labor. Yet minutes before we left the hospital she said she thought she may see us again that weekend.

The Husband, not quite thinking I was actually in labor left for work.

Hours later he came home and I was hunched over on the living room carpet. Unable to catch my breath. Waves of pain seizing my whole body over and over again.

Back to the hospital at 10pm. I was still only 3cm dilated but was told I had “irritable contractions” which meant rather than the 5 minute or so break in-between, they were happening every minute to minute and a half – giving me no reprieve.

Hours, long, slow hours, waiting to be admitted, laying in a bed with the Husband sleeping in a recliner next to me and realizing this was it. I was going to have a baby.

Confirmation my water broke.

6am being wheeled into my labor room. A massive, beautiful room with an angel of a nurse who stood by my side for hours.

An epidural. In other words – HEAVEN. The epidural is HEAVEN. A warm sensation over my body and relief for the first time in a full day.

Waiting. Feeling the pressure of the contractions but no pain.

My angel nurse having to leave – and a not so nice nurse taking her place.

My midwife stopping in briefly at time, apologizing because it ended up being the busiest day in labor and delivery in 18 years. I still blame the massive snow storms.

The strange shift from feeling good, to feeling not right. Shakes and shivers that caused my body to convulse, my teeth to chatter incessantly, my face to feel on fire, and my mouth so dry like I could never drink enough.

The midwife coming in and taking one look at me and telling the nurse to take my temperature immediately.

102.9   I can still hear her saying it and the look between the two of them. The midwife then doing a quick check and saying it was time. But first, she needed to talk with me.

Because of my fever, the special care team would have to come in for the labor. They would need to take her right away to check her, because of my fever it was likely she could have an infection as a result and she would need antibiotics.

Feeling confused, and terrified. Terrified I was hurting my baby. That my body was hurting her. That I couldn’t control any of it.

Sort of going in and out of being in my body if that makes sense. It became a blur. Seeing a team of at least 4 people waiting in the back – watching – in full medical gear, prepping stations.

Being told to push, push, push.

40 minutes later feeling her fully come out. Feeling my heart in my throat as I waited to hear a noise, any noise.

After a quick check, and a cry, having her placed on my chest. The beautiful, amazing, perfect little girl.

Birth

Feeling the strongest connection to someone I could have ever imagined. Like my whole heart was right in front of me.

Looking at the Husband and thinking, holy crap, we made her. We made this miracle.

Having the nurse take her away to get her first round of antibiotics.

Being wheeled down to the postpartum floor to my new room. En route, seeing another mother being wheeled down too, only she was holding her baby.

Crying because I too wanted to hold my baby. And I still felt terrified, absolutely terrified something would be wrong.

2 full days of nurses in and out. My body recovering. Confirmation she was healthy, though would still be treated as pre-term. Feeling completely overwhelmed, and yet the happiest I have ever been.

Multiple sessions with a lactation consultant. Multiple nurses, midwives, and pediatricians stopping by – explaining what to do, how she was doing, and when we could go home.

Watching the Patriots win the Superbowl, daughter in arms, with my Husband cheering loudly. Roars from other Husbands in the hall.

Driving home, in a horrible snow storm, clutching her car seat next to me – praying with everything in me we would make it home safely. Watching four cars crash and skid off-road in front of us. Praying our power would stay on – seeing as we had heard from my Mother we lost power for a few hours earlier.

That first night. Hardly sleeping, instead just watching her sleep, making sure she was breathing.

A week later when my mother left and the Husband went to work. Feeling terrified to be alone.

The baby blues. Oh the baby blues. No one really mentions how much hormones are a mother f*cker. Feeling so happy and wonderful one minute, only to be followed up by a moment of feeling like nothing would ever be the same again.

Slowly feeling like myself again. Only, a new me. A mom.

Watching her – smile, cry, eat, sleep, grow. All of it, magical.

Feeling so inadequate at times. Nothing I do seems good enough or right. The pressure coming from only myself of course.

The strangest joys. Like seeing her wet and dirty enough diapers – making me know she is thriving.

The breastfeeding struggle. Days of trying then deciding to pump instead. Pure stress, pumping around the clock while trying to hold her too. Being told she had lost a good amount of weight, and to make sure to feed her every 2 hours around the clock. Multiple breakdowns, and tears – so, so, so many tears. A broken pump. 2 more lactation consultant appointments. 3 days of nursing around the clock – the feeling of a razor being taken to my nipples. Toe curling, teeth grinding pain. Then the day it stopped hurting – well, the pain only lasting a few initial seconds. And finally, the moment where I realized – I like nursing her. I like the quiet moments of looking down at her. Knowing I am feeding her.

The excitement for the future. For watching her grow, for reading her books, for family nights.

One month. How has it been over a month?

I’m in a weird state of wanting and having so many things to write about – but somehow I just haven’t made the time. I have a feeling in a few weeks I may be writing a lot more again.

I’m currently 33 weeks and 2 days pregnant. Holy moly time flies when you’re pregnant. I’m officially in the getting uncomfortable stage. There are still moments/hours where I forget I’m pregnant (seriously, sometimes I feel so normal) but now there are more and more moments (usually at night) where I feel very much pregnant. I can’t always catch my breath, can’t get comfortable, piercing back pains (mid and upper back, not lower like I expected), hip pain, feeling super hungry then super full, and lots of tossing and turning at night.

I’m also sort of over all the pregnancy comments and advice at this point. I take it all in stride, and truthfully it’ll probably only get worse once I have a newborn but it’s funny how much and what people comment about. The amount of people who will negatively comment about what I choose to not eat/drink it so surprising (I guess I expected it the other way, people telling me not to eat or drink things versus questioning when I don’t). It’s funny because I know people who have gone on such restrictive diets – be in juice cleanses, paleo, whole30, whatever the case to lose weight (in a healthy or even not so healthy way) and choose not to eat things because it doesn’t make them feel good or impacts them in some way (the amount of dairy free, gluten-free, caffeine free, etc. friends I have has I swear doubled) – and yet when I say no, sorry, I’m not drinking any alcohol, no I’m not eating lunch meats, etc. it becomes almost an argument. “you really can’t have any? Would once really be that bad? Is this little bit of cheese really going to do anything?” It’s like…giving up some unpasteurized cheese, runny eggs, or a glass of wine for 9 months – is nothing compared to making sure this is a healthy baby that I don’t hurt in any way shape or form. More than ever I care about what I am putting into my body because it’s not just about me. At the same time too, I would never ever judge anyone for what they decide to do or not do when pregnant. I would never, ever forgive myself it anything happened as a result of that one time. If they comfortable doing something – it’s their body and their baby – it’s not something I would ever comment on! I mean… do you know how many nights in a row I have eaten rocky road ice cream? Maybe someone should comment on that, ha. :)

I have these moments where I feel so lucky, blessed and excited (borderline impatient) for this little girl to arrive. Then to be honest I am having more and more moments of fear. It’s so soon! I just can’t fathom how things will change. How the Husband and I will change, how it won’t just be “us” anymore, how it will impact Bentley, how tired I’ll be, if I’ll feel alone at all, what if I don’t feel the immediate connection with her and I’m not a “natural” mom? What if I completely feel lost and depressed by staying home for 14 weeks – and not working – something I have done since the age of 13 without break. What if I take out my tired/frustration/fears on the Husband and we totally crumble? What if all we can talk about – to each other and everyone else – is diapers and poop and babies?

Things with Bentley have been a little crazy over the past few weeks – but somehow I think it all worked out for the best. Long story short, we got a call two weeks or so ago that right after Bentley was dropped at his daycare, he bit another dog. Apparently a dog was jumping on him, the owner saw Bentley growl at the dog, the dog kept jumping on him and Bentley turned his head and bit the dog. He bit her right on the head so it caused an open gash and that dog had to go to the vet. Unfortunately, the daycare owner said he just can’t watch the dogs that closely – and that Bentley seems to want to be able to have personal space throughout the day at different times and since this is one open room for 30 dogs, that doesn’t work and unfortunately now that he has bitten another dog, he just isn’t allowed to return. In other words, my dog got expelled!

I had some immediate reactions when I got the call. First, like a failed parent, I felt embarrassed. Then upset. Then, and maybe I’m rationalizing it, a little annoyed. I mean he admitted to seeing Bentley show a warning sign – and still did not separate them. Then totally overwhelmed – we were about to go away to a wedding in Baltimore the week after, and where would he stay if not at his normal daycare? Then I took action, as fast as I could. First the Husband picked him up, and the owner reiterated the story – and apparently seemed sad about it since they like him and he’s been going there for a year now, but quickly we started realizing – maybe he doesn’t love it as much as we thought. And maybe a place with that many dogs and no personal space isn’t the best place for him anyway, especially with his aloof shepherd qualities. And so I quickly found an alternative for boarding – a place actually closer to us that my Aunt brings her two dogs (who would also be boarded at the same time since she and my uncle were coming to the same wedding). In the end Bentley had his own kennel and run, and was taken out twice a day to play with his Westie cousin dogs, and walked by the Mom and daughter who own the place. He got rave reviews and came home happy and exhausted.

In terms of a daycare – I think we are realizing – maybe he doesn’t need 3+ days of daycare a week. Instead, we have found a new place that he is doing a trial at today, also closer to home, where we can bring him if he likes it maybe 1x a week just to get his zoomies out and keep him socialized. I was completely honest with the woman about what happened at the previous daycare and so they will begin with “day boarding” – where he gets his own room, toys, and will be taken out on 5 short walks a day and will meet dogs one by one through a fence or in the play yard if they see it as a good fit. If he enjoys being around the other dogs, then he will join playtime with a maximum group of 7 dogs with the same temperament. All dogs have “nap/quiet time” in their own rooms from 12:30-2:30 which I think is a good break for him anyway. So we’ll see how it goes. Overall reducing his daycare will save us a couple hundred a month!

I have to admit, one of the best things about keeping him home – while it makes me feel bad that he sits in the house on my non WFH days from about 11am-6pm alone – is that the Husband and I are actually spending more quality time with him. He used to come home from daycare so utterly exhausted he would go up to the bed and sleep. Now we play more outside (he loves to sprint through the yard, but only if we are outside watching), we’re doing tricks and training again at night – lots of puzzles, he seems to enjoy being in the house more and is almost always by our sides, and he’s already being a bit more social with people when they come over. It only takes about 10-15 minutes of sprints outside to completely exhaust him, something I can easily do in the mornings before work and at night when I get home. To be honest, I forgot how much fun I have when we play and do training, and most of the time, he seems content to just be around us.

I’m going through a strange phase at work. One minute I’m pushing hard, focused, and getting so much done (I think preparing to be out) and then moments of pure impatience, frustration with little things, and just wanting to get to the point where I’m going out on leave. I know I will want to go out feeling like I got everything I could done, so I need to spend the next few weeks really focusing on work.

I’m also going through a phase where I really want to make an effort to make plans and spend time with friends and family while I can – but more specifically – positive people who also make an effort too. I’m sort of tired of trying so hard when it’s not reciprocated or leaving hangouts feeling negative or mentally exhausted and drained, especially when I have some new (well not new, but not my regular core group) making a good effort to see me. I have dinner with a handful of girlfriends this Wednesday, dinner with two old college friends who I don’t see often but one is about a month behind me in her pregnancy, on Thursday, a full day of brunch and my sister’s dance show on Saturday with my Mom, my Mother-in-law, Sister-in-law and two family friends, then mid next week dinner with my old boss and coworker. I’m also trying to keep some time free on weekends for organizing and cleaning in preparation of the baby. The Husband and I also have a full Saturday birthing class coming up, as well as a night where we tour/go through the practice triage process in the hospital, a friend’s birthday that I’m hoping to spend some time with her celebrating, my baby shower later this month (with a few college friends making it a big girls sleepover weekend – the highlight of my month!), and more. I think January is going to fly by!

Funny story, the Husband and I had a wedding down in Baltimore over New Year’s Eve. It was actually so fun, even at 8 months pregnant and sober, and I loved getting all the extra family time for the few days (with moments of course of I NEED SPACE). My cousin, who was the one getting married, actually shares a friend with B (yes, that B). Ironically, this friend and his wife are pregnant, so my cousin sat them at our table, also with my sister and cousins. Somehow they ended up sitting right next to the Husband. I didn’t actually put two and two together until halfway through dinner – and I never said anything to him or anyone about it. What is sort of funny about it though is that there were SO many glasses on the table (4 per person, plus any glasses people brought with their own drinks from the bar) so when the husband sat down at one point he hit a champagne glass that went flying and COVERED this guy (he might as well have thrown it directly in his face). He took it very nicely, and I could tell the Husband felt so bad (but at 230lbs, 6’3 and a regular bull in a china shop he just can’t be near that many glasses). I have no idea if he connected who I was, but hopefully he doesn’t think it was on purpose. Well, actually I don’t really care as I’ll never see them again. ;)

My dreams lately when I do sleep, are crazy. I think my fears and anxieties are coming into play in my sleep because I have had countless dreams of fighting with friends, including a fist fight with my best friend from home (which is hilarious to think about in real life because it would never, ever happen). A number of dreams and scenarios of the Husband either cheating on me (and me seeing it, ugh) or him not paying attention to me and me feeling really sad and alone. It doesn’t take much to see what my dreams are getting at, but man I wish they would stop. As it is I’m practically an insomniac at this point and when I do sleep, to wake up feeling like crap after a dream like that really isn’t fun.

Somehow over the Holiday time off the Husband and I watched 4 movies. Gone Girl, the Good Lie, the Equalizer and This is Where I leave You. I read Gone Girl so had been dying to see it, but as always the case, it just wasn’t as good as the book. I swear in the book they did a better job of making you hate them equally, while in the movie, you have far more hate towards the wife. The Husband also figured out the plot far earlier than I did in the book – be it his detective skills or the hints were just easier to pick up on. The Good Lie was a great movie, based off the Lost Boys from Sudan and it definitely made us remember how damn lucky we are in America and with what we have. The Equalizer was silly – the Husband liked it because it was Denzel and it was a revenge type of movie – it was predictable but entertaining. This is Where I Leave You was my favorite and just my type of movie. The kind that is a little dark, funny, makes you laugh/cry and sort of is just an honest look at regular life and being an adult.

I think from now on I may just write more. My posts may not be put together, grammatically correct, or even make any coherent sense – but I miss writing so much. I miss pouring out my thoughts, memories and experiences even if they are just for me to reread one day.

Third Trimester

I can’t believe I’m into my third trimester of pregnancy already. I swear, sometimes I feel like time is just flying.

At 29 weeks and 2 days (7 months, 1 week and 2 days) pregnant I’m…

Feeling pretty good still. Although for the first time I’m starting to really feel pregnant. My stomach feels expanded, my left rib hurts, my back is sore and I’m falling asleep on the couch by 10pm every night but then waking up with crazy insomnia.

Loving the kicking and movement. As strange as it is (it really is odd at first) it’s been fun to share the movement with everyone else. The Husband can feel it at night when we’re sitting on the couch and she seems to be the most active and riled up. Sometimes she even keeps me from falling asleep because I swear she’s doing jumping jacks.

As excited, and happy and blessed as I feel and truly can’t wait to meet her I’m having these crazy strange nostalgic moments. Like sometimes I get almost sad thinking, it’ll never be just Husband and myself again (ha, or Husband, myself and Bentley). I’m also having these (more so fleeting) thoughts of I’ll never quite get to schedule things the way I want anymore – like just going to a flywheel class when I want to, or staying late at work. I know it’ll all work itself out and we will create a new normal, just like with Bentley, but it is interesting to go through this set of emotions too.

Also, I never even posted about the amazing babymoon weekend we took to Stowe, Vermont. If I could recommend one thing to do during pregnancy, this would be it. Let’s just say it was a lot of eating, sleeping and just relaxing and it was magical.

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I’m also going through what I imagine is more nesting. Which I L-O-V-E. Hello can I just be that productive all the time? I hammered out 72 Christmas cards just because I HAD to the other night. I am constantly organizing, purging, cooking and cleaning and slowly feeling like things in the house have a place, and I love everything that’s actually in the house. The only struggle I’m facing now is that with being more tired the last week or so, it’s hard to do all the things I want (need in my mind) to do.

I experienced my first cold while sick and that was probably the most brutal thing ever. Everything hurt, and not being able to take a darn thing was really frustrating.

To be honest I’m also getting a little scared. Scared that I have no control over when I’ll actually have her. For all I know I could go early in the next 6 weeks – but then I could be late and that means I still have 11 weeks left! Scared that being out of work for a few months will make it hard to return – like I won’t be as good at my job anymore. Scared that I won’t get to see my friends as much and miss out on a lot of things. Scared that I’ll become one of those Moms that only wants to talk about babies, and baby things, and gives up her life. I know that’s not me and who I am, but I can’t fathom what this all will be like. I’m scared that I’ll go crazy with too much family time and help after her birth (everyone keeps scheduling trips and planning times to stay with us and help but didn’t really ask us what help is needed, and add in that the Husband’s parents want to stop by daily…) I know I can’t picture it and maybe I’ll appreciate the help but all I can envision is not getting a second alone with my daughter, bleeding out of many orifices, and trying to walk around half-naked to feed my child and then there are people…everywhere.

I’m scared that Bentley will feel so out-of-place. I’m so tired of people saying once we have this baby he will just become a dog or we’ll “forget about him” because I can promise you, we won’t. I love that dog fiercely and while I know he isn’t my child, whether it’s difficult or not – that dog is part of our family and will always have a place with us. Maybe not as big of a place in our bed though…

MUST be squished between us. (He appears much smaller than his 60lb body actually is.)

MUST be squished between us. (He appears much smaller than his 60lb body actually is.)

And truthfully, I’m most scared of messing her up. I constantly watch women and girls now – I can see these glaring insecurities, jealousies, unhappiness, and unfavorable traits and how do you make sure not to do something that will totally mess up your child’s life and cause issues like that? What if I say or do one thing, and it spirals into an eating disorder, or a need for the wrong attention? What if the Husband isn’t as active as I want and that takes a toll on her, and one that unfortunately I can’t fill because she needs her Daddy.

Somehow though, even among the fears and discomfort, it all just feels so right now, more than ever. I just cannot wait to start this chapter of our lives.

Saying goodbye to my 20’s is a strange thing. I wish I could say some profound statement about my 20’s but I can’t seem to put things into words the way I used to.

I’m a firm believer that every year gets better and better. Even the so-called “tough” years are still learning experiences where I find that I look back and still think of them as some of my best years.

When I do look back, it’s easy to review my 20’s and pull out some monumental moments each year.

2005: Age 20:

  • Living abroad in Hobart, Tasmania
  • The rest is sort of hazy… it was my senior year of college!

2006: Age 21:

  • Graduating from college
  • Moving to Boston with a group of college friends
  • Getting my first apartment with my cousin
  • Getting my first real job

2007: Age 22:

  • Switching jobs and career paths completely
  • Travelling to Ecuador with friends (and dumbly going waterfall repelling with inexperienced guides…and coming home with a parasite)
  • Breaking up with my boyfriend of 5 years
  • Moving into an apartment by myself in Fenway
  • Starting my master’s program
  • Being single and dating for the first time

2008: Age 23:

  • I’d be lying if 23 wasn’t mostly about B. I met him just after my 23rd birthday.
  • Falling in love, real love – all consuming, bring out the best in you, can’t get enough – love.
  • Travelling to Mexico with friends
  • Running my first ever road race, a St. Patrick’s Day 5k
  • Moving again, still in Fenway
  • Getting promoted at work

2009: Age 24:

  • Travelling to Nova Scotia with B
  • Travelling to Paris with a group of 5 girlfriends
  • Getting promoted at work again
  • Moving, again still in Fenway
  • Experiencing my first heartbreak. Utter soul-crushing heartbreak. I still think this was one of the best experiences of my life.

2010: Age 25:

  • Travelling to Mexico with my family
  • Travelling to Ireland with B (as friends)
  • Graduating from my master’s program
  • Getting promoted at work again
  • Starting this blog
  • Training and finishing my first triathlon
  • Taking up boxing

2011: Age 26:

2012: Age 27:

  • Getting engaged to the Husband and planning a wedding
  • Moving in with the Husband and moving to South Boston
  • Travelling to Toronto with a group of girlfriends

2013: Age 28:

  • Getting married to the Husband
  • Spending a week straight in St. Lucia with the Husband
  • Switching jobs, same company but completely different and new career path
  • Moving again, this time out to the burbs
  • Adopting Bentley!

2014: Age 29:

The thing is, these monumental moments truly were wonderful and some of what I’m most thankful for in my life. But just as important are all the little moments throughout the past 10 years, good and bad. The summer nights spent laughing at the beach with my girlfriends each summer. The heartache but coming together of my family when my grandmother passed away or when we sold the beach house. The night of my birthday celebration, the one where B had just broken my heart, and staying in with a handful of girlfriends in a hotel room while I just cried and cried and they just listened. The feeling of my confidence, self-worth and independence growing as I trained for my first triathlon. The (many) 3am nights of last-minute paper writing to complete my master’s program. The joy, laughter and tears while watching so many friends get married. The fear but excitement of picking up Bentley and learning to care for and adjust to having my first dog. The hours of arguments or not seeing eye to eye with the Husband – to get us to a place where we still aren’t perfect, but we communicate so much better. The feeling of coming home and snuggling with my Husband, Bentley and my growing baby bump.

Life is damn good. Life is magical, and I truly mean that. The good and bad – it’s gotten me to this point. I wouldn’t take any of it back.

I can’t imagine, and I can’t wait to see what my 30’s bring. Happy 30th to me!

Not proud of myself.

I’m not proud of myself today. In fact, I’m actually feeling lower than I have felt in a long time.

What I’m about to write is not in hopes of getting comments to excuse my behavior. Nor is it to make myself feel better. Instead it’s to remember. To document and learn from this moment.

I could sit here and write up the whole background – the flurry of excuses – I was sick for a few days, high anxiety after not feeling baby girl kick for a day or so – exhaustion – the Husband working late every night and not helping around the house at all – cooped up in the house working from home for 13 hours straight – pouring cold rain that Bentley wouldn’t even step out to go to the bathroom in. It really doesn’t matter though. We all have bad days, but that doesn’t give us the excuse to mistreat others.

Around 7pm Bentley went into wacko mode. I’m talking he slept solidly from Wednesday night to Thursday morning then spent all Thursday day quietly laying with me while I worked on the couch. By 7pm he wanted nothing more than to play with me, grabbing toys and trying to entice me. I’ll be honest, I just wasn’t up for it. I kept saying no and nudging him away and he’d try again.

Next he went to more extreme tactics. One of his favorite things to do when he wants attention is to find something of ours in another room and come barreling in where we are with it in his mouth pretending to chew and throw it around. The comical thing is he doesn’t actually chew it – if he wanted to he’d hide with it – instead it’s strictly to get our attention. So a few times he grabbed things and I would get up and take them away and say no. Finally, he tried to grab my computer cord so I grabbed his collar, said no and told him to sit. He quickly sat, I think secretly hoping he’d done enough to engage me to play. I looked him in the eyes and just kept saying no and let go of his collar. Next he over excitedly leaped onto me and bopped his nose into my glasses.

I know it wasn’t malicious. The Husband and him play too often like this where he’ll have one of his toys and hold it above him and entice Bentley to jump on him and rough house but it’s a no-no with me.

I was set off. That pounce on my belly made my blood boil and I reacted. I screamed at him. I grabbed him by the collar and rushed him upstairs and into his crate, slamming the crate door closed.

For someone it sounds like nothing – I didn’t hit him or continuously scream at him. For others, I’m sure it sounds worse than I’m even thinking – I screamed and lost my temper with a dog who trusts me and was just trying to play.

Rather than just let him out, I knew I needed to calm down. I sat on my floor and I immediately began to cry. Out of shame mostly.

For the first time I realized there’s a meanness in me. I was cruel and mean to Bentley and I didn’t need to be. I reacted in a way that I am truly ashamed and embarrassed of, and most of all my heart hurts thinking about how he felt.

I think I cried harder last night than I have in a long, long time.

After about 5 -10 minutes I let him out quietly, and sat on the floor. At first he started to run back downstairs, but he stopped when I didn’t follow, and came over to me and just looked at me. One quick lick away of my tears, and a semi-snuggle against me before he tried to entice me to play again I hope means he hasn’t totally lost trust in me.

The truth is, would it have been that hard to play with him for 10 minutes? Would it have been that hard to grab his leash and take him on a quick walk around the block, rainy night and all?

We all make mistakes. No one can be the perfect parent (be it dog or human) ever. But at the same time, acting and responding in anger is something I truly don’t want to do. The way it makes me feel hours and even a day later hurts enough inside that I know it’s a priority for me to work on.

So today I will say I am not proud of myself and I’m ashamed of how I acted. But I promise myself, and Bentley, and my future daughter, that I will work on my patience and temper.

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