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And then there were two

I can’t wait to meet you.

I can already picture these moments in my head.

You swaddled in my arms as Brooklyn comes in to meet you for the first time.

You sleeping in a rock and play sweetly as I play with your sister.

And even the “not so pretty” moments – the sleepless nights and days where you won’t stop crying while your sister has another meltdown because that’s what toddlers do. But to me, it’s still a perfect moment because you’re both there.

The first year of your sister’s life I could not picture having more children. I love her so much it consumes my heart and truthfully at time scares me.

Then little by little I felt the pull. We didn’t feel complete. Someone was missing.

And now I get it already – my love for you doesn’t take an ounce of love away from her. Somehow my heart has doubled, maybe even tripled because I just keep loving you both more and more.

I can’t wait to meet you.

Will you have a personality like your sister? Strong willed and intense? She arrived 23 days early and now I fully understand why. Or will you be totally different? Either way, you will be “you” and that’s all that matters.

Stay cozy for now baby. I can’t wait to meet you in June.

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Challenge

Lately I find myself wanting to do more, say more, feel more, and to just *be* more.

It’s this overwhelming urge to declutter. I think it started after reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. After donating and throwing out 17 bags of clothes, books, old mementos and more I just felt so good. The obvious feelings of course – being organized and clean. But a deeper feeling – of being lighter, free, and happier. 

And since then, I just can’t stop the urge to get rid of all the clutter and “noise” in my life so I can focus on more important things. 

 
  
At first glance List 1 probably doesn’t seem that earth shattering. But if I look back at the last year or two of my life – it’s a change. 

I haven’t made my marriage a priority since we had Brooklyn. It wasn’t on purpose, it just kind of happened. With so much time and energy focused on her – what little was left was spent on work, and then social activities we had to take part in. I think we both realized we left each other with scraps – tired, cranky, nagging scraps. 

And so this year – 2016 – my word is challenge

Challenge myself to give more and try harder in my marriage.

Challenge myself to really be the woman I want Brooklyn to see – the woman I think I am – but don’t always portray.

Challenge myself to less clutter – less TV, less phone, less complaining and negativity and more, much much more optimism, positive energy, getting shit done, experiencing new things, and getting healthy. 

I have a really good feeling about 2016. 

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31

On Thanksgiving day I turned 31.

What’s hilarious is that the first 3 times I tried typing that I typed 21. Not quite 21 anymore… 😉

30 was a great year, a life changing year with the addition of Brooklyn. I’ll admit though, the past few months have been a little more of a blur. That’s not to say that there haven’t been so many joyous and memorable moments. But returning to work, and balancing being a Mom, a full-time project manager, and being responsible for pretty much all the household bills, social calendar, and a lot of miscellaneous – turned quite a bit of my time into a racing around blur. And sleep, oh sleep how I miss you! While I shouldn’t complain, some nights Brooklyn sleeps a solid 6+ hours, it’s still not consistent.

I digress.

For my 31st year I had some thoughts. I don’t want it to be or feel like just a blur of racing around.

For a long time over this past year I kept thinking I needed to figure out a way to “find myself again”. It’s easy to get lost when you become a Mom. I think instead of finding the old me, I want to figure out the new me. I’ll never get to be as selfish as I was, and I don’t want to be. But I do think there’s a balance that I haven’t quite found yet.

If someone asked me to make a quick 5 point list of things I wish I could do more (or any) of (aside from spending time with Brooklyn, the Husband and Bentley – a given) it would be:

1. Read more
2. Exercise
3. See certain friends more for “dates”
4. Do good (some type of charity work)
5. Write more (i.e. return to writing on this blog!)

And as easy as that, those are the few things that I’m going to try to get back into my life.

Reading:
Already, when Brooklyn goes to sleep around 8:30/9:00pm I have started to read again. Oh how I missed reading – actual books – and not just blogs. I read Leah Remini’s book “Troublemaker” which focused on her experience with (and subsequently leaving) Scientology. It was SO fascinating that I started and finished it in one night. I’m now about 1/3rd of the way through Winter Street by Elin Hildebrand. I thought it would be a nice, easy Holiday season read.

Exercise:
Here’s where I need to just do it. I’ve been waiting and waiting for my in-laws to bring their treadmill to my house (which is so kind and not as easily coordinating when you don’t have a truck) but I just don’t know when it will really arrive. I belong to a cheap gym about 15 minutes from my house – which could be en route to a train station one stop closer to work. I could get my butt out of bed 2-3x a week at 5:30am, do a quick 30-45 minutes, shower, and head to the nearby train station to head to work. I have no excuse other than I’ve been lazy and haven’t done it. I know if I do it once, I will continue – I just need to make myself go!

Seeing certain friends more:
It’s been hard adjusting to not seeing my friends as often as I used to. Unfortunately week nights just don’t work right now so it’s a lot of scheduling and shuffling and figuring out who has the baby (or bringing the baby) in order to see friends. Anyway, excuses aside, I’m trying to make more of an effort to schedule dates with a certain few friends who I really miss seeing as often (versus trying to schedule random outings with friends who haven’t put much effort into our friendship over the past years).

Doing Good:
I actually found a great way to be involved at work which I’m loving. Since free time is a bit tough, being able to be involved while at my job is the perfect scenario. As part of a much larger initiative, I’m coordinating with just one shelter to obtain, wrap and send 84 winter coats/gloves/hats from our firm for the Holidays. I won’t lie, it’s heartbreaking in general to think of children without warm clothing for the winter, but seeing the amount of children under a year – actually makes me cry. Anyway, it’s been wonderful to be a part of the project and it’s definitely helped my wrapping skills!

Write more:
Well… here we go!

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Me

I’ve been struggling to write. To find the time to sit down and write something thoughtful and eloquent is daunting when it feels like I’m just doing my best to survive the day to day of my life lately. Maybe survive isn’t the right word because deep down I’m doing more than survive.

And so here’s the version I can write while on a train ride home. The straight from my brain, no filter version.

After months of insecurities and worries and questioning myself I have finally realized, I’m a good mom. Maybe I’m not the picture perfect mom that can do it all (half my days I come into work with my hair in a wet bun and half my nights I’m still begging the baby to sleep) but I can say, and believe, that I’m the best mom for Brooklyn.

I’m not where I thought I would be. My baby isn’t sleeping 12 hours a night (we’re lucky with 4 straight hours these days) and maybe I haven’t lost my baby weight (stress eating is my nemesis) but I’m in a different place.

A vulnerable and so very real place. I’ve never felt such intense and overwhelming emotions in my life. I’ve never wanted so much to be a strong female role model. I’ve never cried so much, and so willingly, without feeling dumb or silly. I’ve never loved like this – so terrifyingly fiercely. I’ve never wanted for someone else’s happiness and health so far above and beyond my own. My life just feels elevated – the little worries and stresses that used to matter just don’t anymore. My daughter, my amazing, beautiful, smart and hilarious daughter, trumps all that nonsense.

And I’m proud of the mom I am. I know her. I know her and her little personality, and reactions so well. I know when something isn’t right – like the start of the awful coxsackie virus (hand, foot, mouth) that started earlier this week – my mommy intuition with her is spot on. I know how to slowly and patiently persuade her to take a bottle even if her mouth is covered in blisters and it hurts so damn much. Even on my worst days and worst moments, I don’t lose it with her. My patience that was once completely nonexistent has grown a million times over when I’m with her.

And I’m proud of the worker I am – the *working mom* I am. After sleepless nights and rushing home on days – I have become more efficient and productive than ever. Long gone are the “I’ll just stay late days” instead it’s *get it done*. My time is too valuable for bullshit these days.

But in being completely honest…

I’m still struggling to find me again. I’m a damn good worker and I’m a damn good mom but… What about everything else? What about my marriage? My friendships? My self care? (It’s been 6+ months since a haircut…) I’m not quite sure how to fit it all in. I run from moment to moment most days – so the idea of giving of sleep right now – wonderful, rare sleep – to workout or get even more done is just painful. The idea of giving up what minimal time I have with Brooklyn crushes me. But I’m getting there. Slowly I am caring that my body is far from the body I know, an extra 20 pounds hanging around. My energy levels are crap from living off coffee and fast easy food. I know that needs to change it is just figuring out how. I know I need and want time with my friends – the friends that I value so highly and need in my life forever, not the crappy ones. Ain’t no one got time for those people.

The truth is every time I think I have it figured out – “it” all changes. It’s one unexpected bump and change and milestone and development after another. But there’s a beauty in adapting and changing. For the first time in years I’m so far out of my comfort zone and it’s by far the most rewarding. And I wish I could eloquently put into words what motherhood has done to me but I can’t. I can’t quite explain it in tangible terms but it’s changed everything, in the most beautiful indescribable way. Me, my voice, my values, my actions, my worries, my significance – everything.

And so I’m just going to keep on keeping on. Adapting. Learning. Growing. Finding myself again, only a different version, dare I say a far better version than I ever imagined.

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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?

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It’s been so long since I have been able to write.

I had the most amazing, most relaxing, most wonderful week in paradise with all the girls on my Mom’s side.

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I came home content, content with life, not having any crazy fitness goals right now, just focusing on having great days and enjoying every day.

Right before my trip my Husband and I made a decision. For some time now, I’d say since December or so we’ve talked seriously about wanting a family. But we kept thinking ok now isn’t the perfect time because so and so is getting married, or this or that is happening, or we have to do that. But right before going to STT we both realized, it’s the perfect time for us. For us emotionally, financially, and job-wise. Sure we may have to alter some social plans but we both are ready and we both want to take this step.

So I got so excited, went out and got an ovulation kit to start to understand my body a little more and we thought, let’s get trying. Quickly I realized though, my ovulation time was while in STT (almost comical, I would be fertile at earliest the Saturday there and at latest the end of the week there). So we didn’t think anything of it really, and decided to try the month later and just have fun until then.

Well I came home and sadly he got called into work for that full Saturday I got home. I actually had a great day though – I relaxed the full day and caught up on shows and played with Bentley who I had missed so, so, so much. On Sunday I decided, hell I’ll take an LH test (I got the cheapo ones from CVS) and I got a positive. So we had a fun afternoon in bed, pretty relaxed and then headed to dinner with his family for Mother’s day.

See I trusted the test strips more than my gut. My gut knew, with only a week until my period it was highly unlikely I was ovulating or about to. Also without going into TMI, I get some clues when I ovulate, and I got those clues while in STT. But then I got caught up in it and then began the “TWW” or two-week-wait.

Long story short, three negative pregnancy tests later (umm hello it would have been too early anyway), hopes for morning sickness and amidst house-hunting and fantasizing about our family and what not yesterday I got my period. It wasn’t until I was sobbing in the car on the way home that I realized how much hope I had this month. PMS hormones and caffeine withdrawal (I had dropped from my venti blonde roast x3 a day to just 8 ounces to be safe) probably didn’t help my mental state. I was a complete and utter mess. At least the Husband was far more sympathetic than I expected (I think he was actually sad too) and was helpful in keeping a positive mindset around it all.

Today I feel a bit better. It’s a fresh month. I can spend this month eating healthy, working out, taking pre-natals, and overall really starting to prep my body. When my period ends, we’ll just have to have more fun trying this month (i.e. every other day through the month, ha!) The truth is, we’re young, healthy, I’ve been off birth control for over a year now, I have regular periods, and we’re just starting to try so it’s fun and exciting in so many ways. I mean this is it, after years and years of “don’t get pregnant don’t get pregnant” we are officially trying.

It’s so easy to get excited about the end goal, but this time, I really want to enjoy the process. Every second of it.

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I have a 3 day weekend ahead of me, woohoo! I just need to get through work and my lunch time flywheel class and then the weekend festivities begin. Dinner with a bunch of girlfriends tonight. Tomorrow a BBQ with friends and meeting the Husband’s best friend’s newborn for the first time. Picking up my bike and hopefully getting an outdoor ride or indoor trainer ride Sunday morning. Easter with the Husband’s family. And MARATHON MONDAY. I took it off this year and I plan on sitting with a group of friends outside the city, holding ridiculous signs and salty snacks for hours as I cheer on friends and strangers.

Can we talk about how much I love my Jeep Patriot? For over 10 years I drove (and loved) my little 2 door Honda Civic but after a brutal, snowy winter of getting stuck and constantly fearing what I called no wheel drive it was time for something new. On Tuesday, I needed to load my bike in to the jeep to go drop it off and without even having to fold my front passenger seat down (it folds completely flat) it fit with just the back seat down. It was such a relief.

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And I’m so damn happy that I finally dropped my bike off. A tune-up, a flat tire kit, clip-in pedals, an extra water bottle cage will all be good to go by Saturday morning. No more excuses about rides on my own bike. The fact that I can ride 18 mph without clip-ins makes me pretty excited to see what my results are with… almost so excited that it overcomes my fear of toppling over the first few rides.

I’m loving Fit Radio. Finally a few playlists of perfect workout songs that get me happily through my workouts. Work It Out by Britney Spears always seems to come on towards the end of my workouts when I need that final push.

I’m proud of myself. I got all my workouts in this week so far and after I completed each one, my confidence grew. Slightly different from mileage on the plan (some I went distance, some I went time) but so far, I’ve felt really good this week. I’m still not prioritizing swims and should, but I got an awesome brick workout in on Tuesday – 18 miles bike then 4 mile run and it felt EASY. I can’t believe I’m even saying that, but it really did. And my 5 mile run outside yesterday? Not bad at all! The hardest part was battling the wind, but otherwise I ended the run hardly feeling like I worked out!  (I wish I could have gone longer too, but I was in a time crunch for a marathon fundraiser).

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Speaking of the “run-raiser” it was so much fun. It was an event for a close friend and they had raffle items and I ended up winning a $50 day spa gift card!  The gift card is accepted at a salon just 2 blocks from my apartment, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be putting it to good use soon.

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I’m feeling super grateful the Husband and I get to spend so much quality time together on the weekends. Sure we don’t see each other much on the weekdays now, but it’s so exciting and fun to spend hours straight with him on weekend days. He’s awake around the same time I am now that his work hours are more normal. It’s like falling in love with him over again now that we get to really hang out, talk (with passion) about our jobs, take adventures, run errands together, and just be awake and outdoors from morning-to-night.

I can’t end this what I’m thankful for post without saying that I’m thankful for everyone who reads this blog and comments. Seriously, I don’t mean to sound cheesy but the comments on my last post were exactly what I needed to hear. It’s crazy to think that over four years ago I started this thing as a “journal” and somehow have developed these connections (I don’t even know the right word, it’s something special though) with other bloggers. There are things I post here that I just don’t share as openly with others and that makes this little place of mine pretty damn special to me. So thank you.

One of the many reasons why outdoor runs are the best.

One of the many reasons why outdoor runs are the best.

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