Stories Under The Stories

December 19, 2016


I am sitting in the quiet of an apartment where a 7 week old is napping. How long she’ll nap or what kind of needs she’ll want met by my body and spirit when she wakes up are still to be determined. I’m not sure I’ll even be able to finish this post, but I must try.

Saturday night it all became too much for me – the physical demands of breastfeeding, recovering from a horrible case of thrush, the worry that I am not bonding with my daughter, our rainbow baby, the one we worked and wished for for over 2 years. My crying was deep, exhaustive – it was as if my body couldn’t hold it together anymore and let it all go.

In retrospect, I needed sleep. Sleep, sleep and more sleep. That is my main priority right now. Then it’s basic self care: a hot shower, enough water and lots of good food. To battle the thrush I started eating low-glycemic and it’s a change I’m trying to keep. My body contains all of me and parenting a newborn requires all of me and so much more.

If climbing was ever an end for all the healthy means, mothering is 100 times that.

People keep telling us “it gets easier”, “this is the hardest part” and “it gets fun” but it’s hard to hold onto those words when your entire life is upside down. The harder part for me is when? When does it get easier or fun or to the point where I can find time to journal or exercise again? (Things I so desperately need to keep my spirit from drowning in all of this giving of myself.)

And somehow, it seems, today is the answer.

Last night A slept 5.5hrs straight through. We tried putting her down in her bassinet swaddled but awake to see if she’d fall asleep on her own. I planned to let her cry (while soothing her) for maybe 10 minutes, just to see. She quieted within 5 minutes and fell asleep within 15 minutes. She slept for a half hour before waking. H got out of bed to comfort her, offer her the rest of a bottle she didn’t finish and still didn’t want, and then she promptly fell back asleep.

And slept a beautiful 5+hrs.

This morning I am focused on trying to have her nap in the same fashion – to put her down swaddled but awake, trying with laser focus to observe her tired cues. While our bonding is still in question, I’m hoping that my ability to pick up on people’s energies will not fail me when it comes to my own daughter. I know she needs rest. We both do.

Lately, I am inspired by Liz Lamoreux’s Instagram – especially the stories she shares about mothering her daughter. The creativity, the sweetness and the sharing are all things keeping me going during this newborn phase. I don’t want to rush A’s growing up, but I’m so looking forward to moments when she and I can execute one of her ideas together.

All of this came together as I read Liz’s post from 2 days ago:

Here’s the truth in the midst of it all: There’s so many stories under the stories. So often, I use Instagram to gather evidence of the good stuff in the midst of the wonder and the grief and heartache that is being human. It is one slice.

It is the last two weeks of the year. A very hard year personally, politically and culturally. I’m not sure what 2017 will bring (to say that I have goals for 2017 would imply that I have the mental energy to brainstorm goals…), but that is what I am craving most of all, the stories under the stories. And rest.

May the remaining days of 2016 bring you the same.

Feeling, Living

And then she was here…

December 12, 2016


It seems I’ve experienced a loss of words for all of 2016.

My writing dipped, as did my reading, journaling and photography, so it makes sense that I’m still feeling quiet and not entirely sure where to begin.

I guess the simplest thing to say is… she’s here.

After 2 and a half years, 3 pregnancies (2 of which ended in loss), 4 OBs, 40 weeks plus 6 days, and 18 hours of unmedicated labor my daughter made her way into this world on Halloween Eve.

My daughter… Adelaide.

Even though she’s already 6 weeks old, it all still feels surreal. Who is this little person and how did we get here?

Our rough start is something I’m still trying to process. Being a mom is something I’m learning hour by hour. So far, it’s the most difficult challenge I’ve ever taken on, but each good feed, each smile, each little baby snuggle makes it more and more possible. More real.

We finally made it.

Welcome sweet girl. I’m so glad you finally decided to become part of our family.


39 Weeks

October 19, 2016


I think by the picture above, taken this weekend at 38w+5d while out on a family walk to Starbucks, you can tell that I’m feeling happier with this whole pregnancy thing.

Took me long enough…

I say that with not so much sarcasm as the realization that, as I finally settle into enjoying pregnancy without a net of anxiety sucking me underwater, it’s almost over.

I spent 37 weeks in some state of panic, anxiety, worry, isolation, restlessness, confusion or numbness. Yes, I was also happy and hopeful, but I never felt peaceful. I regret this, but I know I can’t go back.

Getting to peace hasn’t been easy. It’s taken reading everything PALS posts and tons of natural childbirth info, switching OBs and hospitals, attending classes, hiring two doulas, being coached by my colleagues, trying again and again to explain to H what I’m feeling, journaling, crying and more crying, texting with friends, choosing to reach out instead of withdraw, and lots and lots of time.

By the time she arrives, it’ll be 2 years and 2 months of walking this path to parenthood.

All I can do is savor this space I’m in now.

39 weeks means:

  • T-1 week until the estimated due date but…
  • She could come any time
  • Some pelvic pain, so two trips to the chiropractor
  • Reveling in every baby kick, wiggle, bump and Braxton Hicks
  • The last few days of work and…
  • The start of maternity leave, which feels like vacation
  • Attending the last class on our list, infant CPR
  • My sister coming by to walk Carter for me/with me
  • Possibly our last weekend as a family of two
  • Getting plaster all over the upstairs tile while doing a belly cast
  • One last prenatal massage
  • Baby feeling like she’s running out of room, and big movements when she’s awake, like maybe she’s trying to say “hi”
  • H reading to the belly every night
  • Belly heavy enough that rolling over in bed is almost not worth the effort
  • Baby dropping lower, so I can finally breathe
  • Being able to breathe = more energy = a full night of sleep!
  • Friends and family sending texts to check in on us…
  • And stating their intentions/predictions for certain birth dates
  • A major urge to bake/cook/clean all the things, but mostly sitting on the couch reading/watching hockey/napping
  • Trying to enjoy some quiet time alone to prepare for this major transition, reconnecting with myself
  • Visiting a few friends in person before I go off the grid
  • The hope that all will go as smoothly as it can

The tears come more now from gratitude, for getting to be here with her so close to the outside, my heart ready to burst with anticipation of meeting her. xo

PS – It’s no coincidence to me that baby girl is due during October which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness month. The Birth Hour and Dr. Jessica Zucker are doing amazing work for this cause.

Feeling, Living

6 Week Hiatus & 35 Weeks

September 18, 2016


No guarantees I’ll stick around, but the urge to write feels stronger than the urge to not write, so here we are.

Last night, I went for a swim. It was the second night in a row, and it felt quite indulgent. I’m not sure why… was it the cold water in the heat, the darkness or the listening to that inner voice that said, “Yes, let’s do this“? The whole activity was less than a half-hour, but it brighten my spirits.

Today marks 35 weeks.

Overall, I’m feeling good. I’ve enjoyed a surge of energy over the last month, and while my ability to execute anything with that energy is random, I much prefer this over feeling mentally blank and physically exhausted.

In 6 weeks, a ton of progress was made. We had our third, and final, high-level ultrasound appointment. Everything looked good. We attended a childbirth class, which gave us the knowledge to begin planning for labor and birth. Because of this (and because I never liked the OB I was seeing) I switched doctors and hospitals. I decided that I wanted to be at the hospital closest to us, so we did a hospital tour. One particular OB’s name kept popping up when I mentioned that area of town, and after seeing him twice now, all the recommendations were spot on. I finally feel I have an OB I can trust. Our friend offered to take maternity photos for us – the results were breathtaking. I went to two prenatal massages and have a third one booked. H went on his own nesting phase, hanging photos, making trips to Ikea and painting a wall in baby’s room. He unpacked the last moving box two weeks ago. The baby shower invites went out, so we’ve enjoyed almost daily deliveries of gifts. H assembled furniture and organized baby items. While he nested, I interviewed doulas and officially hired one (we meet with her and her partner tomorrow).

Lastly, we just made it through H’s last bit of travel before baby, so there’s no more need to panic I’ll go into labor while he’s out of town.

Baby herself feels good to me. Her movements are strong and her bones are harder. She feels more and more present, moving when I rub my belly, living her own little routine. I’m still able to sleep 6-8hrs lying down so long as I drink enough water during the day and get up to pee around 3am.

I have less than a month of work left, thank goodness. The next two weeks will be the hardest – there’s one more event to run before my leave, marketing for the huge January event, training my colleagues and generally keeping up with my daily tasks before I begin to hand over projects and wind everything down.

But mostly 35 weeks feels odd. I’m just getting used to being pregnant, to feeling more excitement than panic and it seems it’ll be over so soon. Of course, that end is really just the beginning – baby girl joining our family, learning how to be parents, and having our own parents all visiting in November. I’m just wrapping my head around pregnancy and birth, it doesn’t feel like enough time is left to absorb newborn and postpartum information.

But then that small voice pops up again and suggests, “One day at a time, one thing at a time”.

I guess that’s all I can do for now.

Creating, Feeling, Living


August 2, 2016


I had every good intention of posting regularly since I decided to share my pregnancy news, but my emotions had different plans.

I read somewhere that weeks 18 through 26 are the “honeymoon” period of pregnancy. You get to enjoy baby kicks and a cute belly without medical tests or being super uncomfortable. Now on the other side, I can see how that’s true. Those ~8wks were some of the easier ones, and it was good timing because we traveled for a wedding and MOVED APARTMENTS (more on this in a bit).

Each day brings new challenges. It’s like a video game where you’re fighting one type of villain with a certain weapon, and then all these other little monsters come flying out of the corner of the screen requiring a different skill set, and as you master one technique another threat pops up and can only be neutralized by yet another new weapon…of which you have yet to find because you haven’t found the key that unlocks a door to some armory…

You get the point.

Ideas for posts flitted through my head at 22w, 24w, and even this past weekend, when I found myself experiencing dehydration, exhaustion and an inability to sleep. But the writing’s been elusive. Photography fades into the background. My creative spirit is there, but I can’t seem to get enough rest / headspace / quiet to share anything.

I know this is related to my losses. It’s hard to share the good or the bad when I’m frozen, detaching from the current experience to protect my heart. When those losses come flooding back trauma triggered and overwhelming me to the point where I can’t breathe. Where there’s anxiety turning into terror and then gratitude moving to pure joy.

Where I am “grieving AND creating new life at the same time“.

My hope is that I’ll be sharing more here, that I’ve somehow made it through and leveled-up. No guarantees though. If pregnancy is teaching me anything it’s this:

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~ Brené Brown

Living, Photographing, Reading

Eight, 100 Days Project

June 30, 2016


Jillian’s writing is some of my favorite and her Instagram is full of outdoorsy, creative, adventure inspiration. Also, I love when people leave up their archives. One day I went down the rabbit hole of hers and it’s awesome to see the progress in both her photography and her jewelry making. Gives me hope for my future endeavors.

I will keep plugging Jen Lee and Tim Manley’s podcast Just Between You & Me as long as they keep making it. Episode 33 is one of my favorites.

Less social media / mindless phone scrolling helps free up space in my mind. Tim’s also got an app for that – Lock Screen Love. Mine currently has a reminder to check in with my body. What little reminder could you use during your day?

See all of my 100 Days Project posts.