Wednesday, April 20, 2016

my journey into motherhood

You know all those lists and piles I was making?  I checked them twice and was ready as could be.  We got to the temple and unloaded the car....and I forgot her dress. HER DRESS!  Luckily we have an amazing family, all of whom were willing and ready to go retreive it, and Uncle Brock was driving right by our house when we called. Mercy.  It was wonderful.  The little ladies in the youth center were just as my mom described when recalling our sealing.  They reminded me of Fauna. They just fawned (see what I did?) over Avaya and took such good care of her.  
I got my own escort and got to go in the bride's room to get ready!  How luck am I?!  I don't remember the Bride's room clearly from my wedding day, and although we were sealed in a different temple, I was sure to take it all in this time.  Also different, I was calm and confident, whereas on my wedding day I was unsure of procedure and was a bit like, "What am I wearing..?" But this time, as I put on my veil and tied it, I looked in the mirror and took in my reflection.  I saw a bride that God was proud of who had kept her covenants she made ten years ago.  A woman of God who'd endured and had been made stronger. A woman who had been made more. I saw a mother. I hope I never forget that reflection.
Spencer and I got a few minutes alone in a sealing room and again, looked at our reflections in the facing mirrors. Symbolically, our images go on forever, representing our marriage, but now, also our posterity.  That struck Spencer hard. 
Avaya was wonderful and loved looking around at the beautiful room, especially the chandelier.  The sealer said that one couldn't count the rays of light coming from it, and that is how the light of Christ is.  It's capable of reaching everyone, everywhere. That was about all I remembered him saying because I was too focused on my baby girl.  She was so happy.  Everyone who came was so dear to our hearts and there were a lot of hugs and kisses.
Jade and other family met us outside and we celebrated with dinner at Spencer's and my spot in Ogden.
It feels wonderful to be sealed. But it doesn't feel different. We were always forever, it's just official now.  Part of me was expecting it to feel conclusive. Like an end to our journey.  Our journey continues on, and in some ways it is just beginning.
Our adoption journey was painful and hard, its effects still lingering. But today, I was thinking about my motherhood journey. I'm doing some things I never imagined myself doing as a young girl.  I'm making my own yogurt and having my infant go on the potty, for hell sakes. (If you'd like info on either, comment and I'll post about it.) There are many different versions of "good moms," but in my version, I'm being really successful. (Famous last words.) She ate broccoli without gagging the other night and I almost cried with joy.  She's happy, she's healthy, she's smart, and I'm fulfilled in my job as her mother.  
It wasn't always that way though.  Having to wait so long had its benefits. I had a lot of time to prepare and study and plan.  I knew about post-adoption depression and even discussed it with Spencer before Avaya was born, knowing I had a tendency to become depressed.  This quote from adoption advocate Terra Cooper explains it well:
I think my hardest time was after placement. I didn’t see the guilt and depression that was to come.No one had told me about it and I thought that I was a horrible mom and person for not immediately bonding with my daughter and feeling like an instant mom. I became really close to her birth mom and to see her in pain was really, really hard for me and still is. I try to do anything I can to help ease their pain. My heart was broken the day of placement and has slowly mended...
I knew what was going on, so I wasn't rocked by it, but it was still hard. I felt like I was babysitting for a long time.  I had sooooooo much guilt. "I took another woman's baby" was a phrase that went through my head over and over and over.  Every time I looked at her I saw Jade, and my heart would crumble instead of do backflips.
People asked me if placement day was the "best day ever." It wasn't.  It probably is one of my top ten worst days ever.  There's only one moment that was the best. Jade's mom came into our room and told us that Nate and Jade didn't want to say goodbye and so they were just going to leave.  I understood but I was really sad. A few minutes later they came into our room and Jade and I ran to each other and gave each other the tightest, longest hug.  (They have become a special thing between us, especially on hard days.) I tearfully told her, "Thank you," and she whispered it back.
Bringing Vaya home was so bittersweet.
Spencer was more worried about my depression than I was. I knew I just needed time to work through my feelings. And I did. I prayed a lot, I meditated every night, and as Jade healed, I was able to see Avaya as my own daughter too.
I didn't feel like a horrible mom, again, because I knew what was going on with me and that I just needed time. But I did feel like a horrible person. I had guilt not only stemming from my love for Jade, but also for my tribe. I'd spent so many years in solidarity with my infertile friends. I'd even created a blog support group. (If anyone other than my SIL reads this and is interested in that, please lmk) I felt extremely guilty to be on the other side, now. I felt guilty for being a mom, for my dream coming true. I cringed when Spencer thought we should announce her arrival on FB. I stick to IG so that my friends can choose to follow me knowing that it'll be 95% baby pics and I'm not rubbing it in their faces. And good heavens, I will NEVER EVER complain. Ever. There's still a little guilt there, but by the grace of God, ALL of my infertility friends are becoming mommies! But I still want to be an advocate somehow. Even if it's only to pass the torch to another who has a woe of her womb. 
As for me and baby girl, Spencer went back to work and we immediately settled into our groove of eat, play, sleep, repeat. Everything is fun. I love rocking her to sleep, I love making her baby food and feeding her new things and her little faces, I love seeing her learn about her body and teaching her new things and going on adventures. I love tub time when we both get in and splash around. I love when the house is quiet and we rock in her chair in her room...her little oasis that has become mine.  Just us, and the joy in my heart.
Around two months, I told Spencer she was my best friend, and he was jealous, but said it was his only wish he'd had for me.  Luckily, I have a ton of best friends. But there's nothing like mother-daughter besties.

Friday, April 15, 2016

never be enough

We are going to be sealed as a family on Saturday. Finally. I just want it done. So many of our loved ones can't come, but we feel strongly that we can't postpone it a minute longer. I hope that doesn't mean anything.
After having to cancel, I'm kind of freaking out. Instead of sleeping, I'm making piles in my house of things to bring, checklists on my phone, in my head, so many things in my head. Our recommends...did I put them away after last time? Do I need new slippers? Will she be able to wear her bonnet? Don't forget the bonnet. Or the blanket. Or her headband. Bring the AMMENDED record of adoption, not the original. Stupid attorney. I feel sick.
Vaya got the flu somehow and was sick all last week, then Spence and I got it. On Monday I ended up in the hospital with severe hydration. I didn't feel normal until today, when meanwhile, Spencer had a MAJOR upset at work. He has to work tomorrow to make up for Monday and it looks like my mom can't take me to run errands. (Crap! I need foundation!) Also, I forgot Belle's birthday till mid-day the day of. It's been a bad week. It seems like there's been an unnecessary amount of puke. And stress. I can feel Satan's sneaky pull. I cannot wait for Saturday to get here so he knows he's defeated and backs off for just a minute.
 I can't wait to kneel across the altar with my sweetheart, with our little angel in between us, and say those magic words, those vows, that bind us for all eternity.
Eternity will never be enough with my three goofy babies. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

must-have swag for baby

Hi friends! I've been a slacker, but for good reason. My keyboard on my MacBook is broken. 😭😭😭😭😩😩😩 I'm afraid to take her in bc if they tell me she's dead I'll exhibit the above emojis. So, today I'm on my phone. However, being a pre-millennial, I can only type at the speed of light on a trusty ole Nokia. So, this will be short and to the point. As a FTM, I did a lot of research on the best car seats, strollers, high chairs, cribs, rocking chairs, you know, the biggies. But, these are the products I've found along the way that are my faves! All links are here:
Firstly, sleep is really important to my health, so we do all we can to ensure she's a good sleeper. I swear by the Babywise method. But these products help:
1. Swaddles. First, you'll need a ton of muslin swaddle blankets. She was a NB in the summer, so we nixed jammies and had her sleep in onesies (the T-shirt kind) and used these to swaddle her. Babies can get heat rash easily and like to sleep between 65-70 degrees. After they're too tall for blankets, please, please get at least two Miracle Blankets! They really are a miracle!
2. Black out blinds. Is it morning or night? Who cares. It's dark so I should sleep. Ours were a bit pricey and hardcore. They let zero light in. Link will come soon. We like these Gro-anywhere with me shades for traveling! 
3. Sound machine. It creates a womb-like environment for baby AND drowns out and external nursery noise. Any of them are good, but for on-the-go, I love our Sleep Sheep by Cloud B! 
4. Pressure relieving pillow. A's having some flat spot issues. I bought this pillow at four months and oh, how I wish I'd found it sooner. 
4b. You're also gonna need a video monitor so you can lie awake at night and watch them breathe. 😳 (Or you can get a Snooza or Owlet if you're a millionaire.) We love our Foscam! It has an away version so Spencer can peek in on his angel while he's at work, or if I'm out I can make sure he's keeping her on schedule! 😜 Also, get a cool-mist humidifier to keep congestion down if you live in the desert like me. And a box fan is a must. Studies have shown that the air circulation helps prevent SIDS. 
5. Diaper Genie. I have two; one upstairs and one down. Get one. Or two. Trust me.
6. Tub stuff. You'll need a tub, of course, but what to use in it? Nix the J&J. I'm sorry, I know it's sad, but just trust me. A had bad eczema and cradle cap and as soon as we switched it got better, and if we keep up on it it stays away! Use Mustella for their hair with a hair scrubbie and plain Dove soap for their yummy lil rolls. Be careful not to get Dove in their eyes, but the shampoo is tear-free. I use Cetaphil on her face, just like mommy. When she's out of the tub and ready to be rubbed down, we swear by the Cereve cream! Not the lotion, the cream. You'll also want a care kit. This one by Summer Infant has EVERYTHING, including a sore gym rubber! Get a Nose Frida booger sucker too. Those bulb syringes ain't fooling anyone. 
7. Feeding. You're gonna need a crapload of bibs and burp cloths. Like, more than you can ever imagine owning. Or you'll be doing laundry every day. A boppy is also a necessity and not just for feeding. It's great for early tummy time too. I'm a formula mom so I know nothing about breastfeeding and what you need for that, but the Baby Brezza formula maker has changed my life. It measures everything, heats it to the right temp, and dispenses the perfect amount for you! I also love these formula holder/dispensers while we are on-the-go. Gripe water is this secret potion that will help with colic and especially cure hiccups! You'll want that as well as some infant gas drops! I love my bottle brush and Boone drying rack. The air circulation allows things to dry much faster, it holds things up, and is super cute. You'll also need at least two dishwasher baskets to corral small parts. I like my sterilizer too, for quickies. However, I have melted some stuff in it, so read if it's safe to boil before you melt all of your stuff. 😬
7. Teething: The Yummy Mitt is soooo high on my list! A always has her hands in her mouth and this keeps them from getting raw, it absorbs saliva to prevent rashes, it doesn't drop on the floor, and I can throw it in the washing machine! The banana is also something she loves and gets her ready to brush her teethies someday! Sophie is also a classic. A also loves the fresh food feeders, but save them for hard foods and get the silicone ones for mushy things. Highland teething tablets work fast wonders. You'll also want some super cute drool bibs that look like scarves so they can look cute and you won't go through nine shirts a day.
8. Organizing: I love my closet organized I bought! I also went to IKEA and bought a ton of their great drawer organizers and bins to have around the house so I don't always have to run to the nursery. 
8. Playtime: I loved this little gym bc A LOVES to kick! Make sure you get something that can grow with them bc they don't last very long! And use that pillow dang it! Speaking of pillows, I loved our boppy bean bag when she was a newborn. We could play while she laid on it and it helped with her acid reflux before she could sit up.
9. Car: you'll want some shades to keep the sun out and a mirror so you can see their sweet lil face! As far as car seats go, we got the britax travel system and like it. The stroller is compact, morphs, and is easy to put up and down. 
10. Baby wearing. Omg, wear your baby. I was planning on wearing A allll day but then I thought it not safe bc of my seizures and I was/AM CRUSHED. It's SO good for their muscles! It helps them strengthen their neck, chest, head, even legs! They have improved sensory skills at an earlier age, AND the bonding...oh the bonding. It's so, so, so good for them. It even counts as tummy time! 
Any other moms have some must-have items?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

my first month as a mommy

I'm skipping ahead.  One day I'll tell you all about her birth story.  One day soon.  But for now, I want to talk about being a mom.  This is Avaya.  This is our miracle.  Our squishy, gorgeous, miracle.

For months, years, I studied.  I read, I watched, I took notes, I watched videos, I planned.  It turns out, I'm built with this thing called "maternal instinct," and it's pretty rad.  You guys, this girl, she's my life.  She's the missing piece.  For not just me, but for our family.  She's the reason for everything.

Things have changed.  There is no more lounging on the couch watching TV together till all hours of the night.  There are no spontaneous declarations of, "Let's go to..." There is no spontaneous shower sex.  Not yet, anyway.  Everything is planned and scheduled and fast.  I love it.  We had nine years to float around, and we were both ready for our anchor.

Everything I do is faster now. I pee faster. I shower faster. I wake up faster. I eat waaay faster, which is resulting in some serious indigestion.  I go to sleep faster (goodbye ambien). Everything is faster, yet I want it to be slower.  Days go by so quickly and I just want it to slow down.  I want to soak everything up, rewind, and pause.  I want to sketch her a million times and paint her a million more.

Everything is better. Our relationship is better. My skin looks better.  My days are more productive. My smile is bigger.  My nerves are calmer.  I thought I would be the nervous one that Spencer would have to calm, but Avaya calms me.  She brings me peace, and I'm not nervous being her mom.
She is such a good baby.  She took right to my strict Babywise program and is sleeping 5.5 hours through the night!  I thought it would be harder, but she has made it so easy.  She's a great eater. Like, really great.  She was back to her birthweight within 5 days!  She is sweet and happy, unless she's naked, but she's getting better at that.  She's freakishly strong and will roll over any minute.  She actually enjoys tummy time, and she loooooves music.

I thought everything would be harder.  (I will live to regret those words, yes, I know.)  But everything is perfect.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

the last lesson: talkin' bodies

Tonight will be my last time at Young Women's.  It is better this way, because if I just got released and didn't have the ultimate joy to distract me, I'd be an absolute wreck.  Girls' camp this year was last week.  The theme was "Embark."  We talked of anchors.  About anchoring yourself in the gospel.  These girls were my anchor in the roughest storm of my life.  I wouldn't have made it had it not been for my calling.  There were weeks where my only good day was Wednesday because I had their hugs and smiling faces to distract me.  And for months, they were the only reason I even went to church.  They were my saving grace. I wrote each of them letters, but I don't think I can ever adequately express my love for them.  These dang girls have stolen my heart and I will miss them all so much. They have taught me more than I could ever possibly teach them.  They make me a better person. They make me stop and think about my language, about the music I listen to, about what I watch and read.  Aren't all of these things the things I'm supposed to teach them?  They make me want to be better for them.

The last day of camp we went swimming at a lake, and I almost didn't go.  I was tired, I had a ton to do, but these were just excuses because I was worried about my body.  I've put on [baby] weight, I have adult bacne, I have cellulite, my legs are pasty white.  I'm not like my friends who do crossfit and marathons and have rockin' golden brown bodies. I want my girls to look up to me and to admire me.  That's the thought that got me.  I thought about how I want them to admire me not for my body and beauty, but my confidence in the body that Heavenly Father gave me.  I'm basically a grown teenager.  They all have different body shapes.  Some are closer to the ideal that society has set, some are less, but they are all beautiful to me.  And bacne, well, they're just starting with that so they like totally get it.  But zits or not, I want them to be confident in their bodies. I'd be devastated if some of them went home early because they were embarrassed.  So, at 31, I silenced my embarrassment about my own awkward body, put on my suit and got my beach on.  I swam, I laid out with them, and I didn't think twice about it.  My body is great.  It works.  I enjoyed the feel of floating, of my hair swirling around me, of the clay in between my toes, the feel of the sun on my back.  Of my body doing its thing.

Everyone has issues with their body.  My YW's president, a runner who falls into the category I mentioned above, lamented because she doesn't have boobs.  We all have different bodies and only one is good enough for society, but for Heavenly Father, they are all His masterpieces.