Thursday, August 30, 2018

Fall

Fall is probably my favorite season. This year, I feel particularly excited about fall. Giegie will be old enough to at least somewhat enjoy the holiday traditions.

This summer was a little bit slow (and fast in other ways) because of her birth. We didn't do any camping, which for us is unusual. And while I am sad about that, I feel excited for cool weather, warm meals, and lots of cozy time indoors.

For now, I am trying to enjoy what nice weather we have left. We walked to the park today and just laid in the shade. In just a month or so, it will get cold enough that going on walks just won't be possible anymore.

Here's to a cozy and memorable fall!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Why I had to travel across the country to breastfeed in public

Did you just read that title? Is that really what happened?

Before my daughter was born, I had high hopes of feeling comfortable feeding her anywhere and anytime. I hoped that I would be able to continue my life pretty much as normal and just feed her on the go. I hoped to not be too worried about location, or covering myself.

But then reality set in. I remember being in the hospital room less than 24 hours after my baby was born. Luckily, she was a great eater and had zero problems latching, however, it is STILL a learning experience for both mom and baby. We had some visitors, and I knew it was time to feed her, at first they sat there as I tried to discreetly whip out my boob and feed my baby, but I couldn't get the angle right or something. I finally whispered something to my husband along the lines of "Um. I think I need some privacy." They were gracious enough to give me space.

LAWS AND CULTURE

Did you know that just recently, in 2018, as in THIS YEAR, we finally had laws in all 50 states protecting breastfeeding moms? I want to be clear that breastfeeding in public was NOT illegal before that. There just wasn't built in protection, so technically speaking, a mother could be charged with public indecency for feeding her baby.

But, the legality of breastfeeding isn't really the problem in my opinion. Remember prohibition? Even though alcohol consumption was illegal, it wasn't looked down on. Whereas smoking is still completely legal, but as a society we have deemed it to be not so cool. The rates of smoking began to drastically decrease by the 1990s (about 20 years after anti-smoking campaign started).

Related image HHS.gov

My point in all of this is, culture plays a much bigger influence than the law. It might be legal and even protected in the United States to breastfeed in public, but we are still fighting some pretty strong cultural preferences. "During the early 20th century, breastfeeding started to be viewed negatively, especially in Canada and the United States, where it was regarded as a low class and uncultured practice" (History and culture of breastfeeding, Wikipedia).

WHY IT SUCKS

Breastfeeding has its pros and cons. I am all for a baby being fed in the way that will be best for both baby and mom. I am in no way promoting compulsory laws or culture that promote breastfeeding as the only good option. But I certainly think that if we can bottle-feed (breast milk or formula) in public with no problems, the same should be true of breastfeeding.

I know this isn't everyone's experience, but I love breastfeeding. I have been fortunate enough to have a pretty easy and very happy experience. It helped me to feel empowered as a woman and connected to my baby. But, its kind of sad that I sometimes felt shame about doing something so normal and not at all sexual in public.

WHEN I SAY I HAD TO GO ACROSS THE COUNTRY

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Florida for a family reunion. I went with my baby who is still exclusively breastfed. We took a red-eye flight to get there, and so when the lights were low and most people were sleeping, I breastfed my baby uncovered for the first time in public. It was so much easier.

Every day for the rest of the trip, we were out and about eating at restaurants, at the beach, kayaking, swimming, etc. I could have bowed out, or found a more private spot to feed my baby, but I didn't, because I was surrounded by my family who supported my efforts. It gave me a sense of safety having them all with me.

So, it turns out I didn't really need to go across the country, but I did need a strong, big group of people to make me feel like it was totally fine to feed my baby anywhere, anytime.

A week or so after returning, I went out to breakfast with some friends when my baby began to fuss. I did put on a cover, but I just started feeding her. One of my friends asked "Is breastfeeding in public pretty common here?"

I replied, "I don't know... but I feed her wherever I need to."

And that felt good.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

"As a Mother Stills Her Child"



There is a famous hymn called "Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me." One of my favorite lines goes like this:

As a mother stills her child
Thou canst hush the ocean wild.

How does a mother still and comfort her child? She does not use force. She does not yell. She does not speak harshly.

She calms the child with her gentle presence.

Have you ever been with/around someone whose very presence brings you peace? Sometimes when they walk into the room, things just feel different.

I remember being held by my mother as a child. Her offering of self was enough to calm me.

Today, I want to be the kind of person that is calming and kind.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Present

Well, it has been a long time since I really blogged.

I am writing this post with my baby asleep on my chest. She's been there for about 2 hours now, so I know I won't have much longer, but I have been thinking a lot on motherhood today.

The transition to motherhood has been interesting for me. Here's what a typical day looked like for me for the last few years before my daughter was born.

6 or 7 AM: Wake up and get ready for the day
8-6: Go. Go. Go. (Variations of studying difficult concepts for school, taking notes in class, working hard at my job, or travelling.)
6-10: Me-time or time spent with Brennan watching movies, studying, talking, etc.
10-when I woke up: Uninterrupted, peaceful sleep.

My days are nothing like that now. When I became a mom, it felt like my world got turned upside down (after being violently shook).

For awhile I felt quite blue, and I still do some days. But I have also felt something empowering and peaceful about this new lifestyle of being PRESENT.

I don't get to plan much ahead.

I have no idea how well I'll sleep at night or how many times I will have to change her outfit or my own. I don't know if I will accomplish much. Sometimes tasks as simple as dishes get ignored. I might not talk to any other adult besides Brennan after a long day.

But all of these uncertainties make me slow down, breathe, and face the day with courage to be present and accept whatever feelings accompany the sporadic, yet monotonous day.

Thich Nhat Hanh (a prominent Buddhist leader) preaches that there is "peace and happiness" in the present moment. He means in every moment, we can feel that way. I'm not that good yet, but I am starting to feel pleasantly surprised that a lifestyle so different from what I thought I preferred is incredibly rich and fulfilling.

I am glad to slow down. I am so grateful to be a mother. I am happy to be present.


Friday, April 20, 2018

Pregnancy

I am just about 1.5 weeks from my due date! I cannot believe how quickly things have moved. Baby girl may not make her appearance for a couple more weeks, but we sure are excited to meet her. I mostly wanted to blog about this for my own record, but maybe someone else will find it helpful too!

FIRST TRIMESTER:

Man, I was so excited to get pregnant, until some of those first hormones started kicking in. I won't go into detail, but I think women expect to feel glowy and happy and in love with the baby from the start. I just want to say that was not my experience. And that is okay.

 5 13


I started morning sickness right at 6 weeks. Brennan and I were travelling in Colorado. I had been feeling nauseous, but when we walked into Panera to eat lunch, I made a b-line for the bathroom and threw up. After that, it was 2-3 times a week that I threw up for the rest of my first trimester. I felt nauseous pretty much the whole time. I once had to leave the house and walk around Walmart while Brennan cooked bacon, because the smell was so awful. I lost weight, and I was in the hardest semester of the nursing program. Man, those were some rough times. I remember telling Brennan at one point that I would NEVER get pregnant again haha. The crazy thing is, one day, I just woke up and felt completely better, and didn't feel sick again. I was like "Okay, I can handle this."

SECOND TRIMESTER

Many people consider this the best trimester. I would say that it definitely had it perks. I was STARVING. I could eat, and eat all day long. It was amazing. My only real craving was Jello and Cool Whip, but I would gladly take basically anything that anyone offered me.

I started gaining weight, and getting a belly.

 14 27

During that time I also worked night shifts for my preceptorship in the NICU. The lack of sunlight, weird schedule, intense school work, and hormones made me feel emotionally pretty crummy. But physically I felt great. And for that, I was counting my blessings.

THIRD TRIMESTER: 

The home stretch. I was finishing up school most of this time (graduated at 37.3 weeks pregnant). That kept me distracted, but I definitely have become less comfortable each day. I still feel hungry a lot of the time, but it's hard to eat large amounts due to heart burn. I have been able to manage it with some tasty tums though. I have had lots of mood swings, and done a lot of nesting. I get up to pee several times a night, and have been experiencing practice labor the last couple of weeks.

 29 37.4

Now, I am just feeling ready and excited to meet this little one!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Best of 2017, and HELLO 2018!

Wow, it has been awhile since I updated this blog. It has been such a fun thing to go back and look through exciting times in my life. I think I've been too busy with all the recent excitement that I stopped blogging.

Anyway, enough rambling.

Here are some of the 2017 highlights:


  • I started nursing school this year!
  • We found out we are having a baby. And SHE is a wiggly little thing. 
  • We moved (across town, but still exciting). 
In 2018, we will be looking forward to the following:
  • Graduation! I am completing my last semester in the nursing program. I will be completing my internship in the NICU, and I couldn't be more thrilled.
  • Baby is due sometime this Spring (end of April, or beginning of May).

I'm not sure what other adventures we will be in for this year, but I'm hoping to do a better job of updating this blog as I go.

CHEERS 2018!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Marriage pt. 1

I know I just did the wedding post, but we've been married almost three months, and you know what? I think our normal day-to-day pictures are pretty cute. Here's what we've been up to since we tied the knot!

Thing #1: We've been going camping, a lot. We're kind of into one day camping, swimming around in the lake, cooking brats over the fire, and bringing coconuts as treat when we get the chance. (Have you ever thought about how perfect coconuts are for camping? They don't need refrigeration, they have water INSIDE of them, they take some force to open, and they are delicious).



My husband has gotten into photography recently, and I end up having to model a lot. 





Thing #2: Doctoring cows wasn't something I thought I would ever do. My family members are not farmers, or anything close to it. But this doctoring cows thing is a big deal in my husband's family and I LOVE IT. It's a lot of fun. Also, cows are kind of cute in an ugly way, which makes me like them (even though they are very stinky creatures). 



Thing #3: We visited Craters of the Moon, which oddly, really does look like how I imagine the moon would. I think he might have liked this trip just a little more than me. 



Thing #4: I pulled a Delilah, and chopped off all my husband's hair. He helped though... and I don't think he lost any power or anything, so we're okay. I think he looks pretty handsome with his buzzed look. 



Thing #5: We picked some home-grown RASPBERRIES. They lasted for about 27 hours. They were so delicious, we couldn't stop munching on them. 



Thing #6: Take me out to the ball game! He's a big Red Sox fan, and I didn't even know how baseball worked until we got married (embarrassing). But I really loved going to a game! We watched the Chukars play. I have a feeling watching baseball might become a more normal event for us.