You are probably wondering why I am posting a picture of Anastasia next to a jar of peanut butter. This jar of peanut butter weighs 2 lbs and 8oz. Almost 8 months ago Anastasia was born weighing only 7oz more than this jar(2lbs 15oz). In fact, in the first few days of her life her weight dropped until she actually did weigh as much as this jar. Since today is World Prematurity Day, Let me tell you a little bit of what it’s like to have a premature baby.
Every day out of the 84 days in the NICU you ask yourself what you did wrong and what you could have done to prevent this
Every day your heart breaks when you have to leave your baby at the hospital while you go home.
Then you get the phone call at 3 AM telling you that she was going to need a blood transfusion. One of the most terrifying moments of my life was seeing my caller ID at 3AM say Duke Hospital and not know what they’re going to say.
Then you go to visit her and you see this tiny thing with a big IV needle in her scalp because her veins are so tiny that’s the only place they could put it.
You jump every time the alarms go off because her heart beat drops below 80bpm. You have nightmares of that alarm.
You go with her to the MRI room because she has fluid in her skull and the doctors don’t know what it is or where it’s from.
You watch as she fights for her life and all you can do is pray. You pray as she learns how to breath. Pray as she learns to eat.
Then you’re told she can go home and you go to the hospital excited thinking today is the day. But minutes before you get there her heart beat drops to 30bpm and when you get there you’re told she has to stay and your heart shatters and you weep. This is what it means to be a preemie parent.
Now let me tell you what Anastasia has taught me. She’s taught me that you don’t know what life has in store for you. The things that you see happening to other people can very easily happen to you.
She taught me not to judge parents’ attitudes if you don’t what they’re going through.
She taught me to be a better person.
I saw a picture this week that said this:
The walls of a NICU have heard more prayers than a church.
Let me tell you. I dont think I’ve prayed as much my entire life as I did when Anastasia was born. And now, I get to watch her grow and learn more every single day.
She has no vision issues.
No hearing issues.
No more fluid in her skull.
No more heart murmur.
No more reflux.
No more kidney stones (yeah she had them)
No more any of the issues that she had when she was born.
She truly, without a doubt, is our miracle child. And we thank God every day for giving us the honor and priviledge of being her parents and we ask him every day to guide us in raising her.
The WW weekly discussion topic this week was Get Happier, Get Healthier. Because when you’re happier, it doesn’t seem as hard to move around more, or make healthy choices, its as if they come naturally, and these choices that you make which make you feel good can also inspire you to keep going and in turn continue feeding into your happiness.
So what is your happiness?
When you are having a bad day and work is stressful. Customer’s are cranky and taking it out on you. What is it that you want to go home to and take away all the tension that had built up through out the day? The truth of it is, after Anastasia was born as overjoyed as I was to have her here in the world. The worry and anxiety had built up so much. The guilt from her being born early and the constant questioning myself to ask if there was something I could have, or should have done differently to avoid this. This alone was just a hotbed of negative thoughts that if I wasn’t careful could have taken over completely and send me spiraling into a dark place.
So to battle the negative thoughts and choose JOY! It started slowly at first, too be honest there was a song that actually put it into perspective for me, the song Joy by the band For King and Country. This song helped me put into perspective what I wanted and helped me start to get my mindset back to where it needed to be.
Obviously the most important pieces to my happiness are these two. They are both the loves of my life, he is my strength and my support. My rock and foundation. Whereas she is just pure and simple the joy in my life. When I have a rough day at work and it is just absolutely terrible, coming home and seeing this sweet and silly face it makes everything that much better.
I mean I could have spent hours with a customer on the phone and then come home feeling drained and exhausted. But when Anastasia sees me walk in the door she will get this adorable goofy grin on her face and its like I am re-energized. It wipes away everything that was piling up and pushing me down.
But happiness is not only found in people. A big part of happiness, and I am speaking for myself, is how I am living my life. I have found that one thing that helps me throughout the day, is how I start my morning. I’ve gotten back into something that I haven’t done in a while and I am finding it to be extremely beneficial.
I have a box on my coffee table that is filled with slips of paper with different Bible verses on it. Every morning I make my breakfast, sit down at the table and randomly take out a slip of paper or two. I meditate on the verse and every morning this is a verse that seems to apply with whatever I am struggling with. Every morning I focus on my Faith and myself before I have to start my day and focus on everything else that needs my attention. I have seen the difference on days when I am unable to start my day this way verses the days when I do. By starting my day meditating and focusing on my faith, my day seems to be more at peace.
There are certain hobbies that can help keep you happy or be your happy place. My two main ones are writing and taking photos. I am able to write in my journal and express my thoughts and struggles. I am able to take photos (mostly of my adorable daughter) and focus on the beauty of life and the world.
Being a first time mama makes the whole world different. It makes life different. But the foundation of life, the foundation of happiness, this shall forever be the same. Faith, Family, Life. That’s all I really need.
Find out where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing. For to miss the joy, is to miss all.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Anastasia is not old enough where I’m dealing with this with her currently but I’ve made this discovery about myself as well. WW (aka WeightWatchers) is a great program because it is not one of those “diets” where you have to cut out food, you don’t have to cut out carbs, or sweets, or whatever else you like as long as you work the plan. Obviously that’s not saying if I eat nothing but cake I’m going to lose weight.
But I’ve made the discovery recently about myself that there are certain food cravings, that if I don’t try to find a way to work it into my plan, I’m essentially setting myself up for failure because the longer I deprive myself of whatever it is that I’m craving, eventually I’m going to crash and burn by binging on said thing plus whatever else I find.
Two months ago we had all sorts of things in the office, something different every day, cake, donuts (I’m talking the fancy donuts with like maple glaze and bacon ontop), bagels, cookies, etc. Every day was something different. And I was so happy because I said no to everything no matter how much I wanted something specific. I did great that week, weigh in was great. But the following week I had derailed completely, chocolate bars, candy, sweets, junk food. It reminds me of those kids who are not allowed to have sweets, or junk food, or pop (soda or Coke depending on your location in the US) in the house. But then these kids would go to their “friends with the good snacks” house and would go nuts on all this food they never get to have. But if I find a way to work what I want into my plan instead of depriving myself of it, I can still work the plan and lose weight doing it. Case and point, last week I went to a women of business conference. I had no control over what my lunch was and although it wasn’t that terrible for dessert was this delicious looking dark chocolate/coffee, raspberry cake?
There was a few girls at the table who looked at it like it was painful, and one girl took a tiny bite because she couldn’t resist. I don’t have the opportunity to have treats like this often so I went for it and took small bites to savor it to the fullest extent. Let me tell you that cake was not cake, it was like fudge in cake form and it was super rich, but it tasted AMAZING!
I didn’t know how many points it was so I just used all the points I had left for the day and called it a day. Then I made myself a delicious 2SP veggie soup for dinner. I made the plan work for me, enjoyed myself, ate something delicious even though weigh in was the next day and guess what, I was still down 3lbs even with that slice of cake. (For the record there were other girls at the table who did eat it, I wasn’t alone).
So now I’ve been thinking about when Anastasia is big enough that I need to think about this. I’m a big proponent of teaching by example so I don’t want to teach her to deprive herself of things but rather I want to teach her how it’s ok to have things in moderation. I dont want to be the mom who has nothing but health foods but the mom who as both healthy and the “good stuff” but who teaches you to have both in your diet.
When you truly understand that your food choices are powerful and life affirming, you can exercise control and restraint without deprivation. – Marlene Adelmann
Yesterday was another successful weigh in at my Wednesday WW meeting. Down 3lbs this week and it’s amazing! This weeks discussion is a little trick though. The subject for this week is
I mean, we’ve all heard the studies about how you need to get 7,8,9 hours of sleep in order to be productive. Well, this isn’t just a healthy, weight-loss blog. This is a mommy blog too, and with that comes the implicit understanding that, mommies don’t get sleep. Because sleep, for us, is a commodity.
For most of us its a lot less of this:
And a lot more of this:
But regardless, there are studies that link the lack of sleep to being unable to lose weight. So, with that being said, what is your nighttime routine like? How do you find yourself winding down for the day, or better yet, winding your little one down?
Here’s three things that can help, possibly you and the baby sleep better.
- Blackout curtains, best way to get my daughter asleep is keeping it dark in the room.
- White Noise, this is kind of a two-fer. Because of her 3 weeks in the NICU where it was always super quiet, Anastasia is sensitive to sounds, if it is super silent any little thing wakes her up. The best way to keep her asleep is a white noise machine. Our plays waves and it works wonders!
- Number three we are working on ourselves (still trying to convince the husband) but is it time to graduate the little one to their own room? Having that space at night can provide rest for both you and the baby. Or so they say, I’ll let you know when it actually happens.
Truth of the matter is, I know I’m blessed, Anastasia has been sleeping through the night since she was 4 months old, most moms (and dads) get mad at me when I say it. My exhaustion is from a totally different source. But these are definitely things that I found help us with her and having her sleep through the night.
I am still working on getting her on a routine as to when she goes to sleep for the night, as it is now it varies anywhere from 9PM to 11PM but I think that will happen naturally once we actually move her to her own room.
Sleep when your baby sleeps. Everyone knows the classic tip, but I say why stop there? Scream when your baby screams. Take Benadryl when your baby takes Benadryl. And walk around pantless when your baby walks around pantless.
So. I had a bad dream that Anastasia fell off the bed. As a first time mother this is a terrible dream and something I have been especially paranoid about. I do not leave her unattended on the bed what-so-ever, but it was still a scary dream.
But I learned this weekend that my little girl is definitely a roly-poly-baby. She’s not crawling but she sure does get around. I had her playing with her toys and she was doing great, having fun, I was sitting on the floor next to her.
But, as babies are known to get, she was starting to get fussy and it was getting close to mealtime. So for maybe 5 minutes I left her playing while I went to get her bottle ready. While shaking the bottle I heard her fussy whining again and lo and behold…
The picture is a little misleading, she definitely did not have her face covered and she wasn’t in any pain, she just couldn’t roll back onto her back. In fact, she was pretty proud of herself for this accomplishment.
But goodness gracious the trouble is starting. I can only imagine how much we have to keep our eyes peeled when she does actually start crawling… the baby proofing is soon to begin.
This is not an advice post. This is more of a question to any mamas and readers out there. When did you bring back date-night after having your baby?
Truth is, with Anastasia being born prematurely, the first 3 months we would often get dinner together before going to visit. Josh would try to get me out of the house whenever he could to keep my spirits up. As is the case whenever new parents bring their bundle of joy home. You spend so much time loving, caring, and watching over your little one that you really forget about yourselves as a couple. Now that Anastasia is 7 Months old I’ve kind of been missing the 1 on 1 time with my husband. It’s been 4-ish months since we went out together just the two of us. I’ve got a complete wicker picnic basket that’s been collecting dusk in my closet, waiting to be put to use.
I think I’m ready to take that next step. To leave Anastasia with someone (Mom or Mother-in-law) for a few hours and take some time to just me and Josh.
Of course this means I’d also have to convince my Josh to leave our daughter for a few hours to go on a date… and she’s got him wrapped around her chubby little finger.
That’s right! My little Anastasia has officially turned 6 Months old! Honestly, where has this time gone? I cannot even begin to fathom the idea that my little girl is already half a year old. I’ve had her for 6 Months already!
She has come a long way from that tiny 2lb 15oz little peanut. She is now 13.5 lbs and 24 inches long. She officially on the charts for her age, albeit on the small end (6th and 13th percentile) but compared to always being below the 1 percentile this was a huge accomplishment.
She is starting to developing her personality, which is very fun to watch. She laughs and giggles, and has learned to roll over from her stomach to her back. Developmentally, she is right on par with her adjusted age (4mths) which is fantastic!
I can’t wait to watch her continue to grow and learn. I’m looking forward to the days where she begins to interact more with us and toys. But at the same time i am a little sad at how fast this time is flying by.
Hi everyone, this is going to be a short one because I don’t know how long my electricity is going to last. As many of you know the east coast is being hammered by Hurricane Florence, which thank God has weakened to a category 1 hurricane but is still doing some pretty hefty damage. I live 2 hours from the North Carolina coast so I am not catching the brunt of it, but we are getting hammered with wind and rain.
I figured I’d do a quick list of items you should back sure you have in the event of bad weather:
- Water, water, water. For yourself and especially for formula feeding mama’s like myself.
- FORMULA! You can’t exactly feed your little one if you don’t have this. (Anastasia is not eating food, food, yet so that is why it is not on my list)
- Diapers and wipes – a given, but if you’re going to run out soon, stock up now.
- Any medications your little one is on, make sure you have a good supply.
While I do think that some people panic a bit too much and go too far, you do want to make sure you at least have enough for several days. You don’t know how long you’ll be out of power, or if your water is going to be contaminated… It’s always better to be caught prepared for the worst, then to catch the worst without being prepared.
Right now as I write this over 600,000 houses are out of power, I’m amazed mine has lasted this long. Please keep us in your prayers all.
I realize that I am a few days late but this weeks Wednesday discussion was a really powerful one. Because the discussion this week is about being grateful. Even if the scale isn’t showing what you want it to, or you are struggling with being a mom, life, and trying to live a healthy lifestyle, there are plenty of things we can be grateful for.
It just so happened that this Wednesday was an absolute TERRIBLE day at work. I mean it was awful from the second I turned on my computer, that’s part of the daily life of working in a technical field where you need to deal with customers. To top it off I didn’t do great in the healthy eating department (gained 1.8lbs this week, sad-face) and it was just an exhausting and frustrating week in general. But then at the Weight Watcher meeting we starting talking about being grateful and everyone went around discussing what they were grateful for, no matter how big, or how little.
Top 5 things I am grateful for:
- My Faith
- My sweet Husband and daughter who are both a huge blessing
- A fantastic job, even when it gets really annoying and frustrating sometimes
- Nature, getting up and leaving in the morning is so relaxing when I get to see the 2-3 baby deer that like to play in our yard
- My mother and mother-in-law, both are such a fantastic support system and it’s so much easier being at work knowing Anastasia is in good hands.
And this isn’t on my list above, but after the meeting I stopped by Chick-fil-a to get something for dinner and there was a police officer behind me in the drive through. Seeing him made me realize that no matter how terrible of a day I had at work, at least I didn’t have a job where I was getting shot at. So I’m grateful for the Police men and women who do have to work in that kind of environment.
So, this week we are working on being grateful, I encourage everyone to try and think of at least 3 things they are grateful for every day. Today specifically, I am grateful for it finally being the weekend, I am grateful I do not work weekends, and I am grateful that I get to go home and play with my amazing daughter who is now 5 months old!!!
I can’t believe where that time has gone! I included some pictures from her 5 month photo shoots. Enjoy 🙂
Hello Everyone! Sorry I’ve been gone for a while. The reasons behind my disappearance is that our poor little Anastasia has oral thrush. We caught it one night when I picked her up from her grandmas house after work. She was very cranky and screaming when we would try to give her, her pacifier. That’s when we noticed the tiny little white spots all over her tongue and on her cheeks and the roof of her mouth too. The next day she was still just as cranky and did not want to eat or suck on her pacifier so we called her pediatrician and took her in.
What is Oral Thrush?
Oral thrush is a type of fungal infection. You will see white spots all over your little one’s tongue, cheeks, and such. Very mild cases might clear up on their own without any medical treatment but if left untreated it can also spread to other parts of the body and can also spread to adults.
It doesn’t necessarily ‘hurt’ but can be very uncomfortable and extremely itchy. We know right away when it’s bothering Anastasia because she does this chewing thing with her mouth as if she is chewing on food, but in reality she is just is chewing on her tongue.
Sadly, although I kind of feel like a failure thinking about it, we can’t say for sure how she got it, or where she got it from because she is either at our hours, or one of her grandmas’ houses. The pediatrician also mentioned that the humidity down here (North Carolina) does not help.
But we can say that the best way to prevent it from re-occurring. In order to prevent oral thrush, best thing to do is to sterilize. So every other day we take all her bottles, all the bottle nipples, and all her pacifiers, we even take the measuring syringe for her medications and we throw them all into a pot of boiling water. We let them boil for 10 minutes and then take them out and let them air-dry.
What to do if you think your little one has oral thrush:
If you see white spots all over your little ones mouth or tounge, first make sure it is not milk, if the spots wipe away easily it is most likely not oral thrush.
Call your pediatrician. If left alone it can spread to other parts of the body and even cause terrible diaper rashes as well.
Start sterilizing anything that comes in contact with your little one’s mouth, pacifiers, nipples, even toys.
It’s been a busy week I’ll admit. In between working and sitting in the car, for a total of 3 hours, commuting I treasure the moments I get with my sweet little girl and sometimes that makes writing a little difficult. Especially now that she is starting to stay awake longer and is laughing and smiling.
So while we spend our nights talking and laughing at our little girl’s antics the time for writing get’s pushed to the side. But Wednesday’s are my Weight Watcher meeting days (and Weigh-Ins: sadly I am up this week) and coincidentally my mother-in-law watches Anastasia on those days so these are the days that I get a few hours to myself.
Honestly, I really enjoyed writing about my thoughts on last Wednesdays Weekly and would like to keep it a trend, because the weeklies often help me reflect on myself and also focus on the future and what I want to do and plan with Anastasia.
This week’s topic of discussion is non-scale victories (or NSVs). Because living healthy and trying to get to that healthy weight is more than just a number on the scale. Too many times we focus on that number rather than rejoicing and celebrating in our other victories, no matter how big or small. An NSV could be something like fitting into a smaller pair of jeans, adding more fruit or veggies to your diet, making healthy choices and so on. Rather than being proud of these achievements we let ourselves be brought down by the fact that our “number” isn’t where we wanted it to be.
So this week I want to focus on the non-scale victories that I encounter. Like saying no to the bagels in the break room and eating my pre-planned breakfast. Or having an apple instead of chips. Or the fact that my hips are starting to fit more comfortably in the chairs at work. As insignificant as these may seem when you put them all together along with the number on the scale then you realize just how far you’ve come.
There are some things that not all, but many, pregnant women do while pregnant in celebration of their upcoming motherhood. Due to severe early onset Pre-Eclampsia, there are three of these ‘big-ticket’ things that I missed out on.
For starters, I was hospitalized the week of my baby-shower and told that I would not be leaving the hospital until I delivered (goal was 34weeks). So rather than cancelling the event I sent my husband in my place and we video-chatted the event so that I could say hello to everyone and see my husband opening gifts. It was very beautiful and I am so grateful for my family for putting it all together. But am a little sad now because I was so hopped up on drugs and medicine at the time that I honestly remember very little of the video-chat.
Secondly, My 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimester photo frame wasn’t completed because I delivered Anastasia before I could get a 3rd trimester ultrasound photo. I completed the set with a photo of her and when people see the frame they are usually confused but then we share our story.
Lastly, but probably the one I was bummed about the most, I never got to do a Maternity Photo-Shoot. I had it all planned out. I have some photos of me while I was pregnant but honestly, if the baby-bump stickers weren’t there saying how far along I was, you wouldn’t even know I was pregnant. Since I have been overweight my whole life it wasn’t really noticeable that I was pregnant, my stomach had only started to round out around the time I was hospitalized. I had planned on waiting until I got closer to my due date when I should’ve been properly “popped” and then going to Duke Gardens, with my nephew (who’s a photographer).
So why do I bring these up now?
It’s not in an effort to gain sympathy, nor is it a “poor me” episode. But rather, now that Anastasia is home, healthy, and thriving. I am able to look back a little easier on the whole experience with a little less anxiety. When I was hospitalized and realized I wouldn’t get to go to my baby shower or have my maternity shoot I would force myself to focus only on the health of the baby because that is what mattered and I didn’t wanted to bum/stress myself out because I needed to keep my blood pressure in check. I was already on edge, terrified, and overflowing with emotions; I’m honestly surprised I didn’t run out of tears.
Then after she was born and in the NICU, Joshua had to go to work after a week and I was home recovering from a C-Section and couldn’t drive anywhere. So I was going through stuff in my office and found the 3-trimester ultrasound photo frame I had purchased as a memento. Again, all alone, I was filled with a deep sadness at yet another thing I missed out on. I found 2 ultrasound photos and put them in there and decided to put my at-the-time favorite photograph of Anastasia as the 3rd trimester. The end result was cute and it is now my favorite frame on the wall because it symbolizes everything that happened in a subtle way.
But the reality of it is, everyone hears of postpartum depression. Some may say it is a myth. Some may think it is impossible to be depressed after having such a beautiful blessing and bundle of joy bestowed upon them. But it is very real. I can only say that I am blessed to have such an amazing support system and an amazing husband by my side because I know it would have been very easy to let myself fall into that pit of despair had they not been there. There were days where the weight of it all, having Anastasia prematurely, me being home while she stayed at the hospital, or simply being alone during the day, would feel insurmountable and there were nights were all I wanted to do was cry. Visiting Anastasia was one of the only things that would help me keep my spirits up and I would honestly just go sit at the hospital and hold her for hours, but then would tear up again every time I had to leave her there and go home.
It feels like forever ago, now that Anastasia is home, and it all feels like a bad dream. But then there are moments when women will want to share their birth stories and I will just walk away because thinking back on that time and everything we went through brings with it the wave of emotions, fear, and anxiety that we faced. With the Lord by my side I was able to cross that bridge and He gave me the strength to continue but it was a struggle, keeping the baby blues at bay.