And Just Like That… My Baby is One

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In 8 short days, Harvey will turn 1. It has been a whirlwind of a year. Wow, that’s an understatement! I distinctly remember a soccer mom telling me this time last spring that I would blink my eyes and Harvey would be graduating from high school. I knew she was right, and I smiled and nodded when she said these words… but, holy crap!!! We are 1/18 of the way there and I swear to the Goddess I don’t know how the time has flown. There are so many sweet, sweet memories that I feel I cannot soak up enough, and I don’t know why I’ve been so focused on this recently… but Harvey doesn’t smell like a baby anymore, but rather, a little boy, and I can’t keep myself from reminiscing and crying over that lost scent!!! However, I wanted to commemorate his first year with my top five favorite things/memories from the past 12 months. Here goes nothing…

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  1. Co-Sleeping. We technically did what they call “bed-sharing” for the first five months of Harvey’s life… and a little beyond (we still sneak a few mornings here and there). This means he slept in the bed with us! Yes, right in between us. We never planned to do this, it just sort of happened that way, and as a result, the memories we have of sleeping in the bed together will stick with me for a lifetime. Once we realized that we liked co-sleeping, we obviously researched it extensively, and found out that while it is a “heated” topic and one that is heavily debated, it can be done safely and effectively (meaning, Nick and I haven’t had one sleep-deprived night). Yes, I am serious. We are lucky, Harvey is a good sleeper and that part helps, it also helps that he loved/loves the boob… and that’s basically what co-sleeping is (or breast-sleeping as we came to call it). Sometimes I am so happy that he now sleeps through the night in his own crib, and sometimes I miss waking up next to him and his toothless grin. Every now and then, when he wakes up on Saturday/Sunday mornings, I will go get him and bring him into bed with us, so that he can nurse and fall back to sleep. I lay there watching him snore next to me and count my many blessings.
  2. Breastfeeding. So, I just have to say that I will be forever grateful that we made this happen. I tried not to get my hopes up before he was born, because I know this is really, really… really hard for some mamas. But, I knew it was something I wanted to try, and would be fortunate enough to have some time to devote to it because I didn’t have to go back to work until he was five months old. If it weren’t for the incredible lactation consultants at the Birth Center, as well as the amazing LC’s who work at UNC, we wouldn’t have made it through those first few weeks. Breastfeeding takes practice, and although we picked it up really quickly, it can be difficult to keep it up. When I went back to work, maintaining my milk supply was a struggle. I cried over it… more than once. I also know that we had it better than most, and I’m thankful for that. Being able to breastfeed him made our bond that much stronger. It also made life extremely convenient for our family, who likes to be on the move. We have traveled extensively with Harvey (flying to Philly, Seattle, Arkansas… driving to Ohio, Virginia, Georgia) and it would have been more difficult to do if I couldn’t just plop my boob in his mouth when he was hungry. The fact that Nick was so supportive and helpful with both eating and sleeping stuff was crucial. Now that Harvey hardly ever nurses anymore, and is actually drinking whole milk, I truly hope that I will be able to breastfeed (and breast-sleep) with my next baby because I’ve loved every single minute!
  3. Family dinners at the table. This is something we will keep doing, because Nick and I feel very strongly about having dinner as a family every single night. We both grew up in houses that allowed us to do this whenever possible (extra-curricular activities can occasionally get in the way) and we knew we wanted the same for our kids. Watching Harvey learn how to eat is the best homemade entertainment I can think of. I mean… he’s obsessed with food. His eyes light up when he knows he’s about to eat something, and the BLW (baby-led weaning) process is one that I HIGHLY recommend to parents. BLW teaches them how to pick things up, what different textures feel like, how to process new tastes and smells at their own pace… and the most important part, how to eat at the table with the rest of the family. I have carved a special place in my brain for all of the “first” foods we gave him, and how he looked and acted when he ate them. Some of the dinner table conversations we have had as a family of 3 during his first year are ones that will stick with me for a lifetime.
  4. The first “real” kiss. When Harvey was around seven/eight months our bedtime routine was becoming more and more sweet each night. And then, one night out of the blue, he leaned in and kissed me when I squeezed him and said “I love you.” I swear, I could have died happy right then and there. It made my heart MELT, and now when he kisses me, I try to make it last longer and longer, haha!
  5. Harvey pooping on the floor when he was almost eleven months old. This one is a more recent memory, and one that made me laugh so hard I peed a little bit in my pants! First of all, our mornings in general are so funny to me. I wake up around 5:15 AM and hop right in the shower. When I get out, Harvey is usually still sleeping, so I start to dry my hair and drink coffee. When I’m done with this he’s typically awake, so I get him from his room, bring him in bed and nurse him. When he’s done eating, I get him dressed for the day. Nick **tries** to read the paper during all of this and the older he’s gotten, the harder this part has become. He is wiggly. He likes to squirm around, so most mornings, I just let him roam around our room naked while I finish getting ready for school. A little more than a month ago, I was brushing my teeth in the bathroom while Harv was trying to open some cabinets and drawers, and I heard him making his “poop sounds.” So, I look over, and sure enough, he was holding on to the drawer handle, straining, and a big ole’ poop was on the ground. I immediately cracked up and called Nick over to see, and as he tried to get his phone out to take a picture of the hilarity, Harvey stepped in it!!!!

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I also wanted to give y’all an update on me. Having a baby is not all roses and rainbows, and although it is the single most amazing thing I will ever accomplish, my mind and body have paid some tolls. As a woman who recovers daily from an eating disorder, the body image stuff is tough. I will never look the same. Yes, I’ve lost the weight, but women who’ve been here know it is not all about that. It has been one year since Harvey was born, and I still have dozens of stretch-mark scars. They are silver now, not purple, but I don’t think I’ll ever wear a bikini again. Not a real big deal, but definitely something we don’t always talk about, you know? The other part is that my body feels different, too. It’s not a “bad” different… just a “new” kind of different. Also… nursing a baby for 12 months can do a number on your ta-tas… woo wee! These are all things I just wanted to throw out there, for the other mamas who think it is just them… I am here to tell you it is not! You will develop your own new sense of “normal” and you might have to work at “falling in love” with that new body, that new person, that new life.

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What’s new in the world of being a working mom you might ask? Well…let me start by saying this: If I were given the choice to do it differently, I wouldn’t. Yes, even if I had a million dollars and the ability to stay home, without money worries, I wouldn’t. I was a teacher before I was a mother, and that does not mean that being a mother has to come “second.” Some really good advice I got from my Aunt Molly was that we can “be both” and that’s okay! I love teaching, and I love coaching, and I love Harvey and I love my family. Now, with all of that being said, each day is different and can bring its own struggles and hurdles. There are DEFINITELY days when I go to bed feeling like I let somebody down. Sometimes, it’s my husband, sometimes its my child, sometimes its my students or my players. Some days, I feel like I did a good job at everything, and some days I feel like I did a mediocre job with everything. Those days are the hardest. However, I continue to live my life with a huge sense of fulfillment and joy, and the fact that Harvey comes with me to soccer games, and we can spend time together that way, is super fun, and my soccer girls love him dearly. Professional update: I will be halfway done with my National Board Certification at the end of the school year! Woo hoo!

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There are a few people I would like to give a quick shout out to, because during Harvey’s first year, he has gotten sick at daycare a few times. His daycare is also closed occasionally, and they are not always teacher workdays for me. If it weren’t for my amazing husband (and his incredible job), I would be in the negative for sick days. Yes, I’ve been able to take a few, but Nick has really been the one who leaves work and gets Harvey when he needs to come home early. In addition to our amazing village of friends, grandparents, soccer player babysitters, etc., Nick’s parents (Lolli and Pop) have been our go-to this soccer season. Pop is now retired, and when Harvey’s daycare is unavailable, he spends the day with nug. I truly don’t know how people do it when they don’t have family help. If it weren’t for Pop and the time he gets to spend with Harv, we wouldn’t be able to swing it most days. Watching the two of them interact is priceless.

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Anywho, back to this little boy of mine! Harvey has developed his own little personality. He has 4 teeth (that we brush at bedtime), is around 30 inches long, and weighs 23 lbs.  He is a really funny baby! He waves and says “bye” along with signing “more” and “all done.” He can say “up”, “dada”, “mama”, “more”, “stop”, “ball”, and “dog.” He is also, officially, walking a few steps here and there!!! He now has a baby cousin, too! My brother and his girlfriend welcomed Knox Ripley Cade on the 8th, and we’ve been down to visit them a few times! Our good friend, Martha Gibson, took some photos of Harvey last weekend to commemorate his birthday… and if y’all are looking for a portrait photographer, her work is amazing!! ❤

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I will write a separate post about Harvey’s 1st Birthday Party soon because I want to include mostly pictures of that awesome day! We can’t wait to celebrate with our family and friends!

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9 1/2 Months with Harvey

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Well… it’s been a while since I’ve written a post! Two reasons for that – one being that teaching and working and coaching and mama-ing have been keeping me really busy this winter, and the other being my lack of motivation to write anything down after the election and its repercussions in my life and in this country. However, time heals most wounds and I have found my sense of self, my sense of courage, and my sense of responsibility and duty to my community and to my family again – hence I am in the writing mood today! My mom is coming up this weekend to attend the Women’s March in Raleigh with me, and I cannot wait to get out there and start mobilizing NC!

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Anyway… back to Harvey. He is almost 10 months old, and I’ve started thinking about his first birthday party already. This is so crazy to say, but he has officially been outside of my body for as long as he was inside of it!!! WHAT??!!! I don’t understand where the time has gone, and honestly I’ve been a bit sad thinking about him growing up too fast recently. He has really started to change at a fast pace, and I have days where I don’t want him to grow up anymore. I think that part of it has to do with the fact that he has pretty much lost all interest in nursing. He will nurse in the morning as soon as he wakes up, and sometimes before bed, but its more for comfort than anything. I have already cried my tears over it, and the day that he officially stops will be hard for me. My mother-in-law has told me about the last time she nursed her last baby, and how she took a moment to close her eyes and savor the memory… and I have a feeling that day is coming up on me quickly.  I have loved every single moment of our breastfeeding journey together, and truly hope that my next baby nurses as well as he did.

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Aside from all of that – Harvey continues to be the light of my life. He laughs and smiles all the time, pulls up on every single piece of furniture and/or person in the house, eats everything he can get his hands on, and is drinking from a sippy cup/straw. He has been working on standing a bit on his own, and the speed of his crawl has picked up, a LOT. Now that he is mobile, we have to keep an eye on him for sure. He has had some bumps and bruises along the way, and I’m sure we are in for a lot more of those while he officially learns to walk. Watching him play with his toys and listen to books is some of my favorite entertainment. My absolute favorite thing is his bedtime routine. After dinner, I give him a bath, and then take him to his room so that I can play him his nighttime song (Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings singing “Sweet Tooth”) and do his “grooming”. He LOVES to be groomed. He lays there, still and sweet, while I clip his nails, brush his hair, and rub lotion into his perfect skin. I do a little massage with it, and he stares at me with the deepest, most loving eyes in the whole entire world, and I swear I get teary-eyed most nights because I just don’t understand how I got so lucky. Right before I lay him in his crib, I give him a kiss and he has started to kiss back sometimes. He then lays his head on my shoulder to give me a hug, and I can promise you that my last moment on this earth will someday involve the memory I have carved of this event in my heart and in my mind. Woowee, I really need time to slow down!

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The other really cool thing about Harvey these days is that he sleeps through the night, in his own bed. Although I was sad to move him out of our bed, having our evenings back has really given Nick and I the chance to bond again – in a way we hadn’t realized we were missing! We can actually sit on the couch and enjoy some TV or reading time. I look forward to our family time as a tripod, but I also really look forward to that time on the couch with just the two of us. We recently watched a movie called, “The Lobster” and I will spare you the strange details about its synopsis (although I do recommend the movie to people), but there were two take-aways from it that I thought were funny: 1. Children are given to couples to help strengthen their relationships (in the movie) and for us, that has been 100% true. I love who we are as parents and partners. 2. If Nick were to go blind in a world where people are required to have partners who are exactly like them… I would go blind too so that we could be together forever ❤

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Upcoming News: I am currently writing/editing a piece that I am submitting for the Raleigh “Listen To Your Mother” performance this May. I went last year for the first time, and was blown away by the stories of motherhood that brave women can tell, and I decided to give it a go! My audition is in a few weeks, and I will keep y’all posted on whether or not I’m selected! I will post my essay either way for you all to read.

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The Halfway Mark

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In 2 short weeks, Harvey will be 6 months old. What?! Halfway through his first year?! I don’t understand how this could possibly be the case… but alas, it most certainly is.

I recently told Nick that I thought I couldn’t love Harvey any more than I did the day he was born… and that sometimes I simply cry to myself when I really sit and try to measure the love in my heart. It feels as if, at any point, it could physically burst. That is a big love to carry around… a big weight on my body. But, it’s the best possible feeling in the whole entire world. Yesterday was a magical moment for me because I got to recognize that feeling in the faces of my dear friends, who just had their first baby. As soon as I saw him in their arms, and the way they looked at him, I realized that this is only something you can understand when you’ve been on the other side of it. It is other-worldly. I burst into tears of joy for them and their sweet, fuzzy little one. I knew the way they were smelling him, feeling him, loving him for the first time, and it brought me back to the early days with Harvey. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to freeze time in its tracks.

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He has changed so much in the past few weeks. He can sit up, roll over (both ways), and is really trying hard to move! He spins himself around in circles when he is in his crib… yes, I said crib!! We have successfully sleep-trained him for naps – and we owe a special thank you to Ms. Rochelle, his childcare provider, for help with that. We still co-sleep at night, but are moving away from that in the next few weeks, since he has mastered nap time now.

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Harvey eats baby oatmeal, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon, avocado, and well… anything really. We are taking the “baby-led weening” approach (BTW) and so far, so good! He really loves sitting at the dinner table and eating with us, it’s so freaking adorable.

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My school year is off to an amazing start. I have some pretty incredible kids this year, and they are all so curious and sweet when asking about Harvey! I love sharing stories and pictures with them. Pumping at work is … annoying, but obviously worth it. It has become a chore that I consider a part of my work duties, like grading papers… and trying to stay ahead of/on top of Harvey’s demand is intimidating, but something that I have been able to manage thus far. He can hold his own bottle of mama’s milk now – which makes him seem so grown up!!

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I have lots of favorite “parts of my day” but there are three in particular I wanted to share with y’all. The first is when the three of us wake up together, and have a big family kiss and hug. Harvey is a bright, shining ball of sunshine in the mornings, and I try and soak in as much of it as I can before I head in to work. The second is when Nick shares their morning activities with me. He has about 1-2 hours with Harvey each day before taking him to Ms. Rochelle’s house, and the bonding that they’ve experienced as a result truly melts my heart. Nick sends me pictures of Harvey hanging out in his bouncy seat while Nick showers, the outfits he picks out for him each day, and the playtime they have in Harvey’s new “playroom” downstairs. I watch the videos over and over, and stare at the pictures during my planning period. How did I get so lucky? Nick earns his title as “the world’s best dad” every single day, over and over, and I have to pinch myself sometimes when I think about my fortunate life. The third best part of my day is when I walk through the door at Ms. Rochelle’s, and Harvey gives me that big, toothless, smile as I pick him up and squeeze him. It will never get old.

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Getting the Hang of this Parenting Thang!

What a time to be alive!! So sorry for the corny pun in the title… but life is good, y’all. Harvey is 8 weeks old tomorrow, and cuter than ever. I’m obsessed. It is seriously the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my entire life, and every single second that I get to spend with him is better than the last.

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What have we been up to? Well… the real question should be: What haven’t we been up to?! Harvey is still a very easy, happy-go-lucky baby, so we continue to take him everywhere! He had his first “babysitter” earlier this month when we went to my childhood friend Mary Cate’s beautiful wedding. Mimi (my mom) watched him while we were out, and he had a good time! Next month, it will be Lolli’s turn (Nick’s mom) when we attend a party for our friends Chris and Erin’s marriage!

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The next weekend was his first trip to the mountains. My brother, Brian, graduated from Appalachian State University, and we got to be a part of his celebration. The last few members of my family were able to meet Harvey for the first time, and those moments are mental snapshots that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Watching each new person lay eyes on him for the first time never gets old. When we got home from Boone, we had our first parenting scare when Harvey choked on some spit up and I thought he was having a seizure. We called 911, only to have them arrive right after he had calmed down and everything was fine. Not going to lie, it scared the you-know-what out of us… and the paramedics sort of laughed and did the whole “this must be your first kid” thing… which made me feel better, I think? Ha! A minor incident for sure, but one that really reminds you that you have to be on your game at all times.

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This past weekend we celebrated Nick’s 30th birthday a few days early. Our favorite thing to do is be with our friends, and we decided a fun activity would be the Durham Bulls game on Saturday night. We had a fantastic time, and Harvey enjoyed the baseball. However, we ran into a parenting fail when the fireworks started, and Harvey FREAKED out! I guess I forgot how loud fireworks are? Our friend Pete was holding him, and covered his ears the entire time… so hopefully we didn’t cause permanent damage! Yesterday we saw our friends Martha and Graham and their little girl Evelyn. Watching babies meet other babies is adorable!! So glad we got to see them 🙂

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Harvey is changing so much every day. He holds his head up pretty well, and tolerates tummy time! He went to several soccer games this month, took lots of long walks with mama, and continues to enjoy his bath the most. He prefers being held to sitting alone (and would like you to bounce him while holding him). He enjoys story time and listening to music! He is sleeping for 5-6 hours at a time during the night… woo hoo!! He is loving his binky more than ever. He is also turning into a little chunk, which makes me so happy (he weighs almost 12 pounds)! He is not the only one changing – I’ve lost 43 of the 65 that I gained! I realize that 20 to 30 of those pounds were preeclampsia water-weight, but still! I’m feeling very accomplished and proud to be back in (some of) my pre-pregnancy jeans!

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A few lessons learned, lots of laughs, a day of frightened tears, and 4 more weeks of wisdom gained since my last entry. This summer is going to be the best one yet! We fly to Philly in two weeks – wish us luck.

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Happy early birthday to my incredible baby daddy! We love you ❤

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My First Mother’s Day

When a woman becomes a mother, she, whether she knew it beforehand or not, joins a special club. This club is very large, and has many different sub-sections. Some of us belong to several of these sub-sections, and some of us belong to only one of them, but we are members all the same. Some mothers never held their babies. Some never felt their babies move inside of them. Some mothers lost their babies after a few short hours, days, weeks, months, or years. Some mothers have children with special needs. Some have boys. Some have girls. Some have twins, triplets, septuplets, etc. Some mothers have post-partum depression. Some moms are single. Some are divorced. Some moms adopted their children. Some mothers have fussy babies, and some have “easy” ones, (whatever that means) and some have children that they’ve only ever dreamed of in their mind’s eye. Some mothers have lost their own mothers. No matter what kind of mother you are, which part of the club you belong to, the moment you become a mother you understand two things: the love you have for your child stretches further, wider, and higher than the ends of the universe… and that mothers look out for one another no matter what.

I’ve always known that I am surrounded by strong women and strong mothers. Being a mama is something that I’ve always wanted, and I’ve spent so many years saving up advice, strategies, and stories from these women. They might not have realized at the time, but I was there… listening and watching and learning. I’ve watched them be mothers to their unborn children. I’ve watched them be mothers to their infants, their toddlers, their teenagers, and their adult babies. Their courage, skill, and strength is what gives me my courage, skill, and strength. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here… I wouldn’t be who I am.

This mother’s day, I wanted to take some time to personally thank some of the mothers in my life, near and far, for all they’ve done for me.

To Adele, my Mawma: When I think of the different sub-sections of the club, and how some mothers straddle the space between two or more of them, I think of you. You raised three handsome, kind, caring boys. Today, only two of them are still with us. It was not until I had my own son in my arms, that I could have conceived of the grief a mother would feel while burying her own child. Still, you carry on. You shower your family with unconditional love and adoration, while carrying a scar that most of us know nothing about. You are, and always will be, one of my role models. I love you!

To Shirley, my Oma: If I’ve never said this aloud to you, I’m saying it now. You are the glue that holds our family together. Your unwavering faith is something I admire. The ways in which you love, encourage, and support your children, your grandchildren, and now your great-grandchild are truly remarkable. The belief that family is the most important thing is something that I’ve learned from you, and hope to pass along to my own family someday.

To Rebecca, my Aunt: It takes a special kind of woman to be a military wife. It takes an incredible woman to be a military mom. Thank you for raising three, beautiful, smart, curious, and kind girls. Your family has traveled the world, and lived in countries like South Korea, Italy, Germany, and Australia. You have done a lot of your mothering while Uncle Steve is away, serving our country. Thank you for being the strong mama that you are, and for the example you’ve set for me over the years.

To Molly, my Aunt: My entire life, I’ve wanted to be exactly like you. You are smart, beautiful, funny, and thoughtful. We share a love for Camp Mikell, a profession in education, and now, I am a mother, with a son of my own. The ways in which you balance motherhood, work, and play with ease are more than admirable, and if my son turns out half as wonderful as yours are, I will consider that to be a massive success. Thank you for loving me and my family as much as you love your own.

To Laurie, my Mother-in-Law: One sub-section of the club includes the mothers who gain children through marriage. Although, long before I married your son, you accepted me for who I was and considered me a member of the family. This mother’s day, I want to thank you for the job you did in raising your children. Your daughters are delightful young women, and I love them very much. Your son is, in very large part, an incredible father and husband because of you. Thank you for sharing your life, compassion, and heart with him, because he has turned around and shared all of those things with me and our baby.

To Michele, my Mother: Mommy, thank you for everything. I literally owe my life to you! When a woman becomes a mother, I think that – inevitably – her relationship with her own mother transforms. There is an understanding that forms, a knowledge that exists, a love that becomes transparent. I now know that for the last 27.5 years, every single sacrifice you’ve made, tear you’ve shed, decision you’ve had to make, etc… had my brothers and me at the heart of it. A very important gift you’ve given me recently is the gift of recovery and sobriety. My son will truly know who you are, and for that, I thank you. Your love, advice, and support have carried me through good days and bad. Now that I am also a mother, I understand the depths of your heart and soul more than I ever did before. ❤

To Caroline: Your story, your words, your strength, and your daughter have touched me in ways you may never know. I can truly say that you have been my inspiration for writing about my journey, acknowledging my feelings, and expressing my concerns/joys/sorrows/etc. You have taught me that motherhood takes many shapes and forms, and that honesty and compassion for each other is the most important thing. You’ve taught me that you are not alone, that I am not alone, that we are not alone. Thank you for being so open and courageous. You and your angel are in my thoughts every day.

This week, wish the mothers in your life a Happy Mother’s Day. Not just your mother, every mother that you know. In fact, if you see a mother on the street, or in the store this week, give her a high-five… or a smile… or a hug. She is a badass. She has been to places that not every person will go to. She has seen things that not every person will see. She is a member of a club. The kind of club that lifts each other up, whenever, wherever, and however we can. To all of the mamas out there, whether I know you personally or not, Happy Mother’s Day! I now stand with you, and in awe of you.

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A Month with Harvey

I can’t believe that Harvey has been here for a month… especially since I was still supposed to be pregnant right now (well, I would be overdue at this point, but that’s what everybody tells you to expect with your first). With each new day that goes by, my heart feels like it is going to burst with all of the love I have for my son. What a beautiful life we live, y’all!!

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Harvey went to the pediatrician on Monday for his 4-week-old check-up, and he had gained over 2 pounds!! He had also grown over 1 inch and his head circumference was in the normal range! So is everything else – he is just in the lower half of “normal” because he was a preemie and they say it could take 6 months or more for him to “catch up” to the growth percentiles. However, everything else about him is “normal” to us, haha! He has definitely found his cry – which is funny to even write, but honestly, it took him 2 full weeks to even start crying when he needed something. His main form of communication is grunting. He grunts so much that he’s given himself an outie bellybutton in the form of an umbilical hernia (not that big of a deal, they generally correct themselves before age 5).

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He has been eating like a Hungry, Hungry Hippo – which is why I call him Hungry, Hungry Harvey! But seriously, imagine the children’s game, with the Hippos opening and closing their mouths ferociously, and that’s him… about every 2 and a half hours throughout the day. It’s so cute. The only reason I feel like I can say this, and make a joke, is because breastfeeding has gone extremely well for me. I feel like I am one of the lucky ones, because I have heard so many stories and have some friends who’ve had difficulty with it, and feel extremely grateful for every single feeding when I feel nothing but bonding and sweetness and love for him as we look at each other while he munches. I am looking into milk donation, because I have so much of it (I have two breast pumps if anybody needs one), and have been very happy to breastfeed in public. Harvey and I are going to a Nation-Wide Nurse-In at the State Capitol building on Friday, his actual one-month-birthday, to help bring attention to the unnecessary stigmas behind breastfeeding in public areas. ESPECIALLY because I will be breastfeeding him during the freaking summer time, and the thought of trying to put a blanket over myself every single time he needs to eat, is 100% ridiculous. I mean, we don’t eat with blankets over our heads do we? This picture is me feeding him at a brewery last weekend – and the Moby on my shoulder was to shield the sun from his eyes, not to hide my boob from the crowd.

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Other things Harvey likes: smiling (whether he does it on purpose or not), being carried in the Moby wrap, stroller walks, riding in the car, and…BATH TIME! He is obsessed with the water. It completely calms him into stretching his little body fully out and pretending to float (with the help of an adult, of course). It is one of my favorite activities with him.

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I love being a mom. It is, by far, the best occupation I’ve ever encountered. Nick and I have incorporated Harvey into our daily lives with ease – which we both felt very strongly about doing before he was born. I knew that the only way to get used to bringing him places was to just get out and do it! Showing him off has been so much fun! So far, he has been to Raleigh, Chapel Hill, downtown Durham, and Hillsborough. Taking him to soccer games has been super fun too! We also have trips planned for the rest of the summer that include Philadelphia, Hilton Head, Camp Mikell, Ohio, and Seattle! Some people think we are crazy for flying with a baby, but honestly, he is so good, and travels so well, that I think we will be happy we got out and visited people before I go back to work.

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One of the parts of being a new mom that not a lot of people talk about, is having a new body. It has taken some time, and some effort, to embrace the new way I look. My stomach will never look the same, and that’s ok. Mederma is helping a bit, but it will obviously never bring me back to pre-Harvey days. This week, I made the decision to join Weight Watchers, to help lose the baby-weight and to help stay on a healthy lifestyle track that will be much better for me in the long run. Breastfeeding requires extra calories, and a lot of moms want to cut calories to lose the weight. It is also in my nature to do the same thing, but, before Harvey was born, my therapist and I discussed some ways to prevent me from slipping back in to old habits, and WW, so far, has been a good plan. I’m not going to lie, it has been hard from time to time, thinking about the fact that its summer and we are going to go to the beach and pool and whatnot, and I have to go to the store and buy a new bathing suit that I think looks “ok” for now… but overall, the benefits of being a mom have outweighed the few “costs”. I am adding a picture here, for my own purposes. This is my body, one month postpartum. All of the mamas out there whose bellies look like road maps, bless you. We know it was worth it 🙂

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