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Britton's Giggle Fit

Sometimes parenting is hard. Really hard. I won't lie and say that everyday with Britton has been a breeze--there have been some days that I have wondered what I was thinking when I decided to try and raise another human being.

I have definitely not enjoyed every minute since June 5 (despite the advice of every little old lady I meet in the grocery store); running on three hours of sleep a day, listening to Britton cry and cry because she's too tired to go to stay up but too stubborn to go to sleep, and figuring out how to balance my working/ writing schedule, Britton's sleep/ eating/ playing schedule, and my pumping schedule have driven me to tears on more than one occasion.

But then something will happen and I understand why people say that parenting is the best job ever. I thought I would explode with happiness the first time Britton smiled at me.

Recently, she's started doing something even more awesome: laughing. Landon caught her on his camera on night as the two of them were playing with an old stuffed Minnie Mouse of mine. I'd never heard her belly laugh like that before! It happened the night before I went up to stay with my grandfather in the hospital as he was dying, and watching that video got me through many, many tough moments over the next week and a half.

So, take a look at little Miss Britton:

I Wish...

...that I could find a sweater/ legging combo that worked. I'm tall enough that most tunics just look like slightly baggy shirts on me, and thus, would be ridiculous looking with leggings. Still, I find these pictures on Pinterest of these perfectly coiffed women who look so cozy in long sweater tunics, thick leggings, and riding boots, and pine away.
If I could figure out how to make this outfit work, I'd have to add a little throw up to make it more realistic.
...that Britton would figure out that 5 a.m. is a time for sleeping, not breakfast. It's much, MUCH better than 3 a.m., but there's something about that pre-dawn hour that makes me so weary. It's too early to think normally, but it's too late to really go back to bed (because Landon's alarm will go off and wake me up about 3 minutes after I get back in bed). Could I order a 6 a.m. wake-up tomorrow, little one? Pretty please?
Britton, why you do dis to meeeeee?
...that I didn't have to wait until next year to go to Disney World. We're planning on taking Britton when she's 18 months old because 1) that's an awesome age for kids and Mickey Mouse, and 2) it will be right around Christmas, which is my favorite time to go. That just seems so long! (As a side note, I must say that I wouldn't dream of going right now because I'd have to haul all of Britton's baby stuff, including my pump...and let's face it, nothing sucks the magic out of Disney World like having to haul a stupid breastpump around with you.)
Christmas Mickey Hat? Check. Baby? Check. Time for Disney World? Double check!
...that the house would magically stay clean. I've never been OCD about my house, and, before we had Britton, I was good about keeping it slightly messy but clean. Now, I spaz whenever I find Landon's flip-flops under the coffee table for the nineteeth time in a row. I'm sure it's because I'm at the house all the time now and so any mess bothers me more. Unfortunately, my hatred of messiness did not come with an overwhelming desire to clean more. Total catch-22.
Yup, nailed it.
...that the weather would stay gorgeous forever. It's currently 78 here in South Carolina, and I'm in shorts. I hate being cold, so this warm front is very welcome. Stay away, winter!
My idea of the perfect holiday
Happy weekend, everyone!

Control

In my last post, I talked briefly about control and how my attitude towards it has changed since having Britton. Since that post, I lost my grandfather (who I was extremely close to) and that experience has made me examine my control issue even further.

From day one with Britton nothing turned out the way I planned. I wanted an all-natural birth with no medical interventions. I used my Hypnobabies home program, and my husband and I listened to the tracks religiously. But then, at 39 weeks, we found out that 1) I had tested positive for GBS and had to be administered an IV during labor (there goes the no intervention), and 2) Britton was measuring so far ahead that she needed to be induced. There was much talk of her head being too developed to be delivered naturally, but I decided to hedge my bets and be induced. That entire process ended with me in the operating room fourteen hours later delivering a baby in respiratory distress via C-section.

One day old, and covered in tubes and wires.
Then, I decided that I wanted to stick to my guns and breastfeed, the other important part of my labor/ delivery/ postpartum plan. The NICU that Britton stayed in for three days wasn't breastfeeding-friendly and only wanted to give her formula. Then, after taking her home, nursing her was hideously painful, so we continued to give her a bottle when I was in too much pain to try and nurse. About a week and a half after Britton was born, a lactation consultant finally diagnosed her with a severe tongue-tie, which we corrected with a quick procedure. Her nursing habits, however, were more difficult to change; she didn't know how to latch properly, and I was tired of trying and failing, and ending with pain and crying. So, I started to exclusively pump and feed her out of a bottle.
By pumping, I could get everyone, including my parents, to help out during meal time!
As Britton grew, I found it exceedingly difficult to let go of the notion that I got to go to bed when Landon did. 10 p.m. would roll around, and I would tearfully watch Landon get ready for bed; after all, he had to go to work the next day, bright and early. Before Britton figured out night from day, I was up at all hours--but none were as difficult as the early morning ones. I'm actually kind of a night owl, so being up late wasn't the thing that got me. It was the lack of control I had to tell this tiny baby, "Okay, it's night time. Go to sleep like Mommy and Daddy do." She was dictating the schedule at that point, and I had to learn to go with it.
If I keep my sunglasses on all the time, you won't be able to see the half-shut eyes and dark circles--right?
When my grandfather was sick and in the hospital, I was lucky enough to be there with him in the days leading up to his death. He knew that he was dying--and was glad that it was the pneumonia that would take him and not his newly-diagnosed cancer--and he was okay with it. He told me, "I want to beat this, but I know I'm not going to." That was the hardest thing for me to accept. I was completely helpless in this situation. I could do nothing to help my grandfather except tell him that it was okay to go. But how do you let go of someone who you love?

Christmas 2012. I'm in the front row (four months pregnant!) with my grandmother and grandfather. Landon's standing behind me in the purple shirt.
In the last five months, I have shed many, many tears over all of these situations--some are obviously more important, but all have worked on me in their own ways. Looking back, I know that I have learned to release some of that control. Deciding to exclusively pump was emotionally heartbreaking, but I have a little schedule for pumping now and I know I'm still giving Britton the nutrients she needs. Landon and I have regulated Britton's sleeping schedule, so it's more consistent now. She'll even sleep through the night most of the time. Being with Grand-dan when he passed showed me how much of our lives are trust that someone else will continue to bear the burden when we are too tired to go at it alone.

For all those new moms and dads out there, you can't control everything. And that's okay. Control over every situation is not the important thing in life. Love, in all of its forms, is.

_____________________________

P.S. I also started updating my design blog again, so check it out if you have a chance!


The First Five Months: What I've Learned


I've never been one of those people who just LOVED babies. I had no clue if I wanted to be a mom when I was younger. Unlike my best friend growing up, who wanted nothing more than to get married and have babies, I was decidedly on the fence about ever getting pregnant and having a baby.

While I'm still not going to talk baby talk to any baby I come across in the grocery store, I am glad that Landon and I decided to have our little Britton. The last five months have been everything all at once: overwhelmed, ridiculously happy, confused, scared, content, nervous, and unprepared. But I wouldn't have my life any other way.

Britton the day before Halloween
I am by no means a baby expert, but here are a few things that I've learned since Britton was born in June:

  1. Your baby will make you cry. You will cry out of frustration when she won't go to sleep at 3 in the morning. You will rock him to sleep and cry because he is so beautiful. You will cry because you are completely sure that you are going to be the worst parent in the world. You will cry when your baby gets hurt for the first time (and it will happen, I promise). And all of this is before you count in all the crying due to post-baby hormones. Get your tissues ready!
  2. Things are going to happen that you cannot control. I think this has been the hardest aspect of parenting for me to deal with. Before Britton was born, I had a specific idea of how I wanted her birth to be. That didn't happen. I knew I wanted to breastfeed, but because of her tongue-tie, getting a bottle in the hospital, and just being a lazy nurser, we've had a very long journey there. I thought I could get Britton on the E.A.S.Y. schedule that everyone talks about--but she has other ideas. I've learned that I'm not the one running this show; Britton is. And it's my job to make sure that she is fed, clothed, and healthy at the end of the day, and that is more important than control. 
  3. Everything in your house will smell like a baby. Sometimes this is a good thing: baby lotion, baby powder, and baby bath wash are all awesome smells. Barf and dirty diapers are not. Unfortunately, your house will come to smell like all of the above, no matter how many loads of laundry you do, or how often you clean. Embrace the baby. 
  4. If you're breastfeeding, there will be times that you will get mad at your husband for not being able to make milk. Yes, it is a completely irrational emotion, but it will happen when you are up at 3:20 a.m. for the 100th night in a row. Seriously, evolution--you didn't think that double-parent coverage of the milk supply might have been a good idea?!
  5. Baby fingernail clippers are the devil. One night when I was seriously sleep deprived, I tried to clip Britton's (ridiculously fast growing) fingernails. I was only partially successful, in that I clipped her nail and about half of her fingertip off. I flipped out, we both cried, and Landon had to wrap Britton's finger in a Mickey Mouse band-aid. The good news: Britton was fine after about three minutes. I, on the other hand, was still crying three hours later (see item number 1).
  6. At the end of the day, you'll still wish you had more time with your baby. I chose to be a work-at-home mom, so I see Britton every waking second of every day. You'd think I would get tired of her--but there are times when she is asleep that I want to wake her back up just so I can hang out with her more. Don't worry: I'm not that much of an idiot to wake a sleeping baby!
  7. Time takes on new meaning. Your days will go by so fast, yet so slowly. In some ways, it feels as if Britton has been here forever, but at the same time, I can't believe that the time since June has gone by so quickly. 
I guess I'm doing something right because Little Miss Britton has been growing like a weed and is into something new everyday! I can't wait to see what lessons I'll learn in the next five months....

Also, I'm glad to be back into blogging! Taking care of Britton while simultaneously juggling several freelance writing gigs hasn't been the easiest thing, but I'm getting sooo much better with multi-tasking. :)