3 weeks

I haven't left the house in over a week. There is a permanent butt imprint on the corner of our sectional from the little nest I've built over the past few weeks. I'm constantly surrounded by a mound of blankets, a fort of pillows, a barrel of burp rags, every remote we own, a coffee mug, my water cup from the hospital, my laptop, a gaggle of chargers, pain medicine, my glasses case, snacks and snack wrappers, nursing pads and nursing pad wrappers, creams and potions of the nursing-pain related variety, and my phone. Which I'm usually sitting on. And a baby thrown in there somewhere.

I vascillate between being the happiest and most fulfilled I've ever been to wanting to throw myself on the floor and scream. I swear I've needed my mom more now than I did when I was Gracie's age.

I look at pictures of her birth every day, and every single time they overwhelm me. I would never want to relive labor and delivery, but I will cherish and treasure those memories forever. Just don't make me do it again.

Our internet was down Friday afternoon. I repeat: I was home with a baby without internet. I am happy to announce that we all survived.

I have no concept of time. I was talking about nursing positions to James the other day and said "I haven't tried that one in a month." And then I realized the baby was only 2 and a half weeks old. I feel like she should be three years old by now.

Steak and Shake's vanilla milkshakes have been bringing me to the yard. I never really craved ice cream while pregnant, but I can't get enough of it now. But only late at night.

My milkshake brings all the Gracies to the yard. 

(I'm so sorry for that.) 

I love learning her silly quirks. Like how she sneezes twice and gets the hiccups whenever I burp her. And she occasionally sleeps with her fists in the air.

I have no shame. I frequently walk around with half my chest hanging out of my nursing bra. I was getting ready to feed Gracie on Friday night when the pizza delivery man showed up. I started walking toward the door until I realized I wasn't, um, fully dressed. James got the door instead, and I had to dive behind the couch and hide. Yesterday afternoon I started to walk out on the front porch that way until I saw my neighbors outside and was jolted back to reality. I've lost all self-awareness.

Every now and then we have these moments that are exactly what I imagined when I was pregnant. One morning I nursed her in bed while we listened to the Avett Brothers with the windows open and the rain falling outside. I thought about how I heard them for the first time the summer of 2008 on a first date, how my mom and I listened to them together on road trips, how they got me through college and the years after, how I saw them for the first time in NYC with Kelsey and Alissa, how I danced in the mud while they played at a music festival last spring, how I missed two concerts last summer due to morning sickness, and how I'm now nursing my baby girl to them. Life, man. And there have been the times I've fed her and rocked her while James played guitar, the early morning snuggles with coffee and open windows, and introducing her to my favorite music. And then there are the nights where we're both crying hysterically and James and I pass her back and forth like a hot potato. The nights where I find my sanity at the bottom of a bowl of ice cream and put the third load of laundry in because every outfit we've worn has been covered in all kinds of things that shouldn't cover your clothes.

All I want is for someone to bring me some blasted chocolate chip cookies. Let's call them lactation cookies so I can eat them guilt-free.

I'm still reveling in the complete lack of heartburn and sciatica. Once my chest stops hurting, I'll feel like I'm living a life of luxury over here. WHAT IS LIFE WITHOUT PAIN.

So dramatic, I know. Bravo is going to cast me for the Real Housewives of Columbus.

After her first feeding every morning, I lay her against my knees and bounce her while I drink some coffee. We listen to music, I sing to her, and we watch some tv. It's my favorite part of every day. And then she falls asleep and I take a shower which always feels like a vacation. Sometimes I get lucky, and my mom watches her so I have enough time to shave my legs. So fancy!

Whenever I manage to do a load of laundry, I feel like I can take over the world. Putting the laundry away is another matter completely and please don't ask me about it.  

Seriously though. Chocolate chip cookies. Please. Somebody.

I don't have enough brain power to read, and that makes me sad. I have, however, had Gilmore Girls and The Office rotating all day long since we finished Friends. I need all things funny and mindless to keep me going. Last night, the episode were Pam goes into labor came on, and every time she had a contraction I swear I could feel them all over again.

In other news, Gracie's great-grandparents sent her some very frilly, very southern, very girly onesies. I think this one is channelling the puffy shirt from Seinfeld.

James has done so much to help me that I feel bad asking him to do me more favors, so I've had to get creative when I need a little help.

Now could one of you gently suggest he go get me donuts? Or cookies? Or both?

In case you were wondering, the pregnancy weight is just melting off.


the newborn haze

When I was pregnant, I would've said pregnancy is the hardest thing I've ever done. On some level, that's still true.

Minutes after giving birth, I looked at my mom and said labor and delivery was the hardest thing I've ever done. On some level, that's still true too.

But breastfeeding? I think it's actually the hardest thing I've ever done. And the most painful. Who knew!

6 months ago, I would've drop-kicked myself at the thought of putting the word "breastfeeding" on my blog.

Ok, don't panic! I won't go into details. We're fine, we're doing it, but it is so hard and I've cried more these past 9 days than I did in 9 months. Maybe. But she surpassed her birth weight in a week, so something is working.

We're coming out of some dark days (48 hours with only 4ish hours of sleep. Jesus take the wheel), and I'm finally over the pain hump from delivery. Let's just say the Boppy has been zero help with breastfeeding, but it has saved my life whenever I need to sit up. I have dragged that thing EVERYWHERE (ok, only the doctor's office) and I have zero shame about sitting on it in public.

Our house is littered with burp cloths and nursing pads. Friends has been on 24/7 and makes us laugh whenever we want to cry. We've been either laying on the couch or in bed with the windows open and the rain falling outside.

Whenever I'm in another room, I'm convinced I can hear her crying the same way I always think my phone is vibrating.

She's squirming and waking up even though I fed her an hour ago. I think there's a growth spurt happening because she has superglued herself to me the last few days. A moment of silence for my chest, please.

This morning, in my state of delirium, I caught myself singing It's Raining Men while nursing her. I have no idea where it came from, but I immediately switched to a rousing rendition of Jesus Loves Me as soon as I noticed. We then listened to Edelweiss on youtube and I cried over the lyrics and the fact that I used to sing it to her while I was pregnant.

Postpartum recovery is not a joke. I got so desperate I sent James to buy me some Depends the day we got home from the hospital. That's right! You heard it here first. I could do absolutely nothing for myself for the first week due to the pain, so James has had to change Gracie's diaper and then help me change mine. We've put the "for better or for worse" part of our marriage vows to the test. Thankfully, he's wonderful. Also, witch hazel. It helps so much but I'm going to have PTSD from the smell.

We bought some Honest Company diapers, and I've been more excited over the fact that her diapers have bikes on them than the fact that I'm not resigned to maternity clothes anymore.

But really! I have a waist again! I forgot what it's like. I keep putting my hands on it and marveling. I still look a little pregnant, but I've never felt more like a supermodel. And I can BEND OVER. I miss having a built-in coffee table on my midsection, but fitting into my sweatpants again is worth it.

James is going back to work tomorrow, and I'm so scared I could vomit. I'm thinking of which outfits I can put her in to distract myself. But really, HOW DO I DO ANYTHING WITH A NEWBORN?! Now I understand why showering while you have a baby is a challenge.

Uh oh, I need to go change my diaper. I mean Gracie's diaper! I mean...nevermind.


meet the baby

This is Gracie Anne. 

She was born March 29, 2015 at 3:32 am. 
She weighs 7lbs 7oz and is 21.5 inches long. 
She's completely perfect and has the most incredible head of hair. 

I have a lot to say about a lot of things, but first off I'm going to go enjoy another caffeinated latte. 


thoughts + stories

I just finished eating leftover quiche and raspberry chocolate chip muffins. In bed. These are the kinds of luxuries I am currently affording myself. Don't tell James.

I bought some white sheets with black plus signs on them at Target last week, after months of agonizing over new sheets. Then I saw 4 Instagrams this morning of people with the same sheets. Dang it, Target.

Speaking of Target, I went yesterday to grab a few things. They've had these extremely overpriced plastic bins that would've been perfect to put on the shelves in the changing table, but every time I talked myself out of it. I finally decided to just go buy the darn things, and when I got there they were gone. GONE. After much scouting, I found two smashed behind some woven baskets, and I snagged them. The cashier asked me when I was due, and I said "yesterday!" She said she knew it had to be soon, because I had "quite the waddle." I rolled with it and didn't tell her that my waddle was exaggerated due to the fact that I didn't wear leggings under my dress for once since my incubator settings are cranked up high, and my thighs were chafing. I walked out preserving a little dignity until I realized I forgot to buy mascara for the 3rd time. I told James that story, and he said "but you really do have quite the waddle." It's true.

I love the look and idea of linen napkins, but I don't understand why people use them. They get dirty! And stained! More laundry! They would stress me out. Clearly I am not an environmentalist. I'll be over here with my roll of paper towels and destroying the earth or whatever.

I accidentally watched about 30 minutes of golf with James last weekend. One of the players was walking around the green like it ain't no thang, and all I could do was look at James and say "how is he walking like it's not hard? Why isn't he out of breath? He doesn't look like his back is breaking? Is that what it's like to not be pregnant?!?" And the thing is, I was serious. I'm unaware of a different life than one that isn't dominated by top-heaviness. You mean people can actually bend over without falling and/or crying?

Ever since I sort of got my taste for coffee back, I've been ordering lattes. A good latte will send me through the roof with joy these days. I usually order a decaf, except for after my OB appointments, because I need to reward myself for surviving those. Anyway, decaf? I feel like such a poser. Like, who am I and what have I done with myself? I feel like I'm pretending to be someone else when I order decaf. There's a little thrill involved, like I'm using a fake ID. NOT THAT I'VE EVER DONE THAT I SWEAR I HAVEN'T. But I imagine it feels like ordering decaf, which was previously against my religion. Scandalous!

Every time I think I have our townhouse just the way I want it, I get another idea. It's driving me insane. We have this big blank wall in the kitchen and a lack of cabinets, so now I'm obsessed with the idea of channeling Julia Child and putting up a pegboard for my pots and pans. I'm convinced it would make me a better cook. I might even develop a french accent. I bet it would get me a book deal. The possibilities! Clearly it is in my best interest. I've been randomly sending James pictures and tutorials all week in hopes that he'll make it happen for me. But without me asking, because he already has been doing everything for me lately. Don't you wish you were married to me? Don't answer that.

I'm going to go make some more tea and clean. And by clean I mean read. And by read, I mean maybe take a nap. You get it. 


march 25th


This is a big deal. I mean, I guess it is? It is. I've been praying since day 1 that I would make it to my due date. Once I got settled into the second trimester and got over the miscarriage fear, I started worrying about pre-term labor. It happens all the time! To so many people! As a first time mom, I knew the odds were on my side, but you never know. I prayed day and night that my little peanut would stay where she belongs until her due date. I know she could've come earlier and been just fine, but I wanted her in there as long as possible to have the best chance at a good start. Thank you, thank you Jesus. And also, let's be honest, I wanted her to stay in there because I'm freaking out. No matter what happens, I'm guaranteed a baby by next week. Let's not talk about it or I'll be forced to get a second bowl of ice cream. Plus I'm not sure what I'm going to do when I have to actually set my mug on the coffee table instead of resting it on my belly.

Also, I'm on maternity leave! Without a baby! I'm fulfilling a lifetime dream of being a stay at home mom without the kids. Just kidding. I want the baby, but this time to rest and relax has been everything I thought it could be. I daydreamed and salivated over this the past few weeks. Knowing I was going to have this time was the only thing that got me through work and the resulting swollen ankles. The second I walked out Friday evening, I felt my body relax. I had no idea how uptight and tense I'd been! I've been sleeping like a rock ever since, which is amazing considering I've been battling insomnia for months. My body is starting to show signs of preparing for birth, which it was just not doing until I stopped working.

I HAVE SO MUCH FREEDOM. Every night is Friday night! Every morning is like waking up to a snow day! I GOT TO TURN MY ALARM OFF GLORY HALLELUJAH. I can eat breakfast in bed! Oh! OHH!! Monday? I took a three hour nap. I'm not a napper!! But I napped for three hours. I freaking REM-cycled and everything and dreamed that I had to take a shower at my OB appointment, but I forgot my shampoo. My cat cuddled up next to me. When I woke up it was snowing, and I didn't even care because I had tea downstairs and nowhere to be. I started and stopped about 14 different shows and movies on Netflix. I stayed up late reading. An early maternity leave is one of the best choices I've ever made. I have no idea how long it will last, but for now I'm in heaven. I feel so much more rested, I'm so much less swollen, and I can't stop thinking this pregnancy would have been much more manageable if someone would've just let me take a gosh darn nap every afternoon. I am positively delightful afterwards. Or something like that.

I ate ice cream in bed last night. Out of a bright green bowl. James was next to me and we watched Friends on his iPad while I went through stacks of old pictures and picked out my favorite memories of us and strung them up with black and white twine. I thought it was Friday instead of Tuesday. I made a little makeshift desk out of a weird alcove in our master bedroom. Today, I'm hanging up twinkle lights. And going to the library, again, because burying myself under books with deadlines is apparently my idea of a good time. And I get to go see my mom in the middle of the week because I CAN. It's allowed now!

I'm sorry if I'm rubbing this in your face. I'm sorry if you're reading this from your cubicle and you want to pull my hair out. I've been there, I have. But just know I paid for this already with months of throwing up in front of God and everyone and curling up on the floor by my desk. If it makes you feel any better, I lost the blu-ray remote yesterday afternoon and couldn't pause my movie to use the bathroom every 5 minutes. I have struggles, too.

Oh, am I doing it again? I'm so sorry! Really! Truly! Don't be jealous. I promise that five minutes from now I'll probably be crying about something.

Okay. Okay! I'll be honest. It's not as easy as all that. I'm a basket case. A nervous wreck. This major life change is coming but I don't know when and where and I'm scared to be more than a few miles from the hospital. Every twinge and cramp sends a shot of adrenaline through me and I wonder IS THIS IT?!? Every night I dream about going into labor. Last night I dreamed I had to share a labor and delivery room (can you even imagine?!) with a couple who were naming their child Eric Santana.

Ok, I'll stop now. I have to go anyway. I have plans to stay up late and read.

Oops. Sorry.

(psssst. If you're in the mood for something serious and intense, I wrote a post for The Kindred Women yesterday. All about fear and anxiety, and I should probably go read what I wrote because I'm full of anxiety again.)