Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hugs and Kisses and Cuddles

Forgive me, dear faithful and few readers (by whom I mean my wonderful sister Steffi who has been pestering me for months to write a new entry ;)) for neglecting this blog for going on 4 months now. I guess life got away from me a little bit. It has definitely been a busy few months!

I have a lot of thoughts on my mind these days and I will hopefully be back to talk about more of them. But tonight, I'm thinking about hugs.

Zeke is a born cuddle bunny. As a newborn fresh from the womb, he would eagerly drink up every drop of affection and cuddles he was offered like a thirsty sponge. He had a way of laying his head on your chest or shoulder and just melting into you, conforming his body to your curves. Everyone who held him commented on how snuggly he was. I couldn't get enough of it; we just about grew roots into the couch as we spent days on end with him curled up on my chest, I listening to his tiny squeaks and grunts and kissing his peach fuzzy head again and again, breathing in his sweet, fresh scent.

For a few months, it was as if he forgot a little bit how to cuddle while awake. He was mobile, and so very curious, that even though he wanted to be in arms, all he wanted to do from his perch was peer out and reach for the world around him. Yet still, the only place he would sleep was on my chest or nestled into my side, so I spent hours worth of nap times every day growing more roots into the couch, rubbing my lips on his soft hair and feeling my hand rise on his back with each breath. I half wished he would sleep on his own so I could get a few things done or even just have two hands for typing, and yet half rejoiced that he wouldn't because it meant I had that much more time to feel his heart beating next to mine and his little body completely relaxed and surrendered with my breast as his pillow.

And I am loving, completely loving the place we are in now. At just shy of a year, he now understands what a "hug" is. He sleeps alone for naps, and even prefers to sleep in his own bed next to ours at night now, though he does occasionally crawl over for a cuddle in the early morning. He is a busy busy almost-toddler, hungrily testing and exploring his world. But, between explorings, he comes to me and wants to check in. He reaches his little arms out for mine, then wraps them tightly around my neck as he lays his cheek against me and sighs. He gives pats on my shoulder or back when he hugs me. Sometimes, if I'm lucky, I also get a sloppy, open-mouthed kiss, usually on my nose, or maybe my chin. And tonight, oh, tonight, after we laid down in the dark and nursed before bedtime, he crawled onto my chest, nuzzled his head into my shoulder and wrapped his arms around me, and just rested there for a bit- then sighed happily saying, "Ahh, mum-mum! Ayaya!" and cuddled some more. I thought surely this time my heart would burst from holding too much love. What did I do right to receive the sweetest boy on earth as my son?

I think, what I love most about this stage, is that it's so clear for the first time that he is choosing to show love and affection. He hugs and kisses and cuddles because he wants to. There is unmistakeable intention behind his demonstrations of attachment. Oh, how good it feels to have poured my heart and soul and all my energy into loving this little person, and now begin to receive back his intense affection in such a clear way. To be chosen, to be wanted, to be enjoyed simply for my presence.

What a precious, irreplaceable gift. I hope to never forget that as he approaches his first birthday, my son has given me the most treasured and precious gift in the world, one that no amount of worldly resources could purchase. His love and desire for his mama.

The more I parent, the more I understand and am laid bare by the heart of my Father in Heaven...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Here's to a long and milky nursing future!

Zekie got his first tooth last week. It's coming in slowly, and only just peeking above the gum. But it's there, and it's sharp!

Many people in America have the misconception that the appearance of teeth mean it's time to begin weaning. But how can this be, when teeth can come in as early as 4 months (And rarely, even earlier!) and the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly advises exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, and with complementary solids for the first year? If an infant is weaned before then, he must be given human milk replacement, since the nutrition that breastmilk provides is absolutely essential for the first year.

Further, the AAP recommends that breastfeeding should continue for as long as is mutually desired by the mother and child beyond age one. The World Health Organization recommends at least two years of breastfeeding, and thereafter for as long as is mutually desired. Breastmilk continues to provide not only very beneficial nutrition like healthy fats, proteins, and vitamins, but also protective immune qualities. The immune system of a child under 2 is very underdeveloped, and continues to develop through childhood. While solid "adult" foods will become a larger and larger part of the child's diet until he is no longer nursing, there is no denying that breastmilk has valuable benefits well into toddlerhood and young childhood.

On a side note, I learned that the ancient Hebrew word for a child under the age of 5 essentially means "nursling". And a child under the age of 5 was almost exclusively his mother's responsibility, after which a male child would increasingly enter his father's world. So it would have been considered normal for a child to be nursing to some degree up until about age 5. And in Mongolian culture, there is a saying that a child who nurses until the age of 6 will be a strong wrestler (a very popular sport in Mongolia). Looking at physical and psychological child development, it is biologically normal and expected for a child to nurse for several years, and then gradually wean all on his own. In developing countries, it is normal for a woman's fertility to not return until a child is nursing much less often (signaling to the body that the child has been appropriately cared for and it is ready to devote its energy to a new tiny baby), and then for the child to naturally wean the rest of the way during pregnancy when the milk supply often diminishes. And, we even refer to a child's baby teeth as "milk teeth", which naturally fall out and make room for adult teeth beginning around age 5-7.

So...if getting teeth doesn't have to mean weaning, then the next question is: what about biting? Or, doesn't it hurt to nurse a child with teeth? This would seem to be a natural question, since even though a baby clamping down with his gums can be very painful, teeth can break the skin. But, even a baby can learn that there are rules and "manners" to nursing. Watch your baby's signals: biting often happens at specific times, like when baby is bored/done nursing, frustrated, teething, or playful. By addressing your baby's needs and keeping an eye out for the signals that he may bite, you can avoid a lot of biting episodes. If you start to feel him biting down, you can insert a finger in his mouth to break the suction and unlatch him. Put him down and say in a stern voice, "No biting! Biting hurts mommy!" He will learn that biting ends the nursing session, and if he wants to continue nursing, he had better use his "manners" and no bite! I have actually been doing this with Zekie, and it does seem to work quite well.

Also, since with a proper latch, the baby takes the nipple far back in the mouth to the soft palate and gently massages the breast with the gums to stimulate milk flow, any teeth simply "lay" on the breast rather than ever coming in contact with the nipple, or biting down on anything. There may be a re-learning period as new teeth come in, but a proper latch will not hurt, even with teeth.

Whether you're a nursing mother or someone who loves and supports one, you can help to inform people around you and create a culture that supports, rather than tears down, nursing mothers and especially those who are nursing toddlers and beyond.

Here's to a long and milky nursing future for us and for any other mamas (and babies) who are reading!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Very Satisfying Thing, Indeed

Some of my most treasured moments happen while nursing my son. At 7 months old, he has a few bites of solids here and there but is still 99% breastfed. And we are both loving our precious time together- 10 minutes here, 5 minutes there, and occasionally 30 minute sessions sprinkled throughout our day to connect and relax together.

Our nursing relationship started out pretty rocky. He was very sleepy the first few days and had a hard time latching, then I got extremely engorged and he had an even harder time latching. Once we cleared that hurdle, I developed an oversupply and a forceful letdown, which I didn't know I had for weeks, and every feeding became a battle. The poor thing would ask to be fed but then scream for sometimes up to 40 minutes before finally latching on, dreading the experience of drinking from a firehose. Then for the first 5 minutes of the feeding he would gag, cough, sputter, and pop on and off until the flow finally slowed. Not only that, he had some reflux problems in the early weeks (which thankfully mostly resolved at around 6 weeks, though he still spits up a lot) which meant he would scream for some time after most feedings as well. In those early weeks, feeding time was a nightmare for both of us. But we were both determined- him, to satisfy his hungry tummy, and me, to provide him with the food and comfort he deserved. I spent hours researching solutions to our problems while he slept on my tummy.

Around 8 weeks or so, we finally settled into our groove and we've been going strong since. We are old pros now; we can nurse anytime, anywhere. He can finish a meal in 3 minutes flat if he's just after satisfying his hunger. Other times he will draw it out and savor every swallow, sometimes popping off to swish a little bit of milk around his mouth as if enjoying the lingering taste before swallowing and latching back on for more. Often, especially before a nap or bedtime, he will take his time, suckling for comfort in between swallows as he drifts in and out of sleep with his arm lazily tossed across my breast. Finally, he lets go with a deep sigh as he nods off to deeper sleep.

Possibly my favorite is when he is so eager to nurse that he is practically diving for the breast before I can get it out for him, grunting and squealing at me to hurry up. Then he latches on as though it is his first hamburger after being on a desert island with no food for days. As the first drops of milk begin to flow, his eyes roll back, he lets out a deep, shuddering breath, and his whole body relaxes into me in deep pleasure and satisfaction. It is as though I have just served him the nectar of the gods!

Of course, as he enters older infant-hood, he has become very busy and easily distracted. He is SO interested in the world, at every little sound, sight, and movement. He has to turn his head and look, he has to reach out and touch. It's a delightful stage, but it also means some nursing sessions can be quite disjointed, and often he won't nurse at all if there is too much going on around him, popping off to crane his head and look every 5 seconds. (And then fusses 5 minutes after I put it all away because of course, he is still hungry!) He will kick and squirm, play with my hair, mouth, and nose, he will tug at my bra strap and try to pinch my armpit. (That last one drives me nuts!!) It makes me laugh when he pops off and curiously peers at the nipple while fiddling with it, perhaps finally connecting the visual image of it with his meal service. And I love, love, love it when he pops off just to flash me a milky grin of pure joy, cooing his delight at me before diving back in for a few more gulps before squirming off to play.

For those first couple of months, I nursed because it was the right thing to do. It was not fun or pleasurable. In fact, it was very painful. I stuck to it, knowing that even if I never enjoyed it, it was still what my child deserved, what he was designed to eat and I was designed to feed him, and I could not deprive him of that unless I literally had no other option for the sake of HIS health. But I hoped, oh, I hoped, that we could press through to where we are now.

I don't think I could have imagined how deeply satisfying it could be to share this connection. It is satisfying to know that each and every cell in his body has come from me, that God designed and equipped my body to grow an entire little human being, sharing my nutrients, energy, oxygen, and all my love to build him cell by cell, from the one cell that he started with, to the active little boy that calls out "Mom-mom!" when he needs me. Oh yes, it is very satisfying! And satisfying also, that I can see how incredibly satisfied he is in my arms and at my breast. His little baby heart knows just where he belongs, and where he can find the best nurturing and food in the world.

I've been thinking about how the word "to wean" literally means, "to be satisfied". We are a long, long ways away from weaning yet (thank goodness!), but I love the thought that after months and years of filling him up and satisfying him over and over and over again, sharing those thousands of moments of nurturing, love, and connection, there will come a day of his choosing when he has been completely filled with his beloved mama milk, and he will not need to be filled again. He will be satisfied, for good. I will have fulfilled that need of his, and he will move on to bigger adventures, knowing his mama will be a safe and comforting presence to return to until he is ready to launch for good.

*tears up*

But, my little Spider Monkey is still a very little monkey, and for now I will continue to satisfy his tummy and his heart again and again, tucking away each precious moment to be treasured long after his babyhood has passed. God, I love my son! Thank you for entrusting this precious soul to my care. Cover us both with Your peace.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Involuntary subjection to second-hand smoke

There are some things that I find frustrating about living in an apartment.

I think it has the most to do with the lack of control we have over our circumstances. We can't control our neighbor, who insists on smoking under our windows and talks loudly on her cell phone under the same windows during nap time. It took multiple appeals to get her to confine her smoking to one side of the building after explaining that we don't want our infant exposed to second-hand smoke. We didn't even mention the fact that I have asthma and my husband has a severe sensitivity to cigarette smoke! But of course she's not going to smoke inside her own apartment because her husband wouldn't like that. Better to pollute everyone else's air than face the fact that she has a disgusting habit that is compromising her health and the health of everyone around her and actually quit, right?

I'm sorry...but I'm not. There are few "bad habits" that I find so revolting as smoking. Why? Because most bad or unhealthy habits harm only yourself. You, and maybe your family, are the only ones to deal with the negative consequences of your habit. But smoking subjects everyone around you to significant health damage. And we don't always have the choice to just walk away from you. If we live above your unit, and you insist on smoking under our windows, we cannot get away from you! And I do not appreciate you rolling your eyes and arguing with me when I explain that second-hand smoke has severe health risks for infants including asthma, respiratory disease, and SIDS, among others.

Personally, I think it should only be legal to smoke if you have a house that is, say, 100 ft from the next house, where you have your own air space and will not be foisting it on others who have no choice but to share your air. It's the most basic respect you should have for your neighbors!

Ok, I guess that's really the only thing I find frustrating about being in an apartment. Well, that and the near-incompetence of our maintenance guys. But most other things, like the lack of space, I can deal with. I'm expecting that we should be in a house within the year, though. I'm sure that will come with its own issues, but at least if my neighbor is loitering under my windows, I can call the cops.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Of Rubber Duckies and Wireless Keyboards

Zeke's current favorite toy is our spare wireless keyboard. He will spend quite some time happily pecking away (well...more like banging away) at it, occasionally looking up to grin at us.

Like many babies I've heard of, it seems our child couldn't care less about many of the special baby toys, and instead prefers to play with technology and other regular household items. Along with his favorite keyboard, he also likes the wireless mouse and mousepad. Other current favorites include a rinsed out yogurt carton, a spatula, a mesh strainer, and the blue tarp underneath Daddy's easel. He's also a big fan of empty plastic bottles. When I'm working in the kitchen, I'll put him down on the floor with an empty juice bottle to play with and we're good to go for 15 minutes.

I'm glad I followed the advice of more experienced mamas and didn't spend much money on the isles of baby toys at Babies R Us. The normal stuff of life is all we need! Just hand the kid a spatula.

Curiously, he does seem to have a thing for rubber duckies, though.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The moment I fell in love

Labor and birth are such rich experiences, packed with a huge variety of thoughts and feelings. I find myself still processing it 6 months later. This is my attempt to save and savor it all, to tuck away in my heart all of its perfection and flaws, knowing I will never forget.

When I got pregnant, I started researching as much as I could about natural childbirth. I was there for both of my younger siblings' births, and my mother used to be a childbirth educator. I always had an interest in babies, birth, and breastfeeding. So I was already fairly well informed, and had a pretty good idea of what I wanted. I knew I wanted the best chance at a vaginal delivery, in a peaceful place, with care providers who respected me, and no drugs. I believed in the power of my own body; there was just never any doubt that I was designed to birth this baby. I also believed in birth as a feminine, or at least maternal rite of passage, so I wanted to be fully present and fully engaged in the process, which drugs would hinder. From there I became fully informed of the risks that various medical interventions carry. I was not afraid of interventions should they become necessary, but what I didn't want was having them forced on me to serve someone else's timeline or agenda.

So I found an awesome practice of midwives, at the only free-standing birth center in Colorado- Mountain Midwifery! I loved my prenatal care. I always had plenty of time to ask questions and I looked forward to hearing that little heartbeat every time.

The week before I went into labor, my mom came out from Michigan to help out. She helped me out with a lot of cleaning and cooking, since by then I was huge and uncomfortable and not much good for anything other than taking naps! I did everything I could to naturally encourage my body toward labor- walking, evening primrose oil, extra time in the bedroom, raspberry leaf tea. The day before I went into labor, on a whim I tried something my mother suggested, which she said was kind of a "modern old wives' tale" that she and some friends were unofficially "testing". You eat as many peanut butter cups as you can stomach!

Surprise, surprise! Early the next morning I was woken by a couple of contractions, but I fell back asleep and they went away. Later, we got up and went to church, although I just felt "off". No contractions at that point, but I felt tired and very unsocial, like I wanted to be somewhere quiet by myself. After lunch, I laid down and took a nap, and was again woken by some mildly painful contractions. This time they were coming regularly, about 7-10 minutes apart. I played World of Warcraft with Will to pass the time. When they were about 5 minutes apart and I had passed some show, I called the midwife to give her a heads up. She told us to start the drive to the birth center when they were 3-4 minutes apart. That time came during a viewing of Superman, and I had to really start breathing through the contractions. So we packed up the car and started the hour long drive up to Denver, which was an uncomfortable, but not unbearable ride.

It was about 7:30pm when we arrived. At the birth center, the midwife checked and found me to be at 3cm. I had hoped I was farther along but, the drive could have slowed down the progress. I moved around, sat on the toilet, sat on a birthing ball, and tried different positions on the bed until I was dilated enough to get into the birth pool. I was already having some back labor. Great...the one thing I was really hoping I wouldn't have to deal with. Once I was in the pool, I found it to be much too cool for my liking. In fact, I was shivering nearly the whole time and it was just too cool for me to relax. The midwife and her assistant tried adding pots full of warm water to heat it up, but it just never did get totally comfortable for me. I was so disappointed, since it was the one coping method I had really looked forward to, especially with bath labor.

Eventually though, I did start feeling the urge to push. I didn't really recognize it at first. It just felt like I had to do a #2. I spent some time pushing gently, until some time later the midwife wanted to check me. I was fully dilated, but there was a lip of cervix that just did not want to move out of the way. She also found that Zeke was still in the occiput posterior position, facing up towards my belly, which was causing all the back labor. She kept having me push while she tried to move the little bit of cervix out of the way, but it kept slipping back. After some time of this and pushing on my hands and knees, in the pool, on the toilet, and on a birth stool, we found that because of his position, Zeke was also stuck on my pubic bone. This after spending a lot of time on my sides trying to get him to turn. No dice. So there I was on my back, pushing hard, trying to use gravity to get him to slide under the pubic bone.The midwife also broke my water, trying to get his head to engage better, and found meconium in the fluid. We kept going though, since his heart rate was so good and he was moving around a lot.

After 2.5 hours of this, I was completely exhausted and discouraged. No matter how hard I pushed it seemed we made little progress. I started falling apart, saying I can't do this, I want to go to the hospital, I want and epidural. They tried to encourage me by explaining that I was so far along, there really wasn't anything more they could do at the hospital. But...I was just so exhausted. I had no energy, I was dehydrated despite trying to keep drinking water, and with constant back labor, I had no relief from pain even between contractions, which were coming so hard by this point that I couldn't NOT push. I broke down sobbing and crying "have mercy!" I just wanted it all over with. I found out later that my husband was terrified.

So...the midwife and her assistant consulted with each other, and came back and said that because Zeke was stuck and making poor progress, they agreed it would be a good decision to transfer to the hospital. They started an IV with fluids and sugars to boost my energy, and loaded me into the car (the hospital was literally 2 blocks away). It was the most uncomfortable ride of my life- I couldn't sit on my bottom so I rode on my knees. My conscious thought focused to a pinpoint, and I only remember very specific things from around that time. I remember riding backwards in a wheel chair, watching Will's feet move as he pushed me and the patter of the carpet underneath. I remember laying in the bed on my side, waiting for the anesthesiologist as each contraction washed over me and the nurse strapped monitors around my belly.

Then the doctor on call walked in. He checked to see where I was, and then said to me very seriously, "You don't have time for an epidural. His head is right there; you've got to push this baby out!" It turns out Zeke had shifted and moved further down with all the jostling on the trip over. I felt more refreshed after getting some fluids in, and mumbled "oookay..." Like I had a choice at that point!

So I was back to pushing in a variety of positions, mostly squatting. I pushed HARD to try to get this kid to move. Still, progress was slow. After some time of this, Zeke, who had been an incredible trooper the whole time, started tiring and his heart rate was dropping. We agreed to a scalp electrode to more closely monitor him. I ended up pushing on my back again, with my rear in the air to try to get him to slide under the pubic bone. His heart rate continued to drop. A sense of urgency washed over me, as if I hadn't been pushing on this kid for hours already. By this time, the head midwife of the birth center, Tracy, had come and relieved Sarah, who had been with me since I came in. The doctor strongly recommended using vacuum assistance to help speed progress since Zeke was in distress and we needed him out quickly. We all agreed it was necessary at that point, but having the suction cup attached to his head was more painful than anything up to that point.

Then I was back to pushing, with every fiber of my being. I used every last muscle I had in my body. I don't even recall a distinct feeling of the "ring of fire" I had been told about; everything in my awareness blended into one amorphous feeling of extreme pain. I remember the doctor counting and encouraging me to push harder, that I was almost there. I remember the intensely focused faces of Tracy and the assistant, who was a student nurse-midwife and an amazing encouragement. I remember my endlessly supportive husband holding my leg and my hand.

Over and over, I silently repeated to myself with each contraction, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Right about the time I thought surely I have nothing left to give, the pain suddenly disappeared. I was momentarily disoriented and confused, relieved that the pain was gone and yet somehow I couldn't remember what was supposed to come next.

Then I heard him cry. And I wanted to see him, I wanted to feel him. I wanted to make sure he was really a he! Suddenly I remembered why I had just gone through all of that.

The doctor laid him on my belly, his little limbs flailing and quickly getting pink, his mouth wide open with a loud, healthy cry for his mama. I at first didn't know what to do, and awkwardly stroked him, saying, "Mommy's here, it's ok sweet boy!"

He had a light covering of brown hair on his head, and when he stopped crying he opened his eyes and looked right at me, in such an intense way that I've never seen from a baby before. It was like he was trying to memorize every aspect of my face. There was eternity in those dark blue eyes.

It was at that moment that I fell headlong into love with my precious son, the boy I had given every bit of my strength to birth. His name, Ezekiel, even means "God strengthens." I could not stop saying, "My precious, sweet baby, I love you so much, you are so perfect!" over, and over, and over. "Mama loves you so much!"

The effort of the birth had not left me untouched. It turned out that once Zeke had finished crowning, he shot out so fast the doctor almost didn't catch him! No wait for the shoulders. In the process, I received a nice 2nd degree tear. So while the doc stitched me up, the nurses weighed, measured, and bundled tiny Zekie in the corner of the room. In hindsight, I wish I had asked them not to dress him, so I could take my hospital gown off and hold him skin-to-skin. But I was so delirious at that point, all of those details faded away. I don't even remember nursing Zeke in the delivery room, but Will swears that I did, less than an hour after delivery. I do remember that he could not figure out how to latch on well that first day, probably because of the difficult delivery.

Ezekiel Joseph was 7lb 13oz, 20.5in, born at 7:35am on his due date, 11/30/09, after 17 hours of labor, including 4.5 hours of pushing.

I commented to Tracy that I was "never doing this again." She laughed and said that I wouldn't remember it so intensely and I would change my mind. I raised an eyebrow at her and told her to check back with me in 2 years and we'd see how I felt then!

Once all the excitement calmed down, I realized I was ravenously hungry and couldn't wait to get wheeled to my room so I could order breakfast. French toast and chocolate cake never tasted so good!

Later that day my whole body started hurting all over. My skin felt like I had a severe sunburn over every inch of my body, but I found it rather satisfying. I hadn't gotten the peaceful, gentle water birth I had wanted. But I had some proof of just how hard I had worked and what I had overcome to birth my son.

Sweet little boy...Mama loves you! 6 months later, I still can hardly believe you're mine.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Zeke was conceived after I had a very early miscarriage. I was charting and knew almost right away. I tested a couple of days before I would have started my cycle, and came flying out of the bathroom to tackle Will with a squeal. We were both overjoyed, but fearful of losing this one too. With the first one, we hadn't been actively trying, just stopped "not trying" and figured God would do His thing when the time was right. When we lost that baby, we both realized how much we truly wanted a child to love. We waited a few weeks to allow my body to return to normal, then began actively trying, much to my mother's consternation.

The all-day sickness set in just before 6 weeks in and lasted until around 13-14 weeks. I have a phobia of throwing up and will do just about anything to avoid it. So I spent all my time feeling nauseous but only actually vomited a few times. I comforted myself with the thought that feeling very ill meant that there were high levels of pregnancy hormones and I was less likely to miscarry again.

We weren't able to hear his heartbeat until 12 weeks, because at 8 weeks he had been nestled so deeply in my pelvis that the doppler couldn't pick it up. I breathed a huge sigh of relief, knowing that the risk of miscarriage dropped dramatically after having heard a strong heart beat. It was also the first time it felt really real to me, that there was truly a tiny person growing inside me, his heart cheerfully beating away, happy just to be alive. I was able to open my heart and begin bonding with this tiny invader who was cheerily rearranging and redecorating my body.

I remember the first time I was able to eat a full meal without feeling sick at around 14 weeks. Will had taken me out and I desperately wanted to eat steak and a baked potato. As I took bite after delicious bite, tears rolled down my face at the joy of being able to enjoy the taste and swallow without gagging. Will laughed at my dramatic pregnant lady reaction, and with a mouthful of potato, I told him he would cry too if he hadn't been able to enjoy food for 8 weeks.

At 21 weeks I had my one and only ultrasound and found out we were having a boy! The little boy parts were obvious and my husband spotted them even before the doctor did. I would have been happy either way, but I felt even more bonded knowing that it was a boy. Within a couple of weeks, we settled on his name. I love the energy that my little boy brings to my life!

From then until I gave birth, I craved lemonade. It was the only true craving I had, except perhaps for steak. I literally drank gallons of it. And I didn't want that crappy powder stuff you mix. So I would make my own lemonade every 2 days and always had a huge pitcher of it in the fridge. I won't be surprised if lemonade turns out to be Zeke's favorite drink.

Throughout pregnancy, I did all kinds of reading and research about natural childbirth, breastfeeding, attachment parenting...I read books by Ina May Gaskin, Dr. Sears, Penny Simpkin, Sheila Kitzinger, Henci Goer and others. That started me down the semi-hippie-ish path I'm on now. And I think getting passionate about all that has genuinely helped me, but I had this sort of rosy idea that if I just did everything right, it would all go well and be pretty easy. Well, as all parents know, "easy" isn't normally a part of the parenting dictionary!

Stay tuned for my birth story!

Fuzzy little head

This morning at 7am, after once again too-little sleep, I was woken up by Zeke climbing on me and nuzzling his fuzzy little head on my face. While I would have loved to sleep for another hour or two, if I have to be woken up, this would be in my top 5 favorite ways to be woken up.

That fuzzy little head. Mothers often talk about the smell of babies' heads, and while that is wonderful, it's not the most wonderful thing to me. What I have always loved about Zekie's head is the feeling of his velvety, barely-there hair on my lips and cheeks.

When I am away from him, I can't wait to see him again and nuzzle and kiss the top of his head. When I pick him up, I kiss the fuzziest part of his head on the way to placing him on my hip. When he naps on my chest, I rub my lips against his velvety soft hairline. I just can't get enough of that fuzzy little head!

So many thoughts...

Here I am, eager to write, and I don't know where to start because I've already been a mom for 6 months and in that time, I've had so many thoughts banging around in my head and no real outlet for them. My friend Sona over at "While She Sleeps" talked about all the things moms do while baby sleeps, and it's true. Except that for a long time, Zekie would only sleep on top of me, and even still takes most of his naps laying on my chest, so I spend nap time stuck under baby on the couch, with nothing to do but think, read, and write. So, that's a lot of thoughts!

Where to start. Maybe I'll start at the beginning, and from there just write according to what the day brings to mind.

Hello, World!

I know, yet another mommy blog. I'm not sure if there will be anything awesomely interesting or unique about this one, like many of my favorite blogs. But I love that this is a way for me to think about and remember these precious days with my son. The time is flying by and I don't want to wake up one day and realize that I remember so little of this rich time. I'm not writing so much for an audience as I am for myself and my son. If you come to read, though, welcome! I hope you find something that makes you smile or think, something to expand and inform your own experience as a mother, or to pass on to a special mother in your life!