Monthly Archives: April 2012

Weeks 24 to 28…whoops.

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BOOM. Pregnant belly for you.

How far along I am today: 28 weeks and 1 day. I only have 11 weeks and 6 days left, give and take 2 weeks. So. I could have a baby in 9 weeks and 6 days and still be considered normal. That’s only two months away. HOLY.

Weight: 142.7 pounds…yep. That was last Monday, so I bet I weigh more now. It is just piling on! I’ve gained 21 pounds. The recommended weight gain for this stage of the pregnancy is 11 pounds. The recommended weight gain for the entire pregnancy is 25-35 pounds. I gained exactly 25 pounds with Lily, and that was me weighing myself on the day she was born. So.

What I’m taking: My regular prenatal once a day, and 4 1,000IU’s of vitamin D3. Merideth asked me to get my bloodwork done again and we’re going to check my vitamin D level to see if it’s up where it belongs. I wonder, if it is, if she’ll still recommend I take the supplements. Wouldn’t the levels fall again if I stop taking them? How can I keep them up? I drink a ton of whole milk and orange juice. Both are loaded with vitamin D. Hm.

Baby’s weight: 2.7 POUNDS (1225 grams) Like a chinese cabbage. Google it.

Baby’s length: 16.7 inches (42.4 centimeters) Imagine that just chillin’ inside of your uterus. No biggie.

How I feel physically: Well…rounder. Still fairly comfortable. The baby is pushing out on both sides of my belly now. He kicks and makes me yelp sometimes! He’s started that ‘alien baby’ thing. Instead of just kicking, now he’ll slowly drag his arm(or leg or whatever) across my belly and creep me out. It’s totally weird to see it. He’s transverse- i.e. sideways. Horizontal. He needs to be vertical! I’m not sure when he’ll turn, but hopefully soon. I’m starting to worry. I probably shouldn’t just yet.

I have stretchmarks. With Lily’s pregnancy I got a few on my hips/butt and boobs. They lightened up almost immediately. They were more like deep lines instead of stretched, shiny skin. I didn’t get any noticeable ones so I would tell people I really didn’t get any. I’ve noticed some new ones on both my boobs, along with some on my hips/butt. I’m sort of surprised that they are where they are. You’d assume they’d be where your skin is stretched the tightest, like on my belly. My hips/butt is all squishy and soft. Extra squishy skin. I don’t get it!

Still lots of acid reflux, sciatica, and fatigue. Pretty normal.

Today I got dizzy and lightheaded with a headache. I almost called Matt because I didn’t want to pass out with no one here to watch Lily. I ended up chugging some water and eating dinner. I feel better, although I’m still fairly lightheaded. I’m not dehydrated. I don’t know!

Merideth gave me a glucometer(?) to test my blood sugar. You know, those little thingys diabetics use with the poker and test strips. I can do it at home instead of having to go sit in a hospital for three hours. She’s pretty cool.

I have to stab myself when I first wake up to get a fasting reading, drink 75 grams of sugar(like a juice box), wait an hour, test again. Wait an hour. Test again. Done! Handy. It just stinks because I can’t eat for three hours that morning. Oh well! I don’t have any signs for gestational diabetes, but there really aren’t a lot of obvious signs. The ones that are obvious are more rare than anything. She never checks my pee, so it’s not like she can check for sugar every time I go in. I’m not too worried about it. I just hate stabbing my fingers!!!

I’m having Braxton Hick’s contractions on a very regular basis now. Regular as in daily- not as in regular intervals. Don’t worry. Just strong, pain-free ‘squeezes’.

How I feel mentally: Better. Matt and I are working on connecting on different levels. I need someone to take care of me, and he wasn’t really sure what I was asking of him. Things are better with us.

I had a dream last night that I was breastfeeding the new baby. I had to keep reminding myself to do it because he wasn’t crying or anything. Now that I can consciously think about the dream I know that I’m just reflecting on my experience with Lily. The baby was latching fine and everything…I just kept forgetting about him. Is that weird? To be afraid that I’m going to forget about him? It seems weird but it’s a feeling I can’t seem to shake. I feel like I might just leave him in the bedroom and go on with my day. As if he won’t cry!! Hah! Pregnancy hormones… just weird.

Preparations: I’m about halfway done with Hypnobirthing. The whole first half is boring. It talks about what you’ll learn. What hypnobirthing is all about. BORING. I just starting reading the techniques and they seem simple. They don’t really seem like something people would pay $250 to learn. Like, visualize yourself as categorized as 1-5. 5 being your head, 1 being your feet. Then completely relax your body block by block. Seems simple, right? Maybe I’m just not far enough in. One of the visualizations was really hippy-ish. Something about imagining yourself laying on a cloud. Floating through a cloud. A RAINBOW CLOUD. A color changing one. Fancy… I’ll write about how they end the book once I read it.

Other news: My mom ordered my wrap and got it in the mail! It’s gorgeous! I want to get it so badly but I can’t see us driving an hour out to her house to just pick it out.

Lily says “shit” when she means to say sit. She says “fuck” when she means to say frog. She says “cock” for clock. It’s amusing. She has no idea and we are trying to not make a big deal out of it. It’s just an issue when we’re going through Walmart and she sees a clock and starts screaming “cooooockkkkk” across the store. And when we have guests and she’s walking around going “fuck fuck fuck, pop pop fuck!” Pop is how she says hop.

Matt also decided to tell me that he doesn’t like Preston anymore. *sigh*

You know that feeling when you’re in a hot tub for too long? Like that icky dizzy feeling? That’s how I feel right now, so I’m going to get this hot laptop off of me and lay down.

Yuck. 😦

 

 

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Lily’s First Days (And Why I’m Still Heartbroken)- Part Two

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We left the hospital around noon. We got home and I lugged her and all my stuff upstairs to our bedroom…and then we just sat down. What now? Being alone with a newborn for the first time is an interesting experience. Lily was silent and content for most of the time, so I wasn’t really sure what to do with her. I put her in her crib. I put her in her swing. I held her. Hm.

This was the beginning of the hardest few days of my life. I had no idea what I was in for! Babies just sleep, eat, and poop, right?! Not Lily!

She started crying around 9PM. I tried to breastfeed her again. She wasn’t latching. I laid her in her swing by the side of my bed and tried to sleep with my finger in her mouth…I should have just put her in bed with me, but I was afraid I’d roll over and smother her! I didn’t want her crying to keep my brother awake, so I took her downstairs with me. My mother was the only one sleeping downstairs, so I figured that was a better place for us.

I sat on the couch in the dining room and tried to get her to latch. Over and over and over again. I tried different positions. I tried expressing milk into her mouth. I did everything I had read about and could think of. My mother sat with me for a few minutes and offered recommendations, then got frustrated and said she didn’t know what the problem was.

I laid Lily down in her bassinet and tried to sleep next to her, on the couch. For hours on end we did this. She’d wake up and cry. I’d try to feed her. She’d get tired of trying and fall back to sleep in my arms. I’d lay her down, and she’d cry. I started crying. I had no idea what I was doing wrong! I kept asking her why should didn’t want to eat. What could I do to help her? After hours of trying, she became inconsolable. I started walking her around, jiggling her…I was crying of course. I was exhausted. I mean, dead tired. I woke my mom up and said that I was afraid I was going to fall over with her in my arms. I honestly was afraid!

My mom, being in a sleepy stupor, took Lily from me and said, “Why did you wait so long to wake me up?! You can’t do stuff like that!” She said it in a rough sort of way. I don’t think she meant to sound like she was scolding me, but it did, and I started sobbing. She put Lily on her chest and they both fell back asleep.

I was heartbroken. I was tired. I was upset that my mother could calm Lily down in seconds and I couldn’t. I was upset that I couldn’t feed my baby. I felt like my mom was mad at me, and I couldn’t understand why.

I have wanted to be a mom since as far back as I can remember. I’ve helped for years with everyone’s children. I did a great job helping, I think. I read ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ front to back. I knew everything I thought I needed to know. So what was I doing wrong? Why was I failing as a parent? I could tell by her cries that she was hungry, and I felt like I was starving my baby. I had no bottles or formula at the house. I wanted so badly to ask my mom to take me to the store right then. I wanted to give up.

I fell asleep on the couch and woke up a few hours later. I tried to breastfeed her that morning. She latched on for a few seconds and I thought, this is it! She’s got it! Our problems are solved!! I wish it had been that easy.

We went to Lily’s pediatrician appointment that morning. He was worried about her. She had lost more than a pound, wasn’t eating, and was glowing orange. So, to the local hospital we went for bloodwork. This was terrible. They pricked her heel over and over again, trying to squeeze out enough blood to test her bilirubin levels. She was crying.

The doctor called us a few hours later and said she needed to go back to the hospital she was born in to be admitted. She needed to be under the blue lights for awhile. I cried. And cried. I called Matt and told him- neither of us had heard of anything like this before, so he thought she was dying and sort of freaked out. I had to explain it all to him in between my sobs. Sad.

Once she was readmitted, I asked to used one of the hospital’s breast pumps so she wouldn’t be fed formula. I explained that we were trying to breastfeed but hadn’t quite got it yet. I pumped there, for the first time. I remember pumping almost 8 ounces! That was more than enough to feed her while she stayed there. I was crying most of the time we were there…the poor nurse was so worried about me that she offered to let me stay the night in the postpartum wing.

Lily had to stay in a special room within the nursery, in a fancy glass tank. She was naked, with only a diaper on and a mask. Everything glowed blue. She actually liked it though- she was warm so she stretched right out and slept peacefully.

I tried to feed her once more before we left. They wrapped her in a bili-blanket so she was still under the lights. I remember laughing and calling her my little baby glow worm. I decided not to stay the night. I would have just sat alone in a postpartum room. I didn’t have any of my belongings. I couldn’t have stayed with her. I would have just sat there and cried.

I should have stayed.

A lot of people have made me feel terrible about leaving her that night.

I went home and cried. Imagine just having your baby and then leaving them with strangers like that. My heart was in pieces. This was not going to help us establish breastfeeding, but she needed to be there. I felt like my baby was sick because of something I did- because I couldn’t figure out how to properly feed her. If I had just fed her formula, this wouldn’t have happened. If I had just tried harder.

I bought a  cheap breastpump the next day after we picked her up. I didn’t plan on using it long-term because I still thought I would breastfeed. I ended up pumping 10-12 times a day for 2 1/2 months.

I wanted so badly to be able to feed her myself, without the use of equipment, but I knew that at least she was still getting my milk. I did try occasionally to breastfeed her, but not often. It seemed like it was a waste of time. She had no idea what to do. I should have tried so much harder. I should have tried on a regular basis. I should have called someone from the LLL and arranged a meeting. There are a lot of regrets.

I stopped pumping when my supply plummeted. We went to visit Matt in mid-November and I didn’t pump very much of the trip. I didn’t want to be a pain. I wanted him to have a great time while we were there, so I rarely asked to go back to the hotel to pump. And I wouldn’t pump in front of Matt’s dad or brother! I didn’t pump for 12 hours straight on the way home…I think that’s what got me. I didn’t know then that that signals your body to stop producing milk. After that trip,  I could only get a few ounces at a time, and I had to start supplementing.

Now you see why my heart is still broken. I know I failed to breastfeed. I know I could have tried harder and made a better effort. I know I could have breastfed. But thankfully time has let me understand that I did what I did because I didn’t know what else to do. I did try as hard as I could have. I forgive myself. Now I know what to do in this type of situation. Now I know where to find support. My heart still hurts, but it’s getting better.

I’m trying to stay as positive as I can. I can identify all of the mistakes that I made and what not to do for this next baby. I know I’ll have the right sort of support. I am thankful to have Merideth. She’s heard my story and knows how much this means to me. She promises we will get it this time around.

So, yes, I’m heartbroken. Lily’s first few days were far from easy. I wish so badly that I could go back in time and hug myself. I wish someone would have looked me in the eyes and told me it was okay to ask for help. I know I was offered it…but Lily is happy and healthy, and that’s all that really matters.

It’s time for me to start reading Ina May’s book. It’s time for me to start healing.

 

 

Lily’s First Days (And Why I’m Still Heartbroken)- Part One

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The inspiration for this post came from me thinking about reading Ina May Gaskin’s ‘Guide to Breastfeeding’. I thought, what if I cry through the whole thing? When I think about breastfeeding, my mind immediately turns into a jumbled sad mess. I feel panicky. I feel overwhelmed. Breastfeeding seems easy, right? You just plop a baby on your boob and they eat. Well, I guess it’s like that for some people, but not for me.

When I tell people I’m still heartbroken because I never breastfed Lily, I often get puzzled looks. Why would it bother me that much? She’s alive and doing well. She DID get breastmilk for a few months. It seems like something someone wouldn’t really dwell on. There are a lot of reasons why this still bothers me…

Lily was born on October 2nd, 2010. I’ve already posted my birth story, so I won’t go into detail, but her birth was easy. We didn’t have an complications. When I pulled her out- yes, me- I set her on my chest and started crying. I was totally overwhelmed. I remember closing my eyes and someone told me to open them and look at my new baby, who was being roughly wiped down with blankets and staring at me. She didn’t cry. She just laid there and looked at me with these giant dark eyes. The nurse tore my gown off me and pushed Lily onto my bare chest. It was all very fast…

I did not try to breastfeed her. I had her on my chest for maybe ten minutes, and then she was whisked away, as are most babies born in hospitals. My epidural was turned off so I was starting to feel a whole lot of pain. The nurse was gently kneading my belly to get my uterus to contract. At the time, I felt like she was killing me. I cried for her to stop! I had no idea where Lily was and what was happening to her. Now I know that she was only a few feet away from me on they ‘baby table’- you know, the one with the giant lights and heating lamp. I didn’t know that she was naked and being wiped down. I didn’t know that she was having tubes shoved down her throat to suction out whatever was left in her lungs. Now I know, and now I’m unhappy.

At that point in my life, I expected  some of this to happen. I thought that this is just what you do- you have a baby. They take the baby. Things happen. Everyone is okay. Well, I know better now.

This is where my guilt starts…if I had known better, if I had been better educated, if I had spoken up…

I remember her crying once in the ‘baby table’. I called out to her and she stopped and turned her head to me. I remember everyone thought that was amazing- firstly, that she stopped and looked at me, and secondly, that a newborn could turn their head like that. Aw.

After Lily and I were both taken care of, she was handed back to me for a few minutes. She was all bundled up and bug eyed. I can’t express how dark her eyes were. They still are strangely dark! Anyway, it sort of freaked me out. She was passed around from grandparent to grandparent, friend to friend. Pictures were taken. She didn’t cry. This all took almost an hour before everyone decided to leave.

Then, nothing. It was totally surreal! All of the sudden my room was nearly empty and it was silent. My mom was there, saying how exhausted she was…Lily was laying in some sort of bassinet. I was sitting up in bed in a bunch of blood soaked blankets. Yay. I asked the nurse if I could take a shower. She gave me a dirty look and said I could if I could walk. Listen lady, I feel nasty. Change my sheets or something. I didn’t even think that I couldn’t feel my legs yet. I got my mom and the nurse to let me hobble to the bathroom and get in the shower. I can’t believe they let me! I barely could stand on my own. The nurse gave me privacy and left me in the bathroom alone. I remember blood pouring down my legs as I maneuvered into the shower. I stood there in the water for a few minutes, then climbed back out. More blood. Yay.

It was around midnight now. I wanted to go to sleep, but my bed was dirty and I knew they’d want to move me to a postpartum room. Of course when I asked to be moved I got more dirty looks. What the hell. Lily was quiet this entire time. Alone.

Once we got to the new room, I remember sitting cross legged in my bed and picking her up, by myself, for the first time. I couldn’t believe that she was mine! I couldn’t believe that now I had my own baby. Like, that’s it? They just let anyone have one of these? You can just leave with one and no one thinks it’s a big deal? It didn’t make any sense to me. Not everyone knows how to take care of one of these! They just give them to you assuming you’ll be a good parent? It was overwhelming.

I did try to breastfeed her then. She was wiggling a little bit. She wasn’t crying. I tried, and she tried. She latched on for a second, then let go. She did that a few more times. A nurse told me that it was totally normal for a baby to not be hungry for the first few days.

WAIT A SECOND. At that point, I was confused but trusted her. My mom agreed with her. I had had an epidural, so I understand Lily being sleepy, but not being hungry? I didn’t think twice about it then. Now, I’ve asked multiple people since then if that makes sense. I know some babies latch on immediately after birth and will eat all day and night. Some people agree with the nurse. Some people are completely confused. Like me.

So, because the nurse and my mom weren’t concerned, I wasn’t. My mom went to sleep. I tried to. Lily slept in her bassinet for a few hours, but at 4AM, she woke up crying. I tried to breastfeed her. She wasn’t latching on. Any time I held her, she was quiet and happy. She’d doze off. And then I’d try laying her back down…Yeah, that didn’t work. She didn’t want to lay alone. I was terrified of sleeping with her on me- I’m not really sure why, but I refused to do it- so I’d hold her and then try to put her back down. Lily would sleep in her bassinet if I put my knuckle in her mouth, like a pacifier. I started falling asleep sitting up, hanging over the side of her bassinet. I knew not to give her a pacifier if I wanted to breastfeed, but at that point, I didn’t care. At 5:30AM a nurse came in and asked if I wanted them to take her. They did. They gave her a GIANT pacifier, too.

I slept until 8AM, when the nurse woke me back up. Lily was hungry, she told me.

(My mom slept this entire time, FYI.)

We tried to feed her again that morning, with no success. Everyone kept telling me to keep trying. We both needed to learn. She’ll get it. Lily wasn’t really hungry, so after awhile she’d get tired and snooze again. I’d set her in the crook of my knee and let her sleep.

I called Matt that morning to tell him that I had Lily. I had to call the American Red Cross, have them call his sergeant, and then wait for him to call me back. It was a sad phone call. He had just graduated from basic training that morning. I was sad that I had to tell him over the phone. He was sad that he missed it. We both didn’t really know what to do or what to say. Sad.

Then the visitors started streaming in. A lot of different people holding her. She’d just stare at them and hang out. We didn’t try breastfeeding again until later that night. I didn’t nap that day, so I was exhausted to say the least.

My mom fell asleep at 8PM. She had her own bed in my room.

I fell asleep once, sitting up, with Lily in the crook of my knee (I was sitting cross legged) and the nurse came in and freaked out. Co-sleeping is dangerous. What was I thinking.

Also, that night, a nurse came in at 5AM and woke me up. I wasn’t charting Lily’s wet diapers. She NEEDED to know how many wet diapers Lily had. I put her in one of the diapers we had brought with us, instead of a hospital diaper. Evidently that was a big no-no because my diapers didn’t have this fancy indicator line. How was I supposed to know if she peed if I couldn’t look at this fancy, color changing line? She yelled at me for almost 15 minutes. Lily needed to be producing enough wet diapers or she’d dehydrate. They’d have to give her an IV and keep her in the nursery.

Screw that nurse.

She didn’t offer AT ALL to help me breastfeed Lily. She wanted to give her a bottle.

That morning we tried to breastfeed a few more times. A new nurse came in and talked to us about discharging paperwork and all of the tests they had run on Lily. She was wonderful! She was so kind and offered breastfeeding support. We had to watch a lame movie on SIDS.

A doctor(not my doctor or Lily’s pediatrician) came in and discussed Lily with me. Everything was normal, but she was slightly jaundiced. They said that would clear up when she started eating more and digesting.

And then we were free to leave.

Note- There is a breastfeeding consultant that works at the hospital I gave birth in. It was a weekend, so she wasn’t there.

Another vent.

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My mind is a jumbled mess. I have a million things going on and I feel like I can’t deal with any of them!

Last night, I dreamt about Twilight, an ex-boyfriend, and teethers. Um, what?! Yeah. I dreamt about getting a piece of gum from an ex-boyfriend, then waking up in my childhood home with a dude in my room(Twilight reference) and my dad smiling down the hall. Because he ‘caught’ me. And then a blue, plastic teether. Who knows.

I’m started to get nervous about having a toddler and a newborn. Lily has entered a toddler stage that is making me crazy. I can deal with a clingy baby. I think I’m incredibly patient with children. What I can’t stand is whining. Whining is like scratching nails on a chalkboard for me. Please stop whining. Just tell me what you want. Please make up your mind. Not only is she whining, but she’s clingy and grouchy. She’ll hit Tyson when he walks by her and yell “go!” Please be nice to Tyson. She won’t let Matt hold her, or comfort her, or kiss her. Please let Dada help me. Everything that’s even a little bit frustrating turns into a full tantrum. These shoes won’t go on my feet! It’s the end of the world! Not only has all this started, but she’s starting to think everything is hers. I feel like she’d cuss at me if she could. I feel like cussing at her sometimes. It’s my effing iPhone and my effing water bottle. And my effing lap! You have your own stuff! I understand I’m supposed to teach her patience and sharing…but c’mon. That was my doughnut. That’s not very nice.

She fake cries. Enough said.

Being a parent is not always easy. I know I’ve been blessed with a normally well-behaved child. I know that I should expect hard times and even harder times than this. The truth to parenting is that it’s not always easy for anyone. No one vents on Facebook about what a crappy morning they’re having. Well, most people don’t. So, as a parent, you can easily feel isolated. Am I the only one dealing with this? Why are everyone else’s kids acting normally? The truth is that other parents are going through the same exact thing, but they don’t ever bring up the bad times in conversation. Everyone pretends their lives are awesome all the time and they hide the crappy stuff. I’m okay with this. It’s just something to remember. At least Lily isn’t biting me.

I try to vent as best I can to people I’m close to. It’s sad when you can’t tell certain people things because you know they’ll spread your business all over the place. I don’t want everyone knowing that I told Lily I was going to throw her off the bed. I don’t want to be judged on that isolated incident. (Yes, I did say that. I wrote about it on Instagram. She started pulling my hair. After an hour of kicking, slapping, elbowing, and pinching, I had reached my breaking point. See, not everyone is perfect all the time.) The point is that I’m disappointed in so many people I consider close because I know they’ll talk about me. It hurts my feelings. I should be able to trust these people, you know? It’s not fair. And they wonder why I don’t call them every day or want to spend time with them…and what? Make sure I don’t slip and tell you some personal information? Sad.

I hate talking badly about Matt. I hate venting about our relationship to others. I don’t want him to be mad at me, and I don’t think it’s fair of me to be telling people information about him. I think, if you have an issue within a relationship, then you should tell your partner about it first. Well, I’ve done that. About thirty times. And I’m tired. Our relationship is crappy. I feel lonely and disrespected. I really don’t think this is the best time in my life to be dealing with this. I’m supposed to go through the hardest experience of my life in a few months and I feel like I need as much support as possible. You would assume my husband would be a large part of that support system, right? Nope. I don’t know if I can do this on my own. I know worrying about that is a normal part of the process- am I really strong enough? Do I really want to do this? Will everything be okay? What if I start squealing like a wild boar and just get transferred? *sigh* I think, at this point, that I should have people surrounding me and reassuring me. Is it really my job to reassure myself? It just doesn’t seem right. How am I supposed to hold myself up while I’m falling down? I’ve been pretty independent my whole life, so I know I’m a strong person. I know I can do anything by myself. But I really worry about supporting myself mentally…how is a person supposed to even do that?

You shouldn’t have to ask for help. And if you do ask for help, you should get it. And if you don’t…well, that sucks.

And I’m tired. Mentally. Physically. How am I supposed to get up with Lily in the middle of the night when I have a newborn sleeping on my chest? I understand these are normal thoughts, but that doesn’t make them any less stressful.

Oh, and my mother in law is leaving. She’s going on vacation for a month. I know most people don’t like their mother-in-law’s, but I happen to like mine. Sure, she’s not perfect, but she’s good company and she cares about what I’m dealing with. I’ll miss her. I don’t adjust well to change, and this has been bothering me. I see her every week.

In other news, I got my hair cut. Finally! And I spent $80. I nearly fell over when the stylist told me my total. I bought a crapton of Biologic or something…Matrix stuff. Fancy stuff. I really doubted whether it would be worth it, but this morning, I woke up with amazing hair. I feel like it’s silk, imported from Heaven. Seriously, feel free to feel it. Never underestimate the power of good shampoo and conditioner. My hair isn’t a frizzy thick mop. Yay!

I want to eat healthier. I want to plan our meals. I want to take Lily for walks. I want to teach her more. I want keep a cleaner house and get the garden in. I want to do so much. Stupid! There’s no way I can do all that I want to. I need to lower my expectations and relax.

Preston and Forrest are the new baby names Matt likes. I like both, but don’t love both. I wish babies were born with names. Like, here’s your baby. Lemme read his name tag for you…Oh! His name is blah blah. Wonderful! Thanks.

I wish more people vented like I did. Feel free.

Also, Amanda- blog your birth stories. I have a vague overview of what happened, but I was 12 and 14, so. Please and thank you!