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Pregnancy Emotions

I am an emotional person. It’s just part of who I am. I can’t hide my emotions — and many of them, for better or for worse, express themselves in the form of tears. Happy tears. Sad tears. Stressed tears. Proud tears. Scared tears. All the tears. Pregnancy only makes my emotions more … how shall I say it? … heightened.

This pregnancy — my third — has been an emotional one. I mean, honestly, so were the other two. Mr. B and I were talking the other night about how amazingly unique each one of my pregnancies has been in how I feel and what I feel.

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With Penelope Joy, there was the fresh, nervous excitement of being pregnant for the first time. Everything was new. And there was this permanent feeling of complete joy knowing that Mr. B and I were going to have a baby. Even the pregnancy symptoms — as uncomfortable as some of them were — were all so exciting. And then, feeling her move for the first time?! I still can’t forget that. And the first ultrasound? Was that really a tiny human inside of me? All of the worries were new, too. Is that pain normal, or should I call the doctor? Why hasn’t the baby moved today? What the heck is the right car seat to get?

And then, after hearing that something was wrong with our precious baby, the emotions got bigger and bolder and more real. Fear, anxiety, sadness and confusion mingled daily with hope, love and joy. Every day was a state of mixed emotions and trying to remember what face I had to put on in the morning.

After Penelope Joy died, I wasn’t sure if — or when — I’d be ready to have another baby. Mr. B and I had always talked about having two kids. But, after saying good-bye to Penelope Joy, I didn’t know if I could go through it all again: the fear, the pain, the sadness, the confusion.

Six months later, though, I was ready. Because even with all those big, dark emotions, Mr. B had helped me to remember the joy and love and hope. We chose to live in the light and the hope of another child instead of live in the darkness and fear that comes when your child dies. And just a month later, I was pregnant with our Dottie Lou.

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That pregnancy was marked with some big anxieties and some scary what-ifs. But what I remember most about that pregnancy? The giddiness that came with knowing we were going to be given the chance to have our second child. The pure joy that our rainbow baby brought with her. And the deep, deep love that becoming a mother — and getting to become a mother all over again — gave me.

Fifteen months after we gave Penelope Joy her last kisses, we greeted Dottie Lou with her first. And my heart grew 15, no 20, no 100 sizes that day.

And here I am, just two years after Dottie Lou was born, getting ready for baby No. 3 — our Baby Wink.

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I counted — I’ve been pregnant in every year for the last five years. It wasn’t how I had planned my maternal life. We were, after all, just going to have two kids. And we did, or we will. But we also didn’t, or won’t.

I think the biggest emotional influence on this pregnancy has been knowing this will be my last. I know — even without meeting him — that Baby Wink will complete our family. There’s a bittersweetness that comes with knowing every first we have with him will be the last time we get to experience it. The first time we heard his heartbeat. The first time I felt his kicks — and the first time Mr. B felt them. The first time we saw his tiny nose, and his giant feet, on the ultrasound.

While all of the same feelings are there from both of my other pregnancies — the anxiety, the fear, the joy, the hope, the love — there’s just something different when you know it’s the last. I find myself trying to savor everything, to remember every single detail, to not take one single second for granted.

We missed a lot of “firsts” with Penelope Joy, so we lived them with Dottie Lou. And, now, we go into our life with Wink knowing that many of his firsts will be our lasts. But it’s so exciting to think about all the firsts, too, our whole family will experience together. I can’t believe he’ll be here in just a couple of months.

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The End of Another Chapter

I woke up the other day and realized another milestone in Dottie’s life had passed: it had been a week since she’d nursed. How did it take me a week to realize there was no more breastfeeding? It happened so suddenly — without any of the pomp and circumstance that most milestones receive. There were no balloons. There was no confetti. There were no pictures. There was no cake! If nothing else, an occasion as momentous as this one at least deserves a slice of cheesecake.

But … there it was, an early morning wake-up without Dottie nursing as she woke the rest of the way up. To be honest, for a while it had been mostly just bedtime and wake-up nursing. I so looked forward to those quiet moments when she’d snuggle up close to me and nurse while we began or finished our day.

Breastfeeding and pumping was not easy for me. But I was determined to make it to a year breastfeeding. At a year, if she decided she was done, that’s what it would be. But, she kept wanting to nurse and as soon as the pressure to pump and provide bottles for her was removed, I relaxed and was able to enjoy it — with far fewer tears than the pump brought me.

If you’d have told me two years ago that I’d be nursing a 21-month-old, I never would have believed you. If you’d have told me that I’d be nursing a 21-month-old well into my second trimester of my next pregnancy, I would have told you you were crazy.

It’s worked for us, though. Most importantly, it’s worked for Dottie. I’ve always followed her lead. I nursed her when she was hungry, not on my schedule. And I promised we’d be done nursing only when she was done.

Feeding Dottie

And, so here we are again — the tears have found me once more. This time, not because breastfeeding is hard and exhausting and I don’t know if I can do it anymore. This time, it’s because I miss it. I miss that special part of my relationship with Dottie. I’m sad that that part of our story is over. Mostly, I’m sad that I don’t even remember it ending.

Don’t get me wrong, I know the bond we created while breastfeeding isn’t just going to go away because Dottie isn’t nursing anymore. And I knew, eventually, that part of our relationship had to end. It’s just another chapter in our family’s love story that will close as we move on to the next chapter.

Thankfully, Dottie is very free with her hugs and kisses, often stopping right in the middle of what she’s doing, running over to Mr. B or me and asking for “kisses, please.” Hugs are given freely, and snuggles (‘nuggles) are abundant. There is a lot of love in our little toddler. And our closeness isn’t going to end just because she’s not nursing anymore. I just wish there had been some warning. And cheesecake.

snuggles

 

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A Golden Child and Some (Irrational) Anxiety

Tonight, just as we were settling into our bedtime routine, Dottie was overtaken by fits of laughter. Serious, uncontrollable, gut-busting laughter. Brought on by the word … “seriously.” And, as laughter took over her small body, it busted out of her and right into me. There we were, snuggled into the rocking chair, unable to control our laughter. At bedtime.

Mr. B wasn’t too pleased — I could tell. But, he couldn’t be mad, either. Because … seriously … that laugh!

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Dottie is just coming to life these days. Her personality constantly has us laughing and shaking our heads. Every day is a wild, wonderful adventure with Dottie around. I laugh more now than I ever have. And I’m constantly left standing in awe at this beautiful, spirited soul who, for some reason, the universe chose to entrust to us.

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Don’t get me wrong, it’s not 100 percent laughter 100 percent of the time. I mean, there are those times that she looks at us and we just know we’re in trouble.

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But, seriously (ha! ha! ha!), I have no idea what I did to deserve this child, but I’m so glad I get to be her mom. She fills our world with so much love, laughter and joy. Every time I think I couldn’t possibly love her more, my heart grows … and grows … and grows. She is everything good this world needs — she is golden.

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I am so excited to welcome Wink to the world and introduce him/her to Dottie. She’s going to be the most amazing big sister and such a wonderful friend and confidant and role model. I couldn’t have written a better big sister for Wink.

While I know Dottie’s going to be an amazing big sister — and I can’t wait to see Mr. B with his newborn child again — if I were being completely honest, I’d tell you that there are days I worry that I’m not a good enough mom to have two kids at home (plus one who lives in my heart). I worry that I’m … simply … not … enough. How can I give as much to Wink as I’ve been able to give to Dottie? How can I give to Dottie what she’ll need while caring for a newborn?  How can I love big enough?

Now, I know that if I really spend any time at all (even a second) thinking about it, I’d have no reason to doubt what an amazing, love-filled adventure lies ahead of us. I mean, loving big — every day — is what the B family does best. Plus, when I thought I couldn’t possibly love someone as much as I loved Penelope Joy, Dottie arrived. And my heart grew with plenty of room for both of them (with even a little lot of room for a certain rescue pup).

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But knowing something and knowing something are two very different things.

I suppose this happens to all moms — all parents — when they add baby #2 or #3 or … #6 (in my parents’ case) to their families. And, please don’t get me wrong: I am beyond thrilled to have another baby and cannot wait to live this next chapter of our story. But to say there’s no anxiety would be to deny part of my experience, part of my story.

So … now that that’s out of my system, I wanted to also share that we heard baby Wink’s heartbeat last week. There were tears. And smiles. And more tears. I guess there’s not much more to say about it. (Squee!!)

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And Baby Makes … 5

In case you haven’t heard — or read — by now, our family has some exciting news to share:

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Dottie’s going to be a big sister!

I have so much to say about our family’s big news. But, as usual, I’m not sure where to start. Maybe the “beginning” …

Pretty much since Mr. B and I started talking online, we talked about our hopes and dreams for the future. And one of our shared dreams was that we both, one day, wanted two children.

Fast forward just shy of two years from the day Mr. B and I first talked, and our first baby was born. You, likely, know the rest of that story. Then, our rainbow baby was born.

As you can tell if you follow me on Instagram — or anywhere else, really — we’ve spent the last 18 months really, really living our life and enjoying every second with Dottie. She’s a spunky girl with a lot of attitude, and I couldn’t love her more.

But, Mr. B and I both started to feel a little longing for another baby. We talked about what it would mean for Dottie to have a living sibling to be by her side through life. I have five of them, and I’m a better person for each of them. I couldn’t imagine denying Dottie that.

But, for me, it was confusing. I mean, we had our two kids. But, we also didn’t.  Needless to say, it took me a while (and a lot of tears) to really say “yes, let’s do it, let’s have another baby.”

When we decided to go for it, we decided we’d take it a little easier and let the universe decide for us what was going to happen. (Was I anxious/eager every time my period was supposed to start? Heck yes. Did Mr. B have to calm me down from the lure of over-tracking everything? Yes. But overall, it was much more … relaxed … this time around.)

And, it happened.

Let me tell you, I had big plans about how I’d surprise Mr. B when the second pink line appeared. But, in reality, I told him exactly — I mean, exactly — the same way I told him the other two times: “Hey! Put your glasses on and get in here and look at this. Do you see that line? Is it there?!!!”

We kept it to ourselves for all of, maybe, 24 hours. We each had permission to tell one person. And then we told a couple more. And then … well … within one week after we found out, we had told everyone.

I was only five weeks along when we went public-public with the announcement. Is that early? Yup. Am I scared something could happen and I’ll have to make another, less joyful, public announcement? Darn right I am.

Trust me, I didn’t miss any of the shocked noises or big eyes or glances full of judgment when we told people I’m not due until early April. I get it. It’s early — very, very early. But, since Penelope, Mr. B and I decided that no matter what happened, we would share our pregnancies early — that is, if we were blessed enough to have any more. We had learned that we can’t go through this alone. We need our village around us — for happy things and sad things.

We want you to share our joy with us; we want you to celebrate at our side. But, we also need you to be there for us if anything were ever to go wrong. Because that’s how life is — it’s up and down and, sometimes, inside out. It doesn’t only take a village to raise a child — it takes a village to be a human. And you are our village.

So, yes, I’m just now going on six weeks along. And it’s still very early. A lot could happen. But, this is our story — and this is how we choose to tell it. We’re just happy to have so many people around us holding us up in hope and light and prayer.

 

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The Name Game

When we tell someone what Dorothy’s name is, nine out of 10 times the response is:

Wow! I love it! You don’t hear that name much anymore.

And that is immediately followed by:

Is that a family name?

It’s not a family name, though. It’s a name Mr. B and I just loved. It had risen to the top of our name list several weeks before Dorothy was born. There were a lot of reasons we liked it:

  • It is a classic name that is only unique because people have sort of stopped using it. We knew our baby would be special — heck, she already was — and wanted a name that six other kids in her class wouldn’t have. But, we weren’t prepared to make one up or name her after an inanimate object.
  • It has Greek origins. (The Greek version from which it came, Dorothea, means gift from God.) We aren’t Greek — well, maybe there’s some Greek in there somewhere … — but Penelope’s name is Greek. And I like that there’s something that will forever tie our girls together even though they’ll never meet.
  • It’s meaning: gift from God. Because that is absolutely how we feel about Dorothy.
  • It immediately brings to mind Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” — who went somewhere over the rainbow. And our Dorothy is our rainbow baby.

But, all of these reasons aside, we didn’t choose this name for Dorothy until we met her. We had a list of a dozen or so name that were all in the running. Some of them were left on our list from when we named Penelope Joy. Some of them were recent additions. All were great names and would have made any baby happy. But, the second we saw Dorothy, we knew she would be our Dottie Lou.*

Happy Dottie

A picture for no other reason than I needed a smile.

*We originally discussed Jane as a middle name, after Dorothy’s Aunt Bud. But something about Louise really stuck with us. And it sounds so lovely when we call her Dottie Lou.

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A Dottie Lou Update

As you’ve probably guessed by my complete and total absence from here, I’ve been very busy enjoying every possible second I can with our Dottie Lou.

Spending time with Dottie Lou

Spending time with Dottie Lou

It’s so hard to believe that she’s already nine weeks old! And every single day of those nine weeks has found me more and more in love with her. I love watching her personality develop. She loves to “goo” and “coo” at Mr. B and me, and nothing makes her smile more than when we sing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” or sing and sign the ABCs. She absolutely loves story time and bath time, but she hates when I clean out her boogies.

What’s even more fun? Dottie and Piper get along swimmingly. In fact, Piper is pretty sure that the human puppy is her own.

When you're the best of friends ...

When you’re the best of friends …

One of my very favorite times of day is about 15 minutes before my morning alarm goes off, when Dorothy just starts to stir. I reach over the co-sleeper, pull her close, wrap my arms around her and give her a Dottie-sized bear hug. She instantly starts snuggling into me and goes back to sleep while I wish for just a little more time when it’s just the two of us.

I’m back at work full time now — have been for a few weeks. I won’t say it’s been easy. But, it’s going pretty well so far. During the day, Dottie gets to go play with her friends — all of whom are so sweet with her. She’s learning all about sharing — from pacifiers to Ninja Turtles. While I miss Dottie during the day, she’s only about 15 minutes away so I can nurse her on my lunch break (and stock up on smooches to get me through the afternoon).

I am absolutely loving “momming” Dottie Lou. She is so special, and I can’t believe I was chosen to be her mom. Not a day goes by that I don’t look at Mr. B and ask: “Is this real? Is she really ours?” I mean, I seriously expect to wake up one day and have someone tell me it was all a dream — because I’m just that happy.

So I don’t take one second for granted — even the seconds when I’m crying on the phone to Mr. B on my drive home from work because I’m really scared that I can’t do it all … because I feel like I’m not the mom Dottie deserves or the wife Mr. B deserves or the employee my boss deserves or the friend my friends deserve. There are a lot of balls in the air. And when one looks like one is coming close to falling, it’s hard. Some days it really feels like I can’t get anything right. But, I get to come home to Dottie Lou’s smiling face. And I am reminded what “getting it right” really means.

Dottie Lou

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Introducing Dorothy Louise

In the whirlwind that has been the last two weeks, I’ve not been able to take the time to introduce you to our Dorothy Louise:

Dreams that you dare to dream

Dorothy entered the world at 10:16 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 31. She was a very healthy 9 pounds 2 ounces and 21 inches long. And she stole our hearts from the second we heard her first cries — which came very, very loudly the second she was born. It was, quite honestly, music to our ears.

And, since I’ve missed sharing photos with you for a full two weeks, here are some of my favorites.

Newborn photos

Dorothy Louise

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