Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Two Months Postpartum

Autumn is almost two months old. So far, it has been much easier than I was expecting. She's such a happy, content baby. Until a week or two ago, she was sleeping close to 23 hours a day, and its only in the last few days that she's had periods where she is awake more and fussy. I'm still learning what she needs when she cries and haven't yet learned to tell the difference between when she is bored, overstimulated, or tired. 

I imagined myself sleep-deprived and frazzled, with barely enough time to return texts or emails, let alone shower. Instead, I have had a lot of time on my hands, which I'm not used to. Nathan took two weeks of paternity leave and then went back to work for two weeks until his summer break started at the end of June. While he was working I felt a little lonely and...dare I say, bored. 

Now that he's off for summer it's better because I have company, but still an adjustment. We have been watching her in shifts. He stays up with her until 5 am, and I go to bed around midnight. This allows me almost 7 hours of sleep. Plus, then I go back to sleep after I feed her, and finally get out of bed around 10am. Now, before you start feeling bad for Nathan, I will say that it is less of a sacrifice than it sounds. He loves staying up late during summer anyway, and is able to play his PS4 while she sleeps for 3-4 hours at a stretch. He plays Call of Duty while on baby duty. Of course I'm grateful nonetheless, six or seven hours of uninterrupted sleep is something most new Moms only dream of.

Still, my pace of life has slowed considerably. I've gone from working, socializing and trying to find time to work out to just staying home almost all the time. Not being allowed to work out those first six weeks was incredibly tough. When you keep yourself really busy, there's a lot you don't have time for. Mainly, thinking too much. 

In these quiet moments of reflection as a new Mom, I'm missing my Mom more than ever. This is something I didn't really deal with during all the build up and excitement that comes with pregnancy. There's so much I wish I could ask her. So much that I wish I could share with her. Although I'm thankful for this parenting interview I did with her after my first failed IVF embryo transfer, I've thought of a thousand questions since then. Why didn't I make it longer and ask her more? 

And then there's the guilt. I know we did a lot to make the most of the 14 months she lived after her diagnosis, but every day, some type of guilt creeps in. It usually strikes when I'm trying to fall asleep at night, or when I'm feeding Autumn. Learning that the cancer was likely growing for a decade prior to her diagnosis, I ask myself why I didn't have her get a scan back then and wonder if it would have helped. Yes, it would have. They always say catching it early is key. 

I know guilt is something a lot of people go through, yet knowing that doesn't change how I feel. I have a master's in counseling, but it's different when you try to apply things to yourself. I've been trying to counter it and re-frame it and still, it remains.

Thinking about Mom has also caused me to think about my own mortality more than usual, and leaving Autumn like Mom left me. How will she cope? A little silly to think about since it seems so far off, yet I do. And this naturally leads into spending a lot of time thinking about my faith, or lack thereof. I want to believe, I really do, but it does not come easy to me. Never has...I've always been a skeptic. Now, more than ever, I am motivated to believe in God and heaven so that I know Mom is somewhere and that I'll be reunited with her. 

But I still struggle to believe in something I can't see, hear or feel in a concrete way. I go to mass every week, pray, and read to try and cultivate my faith. Nathan and I have discussions, which help me because while he may not agree with all the teachings of the Catholic church, he does believe in intelligent design. It helps me to think that while an older white man sitting up in a throne judging us may not seem plausible to me right now, neither does the idea that all this beauty and life is completely random and just happened. Intelligent design really does seem to be at work. The complexity of life, even just the formation of Autumn, is pretty incredible. How can all that be just put into existence by chance? Plus, there do seem to be things that are inherently right or wrong. Moral laws that just seem to exist, not just because our society says so. How to account for this? These are concepts I've never believed before and can now buy into. I guess I have made progress, even if I'm not where I want to be.

Autumn and I leave for our first flight Thursday to spend three weeks in Oregon at his parent's home on a small lake. Nathan left today, to make the 14 hour drive with our two dogs, suitcases and baby accouterments and I already miss him. I'm thankful to have the change of scenery and company; it couldn't come at a better time. It's going to be a full house. I'm excited that his brother from DC and new wife will meet Autumn for the first time, as well as his uncle Don who is 83 years young and flying in from Pennsylvania. His twin sister, husband, and Autumn's two cousins will also be there, JP who is 2 1/2 and MK who will turn one in September. Oregon is a place we plan to return to twice a year for the rest of our lives, and I can't wait to get pictures of her around the property which someday, she will own part of.

3 comments:

  1. I am interested now more than ever in hearing how new moms are doing 1,2 & 3 months out. You certainly give me hope here! I know without a doubt my husband will be very hands on as well :) My husband lost his dad to cancer in January and it all happened really fast. A lot of the feelings you are describing sound exactly like the way he is feeling right now. I don't really know how to help other than to listen and reassure him that there was nothing else he could have done. We talk about him a lot and remember the happy times but of course that doesn't take away the guilt of wondering if he could have done something else to prolong his life. You are in my prayers for peace and healing :)

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    1. Amie, I am so sorry to hear about your father-in-law. I hate cancer, and the fact that you can be completely asymptomatic until its too late is so scary. I love it when people talk about my Mom, but no one was unless I did first, not even my husband. I had to let them know it was not only alright, but helpful. I want Autumn to know her too. She's still sleeping through the night - 9pm until 6am - then she feeds and goes back to sleep.

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  2. Love how you share the trials of your life barring your emotions as well. Beautifully written. I'm sorry about the loss of your mom. I have been thinking more lately about cherishing the moments of our lives. To be thankful for the kiss my husband gave me this morning. Or the brilliant smile my son gave me. Every day is precious and every relationship is a treasure. My journey includes raising a special needs son. Not expected to live past birth, God had other plans and he survived. Six months in the hospital and ten years later, I look back and see God's hand though it all. Sometimes I have to pinch myself and be reminded to cherish the gifts I've been given. In the busyness of life, that can be easy to miss. So, your reflections are good drawing you to appreciate your blessings and where they will take you.

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