Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dear Crew

"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about." -Angela Schwindt

Dear Crew,
You are truly the greatest gift God has ever given me. You have also given me the greatest gift; the gift of being a mommy. Not just any mommy, your Mommy. I have waited my whole life to be a Mommy. Thank you for this precious gift. Our journey together has taught me more about who I am and what I want to be and what I am capable of doing than I ever dreamed possible. God has been so good to me. Blessed is simply an understatement.
I found out I would be having you on Valentines Day. Daddy and I were so happy! We dreamed about what you would look like. What your personality would be. Would you be laid back, but a perfectionist like your Daddy? Would you be goofy and accident prone like me? Would you be a boy or a girl? Then one day I heard your heartbeat. It changed my life. On May 30th, 2012 I found out you were a BOY! I was so happy! I always dreamed of having a little boy. Daddy and I were thrilled! Of course, you wouldn't sit still for your ultrasound. You were so active that the ultrasound technician asked me to get up and walk around to see if you would settle down long enough to finish. But you didn't! I had to come back on another day to finish the rest of the ultrasound! That day I knew for sure that you were going to take after Mommy's side of the family! We can never sit still and our feet are constantly going. You have never stopped kicking your little feet! Even strangers comment to me on how "his feet never stop moving!" We decided that day we were going to name you Crew James. I loved the name Crew and James came from your Grandpap Kline.You have grown into your name perfectly. You even look just like Grandpap too so James was very fitting for your middle name!

Before you were born I was so nervous about being a Mommy. I had no idea what to expect! I remember thinking to myself every time I would feel you move that you were a beautiful baby
boy who was so sweet and innocent and I couldn't imagine you ever being anything BUT that. Evey encounter I ever had with a baby was screaming and demanding and impatient! But I knew in my heart that you were going to be a sweet boy just like I had envisioned.

Image by Truly Blessed Photography

You were in no hurry to meet me! But I couldn't wait another day to meet you! Your calm, laid back, no fuss attitude was already coming through! You had to be helped along because you were
so comfy and cozy in there. When you were finally born I expected to hear a screaming baby. But I only heard two little cries. Your cry was the cutest thing I had ever heard and the most
beautiful sound. After those two cries you stopped. I kept shouting over to the nurses, "Is he okay?! Is he okay?" The nurses reassured me that you were just fine. I thought there must have
been something wrong with you. You had been thrust into this brand new, cold, bright, sterile world with loud noises and metal objects and you just laid there looking around with big
eyes. I was so happy that you were healthy! Speaking of healthy, you weighed 9 pounds 2 ounces!  The doctor thought there was a msitake when they weighed you, but the scale was right! You were so big and strong already!

You were so alert! I kept trying to catch glimpses of you. I was so very tired, but I just wanted to see you! You were so beautiful. Handsome is the word you would probably prefer. Handsome like your Daddy.You had almond shaped eyes.Those eyes were the most breathtaking thing I have ever seen! They were a grayish green-blue color, like nothing I have ever seen. Your skin was so tan and perfect! You had a little button nose(which I recognized from your ultrasound picture). You had a perfect little chin and chubby cheeks. You were absolutely exquisite. I watched your Daddy look at you and snap pictures. He was such a proud Dad. The nurse gave him your hand and you wrapped your little hand around his finger and wouldn't let go. I fell in love with your Daddy for the second time that day. Never, ever forget how much he loves you, Crew. He would do anything for you. He has changed your diapers, fed you, burped you, tickled you, bathed you, played with you for hours on end and loved you unconditionally. He would go to the ends of the earth for you. You are so blessed to have him as your Daddy and never forget how much he loves you.

The first time I held you I couldn't believe you were all mine! You stared right into my eyes. I never knew such an unconditional love before. My needs disappeared and all that mattered was you. You taught me the true meaning of love. Pure, honest, selfless love.

Your Daddy used to swaddle you like a little burrito. You thought it was a game to get see how fast you could break out of your swaddle. We called you "Houdini". Daddy was an expert swaddler! I could never get you as tight as he did!

Image by Truly Blessed Photography

You made being a mommy very easy. Some people have still not even heard you cry and you are almost seven months old! It takes a lot to rattle you. I can tell you already have a tender heart. When you hear other babies cry, it makes you cry! When everyone around you is happy, you are happy. You have never once cried when you needed to be changed. You have never once cried in the bath tub either, not even when your were teeny tiny. You have always loved playing and splashing in the tub! It is your favorite part of the day besides meal time.

You have always been such a good sleeper. You LOVE your sleep! You have slept 8-12 hours a night since you were 12 weeks old and you take two long naps every day. I love my sleep too! Thank you Crew for letting me rest. You have always loved your crib. You have slept there every single night since you were born. You love the mobile your Daddy made you. You giggle and laugh at it every night when it is time for bed. Every morning you wake up at 9:00. You talk and laugh and play in your crib until I come in to see you. As soon as you see the light come on you get so excited and start looking for me. You give me the BIGGEST smile and kick your legs as hard as you can when you see my face! You make me feel so special.

You love to play with your doggies. You get so excited when they come into your room. They all love you and act as if you have been here all along. They are your best buds.

Lately I have been having a hard time with you growing up. I spend every second with you, but it never seems like enough. I wish I could just pause time right now. You are six months old and you are so much fun! You love to play, but you are still dependent on me for all of your needs. I get this heavy feeling in my heart when I think about you growing up. I am so blessed to be able watch you grow, but I know I will blink and you won't be a baby anymore. I keep telling Daddy," I am just not ready for this." He knows exactly what I am talking about every time I say it and he just laughs. I am just not ready for you to grow up yet. I know, it sounds so dramatic because you are only six months old. But time is going so fast and you will only be a baby once and I want to cherish every moment. I know you will only be small enough to hold in my arms for a very short time in your life and I am just not ready to give that up. 

Image by Truly Blessed Photography

Every day you give me the most precious gift. You give me the best of you. You are never worried about bills or dishes or laundry. You invite me to forget all those worries and kiss your cheeks and tickle your feet and allow your laughter to carry all my cares away. Silly things that used to bother me like the garden that needs weeded or the countertops that need replaced seem so trivial now. My hair is always in a pony tail and I am usually wearing Daddy's sweats and your sweet potatoes and my glasses, but you never seem to mind or even notice. You love me all the same. You never judge anyone by their appearance. You greet everyone with a smile. How much better would this world be if we were all like you, Crew? Kind and sweet and innocent and never casting judgement on others?

I pray you stay the way you are now, Crew. Don't ever lose your sweetness. You have changed my world with your smile and I know you can change the world with just your smile. You have the most patience I have ever witnessed in an individual. You sadly did not get this from me (or your Daddy) but I know beyond a doubt that God gave you this patience to teach me how to be more patient, more forgiving, more accomodating to others. God is so amazing, Crew. He could have easily given me an impatient demanding baby to teach me the hard way on how to be patient. But He knew the best way for me to learn patience was by watching you every day. To learn from a precious, sweet, patient, long-suffering little boy was far more humbling for me than a screaming squawking baby who taught me the hard way. You have been the most amazing teacher. You lead me by example. Thank you Crew, for being so patient with me.You have made being a Mommy a pure joy. I do not deserve the gift of being your Mommy, but I am humbled and blessed beyond words to have been chosen for this amazing role. I do not take this role lightly. You have given me the gift of knowing what true selfless love is. You have changed the person that I see in the mirror into someone I do not recognize. Underneath the messy hair, ten extra pounds, and stretch marks is a woman who no longer worries about herself or her needs. I may look rough to others, but I am more beatiful than ever to me. You have made me more kind and caring and loving and selfless than I ever dreamed possible and that is true beauty. I had so many plans for what I wanted to teach you in life and you definitely taught me what life is all about. Thank you for being my son and my inspiration. You have filled my heart with so much love. I love you always and forever, Crew.

     "And she loved a little boy very, very much- even more than she loved herself."- The Giving Tree

Image by Truly Blessed Photography


Thursday, May 2, 2013

What to Expect When You're Expecting

Since I am notorious for my "keeping it real" blogs, I have decided to write very honestly and candidly about my journey to Mommyhood.

I am sure many of you have read the book "What to Expect When You are Expecting" or laughed out loud at the hilarity of the movie of the same name. I watched the movie when I was 3 months pregnant with Crew.As my husband and I sat in that theatre, I couldn't help but relate to many of the scenarios each of the women portrayed. I laughed at the woman with an ovulation alarm on her phone and celebrated with her when she jumped in the pool to show her husband the positive pregnancy test.I cried with the young woman who suffered a miscarriage.Having suffered two miscarriages myself it brought back a raw pain in my heart. It also brought those nagging fears that I dealt with on a daily basis. "Is there something wrong with me?" Did I do something wrong?" "What will make this pregnancy different?" "Will I ever be in the safe zone?"

As the months went on, the doctor reassured me that he did not see any reason why I could not carry this baby safely to full term.Women who have not had a miscarriage assume that they will hear the heartbeat at every appointment. I went to every appointment assuming there wouldn't be one and praying for the best. I couldn't wait for the day that I could feel my baby move so that I didn't have to wait for my next appointment to hear a heartbeat.

As I progressed through my pregnancy I began to really relate to many of the "what to expect" moments. I thought it was hysterical when someone would tell me "your're glowing." All I could think to myself is "I'm sweating like a pig. I can't see my feet.  It is summer and I am hot and bothered.My legs are rubbing together when I walk and I just want a gallon of Breyer's ice cream."

The other phrase I heard on a daily basis was,"you're all baby."Crew was 9 pounds 2 ounces at birth, so any other body part paled in comparison to my extremely large belly.With a belly that enormous it helped to distract from my ever growing thighs, butt,arms, face, calves, ankles, fingers, wrists, toes. But I most definitely knew that I was not ALL baby.

Image by Truly Blessed Photography

This brings me to another one of my "only me" stories. Most women when they are 6 months pregnant are in that perfect pregnancy stage. They aren't too big yet, but they have that cute little bump. Everyone except me. When I was 6 months pregnant I was already the size of a hot air balloon. We went on a family vacation in July with Daniel's family to the BEACH! Lucky me. It was 105 degrees that week in North Carolina. I'm always hot even when I'm not pregnant. That week was the worst torture I have ever endured.

We stayed in a beach front house. I was very content watching everyone else in their skinny beach bodies from the couch in the house in air conditioning.I literally froze everyone out of the house that week. I would turn the theromostat down to 50 degrees and everyone would walk around in sweatshirts.I kept catching my father in law turning up the theromostat and when he would leave the room I would sneak over and turn it back down.I did attempt to go on the beach one day and my belly got burnt because I refused to give up my bikini just because I was pregnant. I think my belly was the closest thing to the sun that day which explains my horrible sunburn.

 One day while everyone else was enjoying the beach and I was sitting in the house,my brother in law and his wife came into the house. We were sitting there and all of a sudden I heard my sister in law say, "I wonder if that girl is going to talk to the guys." I looked down and there was my husband and his brothers sitting on the beach. Some skinny minnie who was walking by them decided to strike up a conversation with them. I grabbed the binoculars and ran out on the balcony.As I stood there on the balcony looking through the binoculars with my big belly,  Daniel's brother pointed up to the house and the girl looked up. I was caught red handed!

She walked away and I was so upset that I started running down the steps towards Daniel. He saw me running and he knew that me running in this heat meant there must be an emergency! He ran up to meet me halfway and asked me what was wrong. I put my hand on my hip and said, "Who's your little friend?"(and yes, I pronounced friend exactly like on Scarface)  Daniel looked so confused. I then demanded to know who his "little friend" was when it registered to him who I was referring to. It was just some girl asking his brothers a question. Yes, I overreacted. But can you blame me? Here I am, waddling over the sand dunes all hot and bothered and definitely not feeling the least bit attractive. I waddled back over the sand dunes and up the steps and into the house. I was so hot and flustered. My brother in law and his wife just sat there laughing at me as I turned down the thermostat(again) and settled back down on the couch. That was my only insecure meltdown over the 9 months. I learned my lesson. Next family vacation if I'm pregnant...we are going to ALASKA!

 I was so glad that I had read "What to Expect" because it prepared me for the numerous bloody noses, swollen ankles,cravings,mood swings,cravings,dizzy spells, late night potty breaks, cravings...did I mention CRAVINGS?! I think on average I consumed a box of Trix a day.The big box. I went through about a gallon of milk every 3 days and 1 jar of peanut butter a week.I ate WELL.

I was due on Wednesday October 24th. I went to see my doctor a few weeks prior and he was afraid Crew was going to be a big boy. I really thought I looked normal. I mean, doesn't every woman look like a house when she's pregnant? Apparently he didn't think so. He told me, "You look like a cartoon character and I know you can't see it, but your shirt isn't even covering your belly right now." Ouch. So he ordered an ultrasound. The ultrasound predicted Crew would weigh about 8 and a half pounds. My doctor scheduled my induction for Thursday October 25th. I am so glad that I never read the last chapter of "What to Expect." That chapter is NOT for the weak at heart!

The night before my induction I was so nervous! Daniel and I didn't sleep a wink. I was so worried that something would go wrong. I felt like I had made it this far and I just wanted to see my baby boy and know that he was healthy and safe. I had so many things running through my head. "Would I be a good mom?" "What if Crew is a fussy baby?" "What if he isn't cute?"  "What if I have post partum depression?" "I have no idea what I'm doing!" "What if something goes wrong during delivery?" I was also quite worried that I would be one of those rare statistics of women that die during childbirth. We went to the hospital at 6 in the morning to be induced.I was so ready to meet Crew!

 Eight hours of labor, 3 vaccum attempts,3 hours of pushing, a catheter, and 8 hours of labor later... I met Crew! He weighed 9 pounds 2 ounces
and was 21 and 3/4 inches long. He was HEALTHY and perfect!


All that I know is that there is not one book that could have ever prepared me for the love that I instantly felt when I saw his face. I read every book that there was on parenting, babies, pregnancy; but, I never expected to fall so completely in love with that little boy. He made every insecure and uncomfortable moment worth it.He made those 8 hours of labor worth it. He made the back pain,swollen ankles, and stretch marks worth it. He made every single thing worth it. He is my miracle. He is not what I expected. He is so much more.

Image by Truly Blessed Photography

Image by Truly Blessed Photography