Thursday, February 21, 2013

Addison Grace Reich

Now that they've officially gone out in the mail, I feel like I can share the birth announcements on the blog. So I'd like to invite you, formally, to meet Addison.

This card was so much fun to create, not just because we're ridiculously proud of our precious daughter, but also because they turned out exactly as I envisioned them (and how rarely does that happen?)! Keith did all the photography. He's practically a pro, y'all. And I did the design and layout. I got the idea from Pinterest (it actually is good for more than aspirational time-wasting!). 

Getting the girl to happily balance on the books with almost no clothes on was tricky and induced a tiny bit of screaming (on her part) and anxiety (on mine), but weeventually managed to get the shot. My hand was hovering nearby just in case she slipped. Keith had to photo-shop it out (I'm telling you, he's got skills!).

Saturday, February 16, 2013

One Month

Our Addie Grace is one month old now. Once again, we can hardly believe how the time is flying! She grows and changes so fast sometimes I can hardly recognize her as the same tiny baby we brought home from the hospital. It seems like just yesterday, and yet I can barely imagine, much less remember, what we did with ourselves before her arrival.

We're settling into a somewhat predicable routine. She gives us two good blocks of uninterrupted sleep most nights, 3-4 hours at a stretch. She rarely cries and when she does it stops as soon as we fix whatever is bothering her (empty belly, full diaper, and not enough attention fixed on her are the usual suspects). She already seems to take a certain delight in life and is happy and content most of the time, adapting quickly and easily to new things, people, and experiences. She shows signs that she will be passionate and enthusiastic about things she enjoys, traits demonstrated especially by her love and gusto for eating and of course her pacifier.

She's had several outings- to the salon in Norfolk (an hour away), to Target (also an hour away), a few doctor appointments, the grocery store, the Rotary Club's annual pancake dinner, the home of a dear couple from our church who invited us for a meal, and of course several trips to the coffee shop. With each of these she's been equally content in her carseat or her stroller. She especially loved the long walk we took yesterday (the first pretty day we've had where the temperature warmed and the sun came out), keeping her eyes open and alertly surveying the world around her for the better part of an hour before settling into sleep.

She's collected a few nicknames in her short time. We often refer to her as Wonderbaby, because she's just so good and sweet and happy and easy. Her Papa Cherry started calling her his Little Bumblebee thanks to a sleeper with a bee on the bum, and that one seems to be sticking as well. Her daddy calls her Ton Ton (Star Wars, anyone?) because of the grunty, whiny sounds she makes while eating. It's pretty fitting. She also gets called Baby Burrito when she's swaddled up for the night. And I often find myself nibbling her cheeks and cooing that she's my little Sugar Bean or Sugar Bear. The bear makes more sense than the bean, obviously, but my mind is weird. And slightly sleep-deprived.

Of course, it's not always perfect either. She has some explosive poopoos from time to time and takes full advantage the second her diaper is removed so she can show them off! There's also the aforementioned constant worry, which I'm sorry to say I have not yet conquered. But I wouldn't change a single thing about her or this first month of being a mommy. Not for anything in the world.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Three Weeks

We call this "the snail" because she acts like she's trying to curl back up in her shell. I'm pretty sure this is how she was positioned mot of the time in the womb. Leave it to our daughter to have her own unique version of the fetal position!

Addie was three weeks old yesterday and I meant to get a post and some photos out. Instead, she hit a growth spurt and we spent the majority of our day nursing, pumping, and diaper changing. Add in a quick trip to Target (one hour drive each way) to return the nursing bras that were clogging my milk ducts (fun!) and the day had slipped away from us before we knew it. And so has half my maternity leave. It's such a cliche, but oh so true, how fast this time goes. I'd give anything to slow it down and make it last a little longer!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Expanding My Capacity for Worry

I've never been a worrier. Anxiety is just not really my thing. I tend to leave the worst case scenario musings to my husband and power through on a combination of coffee, adrenaline, and denial. It's a strategy that's always worked for me in the past.

Until now. Until Addie.

I knew my capacity for love would grow exponentially when this little girl came into the world. Everyone tells you to expect that. And it's more, more than I could have expected or imagined, but still...I at least knew that was coming. The worry, however. No one really tells you about the worry. And I worry about her constantly.

I obsess over the contents of her diapers. Is her poo to green? Too runny? Is she wetting too much? Too little? Is she warm enough? Maybe she's too warm? Oh my goodness, is she still breathing!?!? Are her fingernail-claws doing permanent damage to that precious face? Can I trim them without hurting her little fingers? Is she eating enough? Gaining weight fast enough? Sleeping enough? Spending enough time awake? Am I holding her too much or not enough?

Oh, and breast feeding, argh breast feeding! It's going really well for us, but it's also a whole new category of things to worry about. Should I be feeding on demand or on a schedule? Do the contents of her diapers indicate a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance? Should we try block feeding? To pump or not to pump? How often? Before or after she eats? Will giving her a pacifier really ruin things forever? Because she really seems to like it. And if we start feeding bottles will she refuse to go back on the breast?

It's partially about my latent perfectionism, wanting to do everything just right in a realm that has no instruction manual, no definitive right or wrong way to do anything. But it's so much more than that too...

This thing, this precious tiny thing, this life that grew inside my body and seems to have rewritten my very DNA...she's my girl. She's MY girl. She breaks my heart to tiny pieces a thousand times a day and then knits it back together in amazing new shapes. She is fierce and fragile, delicate and yet oh so strong. And she's so new and fresh and innocent. She has no scars. Her life hasn't been deeply touched yet by joy or pain.

And I just want to make sure it's joy first. Joy first, last, and always. I don't want her to ever hurt or be lonely or feel sad. Even though I know, I know that I can't protect her from any of that. Even though I believe we need those things to make us whole and compassionate, that God uses struggle to make us better, stronger, to rub our sharp places smooth. Still. I wish there were another way. A way where she would only ever be blissfully happy and content.

And so, for now, I worry.

And I praise the God who covers her little life with His Grace. Whose capacity for Love spans eternity and then keeps going. Who Created her and entrusted her to me and called it all Good. I try to remember to trust His Grace and His Goodness over any attempts to "do things right" on my own.

Monday, February 4, 2013

New Loves

In three weeks with a newborn I'm finding that my tastes have changed considerably. Old pleasures and routines are shifted aside to make way for new ones. I knew to expect this. I knew, for example, that I would come to love little baby coos and giggles more than I would miss getting a full night's sleep. But there are some other things I'm growing deeply attached to that I would never have imagined or anticipated. Things like...

Cups of cold coffee. These days ill take my morning jolt any way I can get it. Sometimes this means I don't pour the first cup until several hours after the pot was fresh. Others, it means drinking the cup I poured fresh hours later. Either way, it's coffee and I call it good!

Evening showers. I've always been a morning shower person, but this habit is not conducive to mornings alone with a baby. Most days, getting a shower is one of the last things I do, after Wonderbaby is fed and sleepy and being watched over by Daddy. I find this small space of alone time and self care to be surprisingly rejuvenating.

Interrupted TV time. Keith and I are big TV watchers. We've been known to take down seasons of our favorite shows in a mere week or even weekend. One of our claims to fame is the realtime 24 marathon, where we watched an entire season of 24 in 24 hours back to back. Now we get through a few minutes of a show at a time in between sweet baby interruptions. We're lucky if we get through one episode a night. And somehow I love watching this way even more.

Chores (AKA getting stuff done). Normally I am happy to let things go. Leave the dishes in the sink, let the laundry pile up to Everest heights, don't worry about the dusty surfaces. But these days, I get such great pleasure for, each tiny accomplishment. And I can only manage one or tow items per day in between all the baby time, it's not like I've suddenly become a housekeeping dynamo. Still, I relish the chance to throw in a load of laundry or empty the dishwasher and then mark one little thing on my ever-growing list completed.