Sunday, February 28, 2010

Birth Announcements

When it came to Jackson's birth announcements I was pretty picky. I didn't want anything generic or ordinary looking so I combed the internet looking for something unique. Not so easy. I finally ended up on Etsy and found the perfect one! You just buy the template and email your pictures to the seller who then emails you the final jpg. I ordered 5x7 cards through http://www.winkflash.com/, who is having a sale right now so each card only came to $0.29 each!

Difficulties

Sometimes it's helpful to be reminded that life isn't supposed to be easy. I think it's one of my biggest downfalls that I have so much envy in me sometimes. Envy of stay-at-home moms. Envy of families who don't have to worry about bills or paying for health insurance for their babies. Envy of people who's lives just seem flat-out easier than mine. But of course no one's life is easy and I'm only seeing the perfect parts. Instead of wishing that life were easier I think it's time to work on acceptance. I follow an amazing blog (http://www.kellehampton.com/) about an amazing mother named Kelle Hampton who recently gave birth to a beautiful little girl, who also has Down's. Her struggle to come to terms with the unexpected is beautifully written and illustrated with the most gorgeous photographs you'll ever see (which she takes herself). She recently posted the following quote from The Road Less Traveled-

" ...Life is Difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. Once we truly know that life is difficult--once we truly understand and accept it--then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters."

This is something I need to work hard on accepting. Life will be easier when I realize life isn't meant to be easy and that I can do this, even if it will be difficult. Going back to work is going to be hell. But I will make it through and Jackson will survive.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bottlefeeding Success!

In preparation for returning to work in 6 weeks Ryan and I have been unsuccessfully trying to introduce a bottle to Jackson. I have already begun stockpiling and freezing my pumped milk, but in order to get it into Jackson he has to be able to take a bottle. Well, easier said than done. The first few brands we tried (Avent and First Years' Breastflow) were met with howls of outrage. I then made a trip to Target and bought one of every brand they offered in hopes that one would work. We've been trying one at a time and finally found one that he likes, the NUK brand! We still experienced some howling, but he did manage to finish the entire bottle, which we've never accomplished before. So cross your fingers that he doesn't change his mind tomorrow because I'm running out of different bottles!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Breastfeeding HELL

When I was pregnant I was adamant that I was going to breastfeed as long as possible. I've always been a huge proponent of breastmilk and I know that "breast is best." Well it also SUCKS! First we had thrush. When that finally cleared up I started to get an oversupply of milk. Seriously?! Who has too MUCH milk? So now Jackson screams bloody murder while he's pulling on and off of the breast throughout the entire feeding! Talk about hell on earth. We both end up crying and he's still starving. To top it off he won't take a bottle either. So my poor baby is famished and I feel like a complete failure as a mother. I have no idea what to do since the bottle won't work either. When I pump I get tons of milk, which I've been freezing for when I go back to work but I have no idea how we're going to actually get it in him. I am so frustrated beyond belief right now that I could bash my head through a wall. Why does everything have to be so difficult?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Back to Work


Although I still have 6 weeks of maternity leave left I am seriously getting depressed about returning to work. I know, I know- six weeks is a long time, but once I go back nothing will be the same. Being a teacher is not a typical nine-to-five job. It's mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting and the amount of work I have to bring home on a daily basis just to keep my head above water is insane. I don't know how I'm going to manage this workload and give Jackson the love and attention he deserves. I would LOVE to be a stay-at-home mom and get to actually raise my child instead of someone else doing it for me, but unfortunately that's not even an option. I have prayed for a solution to this problem for so long, but so far nothing has appeared on the horizon. So for now I try to shove my dread to the back of my mind and just enjoy the time I have left with Jackson, but it's hard. I'm going to miss him SO much when I'm at work. We've been together 24/7 since he was born and suddenly being separated from him is going to kill me. Luckily my mom is going to be watching him for us most days and I couldn't ask for anything better. I feel immensely blessed that he'll be with her, but I'll still have the guilt of NOT being there. I feel like I'm going to be miss out on so much while I'm at work, especially that bonding that is so important. By the time we get done with work I'll only have a few hours to spend with him before he goes to bed. It makes me so frustrated that I'm not going to be there for him and even more resentful of my job than I was before. Life is definitely going to be a challenge.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Jackson at 4 Weeks

Here is our first video of Jackson! Enjoy!
video

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

This Moment Will Pass

Sometimes when I'm alone with a cranky, crying baby I'm so tired I could cry. No one ever tells you it will be this hard. But then the moment passes and I look down at the sweet, tired newborn cradled in my lap and I realize what a blessing he truly is. The long, sleepless nights, sore boobs, overflowing poopy diapers, and crying will be a thing of the past. This moment will pass and someday I'll give anything to hold the weight of my sweet, sleepy newborn against my shoulder as we snuggle late at night. It's hard to appreciate it in the moment, but I will miss this.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day Jackson! We love you!

Jackson's Newborn Photos

Check out Jackson's newborn photos at http://www.sessionninephotography.com/jackson-johnson-newborn-session/! We couldn't be more thrilled on how great they turned out! More pictures to come!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Growing Up Jackson- The First Four Weeks

                                           

 
                                                      
The changes and growth we have seen in Jackson in the past four weeks is truly amazing. He has gone from a tiny newborn who only slept, ate (ALL the time!), peed, and pooped to an active and alert one-month old who is interacting with us more and more each day. He loves listening to books and when I sing to him. One of his favorite things to watch is our ever-present companion, Evan the cat. He'll now allow us to put him in his swing, and actually enjoys it! The mirror and mobile in his crib are some of his favorite things to look at and he'll entertain himself long enough for me to fold a load of laundry or grab something to eat. I don't know how we got blessed with such a happy baby, but he hardly ever fusses too. Although my doctor says that your children always pay you back at some point in their life, so I know our time will come! Oh, and he also weighs ten pounds as of yesterday! That means he has put on 2 1/2 pounds in 4 short weeks! Ryan and I feel truly blessed to have such an amazing child and we can't wait to see what the next four weeks brings!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

4 Weeks as a Mommy

It's now been a month since Jackson arrived and things are definitely looking up. After weeks of raging hormones, crying jags, and feeling completely overwhelmed things have finally settled down. We're now falling into a nice little routine and Jackson is only waking up two times during the night to nurse! I haven't attempted to put him on any type of schedule although I am reading up on all the different parenting "styles" in an attempt to find one that clicks for us. So far Dr. Sears' "attachment style" is my favorite although I am halfway through Babywise and considering a modified version. Our days are pretty mundane, but we enjoy the time spent together bonding and just relaxing. We go on walks around the neighborhood with Henry and Bella every afternoon, babytime classes at the library, lunch with Grandma Suzy, reading books, and playing together. Jackson learned how to roll from his stomach to his back last week and he is now doing it every time we have tummy time. Of course I think he's so advanced for his age! (wink) His hair is falling out more and more every day and he looks like a little old man with a receding hairline! He now weighs almost 10 pounds and just graduated to size one diapers (after more than a few diaper blow-outs!). Every day I spend with him I fall more in love. I have never felt such a huge sense of responsibility , but I'm enjoying every moment of it.

$35 Expressiva.com Giveaway!

Are you interested in winning a $35 gift card to Expressiva.com? The website has tons of great clothing, loungewear, and pajamas for nursing mommies. Head over to Hormonal Imbalances at http://hormonal-imbalances.blogspot.com/2010/02/win-35-gift-certificate-to.html for your chance to win!

Check Out This Giveaway!

Babie Dickie is giving away an awesome Bravado Nursing Bra! To enter,  head over to http://babydickey.com/2010/02/11/bravado-nursing-bra-giveaway/comment-page-1/#comment-4126!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Jackson's Delivery

Jessica from Session Nine did a fantastic job photographing Jackson's delivery. I couldn't have asked for a better gift! Being able to have these pictures to look back at and reflect on is amazing. Jackson's delivery was truly the most blessed moment of my life and these photographs really attest to that. The delivery can be such a blur and having the most important moments on film really helps each moment stand out.

Maternity Pictures


We were so blessed to hire an amazing photography team to chronicle our pregnancy! Session Nine Photography (http://www.sessionninephotography.com/) is a husband and wife team who are not only amazing photographers, but also wonderful people. We shot our maternity shoot on December 18, 2009 in downtown Gilbert. The weather was perfect and there were some really cool places to use as backdrops. As you can see from the pictures Jess and Jason have amazing eyes for really cool shots. We couldn't have been happier!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What a DAY


The swing broke. Jackson hasn't taken a SINGLE nap all day. He's been fussing and crying every time I stop moving. He won't sit in any of the three slings we have. Swaddling isn't working. And he just pooped ALL over me. I love motherhood.

Vote for Us!

Click on the box every time you visit to vote for us on www.topbabyblogs.com!

These Are a Few of Our Favorite Things. . .

1. Kiddapotamus "Swaddle Me" Velcro swaddler- the only thing that calms Jackson down instantly when he's upset.

2. The Happiest Baby on the Block- this video/book literally saved our lives. The techniques calm Jackson down instantly!

3. Fisher Price Newborn Rocker- If Jackson isn't sleeping with me he's in this. I love how it keeps him at an angle, which he definitely prefers for sleeping.

4. Boppy- a necessity for breastfeeding!

5. Baby Daze Ultimate Baby Organizer- I keep track of Jackson's feeding times, how long he eats for, diaper changes, sleep patterns, and weigh-ins all in this handy book. Love it!

6. Lansinoh- have to have this before and after feedings!

7. Womb Sounds Bear- I got this as a gift from a student and Jackson loves it! It plays a combo of white noise and heartbeat to mimic the sounds heard in the womb. You can put it inside a stuffed bear for older babies or just hang the sound machine on the side of the crib.

8. Swing- We use a Fisher Price Cradle Swing and sometimes Jackson sleeps swaddled in it night while I sleep next to him on the couch.

Balding!


Jackson is going bald! He is gradually losing all of the hair on the front of his head, but still keeping the hair in the back! Of course this is normal, but it sure does look funny! He's also growing quickly! Yesterday at the doctor's office he had already gained another 5 ounces since his last weigh-in on Friday to put him at 9 pounds 10 ounces! His little personality is beginning to shine through and he is full of smiles- especially right after eating. :)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Money Worries

Having a baby is expensive. Very expensive. Our hospital bill alone came to over $15,000 and thankfully my health insurance is covering a large chunk of it, but any out-of-pocket costs right now are very tough on our finances. A teacher's salary just doesn't cut it these days. Plus we have to buy Jackson's health insurance on our own because it's ridiculously expensive through our district. And they don't cover any sick baby visits! So if my anxiety wasn't extreme enough already, now I'm worrying about how much it's going to cost to take him to the doctor when he inevitably gets sick. What's the point of having insurance if they don't cover anything?! I am so envious of women who's husbands have jobs that can cover their children. Why can't anything in life be simple? One sick visit to the doctor is 1/4 of my paycheck and then there's the added costs of diapers, wipes, and all of the other baby-related items that are necessities. I would love to be like most people and not have to worry about this stuff. It's so hard to have faith that things will turn out ok when they usually don't when it comes to money. Someday I'd love to have a job where I can adequately provide for my child and give him the things he deserves in life. We'll see if that ever happens.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

3 Weeks Already?!


I am cuddling my now three-week old little man as I write this. It's absolutely amazing how much life has completely and utterly changed since his arrival. And I wouldn't have it any other way. If there's one thing that makes your life do a complete 180 it's the birth of a child. It's hard. Sometimes I miss my life before. But then I look down at the package of sweetness cuddled in my lap and I realize things are only getting better. It's like shedding your skin. 28 years of who I was is slowly being shaken off and replaced by a new identity, which isn't always easy and sometimes it's a little painful. Being a new mommy is not about being on cloud nine all the time. It's the hardest work I've ever done. But I couldn't ask for a better baby and after three weeks together I feel like we're finally getting to know each other. I now recognize his different cries and when he's hungry and when he's just fussing. Slowly I am beginning to sleep better with him cuddled up against my chest. Some of my anxiety is fading, but I will always wonder if I'm doing a good enough job. It's just such a huge responsibility, being in charge of another human being's growth and development. I feel lucky to have the help and support of my family to get me through this time and I know we will eventually move out of this challenging newborn stage and into a different phase with its own challenges. I don't want to rush it though. This might be my only child and I know that once it's gone I can never get it back. So I take one day at a time and try to hold on to these moments as they pass.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Exhaustion

What mommy desperate;y wants right now!

It'ss now been 20+ days since I got more than 1 hour of sleep in a row. And I am truly, absolutely exhausted. Ryan is still working (his leave starts February 22nd and I'm counting down the days!), so I am the one up all night for feedings and diaper changes. I am very lucky in that Jackson sleeps at night, but he insists that he sleep on me instead of his bassinet which makes me way to nervous to actually do any sleeping. His every little noise wakes me up to adjust his position or see if he's hungry. Nursing is definitely hard work too! He practically tries to rip them off of me when he eats. The little monster noises he makes are quite adorable as he shakes his head back and forth, but I definitely have battle wounds to show for it! Everyone says that it will eventually get easier but right now I'll believe it when I see it.