Becoming Mommy

23 Jul

My baby boy is 2 months old as of yesterday. I can’t begin to describe the level of joy he has brought to our lives. Sure, the nights can be a little tough and his bouts of crying confusing for a first time mama (Is he hungry? Dirty diaper? Tired? Gassy?), but I am learning to read his cues and figure out his cries. Right now I think he’s going through his “8 week leap” because he doesn’t want to be away from me for more than a second. I am actually wearing him as I type this…he’s all cozy in his Ergo.

Me and my little guy just after his bath. :)

Me and my little guy just after his bath.πŸ™‚

What has becoming a mother meant to me? It’s a type of love I’ve never experienced before–completely unconditional. This must be how the heavenly father feels about us…or at least the closest thing to it. I cry tears of joy almost every day when I see my little guy smile…partly because he’s just so beautiful and partly because I can’t bear the thought of being away from him when I go back to work. I remember a few years ago when one of my co-workers came to work for the first time after having a baby (she had just dropped him off to his first full day at daycare) and she was crying. I felt sympathy for her but I really didn’t know what she was going through. Now I completely understand how hard that morning must have been for her…you just want your little one to be completely happy, healthy, safe, and loved, and who better to ensure those things than you and your husband. But alas, it’s not always possible for that to be the case. And I guess I should feel beyond blessed that we’ll only need to have Jack with a nanny (our friend) for 2.5 weeks and then Ben will take over daddy duty. I’m so glad that he’ll be with his dad even though I wish it were me.

Being a mother has made me better understand how much my own parents must love me. I love them so much, but it’s a different kind of love than the love you have for your child. I feel badly now for every time I treated them disrespectfully, but even more than that…I feel bad for the years in high school and college that I suffered from depression because the thought of Jack ever facing what I did just breaks my heart. I want him to be joy filled and I want him to feel a sense of worthiness and love all the days of his life. I know he will struggle and I know his life won’t be perfect, but at the very least, I want him to always feel he is worthy of love. I had to battle for that sense of worthiness for quite a few years before I really truly believed it, and it makes me sad that my parents had to bear that burden of knowing how unhappy their daughter was.

Happy boy!

Happy boy!

Being a mother means my sense of time has changed completely. These last two months have positively flown by. Jack has already changed so much in two months. It’s hard to imagine just how different he’ll be two months from now. All the milestones he’ll reach. It makes me wish I could spend every second with him, but I have to trust that God has put us in just the right set of circumstances so that our family will be happy and healthy.

Being a mother means that family is more important to me than ever. It’s even harder for me being away from my family than it was this past year. I want Jack to grow up knowing his aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. And while I know he will, it’s not the same when they live so far away. Fortunately, we may have a few family members coming our way! It means more to me than anything in the world!

Being a mother means I will

…probably never have 8 consecutive hours of sleep again (at least for many years to come)

…always be worried about my child

…not care so much about money as long as my child’s needs are met

…do anything to ensure his happiness, health, and safety

…always have a heart full of love…it often feels as if my heart will burst. It’s just so full.

To all the mommies in the world…especially my own. Thank you.

My birth story

26 Jun

Well, it’s been over a month since I gave birth to my baby boy, Jack. The month has passed so quickly and while it hasn’t been easy, I wouldn’t trade a single moment. He’s such a sweet, kissable little guy. I thought I’d share my birth story for those who are interested. I know when I was pregnant, I loved reading about other women’s experiences even though I knew that every baby and birth story was different. I think when you’re a first time mom you just enjoy preparing yourself mentally for what is to come…I watched a bunch of videos about fetal development, labor, delivery, and taking care of baby. Mostly I read and watched stuff to do with pregnancy, and in retrospect, it probably would have been more helpful to read up on baby care, but I think we’ve done pretty well. Anyway, I’ll have other posts about Jack’s development…here’s the birth story!

On Friday, May 22nd, I woke up at 1am and felt some mild contractions. I’d been having a few on and off for a couple weeks as well as Braxton Hicks, but what kept me up was the regularity of the contractions. I pulled out my phone from the plug in the wall and began timing them. They were about 10 minutes a part. Friday the 22nd was supposed to be my last day of work, but I figured, why chance it and be in labor in front of a bunch of high schoolers, so I called in sick for the day.

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The contractions began to get closer together…at one point they were about 7-8 minutes a part in the morning. But around 9am, they slowed and began getting farther a part. I was so bummed and part of me wondered if I should have gone into work to get that one last day of pay, but I didn’t let it worry me. I was pretty proud of myself for making it to week 39, especially since as a teacher I was on my feet all day.

I suggested to Ben that we go on a walk to see if I could get the contractions to pick up again. I wasn’t super hopeful since my due date was nearly a week away and most people say that first time moms come late anyway. But I thought it wouldn’t hurt given the fact that I took the day off. We decided to walk the Deschutes River Trail which is about 3.5 miles. From our starting point it was more like 4 since we had to park far away. Amazingly, I had plenty of energy and the hike was surprisingly not too difficult for me. After our walk, I suggested getting some spicy food. It may be an old wives tale that spicy food can induce labor, but I figured it was worth a try. Well, by 2pm, the contractions began picking up again! I was so excited and hopeful that maybe it was the real thing. By 5:30pm, they had been 5 minutes a part for an hour, so we called the doctor and he said to go into the hospital. We got there around 6pm.

At that point, my contractions were like intense period cramps but really not that bad. I’ve only had a few bad period cramps my entire life, so I knew that’s what it felt like but it really didn’t hurt that bad. I could walk and talk through them. I only had 2 that I would classify as semi-painful. So when we went in I was fully prepared for them to turn me away and say that I wasn’t really in labor.

While Ben and I got me checked into the hospital, I can only imagine that the secretaries thought I was being a baby because as I sat there, I had some contractions but they didn’t really hurt. I actually said, “Oh I’m having one right now.” They were nice enough not to give me a face and sent me down to the triage room where a nurse met me about 10 minutes later. She got me up on the table and began strapping a monitor on my belly to see my contractions before checking to see if I was dilated at all. While she was getting the equipment ready, I felt a gush of fluid between my legs. I think I said something like, “Either my water just broke or I’ve peed myself for the first time this pregnancy.” She swabbed the liquid and left the room to test it, and when she came back, she said, “Well, you’re not going anywhere because your water just broke.” At that point I already knew it must have because the contractions were getting more intense even though it had only been a few minutes.

Well, after the water broke, everything came so fast it’s all a blur now, but this is what happened. My contractions became very intense within about 10-15 minutes of my water breaking. Those mild period-like cramps I was having earlier were like eating chocolate cake compared to these! I began moaning and screaming like, well, like a woman in labor, and I was still in the triage room…they hadn’t even checked me yet! When the nurse finally did check me, I was already 7.5 cm dilated, 90% effaced and Jack’s head was at a +3 station. Basically, he was ready to come out! At this point it was probably about 6:40pm, and Jack was born at 8:53. I think I pushed about 6 times and he was out. I got a 3rd degree tear but otherwise I was fine and Jack came out perfect with no issues. He weighed 6 pounds 15 ounces and was 20 inches long. It’s amazing how tiny he was when he first came into the world.

Today Jack is 5 weeks old and weights 9 pounds 9 ounces. He’s no longer the teeny tiny baby I gave birth to…he’s becoming a chunky little guy. It’s great to see him gain weight and be so healthy, but I also miss my tiny little baby. I’m so glad our friend took pictures of him on his first day of life because I’m not sure I would have remembered just how little he was if I didn’t have these great photos.

With regards to my recovery…To date I have lost 25 of the 30 pounds I put on during pregnancy. I’ve held on to these last 5 pounds for the past 2 weeks though, so I’m not sure they’ll go away very quickly. I think my tear is healing well since I’m no longer in pain, but I have a drs appointment in a week to find out for sure.

Enjoy a few fun pics of Jack on his first day of life!πŸ™‚ I can’t believe how little he was!

Beauty from a different point of view

13 May

Tonight as I was getting ready to get in the shower, I looked at my body in the mirror and the thought, “Wow, I look beautiful” just came to me. It’s not something that normally comes to me when I look at my naked body, and if you told me 9 months ago that I would have that spontaneous thought while 38 weeks pregnant, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. In fact, I might have even laughed.

It got me thinking…why was I so shocked to have that thought?

Well, let’s review the facts:

1. My entire adult life I’ve weighed between 126-133 which is pretty slender for someone who is 5”7.

2. I’ve always been a relatively athletic person prior to this pregnancy.

3. I struggled with terrible acne for years (age 12-23ish) that made me feel gross and ugly, and even after the acne cleared, I was always pretty critical of my appearance.

4. I always associated gaining weight with a certain amount of shame–mostly because I saw my fitness level as a sign of my self-control and will power.

37 weeks pregnant :)

37 weeks pregnantπŸ™‚

So, here I am at 38 weeks pregnant, and 160 pounds–30 pounds heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight and at least 24 pounds heavier than the heaviest I had ever been prior to being pregnant. And yet, it’s one of the first times I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, “Wow, I look beautiful.” What did I see? I saw my face. My complexion has never been so good. My skin has been amazing (for the most part) during this pregnancy. I probably just look normal to most people, but for someone who battled cystic acne for years, I couldn’t ask for better skin right now. I saw silky full hair. I have struggled with thinning hair for years, but I have a thick, full head of soft hair right now. I realize it probably won’t last forever, so I’m grateful to have it now. I saw my round, full belly–so much bigger than its ever been before, but not “fat”…just big. I’ve been blessed not to get any stretch marks so far. Thankfully, the mirror hid my cankles, swollen feet, and trunk like calves, but even if it hadn’t, I don’t think that would have stopped me from having the thought that I look beautiful.

Perhaps the reason I feel beautiful is because when I looked at myself in the mirror, I wasn’t just looking at me. I was looking at me and my son. I was seeing my body as a vessel–an amazing vessel that has nurtured and brought a human being to life for the last 38 weeks, a vessel that will in a few weeks endure some pretty horrible pain in order to bring life into the world. If that’s not beautiful and powerful and amazing, then I don’t know what is.

I contemplated not writing this down because it felt like such a personal, private moment with myself. But then I went to the Pregnancy Posting website that I visit for a few minutes each day…and I came across a woman’s post that was all about how “gross” and “disgusting” she feels, and I felt compelled to share, because for once in my life, I wasn’t hard on myself. I wasn’t unkind and I wasn’t a perfectionist. I saw the beauty that God created both in me and through me. And I felt like that should be shared.

3 weeks away from being a mom

2 May

I don’t think I quite appreciate just how big a deal this is…I am 3 weeks away from becoming a mom. Well, technically, I already am a mom, but in 3 weeks, I will actually have to take care of this baby other than what my body is doing on its own right now. From late night feedings and a million diaper changes, I know my life is going to change dramatically. I am so excited and just a tad bit nervous.

This year has felt, in many ways, like a whirlwind. Ben and I packed our things and moved on May 29th of last year. On that same day, I found out my uncle was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. We were staying with my parents for about a week and a half until our stuff arrived up in Bend. The first morning at my parents house, I was officially offered my job that I now have at Mountain View. I turned 30 while we were staying there with my parents. That seemed like the least eventful part of the stay. And then, on June 8th, we left my parents’ house and trekked our way up north to Bend.

Last summer was a beautiful time for Ben and me. Neither of us were working for the first month and a half we were there, so we spent a ton of time exploring our new town, seeing the sights, and enjoying the beauty and novelty of living in a new place. For me, it was the first time I’d ever lived outside the San Fernando Valley, and it was the culmination of 3 years of marriage. Ben had spent the first 3 years of our marriage in school, planning on a career change to make possible moving out of Los Angeles.

The summer was not all beauty and roses, though. My uncle was progressively getting worse, and on July 18th, only 7 weeks after his diagnosis, he passed away. I still can’t believe it, nearly a year later, and it reminds me to be grateful every day for the time I have with the people I love. I drove down to Shasta by myself at the end of July because Ben had just started a job and was unable to come. It was nice seeing my family, but the circumstances were, of course, horrible.

The next month of summer, I spent mostly by myself because Ben’s job took him 3 hours north. Just like the year before, he had to take a job that was far away from me. It was hard, at first, being alone in a new town, but I was able to find things to do–one of which was to start seriously researching fertility and having a baby. I began reading and talking to friends, and really tracking my fertility to see if we could time conception so that our first baby would be born near the summer of 2015. I didn’t want to start a new job and then tell them I had to leave half way through the year, so we agreed we would only try for 2 months (which would put me due at either the end of May or end of June), and if it didn’t happen, we’d wait one more year. Amazingly, God blessed us on our first try with the conception of our son. God obviously wanted us to become parents now!


Around 6 weeks into my pregnancy, I became utterly exhausted. This was a challenge with my new job. Starting a new school is difficult enough, but I also took on being the Speech coach, which requires me to travel about once a month for tournaments for several days (and coming home at midnight or even later after long bus rides). At week 6, I flew down to my good friend’s wedding in Los Angeles. That’s when I really felt how pregnant I was…I didn’t look pregnant at all, but I was so exhausted by the end of the weekend. Two weeks later, I had to travel to the first tournament. Again, at 8 weeks pregnant, I was utterly exhausted, but thankfully I had no morning sickness, so no one knew I was pregnant. I was able to hide my exhaustion fairly well, but it was a challenge!

Me and Shannon when I was 6 weeks pregnant.

Me and Shannon when I was 6 weeks pregnant.

The fall and winter were full of traveling. Thanksgiving, we drove to my parents for the week, in December, I flew down for my sister’s bridal shower, and then a week later, we flew to Missouri for Christmas to visit Ben’s family. In January, I flew again for my sister’s wedding. I decided after all that traveling that I was done with all major trips after that. I loved seeing everyone at all of these trips because the hardest part of this move to Bend (for me) has been being away from my family, especially my sister who is so far away. Even so, traveling while pregnant is a challenge while working full time.

The spring was filled with quite a few tournaments–one in January, one in February, one in March, and one in April. Each of these is a weekend extravaganza. My team is wonderful and very easy to work with, so at least I didn’t have to worry about behavior or discipline. But I think the result of all the traveling and newness of my job is that on the 3 weekends a month that I did have off, it was all I could to just sit in a funk and watch Netflix to recover from everything.


I haven’t gotten much exercise this pregnancy, and I feel like I’ve been trapped indoors for months. I know I could have done better about taking care of myself during this pregnancy, but considering all I’ve taken on this year, I feel like I’ve done my best. I am so thrilled that my son is going to be born at the end of May (I hope!) because I’ll be able to spend the summer with him, enjoying the beauty of nature, the sunshine, and a break from work. I can’t wait to snuggle my little guy in my arms and see what he looks like.

Through all of this, Ben has been very helpful to me. I don’t know what I would have done if he had been working full time too. Ben’s taken over most of the household work, including cooking, for me, since he hasn’t been working since October. He will start working again in June, a couple weeks after our baby’s born, and he’ll be taking over childcare in the fall. We’ll need about a month of daycare in September, but after that, Ben will be staying home for a while, and even though I’m slightly jealous of him, I am so happy that our son will be able to be with one of us for most of his first year of life. Ben will make such a wonderful father of a little boy. I know he can’t wait to introduce him to fishing, hunting, hiking, and all things outdoorsy. I’m sure our little Squirt will be out in the garden with him and on Ben’s back on all his adventures, and I’m so glad to have a supportive partner through all this.

I am now just waiting…it’s May and I’m 36.5 weeks pregnant today. I haven’t had much time to reflect this year whether due to my busy job, exhaustion, or just business in general. But I felt like I needed to look back this morning and see how far we’ve come in the last year. Not all of it has been easy, but it certainly hasn’t been boring! We live in a beautiful house in a beautiful town, and we’re about to be parents. I have a beautiful summer to look forward to…all our family is coming out to visit us at some point, and I just can’t wait to meet my son.

Here’s to almost being a mom!

Finding Joy…What this Blog is All About…

11 Feb

So I originally started this blog with the intent of revealing, exploring, and continuing my journey toward joy. I think I’ve learned a few really important lessons along the way, but here’s one I’ve come to realize recently.

Life is so much easier and more beautiful when you feel fully supported by your spouse. In many ways, this year could have been super stressful for me, and there have been moments. Adjusting to a new place to live, a new job (with a much more challenging assignment than I’ve had in the past), being pregnant (and not getting much sleep as a result), being far away from my family, and so forth, are all things that I know in the past might have really brought me down or made it difficult for me to be happy. I’ve also started taking an online class because I need to take 9 graduate units in order to renew my credential in Oregon. But there is one thing that has made the last few months in many ways easier than ever before and that is Ben.

Ben has been so supportive and loving, and one of the things I’ve been most appreciative of is that he has started to cook. Just having one less responsibility amidst all my other stresses and challenges has made a HUGE difference. I think he knows I’m appreciative, but I don’t think he realizes how big of a difference the small things he does for me actually does for me. It’s not just about not having to cook as often.Β  It’s not just about the fact that I’m always hungry now that I’m 25 weeks pregnant. It’s because whenever he does something like this for me, I FEEL loved, and that gets me through the stress of everything else. It gets me through the day when I’ve only had 3 hours of sleep. It helps me feel joy even when I’m tired.

So basically, what I’m saying is…LOVE AND APPRECIATE YOUR SPOUSE. It will make all the difference in the world for their happiness and ability to cope with stress.

Fried plantains with a creamy chipotle sauce, avocados, and cilantro! Made as a side dish with tacos for dinner tonight. Thank you sweetie!

Fried plantains with a creamy chipotle sauce, avocados, and cilantro! Made as a side dish with tacos for dinner tonight. Thank you sweetie!

My 1st Baby Shower

1 Feb

On December 28th, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law threw me a beautiful baby shower at Sister’s Tea House in Fenton, Missouri. It was such a beautiful day. Over 30 of my husband’s family members (women only!) were there to celebrate Baby Medley. I was nearly 19 wks pregnant at the time, and that evening Ben felt the baby kick for this first time.

My sister-in-law made some really cute decorations (all turtle themed!) and my mother-in-law organized and planned the event. We had a delicious lunch and spent some fun times together in addition to opening presents. Ben didn’t tell me anything about the shower, so I didn’t know it was at a tea house. Everything about it was a surprise. I feel so grateful to have such wonderful in-laws. I’m super lucky and so is our little boy. Whenever we visit Missouri he’ll have so many wonderful family members to spend time with!

Turtle and diaper centerpieces made by Melissa, my sister-in-law.

Turtle and diaper centerpieces made by Melissa, my sister-in-law.

Me and Ben's grandma

Me and Ben’s grandma

Me and my sister-in-law, Melissa

Me and my sister-in-law, Melissa

A view of the room and all the guests!

A view of the room and all the guests!

Tasty treats! Super cute turtle cake! :)

Tasty treats! Super cute turtle cake!πŸ™‚

I love this pic...don't know what we were laughing about!

I love this pic…don’t know what we were laughing about!

Me and my mother-in-law, Laurie

It’s been a while

31 Jan

Well, it’s been quite a hiatus from my blog life. I’m pretty sure everyone (or almost everyone) who reads my blog also follows me on Facebook, but for the few readers who don’t know me personally, the reason I’ve been away is that I’m pregnant! The first trimester was really rough because I was still adjusting to my new job and new life in a new state and just being pregnant and working full time took everything I had.

I’m now 23 weeks along and am fairly well settled into my new job. It’s still challenging but much more reasonable than it was in September. In October, I flew to my friend Shannon’s wedding when I was only 6 wks preggers. It was a gorgeous wedding, but can I tell you…the first trimester is EXHAUSTING. I’ve never felt that kind of exhaustion in my life. I guess some women don’t get it. I was lucky not to ever get bad morning sickness (only threw up once), so I dodged that bullet. But I literally felt like I could have slept 24-7 that first 12-14 weeks!

Just last weekend my sister got married to her husband Jeremy. It was overwhelmingly beautiful. I had seen her for a couple days in December for her shower, but other than that I hadn’t seen her since May because of our move. It’s been hard not being able to see her. We’ve never been a part for more than a month before this year. I’m glad she’s planning to come out sometime over the summer to meet our little GUY…yes, we’re having a BOY!

My hope is to blog a little more regularly now that I’m feeling better and am more adjusted to pregnancy, my job, and my new life. I will say, I have been so happy the last few months. I must have some happy preggers hormones. Ben has been absolutely wonderful since I’ve been pregnant. He cooks, helps more with the cleaning, and drives me everyone (I hate driving…hehe). And he’s so cute with my belly…always talking to our little “Squirt” (our nickname for him). He talks to my belly and loves feeling him kick. He felt him for the first time on Dec. 28th, the day of my first baby shower!

I’ve been so blessed with wonderful friends and family through my pregnancy. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law threw me a shower in December when we visited them in Missouri. It was at a tea house…I will do a blog post on this soon.πŸ™‚

For now, here are a few preggo pictures!

Meet at 5 weeks pregnant (about a week after we found out)

Me at 5 weeks pregnant (about a week after we found out)

Look at that cute nose and lips! :)

Look at that cute nose and lips!πŸ™‚

22 weeks along! Hard to believe I ever was as thin as I was in that first pic. It feels natural to be this big yet it's by far the biggest I've ever been!

22 weeks along! Hard to believe I ever was as thin as I was in that first pic. It feels natural to be this big yet it’s by far the biggest I’ve ever been!

Our little guy at 20 wks (anatomy scan).