Friday, June 29, 2018

Mind and Body: 4 Months Post-Partum

Happy Friday, everyone! Paul turns 4 months on Sunday which kind of boggles my mind. I'll be sharing a 4-month update early next week but today I thought I'd talk about how I am doing. I've seen other moms do post-partum updates so I thought I would try to write a couple during the first year. The first year of life will definitely a time of huge change for Paul, but it's also a time of change for the mom, too!


- I was very fortunate and did not struggle with post-partum anxiety or depression. I was concerned that I might struggle with depression since I have struggled with depression in the past. I definitely felt some really strong emotions in the first weeks after Paul was born, but after that initial adjustment to the change in hormones, I started to feel more like myself, mentally.

- While I didn't struggle with anxiety, I have worried quite a bit about Paul. I think this is just part of being a mom, though. I worried the most in the first 2 months when Paul wasn't putting on weight as fast as he should. I think I worry less now that he's gaining weight steadily.

- I never really did get "bored" being home on maternity leave. The days are repetitive and it can start to feel like the movie "Ground Hog's Day," but I never really felt cooped up or bored like other moms have. I think part of that is because of all the doctor appointment Paul and I had during the first 2 months. I also think that taking the new mom class really helped, too, as that got us out of the house twice a week for 6 weeks starting when Paul was 2 weeks old.


- I've definitely really struggled with my body image since having Paul. The pregnancy weight has not come off as easily as I thought it would. I'm still carrying about 8-10 extra pounds. I think my body might be holding onto them in order to keep my breast milk supply up, though, so I'm trying not to stress about it too much until I am done pumping.

- It's been an adjustment to have a sizeable chest. Honestly, I HATE it. I much prefer being small-chested. I feel like I look so 'bulky' when I look in the mirror and I definitely have to think more about what I am wearing when I go for a fast walk or a walk with running intervals. I've been told that your chest gets smaller than it was when you got pregnant after you stop pumping/breast feeding and I am not at all sad about that!!

- Another thing I've struggled with is my complexion. It's as bad as it has ever been. I saw my dermatologist and he basically told me that I have no options until I stop breast feeding unless I want to go on a long-term amoxicillin prescription. I really don't want to go on a long-term antibiotic as it will be hard on Paul's tummy and overall I just don't like the idea of being on another prescription. So I guess I am going to sacrifice my skin quality until I'm done pumping. I am trying a Rodan and Fields line that has helped others with terrible acne and I'm hoping mine starts to improve soon. I haven't taken any photos with Paul besides our newborn photos and photos at his baptism because I HATE how I look in photos thanks to all the blemishes. :...(

- It's been great to be able to work out again, although the workouts look very different than what I did pre-pregnancy. Since I had a C-section I've been cautious as I know my body had a lot of healing to do. I've done some running intervals during stroller walks but have yet to go out for a run on my own. Besides stroller walks I have been doing the strength training workouts from the post-baby workout program I purchased. I'm starting to feel a little bored by them so might look for some more intense workouts that incorporate some bursts of cardio.

- I'm in the final month of taking daily blood thinner injections. I had to stay on blood thinner injections for 6 months since I have genetic mutation that makes me more prone to clots. I can't wait to be done with these injections. My stomach is so bruised and I have some small hematomas under my skin from injections that must have hit a blood vessel or something... My stomach looks pretty nasty.

- I'll end on a positive update - my RA is completely managed right now. This is such a relief after dealing with horrible flares during most of the pregnancy. I take an injection every other week and it's doing it's job!

So there you have it. I feel like this update wasn't the most 'positive' update, but it's true to how I am feeling. Everything I have gone through was definitely worth it and I will never forget how lucky we are to have a beautiful, healthy little boy.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Currently: June

Hey there and happy Monday! I didn't intend to take a 2-week break from blogging but finding time to blog has become more challenging lately as Paul is going through the dreaded 4-month sleep regression. That means that his naps are really short (most are 30 minutes which doesn't leave me time to get much done) and he's been waking up more often at night recently (one night he woke up every 1-1.5 hours!!). So between being really tired and not having much downtime during the day, I'm having a hard time finding time to sit down and catch up with you all! But here's what's going on in my life currently!

Reading: The Ensemble by Aja Gabel. This is a debut novel about a string quartet. I heard a lot of buzz about this book and so far it's been really good. It follows the lives of the 4 members of the quartet and seems like it will be a bit of a coming of age story. 

Loving:  boxed wine. Yes, I'm keeping it classy over here. But boxed wine is great when you want to have 1-2 glasses. Opening a bottle is just too much of a commitment and Phil is more of a beer drinker. So while he'll drink wine occasionally, it's not his drink of choice and I certainly can't (and shouldn't!) drink a whole bottle on my own! A nightly glass of wine has become a bit of a necessity lately due to the sleep regression we're struggling with...

Feeling: anxious and excited to go back to work. I'm anxious about how hectic our mornings will be since Phil and I both need to be at work by 7:30... so between pumping/feeding Paul/getting ready/dropping him at daycare, I think the mornings are going to be a bit of a mad dash. I'm also anxious about how I am going to feel being away from him. The most I've been away from him since he was born was for 3 hours... That said, I'm also excited to go back to work. I like my job and I love my co-workers. I've enjoyed the time at home with Paul but I also know that I'm not cut out to be a SAHM (at least that's how I feel at this point - I may change my mind at any given point over the coming years!). I hope I continue to look forward to going to work each day or most days once I'm back at work... but I guess I won't know how I will feel until I experience it! 

Anticipating: time at the lake over the 4th of July. Phil doesn't get any time off during the week besides the 4th since it's his busiest week of the month at work. So Paul and I will head to my parents on the 3rd of July and Phil will join us for the weekend. I'm looking forward to 5 nights with my parents and seeing some extended family. I'm also planning to visit a college friend who will be at her parents' lake place, too. She recently had a baby and I haven't met her son who is 3. I can't wait to catch up with her in person, introduce her to Paul, and meet her kiddos.

Watching: lots of documentaries with Phil. The ones we've watched recently are a series about Bobby Kennedy and a show about John McAfee, the person who came up with the McAfee anti-virus program than many of us have on our computer. Turns out he's a total nut! Both of these documentaries are on Netflix.

Grateful: that we have air conditioning. This has been the hottest May/June that I can recall. We've had many days in the 90s with high humidity. Many people think it doesn't get hot and humid in Minnesota, but it actually does. We've had heat indexes over 100. I know that it's way hotter in other parts of the country but I think we can all agree that 90 degrees + humidity is pretty miserable. Luckily our house has air conditioning, though. It's still pretty warm in our bedrooms since they are on the upper level but it's cooler than it would be if we didn't have air conditioning!

Working: on making the guest room into more of a nursery for Paul. We held off on getting a crib in the hopes that we'd find a house before he needed to move into a crib, but given the lack of inventory, we are resigning ourselves to the fact that we are going to be in this house for awhile longer. The guest room is pretty small so we decided to order a mini crib. I moved my dresser and clothes into our bedroom (my clothes have been in the guest room closet since we moved in) and this week we'll get the crib set up and shift things around a bit. I'm hoping that by buying a crib and going to the trouble of setting it up and shifting things around, the perfect house will come on the market for us. ;) 

Listening: to the new podcast, "But That's Another Story." It's hosted by Will Schwalbe, author of the book, "The End of Your Life Bookclub." On each episode he interviews an author and finds out what book changed their life. The episodes are pretty short and Schwalbe is such an excellent host. He's going one of those super soothing voices that just makes you instantly calm. 

Wishing: I worked in an industry with flexible scheduling options - like the option to work 4 days a week or something along those lines. Although I'm looking forward to going back to work, I feel guilty about the fact that Paul is going to be in daycare for 9 hours a day (and sometimes more...), 5 days a week. But there's no getting around that since Phil and I both work in an industry that doesn't offer flexible schedules. But this is the reality of being working parents and we will just have to make the most of the time with him on evenings and weekends. Plus I know he's in good hands at the daycare he'll be going to!
And here are some Paul pictures to close out this post!

I bought some toys for him over the weekend as he's getting to the stage where he can grab things!

What are you anticipating, grateful for and wishing for?

Friday, June 8, 2018


Wow, I managed to post 3 times this week! That has not happened in a very long time! Even though week days are much different from weekends for me while I'm home with Paul, I still look forward to the weekend as it's great to have Phil around to help out!

The high of my week was coming home after leaving Paul with my aunt so I could go to a doctor appointment and finding out he did not cry while I was gone! Score! She got to our house when Paul was down for a nap so I was a little nervous about how he'd handle waking up to a newish person (she's watched him before but it's been awhile since she last saw him). He did great, though, and was charming her with lots and lots of smiles! Hopefully this means the stranger danger phase is over for now (I know it will come back again later in the year as it's part of their development to fear strangers). 

The low of my week was seeing Paul come down with his first little cold. It's very minor as he hasn't had a fever but it's tough to hear him all stuffed up. I've had to use the Nose Frieda multiple times a day every day this week, which he HATES. 

The book I am reading is Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. This is a WWII novel that I've been meaning to read for such a long time! The physical book became available right before I was induced but I knew I wouldn't have much time to read a physical book so I canceled my request. The eBook finally became available at the library at the same time as 2 other books - one of which was a book club book! Luckily I was able to get through the other 2 books in time to read this before it's due. Score! I’m almost half done. It’s so sad. So far it mostly focuses on the treatment of women at a concentration camp. 

A Recipe I made was these pineapple and grilled shrimp skewers. I didn't make the quinoa side from the recipe as Phil is just not a fan of quinoa! Instead we had grilled asparagus and we split a baked potato. I love skewer meals. I want to try to make a skewer meal each week as there are so many different recipes out there!

The best money I spent was on some cashew milk ice cream. I haven't really had much success with going dairy free so I am not sure I will stick with it, but cow's milk ice cream has already bothered my stomach so even if I go back to eating dairy, I"m going to continue to eat cashew milk ice cream. It's the best dairy free ice cream I've ever had. I swear you can't tell it's made from cashews. 

My plans this weekend include having lunch with a woman I met through United Way today and then we are having another couple over for cards tonight. Paul goes to bed around 6:30-7 so we can resume our monthly card nights with this couple. We actually don't have plans on Saturday or Sunday which feels great! On Sunday there is an open street festival at the street by our house that I'm hoping to check out. They basically close down the street and there are lots of food trucks, entertainment, booths, etc. 

And because I know everyone likes baby photos, here are a couple of Paul from this week!

It's exhausting being this cute!

Did you make any new recipes this week? What was the high of your week?

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Baby Paul: 3 Months

The period that is known as the "fourth trimester" is over! For those not familiar with the fourth trimester, it's the 3-month period of adjustment after the baby is born. The thought is that human babies are born earlier than most mammals because of the size of their head and that there is a tremendous amount of development and adjustment that occurs in those first 3 months.

The 3rd month was more challenging than the first 2. The first 2 months were full of lots of worry over his weight gain (or lack thereof) but overall he was a fairly easy baby and a good sleeper. During the 3rd month, he found his appetite, but with that came more frequent wake ups at night. And he has been more fussy. But he gained almost 2 pounds this month, which is more than he gained during the first 2 months of life!!

He also developed a strong case of stranger danger and only wants to be held by Phil or me which makes it hard for me to get away since I worry about how much he will cry when I am gone. As a result, I only left him with someone besides Phil once this month and that was for a date night with Phil. He did pretty well for my friend and her husband but I had a lot of anxiety about leaving him - not because I wasn't confident in my friend's ability to care for him but because I worried he would scream the whole time we were gone! Once we got to the restaurant I did enjoy myself and tried not to think about him too much. It was wonderful to get some time away with Phil. I know we need to make a point to do that every other month or so.

But the smiles offset some of the challenges of the third month! He went from smiling spontaneously to smiling in response to us! His smile just melts my heart!


- laying on a blanket on the floor. He's a little bit more interested in his toys, too, like his giraffe from grandma Marlys...

and the baby paper that a friend's mom gave him. It makes a crinkling noise when he touches it.

But even without toys, he is happy on the floor, kicking his feet.

- After hating tummy time, he now likes it. Now that he likes tummy time, I think he's less motivated to roll onto his back, though!


- As I mentioned above, he doesn't like being held by anyone besides mom and dad. He will look around for us and scream/cry. :(

- He doesn't like being left alone in the living room while I do dishes/get something from the kitchen/etc. So I  have learned to bring him with me if I am going to be in the kitchen for awhile.

- The nose frieda. This is an alternative to the bulb-shaped nasal aspirator. He's been a little bit congested this month so we've used it quite a bit. I guess I can't blame him for hating it!


- we had our first road trip to the lake. He got to meet his great-grandma Janet and spent time with Grandma Marlys and his namesake, Grandpa Paul.

- The hot weather meant it was time to pull out a hat. He tolerates it pretty well. The hat clashes with the outfit in this photo, but this picture shows how blue his eyes are!

- He also wore sunglasses for the first time. These did not stay on for long, though, so I think we'll have to settle for using a hat for now.

- He's also wearing cloth diapers now, except for overnight as he's not big enough for the super absorbent overnight cloth diapers. I tried using cloth at the beginning of the month but they were comically huge on hims (see photo on the left below). But by the 2nd half of the month, he was big enough to wear them. Yea! We are happy to be generating less waste. I know some (many?) people probably think we are crazy to be using cloth diapers but it's actually not that much work in my opinion. And the cost savings and reduction of waste that will go in the landfill makes it worth it for us!

This photo shows how much he great this month. These 2 photos were taken just over 2 weeks apart. 
- He also rolled over twice from stomach to back on the day he turned 3 months! He had rolled over when he wasn't quite 2 months but I figured that it didn't count since I couldn't get him to do it again. But since he did it twice in one day, I'm considering that developmental milestone met!


I'm grateful that I still have about 1.5 more months with him. Most American women would be going back to work around now. I'm feeling extra tired these days so can't imagine functioning at work on the amount of sleep I'm getting. Here's hoping he's sleeping better by the time I return to work in mid-July!

All in all, we feel lucky to have such a healthy, happy baby. He definitely has his fussy times of day but overall he's a pretty happy little guy. 

Monday, June 4, 2018

Podcasts, Books and Workouts of May

Another month is in the books. May flew by pretty quickly. I'm grateful that I have about 1.5 more months of leave left as I don't feel quite ready to return to work just yet! Although I did see a bunch of coworkers at a HH retirement party last week and it made me realize that it will be good to go back to work as I really miss them!  


In the Dark - as I mentioned in my currently post for May, I'm loving the latest season of "In the Dark." It's about a man who has been tried 6 times for the same series of murders. The shady/unethical police work is kind of unbelievable. It makes you wonder how much this happens with other convictions. 


May was another strong month for reading. I finished 5 books. My favorite was The Garden of Small Beginnings. 

Darktown by Thomas Mullen - 3 stars - This is a plot-driven novel about a crime that occurs in Atlanta in the late 1930s. The city of Atlanta had recently decided to hire African American cops, but they weren't fully embraced by other cops. So the book is partially about the crime that occurred and partially about the racial discord in Atlanta. 

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain - 3 stars - This novel is about Ernest Hemingway's third marriage. I really loved "The Paris Wife" and was hoping that this one would be just as good but I didn't like it quite as much. I had a hard time feeling sympathy for his 3rd wife. You'd think she would have realized that Hemingway is a cheating scumbag?? I know that is harsh to say but he clearly had a pattern of cheating on his wives! 

The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman - 4 stars - This was my favorite book of the month as it was really easy to get into and was a fast read. It's about a woman who lost her husband in a tragic car accident. She joins a gardening club as a requirement of a work project. The cast of characters in the gardening club were so likable which made the book really enjoyable. Plus there is gardening advice in between each chapter. As an avid gardener, I really enjoyed that! 

The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy - 3 stars - This is a memoir written by a woman who went through an awful series of events, including losing a baby. There were aspects of the book that I enjoyed but overall I would say this was "just ok." If I could give half stars in goodreads, this would have been a 2.5 star book for me.

Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon - 4 stars - In this novel, the author imagines what happened aboard the last flight of the Hindenburg. The story is told from multiple points of view which is a writing style that I love! 


I finished week 5 of the 12 week post-baby program I purchased in April. I had to take a week off as I did something to my glute/hamstring that had me hobbling around for a couple of days. It was so strange. I think I must have tweaked something when I was doing some single leg lunges. Besides that minor set back, I've been feeling great. I also did my first run/walk combo last week. It's a lot of work to push a stroller, especially if there is the slightest change in elevation! I'm hoping to gradually increase the amount of time spent running and I'm going to try to get out for a run without the stroller each weekend when Phil is around to watch the baby. It feels really good to be back to exercising!