Phoebe Sue

Dear Phoebe Sue,

Today is your first birthday! I can’t believe that you have been with us for a whole year now!! What a joy and blessing it has been to watch you grow. I love being your mommy! You are such a happy baby. Always full of smiles and giggles. You adore your daddy and sister. You are crazy about circles and animals. You can say cat, dog, mama and dada. You don’t love to eat but you LOVE to nurse. You can stand for a few seconds and I think you’re almost ready to walk. You love music and clapping and you smile so big when Daddy plays his guitar for you. Sometimes you go pee pee in the potty too!

Today I’m watching you take a nap and I’m just overwhelmed with happiness.

I love you so much. I can’t help but think back on this day one year ago. I’d like to tell you the story of the day you came to be with us.

The day you were born, there was laughter in the air. We checked in at 5 in the morning and Daddy and I went to wait in the pre-op area. People were allowed to come visit as we waited for my operation. But for a lot of the time it was just me and Daddy. Daddy makes me laugh. It’s one of the things that I love most about him. That day was no different than any other in that regard. While I was being attended to by nurses he was finding ways to get me to giggle. And he was laughing too. The nurse even commented that she had never had someone laughing so much back there.

We laughed and talked and kissed. It was a beautiful moment for us. I was a little nervous but mostly I was excited. Your sister, Violet, was worried. She wasn’t sure about mommy having an operation. But I told her I would be just fine and soon she would be able to hold you.

When they came to take me back to the operating room, Daddy had to wait behind for a little while. We had to say goodbye in the hallway. I never ever like to say goodbye without a kiss from Daddy.

We kissed and he told me he loved me. Then they took me back to get my epidural. I was so nervous. I started shaking very hard and crying. I kept moving everytime the needle came close. I wanted your daddy. They wouldn’t let him come in yet though.

So I hugged the nurse. She told me to hug her as tightly as I wanted. So I did. I squeezed as hard as I could. Finally I was numb from the waist down and they let your daddy come back to me.

He kissed me through the mask he was wearing and held my hand. I wish I could remember what he said but I can tell you just holding his hand and looking into his eyes made me feel so much better.

The doctors were so careful and quick and suddenly you were here. I couldn’t wait to see you and hear your cry. My heart raced and I cried knowing you were waiting for your mama to hold you.

Your daddy held you first. He was so amazed by you. I think he fell in love with you right that second!

At last, you were with us and my heart felt like it grew 100 times bigger. I couldn’t believe how beautiful you were. Everyone said the same. You were perfect!

I held you on my chest and you were so strong. You actually lifted your tiny head and moved it to my breast! You nursed right away. Your daddy and I were so surprised! You nursed for a while as they stitched me up and then you went back to daddy’s arms.

He held you and also made sure I was ok too. You have a very thoughtful and kind father.

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Everyone couldn’t wait to see you. Especially your sister!

We stayed in recovery for about an hour and I held you most of the time. Sometimes daddy held you too. You learned how to breastfeed very quickly. You were perfect in every way. It was an amazing day filled with so much love.

“We made you, my darling, with the love in each of our hearts. We were a family, my darling, right from the start.”

Phoebe, you are our rainbow baby. We waited for you. We prayed for you. You are our dream come true little one.

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I can’t imagine our lives without you. Thank you for letting me be your mommy. Thank you for making me smile every single day.

We pray that you grow strong and healthy and always know that you are loved.

Forever love,

Mommy

Delivery Photos credit to Marsha M. Mason

Memorable Monday

I have been thinking a lot lately about all the women who influenced my thoughts on breastfeeding. I would have to say that my Aunts were a great influence as I was growing up. In adulthood, I have been influenced by friends and especially my sister-in-law.

After graduating college I returned home three months after the birth if my niece. My brother and his wife brought the first grandchild into our family. I was an aunt for the first time. They really wanted someone to watch her in the home and I gladly took the job.

I loved caring for her and watching her sleep. In many ways, those six months that I cared for her really helped to shape me as a mother. I had babysat from the age of 12 but this was different. I was in charge if her care from about 7:30am until around 3 PM. I fed her, changed her, soothed her and gave her medicine when she was sick. It was a wonderful experience for me.

My sister-in-law breastfed her until she was about a year old. She had to return to work as an elementary school music teacher when my niece was 3 months old. So, as you can imagine, they were still really in the phase of nursing quite often.

My SIL asked if I would bring the baby up to her school at lunch every day so that she could nurse her on her break. I was more than happy to oblige. Each day I would drive my niece to school, which took 30 min., to see her mama. I would really try hard to time her pumped bottles in the morning to make sure she was ready to nurse when we got there but not too hungry in the car.

Sometimes I misjudged and she would scream and cry the whole way there. That was always hard, as I would have to just keep driving while she cried in order to get there in time to see her mama. I would sing to her and talk to her but often times she could not be soothed until she saw her mama’s sweet face.

My SIL was so strong and determined to breastfeed her baby. She pumped through the day and I always had enough pumped milk to feed my niece. As soon as she came home from work she would sit in her recliner and nurse her daughter. She was amazing and I have always admired her strength. She helped shape me into the mother I am today.

So, thank you,sister, for all that you did for my niece and thank you for being such a wonderful role model for me.
I love you!

Memorable Mondays

goishibf 1.0 Some news I haven’t shared with you all…

As of April 1st 2014 I have become a stay-at-home mom again! I couldn’t be more thrilled with my new daily routine. It has been a joy to wake up knowing that I get to spend the whole day with our precious daughter. We have been enjoying taking long walks and having nature scavenger hunts, reading till we can’t read anymore, singing, playing the piano, painting and dancing. It is what I always longed to do.

Having said all that, I have recently gotten out of the swing of writing on my blogs. So in order to get back into the groove I have decided to try a couple of things to get me started again.

On Mondays I am going to try writing about a memory, “Memorable Mondays”

Wednesdays will be “Wordless Wednesdays”, where I will try to post a photo or an inspiring image I have found.

Thursdays will be “Thoughtful Thursdays”. I will try to share an inspirational quote or verse.

So here we go…..

Memorable Monday #1

When I was a teenager, I had an Aunt who was breastfeeding her first daughter. My aunt has always been a very strong, independent woman and she came across to me as a very confident breast-feeder. She would feed my cousin whenever she was hungry. No matter where we were. She was the first of my 8 aunts that I ever saw feeding outside of the back room at my grandmother’s house. She always had on clothing that provided easy access for nursing and she laughed when my little cousin would call out “teta mama teta!”. Her eyes sparkled when she laughed and smiled down at her growing baby.

I remember one particular occasion when the whole family was taken aback by her nursing in public. We were at my oldest cousin’s wedding. My brothers and I were singing at the altar when we looked out at the pews to see my aunt opening up her blouse and exposing her breast so that her baby could drink. My youngest brother gasped and we all tried to hold in our giggles.

After the wedding was over my other relatives and my grandmother lovingly teased her about showing so much of her skin and all wondered how she could dare breastfeed during a wedding and in a church pew for that matter. It became a family inside joke that everyone had seen Aunt ***’s breasts. She never seemed to mind and laughed along with everyone else.

My Aunt also breastfeed her children longer than any of my other aunts. Her oldest nursed until the age of three. Everyone nagged her about weaning and even I joined in on the teasing. Me, a childless teenager, teasing my aunt about breastfeeding. I can’t even imagine doing something like that now. She took it all in stride though. At least that is what I gathered from the outside….

Now here I am still breastfeeding my 4 1/2 year old daughter and the shoe is on the other foot. I get occasional questions from family members about when I am going to wean. But the fact that I live across the ocean and only see my family for about 2 weeks out of a year probably has something to do with that. I think I am the most blatant public nurser in my family. And when I nursed her in the pews of both my grandparents funerals last summer, they all turned a blind eye.

I truly believe that although I didn’t know it at the time, watching my aunt nurse with such confidence helped mold me into the mother I am today. The memories I have of being around her while she breastfed her children gives me courage and strength and help me to feel like what I am doing is normal and natural. So, although I am not going to mention her name, I know she will know this is about her when she reads it and I want to tell her thank you. Thank you, dear aunt, for being brave and fearless. Thank you for being strong and confident and for showing me how beautiful this experience truly is. I love you.

Thank you to all the mothers out there that nourish their children in the company of others. You may not know it, but you are paving the way for so many other mothers. You have the ability to change the way breastfeeding is perceived. You can make a difference in the lives of those around you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

goishibf 2.0

 

 

 

 

The Four to Eight Challenge

No, I am not challenging you to breastfeed from 4 years to 8 years. This post isn’t even about challenging to breastfeed from 4 months to 8 months…. This post isn’t about breastfeeding at all….This post is about technology and the way it has changed our lives.

I will be quick to say that I am indeed grateful in so many ways for the rapid advancement in technology and the availability of the world wide internet. It has been so helpful in my life, especially since I live on the other side of the world from my family and many friends. In the aftermath of the tsunami in 2011, it aided in my knowledge of the whereabouts of many of my dear loved ones and it also allowed me to contact my family to let them know that my family was still alive. I am thankful for the internet.

I am thankful that I can look up anything that starts to worry me as I raise my child, be it a normal mommy worry or a serious medical condition. There is literally an endless amount of information right at my fingertips whenever a question pops up into my mind.   “Should I teach my child to read before the age of three?”
“Is it normal to get a rash after a hot bath?”
“How long is too long to leave a cavity?”                                                                         “How do I treat my child’s cough naturally?”                                                                 If you have a question, it is highly likely that someone else had had that same question and there is a forum or a website with all the answers you were or weren’t hoping to find.

Another amazing thing about this infinite amount of information is that if my daughter asks me a question that I don’t have all the answers to I can say, “hold on, let’s look it up.”               “Why do birds have white poop?”                                                                                   “What exactly makes the wind blow?”                                                                           “Why does it rain?”                                                                                               You get the idea. Usually I try to give an answer that suits her age. For example when asked why it rains I usually reply, “so that the plants and trees can grow and to fill our lakes with more water.” But sometimes that is not enough for her. She really wants to know WHY. So I am thankful that I can look things up virtually anytime I like and I can find an answer or a video or a picture that can describe it in ways that I don’t have the ability to do. On the other hand…..

With this constant availability of information at our fingertips there is also a loss of wonder. My husband brought that point up. To wonder about something, to really wonder and ponder and mull it over in your mind can be such a beautiful and inspiring action. What will our future generations be missing out on because of the lack of the lack of an answer to every question. Or just merely having to wait until you could get your hands on the encyclopedia or a book from the library about it. We have constant access to information these days and though it is wonderful and I am truly thankful for it, I am also a little tired of it. I am not saying I want to do away with it and raise my daughter in the woods away from all technology (although that wouldn’t be terrible). I am saying though, that I want to teach her the importance of wonder and waiting and of being present to those around her.

So much can be lost by always reaching for a device to find the answer. I try hard not to do that but I am definitely guilty of doing it more than I would like.

And what about the life that is happening around you while you have your eyes glued to a screen? I am not here to shame anyone or judge anyone who uses their phone or tablet in the presence of their child. That is definitely not what this post is about. I am, rather, challenging myself and those who wish to accept the challenge to take a step back and try doing things without your device for a little bit each day. We lived without WiFi and constant access to the internet not so long ago and I know we can still do it today.

Most people who know me personally know that I’m not one to stay on my iPod texting or using the internet when I’m in their presence or my daughter’s presence. My rule for myself has always been that I generally don’t use social media or read blogs, answer email, etc. when my daughter is around. I usually do these things when she is in bed or during the day when she is at school. I have found myself from time to time though, reaching for my ipod to check my email or facebook and though it is a quick glance (perhaps while she is watching a Daniel Tiger episode on netflix that I have seen MANY times) it is still taking me out of the moment I could be sharing with my daughter and my husband.

Starting last Tuesday I gave myself a challenge. When I left my office for the day I turned of my WiFi on my ipod. I told myself I would not turn it back on until the next morning. I decided that there really is nothing so important to me that I need to be checking my email or facebook that couldn’t wait until morning. I left my cell phone on and if there had been an emergency someone could call me and skype was still signed in on my computer. Also if Violet had become ill and I needed to look up something medical, I could still look it up on my computer to find an answer.

That night as I played with my daughter, I felt so free. I felt untethered and alive. I felt fully present to my family in a way that I haven’t felt since we got the wireless router installed. It was wonderful.

I am not saying to unplug yourself completely.

Here is the challenge that I gave myself and that I have been doing for the last 4 days:

From the hours of 4pm – 8pm I switch my ipod to airplane mode. I haven’t actually been turning mine back on until morning. But the agreement is to have it off from at least 4-8. If I really truly need to know something I can look it up on my computer. And starting this weekend I am also going to be using airplane mode all day on Sunday. That is 4 hours a day and all day one day of the weekend.

If you are a stay at home parent perhaps challenge yourself to turn off the WiFi for 4 hours during the day when you can best engage with your children. And maybe even a certain amount in the evenings too so that you can connect with your spouse.

Another challenge could be switching to airplane mode when you are in the presence of others (out to dinner or visiting with a friend).

I hope that this will be a start for my family to teach by example the importance of respect for each other and those around you. Technology is here to stay and I am glad for it. But as long as we are allowed to live on this planet we also need to have the ability to communicate and connect with each other on a human level. I hope to teach my daughter how great technology can be but also to practice moderation in using it.

This is my hope and this is the 4-8 challenge. I hope you will join me!

4-8challenge