Mammary

mam·ma·ry, ˈmam(ə)rē/, adjective,  relating or belonging to the milk-secreting organ of a female mammal

In the past few weeks, I really feel like my mammary glands are giving up. When we were in Jamaica I pumped a few times each day and managed to extract roughly 25 ounces over the 5-day period. It was deflating, literally! I was able to bring that milk back home with me which I was very happy about.  Continue reading

One Month

One month has flown by and I have seen so many changes in that time. I can’t help but wish for time to slow down. At the same time, I find myself asking who she will look like, what she will become. To remember her early days and months, I plan to take monthly pics. These images are certainly not my best work, totally amateur style, but the important thing is capturing images of this sweet baby to cherish and have for recall. We’ll be able to look back and review changes from one month to the next and always remember this first year of her life, and the months when she was tiny and squishy.

Month One

  • Eyes: Stormy blue (greyish blue)
  • Hair: Brunette
  • Nicknames: Sweet Baby, Baby Girl, and Boobie Monster
  • Favorite things about her: Her smile ( I get more smiles with each passing day and she gave me a few for the photos too!), snuggles, watching her watch us
  • Approximate weight: 10+ lbs (8 lbs 10.6 oz at her first check up on 05/01; up from 7lbs 12 oz at birth)
  • Eats: very good, exclusively breastfed
  • Sleeps: very good. some nights she’ll do a 5 hour stretch, but on average 3-4 hours between feedings

First set-up includes a baby blanket made for my mother when she was pregnant with me and a pink elephant from Grandma Cathy. Mint onesie, compliments of great-aunt Paula.

DW4A39911_1DW4A4024_1 DW4A4022_1 DW4A4019_1 DW4A4007_1 DW4A4005_1These images are for Daddy. He wanted some with is model JD 820 tractor. We’ll have to work on a better set up for future monthly sessions. JD socks from aunt Dena!

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Showing off her muscles!

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That smirk! Love!

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And I couldn’t have managed this photo session without the assistance and supervision of Gus and Nora. They have felt slightly neglected since Connie’s arrival, but are handling it well.

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Connie Elizabeth_Newborn Session

Our baby girl is ONE MONTH new today. I want to document her growth and changes with monthly sessions and did so today, which made me realize I hadn’t posted her newborn session.

At just 5 days new, our precious angel had her second photo session (we’ll count the birth documentary as session #1). Love these photos captured, as always, by our dear friend and photographer, Rachel. Check her out at http://www.rachelmanzke.com/.

I am realizing all too well, already, how quickly time goes. I’ll say this cliché statement a billion times before she is 18. These images will help me remember her always as my tiny, innocent, squishy, sweet-smelling babe.

My Connie Elizabeth, you have stolen our hearts!

Mother’s Day, A New Meaning

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This Mother’s Day holds a whole new meaning for me. It’s been 35 years in the making. I crossed the bridge from daughter to mother. I am so grateful for a little girl of my own, for the tremendous blessing to be her mother. I am grateful for my partner, my loving husband, who shares this parenthood journey with me. I am still in awe of what we created.

As I said in my last post, you can never fully appreciate the ultimate sacrifice of one’s self or understand the profound love and devotion mama’s hold for their babes until you become a mother yourself. I knew I would love her, I knew I’d love being a mother, but I never really understood the magnitude. And honestly, I probably still don’t. This amazing soul is only going to enhance my world more with each passing day and through our milestones and joys and challenges I’ll understand more. I’ll love more. I’ll give more. She consumes me.

I’ve joined a sisterhood of mothers. I have new-found appreciation for you all and am delighted to be a member of the club. To all the mother’s out there, I wish you a very happy Mother’s Day.

To my mama, this Mother’s Day and always, I want you to know I love you to the depths of my soul and am so honored to be your daughter. I’ve always admired you, but even more so now as I see you with my own daughter, your namesake, our sweet Connie Elizabeth. She is blessed to have you as her grandmother and she will cherish you.

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Cody and I are blessed with so many amazing women in our lives. Our moms, our grandmothers, our sisters, and family and friends who also share the title of Mom. Happy, happy Mother’s Day to you all.

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Happy, happy Mother’s Day, everyone!
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39 Week Musings

DW4A3791_1Welcome April, our birth month! Nevermind my husband’s attempt at an April Fool’s joke yesterday… we made it to 39 weeks and are in waiting. My apologies to those who were fooled.

A mix of feelings this week as our big day approaches. Part of me is ready to meet our babe, to learn if we are parents to a son or a daughter, to see what they look like, and to hold them.

Another part of me wants to remain pregnant. I really l-o-v-e my belly. I’m in awe of it and admire it in the mirror daily. It represents every blessing that has come my way in life; every path that lead me to where I am today, a partnership with my dear Cody and our journey together to become parents. I love the movements, especially when they tickle me. I love that my babe is safe and healthy inside me. I love the experience of it all. I’ll miss the belly and movements. I’ll miss the ease of being a parent to only 4-legged creatures. I’ll miss just me and Cody. This is a life-changing event.

And yet another part of me now begins to focus on our impending labor and birth of our child. I’ll admit, a small part of me is a wee bit scared. Not completely, not yet. I fear I will become more scared, and that fear is my enemy. I won’t be relying on medications to aid in my labor or to relieve me of feeling every raw moment of child-birth. I’m going to experience it fully. Am I ready?

I wrote an entire post about my choice to birth naturally, if you are interested, you can read it here: https://bearvale.com/2015/04/01/why-i-am-choosing-a-natural-birth/

DW4A3787_1I know I’ll be just fine. Yes, it will be a pain like no other, but it will also be a joy and reward like no other.

So as our day draws nearer, I ponder when it will be the day. How will labor start? Waking in the middle of the night, during a hike, or as I work? It’s fun to consider this.

I love our babe so much already, yet I know this is a fraction of what my heart is capable of, just an ounce of the flood of emotions that will take me over when I lay eyes on them and hold them for the first time.  Couple that with my excitement to see Cody’s face as he officially becomes a father, as we connect in awe and humble amazement during those initial moments following birth and realize the miracle we have created. How insignificant everything else was before that moment. Our excitement now does not compare to that which we will feel as we relish in our brand new babe and begin making calls (yes, family, you won’t learn of the arrival of our babe via Facebook!) to share our happy news. I look forward to the expansion of my heart, my soul, and my capacity for love, gratitude, and amazement.

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Nora is excited to have a babe of her own

39 Week Summary

Due Date: April 9 (a.k.a. NEXT WEEK! or sooner…. or longer….time will tell)

Weight Gain: 29 lbs

Activity: Restrictions are off and resuming normal activity and on-purpose exercise. Hiking daily through the fields with the pups.

Pregnancy “Side-effects”: 

  • Yes to breakouts, minor morning sickness weeks 5 – 9, and frequent trips to the restroom
  • No to everything else: stretch marks, varicose veins, swelling, Braxton Hicks, hypertension, constipation, heartburn, leg cramps, nose bleeds….. etc.
  • And to my surprise, I have not missed or craved beer or wine during this pregnancy, though I have given into other cravings: PB&J sandwhiches, french toast, and chocolate

Feeling: Great! Blood pressure and heart rate are low. I don’t feel uncomfortable or miserable as some warned me I would at this point in my pregnancy. Sure…the lower ligaments in my hips/pelvis feel weaker, the babe continues to push high into my ribs (only on the right side), and I am tired and ready for bed by 9pm. But I am sleeping well, and up and out of bed before my husband each morning. 🙂 I’m grateful for a wonderful pregnancy and that we arrived at 39 weeks without complication.

DW4A3776_1Baby: According to the “baby as a fruit” comparison, baby is the size of a mini watermelon. S/he is positioned low in pelvis. Heart rate has been in the 130s the past few weeks, but at Tuesday’s appointment, was in the 120s. Movements continue to be frequent but became stronger this week. They don’t hurt, but its clear s/he is lobbying for space in there and body parts are more pronounced with the movements, especially the butt, legs and feet.

This Week: 

  • Got a new toy–a Fitbit. It’s fun tracking my steps and elevation during my hikes. Will also help to get me back on track after I heal up a bit.
  • Garden seeds have been planted/started (many thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law). Horticulture season is upon us!
  • Massage and chiropractic treatments! Typically these alternate weeks, but with time becoming short, I have one of each this week.
  • Cody “frost-seeded” the hay fields and pastures. This will add clover to our field, enhancing forage for our herd.
  • Out every day for walks and hikes—loving the weather!
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Bear Vale Dreaming Tree 39 Weeks Pregnant–Out for a Hike