12 Months, 52 Weeks, 365 Days

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Today is a day that I’ve been anxiously awaiting and dreading all at the same time. Today is the day that our little girl turns one! While watching her grow, learn and change has become the greatest thrill in my life, it breaks my heart to see her moving further and further away from that little baby we brought into the world a year ago. It really does happen in the blink of an eye. Thankfully, however, all sadness is erased when I realize how extraordinary that daughter of ours really is.

I know all parents think their child is perfect and wonderful and brilliant, but I swear Haddie is spectacular. She has the brightest smile and sweetest personality. She is incredibly smart and amazes me day to day with the things she’s capable of.

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While I was pregnant, I can remember thinking – what if I don’t like this kid? Yes, that’s a terrible thing to even consider and I should have known better, but it was a serious concern. Everyone tells you what you’re supposed to feel, and I had an overwhelming fear that something would be missing. From the moment she came into the world, high pitched screams and all, I knew there was nothing to worry about. Within seconds of seeing that gorgeous face, gravity had shifted. Everything before that moment was the gone with the past and this incredible creature was all that mattered for the future.

Hadley Sutton, you are my life, my love, and my unwavering happiness. I vow to do everything in my power to protect your dreams and give you the most beautiful life possible. Things will not always be easy. There will be scrapes and bruises, bullies, and break-ups, but I will use every ounce of my strength to build you up and help you through…kissing away your tears and reminding you of the possibilities. I want you to live the life that brings you joy, and I promise to always be your biggest fan and cheerleader.

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Each day, you remind your daddy and I just how blessed we really are. You truly are our miracle.

Happy First Birthday, Haddie Girl.

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Infertility Awareness Week

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For so many of us women, we start to dream about our fairy tale lives at a very young age. There will be Prince Charming, a beautiful wedding, and the arrival of a gorgeous, bouncing baby girl or boy to make our family whole. Unfortunately for a large majority of us, that sweet little baby will not come easy.

The National Institutes of Health has discovered that 1 in 6 couples will struggle with infertility. If you have never dealt with the uncertainty and heartbreak that comes with this disease, I will tell you this…There are simply no words to describe it. Whether you have dealt with miscarriage, stillbirth, or simply the inability to conceive, there is no way to explain to someone how you feel. In honor of Resolve.Org’s National Infertility Awareness Week, I offer this post as an ode to all of my fellow warriors in this journey.

You are all beautiful, courageous men and women. I stand beside you and rejoice in your strength. For those of you who have achieved your dreams of a little one after a long and strenuous journey, I have so much gratitude and joy.  If you haven’t yet found your happily ever after, I offer you sweet dreams, lots of luck, and more baby dust that you can imagine.

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Our little girl is truly a miracle that I never thought possible. All of the cards were stacked up against us, but yet here you are. Our lives are so much brighter and more fulfilled because of you, little Hadley. I thank God for you every day.

Frozen: A Temptress Extraordinaire

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I did something terrible yesterday; something that there’s just no coming back from. I watched Frozen…twice…in a four hour period. I bow my head in shame.

You see this damn movie has been out for almost three years now, and despite the constant flutter of songs, quotes, and merchandise, I’d managed to escape its grasp. No two ways about it, this movie pissed me off. Who did these little Elsa and Anna idiots think they were? Being compared to the Disney greats like Belle and Ariel; it’s blasphemy I say. So strictly out of principle, I stood my ground and vowed never to see it. In fact, one of the first parental decisions I made upon finding out we were having a girl is that she would never fall victim to this godforsaken movie’s wicked claws.

I’d seen what was happening around me. There was a never-ending flow of Frozen themed birthday parties and Halloween costumes. The toy aisles were overrun with strangely misshapen snowmen and reindeer. And don’t even get me started on the song…I was convinced my ears would bleed the next time someone uttered those three little words (I won’t even write them..there will be no sing-along happening here!)

But alas, it seemed as though the odds were stacking up against me. When my friend Katie (a fellow Anti-Frozen team member) called to say she’d watched it, I realized there was a chance I may be the last person on Earth who was missing out on some extraordinary secret. So I did it…I set up the DVR and recorded the stupid movie.

I told myself that I wasn’t doing it or me. After all, I’m a mature adult that is capable of not watching some silly, little Disney movie. I was simply being a kind and responsible mother. How would it look if my poor child showed up somewhere and was completely out of the loop? At ten months old, that would clearly be devastating to her social standing.

So during playtime today, I put it on…just as background noise, you know? Very quickly I realized that my young child had no interest in watching this thing. Thank goodness…she wasn’t getting sucked in. I had dodged a bullet. Except what did that character just say? Where were they going? How’d the damn snowman get there again? Suddenly it was nap time and I graciously hit stop on the DVR, turning instead to some high-quality adult television.

But wait…what was that nagging? I began to realize I was anxious to continue watching. I mean, I had to find out if she chose Kristoff or Hans, right!?! So I did it. I finished the stupid movie and then, within a couple of hours, I’d restarted it for a second viewing.

So there you have it, folks. My life is officially over and I am just another weak-minded statistic. I don’t know how I fell so far, so fast, but the answer is yes: I want to build a damned snowman!

Now leave me to my Frozen-filled misery…it’s about time for me to watch it again.

 

An Afternoon Snooze

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Yesterday afternoon, my daughter let me rock her to sleep. You’re probably sitting there thinking, good for you…what’s the big deal? The big deal is that she hasn’t done this in months! When she was first born, and for many months after, she loved to be rocked and cuddled like most babies at that age do. I remember long, blissful naps on the couch where I lie cuddling her and looking down at her sweet, little face. Despite the ache in my neck, and the cramp in my legs from holding an awkward position for quite some time, I didn’t dare move a muscle. There was no scenario that would cause me to disrupt her slumber and ruin such a precious moment.

Then she got big (or, at least, she thinks she is!) And in recent months, she’s decided that she no longer wants to be rocked. During the fussy period before she falls to sleep, all we can do is lay her down. Forget the cuddling, the cooing, the rubbing of her back…the best thing  to do is just lay her down and let her do her thing. How quickly they stop needing us for certain things.

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And then yesterday happened. She’s been in a funny mood the past few days where, despite being completely exhausted, she refuses to take a nap. It’s frustrating periods of fighting with her to go to sleep, only to realize that somehow your child suddenly has the upper hand. After several rounds of this delightful game, I decided to try out the rocking chair (masochist that I am.) Within a few short rocks I realized that, miraculously, it was working! She was getting sleepier and had started snuggling into me. In a few moments ,she was out, and there I sat once again cuddling my sleeping babe. It was perfection.

I have to wonder if we’ll have any more moments like that. It may seem so simple, but it’s something I miss more than words. I can’t believe my little girl is already almost a year old. She’s changed so much and is learning something new every day. People talk about how quickly time will go by, but I never realized just how serious they were. Lesson learned. It’s easy to get wrapped up in cleaning the house, cooking the meals, doing our jobs. But we’ll never get these little moments back with our kids. So hold them tight and take advantage of every opportunity you have to just sit quietly and curl up with your babies. Just like people always say…they’re only little once!

What’s in a Name?

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You know what I think is funny? The way people react when I tell them my daughter’s name. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that her name might be slightly unconventional, but in a world full of North West’s and Spurgeon’s, I really didn’t think Hadley Sutton was that strange.

And yet somehow, whenever people hear her unique moniker for the first time they tend to look at us like we have three heads. We get questions like:

  • How did you come up with a name like that?
  • That’s kind of different isn’t it?

And my favorite…

  • So that must be a family name, right?

Because apparently, my husband and I would only choose a name so ridiculous because we have some sort of familial attachment to it. And of course, there’s always the people who simply respond, “Huh?” I guess they think it’s so weird we must have been mistaken when we spoke it. Now I’m not saying that the people who ask these questions are trying to be outright rude or hurtful, but we need to consider how statements and questions like these might come across.

Choosing a name is not an easy task. I reached a point in my pregnancy where I legitimately thought we’d just wait until she turned 18 and let her choose for herself. She could have just been kid or girl until then! What a daunting undertaking it is to determine what a person will be called for the rest of their life. The name on their report cards, driver’s license, and job applications. A person’s name is often the very first thing that we learn about them…the very first impression we have. As parents, we want to make it a good one.

Hadley’s name is inspired from a few different sources. When Ryan and I first started watching the show Parenthood, we fell in love with the name Haddie…somehow though it sounded too much like a nickname to make it official, though. When I read a book about Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson, I fell in love. After mentioning the name to Ryan, we thought on it for awhile before finally deciding it was perfect. After seeing Sutton a few different places, we both felt like it was such a uniquely, beautiful name.

When I hear the name Hadley Sutton, I think of elegance. It feels like such a strong, feminine name that will stand the test of time. To our ears, our daughter’s name is something beautiful.

While we might not always agree with the names that people choose, goodness knows I’ve heard some doozies, we should try to remember that a mom and dad worked hard to choose that name. A lot of painstaking thought and emotion went into the decision and who are we to pass judgment? And if we feel like we there’s no way around being slightly judgmental…maybe let’s not do it to their faces?

That Whole Giving Birth Thing – Part 1

Both before, and after, I got pregnant, I would often hear mothers talking about how beautiful their birth experiences were.  Really, ladies?  Beautiful?  Perhaps they’d suffered from some sort of post-baby amnesia and forgotten all of the pain that comes with labor and delivery?  That was the only valid explanation since beautiful seems a far stretch in the adjective department.  I mean sure, the final product of the experience was bound to be pretty extraordinary but the path getting there, not so much!  I hated these women…I just knew they were lying to me.  They wanted me to suffer right along with them.  When thinking back at this mindset, however, I must meekly admit my mistake.  I’d been wrong (this rarely happens…just ask my husband!)

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One Week Past My Due Date

It was a Tuesday morning, 10 days past my due date.  My stubborn little girl seemed to have found a nice comfy spot that she was not so willing to leave.  I’d begun mentally preparing myself for the induction that I hadn’t wanted, but was apparently going to need. After another appointment with my OB, he decided to “check me” one last time.  I assumed this was purely for shits and giggles since I hadn’t been making any progress thus far, but I dutifully placed my feet in those stirrups and waited for him to tell me nothing had changed.  Well this particular check was slightly more intense and seemed to take longer than any of the  others had.  Slightly concerned, I began wondering what he was up to.  Once he’d finally finished, he informed me that, I’d dilated to a lovely 2 cm!  I lie there in disbelief and then heard him say, “Oh, and I went ahead and did a membrane sweep today.”  Thanks for the warning doc…that explained the extra lovely examination.

Despite the fact that my doctor insisted the sweep would not put me into labor, I started having some sporadic, but intense, contractions.  Throughout the rest of the day, they would come and go, but I chalked them up to the same Braxton Hicks I’d been experiencing for about a month.  The hubby and I had dinner that night, cleaned up, lounged around, and then climbed into bed.

Around 10pm, my contractions started coming every 7-8 minutes.  I told my hubby, Ryan, to get some sleep; called my mom and told her the same thing.  I had a funny feeling we’d be taking a trip to the hospital early the next morning.  I tried to lay down and was increasingly uncomfortable.  The contractions started getting closer, and before 10:30 they were 1-2 minutes apart.  At this point, Ryan was awake again and insisted that we go to the hospital.  I got up and started calmly walking around the house, putting the last minute things into my bag, while Ryan frantically raced around.  He was looking at me like I was insane and couldn’t quite understand how I was staying so calm.  By about 11, we were in the car and making the 45 minute drive to the hospital…

The Beauty in Breastfeeding

Recently, one of my Facebook friends posted the most adorable photo of her newborn daughter breastfeeding. It was completely tasteful and displayed such a genuine love between a mother and her little girl.  There is nothing quite like those first few days after delivery when you and your new baby are trying to figure one another out and simply enjoying the little moments together.  Sadly, though, a few hours after that lovely picture was posted, it was abruptly taken down.

It would seem that some individual on this new mama’s friend list reported the image as “nudity” and Facebook saw fit to remove it.  I’m here to tell you, there was nothing inappropriate about this picture.  This makes me wonder though…why are people so ignorant?

As a breastfeeding mama, myself, I am so insulted by the constant negativity that is still hurled at us. As many years that women have been doing this, one would think that we would be more accustomed to the idea.  How is it possible that people are still so revolted by a mother wanting to do something that’s completely natural for her child?  Do they not understand the extensive number of benefits that come from breastfeeding?  Can they not comprehend what a sweet bond a mother can develop with her baby through such a simple action?

I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with formula feeding.  Most of the women in my family have formula fed their children, and we’ve all turned out just fine.  But if formula is so widely accepted, why does there have to be such a stigma to breastfeeding?

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I was on Facebook one day and noticed a post containing an article about the many reasons a breastfeeding mom should learn to just cover up.  The individual who posted the article was in complete agreement, and seemed appalled by the idea of a mother nursing their child without a cover.  Okay fine, have your opinion, but here’s the irony, my darling readers.  Over half of this individual’s Facebook photos consisted of them wearing low-cut tops that put her boobs on full display.  Riddle me this…what’s the difference?

How is it okay for a woman to walk around with her boobs hanging out for fun, but when a nursing mother accidentally flashes you, it becomes a scandalous affair?  Personally, I don’t feel comfortable nursing in public without a cover, but that’s simply because I’m a modest individual.  If you’re brave enough to do it, though, go for it, because let me tell you…covers are a bitch!  A wiggly baby does not quite understand that they have to eat with a giant piece of material over their face because you don’t want to risk seeing our boobs.

So can’t we just let it go?  Deciding to breastfeed is something to be proud of.  Despite what a lot of people may think, it’s not very easy.  It can be tiring, painful and a bit of a time suck; but I, personally, wouldn’t have it any other way.  Nursing my little girl, is one of the highlights of my day.  For a moment, even if only briefly, it gives me the chance to slow down and just focus on her sweet face.  The fact that I can provide such a beautiful thing for her makes me feel so strong and happy.

Every mother should do what they feel is best for their child, and our job as individuals is not to judge them, but to support them in their efforts.  Whether you’re a mother, a sister, a friend, or just a member of the general public, learn to raise one another up instead of knocking each other down.

Have a wonderful week, Everyone!