The “B” Word

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I am prefacing this post with a disclaimer to keep the peace and good vibes flowing around here… I know the topic of breastfeeding is an emotional one and can evoke some pretty strong opinions. I am asking that you be kind in your thoughts, judgements and feedback. I realize that by living my life out loud, I also live with a door wide open to harsh feedback and criticisms. In an effort to live my most authentic life out loud and to help others, I am sharing my story…

img_9368I haven’t written in a while. I’ve been a little busy with my tiny human and his super hunky Daddy, Hubbz. I’ve jotted down snippets of Mommyhood in my phone’s note section along the way, promising myself I will expand on the fleeting thought. 4 months into Mommyhood and I finally feel like I am coming up for air. Seriously, I’m like a whale that is breaching the water’s surface, showering water in every direction and not really giving a turd because #Motherhood (I just compared myself to a whale. It’s horrible, self-deprecating humor, I know, I know.)

I have so much to talk about. From the 27 hour, dilated to 10, pushed for 2 hours, ended in a c-section, because he was sunny-side-up birth, to the awe of that first poopy diaper (It was nothing if not thrilling… I kid you not.) The utter, amazing, sexiness of marriage that got kicked up a notch with a baby, to the first time you see your naked post-baby body in the mirror and just sob because WHO. THE. EFFING. EFF. IS. THAT!? The incredible feeling when your son looks into your eyes and giggles, to the not so incredible OH. EM. GEE. WHAT. THE. EVERLIVING. FROCK. ARE. WE. DOING!? moments.

Like I said, I have so much to talk about! I will get to it all… Eventually.

For this first go-round let’s just dive right in and talk about boobs. (If you’re mortified that I just wrote the word boobs in my blog, don’t read through my others where I talk about my cycles, my cervix and Hubbz’s sperm.) Before I dive in, I must pause and give a shout out to the breastfeeding Mama’s… For you Mama’s who are doing it for months on end, GO YOU! I offer up to you major kudos and many blessings!
I am in serious awe of your desire… I didn’t have that desire.
Well I did, for like a minute.
Then it vanished.
Gone.
Without a trace.
Bye Felicia.
Actually, it didn’t even say bye.
True story.

So I will begin the boob talk by saying, Hi, my name is Dez and breastfeeding is not my favorite thing. If I had to make a list of all my most favorite things, breastfeeding would not be on that list. If I had to make another list of my second most favorite things breastfeeding would not be on that list either. These lists could go on for a really, really long time and I promise, you would never see breastfeeding on those lists. For me, breastfeeding didn’t make me feel uber-connected to my sweet son. If we’re being honest it made me feel like kind of a failure because I disliked it so much and then I beat myself up for thinking something was wrong with me. What kind of woman doesn’t like breastfeeding!? Well, turns out, me. It’s taken me 4 months to come to peace with these feelings and it’s kind of terrifying to me that I just admitted out loud that I didn’t like breastfeeding. Almost terrifying enough to make me want to close the laptop and pretend like these feelings aren’t there. Alas, I vowed when I started my blog it was my life, out loud, so… We press on. I have a village around me that consists of Mama’s many times over and quite a few medical professionals. My village was there every step of the way with the soundest advice for our situation. I am putting our story out there and writing this for the struggling Mama’s who felt like I did except maybe they don’t have a village to talk to.

For you Mama’s who, for whatever reason, are doing the formula thing… Take a seat, order up a glass of wine with me and let’s chat.

img_9366 I was fortunate to have a kid that latched. I know for most women this is half of the battle. Right from the recovery room, our tiny human latched right on the boob. I was thrilled because we all know the mantra… #BreastIsBest. I was supposed to be breastfeeding whether I liked it or not so… Breastfeeding I did. My milk didn’t come in until day 4 because of the c-section so day 3 I pumped and we supplemented with formula. Then, the floodgates opened and my milk came in. Lord have mercy, my milk came in. And so it began. Feed, pump, repeat, over and over and over and over and over. Massimo loved falling into a milk coma mid-feed because when you are a tiny human, eating is hard. I’d wake him with zero luck. When he did wake up, he’d wake up hangry as all get out and so we’d begin again. (I pause to note that hangry is not a typo. He was hangry as in hungry and pissed that he was hungry all rolled into one… He got that from his Mama.) The cycle continued with me never knowing how much he was getting, and him being in a constant state of not sleeping sound because he was hungry, and not eating enough because he was sleepy.

Society has done this thing where it makes women feel less than if they aren’t feeding img_8789their kid liquid gold for the first year of life. I know it because I felt the pressure of it. Along the way I have had friends open up to me about their struggles and it dawned on me that if I am feeling this way and they are feeling this way, I bet there are a lot of other women feeling this way too. Don’t get me wrong, the benefits of breastmilk are incredible and I am so thankful I breastfed (via boob or bottle) for the better part of 4 months. In the same breath, I am so thankful I am done. I am a wife, a Mommy and I have a career that I love. My baby boy is happier when he is fully fed and fully rested. I am a better Mommy and wife when I am not tied to a breast pump. I am more accomplished in my career when I am not pausing every few hours to pump. The way I look at it, while breast may be best, a content Mommy and baby are better. For us that meant adding in formula at 3 months and packing up the pump for good at 4 months. Do I still get cases of Mommy Guilt and wonder if we made the right choice? Absolutely! Then I look over at my son. He is healthy, he is growing like crazy and he is peaceful and content. I offer up a prayer of thanks to God that I was able to provide the nourishment for our son for as long as I did. And then I give thanks for formula that can nourish and sustain our son too.

There are a million ways to raise a tiny human. At the end of the day, what matters is the peace in your heart about the way you are raising yours.

CheersDez cursiveslope

Will You Join Me?

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It’s 3:45 am and I find myself feeding my baby boy while scrolling the news. I lay here safe and sound, snuggled up and cozy despite the freezing temps outside. The necessities of living go more than met 100 times over. I live in an abundance of food, shelter and clothing. I can honestly say I want for nothing in my life.

All the while, in a place that seems to be a world away, morning is breaking- with it, horrible heartbreak. Devastation is happening that I will never in my lifetime know about. Bloodied bodies fill the streets while screaming, crying, gut-wrenching mourning and terror fill the air. Horrors a human should never have to endure.

I look down at my sweet son and feel so many emotions. I don’t want to be another uninformed American so wrapped up in my life that I fail to see the horrors of humanity… Yet sadly, I am. The Twittersphere is so full of information from all sides- it’s hard to know where to begin to look to understand the truth of what is happening. I seek to understand, yet fall short of knowing if I am getting all the information. I feel at a loss and helpless.

I look at my sweet son now fast asleep in my arms with a full belly. His chest rising and falling with each breath. Selfishly, I pray over him that he will never know the horrors of this world. My mind flashes back to the image of Aylan Kurdi’s little body being picked up off a Turkish beach. A cold shiver runs down my spine and I am reminded that we saw this coming.

I close my eyes and I bow my head. I am at a loss when it comes to the horrors of humanity so I do what I know how to do… I pray. I encourage you, my sweet friends, to do the same. Even if you are like me and don’t quite have all the answers. Even if you are like me and don’t necessarily understand it all.

Pray for Aleppo.

Pray for humanity.

Pray for our country.

Pray for our world.

If there is one thing I can stand boldly in and know for sure it’s that God hears prayers. It sounds cliche, I get it, but I also know to the gut of my soul that it’s not.
Will you join me?

Will you pray with me?

A Thanksgiving Reflection

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It’s been some time since I have published a post. Our little bundle of love is a month old and has been the most amazing thing that has happened to our lives. There is plenty to blog about and share with the world and I have been definitely been writing it all down. I will share it at some point but right now we are so focused on pouring our lives into this little guy and each other. The house is quiet and I sit in the rocking chair holding my sweet little boy. Cuddling him in my arms and staring at his face and taking in all his tiny features. Watching his chest rise and fall, imagining the sound of his beating heart like we heard so many times when he was in my belly. I sit here breathing in his little baby scent and I am so in love. Beyondimg_7736 the love, bigger than this love, something more stirs inside of me. It is the sheer amazement of the God we serve. For two years Hubbz and I prayed for a baby. We prayed for a sweet little one that we could call our own. Through our infertility journey, we turned to God-led medicine and science to help our miracle along. In God’s perfect timing he granted us our hearts desire. I am in awe.
For this child I have prayed and the Lord has given me that which I asked of him.
1 Samuel 1:27
I feel a hot tear leak out of my eyehole and start to run down my cheek. A tear that symbolizes joy. This God we serve and the things he is capable of leave me astounded. This is the human God picked just for us. This is the little life that we prayed for. This is the little boy God entrusted us with. A tiny human He knit together in my womb but knew all about long before He created the world. On that beautiful fall day in October, God’s love came down from Heaven and he placed a miracle in our arms.
This Thanksgiving we reflect with hearts full of gratitude. We think back to a year ago and how far our story has come. All of the things that have changed and all of the things that stay the same. The hurts that have been healed and the joys God has given life to. The God we serve is mighty and He works all things for good for those who love Jesus.
With a heart so full, I wish you more blessings in your life than you can ask for and very Happy Thanksgiving Week!
CheersDez cursiveslope

Week 34 Meltdowns

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Tonight I had a minor meltdown. It might have been the pregnancy hormones. It might have been that I am in my 8th month of growing a human. It might be that I have an amazingly fulfilling, yet very demanding job. It might be that I am pushing myself to finish up my Master’s before BabyB’s arrival. It might be that I am teaching my first college-level class at a University known all across the world. It might be that our dream home is in the process of being built. It might be that I was in the middle of folding laundry for a little boy that I have never met but I am so beyond in love with. Pick any mix of those reasons then mush them together and throw it in the air. It’s not hard to see why I had a minor meltdown.

Hubbz was at basketball and I sat on the couch my computer and work emails on one side and warm baby clothes hot out of the dryer on the other side. Our little pup was curled up and nestled in the middle of them. I sat there and I started to worry. I became so overwhelmed by the to-do lists and the timeframe I have to do them in. Overwhelmed by the unknown of when and in what manner this little boy is going to come into the world. I am a planner and well, you can’t really plan when a child is going to grace you with his presence or how the delivery will go. All of this overwhelmed me, and I cried. It’s cool though- I own it… And then, of course, I write about it.

I knew I couldn’t sit there and cry all night, so I did what I know to do. I texted some of my people- just the ladies tonight because the guys wouldn’t necessarily understand. The ladies responded in full-force with encouraging words, prayers and love. Then my one lady, the lady of all ladies, my Mama, responded with her usual incredible wisdom. She didn’t say a lot- she didn’t need to. Mama’s words of wisdom usually pack a punch. She reminded me to pray. I shook my head at myself. Prayer should be my first go to but so many times it’s my last resort. Prayer seems like such a little thing- but it’s a thing that changes the world.

I pushed the baby clothes over to the side and closed my computer and work emails. I laid back on the couch, closed my eyeholes and began to pray.

God. There is so much to do. The timing of everything is so right now and yesterday. The to-do lists keep growing and the demands of life aren’t letting up. In my human frailty I can’t do it all God. I can’t keep it all running smooth. At some point, I am going to drop a ball here. I need some help God. I need a little divine intervention on this one. God I surrender it all to you because the more I hang on to it the more it’s like sand falling from my clenched fists. I surrender my life to you. I give you my worries, my fears, my anxious mind, the unknowns of the future. I gladly hand them over to you because you handle them all much better than I do. And if we are being totally honest, when I hang on to it all, left to my own devices, I jack it all up. So God, you put all this in my life to bless me and I surrender to you to get me through it all. Bigger than getting through it though, help me to get through it with grace and enjoyment and a smile on my face. Help me to not just get through but really feel it in my bones the blessings you have put in front of me. It’s so easy to focus on the to-do’s and the get-through’s but it’s another to focus on what they mean and the magnitude behind them. God I am so grateful for it all. In the same breath, I can’t wait to hold my baby boy and have all the to-do’s accomplished for just a moment. In my human frailty I rely on you, God. My sweet Redeemer. The Creator of it all. I surrender to you.

With a deep breath I open my eyes. The laundry is still there. My work emails still awaiting responses. The deadlines still looming. My circumstances haven’t changed- Yet I am at peace. I am at peace knowing He’s got this. I am at peace knowing it’s too much for me to handle and do on my own, so He’s got this.

He’s so got this.

And if He’s got me, surely He’s got you too.

All you have to do is let Him.

CheersDez cursiveslope

When It’s Monday and You Need a Little Peace

This summer has been a whirlwind and on the horizon is an even busier fall. Life never really seems to slow down these days and for me that means it’s imperative that I deliberately carve out time each day to get my soul filled with some Jesus. This past week Hubbz and I Babymooned like Bosses and unfortunately I left my bible packed snugly in my backpack. In an effort to catch up on one of the two bible studies I am doing, I snuggled up on the couch over the weekend to do some reading.

My study brought me to the Book of Matthew. If you aren’t familiar with the bible, because let’s be honest, it can be super overwhelming and sometimes I fall asleep reading it, Matthew is the first book in the New Testament. It’s the book that tells the story of how Jesus sends his ever so human disciples out to preach the Gospel to the ends of the Earth. I had a mini-revelation in Matthew 26 that kinda got me thinking…

In Matthew 26, the end of Jesus’ life on Earth is beginning to unfold. The plot against Jesus, the last supper, the denial of his ever so human disciples and Jesus’ eventual arrest. I read a verse that I am certain I have read a million times before but it dawned on me a little differently this time. Matthew 26:53-54. Before I get into the verse, let me set the stage.

It’s night in a place called Gethsemane. Jesus knows they are coming to arrest him and he spends most of the evening praying. His disciples are supposed to keep watch but in their flawed humanity, they fall asleep… Numerous times. (I have to admit, I can’t blame them… I love my sleep these days and despite being Jesus’ besties, they are still totally human.) Jesus comes back to wake them the last time, he says “Rise! Let’s Go! Here comes my betrayer!” These words were spoken just as Judas (one of Jesus’ BFF disciples turned traitor) enters the scene with an armed crowd ready to arrest Jesus. There are words exchanged and a scuffle- an ear of the high priest’s servant was cut off in the process. In the midst of this, Jesus does his Jesus thing… He brings peace to an emotionally charged situation.

Ready to get your mind blown? Matthew 26:53-54 happens… Jesus says “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?”

Weird verses to blow your mind, right? But these are the verses that caught my attention and got me thinking…

In the midst of our storms in life, there is God, in all his glory, able to do more than we can ever ask or imagine. Our God is there with the means to fix the money issues, fix the marital problems, fix the sickness, fix the job situation, fix the infertility, fix the {enter your ailment and problem here}.

EXCEPT.

Except sometimes he doesn’t.

Except sometimes his infinite wisdom has something different in mind for us.

Except sometimes we don’t understand.

Except sometimes we think we have a better way.

Except sometimes we think if we can just fight through we can change the outcome.

All the while, God is there.

With His Infinite wisdom.

With His Unyielding provision.

With His Unwavering love.

God is there- handling it. Answering prayers His way, in His time. Just the way it’s supposed to be orchestrated to fulfill His plans.

I step back and I re-read Jesus’ words, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?”

I stand back and look at my own life. The prayers that have gone unanswered. The tears and angst that at times I have felt. The times I shook my fists to Heaven because I wanted things to go a different way. So many times, God could have swooped in and instantly fixed my problems but he didn’t because he had a different plan. A plan bigger than I could see. It’s here that I look to Jesus. This God turned man turned Savior. Facing circumstances that I cannot even wrap my brain around to fulfill God’s greater plan.

There are so many questions that I have that I know I won’t have the answer to on this side of Heaven. So many things I have on my mind to ask God about when I leave this Earth. In the meantime, one thing I know for certain, I can look to Jesus and find peace. I can find a purpose for the path. I can find my Earthly answer to all my questions and it’s all hidden in two little verses in Matthew.

Here’s to a little peace on the Mondayest Monday that ever Mondayed…

CheersDez cursiveslope

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