Friday, October 3, 2014

A new space

Operation Baby Gage has evolved. It began as a chronicle of our infertility journey, shifted into my pregnancy blog, and now has sporadically become a place for me to blog about motherhood. That has left me feeling slightly unsettled. Is this the right forum for my blog? Technically Operation Baby Gage is "Mission Accomplished," so what now?

The most amazing thing happened when I started to share my story through this blog. I realized that I loved writing. Not only was it therapeutic, but it brought me a sense of joy and purpose in a stressful time. Now, navigating a HUGE paradigm shift into parenthood, I've found more than ever I want (and need) to take time to write. With that in mind, I set out to find out what I wanted to write about. Lots of thought and brainstorming led me to the concept for my new blog. The word that kept springing to mind for me was "Moderate".

I've found that I'm a fairly moderate when it comes to most things in life. I'm middle class, I subscribe to a moderate political ideology, and don't lean too far in one direction or another when it comes to most parenting debates. My philosophy? Do what works and keeps you and your family happy and healthy (mentally and physically). I also tend to be the natural moderator and peace-keeper in my relationships. So, Moderate Momma was born!

The Mission & Spirit of Moderate Momma
  • This is blog community where moms can share, learn and grow without feeling they aren’t measuring up. Ideas are shared in the spirit of collaboration!
  • Moderate Momma should make you feel good, provide inspiration and camaraderie,and make you laugh.
  • This is a Guilt-Free zone, no shaming one another for parenting choices.
  • Recognizing that all moms are coming at parenthood from different places (socially, economically, culturally, and relationally) I will strive to remove "Always", "Never", and "Should" from my vocabulary.
  • No "Pinterest Perfection." I promise to share the good, bad and the ugly without an Instagram filter. :)

I'll obviously be posting my thoughts on motherhood, but will also post other non-parenting musings, share my crafty endeavors (when I finally finish one), and generally share my life. I sincerely hope you'll make the hop with me and follow my new blog and share it with the other Moderate Mommas in your life!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

All the feels

This morning I've found myself feeling a little nostalgic, maternal and mushy towards my little 7 month old man. He's doing so much these days, rolling over, pushing up, quasi-crawling, babbling the sweetest unintelligible strings of vowels and consonants and generally warming my heart. 

He's also been difficult this week. All these new activities lead to face planting occasionally, and melting down often. He's hit the separation anxiety milestone head on, crumpling into a mess of sobs when I'm not in his line of sight. It's a challenge, but a phase and I know we'll make it through. 

I was watching him sleep this morning and clearing out the photos on my phone because I've maxed the storage chronicling Arlo's first 7 months. I was looking at these photos of him just a few weeks old and almost got weepy thinking of how quickly time has flown. 

Arlo, 7 weeks
Arlo, 7 months 
Sleeping Babe :)

And so, with a big case of the feels, I wrote this for my boy today:

Precious hands grasping for purchase, gentle tugs at my shirt. Warm contentedness curled beside me. This is love.

Crooked smiles turned to a smirk, deep belly laughs prompted by my tickles. Curious fingers always discovering. This is love.

Frustrated cries from a tumble, anxious glances when I walk away. Needing your mama all the time. This is love.

A softer heart, a softer body, stronger arms for soothing you. A change of title, a change of pace. Priorities and paradigm shifted. This is love.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

6 Month Review

When I was working full time outside of the home, I would have a professional review every 6 months. Upon celebrating Arlo's 6 month of life last week, I thought it would be good to take stock of where we are, how things are going, and what life is like with our 6 month old little man. 

The Stats:

  • 18lbs, 2oz, 28" long 
  • 90th percentile for length and head size, 75th percentile for weight (future sports star perhaps?)

The Milestones:

  • Arlo has mastered rolling over (both ways, although he forgets that he knows how to get from his tummy over to his back and fusses)
  • Arlo has also started sitting up all on his own! 

  • He also just recently started pushing up and pulling his knees under his body and rocking back and forth. We've got to get on the baby proofing train, stat! This boy is about to start crawling!
  • Arlo started solid foods at about 5.5 months. His current favorite is the Gerber mix of pears, carrots and peas. He tears it up!
  • By far the biggest milestone (in mommas eyes) has been sleeping blessedly through the night! He has started sleeping in 8 - 10 hour stretches and it feels AMAZING!
  • No teeth yet, but he's a drool machine and I think it's could happen any day now. 
  • Nothing within arms reach is safe any longer. Gone are the days of me eating dinner while holding him. His inquisitive hands are EVERYWHERE. Last week he ended up with a hand dipped in queso. 

Favorite Toys:

  • This boy LOVES his exersaucer. Seriously the best $45 piece of used equipment we have ever purchased. Yes, I recognize that I am the same woman who said (pre-baby) that I didn't want to buy a bunch of baby gear that I might not need just for the sake of having it. I stand corrected. Buy all the gear! It will give you multiple options when you need a safe place to sit your baby to do things like...go pee, make dinner, respond to an email, ANYTHING. Do yourself a favor though and don't buy these things new. They have such a short use life with your growing and changing little one, get your craigslist, FB garage sale and consignment store on! 

  • He's also really into his Fisher Price ring stacking set and bucket of blocks. Simplicity. :)

Mommy's Favorites:

  • Babywearing. No, this isn't some flaky fashion trend, it's been my lifesaver and a precious way to bond with my boy. He seems to like it too.

  • Sweet Giggles. The first time Arlo laughed, I started crying. It was literally the sweetest, most precious sound I've ever heard. It is now my daily goal to get at least one good belly laugh out of this boy each day. I'm pretty sure it makes the world a better place.

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Arlo is now 9 weeks old, which thankfully has meant he is sleeping in 6 -7 hour stretches at night and takes a couple of nice naps during the day. Yesterday I was going through our routine for a successful morning nap: Sleep Sheep on playing lullabies (check), baby swaddled to avoid startle reflex (check), sweet rocking to lull him to sleep (check), gentle transition to his crib (check). As I was stepping out of his nursery and thinking of what I should attempt to accomplish during his nap time, I paused to peek in and make sure he was really asleep when I was struck by the enormity of the moment. Here I was, a mother, standing at the entrance to my son's beautiful nursery watching the peaceful rise and fall of his contented chest. I was at once overwhelmed, grateful, and in disbelief at the trajectory our life has taken in the last year. 

12 months ago this week I received our IVF meds in the mail. I was in the midst of anxiety and doubt about whether or not our efforts and considerable financial investment would result in a baby. After all, we had spent 6.5 years trying without success, why would this "try" be any different? If I could go back and tell Lindsey of 12 months ago the shoes she would be standing in today, she likely wouldn't believe me. She carried a load of fear and worry and a tiny, infinitesimal amount of hope. 

I guess the reason I'm sharing this today is to encourage those of you still reading. Those of you who are carrying the heavy load of fear and doubt. I do not for a moment take for granted the miracle that is sleeping in that crib and that we are among the incredibly lucky ones to be on this side of the struggle. After 6.5 years, 12 months, a load of needles and a tiny seed of hope changed everything. Miracles are possible. Our family is proof.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Saying Farewell to Mommy Guilt

There are certain things you expect when you bring home your newborn baby. You can count on a lack of sleep, a plethora of dirty diapers, and for your home to be consumed by baby gear.  Then there are the surprising things that no one tells you about. For instance, people will ask you INCREDIBLY personal questions in group settings, on conference calls, while in line at the grocery store, you name it! "Oh what a beautiful baby, are you breastfeeding?" "Such a blessing. Was it a vaginal birth or Cesarean?" Yes. I've been asked point blank about my vagina by strangers! Manners, folks! There are also the super sexy panties they give you in the hospital. No one told me that both me and the baby would be going home from the hospital in diapers. Just Google it, I'd prefer not to dwell on it. On top of those surprises there are the WIDE range of emotions you experience in your first postpartum weeks. Love, self-doubt, joy, sadness, and the most difficult for me, mommy guilt.

After 6.5 years of trying to conceive, you would think that once our little one arrived, I would settle into the bliss of motherhood, and in many ways I have. I love watching him wake up and give me a big gummy grin because he loves me and knows I'm his mama. I love listening to his cooing noises on the baby monitor when he naps during the day. I love how much he needs me and how I can calm him and soothe him when he's upset. These are all things I can say now at nearly 8 weeks home from the hospital. Weeks 1 - 5 were another story. 

Our precious man came home and was FUSSY. Wait, fussy doesn't really do it justice. At least 6 hours a day (basically when he wasn't sleeping) were spent in a struggle to nurse an angry baby who didn't want to latch or have anything to do with my boob, who was only happy once we gave him a bottle of formula (ouch to the mama ego), and still cried inexplicably even after he seemed satiated. Many nights were spend strapping him in the carseat and driving in circles around our neighborhood as it was the only activity that would stop the crying and lull him into sleep. Both me and Ken were ragged around the edges with lack of sleep, and frustration at why we were obviously sucking at this parenting gig.

It was particularly hard for me. I was completely jacked up on the roller coaster of postpartum hormones and desperately wanting to seem like I had it all together. I wanted this for so long. I didn't want to finally be a mom and fail at the task, or seem ungrateful for our amazing miracle. As is my M.O. I wanted to hide this struggle. I didn't want to ask for help. Thankfully my husband knew better. He enlisted the help of a good friend to take me and the baby to Dr.'s appointments, my family to come over and watch Arlo so I could shower or nap, and my best friend to come stay with me for a few days while I was recovering.

Eventually, after meeting with a lactation consultant and sufficiently torturing myself about it, I decided to stop trying to nurse. Arlo was unhappy and unsatisfied with my measly output and I was heartbroken at not being able to do what my body was supposed to do. It has been a tough decision to make while knowing that "breast is best". How could I not give him the best?!? Difficult as it was it was the right call for us. Instead of dreading each feeding time, I now enjoy looking down at my chubby, happy, formula fed baby while he takes his bottle. I know that we are bonding through that time much more than we were through his red-faced crying at my attempts to nurse him. We also discovered that part of his scream-a-palooza (even with the formula) was due to painful reflux and have gotten him on medicine as well as OTC gas drops. AMAZING the difference those little drops have made.

So why share all this? In a previous post, I spoke about wanting to live an authentic life. Part of that authenticity is blogging about the real-deal life stuff that most people would rather hide. It's easy to try to fake having it all together. Post sweet pictures of your baby sleeping on your Facebook and never mention that this was a brief moment of bliss in an otherwise crappy day. I'm also trying to shed a little light on the issue of mommy guilt. We beat ourselves up over whether or not we are doing everything right for our little ones and to be honest, we sit in judgement of other women if we think they aren't. There seems to be a rush post-delivery to declare your parenting style. Are you attachment parenting? Will you use the Ferber method? Co-Sleeping? Breastfeeding? Formula Feeding? Will you wear your baby in wraps and slings or push them in a stroller? There is an endless array of decisions to make and you feel that each of them will dramatically impact the development and psyche of your child. 

So what are we doing? What is our parenting philosophy? I've decided that we will be adopting the "Pro-Arlo and what works for our family" method. I'm trying to trust that I am the expert on my baby (scary thought) and no one knows him like I do. I'm also trying to let go of guilty feelings and realize that I'm giving him my very best 100% of the time. So here we are, entering our 2nd month of his precious, long-awaited life. Here's to the next milestones with this little man!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Arlo's First Month

In some ways the last month feels like a blur and in other ways, a series of precious memories in need of archiving. With the lack of sleep and adjusting to our new normal as a family of three, my blogging activity has fallen to the back burner, but I'm taking a few moments while Arlo sleeps in his baby swing to jot down some of my favorite moments of his first month:

  1. Taking gratuitous photos: Yes, we are those parents, and if you follow us on Facebook or Instagram (@thosegages), you are likely on Arlo overload. We can't help ourselves. Every smile and poop face needs documentation. See exhibit A below (all photos were taken within 30 seconds and capture the many moods and expressions of baby Arlo!) 
    Exhibit A
  2. Adjusting to little sleep: Waking up every hour to make sure he's breathing, every two hours for feeding/diaper change/reswaddle, and sometimes just sitting up watching him sleep. It's amazing how getting the first 3 hour stretch of sleep will make you feel like superwoman and capable of anything.
  3. Loving my baby daddy: Ken is a rock. Period. I already knew this through our infertility journey. The man is amazing, but seeing him as a daddy has brought it to a new level. His patience and tenderness with our little man is nothing shy of beautiful. He also has taken it upon himself to make sure I'm making it through the muddle of postpartum moodiness, sleeplessness and hormone spikes. One of my favorite moments thus far was after a particularly long day home solo with a very fussy Arlo, Ken came home, ordered pizza, poured me a beer and sat across from me in the nursery while I rocked the boy, feeding me bites and sips while my hands were full. That's love and teamwork. :)
  4. Singing to my baby: This little guy is going to have an appreciation for good tunes. I regularly pace the house with him singing James Taylor, The Beatles, and Carole King. I find myself tearing up half the time that I have him in my arms and can sing to him. Still surreal folks.
  5. Being with family: One of the main reasons we are living in Texas now is so we could raise Arlo near his family and our friends. I've been so touched by the outpouring of love, care, and generosity of those who love us. We are beyond lucky.
  6. Being okay with crying: Babies cry. It's their only communication tool, but it's no less disturbing, and heart rending to a pair of new parents. We've learned ways to soothe the little guy (thank you gas relief drops and baby Zantac) and know that this season of fuss and colic will be behind us soon.
I'm sure there are 2 dozen more moments I'm forgetting, but I only get to write in 10 minute segments and with one hand half the time. :)

Thrilled to be Arlo's mommy,


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Crossing the finish line

Operation Baby Gage reached the finish line (or the starting block depending on how you look at it) Tuesday, February 11th at 5:56 am. Arlo Miller Gage decided to join us weighing in a hearty 8lbs 8oz and at an astounding 23.75" long. No wonder I couldn't breathe or eat at the end of my pregnancy!

Before I jump into the details, get a load of this kid:

Arlo was one week overdue and since we had a very accurate due date thanks to our IVF timeline, our doctor agreed we were good to induce at 6:30am on the 11th. Monday the 10th we had one final check at my OB's office and she requested we go ahead and check in at the hospital that evening so they could administer some ripening medication overnight to help with dilation prior to the induction. We checked in and got set up in our L&D room and met our nurses who took such loving care of us.

One of our nurses mentioned that sometimes the ripening meds can actually trigger labor and I was hoping that would be the case for us. I really didn't want to have to rely on pitocin to start a long and intense labor. Turns out I got my wish. After being dosed, contractions hit full swing, just 1 minute apart. With only about 20 seconds between contractions I was ready to call in the cavalry and opted for a blessed epidural. Hallelujah. I was able to rest for about an hour when I realized it was go time. I let my nurse know that I felt the need to push and sure enough I was ready. 7 minutes later Arlo's first cries pierced the room and my heart and life have been forever changed.

I am obviously writing this blog in a new mommy fog. We've been home two days now and are working to adjust to the new normalcy of sleep deprivation (note the time stamp on this blog), counting poop and pee diapers, and just marveling at this incredible person we are entrusted to care for and raise.

I can not say enough about my husband. I have seen an amazingly tender side of him that I always knew was there, but seeing it unfold has been no less touching. Watching him fall in love with his son is beautiful and I can't imagine a better partner. He is doting and makes sure I'm eating enough, hydrated, and sleeping as much as possible. 

So there you have it. Our birth story. I am tired, overjoyed, hormonal, giddy, sore, and at moments overwhelmed by how much I love this tiny person. (Yep, you guessed it, I'm crying while typing this). 

Operation Baby Gage will continue. It was always my hope that this blog would evolve from an infertility blog, to a pregnancy blog and now into a chronicle of our journey as new parents. Infertility is still a huge part of our story and will continue to be in the future. I am passionate about fertility issues and will continue to blog about them as well, but the focus of our world is shifting. Thank you to all of you who have walked this journey with us (physically or virtually).