Sunday, July 28, 2013

Madi is Smiling (And It's Not Just Gas!)

This past week we saw A LOT more Madi smiles... naturally we assumed it was gas and not directed specifically at us, but we were suspicious. She seemed to be making them towards us as we were holding her and smiling at her...

And now we are confident that they are indeed purposeful Madi smiles (and not just gas). This little cutie is interacting more and more with us and we are loving it!

In addition to the smiles we also started getting coos this week. She's becoming quite the talker (we all know who she gets that from... her Daddy of course) and a very good story teller if I do say so myself! :-)

And my personal favorite!!


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Grandpa Comes to Visit!

Last week Jeff flew out to join us in Stavanger. He was very excited to meet Madi and Mom was excited to see her husband!

The two of them left the next day to do some sightseeing around Norway for about a week before coming back to Stavanger. Jeff stayed a couple more days with us before heading back to Oklahoma.

We got to show him Lake Mosvatnet -

As well as the Norsk Oljemuseum (mine and Madi's first visit as well!) -

Jeff enjoyed the offshore escape route :-)
And finally the must-see Gladmat festival that's going on in Stavanger right now. It's a huge food festival that we've used as an excuse to get out and not cook dinner a couple nights and for me to try my first post-baby beer. I shared it with Jason and granted it was probably the Norwegian equalivalent to Natty Light, but I still enjoyed it. :-)

We had a wonderful time with Jeff here and were sad to see him leave today. Fortunately we get to keep my mom for a couple more days. She's busy soaking up all the Madi-time that she can get before she leaves. :-)


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Confessions from a New Mom

Since I did a blog post of confessions from a mom-to-be, I figured it would be good to do a follow-up of confessions as a new mom. I'm being brutally honest here in hopes that it will help other new moms out there if they are experiencing some of the same things.

1. Everyone warns you that the first two weeks are really hard. For me it's been the first month... And the worst part is there's nothing you can do though to prepare for just how hard, unpredictable, and nerve-wracking it is to get minimal sleep an have a screaming baby that you can't console for hours on end. I also wasn't prepared for the hormonal roller coaster that ensued once we came home. I'm cried every day, usually twice a day, that first three weeks.

2. Everything we read and wanted to implement in our parenting went out the window during week one. We were so desperate for sleep and for Madi to stop crying we did all the things we hadn't planned  or wanted to do- human pacifier, rocking to sleep, falling asleep on our chests, soothing by wearing her in a baby wrap, and co-sleeping a couple times. I know these techniques are used by some and there's nothing wrong with them, but we want to implement a self-soothing routine that respects both Madi's needs and our needs. We've re-grouped, spent time looking back at our two favorites - Baby Wise and Secrets of the Baby Whisperer - and are going full-speed ahead with an Eat-Wake-Sleep schedule. 

3. I love Jason even more than I did before Madi came into our lives. I can't describe it, but there's just something about how he handles Madison and how supportive he's been to me that's made me fall deeper in love with him and cherish him.

4. PPD. It's real and it sucks. I knew something was wrong when I found myself yelling at Madison for giving herself the hiccups for what seemed like the 100th time and starting feeling like we'd made a huge mistake and never should have gotten pregnant in the first place and that there was no way I was going to be able to do this mother thing. And I hated admitting that I was having these feelings to Jason. Everyone says that you have this unconditional love and joy when you become a mother. What they don't tell you is that it's normal to not have those feelings straight away and to struggle when your baby has been crying for an hour and you can't do anything to calm her down.

I would feel guilty for how I felt and for not loving Madison as much as I thought I was supposed to and for not being happier to be a new mom. I would also get upset with myself and feel guilty for being so impatient with her and for getting angry with her. She's just a little baby who can't help but cry when she needs something and I know that, but somehow I would still get worked up when we couldn't calm her down, which caused her to get more worked up, and cause us to enter a vicious cycle.

Jason and my friend Maryam encouraged me to go ahead and talk to someone and I reached out at our last visit at the health station. That afternoon someone came to the house and listened to me and my feelings. It was reassuring to know that everything I was experiencing and feeling was normal and that a lot of new moms feel that way, but don't talk about it. She also encouraged me to get out of the house alone each day, even for just a 5-10 min walk. And the biggest advice she gave me, which I have been trying to take to heart, is to stop being so hard on myself and making myself feel so guilty. It helped a lot to talk to someone and to know that I have the resources available to help me. (If you are a new mom and struggling with any of these same feelings and want to talk to me or ask me questions please feel free to contact me. I am hoping that by sharing my story other new moms out there will realize they aren't alone in how they are feeling and will be encouraged to know that there is help available and they shouldn't be embarrassed or afraid to seek it, sooner rather than later.)

5. The meals that people brought over the first two weeks after Madison's arrival helped more than they realize and we can never express how appreciative we were to have them. Thank you Shaina for coordinating the meal delivery and bringing over a delicious casserole. Thank you Emily and Tyler, Megan and Loren, Heather and Sully, and Deepa for the delicious meals that you brought. They kept us well-fed and significantly less stressed!!

6. Being a mom >> being an engineer. I have to admit I was slightly jealous when Jason was returning to work (and then being sent to Gran Canaria for a business meeting...) and there have been days when I've really wished I was back in the office... adult conversations, latte machine, and especially no crying. However, there are definitely pros to being at home and it's getting better each day. Seeing little smiles like this makes it easier that's for sure. :-)

7. We received mixed advice/opinions about having help from family members early on. My mom came to visit a couple weeks after Madison's arrival and I can't thank her enough for the amazing job that she's been doing since she arrived. Especially with me struggling with PPD and then Jason going on a last minute business trip one weekend, it was wonderful to have her with me to care for Madison. She put up with my ups and downs without judging me and I'm so thankful Madison is getting to spend time with her Grandma. I appreciate her so much and realize now what a tough job it is to be a mother and it's definitely brought us closer.

8. Getting out of the house at least once a day has been critical. Whether it was a quick trip to the grocery store, a visit to the health station, a doctor appointment for me or Madi - just to get outside and get some fresh air was incredible. I would suggest to any new mom to get outside once a day to avoid going stir crazy. I know there are all sorts of concerns about taking a newborn in public, but there are ways to avoid people or places full of people. Don't let anyone touch the baby (not a problem here in Norway where everyone minds their own business) or just take a stroll around the block.

9. I was prepared for looking pregnant still after giving birth. I was not, however, prepared for just how incredibly flabby and disgusting my stomach would feel. Yes, I realize I'm being incredibly vain with this one, but also honest. My stomach isn't much larger than it was pre-pregnancy, but it's definitely looser and I should probably start on some ab exercises now that the doctor has cleared me to workout!

10. I am slightly afraid of my daughter. Specifically when we've finally gotten her to go to sleep and she starts squirming again and we hold our breaths saying desperate prayers "Lord, please let her stay asleep..." Same situation when we have her out in the pram and have just gotten her to sleep and I'm crossing my fingers that she stays asleep long enough for me to finish my errands, get back home, and maybe even have time to eat or shower. Lofty goals I know.

As I took this picture I was saying a silent prayer for her to stay asleep... ;-)

11. We have a steady supply of alcohol now (thanks to Duty Free stops from Jason, my mom, and Jeff's arrivals), but I am terrified to have a drink. (1) I am afraid that a single glass of wine will put me into a drunken stuper (2) We haven't used a bottle yet so it's a fine art of feeding Madison, slamming down a drink, and having enough time before she's hungry again for it to get out of my system. I am not ready to attempt this process yet and so I remain sober... but craving a glass of wine at the end of a bad day.

12. I've always had a love/hate relationship with showering (and going to the bathroom for that matter, but probably TMI...) I love being in the shower and the clean feeling afterwards, but I hate stepping out of the shower and being wet and having to dry off and get dressed. It's a hassle and I only showered every other day as a result. For whatever reason after we returned home from the hospital I have done a complete 180. I now love showering! I've tried to jump in for a few minutes everyday just to get the day going and wake myself up.

13. I believe I was in love with the idea of being a mom more than the reality at first. I realize that sounds harsh, but I think I had this glamorous idea in my head of the perfect happy baby, eating well, playing for a bit, going down for a nap, and me being able to go to lunch or run errands with her in the stroller sleeping peacefully or letting me hold her happily. Then reality hit... And I had a screaming baby the entire way home from the butcher and some trouble with her eating for a couple days and having to cut out dairy to see if that helps her fussiness. Welcome to motherhood. The good, the bad, and the ugly. :-)

14. Breastfeeding is difficult. I don't even have soreness or pain to complain about, but just the sheer exhaustion of being the only one who can feed her, waking up every few hours, and feeling like a milk machine. We are getting better at the whole "bonding" thing, but I still feel like a total fool talking to my daughter while she's chowing down. Fortunately, she's a great feeder (85%) of the time and our biggest issue is her falling asleep while she's eating and me having to try and get her to eat more so she has a full feeding. Plus I know the benefits she's getting from my milk are so good for her that I know it's the right thing for us to be doing.

15. Motherhood has shown me just how selfish, self-centered, angry, impatient, and unloving person I really am. I know, I know, I just mentioned above that I need to be easier on myself, however, it's obvious that the Lord has some major refining work to do on my character. I truly believe He puts people in our lives to challenge us and grow us in areas of weakness. Apparently Jason wasn't doing a good enough job challenging me so the Lord blessed me with Madison. ;-) I am praising Him for His amazing grace and forgiveness as I struggle to grow and become a better Christian, wife, and especially mother to the beautiful family that He has given me.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Madi Attends Church!

We braved going to church today with Madi... And she did great!!

She ate before we left and made it through part of the sermon before waking and needing to eat again. I fed her and she was calm the rest of the service snuggled in my arms.

It was wonderful to see our friends in church and worship the Lord for the first time as a family of three!!


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Madi: One Month

  • You are very strong! You've been good at holding your head up since just a week old. At this point you can hold it up for over a minute before getting tired and laying it back down. I have no doubt you'll be holding it up all the time pretty soon!
  • We love your Madi Sleeping Smiles as you start to doze off. We also got to see a big awake smile (probably gas...) where you smiled with your whole face and it just made Mommy's heart melt. I can't wait until those smiles are (purposely) directed at Mommy and Daddy. 

  • You started doing tummy time in your second week after the nurse at the health station came and did our home visit. You push up so you're sitting on your knees and hold your head out. You also like to go onto your stomach and lift up all four limbs at the same time like you're flying. It's adorable.
  • You rolled over for Grandma! It was during tummy time and you went a full 180 degrees. Mommy was hoping it was a fluke (or that Grandma was exaggerating about it being a full roll over), but you showed me the following day that you could still do it! Now you need to show Daddy that you can roll over!
  • You fart every time Mommy starts feeding you. Fortunately they aren't smelly, but what a way to start off your meal little bug. :-/
  • You are a very serious person. You have this intense gaze like you are soaking in everything around you and evaluating it already. I love seeing it and wondering what you are thinking.
  • You have a love/hate relationship with the pacifier. Sometimes you take it easily and others you seem to know exactly what it is and you make a face and spit it back out at me. And I swear one time you purposely smacked it with your hand when I was trying to put it in your mouth. You looked like you knew exactly what you were doing... 
  • You LOVE baths. You weren't a big fan of your first one at the hospital hotel, but you have enjoyed all of the ones at the house. You even enjoyed it when Daddy used the spray faucet directly on your head to rinse your hair!

  • You had a growth spurt around three weeks. For a couple days you ate every two hours and then slept a full six hours at night! Mommy and Daddy appreciated the extra sleep.
  • You have had your days and nights pretty straight ever since we brought you home. You go down pretty easy at night after feedings. However, you are definitely a morning person. You seem to know when it's the 5 - 7 am feeding and you are wide awake afterwards! This makes us question if you are actually our child since neither Jason nor I are morning people. ;-) Without fail, every morning feeding after 6 am you are wide awake. And it's not until later in the afternoon that we are able to get you to nap again.
  • You've been having some tummy troubles for a couple of weeks. You seem to struggle to go to the bathroom sometimes and cry like it's hurting you to go. You've still had enough messy diapers each day so we know you aren't constipated. We started seeing the chiropractor and Mommy is trying to eliminate dairy and see if that makes a difference for you.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Many Faces of Madi

Love this girl and her many faces!! :-)


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Putting a Positive Spin on This Week's Events

You have good weeks and not-so-good weeks. This has been one of the latter...It seemed like one thing after another all hit at the same time. I was pretty down and then realized that I can be Negative Nancy or I can be Positive Polly and look at things from a different perspective. I am choosing to be Polly. :-)

1. Madi has been having some stomach/digestion problems. We took her to the chiropractor twice this week, but unfortunately she hasn't improved much. The next step is for me to try cutting out dairy and see if that helps her digestion and fussiness.

  • We are blessed to have a chiropractor that I already knew who specializes in babies.
  • If cutting dairy helps little Madi digest and feel better, then it's a small price for me to pay.
  • She's still been doing good going straight to bed during the night feedings and letting us go almost three hours between feedings meaning I get to sleep an hour to an hour and a half in between each.
  • Her weight is still increasing and she's between the 50th and 85th percentile weighing 4100 grams on Friday when we took her to the health station. We also weighed her before and after a feeding and she got 115 grams so she's eating well and I have enough milk for her.

2. The automatic litter box broke and Jason couldn't figure out if it was the sensor or the motherboard that was broken. We've had to manually clean out the litter box this week.
  • The fact that we have an automatic litter box is a huge positive and has been during my pregnancy. And having to clean it out isn't a huge deal since I've been off litter duty the past 10 months while I was preggers.
  • Jason already found a European website for the litter box and ordered both a new sensor and motherboard so that we can fix it when the parts arrive.

3. The dryer handle broke off in the middle of a load this week. We had to do a load a couple load of clothes that then had to be line dried.
  • We have a dryer. This is a luxury that I think we take for granted. Also, we have a clothing line and clothespins so it's easy for us to hang dry a couple loads.
  • Jason emailed the landlord the replacement part and he already got it ordered and delivered to us. Surprisingly efficient.
  • A huge shout out to our friend Thad who came and installed the dryer handle. And even better it turned out that I did not have the right tools so it wasn't that I am completely incompetent without a man this weekend. 

4. Apparently we are fantastic at picking names... so fantastic that we picked one of a handful of protected Norwegian names which resulted in us receiving this letter on Thursday...

  • We can give Madison a second first name using Rose and leaving out a middle name on her Norwegian birth certificate. We should be able to still report her name as Madison (first name) Rose (middle name) Stingerie (last name) at the US consulate when we report her birth and then apply for a name change on her Norwegian papers and birth certificate. Phew. Better than receiving approval from all the people names Rose in the country... ;-)
5. Where was my man? Jason found out on Tuesday that he had to go on a last minute business trip this weekend to Gran Canaria. It also hit me that I couldn't go and I felt a little bit left out. Maybe that's something a lot of working-outside-the-home moms have experienced while they were on maternity?
  • Jason has a great job that supports us and normally doesn't require any travel so this was a unique situation.
  • My mom is here and has been an amazing help so I wasn't alone this weekend.
  • Um... International flight = duty free which means cheap(er) booze. Score. 
  • I have the opportunity to stay home and spend time with this (slightly awkward) little cutie. I mean, how is that a comfortable position?!
  • We got to pick Daddy up from the airport today and wear our super cute Daddy's Little Madi Bug onesie we made for Father's Day


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Madi's Chiropractor Visits

Today was Madi's second visit to the chiropractor at Klinikk for Alle. She is seeing the same chiro I saw throughout my pregnancy, Charlotte. Why are we visiting the chiro with Madi at such a young age? Well, little miss has been having some stomach and digestion problems. :-/ A few people suggested we take her to the chiro to help and after reading a few things online we saw that it can help. Plus Charlotte specializes in babies so what a blessing to be able to take her to someone I already knew and who knows how to help!

On Monday, Charlotte said that Madi's lower abdomen was definitely tight and could be contributing to her digestion problems. She also explained to us that little ones have nothing in their systems when they are born, including good bacteria to help them digest breast milk. If we were bottle feeding, then we would start giving her infant probiotics, but since we are exclusively breastfeeding right now I have started taking a probiotic to help her. We also got some leg exercises to do after she eats as well as some stomach massage techniques to do on her in the evening.

 Unfortunately, Miss Madi hasn't had any improvement since Monday and is spitting up worse. :-( Charlotte checked her again and said her pelvis is looser than it was on Monday (which is good) and also checked her jaw and latch with her finger and didn't see any issues there. Her suggestion now is for me to eliminate all dairy products and see if that improves things. She said that we should see a noticeable improvement quickly if dairy is the stomach culprit.

Please keep her in your prayers that we can figure out what's causing her discomfort! At least the car ride seemed to soothe her. :-)


Monday, July 8, 2013

Stork Bite

I was slightly appalled to see a dark red mark on the back on my precious daughter's neck. Jason informed me that it was called a stork bite and a type of birthmark that probably won't go away. At this point I scolded him for giving our child such an ugly birthmark.

Naturally, I googled stork bites to see if this was true... Unfortunately it is. Ones on the back of the neck usually do not go away. I'm being vain here, but lets hope her hair covers it!!


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Madi Visits Mosvatnet

Jason and I love walking around Lake Mosvatnet. It's a short walk from the apartment and only a mile to a mile and a half around the lake. In fact, we walked around the lake every day the two weeks before Madi arrived. We love to feed the ducks while we are there and run away from the swans (we almost got attacked by one once...)

Here I am at 40 weeks pregnant trying to walk Madi into labor. It didn't work by the way (and neither did every other old wives tail for inducing labor... We tried them all.)

The weather yesterday was exceptionally beautiful here in Stavanger so we decided to take advantage of it and introduce Madi to a place we plan to visit many more times! We can't wait to introduce her to the ducks and show her how to feed the, when she's older. Until then, she enjoyed a stylin' pram ride while we fed the ducks. :-)


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Push Present Pearls

Jason surprised me this morning with a push present. Even here in Norway they have heard of push presents and new fathers typically give one to new mothers. Jason purchased mine in Oklahoma City with the help of my mom and she brought it with her yesterday to surprise me.

I came into the living room this morningto feed Madi and saw this gorgeous setup waiting for me -

I maintained my self-control and waited to open it until Madi was fed and Jason was with me. He got me a gorgeous set of matching pearl necklace and earrings from Mikimoto. LOVE!!!

Don't I have the most AMAZING husband?!


Friday, July 5, 2013

Grandma Comes to Visit!

Today we were blessed to have Madi's Grandma (my mom) come all the way from Oklahoma City to Stavanger to meet her first grand baby and help us for the next 2-3ish weeks while Jason goes back to work.

In anticipation of Grandma's arrival we made a special onesie to wear when we met her.

And here's the initial meeting!

We're so grateful to have her help for the next few weeks and I know Madi will love the extra snuggles that only a Grandma can give. :-)

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