monthlyupdate

Life as Mrs. Wilson: April

April 30, 2017

Something I used to write in my journal was a little life update on the last day of each month. I would write about things that happened throughout the month, things I was grateful for, lessons learned, favorite things, etc. I thought I'd start doing these monthly updates on my blog so I can look back on what has happened and so anyone else can read along the way too if they'd like!

So, here are a few things from April:

Things I'm grateful for:

1. A healthy baby. This month we met with Conrad's cardiologist and got the OK to start weaning him off his heart medicine. It has been a humbling experience to watch our son go from surviving in the NICU to absolutely thriving.  
2. A selfless husband. Jake has been nothing but supportive as I've been finishing up my last semester of college. There was one day in particular when I was completely overwhelmed with everything that comes with being a college senior and new mom. Jake came home and told me to take some time for myself and sent me out the door. It was exactly what I needed and I am SO thankful for a husband willing to do that after a long day of school and work. 
3. Progress with bells palsy. It's been 7 months since I was diagnosed with Bell's Palsy and I am really starting to feel normal for the most part. I still have some issues with my left eye and some pain from the nerves healing, but this was the first month that there were days where I actually forgot I even had it! That was a huge step for me and I am feeling extra thankful for progress - and that I'm not as scared to get my picture taken any more. 


Lessons learned:

1. Sometimes, going on a drive is all you need to make the day better.
2. Not everyone is going to like you - and that's okay. 
3. It can sometimes take years before a prayer is answered, and a lot of times our prayers aren't going to be answered in the way we want. (More about this here). 

Current favorites:

1. Google Keep. I am the type of person that needs to-do lists every day. This is the best app I've found for keeping lists and I absolutely love it!
2. Awesome with Alison podcast. I started listening to podcasts during my walks with Conrad this month and this has been my favorite to listen to so far! It's entertaining, motivating, super fun, and I would definitely recommend listening to it. 

Memories

1. Weston's 30th birthday. My brother Weston would have turned 30 this month! I thought it would be a great time to bring Conrad to see his uncle's grave for the first time. It was such  a pleasant day. We brought Weston's baby blanket for Conrad to lay on and just enjoyed each others company. Visiting Weston's grave has always provided a lot of peace and quiet joy for me, and it meant a lot to have my little family there with me this month. 




2. Jake's an art major! This past year has been filled with questions about what the right decision is for our family regarding Jacob's schooling. For a while, we had planned on him getting his bachelors degree up north, but it just never felt like it was the best thing for us. This month, Jake made the decision to continue his schooling here at DSU to pursue a bachelors degree in art with a graphic design emphasis and then move up to Salt Lake City to get his masters degree in architecture. We both feel great about the decision and are happy to be staying in St. George for a few more years!
3. Conrad is on the move! At the beginning of this month, Conrad started crawling. Since then, he has gotten faster and is now trying to climb up everything in sight. It has been so fun to watch him learn and progress so much this month!


April has been filled with lots of homework, exams, and milestones. I'm really looking forward to graduating this week and getting to devote more time to things other than writing essays for statistics. ;) Life is good as Mrs. Wilson!




baking

Toffee Covered Carrot Cake

April 23, 2017



My husband made a goal this year to bake each person in our family a cake for their birthday. He has always loved cooking and wanted to get more into baking (lucky me, right?), so this seemed like the perfect way to get started. Jake's mom wanted a carrot cake for her birthday, so he set out to create the perfect recipe. It turned out so great I had to share it!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup apple sauce
2 cups shredded carrots (packed)
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup pecans (crushed)
3 large eggs
Toffee bits

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients but toffee bits in mixing bowl.
2. Pour into 9 inch spring-form pan.
3. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
4. Let cool 10 minutes.
5. Spread frosting onto cake.
6. Sprinkle toffee bits on top.

Frosting:

1 8 oz package cream cheese
1 5 oz cup plain greek yogurt
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla extract


Enjoy!


motherhood

60 Things I've Learned in the First 6 Months of Motherhood

April 11, 2017

First of all, how is my baby a half year old already?! Conrad is happy as ever and crawling all over the place. It has been so fun to watch him learn and grow each day, and I have been reflecting a lot lately on how much I've learned and grown as a mother as well. So, here are 60 things that I've learned in these first 6 months of motherhood:


1. You can do anything for a minute.

2. Lean into it.

3. What matters most will last.

4. Rock paper scissors saves conflicts over who does what in moments of exhaustion.

5. Take time for yourself and don't feel guilty about it. 

6. Accept help when offered.

7. College all-nighters are nothing compared to the first month of motherhood.

8. You'll never regret letting your baby nap on you, no matter how much work you need to get done.

9. There are more important things in life to worry about than stretchmarks.

10. Parenting doesn't have to be a guessing game.

11. Baby smiles will melt your heart no matter how frustrating the day has been.

12. It takes twice as long to get anywhere with a baby. 

13. Watching your child learn something new is one of the most rewarding feelings in the world.

14. You have more resources than you know.

15. Babies are gross, but their cuteness makes up for it. 

16. Babies have complex emotions just as we do.

17. You can look at your phone later - be present.

18. Do what works for you and your baby.

19. Breastfeeding doesn't work out for everyone, and it doesn't make you less of a mom if it doesn't work out for you.

20. You'll still be tired even when your baby starts sleeping through the night.

21. My husband is the most amazing person in the world.

22. Consistent schedules make life much easier.

23. Sometimes 3 back up outfits still won't be enough even when you're only out for a few hours.

24. I will do nearly anything to get my baby to smile or laugh (no matter how humiliating;)

25. Baby fingernails grow at an alarmingly quick rate.

26. Babies have a ridiculously tight grip, especially on hair.

27. Soak up all the snuggles.

28. Your baby looks to you more than you realize.

29. It is very possible to forget to eat breakfast until 2 PM. 

30. The world became a lot scarier once I had my son, but it also became a lot more hopeful at the same time.

31. It is possible to keep your house clean with a baby despite popular belief, but spending time with your baby is more important.

32. Write everything down and take as many pictures as you can.

33. Getting your baby to smile for a picture can sometimes be a difficult task (see #24).

34. Blowouts aren't as common as everyone warned me they'd be. My son has only had one so far (though I may have just jinxed myself by saying that). 

35. I'm a lot stronger than I thought I was.

36. Not everything will work out the way you planned - and that's okay.

37. Mother's intuition is so real.

38. No matter how many books you read beforehand, nothing can prepare you for the emotions that come with being a mom. 

39. It gets easier. And it gets harder.

40. Sizing is weird. My son currently wears 12-18 month shirts and 3-6 month pants.

41. The songs that calm your baby may not be classic lullabies (Beautiful Boy by John Lennon and Silent Night are what work for us over here).

42. Don't forget the diaper bag. Ever.

43. Don't even bother trying to feed your baby solids with them dressed. Strip them down to just their diaper, put a bib on them, and prepare for all your concerns of cleanliness to go out the window. 

44. There will be days that you cry more than your baby does. 

45. There will also be days that you can't even comprehend the joy you're feeling. 

46. Watching my son get vaccinated was probably more painful for my momma heart than it was for his little legs.

47. Snaps are cuter, but zippers are easier.

48. It is possible to feel trapped in your own home at times - go outside as much as possible.

49. Watching your parents become grandparents is one of the sweetest things.

50. Anything with a corner will look much sharper when your baby starts crawling.

51. It truly does take a village. 

52. Things don't have to be perfect to be good enough.

53. Drool doesn't gross me out as much as it used to. 

54. Everyone has their own opinion on how to raise children, and that's okay (see #18).

55. Don't compare your baby to anyone else.

56. Don't compare your postpartum body to anyone else.

57. Asking for help doesn't make you a bad mom.

58. Don't ever take motherhood for granted, but don't beat yourself up in the moments you just don't enjoy being a mom.

59. These are the days you'll look back on and smile - cherish them.

60. Your best is enough. You are enough. You are 100% enough.


These past 6 months have been an absolute joy with my Conrad James. I never imagined how much I would be learning and growing alongside my son, and I love it so much. I can't believe how fast this is all going. Being a mom means constantly feeling excited about your child's growth while being torn that it's going too fast. My biggest hope is that I can always take the time to stop and appreciate motherhood for what it is - because all in all, it truly is the greatest blessing I could have ever hoped for.

birthstory

The Day My Son Was Born Wasn't the Best Day of My Life - And That's Okay

April 03, 2017

 Throughout my entire pregnancy, I heard over and over how the day my son was born would be the best day of my life. I was told that my life would change for the better the moment they laid him on my chest. The thing is though, the day my son was born was not the best day of my life. In fact, it was one of the most traumatic days I have ever faced. It has taken me almost 6 months to write Conrad's birth story, mainly because it has taken this long to really even let myself think about that day at all. While Conrad is the greatest joy in my life, the day he was born was far from joyful to me.

The beginning stages of labor lasted over two weeks with constant contractions that got intense enough that I went to the hospital twice and was sent home both times with some lortab and a 'you're so close to active labor, just not quite there yet'. 4 days after Conrad's due date, we went to the hospital and finally got to stay. I had plans to go epidural free but after such a long labor, I decided to go ahead and get the epi because the IV meds just weren't cutting it anymore. I completely regret even trying the IV medicine because I genuinely feel that it negatively affected me and caused me to be really 'out of it'. The epidural was absolutely the best decision I made regarding childbirth!

I still have a difficult time recounting everything that happened during childbirth, but basically, I was in active labor for about 16 hours, 3 of which were spent pushing. At one point, the doctors had to put me on oxygen because I was losing energy fast and they needed me to stay calm. About an hour before Conrad was finally born, the epidural medicine started wearing off and wasn't refilled, so I felt pretty much everything at that point. I genuinely thought I was dying. The pain I felt was beyond anything I can even describe and I had never felt so depleted of energy - physically and mentally - in my life. During each push, I would start to black out and began to believe that the next push would be too much. I was mentally preparing myself for death and prayed that my husband would be able to handle being a widowed father. During this time, I heard the doctor mention a C-section and something in me just fired up. I dug deep and pushed with everything I had, and on October 11, 2016 at 7:16 AM, Conrad James Wilson was born - 8 lb 11 oz of absolute heaven.


I don't remember much after this. I am forever grateful for all of the pictures that were taken because that is the only reason I think I have been able to get some memories back. I vaguely remember holding Conrad as they stitched me up. "You may feel a little tug" ha. WAY more than a little tug. I felt it all. I have one blur of a memory of seeing Jake walk around the room with Conrad in his arms. I was happy, but overcome with complete despair from the traumatizing experience I had.


I don't know how or when I ended up in the recovery room upstairs, but I do know that we had some kind visitors and was thankful for that. At one point in the day, I was laying with Conrad on my chest and remember thinking he was breathing kind of funny. A few minutes later, a nurse came in and checked his heart rate. She said it was almost to 300 but figured something was wrong with the monitor. She said she was going to take him down to the NICU to double check and that it should only take a few minutes. I didn't see her for a few hours. I knew something was wrong.




A group of doctors came up to our room and told us that Conrad's heart rate really had neared 300. They essentially had to try and restart his heart - twice. We were told that he would be in the NICU for at least a few days and was undergoing some tests to figure out what was wrong. Everything went numb and became such a blur for me. It is still really hard for me to write about what I experienced in that moment as it was such a raw and emotional time, but eventually, I was able to go down to the NICU to see Conrad.



I was devastated. He was in this little box with needles and tubes everywhere. I wanted so desperately to just hold my son and comfort him but all I could do was put my hand on his head through a hole. I felt so helpless. I felt excruciating guilt without even knowing why. I just felt that it was my fault that my son was struggling. We learned that Conrad had an episode of Supra Ventricular Tachycardia due to the distress of delivery. I was assured that his tachycardia was not genetically inherited from me (I have Postural Tachycardia) and that it wasn't my fault. I still felt it was, and still sometimes feel guilt even though I logically know it wasn't my fault.


The days in the hospital were so painfully long. I would go down to the NICU every 2-3 hours to see him and try to nurse him once his feeding tube was out. I felt horrible guilt when I wasn't there with him. I didn't sleep much, and when I did I would have nightmares of the delivery. I would hear my own screams echo in my head and was terrified. I would lay awake and listen to babies crying in rooms nearby, completely jealous that those parents were awake because they got to take care of their baby, and I was awake longing to hold mine. I was bitter. SO bitter. I got angry. Angry at myself, at the experience, at God. I was just bitter, and angry, and depressed beyond belief. My son brought me joy, but I was so deep in despair that I lost sight of that.




5 long days later, we got to take Conrad home. It was such a happy moment! It was some of the greatest joy I have ever felt. I felt so complete, finally able to start a normal life with my little family of three. When we got home, I was offered much help but felt that I would be seen as a bad mom if I couldn't handle everything on my own. I now recognize that this was wrongful thinking, especially because it prolonged my physical recovery and was very bad for my mental health.

 The despair came in crushing waves. I would feel okay for one moment and the next I was swallowed up in the most horrific depression and despair I have ever known. It is nothing like I had ever experienced, and was even more intense than moments in the past when I've been suicidal. The flashbacks were horrible. They would come out of nowhere and it genuinely felt like I was reliving my birthing experience. There were moments I couldn't differentiate the flashbacks from reality. The waves of depression lasted for about a month and a half and thankfully went away completely. The flashbacks have gotten less severe, but I do still have them from time to time.

I wasn't myself, to say the least. My love for Conrad was never absent, but I wasn't able to be completely there for him for a while. But now, as my son is nearing 6 months old, I LOVE being a mom. I am the happiest I have been in my life. I feel more fulfilled than I ever have and truly feel that I am fulfilling my purpose here on earth. NOW, my life feels changed for the better. NOW, I have the best days of my life. I love my son so fiercely and love him more than I can even comprehend.

But the day my son was born? No, it was not the best day of my life - and that's okay. Not all birth stories are beautiful and happy - mine certainly wasn't. But I think there's value in sharing our experiences with each other. I felt compelled to share my story because out of all the birth stories I read, I never found one like mine, and I don't want any other mom to feel the way I did - alone.

Maybe I am alone in this and maybe I am the only mom that didn't have a wonderful experience with childbirth, but if there is even one mom out there that is feeling the way I did, I just want to wrap my arms around you and tell you that it's going to be okay. It's okay that the day your child was born wasn't the best day of your life. It's okay if you didn't love the newborn stage like everyone says you're supposed to. And it's okay if you get sad when you think of your birth story. It's taken me a while to get to a point where I can even let myself think about it, and it's taken me even longer to get to a point where I understand that it doesn't make me a bad mom or less of a mom because of that.

Despite how difficult it was to get Conrad here, there is no doubt that I would do it all over again if it meant I could be his mom. I absolutely love being a mom and am still in awe that I was able to even give birth at all. I am so amazed that my body was capable of carrying life, and will forever be thankful for that.

At times, finding joy in motherhood can be so hard. It's hard not to get caught up in being the 'perfect' mom and it's hard to even be a mom at all some days. It's really hard for me not to compare my birth story to others and to avoid jealousy, but I'm working on it. And I think that's enough.

Of all the things I've done in my life, becoming a mom will forever be my greatest accomplishment. It has been my dream to be a mom ever since I understood the meaning of the word. This is what I'm here to do and I wouldn't trade it for the world, even though the day my son was born wasn't the best day of my life.



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