Monday, January 26, 2015

Parenthood: my worry during pregnancy

I had an ideal pregnancy from the start. I didn't get sick, I didn't get heartburn, I didn't get super achy, I didn't get sick at the smell of certain foods, I just cruised. I coasted along, counting down the months/weeks/days/hours until the due date. Our appointments were fairly short. Our midwife  would check the heartbeat ("it sounds great!") check in on me ("doing fine!") and weighed me (okay okay, so gaining 60 pounds during pregnancy isn't ideal, but oh my gosh everything tasted GOOD).

And then an appointment came along that (initially) ripped us to the core.

It began with an appointment with our midwife. It was a Monday. It was potentially the first one that David was going to miss. He has been so sweet, and had come to every single appointment I had. Even though I knew how simple the appointments were (heartbeat/questions/weight), the thought of him not being there with me for even one made my eyes swell. Thankfully, he was able to rearrange a few things in his workday to come with me. We get there, they weigh me ("maybe an extra walk a day wouldn't hurt...") check the heartbeat ("it sounds great") and asked if we had any questions ("Walks? I'll just stay on my couch with my nightly bowl of ice cream. Deal?") and then she, somehow casually, mentions that our little girl had an echogenic focus on her heart. My heart drops and I'm unsure what to say/think/ask. She explains to us (to the best of my knowledge) that it is basically a calcium deposit on her heart. It is a "bright spot" that appears on ultrasounds. Roughly 20% of babies have this on their heart, and it typically resolves itself prior to birth. Echogenic focuses are linked to chromosomal abnormalities (Downs Syndrome, for example). But, the only way it is a red flag is if the echogenic focus shows up along with another "red flag" which can be a number of things. We were told we had no other "red flags" so it was no big deal. We had nothing to worry about.

Except I did. I delayed even thinking about it seriously until we stepped out of the parking garage downtown a couple of blocks from our office, heading back to work. I lost it, and broke down, and David just hugged me. I don't believe he said a word. I don't think I would have been able to hear it anyways over my cries. Something was on my babies HEART. Something that wasn't supposed to be. I couldn't get anything done the rest of the day. I wondered how I was going to get through the rest of my pregnancy without knowing with absolute certainty that my little girl was healthy and okay.

David encouraged told (he knows whats best for me) me to call my mom in the car on our way home from work. I had already texted our immediate families to let them know what had happened. They assured us everything was fine. But, you know. I called my mom and had her on speaker, in case I needed David to jump in and speak for me (the sobbing mess continued). My mom, who always played devil's advocate, perfected "tough love" (in, literally, the most loving and gentle way possible), and always had more of an "if bad things happen, we'll get through it" attitude, said something that I still remember word for word, something that I know she, as a woman of faith, didn't say lightly. Wouldn't dare to say lightly, in fact.

"Mckenzie, I am not even praying for your baby at this point, because I know she is fine. I am praying for you, to know that she is fine.

In that moment, I felt the first piece of heavenly comfort and peace in the situation. I felt relief through my (millions) of tears. I felt like I was hearing what God wanted me to hear right then and there through my mom.

I worried on and off for the next few weeks. But I would always remind myself of what she said to me and take so much peace in those words. Eventually my worry disappeared altogether, and we were able to enjoy the pregnancy again. It crossed my mind every now and then, but it always passed quickly with no worry.

Of course, we had our sweet girl, and she was fine, and continues to be the cutest little potato that ever walked the earth #noexaggeration

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Recipe: No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

This recipe came from "Divas Can Cook" HERE. and it is by far the best no-bake cookie recipe I have ever had! They are seriously delicious, and oh so easy. They are best same day, so make them the morning of and you'll be good to go!

1 stick butter
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups instant oats (1 minute oats)

1: In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat.
2: stir in sugar.
3: pour in milk and stir.
4: stir in cocoa powder.
5: stir in peanut butter
6: increase heat to medium and wait until it simmers.
7: lay out some sheets of parchment paper on the counter while waiting.
8: add vanilla extract.
9: turn off the heat but don't remove the pot.
10: add oats, stir for 1 minute.
11: drop spoonfuls onto parchment paper, then allow to cool/set. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Recipe: Pizzelles

If you haven't had a pizzelle yet, you need to get on that STAT. You guys, they're so easy, so delicious, and so fun. They are an Italian cookie, that can be made either soft and chewy (my fav) or nice and crispy. You need a special pizzelle iron to make them, but ours is able to make waffle cones as well (its the kitchen appliance from heaven).  You can tweak it, playing with different extracts (we love lemon!) They are hard to mess up, and taste wonderful with powdered sugar on top.

We use this. recipe:

  1. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until thick. Stir in the melted butter and vanilla. Sift together the flour and baking powder, and blend into the batter until smooth.
  2. For chocolate pizzelles, add 1/4 cup cocoa sifted together with flour and baking powder, 1/4 cup more sugar and 1/4 teaspoon more baking powder.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Just cruising along with these two hams. 

Chubby baby hands-&Homemade gingerbread cake and cream cheese frosting-&A sweet little Penelope who loves hanging her head lately, cause you know, its hilarious-&A mama/baby photo opp-&A photo from the lighting of the town Christmas tree much too long ago, but the cutest thing I ever did see-&See picture above, except this time she fell asleep like THAT.hamming it up in her "ahoy cutie" whale onesie-&college roommate reunion (somuchfun)-&daddy daughter time (and the uninvited buckets-o-drool).

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Motherhood: The baby blues.

I mean, BAM! right?

After I had my sweet girl, I got the baby blues. They just shot right through me, I was helpless against those post-birth hormones. I was head over heals in love with her, but I exceptionally emotional afterwards. The baby blues are said to last 1-2 weeks, and are fairly common. My blues lasted a solid 3, to the point where my husband was concerned that I instead had postpartum depression. He called my mom one afternoon to spill his concerns to her (she immediately came over to the house to help...what would we do without her?). David set a date, and decided that if I wasn't feeling better by then, that I would need to call my doctor. I agreed, and thanks to some major changes (including a mandatory date that night with my darling husband that night) I felt better within the next couple of days.

I asked myself a lot "why on earth am I so sad? This is what I have been waiting for, for so long". While I am sure a lot of it (most of it?) was due to the hormones, I feel, looking back, a lot of it was also due to the lack of a routine. I was constantly thinking what I needed to be doing, and always wondering if I was doing it right. Our sweet Penny has been such a good baby. I have turned into such a broken record, telling everyone that God knew what he was doing by giving us the sweetest, easiest little darling possible for our baby number 1. He knew I would need that considering how emotional (emotionally unstable? eek.) I was for so long. Penny was holding up her end of the bargain perfectly (that is, being completely adorable 24/7). My mom helped us enforce a solid schedule, and things improved tremendously. We used the one outlined in the book "babywise", which has been recommended to us by everyone. And now here I am, recommending it to EVERYONE.

I also made sure to get out by myself regularly. Thankfully, we have a ton of family in the area that are all super eager to watch her, so we have no shortage of extra hands. I try not to lose sight of who I am on my own, without my little girl. Of course I think of her and miss her (and talk about her with whoever I'm with.) when I am without her, but I also see the value of the refreshment I get from being on my own, and spending time with just my husband.

Guys, being this sweet girls mom is so incredible. And each day I gain more confidence and fall in love with being her mom more and more. And can I say that I couldn't possibly have gotten a better partner to go through all of this with? David is incredible. She is definitely a little daddy's girl. She lights up when he walks in the door each evening, and he is the only one that can get her to fall asleep oh so quickly in his arms. She adores him, and I attribute it to how incredibly hands on he is with her.