Saturday, March 29, 2014

3 Months

When I was pregnant, a friend of mine gave me some advice that a friend had given her. She said to mark a date on the calendar 12 weeks from when the baby is born and to not expect life to go back to any sense of normalcy before then. This has been pretty good advice in my case. Jonas has been a relatively easy baby, so our life hasn't been complete chaos, but we were pretty much in survival mode. I am just now starting to get back into cooking (semi) regularly, exercising, and working more than 15 minutes at a time. The transition to stay-at-home motherhood has been a bit rough for me (perhaps I'll write more about that later), but I'm beginning to feel like I can do this.

Jonas is officially not a newborn anymore. That's bittersweet, but mainly sweet. I'm enjoying seeing his little personality emerge and watching him learn new skills every day.

"Firsts" from This Month
  • First laugh. G-ma just happened to make a noise that he thought was hilarious. Since then we've tried to replicate it, but he hasn't fallen for it. So his laugh count is still at one. I can't figure out how to upload the video here, but I posted it on facebook.
  • First time to lift his head when on his stomach. Yes, he's a little late for this particular milestone. Poor kid has to have a lot of strength to lift his giant head. :)
  • First time to go to Cradle Roll class at church. He's not big enough to sit in the bucket seats yet, so he sits in a little carrier on the table. And this picture is pretty representative of his expression the whole time he's there. I think he likes it because he never fusses or cries, even when he should be hungry, but he always looks quite skeptical of the whole thing.
  • First family vacation. We wanted to go to Austin, but we ended up staying in Georgetown because SXSW was in Austin that week. We enjoyed exploring Georgetown, though. And Jonas got to meet Brittany and Erin. He was a great traveler.
    Enjoying some snuggles while watching HGTV - mine and Darby's favorite hotel pastime.

    Brittany offered to watch Jonas while Darby and I went on a date. So sweet!
    Erin and Brendan drove up from San Antonio to have dinner with us. It was great to see them!
  • First wedding/First time to meet Uncle Jeremy and Aunt Janice/First time to see his CUZNS (Darby's cousins' children). Darby's cousin Hayley got married in Cleburne. It was great to introduce Jonas to a lot of that side of the family. 
  • The Hewitt clan
    All three babies were born within 2 months of each other: Allison and Noah; Darby and Jonas; Nicky and Carter

Things I Want to Remember
  •  Jonas is a very serious baby. He spends most of his time staring, just taking everything in, often with a furrowed brow. But sometimes, he'll just break into the sweetest little grin. I find his smiles even more rewarding since they don't happen all the time.
  • Jonas usually wakes up between 7 and 7:30 and goes down for a nap around 8:30. In order to get a little more sleep on Saturdays, I lay him on the bed between us after he gets done eating. We play with him for a while, and then we all take a morning nap together. It's wonderful. 
  • Like me, Jonas does not like the wind. If we take him out in it, he scrunches up his face and makes this little scoffing sound. 

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

After giving birth

Since Jonas's birth, I've thought a lot about his delivery. It was the most intense, physically and emotionally challenging experience of my life (granted, I've had a pretty easy life). But there was really no time to process it because, when it was over, everyone's focus immediately shifted to the baby. I found myself really wanting to talk about the birth. But it's a little awkward. I think most people prefer not to think about how babies enter the world. It's messy and painful and scary. When I was pretty close to my due date, a friend told me the stories of her two babies' deliveries. They were somewhat difficult deliveries and a little frightening. At the time, I wondered why she told me. But now I think I see. There's this compulsion, at least for me, to share the details with others even if it is uncomfortable.

The delivery is in sharp contrast to the actual pregnancy. For 9 months, everyone sees your belly getting bigger and bigger. There are constant questions about how you're feeling, what you're craving, whether you have morning sickness, etc. It's basically unavoidable, as the reality of your condition is glaringly obvious. Then, you deliver the baby. And what you have been building up to for the past 9 months is over in a matter of hours. Very shortly after giving birth, I looked normal to outsiders. But I felt so far from normal. A couple of weeks after Jonas was born, I went to the store without him. When I got home, I told Darby, "It's so strange. No one knows I've just given birth. I feel like I want to shout, 'I just had a baby.'"

I have this strange need for others to recognize the life-altering event I just went through. On the one hand, I know women have babies every day, and there's not really any special skill required. But, on the other hand, I'm really proud of what my body did. When I look in the mirror now, I do sometimes feel a twinge of self-consciousness over my new baby pooch and stretch marks (note: don't start bragging at 8 months that you don't have any stretch marks - they will come, oh, they will come). But, mainly I feel amazed that this body carried and delivered over 9 pounds of baby.

So now I'm that woman unintentionally scaring other pregnant women with stories of her difficult birth. :) But I hope I'll also be that woman asking the new mom about her birth and listening if she wants to talk about it.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

2 Months

Well, I'm about a week late with this post. The past month, and especially the past 2 weeks have been really fun as Jonas has started to become a lot more aware and alert. He's interacting with Darby and me a lot more. Some days, when I'm trying to get stuff done at home, I do sort of miss the days when he would sleep most of the day. But seeing his little smile and hearing his coos is a lot more fun that getting stuff done anyway.

He rocks a bib often because he's quite the spitter-upper.

"Firsts" from This Month
  • First time sleeping in his own room and then in his crib. At first, we had him sleeping in his little Rock 'n' Play Sleeper in our room. I assumed we would continue this for several months, as many people had told me they were able to sleep a lot better with the baby in their room. Plus, having the baby in your room reduces the risk of SIDS. However, I slept HORRIBLY with him in the room. He is a noisy sleeper, and every little grunt and sigh would wake me up. Plus, since our bed is so high, I still had to get out of bed to pick him up to feed him, so it wasn't really any more convenient. Right after he turned one month, we decided to move him to his room. I couldn't quite bear to put him in his crib, though. He just looked so tiny and lonely. So we kept him in the sleeper. We all slept much better, which leads me to my next first...
  • First time sleeping through the night. For 10 glorious nights, he slept from 10:30 or 11 to 7 or 7:30. It was amazing. Unfortunately, it was short-lived. When we transitioned him to his crib, he began waking up at around 4 a.m., and he's done that consistently ever since. He does go back down for 2-3 more hours after he eats, so it's not that bad. I know only one nighttime waking is very good for a 2-month-old. But, it's so hard to go back after having a taste of a full night's sleep!
  • First real smile. Darby got him to smile first, and now he smiles at us on a regular basis. We still have not found the one magic thing that makes him smile consistently, though. He seems more prone to smiles in the morning and when he's laying on his changing table. It's very hard to get a picture of him smiling because it's so fleeting.

  • First trip to Waco to see both sets of grandparents. He did great in the car. We are so happy to live close to family again. I know we'll be making that trip very often.

  • First playgroup. There are several women from church who get together once a week. Right now the babies are 2 months, 4 months, 7 months, and 1 year. So, there's not a lot of playing that goes on. But, it's fun for the moms, and, as the kids get older, I'm sure they'll become friends.  
  • First ACU Chapel. He slept through most of it.
  • First Valentine's Day. He sent Valentine's cards to his grandparents and aunts and uncles. And he received Valentines from his grandparents and great-aunt Lea. 
Things I Want to Remember
  • Sometimes when he's about to sneeze, he gasps really loudly, like he's winding up for it. After he sneezes, he'll often say, "Goo..."
  • It takes him a really long time to wake up fully. He'll stretch for a long time, scrunch up his face, grunt, and rub his eyes for like 10 minutes. It's so cute.
  • He loves to suck on his hands, but he still hasn't quite gotten the hang of it. We try to encourage him to use the pacifier instead, since it's easier and less gross. But he'll use his hands to block us from putting the pacifier in. Or he'll hook one of his fingers around it and just pop it out. 
  • He loves to be out and about. When we're in a new place, he'll be really calm, taking it all in. But when we're just at home, he gets kind of restless. 
  • He constantly kicks his legs. It's very hard for me to get a picture of him that isn't blurry because he's always in motion.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Good Reads

Well, I got out of the habit of doing my monthly reading list. And, honestly, I haven't read a whole lot in the past year. I'm not sure why. I suspect part of it might have to do with getting an iPad then an iPhone. It's too tempting to look at Pinterest and Facebook or play Candy Crush. But, I've downloaded the Kindle app, and I'm trying to get better about reading again. Here are some of the good books I've read lately.

Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table by Shauna Niequist
I had heard really good things about this book from a lot of people, so when it went on sale for the Kindle, I snatched it up. Food-related memoirs are my favorite genre, and I enjoyed this one, especially since it also incorporated thoughts about faith. Shauna's main point is that community centers around food, and you shouldn't wait until your life is perfect to be hospitable. While her writing was beautiful and I agree totally with her main points, I felt it was at times difficult to buy what she was saying. It's like, "You don't have to do anything fancy! Your life doesn't have to be perfect. Now let me explain how I make my 'super-simple' from-scratch risotto and vinaigrette and homemade ice cream for my group of extraordinarily tight-knit friends at my parents' summer lake house." Maybe it's just my own insecurities, but I kind of felt like a failure as I was reading, which I think was the opposite of the author's intention. Still, if you like books about food.

Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five by John Medina
I read the adult version of Brain Rules, which was also interesting, so I couldn't resist this Kindle Daily Deal. I'm very curious about how Jonas's little brain works and what he is capable of. The author's main point was that playing Mozart to your baby and trying to teach him how to read is pointless. Instead, he talks about factors that have been proven through numerous studies to affect young children's development. A lot of it is common-sense stuff (e.g., happy marriages produce happier children), but some of the information, like what types of play are most beneficial, was really helpful. And it was good to be reminded that it's really the big picture that matters more than the tiny details.

The next four books are ones that I read for my book club. Now that I'm back in Abilene, I was able to rejoin the book club that I helped found seven years ago. I absolutely love talking about books with others, and so far the books that we've read have been really good.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
This is a young adult novel that had been highly recommended to me by several people. It's a love story about two teenagers with cancer. It sounds really depressing, but it has enough light-hearted moments to make it not a total downer. The main characters are very witty and likable, and I loved the relationships they had with their parents. That being said, I think this book might have been hyped up a little too much before I read it. I liked it, but I didn't love it. 

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
This is another book I had heard a lot about but never gotten around to reading. It is narrated by a dog, which kind of turned me off, since I'm not a dog person. I actually loved it, though.  It's hard to explain the plot without giving too much away. Basically, the dog, at the end of his life, is telling the story of his owner's life through his eyes. The narration could have come off as gimmicky, but it really didn't. And the situation the owner finds himself in makes it a real page-turner.  

Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
Bernadette is an eccentric middle-aged mom who disappears, leaving her precocious 13-year-old daughter, Bee, and clueless husband behind. Bee begins examining the events that occurred leading up to the disappearance in order to find out what happened. Told through multiple points of view, letters, e-mails, bills, etc., the mystery unfolds brilliantly piece by piece. And the author hilariously parodies Seattle hipsters, private school parents, and Microsoft employees. This is one of the best books I've read in a while. It's hilarious, quirky, smart, and poignant.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 
This was my pick for book club because I already owned it but hadn't read it. It's another young adult novel, although it's quite long and deals with a very serious subject. It's narrated by Death and tells the story of a young German girl who's given into foster care by her mother during World War II. The girl's foster family ends up sheltering a young Jewish man, whom she befriends and bonds with over a love of reading and words. I've read many Holocaust books, and I appreciated that this one was told from the point of view of a German family. It helped me to see that the distinction between "good" people and "bad" people is not black and white and really made me question how I react when I know about injustices that are going on around me. But again, I think this one might have been hyped up too much. I enjoyed it, but I felt like it dragged in places and was sometimes heavy-handed.  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

1 Month

It's hard to believe that Jonas has been a part of our family for one month already. The time really is passing quickly. He has brought us a lot of joy in the past month, and I'm looking forward to see what the next month will bring!

"Firsts" from Month One
  • First Christmas
  • First New Year's
  • First walk in the stroller

  • First bottle

  • First party (at our friends Mike and Beth's house). We thought we were pretty awesome parents bringing our 4-week-old to a party. Then another couple showed up with their 4-day-old. One-upped.
  • First time to a restaurant. We even braved a sit-down restaurant (Lytle Land and Cattle) with a group of friends. He slept in his carrier the whole time like a little angel.
  • First trip to the grocery store
  • First doctor's appointment
  • First time to church

  • First bath. He's not a fan, but he seems somewhat resigned to it now. He doesn't cry; he just looks at us like, "Why are you doing this to me?"

 Things I Want to Remember
  • Right before he falls asleep, he gives the sweetest little grin. 
  • He always has a suspicious look. I call him Mr. Suspicious.
  • He gets the hiccups all the time, just like when I was pregnant with him.
  • He always puts one arm up in the air, like he's saying, "Yeah!"

  • He loves music - the mobile on his play gym, the lullabies his swing plays, Darby's guitar, and the singing at church. 

  • He usually lays with his head turned to the left. One night, I told Darby to turn his head to the right, so he wouldn't get a flat spot. When Darby turned him, Jonas's eyes got huge and he got super still. It was as if he had just discovered a whole new world and his mind was blown.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Jonas's first Christmas

We were so happy that Jonas arrived before Christmas. And, after knowing how long his labor took, very glad we didn't opt to schedule our induction for Christmas Eve, which was one of our options!

We exchanged gifts with Darby's parents on the Friday night after we got home from the hospital. They returned to Waco on Saturday, and Darby's mom came back for a longer visit on New Year's Day. I'll post more about that later.

My parents and Hannah were with us the entire week of Christmas. And Matt and his fiance, Leila, were able to come over quite a bit. They all showered Jonas with plenty of snuggles. It was great that Jonas had so much time to spend with his G-ma, Papa, and aunt and uncle.
"Aunt-elect" Leila

Snoozing with Auntie Hannie
Uncle Matt


Unfortunately, Darby and I came down with a stomach bug on the Monday and Tuesday before Christmas, so we were pretty ragged. I was disappointed to have to miss out on our Christmas Eve pizza dinner and game playing. Darby did cheer me up by bringing me my stocking in bed. We got Jonas his own stocking, but we didn't fill it this year. We figured he wouldn't appreciate it. :)

Hannah and her boyfriend, Brad, staged a photo shoot with Jonas. We're using some of the pictures for our birth announcement.
He wasn't thrilled about being stuffed in his stocking.
Looking cute in his Christmas outfit.

We were both feeling better on Christmas Day, so we enjoyed opening presents with my family. Jonas slept through the whole event.

Darby and I always take a picture in front of our tree. It was so fun to add Jonas this year!
My mom's extended family came into town on Thursday night, so we headed over to Aunt Lea's for dinner and frousin time. Jonas got to meet his great-grandma Katherine, great-aunt Katina, and frousins Amy, Rob, and Matthew. Naturally, on his first evening out, Jonas went through the outfit he had on and his back-up outfit. Luckily, Aunt Katina let him open his Christmas gift early, so he didn't have to be naked the whole night. And we learned an important lesson: the diaper bag is now stocked with two backup outfits.

Great-aunt Lea
Great-aunt Katina
Great-grandma Katherine
Frousin Amy

On Friday morning, we went back over to Lea's to open gifts and have our traditional Christmas lunch. Again, Jonas slept through all of the present opening, and he didn't even say thank you to anyone! Normally, we all get together on Christmas Day in Dallas, but everyone agreed to change up the date and location, so Darby, Jonas, and I could participate. I'm so grateful to everyone for being so accommodating.
A Baby's First Christmas ornament. Jonas seems thrilled by his presents. :)
There are a lot of benefits of having a baby around Christmas. The primary one for us being that Darby is off work for several weeks. And I love that our families were able to spend so much time with him right after birth. But, to be honest, I found it a little overwhelming to handle both a newborn and the holidays at the same time. Normally, I love Christmas, but I just felt like I couldn't totally enjoy it this year. I felt like I missed out on things because I had to excuse myself to feed Jonas every few hours. Both Darby and I have the feeling that Christmas just didn't really happen this year. So, while Jonas's first Christmas was certainly special, I'm looking forward to his second Christmas when I'll hopefully be a little less zombie-like.
Christmas-ed out.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

2 weeks ago

2 weeks and 1 day ago, Darby and I went to my routine doctor's appointment and were surprised to come out with an induction scheduled for the next day (my due date). That was not how I had hoped things would work out, but I was excited to know we would be meeting our little boy soon.

After Darby's departmental Christmas party the night before the induction. 39 weeks 6 days pregnant.
2 weeks ago, we got up at 3:30 a.m., after very little sleep, and headed to the hospital to start the induction process.
The morning of the induction. I think my facial expression perfectly captures my emotions. I'm trying to be excited, but I'm mainly nervous and scared. And really, really tired.
We thought we'd be meeting our little boy 2 weeks ago today. I was pleased with the idea of him being born on his due date. But, he had other plans. After 24 hours of labor, Jonas David Hewitt entered the world on December 19 at 6:07 a.m. Much to everyone's shock, he weighed 9 lbs. 5 oz. and was 21 in. long. We had known he was big, but no one thought he was that big. I won't post all of the details of his birth story here. But I did type it up for my own memory. If you're interested in reading a loooong story, I'm happy to share it with you.

Our sweet big boy. The labor was difficult but totally worth it to get him here.

Darby holding him shortly after birth. The pictures of me holding him right after birth will never see the light of day. :) I see all of these beautiful pictures of moms looking tired but radiant holding their seconds-old babies. I look much more ragged in my photos. And while I certainly look happy, the primary emotions are exhaustion and relief.

All ready to go home from the hospital. He wasn't sure what to think about his car seat. We went home on Friday around noon. I was so ready to be done with the IV and the constant interruptions for blood pressure checks, instructions, medication, etc. 
It's hard to believe how much life has changed in 2 weeks.We're getting settled into life as a family of 3. Jonas is an incredibly easygoing little guy who really only fusses when he's hungry and sleeps in decent 3-hour stretches. Even so, it's a pretty big adjustment.

Darby and I might be biased, but we think he's the cutest baby we've ever seen. Every little facial expression and noise is cause for exclamation. I just can't get over the fact that this little person was living inside me. It seems impossible.

His arrival was nothing like I had intended or expected, but I couldn't be happier that he's here.