Thursday, November 26, 2015

Lessons I Learned

Tomorrow my little turkey baby will be turning the wild one. I'm not sure how it's happened, but here we are, on the eve of her birth. It's amazing to look back and see where we were and to see how it all panned out. How amazing our God is! He has blessed us with this beautiful little girl who is such a light in our lives. She has taught us so very much and I thought I would share our journey and what we have learned with all of you good people. Whether you do not have kids or you have seven, I think each kid has their own lessons to teach. So here are the lessons Q had for us.

1. Let go and let God:

Quinn was born at 3:01 Thanksgiving morning via emergency C-section. She was not getting enough oxygen and her heartbeat slowed each time I had a contraction. The placenta had already started to detach. When our doctor came in to tell us that our sweet girl was not doing well, I think my heart stopped. It seemed like she took forever and a day to tell us what was wrong. Time slowed and we were so scared. In reality, it most likely took less than a minute for her to explain what was happening and that she wanted to get us into the OR. We let go of our expectations and trusted that we would be holding our baby very soon. They walked me to the OR to get my spinal. The anesthesiologist was amazing, so calm and warm. She walked me through the whole thing. We were so amazed by the team in there. They figuratively and literally held our hands through the entire process. At the end of it all, we were holding a perfect and healthy little girl. Maybe it wasn't according to our plan, but it was according to His.

2. Find your parenting style:

Whatever we had read or heard before we held our daughter really did not prepare us. What works for someone else could not help you at all. Embrace the confusion and panic. I had full on meltdowns when it came to breastfeeding. What's important is to do what is right for you and baby. Is baby thriving? Then good, you are succeeding at parenting, whatever style you choose. Everyone will have their opinion on what you are doing, but if your bundle of joy is happy and healthy, then all is right.

3. Accept the things that come:

Just because I couldn't breastfeed Q doesn't mean I won't try again with the next one. I struggled after birth with it not going the way I had imagined. My vaginal, no meds delivery turned into a emergency c-section. I struggled with the thought that my body had failed me and kept failing me when I couldn't breastfeed. Then I just looked at Q one day and realized that she was here. Sure, it wasn't perfect and it has left me with my battle scar, but she is here guys. And she is beautiful.  Our bodies work exactly how they are meant to and it's amazing that babies are formed in us to begin with. Let's take a moment and just be thankful for each and every child.

4. Don't compare:

Quinn was walking at 11 months and we've been running ever since. Our girl doesn't slow down and we love it. Some babies are super content and love to just cuddle all day long, not our Quinn. Her cuddles are a second long and then she's off. But how she loves. She is so loving. So what, Quinn isn't like that one baby who has slept through the night since they were two weeks old and has fought naps since day one. We are gifted these sweet babies and we need to encourage their differences, not try to conform them. Quinn was never able to be on a real schedule, she didn't do well on one. As soon as we took her off it, she thrived. No baby is alike, embrace it. Love it. We do.

5. Don't wish that stage away:

There was a time for two weeks when we brought Quinn home from the hospital that we could not get her to sleep. She would be awake for hours, which is definitely not normal for newborns. We called the pediatrician, read books, tried everything we could and it was miserable. There were tears of frustration and exhaustion. Constant rocking, swaying, patting and humming. Eventually we all settled into life together and she stopped being as difficult. She still fought sleep until 8 months old, but she was able to go to sleep much easier than before. I miss those days now, those first few days when her hands were closed in tight fists and fuzzies would gather, when she would snuggle in close to sleep and give sleepy grins. I wish I could have Quinn at every stage all at once, they are all so amazing. Don't wish away the stage you are in, you won't get it back and you'll miss it. Even with all the crazy, you'll miss it. I know I do.

6. Take pictures and videos:

You know, so when you are on the eve of their first birthday you can look back and have a sob fest. Capture as much as possible, you'll forget things and want to look back. Or you'll just get sentimental and want to reminisce. It's ok to cry about that baby growing up, we all do it. No judgement here, in fact I'll join you. How is year almost gone??

7. Soak them in:

Pause every once in a while and just soak them in. Look at their facial expressions (smiles, pouts, crinkling nose), their goofy antics, their big eyes looking up at you, their hand holding yours. Smell that baby smell, give kisses and bear hugs. Listen to them jabber in their baby language, giggle when you tickle them. And grab them up when they reach their arms up to you. Just take it all in. Golly, if you could bottle the sweetness of a baby, no one could be unhappy. They bring such joy.

8. Let them:

Quinn is such an independent little girl. She explores everything and we let her. We let her take little tumbles, get in the thick of playtime with kids, and let her experience life. There is nothing like watching your kid learn about the world. Looking through their eyes is so special. They see things like no other. Don't hold them back, go with them and hold their hand if they need you to.

Yes, that is my child licking a swing. Things happen.

This list could go on, but these are the big ones. And I know in another year, there will be even more to add. Parenthood is an amazing experience, one full of challenges, love, and memories. However you become a parent, whether it is birth, adoption, fostering or by fur baby, you won't regret it.

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