Wyatt: 6 Months

wyatt6months1 wyatt6months2              IMG_3866  Wyatt turned six months on Monday and we just had his check up this morning.

Six months! How can it be that our little man has been in our lives for half of a year?  

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He has grown so much, both physically and developmentally this past month. He’s starting to look and act more like a little boy each day. My baby is growing up!

Overall he is a very happy and smiley baby. He brightens up our days with his huge toothless grin and loves to “flirt” with almost everyone. 

IMG_3902 Weight:  17 pounds 3.5 ounces

Length: 27.25 inches

Hair: brown

Eyes: Blue

Nicknames: Wy, Wy-Wy, Mr. Man. Mr. Stinky 

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Likes: Singing and music. He loves the Hot Dog Song from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, (even if he’s never seen the show) He goes legit berserk whenever we play the song on our phones. He also loves just rolling around on the floor and exploring. 

Dislikes: Going down for a nap, going to bed at night, and waking up from a nap. He basically hates to sleep. I don’t get it. 

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Clothing and Diapers: He’s mostly all in 3-6 month clothing and size 2 diapers and still using cloth diapers about 50% of the time. 

Sleep: It’s feeling pretty non existant. Some nights I feel like I’m dealing with a dictating newborn again. At night he’s up every 2-3 hours and the only thing that calms him down is the boob. I’m tired. He’s tired. Everyone is cranky. We have a solid bedtime routine. He is sleepy at night. He CAN self soothe. We have a lovely crib for him to sleep in. He rolls over onto his belly and gets very frustrated that he can’t roll back. Starts screaming and he ends up in his co-sleeper or in the rock n play by 12. 

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Feeding: He eats every 3 hours.  Still exclusively breast-fed. On Sunday we fed him his first solids: banana! He was very intrigued and it was a very messy and fun experience. 

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Wyatt’s First Food: Banana! from KatieMacDonald on Vimeo.

Milestones: Holding up his head very well. Almost sitting up. Rolling over a lot, but still hasn’t fully mastered rolling over from belly to back. Playing in his activity center. Eating bananas. “Talking” more. Blowing raspberries. Lots of drool but no teeth yet. Reaching his arms up to be picked up. 

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Favorite Things: Hot Dog Song, Peekaboo books, Mr. Brown Can Moo book, bear sleepy stuffed animal, jelly cat kitty tail book, wubanubs, pulling of socks, eating feet, balls, playing peekaboo, rolling over, soothing teething keys. Playing with his feet.

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What I want to remember:

How happy he is to see Daddy when he comes home from work.

They way he reaches up to us to be picked up now.

How his giggles are the best sound ever. 

The rare moments he still wants me to hold him whiles he’s napping. 

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Dear Wyatt,

You are turning into a little guy with such a happy and fun personality. You think life is just so much fun that you never want to miss a beat or close your eyes to sleep. Waking up to your big beautiful smile everyday makes my life worth living, even after sleepless nights. You help me relax and realize that life is short and full of new things. I hope that I’m doing everything I can to provide you with the best babyhood. The days are going by too fast. I love you so much little guy. I can’t wait to get outside and experience Spring with you. 

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Down By the Bay with Wyatt from KatieMacDonald on Vimeo.

   
  

   
        

Live on Huffington Post….

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I’m excited to announce that I am now a contributing blogger for The Huffington Post!

(So excited that I cried when I found out and when I told my mom, she thought I was announcing another pregnancy, my face was that happy.)

It was very important for me to share my experience with postpartum depression and I’m glad that this is my first piece that is live on Huffington Post Parents. 

Thank you for all of your support regarding my experience. It was hard to hit publish on this piece, but my hope is that other women experiencing similar thoughts will feel less shame, speak up, and get help.

Postpartum depression and anxiety is much more common that you’d think. 1 in 7 women will experience symptoms. 

I, a woman who dreamed of having a baby her whole life, never thought I was go through this experience. And that made it all that much harder. It is a commonly misunderstood mental illness. It is hard to remember that we are not in control of these feelings. I never thought of harming my son and always felt a huge amount of love for him, but my anxiety and depression crippled me in many other ways. 

I spent many nights up in bed in a panic, filled with shame. Those dark and lonely moments only escalated my depression.

It wasn’t until after I started reading other women’s experiences with PPD (a much more productive way to spend my sleepless nights) that I felt safe enough to talk about how I felt. So, I am glad to now add my story and hope that at least one other woman will be up at 3 am, on the break of a panic attack, find my story and will feel less shame about talking about her feelings. 

I sought support around 6 weeks after Wyatt’s birth and felt immediate relief. Since then I have made major improvements and almost feel like myself again. 

Motherhood is hard. Let’s support each other. 

 

My Struggle With Postpartum Depression

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(This post has been hard for me to write, but I am glad to be sharing my story.)

It’s two a.m. and I’m not sleeping. Again.

My newborn son has finally fallen asleep. I have been waiting for this moment all day. I’m exhausted. I should be sleeping.

Instead, I’m sitting in bed scrolling through baby message boards on my phone, falling into a deep rabbit hole of anxiety. I type question after question: “Is he eating enough?” “Why isn’t he sleeping?” “Is his poop normal“, “Am I interacting enough?” The questions go on and on. I know I need to sleep, I know the baby will be up in a short hour. But I can’t calm my mind.

Every night I search for an answer that I know I won’t find. I search for a way to justify the way I feel or a way to convince myself what I’m feeling is normal. But I know it is true: I am suffering from postpartum depression.

I waited my entire life to have a baby. I spent my pregnancy on cloud nine researching products and organizing a perfect nursery where I sat daydreaming about life with my baby.

After the birth of my son, I was overjoyed. I had an easy delivery (as easy as a C-section can go) and after five days, I was excited to go home.

I knew I would face challenges as a new mother, but I thought the love for my son would overpower them. Those first few weeks are a blur.

I felt anxious about everything. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wasn’t bonding with my baby. I felt overwhelmed by simple tasks. I would dread the end of the day, not wanting to face another never-ending night of doom and despair.

I had an enormous support system and visitors flooded in. I’d put on a smile and say all the right things, becoming an expert at masking my inner turmoil; too afraid of the judgment I would receive if people knew the truth.

I loved my son, so I chalked my anxieties up to the “baby blues” which the internet says dissipate around six weeks. So, I waited.

Six weeks came and went. As I emerged out of the fog of the newborn days my anxiety only became sharper.

Every day would end in tears. When my husband came home and ask me how I was, I’d sob uncontrollably. My husband would ask, “What is causing this?” And I would say I felt alone, lost, and like a failure and I had no idea why.

I was unraveling.

I had scary visions. I pictured my son falling out of my arms and tumbling down the stairs and cracking his skull open. I stood at the top of the stairs, paralyzed. I pictured him cold and blue, dead in his bassinet. I’d wake up and pat the bed frantically, searching for his unresponsive body, only to turn to my left to see him sleeping peacefully.

I felt unmotivated and couldn’t get out of bed until noon. Leaving the house on my own triggered panic attacks.

I would hold my beautiful baby and try to force myself to feel the love that I knew I felt. Because I did love my son, more than I thought was possible. But there were days I would stare down at his perfect little face and feel nothing. And it tore my heart apart.

I felt like such a failure. Any mother who truly loved her child would never think these thoughts, right?

I felt selfish. If I really loved my child I would stop these negative thoughts and perceiver, right?

I was terrified to admit how I felt, afraid to sound whiny or like I was looking for pity. I wanted to be like the strong and confident mothers that I felt were all around me.

There was nothing that I wanted more than to be a mother yet I felt so alone and sad. Postpartum depression felt like I was grieving a loss of something that I never knew.

I finally hit my breaking point. One night my husband and I were chatting before bed. I started crying and couldn’t contain myself. I ran outside and crawled into the backseat of my car and wailed for ten minutes. I didn’t want my husband or my baby to see me. I didn’t want to see myself.

I gained the courage to walk back inside. I asked my husband, “Do you think something is wrong with me?” I could see the fear in his eyes; he didn’t want to say the wrong thing. I sat down and bawled, too afraid to say, “I have postpartum depression” out loud. Finally I whispered, “I need help.”

All the thoughts that had been haunting me for the past seven weeks poured out. I told him that I worry he doesn’t love me anymore because I turned into a monster since the birth of our son and that I worry my baby doesn’t love me – that I wasn’t bonding with him and never would.

The following morning I went to the doctor. Sweaty and shaking, I told her everything. She looked me in the eye and said, “I’m so glad you came.”

Relief washed over me.

She explained that more women than I think feel like this. That there is nothing to be shameful of, that motherhood is hard.

She recommended I start taking Lexapro, explaining that the side effects of having a depressed mother were certainly worse than any side effects of the drug in my milk.

I walked out of that doctor’s appointment with a confidence I hadn’t felt since before my son was born. I had a plan and I was ready to take care of myself.

It’s been four months since I started my recovery and I’m still taking one day at a time. There are still hard days that end in tears, but, the good days outnumber the bad days.

Knowing that I am taking the best care for myself, and in turn my son, gets me through.

The American Psychological Association states that 1 in 7 women will experience postpartum depression. It is much more common than you think. I share my story to encourage others to speak up and get help.

The more we share our stories, the more we will diminish the stigma surrounding postpartum depression.

My debut into motherhood was nothing like I expected, and it left me broken. But, my true, loving, strong self was hidden beneath those crippling thoughts. Support is out there. I only wish I would have sought it sooner.

 

 

Wyatt: 5 Months

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Wyatt turned five months on Sunday. 

I’ll continue to say this each month, but this has been my favorite stage so far! He’s full of smiles and giggles and thinks everything is funny. He can now hold his head up which makes carrying him around a lot easier (even though he’s getting so heavy!)

He has such a fun little personality and I love watching him learn new skills everyday. He’s very curious and is always alert of everything that is going on around him. 

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Weight: I’d guess around 15 pounds (you don’t go in for a 5th month doctor appointment so we won’t get his official stats until next month)

Length: I’d guess around 28 inches. He’s getting SO long.

Hair: brown (seems to be getting a little lighter maybe)

Eyes: Blue

Nicknames: Wy, Wy Guy, Wy-Wy, Mr. Man. Mr. Stinky 

Likes: Singing and music. We sing to him all day long, making up crazy silly lyrics and going nuts singing the same songs over and over. He currently loves “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” He also is so proud to be holding his head up. He likes staring at picture books and checking out new toys. 

Dislikes: Going down for a nap, going to bed at night, and waking up from a nap. 

Clothing and Diapers: He’s in a mix and match of 0-3 month and 3-6 month clothing. Still in size 1 diapers. We are still using cloth diapers when we are at home. 

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Sleep: We are struggling! Most nights he’s still sleeping in his bassinet that is attached to our bed, but any day now he’s going to be too long for it. We’ve been trying to transition him to his crib, but are failing. He slept a full night in his crib once. The four-month sleep regression is no joke. He still wakes up about 1-2 times a night to eat. He’s an okay napper -taking 3 consistent naps a day. We follow the Eat, Play, Sleep, Repeat routine. 

Feeding: He eats every 3 hours (or less during the day.) Still exclusively breast-fed. Looking forward to adding some veggies next month! 

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Milestones: Holding up his head and chest during tummy time. Sitting up in his bumbo seat. Reaching out and grabbing toys and everything else in his sight. Rolling over. Laughing all the time. Almost saying “hi!”. Holding up his head when we hold him. 

IMG_2873 .He still constantly has his fingers, or whole fist in his mouth. Whenever he has something new in his hand it goes directly into his mouth and he’s also drooling a lot, but no signs of teeth.

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He loves cell phones and tries to grab and play with it during our nightly facetime dates with Grammy. 

Wyatt still can’t live without his wubanubs. He also has a few favorite stuffed animals. 

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What I want to remember:

The way he lights up when we sing to him.

How happy he is to see Daddy whenever he comes home.

His reaction to the snow. 

How excited he his when he discovers a new toy or book.

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Oh Wyatt, we are having so much fun being your mommy and daddy! I love watching you explore your world and look at everything new. Your happiness is contagious and so pure. What a joy you are. 

 

 

   
  

   
        

I Finally Feel Like a Mom

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Nearly five months on the job and I finally feel like a mom.

At the end of my pregnancy I was bombarded with a lot of advice and opinions from experienced moms. Mostly they were warning me how hard the first few weeks of motherhood were going to be. “Nightmare”, “despair”, “survival”, and “crazy” were words that were all loosely thrown around.

I felt like I was being hit with negativity from all angles when all I wanted to do was float on my cloud of pre birth euphoria. I had waited my whole life to be a mom and was so excited to share my life with a cuddly little newborn. I knew it was going to be hard work and that there were going to be sleepless nights and challenging learning curves but I was so angry about all the negative words I was receiving from other moms. “How dare they ruin such a special time for me?” I thought as I rubbed my pregnant belly, daydreaming in my soon to be born son’s nursery. 

Oh how naive I was. I wish I could go back and hug that version of myself. 

It’s true, the first few weeks, even months, are all about survival. On the days that I wasn’t asking doctor google a ridiculous amount of questions (you don’t want to know how much time I spent looking at articles and images about newborn poop) I was trying to figure out how to let myself rest and recover or to find a way to not cry as much. The internet and the books place a huge importance on a routine for you and the baby. I could only laugh. The only “routine” Wyatt and I had was to feed him when he was hungry. 

On the good days I felt like I was playing pretend. Ryan and I would sit together on the couch at night, taking turns holding Wyatt, and saying “I can’t believe he’s actually here!”. Motherhood still didn’t feel like reality. It felt like I was being tested and that the baby could be taken away at any moment and we’d return to our “normal” lives. The days were long and the nights were even longer. I had zero clue what I was doing and felt like such a failure when Wyatt would scream and cry and nothing I did could help him and all I wanted to do was sleep. 

But it got easier. We’ve slowly been finding ways to make a routine and trying to stick to it. We’ve formed a bond – a beautiful bond between Wyatt and I and a fresh new bond between Ryan and I. I’ve learned to pick up on Wyatt’s cues and he’s learning more ways to express himself. Some days are still long, but most go by too quickly. We are slowly learning to live our new “normal”. 

There were many times in the first few months where I didn’t think I can, but now I know, I can do this. I can be a mother. The type of mother I’ve always esteemed to be. 

At least for today. I’m sure tomorrow Wyatt will do something entirely new and throw me off my game. But today. Today I’m good. 

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Letter To My Soon to be Born Son

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Dear Son,

I’ve dreamt about you my entire life. Ever since I was a little girl cradling her dolls, I imagined what it would be like to care for another human, to be their role model, to be connected to them for the rest of their lives, and to be their greatest source of love.

You’ve been growing inside of me for the past 36 weeks. I’ve traced your growth from when you were nothing more than a few cells. We’ve been on quite the journey together and no one can replace that. We’ve shared resources, not to mention a body. It’s pretty magical stuff, little one, but not quite so magical as when you make your debut in a couple of weeks.

Your father and I cannot wait to meet you. In the recent months you have always been the forefront of our conversations. What will you look like? Who will you take after? Will you be an expert piano player or a soccer star or neither? What will you bring into the world with you? How will you change our hearts? In the end, we know none of these questions really matter. You, just they way you are, have always been my future. 

As your mother, it’s going to seem like I’m always telling you what to do or that I’m always forcing advice on you. Please know that it always comes from a place of love. Life can be hard, but it’s always easier when you have someone by your side. I can’t promise I’ll be perfect. But I do promise I’ll do the best I can and that I will never stop loving you.

So here are my first words of advice for you:

You’re about to enter the outside world. I know it will be scary, bright, and full of new things. There will be so many things to discover:

You will discover that you have hands. Over time these will help you learn to feel and examine the world around you. I hope that they allow you to grasp onto the things you love and bring them closer to you but I also you learn to use your hands to give gifts to others. 

You will discover that you have feet. These will be fun to kick and shake and pull towards your mouth for a good nibble. But I hope that one day these feet will let you explore our world. Let them take you to new places and new people. They will allow you to run forward as your heart pounds and the world whirls around you. I hope that you will use your judgement to run towards the right choices and away from the wrong choices.

But please don’t try to run too fast before you are ready. Do not grow up too fast. The world is a heavy place and my role, as your mother, is to carry that weight for you. Play, explore, laugh, and be a little boy for as long as you can. Innocence can never be replaced, so I intend to protect yours dearly.

You will discover your voice. I hope you use it to its full advantage. Words have power, my son, and I hope you will use them wisely. Use them to spread love, hope, and courage. Use your voice to say no when it matters and to say yes when the time is right. Listen to your voice. It may seem quiet, but that little timid voice is your heart speaking to you. Inside it are your fears and passions. Everytime you listen to it, it will get stronger. 

You will discover your thoughts. Your little brain has been developing at a rapid pace. Soon you will discover all the amazing things it can accomplish. Believe it or not, it will continue to grow for the remainder of your life. Nourish it. Never stop learning. Use your mind to push boundaries, question the normal, and to follow your heart. 

You will discover your eyes. These will allow you to witness all the beauty of our world. Always take time to pause and notice the tiny miracles that exist all around you. It’s a gift to truly appreciate the natural beauty of our world –  away from screens, technology, and crowds. 

I hope that you will use these new discoveries to always be kind. Even when it’s the uncool thing to do. Kindness will take you far in life. What goes around comes around, and being kind to others will bring you a happiness that cannot be bought or won. Never forget that kindness begets kindness, so with every little smile or act of kindness you put out in the world, you are encouraging others to follow in your footsteps. You will learn a lot of skills throughout your young life, but I think compassion will be one of the more important ones. Don’t belittle its potential. 

Your father and I have limitless love for you and support you and your choices. However that doesn’t mean that we won’t disagree with you from time to time. (No motorcycles!) I’m sure there will be days where I’ll be your least favorite person on earth. Don’t push us away. Love runs deeper than disagreements. We will always be there for you, even when it seems you are all alone. You are being born into a large circle of people that love you dearly. That is a great gift. 

Your father and I will love you unconditionally. And no matter what separates us, we will always live in your heart.

We will be there when you discover your first reason to laugh and when you are so sick that the night seems to never end. We will be cheering you on when you take your first steps and read your first book and we will clean up your scrapes and cuts and help when the words are just too tough.  We will hold your hand as you start school and will wipe away your tears caused by bullies or fractions. We will stand by as you graduate and move out on your own to explore the world. We will encourage you to keep trying when your heart gets broken and smile from the sidelines when you meet the love of your life. And we will proudly be part of your life when you start a family of your own. We are yours for life. Through the good and the bad. 

And yes, life will sometimes be tough. No, I take that back. I do not want to lie to you. There are many times when life will get tough. But don’t give up. You are a strong. Keep pushing, keep moving, every day is a new day. 

That is my final hope for you. Live a full life. A life full of adventure, learning, passion, compassion, and not least of all, love. Your first breath will set into motion a brand new life that is different from anything else on this planet. 

We can’t wait to explore this life with you, son. Only a few more weeks until we can meet you. The world is waiting for you. 

Love, Mommy