(It’s comical how impossible it is to capture her not moving towards me/smiling)
Holy smokes. The babes is one. year. old. I can hardly wrap my head around it, as 99.9% of moms say. Fair warning – this is going to be one epic, long and rambling post so if that’s not your jam (and I feel you), I would skip it.
I started getting SUPER nostalgic last month (even more so than usual, if you can believe it), reminiscing over my last few weeks of pregnancy – the relentless heat that was amplified by my enormous belly, watching and re-watching endless episodes of Gilmore Girls, and crying at Lorelai and Rory’s mama-daughter bond, hoping I would experience that with Cici from the start. I would drink my red raspberry leaf tea, bouncing up and down on my yoga ball, wrapping up the last bit of work I had to do before I went into labor. My due date rolled around, and still no labor signs. I got dressed, did my hair and makeup, and went to my friend Lauren’s house to hang out and just….waited for this little baby to appear!
Little did I know the next day would be the beginning of the rest of my life – as Cici’s mama. After she was born, the first few weeks were just a blur, as most first time moms can attest to. I always tell my friends that even though newborn babies sleep upwards of 20 hours a day, I felt like I couldn’t wrap my head around reading a paragraph, let alone the boat loads of paperwork that the hospital handed to me. I loved that little bean with every fiber of my being, but I kept wanting her to be a few months old so she wouldn’t be as fragile. Now looking back, while I do realize my concerns were valid, I would just soak up that time as much as possible – her little newborn photos break my heart with their sweetness – that full little head of black hair, the pursed lips, the cheeks that were just starting to fill in and would grow exponentially within the next few months 🙂
I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. There was so much I didn’t know, and that I was learning as I went. I would cry at the drop of a hat, and I was frustrated that the hospital spent so much time focusing on getting me to pump from the start, and not helping me with getting Cici to latch. I pumped and fed her from a syringe for the first few days of her life and realize how ridiculous that was (no shame to moms that do this), I just thought that was the only way to know how much she was actually getting. It actually backfired and she lost so much weight those first few days and got a pretty bad case of jaundice. We were at the hospital every day checking her weight as they pricked and prodded her for blood work. If it wasn’t for one very sweet and persistent lactation consultant, I don’t know if I ever would have attempted actual breastfeeding. As soon as I did, her weight skyrocketed, and I was producing milk like gangbusters! My breastfeeding journey lasted 9 months and ended with a mean first-time bout of mastitis (ouch), but it was such a sweet and special time that I will never forget, bonding with my baby girl.
I remember looking down at my flabby stomach (of course I didn’t get stretch marks until AFTER I gave birth!), my unrecognizable boobs, and nether regions that just felt foreign to me. But I was happy. Those love hormones were surging through my body, and I was energized, in love, and hungry…always hungry. Ro would make me fresh squeezed orange juice from our orange tree every day those first few weeks, and friends and family nourished me with food, love, and open ears and hearts to listen to my concerns. Cici and I would meet Amanda and Mason for playdates, go on long walks in the crisp winter air, and just nurse, sleep, repeat. I caught up on so many shows and movies in those first couple months, until all of a sudden out of nowhere, Cici was an actual baby, and not just a potato! A baby who needed stimulation and constant attention – well, that never really changed 🙂
I don’t think Cici ever really napped in a crib for the first few months – it was either in the car, stroller, on the boppy after a feeding, or maybe the swing – and definitely the baby wrap carrier after a couple months! It was a hazy but magical time. I remember I would always order our groceries online (even that felt overwhelming), and going to pick them up, Cici would fall asleep in the car seat, but start screaming bloody murder every time we hit a stop light. I remember those first couple weeks when Ro was home with us, I only wanted to ride in the back seat with Cici – I was crippled with anxiety if I wasn’t. And we would always go to Jamba Juice after our doctor’s appointments. It was just such a wild, primal, emotional, and cozy time.
Then after a month or so, I was just so happy and full of energy – but at night time, anxiety would hit. Would it be a good night (of sleep)? Would I be able to take a shower at some point? Would Cici scream for two hours straight while I tried to rock and shush her to sleep for what seemed like eternity? I’m so happy and thankful we started on a night time bath routine early on, and ultimately let her cry it out when she fussed. It was heartbreaking, but she sleeps like a rock star now and I know that’s why. I remember that first night when she slept in her crib at exactly 3 months old, and we were so nervous watching her on the monitor. She just stared up into space for 20 minutes, cooed to herself, sucked her knuckles, then fell asleep. It was magical! And it felt like I could breathe again. But we won’t even go into the Snuza breathing monitor and the few times it went off in those first few months and the subsequent anxiety that caused!
3 months in, and I was absolutely terrified to go back to work – there was no way I could leave my sweet baby each day. I just wanted to stay at home with Cici forever! But by 4 months, I was ready 🙂 It was still hard to leave for work early on, but it was easier knowing my sweet mama was the one caring for Cici the majority of the time. I felt like 90% of my hair fell out from months 3-5, and I was so self-conscious about it for months on end. I just recently started feeling like myself again after a a good cut and color.
Cici got much more predictable as time went on, and we were consistent with our routine. People would give us a hard time about leaving early from parties, or snicker any time we said we had to be home by 6. It seemed a bit ridiculous, but it meant Cici slept, and we got some time to ourselves before we went to sleep. As slowly as those first few months went by, after month 6, time just flew by in the blink of an eye. It was unreal. Cici is now a rough-and-tumbling, vocal, feisty little gal, who somehow is independent yet still wants my undivided attention at all times. I feel like I know that baby inside and out and we just are so in sync. I truly believe our hearts and brains are on the same wavelength; I pick up on her emotions and thoughts right before they unfold. I just want to kiss and cuddle her at all times, and she gets (understandably) annoyed, but I know deep down she craves it just like I do 😉
It has been the best, scariest, most joyful, nerve-wracking, beautiful, soul-splitting and rose-colored year of my life. I absolutely cannot believe I was pregnant and gave birth to this perfect ball of sunshine, and I get to keep her forever. Cici is the love of my life, and I’m eternally grateful God picked me to be her mama. I pray we have many years together, and that we maintain this rock-solid bond we’ve built throughout her first year. I am the luckiest mama in the universe, and I just want to shout it from a mountain top! I LOVE YOU, MY CICI GIRL! ❤