Our Blog

While we have kept up vague and sporadic appearances with some social networks, we (well, Cody) is really excited about maintaining a blog to share our experiences with friends and family, and to have chronicle the experience along the way. We don’t know where we’ll wind up though we do know some parts of the journey. Read on and stay tuned for more.

Oh, and I almost forgot… COMMENTS are awesome, and SUBSCRIBING is encouraged!

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Heather, Super-Mom

IMG_0090It’s been 3 months, 7 days since Alora joined us. Thirteen weeks gone by in a blink. We’ve had ups and downs, and we’re still feeling our way through the day-to-day experience of Parenthood. This week alone, we’ve had tears and laughter and even exhaustion although Alora has been sleeping through the night for weeks. In the 97 days since Alora showed up, we’ve changed over 650 diapers, offered a bottle 800 times, and she’s consumed 1889.1 ounces (that’s 14.75 GALLONS) of breastmilk. Woah.

My wife gets all the glory in parenthood, though. I might be able to change a diaper, but Heather is unsurpassed in all things baby related. In a word, she is incredible. From day one she has been tirelessly providing breastmilk for Alora despite our child’s delay in taking to the breast. Alora sleeps soundly while Heather has learned to live in a disrupted stacatto of a whiring machine strapped to her chest. Since we started tracking, she’s been attached to that breast beating beast a whopping consecutive total of 106 hours and 18 minutes.

Of course a few of you may have been through this whole breastmilk pumping thing (so you know what it’s like), but as a guy, I can’t help but shudder to think about the idea of having any of my body parts attached to some liquid sucking apparatus. Yeouch. Heather just shrugs and says that it doesn’t really hurt anymore. I’m not sure I believe her. (Does anyone know if you can get calluses on nipples?)

Sadly, having dual permanent hickeys isn’t even the worst woe of pumping breastmilk. The real killer is longing for connection with your little one and not being able to make it happen. While Alora still coos each morning and spends plenty of time on Heather’s chest, her sometimes playful interest doesn’t translate to bottle-free meals. As such, we continue our littany of appointments: Lactation Consults transitioned to cranial-sacral therapy and now the latest: speech therapy.

Each time, we’re met with reassurance (by credentialed professionals) that Heather is amazing. Throughout her frequent pump schedule, and the business and busyness of living life, she still finds the time to patiently offer her breasts to Alora in all sorts of uncomfortable positions: reclining, seated, planking, side lying, and my personal fav, the “Austrailian” (sidelying with the kiddo inverted.). You go ahead and try side planking after giving birth. I don’t even like planks, and I haven’t been through labor.

IMG_0093And then there are the unanticipated surprises.

Just when we start to think things are leveling out and success is on the doorstep, another bomb drops. Most recently, Heather injured her back: a bulging disk dashed progress and left Heather essentially bedridden until the swelling subsided. She is just now getting back to being able to lift and carry Alora after almost two weeks of enforced quasi-relaxation between pumping sessions, just in time to be headed back to work after three months spent tending to a baby.

Heather continues to persevere in a world that keeps throwing her curves. We just had a talk last night about how our particular set of circumstances (feeding, pumping, etc) is, to a degree, a wonderful blessing that has enabled Heather to make new friends, and encourage others.

Trying to fit a three-month summary of Heather’s heroic feats into a handful of paragraphs is a bit of a losing proposition. Suffice it to say, she’s a veritable superhuman, and yet still has the capacity to rub my head and show me tenderness after a long day.

How in the world could I be so fortunate to have her as my best friend and the mother of my child? Providence, I suppose.

Thanks for reading, we appreciate all of the care and comments and love.

Till next time,
-Cody

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47 Things

Up next on the blog is a list of 47 things separated into 7 lists. For you parents out there, I’m exceedingly hopeful that you will comment with your own ‘Things’ so that we can all reminisce, laugh, or commiserate!

Here we go!

1.3 Milk Coma! Click me!

1.3 Milk Coma!

1. Five Adorable Things

  1. Tongue thrusts (kinda lizard-like) & rosebud lips.
  2. Full-body sneezes and full tongue-out coughs.
  3. Milk induced comas (er, I mean serene sleeping).
  4. Seeing Alora turn to my voice when entering the room.
  5. Alora alert, eyes open, observing the world.
  6. Newborn photos! (This is the whole collection rather than the sampling on Meta’s Blog.)
2.2 A brief moment without, er, "food supply management" by our Lactation Consultant, Debi.

2.2 A brief moment without, er, “food supply management” by our Lactation Consultant, Debi.

2. Two Awkward Things

  1. Short umbilical cords
  2. Lactation consultants having no personal boundaries with their managing of your wife’s breasts

3. Nine Sucky Things

  1. So. Many. Diapers. (And I bet it’ll get worse before it gets better.)
  2. Interrupted sleep for all.
  3. Underweight kiddos.
  4. Kids books (so infantile).
  5. So. Many. Clothes. (And the subsequent laundry requirements.)
  6. Crying over spilt milk. (Breastmilk is like liquid gold.)
  7. Feeding with a bottle, then burping, then changing a diaper, then pumping, then cleaning the pump, then eating and drinking, then sleeping for an hour and a half, then doing the whole spiel again and again… and again.
  8. Heather’s headache & exhaustion (continued alignment issues compounded with lack of contiguous hours of sleep).
  9. Seemingly unneccesary doctor appointments.
Daddy & Alora.

Daddy & Alora.

4. Six Funny Things

  1. Trying to dress a newborn for the first time. Pro tip: use oversized button up clothing not the “perfectly” sized, over-the-head onesie.
  2. Un-diapered peeing on others. (Thanks, Madi, for taking her first like a seasoned pro!)
  3. Involuntary rocking of the baby. My foot will move (as though to move a rocking chair) at the fussing of our child, even if she’s in someone else’s arms.
  4. Buying baby diapers, wipes and maxi pads. Zillions of options, and getting knowing looks from other men while you read each package.
  5. We may never know the sheer number of photos that one can take of a sleeping baby.
  6. The never-to-be-seen-in-public self-fashioned hands-free pumping bra that Heather made. (Imagine a misguided superhero who let her Zorro mask slide to her upper torso. And then, in your mind, mount the breast pump apparatuses through the eye sockets…)
Newborn photos are awesome!

Newborn photos are awesome!

5. Fourteen Awesome Things

  1. Seeing Heather handle labor like it was no big deal.
  2. Catching Alora (and having a picture of the precise moment).
  3. The joy of having a family. There is something palpably different when you add a child to the mix.
  4. C says, “watching Heather be a Mom, with the patience of a saint, nerves of steel and maddening endurance.”
  5. H says, “watching Cody and Alora interact. Carrying, changing, talking, sleeping, everything.”
  6. Laughter about everything.
  7. Emotional release when things are hard.
  8. The love and support of other people. “If you ever need _anything_, just call!”
  9. Ultimate Frisbee players clapping for the new dad.
  10. Heather’s mom, Marilyn. She’s here through March 16th as the best live-in support we could ask for.
  11. Gifts of Meals. (For those interested, we have a sign-up here.)
  12. Learning new things every day.
  13. Donated breast milk in a time of need.
  14. Her first yellow diaper after lots of meconium.
6.2 Our daughter will be well read. Good habits start young.

6.2 Our daughter will be well read. Good habits start young.

6. Four Notable Things

  1. Newborn Huggies > Newborn Pampers!
  2. Alora’s first book: Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell.
  3. Alora’s future vocabulary.
  4. The future.

7. Six Quotable Things

  1. Heather: “She’s just kinda shifty.” (On Alora starting to wake up.)
  2. Shayna: “Babies suck!” (Trying to express the reality that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows as a parent.)
  3. Cody: “Our child doesn’t suck.” Heather’s reply: “But we want her to suck.” (On Alora’s feeding challenges.)
  4. Caity: “Milk drunk? Daaaamm!” (On Alora falling asleep after a feeding.)
  5. Marilyn: “I think she’s got some thunder down under, too.” (On Alora’s rumblings during a feeding.)
  6. From the other room we hear Alora squeeze one out: Phhhhbbbbbbbbbttt! Marilyn: “Well, so much for _that_ blanket.”
Tucked in with Alora. (Proof that Cody does sleep.)

Tucked in with Alora. (Proof that Cody does sleep.)

Thanks for reading along. I’m looking forward to reading your additions to these lists or to your own!

‘Till next time,
-Cody

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Not All Roses

01codyandheather_FullResDespite our recent weather, not everything is sunshine and rainbows in the world of a newborn. The past couple days has been taxing on me, and no doubt on Heather.

We both have deep desires to be the best parents and spouses possible, and part of our ethos is to reduce our reliance on unnecessary or “convenience-oriented” tools. I guess you could say that we prefer the ‘au naturel’ approach to life.

I guess that’s not always under our explicit control… Continue reading

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Our Birth Story

6 hours after posting the entry “Progressing“, Alora Grace Bennett was born.

What a rush.

Introducing Alora Grace Bennett

Introducing Alora Grace Bennett

Let’s see if I can recap the “birth story” for everyone, and for posterity.

Just after my post (12:45pm), Heather sat down to notify her office and set auto-replies on email. She had contractions, but it seemed they were spread out enough that we had some time. I expected that it would be several hours (if not the next day) before we had anything exciting to tend to. My goal was to remain calm and to clear the deck of errands so we both could sit together to relax and have a movie-filled rest of our day. Some quality time and calm before the storm.

While Heather was taking care of business, I took to errands. The carseat base was anchored. We had some lunch (pel meni). I started a couple of whole chickens baking in the oven (with some recipe coaching from Sharon). I may have even done some dishes. My camera bag was packed since Penny (our photographer) wouldn’t be back from a trip in time for our family adventures. Who’d expect for a first baby to arrive 10 days early?

Heather was still on the computer, so I decided to distract myself and run a quick errand to pick up our veggie box & mail. On the way back, I walked through Super Bear to grab a newspaper and a couple other items.

Getting back home around 1:30, Heather was finalizing the birth center bag of stuff. She handed off her phone for me to hit the start/stop button on the contraction timer. She had been regularly forgetting to stop the timer after each contraction. Each labor pain stole her attention and while it faded she’d just start back to packing the bag and forget to stop the timer.

Over the next few minutes, I realized it was essentially “Go” time. Strong contractions, 1-2 minutes long, 3-6 minute durations. Wow, I guess we’re not waiting ‘till tomorrow!

Continue reading

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All’s Well

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the (digital) radio silence as of late. I have been responding to texts and emails intermittently, but have not signed into Facebook since earlier this week. I’m excited to see all your comments when I clear the deck of other duties.

As you likely know, we were handed Alora Grace Bennett on Wednesday evening, but with the labor and recovery, being on a computer (or phone) is not much of a priority. Surprise, surprise. Heather and Alora are doing amazing. It’s remarkable how rewarding it is to me to simply watch Heather in her element of Motherhood…

It is my goal to write up the experience soon so that it’s still fresh in mind – I’d like to have that posted by the end of the day… We’ll see if I can process all of the experience in the next few hours amidst other responsibilities.

Thanks for being our friends. I’ll be in touch soon.

Best,
-Cody

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