My First Year as a Mom: a letter to Avery

Dear Avery, my little love,

I can’t believe it’s been a year already. Everyone says how quickly the first year flies by and, boy, are they right. And, Avery, I think we made it through with flying colors.

When you came into this world at 5:43 PM on Saturday, April 1st 2017, I was so excited to meet you. Nine months is a long time, so when I went in for my weekly OB appointment at 38 weeks on Friday morning, they told me that I had really high blood pressure and that it was time! Eeek! To be honest, I was terrified! I felt unprepared and was definitely not looking forward to the pain that labor and deliver brings, but I was finally going to meet you!

Meeting you for the first time was incredible. I loved you immediately. And the love was so much stronger than I ever expected it to be. Truthfully, I never thought I could love someone as much as I love your Dad, but the love I felt for you blew that out of the water. It was so intense at times, it felt like my heart was going to explode. It was the deepest, most powerful love I have ever felt, and it only gets stronger and stronger everyday.

But, I won’t lie. The first three months were so challenging at times. The days were long, exhausting, overwhelming, and sometimes I didn’t think I could make it another day. Thank goodness Nana was around (who loves to call you ‘Baby Duck-Duck’) and Dad was home for the summer to help us through those first few months. Even though neither of us knew what we were doing, we did the best we could and made it through those crazy first months in one piece. We even managed to go on a camping trip – even if it was just for one night! No, I don’t think that was the craziest thing we did during those first few month – we planted a travel bug in you early on and took you on your first airplane trip to Boston! Dad had some work to do and since I was still on maternity leave, I figure why not! You were so well-behaved on the plane – you didn’t make a peep! I hope you are always well-behaved on future airplane adventures!

Breastfeeding started out rocky, you were always hungry and I always felt like I wasn’t feeding you enough. Watching you while you breastfeed was beautiful, but the pain I felt afterwards was excruciating. There were times I would disrupt you’re feedings cause I was in so much pain and you’d cry cause you were still hungry and I would cringe when it came time for the next feed. Eventually we figure out a system that worked for the both of us which involve a lot of pumping and midnight nursing that I’m PROUD to say that you had mama’s milk for a WHOLE YEAR! Woohoo!

When you turned 6 months old, everything changed for the better. You were a little older and your Dad and I were a little wiser, so our days together started to become a wonderful adventure. You were baptized, you started sitting up all by yourself, you started to eat solids and loved it and you laughed a whole lot. (Oh, how I love your laugh. It is music to my ears.) Things started to get much easier and our family really started to get into a groove. The best part of all is that Grammy stayed with us to help care for you while I went back to work! I don’t know how we could have done it without the help of Grammy – she made our life so much more manageable! The bond you guys have is just the cutest thing – you both enjoy watching Wheel of Fortune together, the mini arguments you guys have over the missing remote control, how you always stay so still when it comes time for Grammy to cut your nails! Oh, and let’s not forget about you’re biggest adventure and that was taking you’re first international trip to London & Paris! Again, you were so well behaved on the plane and you enjoyed all the different types of baby foods you were eating!

At 10 months, I wanted to freeze time. What a fun age! Even though, I say this at every stage of your life now, 10 months was another turning point for me. We really started to see your personality develop. You were (and still are) Mr. Serious when you meet new people or experience new places, but as soon as you’re comfortable, you turn into your silly, smart, and inquisitive self. At 10 months, you were also crawling like a maniac, pulling yourself up on everything, and “talking” & “screaming” our ears off. (I think you’re a lot like me in this way since I get excited when I talk) What’s even more impressive is that you managed to master the ‘WALK’ at 11 months! You’re going to walk like a boss to your first birthday party this weekend! You’re growing up so fast, and it’s such an exciting time for all of us and a bit sad for me!

And just one more thing to tell you, even though it will probably sound a little cheesy: Sometimes when I’m rocking you or watching you sleep, I feel the urge to cry because you mean so much to me. You have brought so much happiness and love into our lives this past year, and there isn’t a single day that I haven’t appreciated how lucky we are to have you as our son.

Happy 1st birthday, Avery. You’re the love of my life, and I’m so proud to be your mom. Dad and I love you so much.

Love,
Mama

UNDER THE SEA


This year’s family theme costume is underwater!




I wanted to create Avery’s costume using the Ergobaby carrier because it would be a lot easier holding him that way. He’s six months – barely crawls, can’t stand, and rolls like a bowling ball so I needed him to be secure and comfortable. I did some research and came across a diver and starfish costume that seemed pretty easy to re-create since I knew I wouldn’t have much time to work on it. I figured I would just be a mermaid – but originally I wanted to be a squid!

I only had 3 days to work on the starfish and mermaid costume. I started with the starfish thinking it would just take me a day, but it took me 3. There were some hiccups but thankfully my mom was here to help sew it together! For my mermaid costume, I really wanted a beautifully shelled top that I figure would be easy to do. Nope!!! Shells can get heavy and it just didn’t make sense when I have to carry Avery. So I opted out of the shell top and just went with a crochet looking halter and bought a mermaid skirt on Amazon! Not too thrilled about my outfit but still happy that Avery and Daddy’s costume was a hit!!!

Happy Birthday Grammy


WE LOVE YOU!

6 MONTHS BABY UPDATE


So, I’m a little late with this, but hey. What can you do? Seriously though, I can’t even believe it myself, but on the 1st, Avery turned 6 months old. He is 16 lb. 9 oz., and 26 inches in length. He’s such a big boy, and I LOVE it!

These six months FLEW in all the normal clichéd ways. It’s been the most magical six months ever (as only it can be with your first newborn) and also extremely challenging and BIZZZZZZZYYYYYY.

So here is where we are:

First and foremost…got MILK?
…quite possibly the most boring and yet fraught subject in all of motherhood!!!
The milk situation for me has been challenging, for sure! Long story short – I’m happy to say that I’m still nursing…well pumping 90 percent of the time and nursing doing those late night feedings since I’m super lazy to get up and prepare a bottle. I told myself from the beginning that I would want to breastfeed for at least a year and during the first few weeks…I was ready to give up! It was so painful, I was exhausted, I felt like I wasn’t producing anything which made me think that he wasn’t eating enough! But the thought of not breastfeeding was making me sad and so I told myself that I would stick to it for 2 month and will see how it goes from there. I started pumping – it hurt but not as much as breastfeeding and so it began…I was pumping more and breastfeeding got better since he was only nursing twice a day. And so 2 months has passed and I told myself lets go to 3 months and see how that goes…well it’s been 6 months and I’m really proud of myself for sticking to it this long. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely HATE pumping – but you gotta do what you gotta do!!! I guess what I’m trying to say is that, set yourself small goals and try and not be so hard on yourself. Hey, at least you tried!


Eating Solids?
We were given the OK to start with solids at our 4 month checkup but we actually didn’t start giving him anything till about 5 months. We started off slowly with just rice cereal and oatmeal. Then we proceeded to sweet potato which is lovvvves and carrots which he was not a big fan…lol! On his big half birthday, we made him try avocado! Will be experimenting with more foods – so stay tuned!

Sleeping Through The Night?
Oh no! How I truly wish he was though!


The sleeping situation hasn’t been great. Just last month, we started putting Avery in his crib and he hates it. My fault for not moving him sooner, I just love the cuddles too much! He usually always wakes up twice at night and will fall back asleep instantly during nursing and then I place him gently back into his crib. I feel very Macgyver at times cause he’s like a ticking time bomb, one wrong move and he’ll explode…lol!
He takes 3 short naps a day (fairly unpredictable, but roughly three hours apart except for the first one that is usually 2 hours after he wakes) and it’s all pretty manageable. Will eventually start the whole sleep training thingamajig soon!

Teeth?
No teeth!! I don’t see any either but he sure loves to chew on everything and has quite become a drooly monster, so I’m pretty sure they’re coming!

Rolling Over?
Yep. Rolling like a champ both ways, and prefers to sleeps on his stomach now!


Crawling?
So close, but no cigar! It’s so cute watching him. He likes to do the plank, sorta down dog and crawl backwards. He can move forwards but it’s not your typical crawl. He can push up into a table top position and then kinda thrusts his body forward but can’t figure out the arms yet. He’s got the legs down but the arms need some help.

Words?
No official words but I’m hoping it’s Mama! He is a chatterbox and is quite the listener! He isn’t shy with smiles but he is very particular about his giggles. You’ve gotta work for your giggles.


Avery has really started to love being more present in his day-to-day too. What I mean is that he’s no longer just a lump watching the world go by! It’s so awesome to see him engage in what we’re doing. He smiles, laughs, “talks,” reaches, feels, tries to stand, loves to sit and just be around us. It’s a wonderful change, that’s for sure. So far, this has been my favorite age!

BLESSED

Happy Baptism Avery!


“Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.” – Psalm 127:3









The christening was held at St. John Vianny. Father Vu Tran and his congregation were so accommodating and welcomed us with open arms.








Avery did very well throughout the ceremony, he didn’t even make a peep when Father Vu poured water on his head. What a little trooper!


With his Ninong Jeffrey & Reyvillyne who was a proxy for his Ninang Diane

This is the part where Avery started getting very sleepy.



It takes a collective effort to pull off such a big day, and I’m so thankful to everyone that helped to make Avery’s christening such a memorable one!

Thank you Reyvillyne for helping put this together! We love you!

BUMPIE

When I discovered the BabyPics app, I completely got really excited about capturing my growing belly bump! It’s a great and easy photo-journaling tool to document your growing baby belly “bumpies” week after week. I’ve started when I was in week 16 and probably around week 28 is when you can start seeing some major belly growth!






He’s here!!! He’s finally here!!! Welcome Avery Grayson Reyes

APRIL FOOL’S BABY

I went in for my weekly OB appointment on March 31st and when they checked my blood pressure – it was high! So high that it was best that I head on over to Labor and Deliver! They were going to induce me since technically I was already full term.

I was not ready for this – but no one ever is…right?!?! I mean, I haven’t even packed my hospital bag yet!!! Luckily our car seat arrived the day before!

So we checked into University of Washington Medical Center at noon and on April 1st we welcomed baby Avery Grayson Reyes at 5:43 p.m.






My dearest Avery,

From the moment they placed you in my arms, you snuggled right into my heart.

xo,
momma

THE BEAUTY IN IMPERFECTIONS

When I first found out I was having surgery, one thought that came to mind was ‘I wonder how big the scar will be?’. I assumed it would be this ittybitty incision, and that it would be easy to cover up but boy was I wrong. I woke up to find my entire stomach covered up in bandages and days later after the covering was removed, I realized how big of a scar I had. So apparent it ran down my entire stomach ending a few inches past my belly button. I was sad to say the least, but looking back at it now, I have no reason to feel ashamed. I’m proud of what it means. It means I survived something that would have certainly killed me, if it weren’t for the wonders of modern medicine, perseverance, and a whole heap of love and faith.






And now, 4 years later, I’m growing a tiny human being inside and it’s the most wonderful feeling in the world. I never thought I would get to experience this having come a long way with this battle. So now, instead of being ashamed of it, I’ve learned to embrace it. Embrace the fact that I had to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of my life. And with my due date just around the corner, I know the best days have yet to come! I thank my lucky stars that I beat cancer’s ass and I’m still standing here today to tell my story.

Special thanks to Andy Shepard for capturing these amazing photos.