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Archive for the ‘Baby Stuff’ Category

Nothing too new to add here… Life is crazy and work is nuts and stress is always present, tying knots in my stomach and shoulders. But it’s all wonderful. Yoga practice? I took some deep breaths in the car yesterday. That was my yoga practice.

I had this moment on January 1st when I said I would do WoYoPracMo, then did really good for the first week, practicing every day, feeling sore and exhilarated and recommitted. And then I had a week of horrible back pain and stomach pain and I fell off the wagon. Again.

Not sure what’s up with the stomach… I’ve had some sort of pain basically since I was pregnant, although it was extremely localized up until the past few weeks. A tender spot about two inches below my belly button and two inches to my left. After the pregnancy, I just figured maybe it was scar tissue healing from the C-Section. Now since its been so long, I’m not so sure, so I’m getting it checked out. Yes, people. It takes me a year of discomfort before I seek medical help. A whole year.

The back pain is a combination of weakened abdominal muscles and hoisting a 20-plus-pound wiggle-worm around in ways that are definitely not orthopedist-recommended. We don’t call him Squirmin’ Herman for nothin’. Actually I’m pretty sure that the root of it all came from moving around after the surgery, as I vaguely remember this same aching in the same spot in my mid-back as I was hunched over my stitches for several weeks…

So yeah, no yoga lately. Maybe I can make the second half of January.

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um, yeah right.

But seriously, I will. And if Julie can make it back, so can I.

I’m not going into all that happened in the past 6 months, just believe me when I say that we’ve been busy. Busy, happy, and well.

Well, maybe I’ll add just a little. Ash got his first pumpkin on Halloween.

He was dressed as a penguin, and seemed pretty happy to be one. See for yourself:

He learned to crawl, he began pulling himself up on things, he “creeps” but isn’t walking on his own yet.
He said his first words, “Mama” and “Hi.” He’s added a few others since then.

We picked out our first Christmas tree.

We threw Ash his first birthday party, a week early. He ate his first cupcake.


Ash’s first cupcake from Jenna Cox Congdon on Vimeo.

I go back and forth about whether I should do all my blogging here, or start a new blog over there, and I think I’ll just keep it all here. There’s just too much history to leave it all behind. And I fear that starting a “non-yoga-blog” will allow me to slip even farther away from my yoga practice… In some strange way.

So now that I’ve mentioned it, the almost-non-existent-yoga practice, the elephant in the room, at least for me, I guess I’ll muse about it just a bit. Now that my yoga studio is a baby’s room and the rest of my house is littered with baby toys, laundry, and other evidence of the life that I just can’t shut out no matter how hard I breathe or how focused my driste is, I have a tough time making it on to my mat. I’m squeezing in about one practice a week, and most of those are not Ashtanga, they’re just quick little vinyasa practices or focused yoga “workouts”. In between all those, I’ve begun running again. It’s an exercise I can do with my son, thanks to the Bob Stroller a friend gave to us. I’m enjoying it, for now, but I’m committed to someday making it back to a daily Ashtanga practice…

I know that it will have to be an early morning practice, something that used to be so easy but now seems completely out of reach. 5:00 am. Ouch.

But for now, baby steps. Today, sun sals, standing, finishing. By January 1st, I hope to phase into full-primary 3 days/week.

And have I mentioned how much I hate backbending? Can you believe I just said that? Me? The one who would come over to your house, have a glass of wine, and end up somehow in Vrischikrasana or Kapotasana “just for kicks”? It’s true. I can now relate in some small way to Julie and Lauren and I can tell you that surgery changes everything. Yes, that’s me up there in that photo in Kapotasana. Before the C-Section. Now? I can barely scrape my toes with my middle finger in that pose. Ankle grabbing, something that I’ve been able to do since the day I was given the pose, is worlds away, in any pose whether it’s Kapotasana or Urdvha Dhanurasana. Every backbend feels like my midsection is going to split open. Not only that, but my sacrum is set differently somehow after the pregnancy. So there’s that too. The days of busting out exhilarating ankle-grabs and shin-grabs and relishing every moment of drop-backs are gone. Even just a simple Urdvha Dhanurasana is an exercise of panic-control. I expected to feel different after child-carrying and birth, but I figured it would be in my hips. No big difference there, except for some mild shortening of my IT bands due to the running.

I look back on the days of my daily self-practice with wonder. Who was that person? How did I do that? Can I ever get back to that place? And while part of me beats myself up over wandering so far from that place, another part of me accepts it, relishes the fact that I’m able to let go of it all in order to enjoy the other facets of my life that I feel deserve my focus so much more right now. And maybe that’s part of it. I tend to be a little single minded and obsessive about things, as you all know. So my current obsession is… being a mom? Hope that one’s not a passing phase… 🙂

Other than all that, I don’t have much to say. I’m out of practice, in more ways than one. But I have a good excuse. And speaking of my good excuse, I have to go wrap his Christmas presents now…

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A Few Firsts

First time meeting cousin S, 3 months

First time meeting cousin S, 3 months

first encounter with candles (ooooOOOoooo...), Dad's 35th birthday!

first encounter with candles (ooooOOOoooo...), Dad's 35th birthday!

first swim in the pool, 6 months

first swim in the pool, 6 months

first time eating "solids", 6 months

first time eating solids, 6 months

IMG_4052

mmmmmMMMmmm...

mmmmmMMMmmm...

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Cocoon

Okay, so I’ve been seriously MIA. I thought starting a new blog would be helpful, but that didn’t help. So I’m back to my old digs. I’m more comfortable here, anyways. Too much history to just leave it all behind. Y’all don’t mind if I post about babies and quilts and cooking and the lack of cooking and maybe a little about yoga here and there, do you?

So here’s a quick update on what I’ve been up to.

I am amazed every day at how fast time is flying by. Ash is sleeping through the night… every so often. He was doing great, and then he grew out of his cosleeper. So we moved him into his own room this week, and we both have mixed feelings about it. It’s nice to read a book in bed and it’s lovely to cough or turn over in bed without worrying about the repercussions. But I miss waking up to his cooing and looking up to see his smiling face. Last night, he slept straight through the night until 6 a.m. for the first time downstairs (he usually wakes up every morning at 1:30 on the dot) and I woke up every hour on my own, wondering why he hadn’t woken up yet.

We started “solids” this week, rice cereal with breastmilk. Ash LOVES it, but likes to help guide the spoon to his mouth. Which means the food goes every where but in his mouth.

Working motherhood is hard. I found childcare. For now, Ash goes twice a week to daycare (a wonderful place, although I think it’s probably a good thing that we don’t discuss politics, given her husband’s “NObama” bumper sticker), once a week with Grandma, and we sort of juggle him the other two days. My workload has doubled in the past two weeks. I’m struggling to keep up with Ash’s appetite. Since I work out of my car, I pump while driving. Can you imagine what the CHP officer would say if I was pulled over?

Ash rolled over for the first time on Father’s Day. Daddy saw it, I missed it. A true Father’s Day gift. Now he’s working on sitting up and he’s getting close. Today he was sitting up on his own, and as I reached for the camera… BOOM… he went down, hit his head, and started crying. And I felt like the worst mother in the world. Again. For like the thousandth time. He’s a happy baby. He loves his daddy, who can make him laugh like no one else can.

The mommy-guilt is a pretty intense thing. I always claimed that I would keep up my daily yoga practice and all my me-time after I had a baby. Now I have a baby and when I do take me-time, I have to force myself to enjoy it. Strange.

I’ve fit in my yoga practice sporadically. I did pretty well last week, practicing three days in a row. This week… Nada. But I’ve got a retreat coming up in a few weeks along with the lovely Owl down in Ojai, and I’m hoping I can use that weekend as a springboard of sorts back into my personal practice.

I’m tired. I think I need a multi-vitamin. Even though I feel like I eat everything in sight, I feel like my body is lacking something. Maybe it’s exercise. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve lost muscle mass. I stepped on a scale on Wednesday for the first time, and I haven’t been at this weight since I was a freshman in high school. Not what I was expecting post-partum, not that I’m complaining.

I’ve had some of the best days of my life in the past 6 months. But there have been some of the toughest days of my life as well. Overall, I have never been so in love with my family.

I hope I can write and read more often around here. I missed you all…

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Back to the mat yesterday for full primary…

I’m sort of curious how other ashtangi mothers handled their transition back into practice post-partum? I don’t feel strong enough to take on my full practice through my second series poses, but pre-pregnancy, my instructor had me splitting at Navasana on those days when I felt too tired or rushed to fit in my whole practice. Or I could just keep on with primary, and add on my second series poses as I feel ready… Thoughts? Please share!

My body composition has definitely changed from what it was before my pregnancy. Since the water weight disappeared, I’m more willowy, I guess. The waist is a good inch smaller than it was before. Less muscle mass. A little skinnier, but softer too. Maybe because of this, my shoulders are a lot more open. Wrist binds (which were once a bit of a struggle) are now effortless, even in pasasana.

This is not at all what I was expecting post-pregnancy, but it certainly is a nice surprise.

Of course, I’m a lot weaker now as a result of this loss of muscle mass. I don’t really mind, but the “party trick” transitions are practically impossible now.

I dread twists that compress my breasts. Unless I’ve just pumped, that is.

Yesterday I stood up from a backbend for the first time in probably 6 months? Scary. I took a step or two back on the first one to regain my balance. Dropbacks were scary, too. Less effortless, less comfortable, less “hang time.” But it was a thrill. I skipped my ticktocks, but held a handstand for 6 breaths. The bandhas are slowly coming back. In fact, Uddiyana feels tighter, more pronounced. Again, maybe because of the lack of muscle mass?

Time on the mat is a little more sacred. It’s a rarity these days, and yesterday I felt like it was the only thing I had that was purely “mine,” not shared with my husband or my child.

Oh and as a side note, Tay has started practicing yoga fairly regularly. He uses podcasts from yogadownload.com on my iTunes and probably uses my mat more than I do these days. Just as I told him it would so many times before, he says it really helps his hands and wrists (carpal tunnel syndrome). I don’t say “I told you so” out loud though. I’m just happy he found his own way there.

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On the baby front, Ash has his frenulectomy today. Hopefully it helps with the breastfeeding. He is SUCH a slow eater. He’s started smiling here and there, and a few days ago he actually laughed. He’s over 11 pounds now, out of all of his newborn clothes and almost into some of his 3 month clothes. He’s quite a little chunk.

Sometimes he cries for an hour or two without reason. Tay and I take turns holding him, bouncing him, rocking him. Usually the moby and gripe water trick works, but sometimes it takes a while. I eat my dinner standing up at the bar, shifting from one foot to the other. Of course, these trying times are totally forgotten the next morning when he smiles and coos as he jumps up and down on my lap (with my assistance, of course).

I was getting my hopes up for that magical 3 month time, when a baby’s personality starts to shine and the smiles are more social, and when the fussing starts diminishing a bit… but then I remembered that we have a bit longer to wait with a preemie. He’s 11 weeks, but his “adjusted age” is just 6 weeks.

Even so, he’s definitely a little character.

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congdon-4

A few weeks ago, a friend of a friend contacted me with a welcome request. She’s a photographer, and she’d been commissioned by the hospital’s NICU for some portraits of babies, children, or families who had spent time in the unit and had successful outcomes. Sort of like a morale booster for those families who have to walk those halls and spend hours in a rocker pulled up next to their new child’s isolate, waiting to take him or her home. Some of her work was already hanging in the labor and delivery wing, and in the 6 weeks we spent at the hospital, we became very familiar with these beautiful portraits.

So anyways… Mary sent me a message via facebook, and asked if we would be interested in posing for a shoot for the NICU. We jumped at the opportunity. I was already a big fan of her work, and was already considering having portraits taken while Ash was still small.

congdon-1

The shoot was quick and fun and Mary did an amazing job, despite the fact that she was just a few weeks away from her own due date! She made up a slideshow of some of our photos, and I can’t stop watching it. Now we have to decide on which prints to order… such a tough decision!

Input, anyone?

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We had a good night last night. As soon as the “witching hour” came upon us (as Antonia so accurately entitled it), I tied on the Moby wrap (definitely high up on my “top 10 must haves for new moms” list… I use this daily), and poured his recommended dosage of gripe water into a little dish. When he would start to fuss, I dipped his pacifier in the gripe water and popped it in his mouth. Then when the fussiness diminished, I pulled the pacifier out and waited.

My mother-in-law said this to me once, and it rings true so far: Just when you think you can’t take anymore, the little one changes it up and gives you a break.

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quick jott…

I’m hearing little grunting noises from the swing, which means the baby is waking up. But I should have a few minutes before he really starts wailing…

Yesterday Ash and I took our first bath in the big tub together. It was so fun, he loved it. I would just hold his head up and let him float around on his back. He would get all excited and smile and then he would sort of take a deep breath and relax. That was probably the most productive thing I did all day yesterday, but I set out to have just that kind of day. Tay was gone for the day, so it was just the two of us.

We took our first day trip on Saturday down to Santa Barbara for a friends’ baby shower. Ash was great, but once we got home he was all wound up and wouldn’t fall asleep. Tay finally took him for a drive around 2 a.m. which did the trick and we all slept until 7:30. I panicked when we woke up and it was light out, thinking something must have happened to Ash. And when I saw his chest rising, I just blew him a hundred kisses and snuggled up to Tay for a little more sleep.

I can’t believe how quickly a day passes recently. I’m sure much of this has to do with the later mornings… I’m not used to getting out of bed at 9 or even 8, and even once I’ve gotten out of bed, there’s still so much more to do before I can face the day. I feel like I’m living parts of the same day over and over again.

I’ve been fitting in little cheater yoga practices here and there. I say they’re cheaters because the baby is with me, and I’m not really focused or present. Then again, even when Tay is with the baby and I’m downstairs in my studio, I constantly think I can hear him crying, so I’m not really all that present then either. I wonder if it will always be this way at least a little bit since there is now this new priority that trumps all other priorities in my life…

Anxiety taints almost everything I do now. Maybe it’s part of being a first time parent, but I constantly feel like there’s something else I should be doing that I’m forgetting. Or I’m watching the clock worrying about feeding times. Or maybe it is a part of the exhaustion?

For a while there I was thinking that maybe I was getting enough sleep because I haven’t been feeling “that” tired. But today it dawned on me that I’ve just grown accustomed to some level of exhaustion. I haven’t had an 8 hour stretch of sleep since December 16th, the night before the abruption. Even in the hospital before Ash was born, they would wake me up once or twice a night to check my vitals. I never quite understood that.

Anyways, things are about to get much worse, where exhaustion is concerned. Tay is leaving today for two nights. Since Ash is the most inefficient breastfeeder in the world, we have a system at night wherein Tay feeds him with a bottle of breastmilk and then changes him and puts him back to bed while I pump. The whole thing takes about 35 to 40 minutes. But tonight and tomorrow night, I’ll be feeding him and changing him. I just hope he sleeps and lets me sleep.

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