I'm remembering all the love and encouragement that poured into my life during our in vitro last year. My friends sent me a card of encouragement for every day of needles. It was better than Christmas! May 1st, 2015 was the day of my embryo transfer. We were in Abbotsford that weekend for a football camp for Nolan. Only a small number of people followed our journey closely and knew what was happening. Nolan got food poisoning that same night and we were all up the entire night with him. I remember feeling so scared that it wasn't going to take. On May 12th, 2015, we found out it worked for us and for obvious reasons, it was one of the best phone calls I ever received.
You maybe think I'm crazy, but I'm ready to go again. Yes...Wylder is only 4 months old but I want another baby! Even if it means another c-section. I can't help but have flashbacks of the heart breaking road we had to ride out to get to this place of insurmountable joy! If you haven't noticed on social media, I'm that irritating person in your feed that only posts baby pics. If you've unfollowed me, I get it. I heard that happens... But I am a doting mama. I could take 30 of the exact same picture and struggle to delete half of them. I think every noise that comes from this babe is the greatest, sweetest noise I've ever heard in my life! Meanwhile, the rest of you are moving forward in your days and over here it's 3 o'clock in the afternoon and I'm still in my pyjamas staring at my baby.
The flashbacks of struggling to get pregnant are still painful. If I'm being honest, I'm scared to walk that journey again. I can't put into words just how broken I was in that time. Having no one to relate to me or understand the constant heart ache of longing for something I just couldn't have so easily like most people around me. Hearing advice from people who only knew how easy getting pregnant can be. I know they meant well, but it just hurt so much to hear the light hearted advice as if I hadn't 'tried to relax', 'go on vacation', 'eat better', 'workout less'. It was better when my friends would listen. Although that lighthearted advice usually came from people who weren't in my close circle, and people who had no idea how broken my heart was because they simply could not relate to what infertility even meant. Hearing how they knew other people struggling as well only minimized my feelings. Would you tell someone with cancer that you know other people with cancer, just so they realized they weren't the only one struggling with their daunting reality? Probably not. But with infertility, I was told that and as a result, I put up walls and even shut out some of those people.
So here I am, hoping and praying this time is different. I'm not sure IVF is an option. I did however learn in that time to have grace for myself. There was nothing I was doing that was preventing pregnancy nor was there anything I could do to make it happen for us.
I feel hopeful we can have another baby without treatments, based on me knowing several real life people this has happened to and I pray to God that we get this lucky! I am aware though, that this might not be the case and we have talked about a 'game plan' going forward if it isn't easy again. I'm not meaning to sound negative, I am just guarding my heart because I've been there, and it sucks more than I could ever tell you! Wylder has filled a gaping hole in my heart. He was so worth the hardship and wait which is why I want more babies in this house! Another good thing, aside from my darling baby boy, is how Tom and I have been able to listen and be there for other friends of ours that happen to be going through the same thing. I'm thankful to be a hopeful story for them.
Life has never felt so perfect or so right. I never could have dreamt things would be this good and I am so thankful and excited to see what's next for the Ulm's! Maybe not another baby like, right away, because I am loving watching Wylder's personality blossom, and we would never be bummed if it happened... Now please excuse me as I go watch my baby sleep... #obsessed
My life is so good right now. I'm so happy. My heart is full. After years of sadness and heartache, I honestly never thought I'd be where I am today. Our world is very busy. Nolan is currently on 3 sports teams, I'm on the tail end of my third Whole 30, I've been working a bit and obviously, I have 3 month old. My days have never gone by so quickly nor have I ever hit my pillow so hard at bedtime!
I knew it wouldn't be a cakewalk juggling a teenager and infant. I knew I wouldn't be able to hunker down with my new baby and have leisurely days where I stay in my pj's. I drive Nolan to and from school everyday. Then to sports. It's a miracle that I manage to have a healthy home cooked dinner on the table and somehow my house is kind of clean (minus the pile of papers I neglect). So help me if I need to run extra errands... Life is exceptionally busy between 3pm-7pm, it's insane. My Tuesday's and Thursday's for example, I pick up Nolan from school, come home to quickly feed the baby and potentially start making dinner. Pack up baby and take Nolan to basketball, come home to finish making dinner, leave again to pick up Nolan and take him to football, come home, finish dinner, bath baby, feed baby, put him to bed...and then I can relax because Tom picks up Nolan, unless he is away for work.
Last week as I was regretting allowing Nolan to be involved in so many things during such a busy 'life' season, I thought about how amazing sports have been for him. How enriched his life is as a result of having so many great coaches pour into him. He's made amazing friends. He has big life goals which have only grown as he continues to improve his skills and work on his weaknesses. I often wish I had his confidence and drive when I was his age. I was dying my hair a heinous shade of red/brown from a box and doing nothing productive for my future at the age of 14. The baby screamed the entire 30 minute drive to Nolan's basketball game last week and by the time we got to our destination I was completely drained. I felt so thankful for Wednesday's because they are the only night I get to stay home after school. No kidding, Nolan gets in the car after school on Wednesday and asks if he can join the golf club which is on Wednesday's. My only peaceful night of the week. NO FREAKING WAY! He proceeded to arrange his own rides to and from, said he'd pay for it and is currently scavenging the classifieds for used clubs. Tom says it best when he says it could be worse. We get annoyed with him for wanting to play more sports.
So here I am. Juggling an infant and a teenager. We don't have much of an attitude problem from Nolan. He isn't rebelling. He is smart, responsible, respectful (for the most part), he has a job, cleans his room...so I will keep driving, keep paying for sports, keep supporting his dreams. I will do the same for Wylder. I still make time for my friends, I'll also find time for 'me'. What I know for sure is how fast these years go by. The relationship Tom and I have with Nolan is so good. He talks to us and hangs out with us! Investing time into my child's interests has paid off in more ways than I can list. I am such an advocate of finding something your kids are passionate about and nurturing whatever that is. It might not be sports but helping them find something that they love helps them become healthy people. It allows other positive influences to pour into them. Giving structure to their days and teaching them to work with people and learn to respect adults and teammates. Sacrificing your time because you love them...I think that's part of our job as parents!
I never really had my freedom because I was so young when I had Nolan. I often struggled with feeling like I missed out on lots of fun times with friends because I was home alone with Nolan on a Friday night and not at a pub with all my friends. Then when I did go out, I had guilt for not being with my son. There was a real struggle with being a young single mom. (Another post, another time). My point being, my sacrifice paid off.
Nolan is viewed as a leader by his coaches. I believe that he was taught this by his coaches. He is a role model to younger players. As much as I know Tom and I teach him these things, a lot of who he is comes from the people who pour into him through sports. Even some, not all, of his teachers at school. It goes without saying that he is already an amazing big brother to Wylder. I'm so thankful that he has such a great role model as a big brother. There is nothing else in this world that brings me more joy as a mama than this!
Obviously this post would not be complete without some photos of my little monkey to brighten your day!
Wylder is almost 3 months old, weighing in at 15 lbs and 2 feet tall. Let me say this, my life gets better every single day. As much as I enjoyed him as a newborn, I'd be lying if I didn't say the first two weeks, no...I lied, the first four weeks, was not only a struggle being a new mom again but emotionally, mentally and physically. I felt like I didn't know him for so long. He was a different baby every day. It was so different than when I had Nolan. You know how babies come into this world so pure and innocent? Well I've come to the conclusion that this isn't true. I mean, he's pure and sweet but in the bible it says we should be slow to anger. Wylder would go from zero to ten without warning then stay at TEN until he finally got tired of crying, which would be for an indefinite amount of time. I mean even when he cried for 5 minutes in the middle of the night, I swear it was actually 3 hours! So one day I sent Tom out for gripe water. Don't judge or do judge, I don't care. Remember, we are in this together, doing the same job as mothers and fathers raising babies/toddlers/kids/teens! Like I said, we bought gripe water. It helped him take the soother better because he isn't really soother baby either so we just dip the soother in some gripe but unfortunately for us, Wylder caught on our trick and refused the gripe covered soother. He was confusing me, much like his father did when we first started dating, so he stopped accepting the soother and we were back at square one with an angry, unsettled Wylder that had us taking turns pacing the halls, "shooshing" him until he finally gave into sleep.
Taking it back to the bible, let's talk about patience being a virtue. I don't think so. Even I find this one confusing but Wylder was far from patient. FEED ME! CHANGE ME! HOLD ME! So we did. Dinner waited, sleep waited, Nolan waited, because Wylder was the boss.
Tom was going away for work right around Wylder's 7th week of life. With the help of my most amazing friend, I got the courage to sleep train him. I was so scared it was going to be a disaster, so every day and night my dear friend/sleep coach would walk me through what I should do and tell me how great I was doing. Wylder took to the sleep training like a champ. I'm probably one in a million to have a baby not cry through it but by night 3, he was sleeping until 4:30-6am. This past week he's had two nights of sleeping until 7. Since the sleep training, my baby boy is a completely different baby. He's calmer and happier. He also doesn't need to be held all the time and will lay on his back smiling at his toys for an hour several times a day. No more crying fits of rage and no more pacing the hallway. I really couldn't have done it without the daily encouragement from my amazing friend! She is a already a huge blessing in my life, but was especially good to me the moment Wylder entered this world. #lifecoach
11 weeks post partum and I'm finally feeling like myself again. I've been making daily and weekly goals including showering, cooking, cleaning, exercising and trying to reconnect with friends again. I lost a part of myself on the long weary journey to have this baby and I'm working so hard to restore what was lost. Moving on from friendships I sadly lost through my hard times, working past hurts and issues I have, learning to love again and learning to create healthy boundaries as I surround myself with good people. It's not easy but I'm looking forward to this new chapter of life. We are in it and on the other side of it now and the feeling is incredible!
'LIFE'S GOOD! LIFE'S GREAT! LIFE GETS BETTER' - Tom and Nolan's dinner chant (cuz they are that cool!)
It's 5 weeks now and finally, we are learning to work around Wylder rather than fight to make him fit into our life we had prior to him being born! He's the boss right now (he's not really the boss. Okay, maybe just a little bit). I don't get anything done because he won't sleep deep unless I'm holding him, so I try several times a day to put him down where he naps for 10-30 minutes before he realizes he isn't being held against a warm body. It's enough time for me to go to the bathroom, heat up lunch, fill a sink with water to wash dishes then not wash them because my time is up. I've invented numerous baby soothing machines in my head these past few weeks as a result! He's sweet though, starting to smile, and since 2 weeks old, he only wakes up once in the night. I'll take the harder days for a good nights sleep any day! He rolled over last week which we thought was a fluke but he's tried about 6 times since then (like last night in the bath) which is scary because he's only 5 weeks old and I have friends with babies over 6 months that haven't rolled over yet! Life is pretty great now! All of us stop what we are doing several times in a day to take in all the baby cuteness going on over here. And have I mentioned how Nolan has surprised us by being a super hands on big brother? He is super.
*Proof of the roll over.
Moving on, I know what you're thinking... "Where am I going to get breast milk to make these cookies?" Since it's the most important ingredient making these extra nutritious! Kidding! I'm kidding. These are breastmilk free. I never dreamt of baking such cookies let alone having the privilege of blogging about them but these are actually the most delicious oatmeal cookies ever to be baked in my home! I'm eating them because my darling Wylder is an eating machine and I'll do whatever it takes keep this milk supply high for a happy baby! Plus Tom and Nolan really like them...even after I let them eat several before admitting they were called 'Lactation Cookies'!
I've tweaked the recipe to make these absolutely perfect and healthier. If you're not lactating, just leave out the yeast and you'll have some delicious cookies for your tasting pleasure!
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup spelt flour
5 tablespoons brewers yeast
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup organic unsalted butter (melted)
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1 1/2 cups organic coconut sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life chunks)
1/2 cup coconut flakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet.
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a medium bowl combine coconut sugar and eggs. Slowly pour in butter, coconut sugar and vanilla. Mix well.
Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Add chocolate chunks and coconut flakes and stir until evenly dispersed.
Scoop the dough into 1 inch rounds (spaced 2 inches apart as they spread when baked). Bake for 9-11 minutes or until edges are golden. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
He's here! Our long awaited miracle baby joined our family on January 11, 2016. Weighing an unexpected 9lbs 1oz and 21 1/2 inches long. In these first 3 weeks of his life, Thomas Wylder Ulm has brought us all a crazy amount of joy! I am so in love with his little face...I just can't get enough of him! He is absolutely perfect! Just to clear the air, if you are a friend of Tom's, you can call him Thomas (the 8th or 9th, we aren't positive on this yet), and if you are a friend of mine, he is Wylder. So just call him Wylder so he isn't confused, thanks in advance!
The birth was not as easy as I had imagined it might be (based on my first labor with Nolan). In fact, what I've learned from this pregnancy to delivery to life with a newborn so far...I know absolutely nothing even though I've done this before. Wylder has thrown me many curve balls already. For example, my labor where, fast forwarding, by the time I started pushing, his heart rate was so high and he wasn't budging, the only option was to have a c-section. I never in my life would have dreamt I'd require a c-section which made for a bit of a traumatic delivery experience. I held back my tears as they wheeled me down to the OR. It's sad on a lot of levels for me. It was my first surgery, then the recovery is daunting and all I really wanted was to be at home and not in the dirty hospital being poked and prodded every few hours. I am however thankful that it all happened so fast. Aside from meeting our baby, the highlight of the c-section was the doctor telling me I had nice abdominal muscles as she cut me open, how many people that get cut open get told that?! When our precious boy came out, everyone in the OR was just as surprised as us at how big Wylder was. I wasn't a big pregnant person so even still, I don't understand how I grew a baby so big in my little womb, but it explains my constant back aches! Not only was I sad I had a c-section, but I didn't mention that my water broke at home which was also not a part of my plan because that only happens in the movies!
We stayed in the hospital for 3 days because Wylder had a few minor health issues that needed to be addressed before we could bring him home but today he is a very healthy almost 10 pounder. He never fit newborn clothes and is almost outgrown 0-3 month clothes already! He eats lots, poops lots and sleeps pretty good for a new guy. Dare I brag about our 6 hour stretch last night...so SO good! Let me be real though, he changes daily and is quite particular, we just don't know about what because he changes daily, we can only hope tonight is as good as last night! Pray for us.
I'm currently 3 weeks into my 6 week recovery. I'm not to lift anything heavier than my giant baby, I can drive but I can't carry the car seat, groceries, do laundry, vacuum... I get out of the house once a week for an hour between feeds, otherwise I am housebound. It's killing me. Confession...I've broken some rules already... Kind of hard not to. I can't wait to feel normal and be able to rock my baby without my body hurting or be able to get in and out of bed without having to brace myself. It may be a good thing, but one of the hardest parts of this for me is accepting help from people because I've needed help more than ever in the past few weeks. Our friends and family have been incredible with driving Nolan, bringing meals and treats, helping clean my house. A huge shout out to my husband who is busy enough without all of the added responsibilities that have landed in his lap, he is amazing, he never complains and I am a very lucky to have someone so great as my best friend and partner in life! Hands down, the first couple weeks were the worst for me, but on the bright side, I've been able to focus solely on my new baby and I'm all caught up on my trashy reality shows!
I'd like to talk more about our infertility journey another time, but I can honestly say, there were so many times when I thought this time in our life would never come. My heart ached for years grieving the idea that Tom and I may never share this experience and be able to raise our own babies together. Thomas Wylder is so incredibly special to all of us, we have literally talked about him for 4 1/2 years before he came along and we are so excited to watch him grow up and see what his little personality is going to be! Faith and hope in the infertility journey are both so tough to hang onto and I gave up several times, but my hope now is that our story can give hope to others who are going through the same thing.
I played 'photographer' with our handsome little man the other day. We did good considering he gave me 5 minutes to mess around with him before he cried! Oh I just love this guy like crazy...