One Egg Nest – My New Blog

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As you can probably see, it’s been a while since I’ve posted here.  When I started this blog I clearly did not anticipate how all consuming taking care of my little girl would be, to the point where setting up a photo of myself with her on a weekly basis just became an impossible dream.  Don’t get me wrong, I still take lots of pictures, and I make to sure to be in as many as possible, but I catch these moments in sporadic waves.  As such, the goal of this blog has not been realized, something I am sad to admit.  I do, however, still have thoughts and photos to share about being a mother.  If you have enjoyed the posts from this blog than I enourage you to visit and follow my new blog, One Egg Nest.


Today Is The Greatest

I didn’t think it was possible, but somehow I find myself falling more in love with my little girl everyday I see her happy face.  A constant stream of babbling can be heard throughout our home, including, lately, as early as 5am.  She is in the beginning stages of crawling, this morning I even had to move her diaper wipe trash can after she discovered it and thought it would be a great new toy.  She loves when we make faces at her, and she’s started making faces back, mostly involving sticking her tongue out.


We seem to have finally reached that amazing sweet spot where this whole mommy things feels more like fun than work (that’s not to say it’s any less exhausting).  I look at her and my heart hurts from the love and happiness it feels.  Recently I was talking with my husband and I said “Ramona is nothing like the child I imagined I would have when I was younger.”  That’s because it would have been impossible for me to ever imagine a little girl as wonderful as she is.  I could have never dreamed of her  full head of auburn colored hair (which she is happy to let us style), or her ear to ear grin, or her fiercely determined yet loving personality.  She is a million times better than a dream child because she is real (yes that’s a 500 Days of Summer reference for you).  The past 7 1/2 months, as well as the 7 1/2 months before that, have had some ups and some downs, but this right here is cloud nine.  I am treasuring this and focusing on living each moment in the present.  We are taking pictures and videos regularly, but there are so many moments that just can’t get captured and have to live in our hearts.  I’m planning to record these special moments in a journal to give her when she’s grown, a journal that will be special and held private – because not every moment has to be shared with the world.  I’m working on balancing the public and the private, but that said, here are some moments I am happy to share.


She LOVES standing, she constantly stiff legs us when we try to sit her down.  And yes, that is just one of several band shirts she has.


She adores her daddy, and music, so the combination of the two is one of her favorites.


Post bath baby wrapped in her kitty cat towel.

Lemons + Sugar = Lemonade (or Lemon Cake)

It seems like life decided throw a bunch of lemons our way these past few weeks.  When facing tough moments like these it’s easy to lose yourself down a rabbit hole of negativity, and to lose sight of all of the positives in your life.  However, these moments also provide a great opportunity for a shift in perspective.  All of those minor inconveniences that previously seemed so significant start to fade away into their proper place.  We were recently faced with a really difficult decision, that broke our hearts, but in the end we knew it was the right and necessary choice for our little girl.  Short story is that Copper has found a new and loving home with his dog walker, who he adores, and who is capable of giving him some much needed specialized attention that we simply don’t have the capacity to give him with Ramona in the house.  We had to acknowledge that we had been desperately trying to make a situation work, that ultimately wasn’t working, and that Copper really was on the losing end of this effort.  The emotions of this decision are still extremely raw, and our hearts our hurting.  However, I’m choosing to believe that life is working out the way it was always meant to, and our role in Copper’s life was really to unite him with his new home.  Readjusting the vision of our little family is not easy, we had numerous plans and hopes for our future which all included our furry guy.  In the end, though, this is the best for all of us.

In my efforts to move past these hurt feelings, I’ve started to look at all of the good in our lives right now, or the “sugar” if you will.


I had my first mother’s day which made me feel so loved and special.


Ramona is slowly working on eating solid foods; spinach was maybe not her favorite, but peas are going over well.


We are looking forward to Ramona’s first pool outings this weekend.  Baby girl loves splashing in her bath, so we expect her to love the pool too.


I found some adorable fabrics to make little summer headbands for her curly mop top, and perhaps some matching ones for myself.


I finally finished her baby quilt, and have started another sweet quilt project for her using this tutorial from Young House Love.


And my beloved lemon cake recipe.  Just shows that something awesome can come out of combining those sour lemons and the sweet sugar we’ve been handed.


Happy Adoption Day Copper!


A year ago today my husband and I welcomed our furry son, Copper, into our lives.  It also happened that at the same time we learned that little Ramona was on the way too, it was overwhelming and exciting all at once.  Over the past year our boy has been through numerous changes.  He was originally found as a stray in South Carolina and taken to a high kill shelter there, shortly after he was taken in by a local no-kill rescue organization here in DC, Homeward Trails.  And then quickly after that tranisition we adopted him.  Once home with us he had just started to settle in, and then we went and started rearranging the furniture on him (to begin nursery preparations).  And of course, the biggest change of all, he gained a whole new member of his pack, little Ramona.


For a high anxiety dog, this has all been a lot to take in, and a winter coat, some scarves, socks, stuffed toys, etc. have all paid the price.   But he’s handled it about as well as we could ask given his anxiety and of course we still love him and are happy to have him with us (despite the constant chorus of “Not for Copper” heard in our home).  He’s been a great furry brother to Ramona, constantly licking her from head to toe and always checking on her when she starts crying (so cute).  I can’t wait to watch Ramona grow up with him by her side, I’m sure one day his dream of all dreams will come true and I’ll open her bedroom door one night to find him curled up next her.


Happy adoption day you crazy boy!


Moving Forward

Holding hands

I have to say a huge thank you for the outpouring of support and encouragement after my last post.  It was a really hard one to write, and it’s very scary to put something so personal out there for the world.  It’s amazing, though, i’m finding a while community of moms experiencing the same things, this is just a very common thing that people typically haven’t talked about.

I’m beginning to put the pieces together and realize that my post partum depression is linked to separation from my little girl.

The first separation was when she left my body 6 weeks earlier than she should have.

The second separation was when she was taken from me mere minutes after birth and placed in the NICU, where she stayed for 9 days.

The third separation was when I returned to work.

While this last one was clearly known and inevitable, it was the trigger for my post partum depression because I failed to address the emotional toll the first two separations had taken on me.  Once Ramona came home from the NICU I was so relieved and happy that I just pushed everything else I was feeling to the side and ignored it.  I had my little girl, she was a healthy baby, and I was a healthy mother, that was all that mattered, the how didn’t matter I thought.

But the how does matter.

I went through 7 1/2 months of worry and anxiety because of the seemingly constant and random complications I kept experiencing.  Then, while the day of her birth was clearly the happiest of my life, that happiness was quickly tempered with worries about whether she would be ok, and wondering when we would get to bring her home with us.  That much stress for so long is bound to take an emotional toll on a person.

I don’t want to not work.  That is not the solution.  A step like that would only mask the real issues that need to be dealt with.  Additionally, while being a working mother is really hard, I do like serving as a role model for Ramona (and that is not saying that stay at home mother’s aren’t role models, they absolutely are).  I believe there is value on the work I do.

Ultimately, what I need to be better at to make this whole working mom thing easier is to find more balance.  Finding a balance that allows me to be a mom, work, and take care of myself will be the trick to working through these post partum issues.  It’s taking effort, but I’m finding ways to make changes to move me and my family in the right direction.

Right now, we’re taking each day one step at  time, and slowly we’re moving forward to a place of health and happiness.

And with that, I took today off from work to spend playing with my beautiful girl so I am going to do just that right now.

A Hard Truth

It’s hard not to love my little girl.  She is ridiculously happy and smiley, so much so that her daycare categorized a day that she cried a lot as unusual behavior.  She has also reached the really fun interactive stage.  She reacts to the funny faces I make, and she smiles and coos when she sees me and her dad.  And, while she has yet to do it at home for us, she is apparently rolling over at daycare.  So yes, loving her and spending time with her is easy.  What isn’t easy, I’ve finally had to admit, is fitting myself back in with the rest of the world.

Since I returned to work I’ve continuously kept myself  busy in my free time.  I do spend as much time as I can with my family, but I’ve also allowed myself to take on as many commitments as possible, only turning down ones that directly conflict with something else.  In essence, I haven’t been able to say no.  Take last weekend for example, I had two, two hour, photo sessions scheduled for Saturday, and a 10 mile race set for Sunday.  Then I got an inquiry for a third photo session, which I actually considered accepting and scheduling for Sunday afternoon.  It was at this point my husband made me really sit down and figure out what was going on.  I’m exhausted, stressed, and running on empty, and yet I keep piling more onto my plate.  After some introspection, and some tears that desperately needed to be shed, I realized that keeping myself busy and in motion has been the only thing keeping me from truly acknowledging much deeper emotions.

Mommy & Me-1-13

I am so happy and in love with being a mother that I could easily lose myself in the role and shut out the rest of the world.  So of course, to ensure I didn’t do this I went to the other extreme, leaving myself overworked and overwhelmed.  I was trying to do everything, and in the end I wasn’t doing any one thing very well.  This of course started a spiral effect of frustration and feelings of inadequacy.

For the past month and a half I’ve been denying my actual feelings to everyone, including myself.   I’ve been suppressing the truth, which is this, all I want is to hold my baby and hide away from everyone and everything else.  Keeping myself engaged in activities is the only thing preventing me from constantly breaking down into tears, still and quiet moments are dangerous for this reason.  And all of this adds up to one thing that for some is reason is so hard to admit, I have post partum depression.

Mommy & Me-1-12

I know I shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed to admit this.  It is very common and very treatable, but for some reason I can’t completely shake the feeling of failure.  And this is exactly why I am seeking help.  I want to be the best mother I possibly can, which means I need to be healthy, both physically and mentally.  I also want Ramona to grow up knowing that it is ok to admit feelings like these.   I want to help break down stigmas surrounding mental illness, so that she never feels like she has to hide if she experiences one.

Mommy & Me-1-14

I have an amazing support network, so I have no doubt that with help I will work through this, and I will ultimately come out the other side a stronger, happier, and healthier mamma and person.  I hope other new moms realize, like I now do, that it is not a failure to admit to having post partum depression.  It does not mean you don’t love your child, your husband, your family, or your friends.  It doesn’t mean you aren’t a good mother, wife, daughter, sister, or friend.  All it means is that your body is having difficulty adjusting to drastic changes in hormones, and your mind needs help acclimating to a new perception of self and a new role in life.

Being a mother is the hardest job in the world, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it comes with an adjustment period, and having the strength to admit a need for help  with this adjustment should be praised.


Mommy & Me

Counting the passing weeks is too depressing because it makes time feel like it passing even faster than it actually is, and right now I want time to slow down so I can savor each and every moment with my little girl.  I have been back at work for one month now, and it has been a very hard month for me.  The daycare transition has gone very smoothly.  Ramona is happy there, and I actually feel like it has been positive for her development.  She is doing fantastic with tummy time now and is catching up in the areas she had been delayed and in some areas she is starting to get ahead.  What hasn’t gone as smoothly has been my transition.  I’ve found it difficult to dive back into a very fast paced work place, particularly because there were several substantial changes in my office while I was out.  I essentially returned to a new job.  Settling into the new daily routine has also been hard for me.  Waking up early enough to get myself ready, Ramona ready, and do the daycare drop off is exhausting.  Then, at the end of the day I spend what time I can with her, and then she falls asleep around 7:30 at which point I begin the nightly routine of washing her diapers, cleaning and sterilizing her bottles and my pump parts, and packing things for the next day.  Notice how basic things like cleaning the apartment and laundry that isn’t Ramona’s aren’t on that list, yeah, that’s because I’m lucky to get those things done.  Weekends these days aren’t much easier, this is the busy time of year for photography session. Something I love and don’t want to stop doing, espeically because I hope to start putting the profits from the business aside for Ramona’s future.  So I’m having to accept that life isn’t what it once was, my regular routines are gone, and I somehow have to find a balance with these new routines.  And honestly, I don’t know how single parents do it.  These sentences are using a lot of “I” statements, but I do have an amazing and wonderful husband that does so much to help, and still the two of us combined can’t get everything done on a regular basis.

I’ve written before about accepting that I can’t be a supermom who gets everything done perfectly all the time, though, this isn’t new.  The new part to all of this is that I am now having to accept something that I had hoped I would never have to do.  It’s not the end of the world I know, and I do feel lucky that I’ve lasted this long, but I am now faced with the reality that being a working mom has made it impossible to pump enough milk to exclusively feed Ramona breast milk all of the times I am away from her.  When I first returned to work I started to realize this would likely become the situation, but I held out hope that I could make it until 6 months when we will start introducing solid foods.  Then this week I looked in our freezer and realized our back supply is down to 4oz, and this coming weekend I have two, 2-hour photo shoots as well as my first post-baby 10 mile race.  That will be a lot of time away from Ramona, time that my husband will need to be able to feed her without me, and at best I only pump just enough in one day to get her through daycare the next day.  And the reality is, that I won’t be pumping during these photos sessions, or during my race, and once I am with her I will be directly breast feeding her, and my experience has been that feeding her and pumping at the same time is not worth the effort for the little amount that pumping yields me.   And then cue today, when my supply seems to have suddenly tanked.  In order to get her through daycare tomorrow on just breastmilk I will have to use the last amount of milk in our freezer.

Mommy & Me

So here we are.  Tonight I am going to store to pick up formula.  I am lucky to have wonderful, working-mom co-workers who comforted me as I broke down in tears this morning.  They all told me that they ultimately had to resort to the same thing, around the same time.  And while it is comforting to have people to talk to who understand how heartbreaking this moment is, it makes me angry.  I am angry, that despite all of the public acknowledgment that breast milk is best and ideal for the entire first year of life, our society puts women in a position where that goal is very difficult to attain.  We are bombarded with messages about “breast is best” to the point where we feel like failures when we can’t maintain 100% breast feeding because we have no choice but to return to work only a few months after birth (and that’s for us lucky women who are able to take any kind of leave).  I have no problem feeding Ramona when I am with her, so I know for a fact that I would be able to exclusively breastfeed her for a whole year if I were at home.  Unfortunately, staying home is not a feasible option for our family.

I’m working through a lot of emotions about this whole thing.  There’s the anger, there’s sadness, there’s guilt, and there’s defeat, among other less easy to classify feelings.  I know I will come to terms with this, and ultimately it is best because clearly she has to eat, but I will probably never be happy about this turn of events.



Week 17: Childhood Innocence

Ramona-1-3Full disclosure, returning to work has been hectic on the schedule.  So while I typically do find time to take pictures, actually writing the posts to go with the pictures becomes more difficult.  It also becomes hard because there is just so much I want to say I don’t always know where to begin, so I have a goal to catch up on things this week!

Several weeks ago, there was a story about a 9 year old boy who was being bullied for carrying a My Little Pony backpack to school.  As I read the story my heart broke to pieces for this little boy.  His only fault in this incident, it seemed, was pure innocence.  Innocence in a belief that there would be nothing wrong with expressing his interests through the backpack he carried.  And unfortunately, because some other children viewed this as not conforming to the social norms for boys, his innocence was shattered.

Of course, being a new mother, I immediately started jumping to thoughts about what if something like this happens to my little girl when she gets older.  I look at her sweet face now, and I can’t possibly imagine anyone not liking her or thinking negative thoughts about her.  She is so full of unconditional love, trust, and innocence, things I want her to keep in her heart for as long as possible.  I know I can’t protect her from the world.  I realize that she will have to face mean people, and difficult moments, and she will need to be capable of facing these on her own, but I hope she never faces something that gives her the feeling that being who she is, is wrong.  I want my little girl to cultivate her interests and hobbies, and to feel confidence in the person those interests and hobbies help her become.  I never want her to feel ashamed about who she is, or the things she likes.  I never want her to feel like she needs to hide a piece of herself simply because it goes against societal norms.  And I never, ever, ever want her to feel like she needs to change herself for anyone else.

I know when I was younger I lacked a confidence in myself.  I was very self conscious, to the point that it consumed me so much more than it should have.  If I am only able to impart one life lesson to Ramona, I want it to be this: Be yourself and love who you are, in essence “let your freak flag fly” whatever that flag happens to look like.



Weeks 15 & 16: The Return

I knew this day was coming.  I’ve been ever aware of it since Ramona was born.  My first day back at work and away from my baby.  I am lucky, I realize how lucky I am, I was able to take a whole 14 week paid maternity leave.  Granted, the ability to take such a long paid maternity leave did not come without a lot of forethought.  No matter what, I would have been guaranteed a 12 week unpaid leave under the FMLA requirements, but like most people I would not have been able to afford to go 12 weeks without a paycheck.  My job does not offer a paid maternity leave option, instead, for a paid leave you must save and use a combination of annual and sick leave.  As a result, I began saving my annual and sick leave many years ago, before my husband and I were even married.  Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean I never took a vacation or a sick day.  But I was very conservative about any leave I did take, and started saving my leave so far in advance so that I would also be able to take time here and there and still have leave in the bank for the day I was ready to have a baby.  

I could go into my thoughts and frustrations about the lack of parental leave in our country, but instead I’d rather talk about my feelings returning to work.  It is H.A.R.D.  Plain and simple.  Everything about it is hard.  Getting into a new routine, diving back into complex issues and catching up on everything that happened while I was out, adjusting to hectic evenings where we try to fit everything we want to accomplish for ourselves into a few measly hours.  I am more exhausted than I was during the first few weeks that Ramona was home.  Seriously, it’s sad when you wake up so early in the morning that your baby and dog resist getting up.  On top of that, she has such a good time at daycare, when she gets home in the evening she has a very short amount of time that she’s awake and interactive and then she just passes out for the rest of the night.  We usually have to wake her up for bath time and to change into PJs, and then she’s right back asleep.  Yes, having a baby that sleeps well at night is great, but when that sleep starts at 7 or 8pm, and you don’t get home until about 6pm it leaves little time to actually spend with her.  Add making dinner, and fitting in workouts and our evenings are frequently just a blur of trying to get things done that can’t be done while we’re at work.

As a result I am physically, mentally, and emotionally drained.  I feel more hormonal than I did while pregnant or immediately postpartum.  I frequently feel on the verge of tears, for no apparent reason.  I will be sitting at my desk at work, focused on some assignment, and suddenly I will feel an incredibly overwhelming sense of sadness because I realize that I just miss my little girl and all I want is to be able to pick her up and hold her, and I can’t.  One positive, there is no happier moment than when I get home and see her adorable little face and take her into my arms.  No matter how bad the day has been, that moment melts everything away in an instant.  I know my time with her is precious, so I try to make the most of it and I don’t take a single moment for granted.  Something that I think about when I’m feeling really down is the memories I have of seeing my mom getting ready for work and thinking how beautiful she looked in her nice work clothes, and how I loved to play dress up with them and pretend to be like her when I was little.  The thought of Ramona having similar happy memories, makes this whole going back to work process bearable.




I know things will get easier with time.  We’ll get the new routine down to a smoother process, and she will eventually have longer stretches of awake time in the evenings.  I remind myself how lucky I am: I was able to take a very long maternity leave, I have returned to a job with very understanding bosses and coworkers, and more than anything I am lucky to have a happy and healthy baby girl to come home to each evening.

Weeks 13 & 14: Letting Go

If you see a woman in an orange coat standing in an aisle in Target fighting back tears, I apologize that you had to see me like that.  You see, I dropped Ramona off for a morning at daycare today, and I’m having a hard time adjusting.  Realizing that my maternity leave is coming to an end is difficult.  I realize how lucky I am that I have been able to have 14 weeks at home with my little girl, although that didn’t come without effort and planning on my part (a diatribe I will save for another day).  It doesn’t make leaving her now any easier though.  I’m going through a range of emotions right now.  Sadness, anxiety, anger, etc.  Last week I dealt with this moment through avoidance.  Every time I started to think about things that should be done to prepare for these intro days I pushed it off by telling myself there was still time and no need to rush.  I continued to do this into this week until I was faced with yesterday morning, her first intro day when I ended up scrambling to gather her things, put labels on them, and fill out her paperwork.  I was able to stay with her for about an hour yesterday, of the two hours she was there, which definitely helped.  Today, she is spending 3 hours there without me, and tomorrow she will do a full day without me, and then Monday is the big day when I will return to work full-time and she will be in daycare full-time.

I know this transition has to happen, and if it weren’t now, it would be later, and it will never be easy.  It still hurts though.  Going out and doing things without her makes me feel empty.  It feels like a piece of myself is missing.  All I want to do right now is curl up in bed with my baby girl and ignore the rest of the world.  And *warning irrational emotional mommy thoughts* I can’t help but feel a little cheated.  I feel like I’ve been cheated out of 6 weeks.  If my pregnancy had been healthy and normal I would have had another 6 weeks with her growing inside of me, and then I would still have another 6 weeks to be home with her.  Instead, she came early so I missed that extra time with her inside and then I spent the first 9 days of her life only able to spend a few hours each day with her.  I know all of these thoughts are irrational, but I can’t help thinking them and feeling the emotions.

I know in the end daycare will be a great thing for Ramona.  She will get to meet other children, and she will be exposed to new experiences.  I also know that I will be ok without having her with me 24/7, although I may never like it.  I’m grateful we get to ease into this transition with these intro days, even if I don’t quite know what to do with myself.

*I just picked her up from her morning and she did great, she was actually fast asleep taking a nice little nap.  It helps to know she is happy and adjusting easily, now I just need to adjust the way she is.

Week 13: These are the moments in the afternoon I will miss most.

Week 13: These are the moments in the afternoon I will miss most.

Week 14: I'm trying to maximize my last days home with her

Week 14: I’m trying to maximize my last days home with her