Bedsharing with Maisy

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Before Maisy arrived I pondered bed sharing with a sense of unease.  The idea of putting a tiny human being next to two full grown adults, one of which being a tossing and turning hard sleeper, sounded like a death trap.  Actually, since having Maisy Josh’s sleeping skills have proven to be even more proficient than I initially expected.  While my whole being propels out of bed at Maisy’s slightest sound Josh remains soundly asleep even if she’s been joyfully greeting the day with screeches and shouts for over 15 minutes.

Anyway, I spent over 72 hours in heavy labor before Maisy was born, then night came, then she made a peep, then she was in bed with me.  It was simply survival.  I was exhausted, torn to bits, and alone.  It took me approximately 1 minute to realize that the way I was not only going to survive but thrive at mothering an infant with a husband who spends half of our lives on the road, I was going to sleep with this baby.  Because, that night and every night following, this baby only stands a chance of sleeping well if she’s next to me.

I love bedsharing.  I love that in the middle of the night when she’s hungry all I have to do is whip out my ready made food supply and pass back out while she feeds herself (sometimes this tickling of a very sensitive area causes some peculiar dreams though.)  I love that in the morning I wake up to I bright eyed and smiling little bundle of joy (she’s seriously the most joyful morning person ever but also laid back enough to allow me enough time to get on board with starting the day at, sometimes, 5 am.)  I love that even as a newborn she somehow managed to scoot over and nestle her face into the crook of my neck if I ventured too far away in my sleep (even if it meant being pinned between Maisy and Josh).  I love that I get to spend all night long snuggling with my favorite little girl in the world (talk about quality time!)  And I have to believe that all of this is creating a nest egg of love inside my baby girl that will assure her that I adore her no matter what someone says to her at school or how long she has to be in time out or how much she thinks she hates me at any point.  Although, if the only benefit is that I get this nest egg of love that is good enough too.  I know that on the days I want to scream at her or the days I’m so tired I just cry or moments when I feel at a loss for what to do that I can easily conjure up my baby’s morning grin or any one of those moments in the middle of the night when I discover her nestled into my neck.

Do I recommend bedsharing?  Absolutely!  Turns out, it’s perfectly safe, natural, and desireable!  It is my sanity.  It unleashes joy I would not get to experience otherwise.  And it builds in me a nurturing heart that is bigger than I could have hoped for.  There are so many mornings that I comment to Josh how I can’t imagine missing those moments with her just to have a little extra space in bed.  Bedsharing means, usually, more frequent night wakings than a crib baby but the trade off is well worth it.  I’m glad I still have some time with Maisy in our bed before she outgrows that need and needs more of her own space instead because, though I may be ready to get more sleep at night, I am not ready to give up that intimacy with her.

*These are all older pictures… I really have to take some recent bedsharing pictures!

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Falling in Love with Maisy

I knew I loved Maisy even before a pee stick told me I was pregnant.  I distinctly remember praying for her on a run one day, a week before even taking the test was a possibility, and I prayed that she would love Jesus to her very core, be so full of joy, and come out perfectly healthy.

The moment I touched her I knew I loved her.  This love was more a provident love.  I knew all I wanted to do was provide for her and care for her better than anyone else in the world has ever cared for anyone.

But it wasn’t until the day after the hardship of trying to care for a newborn while photographing Sarah + Travis‘ wedding and the full day of mothering maddness that followed that my head love for Maisy found my heart.  The thing is, I knew I loved Maisy but I didn’t feel it for a little while.  Perhaps part of this is due to the zombie-like nature I found myself in for the first week and a half of new motherhood, but perhaps it is the hardship that finally connected my head with my heart.  I have found it is only really “doing life” with someone that seals a friendship.  Maisy is and was an easy baby.  Motherhood and Maisy made sense to me and I was stress free… until Maisy’s 9th day.  On Maisy’s 9th day I photographed a wedding.  The wedding went well and Maisy was a champ, but the next day all hell broke loose.  Maisy seemed desperate to eat all day long despite the fact that overeating only ended in projective vomit (see”Upchuck and Church“).  It was an exhausting day and by the end of it I cried.  The next day I woke up to the same baby but with a new dose of help:  the moment my sleepy eyes met my newborn’s face my heart filled with this most bubbly, lovely goodness.  That was the moment I truly fell in love with my daughter.  A couple days later she knowingly smiled at me and we’ve been best friends ever since.