Seasons of Life

This isn’t the season of sleeping in
Of drinking hot coffee
Of quiet mornings
Of staying out all night
Of having a clean house
Of going to the bathroom alone
Of going wherever I want whenever I want
Of taking long showers
Of relaxing for longer than 20 min
Of watching my shows
Of traveling
Of doing my makeup and wearing jewelry
Of focusing on my career

This is the season of waking up early on weekends
Of changing diapers
Of cleaning a high chair 10 times a day
Of pulling stuff out of your mouth
Of being exhausted all the time
Of crawling around on the floor
Of holding you while you cry
Of revolving my days around your naps
Of constantly being needed
Of ear infections
Of teething
Of a messy house
Of smelling your butt
Of announcing when I have to go to the bathroom
Of milestones
Of playdates
Of catching your falls
Of kissing you whenever I want
Of hearing your first words
Of seeing your first steps
Of singing to you
Of reading to you
Of being the most important person in your life and the one you love most.

And you, my love, are the reason for this season. This beautiful, exhausting, frustrating, demanding, overwhelming, exhilarating, magical, all consuming season of life that isn’t going to last forever. The season of life that everyone eventually misses and wishes they could have back. ❤️

Colic, reflux or high needs?

What really inspired me to make this blog in the first place was when I started googling to find out if my baby could still be considered colicky after 6 months old. That’s when I came across the term “high needs” and when I started reading more and more about it, I had that “ah-ha” moment and honestly felt so reassured and at ease. Obviously all babies are technically high needs because duh..they’re babies! However, some babies are just a wee bit needier than others.

Ever since Everett was 3 weeks old he has been extremely sensitive and emotional about anything and everything. All of our friends seemed to have “chill” babies but we knew pretty quickly he was a little different. For the first few months, we assumed he had reflux and colic. I remember spending most of my days on the phone crying to the nurses while he was crying in the background. The doctor finally prescribed us some reflux meds which did help a little so I do believe he had reflux but maybe not as bad as we originally thought. But he still was never what you would consider chill.

Even still at 1 year old old he can be set off by something so little such as a sneeze, any sudden noises, waking up from a nap, gas pains, his OWN loud toot.. literally anything. We are always walking on eggshells so that we don’t make a wrong move. And he doesn’t just get startled, he will go into a full blown meltdown that can take quite a while to calm down from. I could probably count on one hand how many days he’s gone without having a major meltdown. It can be quite exhausting, to be honest. However, through tons of reading and newly acquired patience, I have learned that each baby is so unique in their own way and they all have their own temperament. I think of a baby’s temperament on a scale from mild to extreme. His just happens to be on the latter side of that scale.

We have learned how to respond better to his meltdowns now instead of just brushing them off and trying to throw toys in his face. That just doesn’t work for him. Instead, we have started to try the “respectful parenting” approach. We will sit with him on the couch or walk around with him and try to relax with him while he cries and we have replaced saying “It’s okay. It’s no big deal” with “I’m sorry baby. I know you’re not happy about..blank. I’m here for you”. Even though he doesn’t truly understand what we’re saying, it seems to work better and it’s great practice for us in the future once he does understand us. Also, by saying these things outloud it helps to calm me as well which obviously only helps him.

After all, who are we to tell someone else that their feelings aren’t a big deal. By saying it’s not a big deal, we’re actually invalidating their feelings and down the road it could lead to them suppressing their emotions or even worse not feeling like they can confide in us as parents. I know I personally don’t love it when I’m upset and someone tells me to calm down or that I’m overreacting. It only fires me up even more. Babies are still humans with human emotions and they’re allowed to feel them and express them however they need to.

While some days can be tough living with a “high needs” baby, it has taught me so dang much about myself and other people. Because of him, I have gained so much patience and perspective. It was so easy to get frustrated in those moments but by taking this respectful approach it has even helped us become calmer during the tough times and in turn he is able to calm down faster.

Don’t let me fool you..We still have lots and lots of meltdowns. We still can get very frustrated. We’re still learning him and learning how to be the best parents we can be for him. But he will always know how much we love him and that he can find comfort and support in our arms. At the end of the day that is all that truly matters.

Our birth story

On June 17th, 2020 at approximately 4pm, I was working from home, bouncing on my exercise ball when I started to notice my lower back was aching on and off sporadically. I assumed it was probably just Braxton Hicks contractions since I wasn’t due until the 21st so I didn’t think much of it. We took a walk around the neighborhood around 5pm and it was suddenly very difficult to get back home as my back started hurting more and more off and on. I was hopeful I was actually having real contractions but still wasn’t convinced. As we were eating dinner, the contractions quickly grew more intense and I couldn’t eat anymore so I moved to the couch. Every time one would hit me, I dropped to my knees and slammed on our table until it ended. This should have been a sign but I texted our parents telling them what was going on and said that I doubted it was the real deal though.

Since this was my first time experiencing contractions, I couldn’t be sure if they were real or not and I hated the thought of going to the hospital and being told it was a false alarm. So I started walking around the house for 2 hours while getting ready for the hospital just in case this was really going down that night. I could tell a contraction was coming every time because my entire core would suddenly get super tight so I would immediately brace myself and lay against the bed. The pain kept growing more and more intense and soon enough it became difficult to breathe through them. That’s when I knew. This is really happening.

The contractions were 7 minutes apart and then 4 minutes apart and then 7 again. They were so inconsistent so I kept second guessing when we should leave for the hospital, worried they would send us back home. I was even more scared of getting there too early and not being able to eat for god knows how long. Because this is the type of thing I worry about. Tyler had been following me around, forcing me to take bites of my now very cold dinner the entire time I was trying to get ready because he knew this was one of my fears. What a husband.

Out of nowhere the contractions were consistently 5 minutes apart so we started to rush out the door. That 25 minute car ride was the longest car ride of my life. I pushed myself out of the seat every time a contraction came and punched Tyler in the arm. I swear it was involuntary. He still reminds me of how much it hurt him when I punched him. How dare he.

We finally arrived to the hospital around 10pm. I had to get a covid test which thankfully came back negative. I was only 4cm dilated but 80% effaced so they decided to admit us. Thank god.

Once we got settled into a room, they asked if I wanted an epidural. The immense pain took away any anxiety I had over that ginormous needle so without hesitation I said, YES. It was magical. Once the epidural kicked in and the labor pains were gone then came the anxiety. Until then, the pain from the contractions kept me from being able to think about everything going on so once the pain wasn’t there anymore my mind started racing and I was uncontrollably shaking from the nerves. I didn’t sleep for one second that night. I laid in the bed shaking and staring at the monitors all night long as Tyler was passed out on the cold, stiff, plastic couch. The nurses kept coming in and turning me on my sides because E’s heart rate would jump really high every few minutes. This only amplified my anxiety as you can imagine. Around 3am, I was only 6cm dilated so I kept laying there staring at the clock while being turned over every 20 minutes for another 3 hours. Tyler continued to get his beauty rest.

Around 6am, two nurses came in to check me. One nurse told the other one, “she’s complete”. Totally confused and in denial I said, “wait..what does ‘complete’ mean!?”. The nurse replied, “it means you’re ready!”. I was in shock and said something along the lines of “Oh God”. Tyler, still half asleep, overheard this conversation somehow and immediately stood up ready to go.

My doctor wasn’t on call so I was told that another doctor was going to be delivering me which I had come to terms with. Like I had a choice. Then around 7am, my normal doctor came into my room to check on me as she just happened to be there for a meeting that morning. When she checked me she said it was time to start pushing and told the other doctor that she would just stay with me since I was already so close. What a freaking blessing!

Tyler helped the doctor through the entire process. She started ordering him around like he was her nurse and it was the coolest thing ever. He handed her everything she needed. He held my leg. He coached me on breathing through the contractions. He gave me pep talks. He was a rockstar.

Exhausted from not sleeping all night, I pushed for an hour and eventually said, “I don’t think I can do this anymore”. I felt like giving up. The pain and the exhaustion was just too much at that point and I felt like I had nothing left to give. Then the doctor asked if I wanted to feel his head. I thought I could be that person and it would be some blissful moment but instead I said, “Ew. No thanks”. However, it made me realize just how close I was to being out of pain and finally meeting him. He was already here. I just had to give it my all one last time. So I did. All the nurses and Tyler cheered me on and got me through that final push. And then it happened. At 8:09 am on June 18, 2020, our lives were completely changed forever and we finally got to meet the most perfect little human ever created. Everett Dean Spurlock.

Who am I?

I figured the best place to start this blog would be to first share who I was before motherhood took over my life and how it has changed me.

My name is Heather Murdock Spurlock. (Murdock is my maiden name.. you can see why I had to make it my middle name once I got married). Before Everett was placed on my chest, I was just another CPA working at a desk all day long. Funny enough, my husband is also a CPA, so you can only imagine how fun we are. We were living our mundane day to day life of waking up, going to the gym, going to work, coming home late and then doing it all over again the next day. We went to the same restaurants every weekend and meal prepped on Sundays. Have I convinced you yet of how much fun we are?

We were born to be parents. It was all we ever talked about and we were so excited to start that next phase of life after we got married. I always wondered what would happen once I became a mom. I’m very Type A, so I knew it would be difficult to go back to an office and send my baby to daycare and me not be in control all the time. I always dreamed about taking some time off to stay home for a while but as two accountants, we know the importance of having stable incomes and security. So, I figured it wasn’t in the cards for us so we enrolled in a daycare and planned to send E there once he was 3 months old.  Then COVID happened. 

I was 6 months pregnant when COVID hit the US. Fortunately, my husband and I were both able to work from home and stay in our bubble to keep us all safe. We are still in that bubble 10 months later… and we’re somehow still married. (I think that should be the new requirement before getting married..  quarantining together for 6 months…yikes) When E graced us with his presence in June of 2020, we were in the thick of the pandemic. I always dreamed of having our parents meet their grandbaby at the hospital and all of us sobbing together while taking turns holding him. Unfortunately, no visitors were allowed and that dream was crushed for all of us. So, that sucked. However, I can definitely understand how overwhelming that would have been having any extra people in that room considering there is someone coming in every 30 minutes to take blood, help change the baby’s diaper, help change your diaper.. it’s exhausting. So, maybe it’s a blessing in disguise. But I digress.

During maternity leave, we made the decision to cancel our enrollment at the daycare because we were way too worried about our newborn catching COVID or passing it to the grandparents. Once my 10 weeks were up, I went back to working from the couch with a baby sleeping on my chest. After keeping him home for a few months, we both quickly realized how hard it would have been to actually send him to a daycare, pandemic or no pandemic. So we came to the decision that I should take a step away from my career and stay home with him for a while.

Over the months, we have discovered that E is what’s called a “high needs” baby (post coming soon), so I really don’t think a daycare would be able to or want to keep up with him. I’m very grateful to be able to give him the love and energy he needs day in and day out. This boy requires A LOT of energy! But my goodness am I obsessed with this amazing, perfect little boy. 

All of this to say, I am still a Type A, health nut, fitness loving, math nerd but my current passion is being his Mama. I have found a new purpose in life and for right now, Everett is my WHY. Raising a strong, empathetic, smart, loving, decent human being that will give to society is now my sole focus and too soon that will all change and I’ll need to find my WHY again. So, while I am able to be in this phase of life I figured why not document it all and help some other mom out there googling why her baby is over 6 months old and still screaming and crying all day while all her friends have “chill” babies. (This is how I found that E is considered high needs.) 

I’m still figuring out how to balance being a mom and still be myself. I’m learning to fill my cup first whether it’s by getting an uninterrupted, 30 minute workout in or getting quiet time to write out this blog post. I’m still trying to be a good wife and give my husband the time he deserves. 

The balance isn’t always easy but it is necessary. As moms, we’re always trying to do it all, all the dang time. When it comes to food, exercise, working, being a mom, being a wife, whatever it is.. there has to be a balance. Don’t try to eat so healthy that you don’t enjoy food. Don’t workout so hard that you don’t enjoy the process. Don’t worry so much about being the perfect mom or wife that you forget to be present with the ones you love most.

I hope you can find the healthy balance that works for you and I hope by sharing my experiences that you can commiserate or possibly even learn ways to find the balance you’re seeking. 

Until next time. 

#zerotohero #motherhood #parenting #sahm #wellness