I Used To Stress About The Holidays, Until–

Okay, I’m not gonna lie–I still stress about the holidays. 😅😅😅 But not NEARLY as much as I used to!

I know I said I’d be posting about a pretty emotional issue this time, but I’ve been having technical difficulties with that one…that will be next, I promise!

In the meantime, I came across this picture on Facebook this morning, so I felt like I needed to post about it.

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I had to ask myself, “Why, though?” Why does it have to be like that? I know the pressure is on around the holidays to give our families the “Perfect Christmas…” but why does this “Perfect Christmas” have to be so centered on gifts?

Yes, I understand we want our kids and our families to be happy and have the best, and it feels good to see a loved one’s face light up when you get them that perfect gift. Hearing the words, “How did you know!?” has the same effect as any good drug, in my opinion.

I used to agonize over what to get people for Christmas. I used to spend HOURS at the Mall going over random items debating in my head whether or not to buy them.

I’d ask myself, “Will so-and-so actually like this?” “Is this enough? What else should I get to go with it?” “Am I spending enough on this person?”

But everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked… 🔥👊

Haha sorry, I couldn’t resist. 😅😂

🎄How Being A Mom Has Stopped My Christmas Stress👩‍👦

So my husband has always been very cost-efficient *coughcoughcheapcoughcough* and his money-saving skills have kept us living pretty comfortably over the 4+ years we’ve been married.

Me? Not so much. I was lucky to have about $200 in my savings when we merged our bank accounts. Let’s just say it was a blessing that I never had a credit card in my early twenties… 😬💸💳

So much like Dr. Hammond in the original Jurassic Park, when it came to Christmas I used to “Spare no expense.” But, seeing as how I’m young with expendable income anymore, I’ve had to learn to adapt.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you all that having kids is expensive. It’s so true that they’re like those free apps with all the in-app purchases. They come with HELLA DLC, and you kind of need it to properly play the parenting game…

That being said, that leaves a lot less money to get people the type of gifts I used to be able to. Which admittedly at first was a little depressing, but it’s actually been more of a blessing than a curse.

Now that I don’t have tons of money burning a hole in my NES controller wallet, I have to think twice as hard about what to get people, and it has to fit within a tight budget. 

Because of this, I’ve learned to be much more thoughtful in what I give. Yes, the gifts are smaller, but they’re much more meaningful and practical, so my loved ones appreciate them more.

I’ve also begun making more things than buying, and even though my DIY skills could get me a spot on the Netflix series “Nailed It,” people are still genuinely happy when they get them, because they’re tailored to their interests and it really shows that I thought of them.

BTW stay tuned for what I think could be a pretty useful holiday hack for next year 😉😉

How You Can Let Go Of Some Of That Holiday Tension

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My response to the above image. Less Is More!

I feel like these days we’ve begun glorifying stress around the holidays. We stress about what to wear, what to cook, what photos to take, who to send cards to, what to buy, etc. We’re constantly bombarded with commercials commanding us to “Act Now!” so that we hurry and buy whatever it is they’re selling.

And let’s not forget the constant reminder of how many shopping days there are left until Christmas.

And as I mentioned before, I completely understand wanting to get the perfect gifts for loved ones. That’s why I haven’t completely stopped buying them. But, if it’s not reasonably within our budget, we shouldn’t feel compelled to go into debt just to satisfy a societal pressure to check off that list.

The whole point of that post, at least in my interpretation, was to say that parents with kids whose birthdays are close to Christmas have a rough go of it because they’re expected to buy extra for them. If that’s really your thing, then again, no judgement! But, it doesn’t have to be that way!

I’m trying to get in the habit of minimalism for my kids, as I’ve mentioned before. There’s so many benefits to it, and getting them in the habit early will help in the long run!

So if you’re a parent and have kids with Christmastime birthdays, and you’re stressing about how to make it all work, this could help! Do some modest gift-giving for Christmas and give a fulfilling experience (check your local library for ways to do this within a budget) as a birthday gift, allowing them to pick out a single souvenir.

Alternatively, if you’re having a birthday party for your child, odds are they’re going to get a slew of gifts from guests. You could try getting one meaningful gift for their birthday to show how special they are, and then give the smaller, but still special gifts for Christmas.

Sorry if this post didn’t make much sense this time! I’m working under a deadline at my library’s computer. Hopefully this helped bring a little insight and made you feel better if you’re struggling with stress right now.

Remember, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Thanks for reading, my gals! Next time will be the emotional post.

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How You Can Throw Your Baby’s First Birthday Under $100!

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Our Mr. One-Derful on his official first birthday 🥳🥰

The Force was strong with this little one on August 11, 2018, when we threw his very first birthday party with our friends. And then as of 9:26pm August 12, 2018, our little dinosaur officially turned a whole year old. 1️⃣🎊🎉

In an effort to make things less overwhelming for him, (which seemed to go well?) we decided to have two birthday parties for our son. One with our close friends–his nonbiological aunts and uncles–and one with our closest family–his biological aunts and uncles, as well as his cousin, grandparents and obviously us. 👪

Some people go all out with their child’s first birthday. And honestly, I don’t blame them! It’s a big deal! You got your baby to survive a whole year! 🙌🙌 That’s something to seriously celebrate!

Honestly, the first birthday party was as much for me as it was for my son. Despite how incompetent I’ve felt these past 15 months, my son seems to be thriving. 🙏🙏🙏 This may just be testament to his strong will, but I have to stop and think where did he get that from? 🤔😂

That being said, we didn’t have a few thousand dollars to put down on a big hall and guest appearances by the actual Spiderman, nor did we feel like taking out a birthday party loan (yes, apparently that’s a thing). But we still wanted to make it special. 💖💖

Since we had two birthday parties, we ended up spending closer to $150-75ish when it was all said and done (including pizza for guests), but for two parties, and considering how many people we had at our first one, I’ll still call that a win! 🙌😅😙


🍰How We Cut Costs Like Birthday Cake:

🎈For decorations, I scoured Party City online for their best deals for Star Wars themed decorations, hit up Oriental Trading for all things dinosaur, and of course visited the dollar tree to fill in the gaps on the cheap. 💳💰

 

🍕For food for guests, we ordered pizzas and asked guests to bring along some simple snacks. 😋 We also made cupcakes for our both parties respectively, as this ended up being much cheaper than buying birthday cakes. 🧁

 

🎂Aside from the pizza, the only expensive part food-wise was Vinny’s smash cakes, banana cake made with almond flour with a greek yogurt and honey frosting (there’s my crunchy side 😂✌🌱).

 

📖I also made an attempt at a “Year Book” for our son for his friends and family to sign, marking all of his milestones and memories from his first year of life. I didn’t give myself enough time to properly work on it, but when he reads it after he graduates high school, all that matters is that he’ll see what his friends and family wrote to him all those years ago. 💭💞😭

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🎵I tried so hard…
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…and got so far🎶

But I know what you’re all really here for. 😉 So, without further ado, here are some tips on how to save on first birthdays:


🎀Got Any Leftovers?

If you have friends or family that have already had babies, ask them if they’ve hung onto any first birthday supplies, or just party supplies in general. You never know what you can repurpose until you look! 👀

💡Facebook Marketplace and local Moms Groups might be a good resource for this, as well! 👍

💵🌳Hit Up the Dollar Tree!

Dollar stores can be hit or miss, but a lot of times they have the basics like table cloths, paper cups, plates, etc. It can be tempting to get all of the themed partyware you see at the expensive party stores, but they’re not all necessary. 🙅 For example, we ordered Star Wars Plates and Cups at Party City, but only half of what we would need. Then we got the rest with a matching color scheme at the dollar store.

👑For another example, if your little girl were to have a (Sofia the) 1st Birthday party, you could pick up a Sofia table cloth, and then one to two (depending on the size of your guest list) sets of Sofia cups, plates, and maybe napkins, and then get the rest in purple or white. And voila! A party fit for a little Princess on a Pauper’s budget. 👸💖👛

Resisting the urge to splurge on themed decorations and instead opting for the color scheme of streamers, balloons, etc from the Dollar Tree will help save a few pennies, as well. 🎉🎊🎈

🏡Stay Close to Home.

People get the idea that they need to have their kids’ first birthdays at a big hall, and if that’s what your heart is set on, and you’ve been saving for it since before your baby was born, then go for it! But you’d be surprised what you can do with your own living space. 🤯🤯

If you don’t have much to work with, but have a friend or family member with more space, ask them ahead of time if they don’t mind you having the party there! You can bake them an extra set of cupcakes to thank them for their troubles.

🛍🎁Don’t go all out for gifts.

This one is hard, more so for some than others. We Mamas want our kids to have the world, but the reality is they don’t need all of the latest toys. The truth is, they’ll play with them for a while but then forget all about them, or play with the dang box instead! 📦😫

I love sticking to the minimalist gift rule every birthday and Christmas for my little ones, because more than likely they’ll be getting a bunch of gifts from friends and family as well. 😅🤷‍♀️

💞💓Again, I totally get that rush from seeing your kids light up when they get that popular toy. But trust me, they’ll be okay without the entire LOL Dolls or Ninjago set. They might even be better for it. 💞💓


Vinny’s first birthday was bittersweet. 🥰😭 A year really flew by, and the the years will start coming and they won’t stop coming and soon enough he’ll be 18… 😮😵 I try not to think about it too much, despite how much I mutter under my breath that I can’t wait for him to go school when he’s driving me crazy. 🤪🤪🤪

How many of you have the big Oh-One coming up? How many of you have already had it? What is/was your theme? Any other tips for readers? Leave them in the comments! 💬😙

💖Thanks for reading, my gals! 😍😘 Next time I’ll get into how I worked through a sensitive pregnancy issue maybe some of you can relate to…

Our Growing Family: Twice The Chaos, Double The Love

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Holy 2 under 2, Batman! 😱😱

Yes, as of writing this blog, I am 27 weeks pregnant with baby number 2! 🤰👶2️⃣

Yes, as of writing this blog, my first is barely 1 year and 3 months old. 👶👣

Yes, at the time of my second child’s birth, my first son will barely be a year and a half old. 👶👶

Yes, we (sort of) planned it this way. 🤷‍♀️

Yes, I know I’m crazy. 😝🤪

In all seriousness, as scared as I am of the prospect of being a SAHM to 2 under 2, at the same time, I’m happy. 🥰🥰🥰

When I was younger, I always thought that when I had children they would be spaced 2 to even 3 years apart. I thought this for a few reasons. One, to give myself a break in between, 😅 two, to have one potty trained by the time the next came along, 💩 and three, so that I would have enough “time” with each baby before the next one. 🤱👩‍👦💞

But when I got together with my husband, he had expressed wanting multiple children close together, as close together as actual Irish Twins…😳😨😱 Who’s the crazy one now? 😂

And while in my childfree days I thought this would be absolute lunacy, once we had our first baby, I got to rethinking. 🤔

Having two younger brothers, I feel that having siblings made us all better people in certain ways. We had to share, overcome fights, and look out for each other. And while things might have been rough in our early years, as we all got a little older, we all became each others’ close friends in different ways. 👫👬 And since we’re spaced about 2 years apart, I feel that the closer together my kids are, the closer they will be. 💕💕

Here’s hoping! 🙏🙏 I know I don’t know the future, but the more people I’ve talked to and met that have already had children in close succession, the more I heard that while it was rough at first, after a while it was the best thing that could have happened to their family. 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦👨‍👩‍👧‍👦👨‍👩‍👧‍👧

More often than not, I heard stories of siblings becoming best friends, playing with the same toys (cutting down on the “need” for more toys) and even going to school in almost the same grade so they could help each other through schoolwork and social woes. 📚💬

And the way I see it, having a sibling so close will help make Vinny more compassionate. 😌🤗 Since he’ll be so young when the next one comes along, having a sibling will be more of a way of life for him so he’ll be used to the concept of sharing and being kind. I’m hoping it will help shape him into a kind, compassionate soul. We’ll see when the next one comes along! 🙏🙏

But every family is different! Wether you have Irish Twins or a 10 year old with your next on the way, your family is perfect. God gives us what we need. 💕💞💗

So yeah, that’s about it! Later on I might have a post on how this pregnancy has been sooo different than the first. And in a not too distant future post, I’m going to touch on something a little heavy, which will explain why this announcement is so late! 😅

In the meantime, here’s some bump pictures I’ve taken to bring you up to speed. 😘



Thanks so much for reading, my gals! Next time I’ll let you know how I made my eldest’s first birthday special on a budget! 1️⃣🥳🧁🎉🎁

What To Do Instead Of Throwing Away Formula Cans/Scoops!

((Soo, this post is long overdue, and I had written the draft MONTHS ago. 😅😅 But, I have been promising it for all of those MONTHS and finally, here it is! 🎉🎉))

In just his first six months of life, my child has grown over half of a foot. That’s at least one inch per month. At all of his checkups, he has measured in roughly the 97th percentile for height. 😱

Needless to say, all of this growth needs to be fueled by something.

As I’ve mentioned before, and will cover in more detail in a future post, I stopped being able to exclusively breastfeed when my son was only 2 weeks old. By the time he was 2 months old, I had to make the personally heartbreaking decision to exclusively formula feed.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell some of you Momz’s that formula feeding is expensive.💸 Not only that, but it results in a lot of tins and plastic scoops that end up needing to be discarded. And once they’re in the trash, there’s really only one place they can go…

…The Landfill. 😬😬😬

I try to do my part to reduce my carbon footprint, if only by a pinky toe, and admittedly, I’ve spent some nights tossing and turning thinking of all the cans and scoops just sitting in a landfill somewhere from the result of just my spawn’s insatiable feeding. 😓

Like a lot of Moms, I’m addicted to Pinterest. 📌📍😍 I could literally spend hours idly scrolling through recipes, DIY’s, and adorable crafts. Through my hours of pinning recipes I will definitely someday try for real, I’ve also fallen in love with upcycling. 🥰♻

I’ve always been an advocate for recycling. However, the small city in which my family lives makes it hard to recycle, as I’d have to go out of my way to bring recyclables to the center, and with a toddler in tow, the fewer errands the better, am I right?

If you’re like me, you’ve got similar problems. And I feel bad for you, son. I got 99 problems, and my own personal mini landfill of forumla tins is one. 💯

But don’t worry! If like me you fret about the amount of waste your child’s feeding produces, I’ve come up with a list of suggestions of what you can do with all that would-be garbage! 😁😁🙌

🍼Free coffee, sugar, etc serving spoons♻

According to my research (✨🏫🚌🤣), one formula scoop equals about 1 tablespoon. In an effort to reduce waste, I’ve started saving all of my scoops and keeping them in every scoopable substance in my home, so that I always have a scooping implement handy (If you’re not solely responsible for the kid(s) and nonpregnant at the moment, go back and read that sentence and take a shot every time you read the word ‘scoop’ 🥃🤣).

All of the ones I’ve used have a small hole in the bottom, so to prevent leakage, you could plug the hole with a bead of hot glue and clean the scoop off with some soap and water once the glue is dried.

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🍼Leftovers!♻

I have not purchased tupperware for a while, as I’ve been re-purposing the plastic tubs we get with cold cuts, takeaway, etc for leftover storage. I’ve taken to using formula cans for a similar purpose.

I’ve put “wet” leftovers in them before, however, upon further observation, I’ve noticed the “tin” seems to rust if not dried out thoroughly, 😬 so I would opt to store “dry” leftovers like cream of wheat, oatmeal, etc in formula cans.

The cans (in theory) should also deter pantry moths, as the crafty bastards always seem to find a way into resealable bags. 🤢🙅

Be sure to write down the original expiration date as well as the date you transferred the dry goods into the tin to ensure they are used within optimal freshness! ✅

🍼Freezer Compost/Container Gardening♻

Now that we have a porch for it, I eventually plan on container gardening. I have a stash of formula tins saved for this very purpose. 😊😊

This is fairly straight forward, I think, just put some soil and fertilizer in the tin and try not to kill your plants! 🌱💕

Since these containers aren’t the biggest, I would probably plant something small like herbs to season those Pinterest meals 🥘😋 or flowers to attract pollinators 🐝🦋 to your little garden.

If you’re a little more ambitious like me, and want to try planting actual produce in them, I’ve been told to plant crops that grow upward such as tomatoes, 🍅 to keep from having cumbersome overgrowth or having to re-pot right away (crops that grow upward are more feasible for container gardening for this reason). So by that logic, formula tins should be a good place to start for such an endeavor. But don’t take my word for it! That’s just a theory…a CONTAINER GARDENING THEORY! (Anyone else spend wayy too much free time on Youtube sometimes?)

Now, as for composting…for a while I had been storing compost material in a formula tin in the freezer. Much like these formula tins and scoops, I’ve had mini anxiety attacks over the thought of how much food waste I’ve been contributing to the landfills, but until recently I’ve not had an opportunity to actually put this food waste to any use. 🤷‍♀️

If you try this, I will let you know that between banana peels, avocado pits and shells, paper towels, the list goes on…one 23.2 oz tin fills up rather quickly. I’m currently looking into getting a compost spinner to transport this waste into so that all this effort doesn’t go to waste. 🚯😁 I’ll keep you (com)posted! 😂🤣

🍼Spare Change

Container♻

My car is a dump on wheels. 🗑🚙 And a part of what contributes to this dump is me absent-mindedly tossing spare change from various Dunkins and Starbucks runs into every compartment within arms reach of the driver’s seat. And when I drive without my son, I like to bump “Gin and Juice” at top volume🎚🔊, which causes the varying sized coins to rattle together causing a cacophony of irritating sound trying to harmonize with my gangsta rap. 🎵🎶😖

Once I actually get around to cleaning out my car, I intend to make a “swear jar” out of one or two of my tin collection and put all of my car/purse/diaper bag change into them, and cash them out once they are full and use a portion for my son’s education, a portion for family fun, and a portion for charity.

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🍼Formula To-Go♻

We don’t get Chinese food as often as we used to. 🥡🍚🥠😋😢 Not that we got it all that often, anyway. But when we did, we seemed to get an excess of sauces which come in plastic containers of various sizes. I had always hated throwing them away, sauce and all, as we never end up using any, and I always forget to tell them not to include it with our orders. 😓😓😓

It dawned on me one day (unless this is a highly case of parallel thinking) to rinse out one of these sauce containers, fill it with a few servings of formula, and place an extra scoop inside it to keep in my diaper bag for backup for our little adventures. That way when I inevitably forget my one thing each trip, at the very least I will be equipped with the ever-important food source.

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🍼Lil Drummer Bois and Grrls♻

I saw this idea on Pinterest, actually. It’s quite simply taking a formula (or oatmeal, etc) tin, and attaching some kind of fabric, etc over the opening and creating a drum from it. Or, you can fill it with beads or rice and glue the top to it and create rain sticks, or even securely attach strings to the opening for a guitar of sorts. Let your imagination run wild so that your child’s can run even wilder. 🥁🎶💭

Parents who don’t mind some extra noise on top of the everyday squealing and mess-making that comes with small children can go ahead and try this one out and let me know how it goes. 👌🤣

🍼Toy/Chatchki/Craft Supply Storage/Swear Jar♻

Pretty much as described, store various small objects in the formula tin as you see fit. 🙂

So these are just a few ideas of ways you can reuse formula tins and scoops and do your part to reduce the carbon (big)footprint! 👣 If we all do one small thing to help our environment, together we can make some kind of headway in trying to make the Earth a little healthier for our sons and daughters. 🌎🌍🌏♻🌱🌳💗

Did I miss something? Or was this all old news? What are other ways to reuse this stuff? Lemme know in the comments! 😙😙

Thanks for reading, my gals! 😘🥰 Tune in next time for a very special announcement!💓💓💓

Posts from my phone: Mean Mom Thoughts 😤🤬💭

((This is a phone post so it’s not gonna be particularly fancy with gifs and memes I’m sorry 😐 but I’m at least able to use emojis from phone posts, so w00t! 💯💖😂🤷🏻‍♀️))

So clearly I didn’t end up posting the next week, or even the week after my last post. But, this is better than going 4+ months without posting anything, right? 😅 I’m getting there, you guys!

The next post will actually be about how to repurpose old formula tins. Not that you couldn’t use your perfectly capable imaginations or look to Pinterest for ideas, but maybe, just maybe, I have some ideas that they don’t 😉

Anyway, being at home all of the time with my son is a blessing. It really is. Having said that though, after a while being a full time SAHM admittedly has kind of, well, sucked from time to time.

I’ve been having a rough go of it lately, for reasons I’ll get into later…but during these trying times, My patience has become paper thin. Actually, is there a substance thinner than paper?

My son has been going through his one year leap, too, and as a result he has been testier than usual. And on the particularly bad days, I’ve found myself thinking “mean thoughts.”

To be clear, these are not harmful nor destructive thoughts, just kind of, well, mean. I feel like I’m not the only one who’s thought similarly, though, so I’m here to share them with you!

Here are some Mean Mom Thoughts I’ve had and what they mean!


💭Advice to women whose husbands ask you to about trying to start a family: You know how when you were a kid and you asked your parents for a puppy, kitten, what have you, and you promised to take care of them, feed them, clean up after them, etc? And how many of you actually held up your end of the bargain when you eventually got your beloved furry companion?

💭This is like that. Like your parents and your dog, you will end up doing all of the hard work while your husband enjoys the fun parts like snuggling and playing, etc. It’s a bum deal. Proceed with caution.

((It should be noted that my husband is 💯 percent the real deal when it comes to sharing the burden. He’s proactive and sympathetic, and I don’t know what I did to deserve him. I try to give him his well-deserved time off, too, although he claims helping out with our son is time off to him. Honestly, he is amazing. #dadsdontbabysit 🙌🏻))

💭*child is wild’n out for absolutely no good reason*

💭*googles if it’s harmful to the body to give night time cold medicine to someone who doesn’t have a cold*

((I would NEVER, of course, but sometimes…))

💭Husband: Idk I think it would be nice to have 5 or 6 kids…

💭Me: Well I’ll tell you what, they’re gonna be our live-in cleaning staff otherwise why would you do that to yourself? That’s the only reason people had that many kids back in the day, it’s the only logical explanation.

((Let it be known, I have nothing but admiration for people with 4+ kids. Seriously, more power to you! And I get the whole more to love mindset, but honestly, I’m walking the delicate tightrope of patience and sanity with just one, I cannot imagine what state I’d be in (mentally and maybe even geographically at some point…) if it were a bad day with three times the crazy I have now. God bless Moms of lots! 💪🏻))

💭*Baby begins his waking klaxon call upstairs 2 minutes before anticipated to wake up time.*

💭*Me, completely invested in a Netflix binge ignoring sink full of dishes and a pile of laundry with a two mile summit at the bottom of the staircase*

💭Nah, d00d, he’s just talking in his sleep he’s fine. Carry on.

((Sure enough he usually isn’t just talking in his sleep and I do get myself up to tend to him. What becomes of the dishes and laundry is a story for another day…))

💭*Grandparent asks if they can take the child for the day at the end of the week*

💭y3333e333eee333ee3333333eee333eee33t.

((We all need a break once in a while. Even the ones who are inseparable from their progeny at some point, I imagine, must need some space to b r e a t h e. Every Mom needs a MOMent to herself, for her health. I don’t feel too bad about this one. What’s that they say about empty cups?))


And for the sake of this being too long, I will end it here. I may or may not have a sequel to this, though. Most likely, yes.

Formula can story first, I promise!! 😜

But long story short, we all have “Mean thoughts” as moms sometimes. It doesn’t mean we don’t love our little ones, nor does it mean we are actually mean moms. It means we are human, we are tired, and we are coping.

Hang in there, Mom. I see you. And I know you see me, too.

Thanks for reading, my gals! Now let’s see if I can make another post within a month! 😂🤣

Trying to Avada Kadabra Self Doubt as a Mom and a Writer

Henlo, to all of my dedicated follower!

I’ve been putting this off for a long time now. It’s like I’ve been afraid of it, for some reason. And the longer I went without updating, the more afraid to post I’ve been. It’s become more than my signature procrastination at this point–I’ve been Stupefy’d with fear of failure/not being good enough.

I’ve almost been feeling like I’m losing my ability to write these days. Which is devastating, as writing has always been my primary source of expression. This is how I communicate. You would never guess if you actually had a face-to-face conversation with me that I am actually able to string words into sentences in any way.

These past few months I’ve felt like I’m no good at writing anymore. I’ve hated every single thing I’ve worked on, including this. I have a few drafts I haven’t posted for fear of whatever it is being the actual worst thing to ever be posted. I’ve been looking back on my old posts and have been cringing at the way they came out–way too long, the formatting is hard to look at, etc, so I’ve been afraid to keep going.

Basically I’ve been back on my bullshizz and I’m trying to come back.

I have Mom brain. Really bad. I can barely speak or understand my native language anymore, it seems, and I can’t look away from a task for more than two seconds before forgetting what it was that I had been doing. I leave lights on when I leave, drinks on top of cars–you name it, I’ve done it. Dory would be concerned for me.

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Grrl, same!

I’m sure this goes without saying, but once you have a child, the part of your brain reserved for memory, focus, and basic motor function is replaced with deciphering different cries, coming up with baby food recipes, and Raffi song lyrics.

Add Mom Brain to selling an apartment, buying a house, moving, and the pressure of freelancing, ghostwriting, and the subconscious desire to pursue ever-expanding personal projects with super-writer’s block/mental constipation, and that’s the equation for my semester-long silence on this blog.

I’d like for this to go somewhere. I want to believe that I have something to offer other Moms. But I know we all have to start somewhere, and we can’t improve what we give up on.

That’s why I can’t give up on this blog. Even if it’s a little incoherent now, I know it can’t get better unless I work on it. That’s why every week/bi-weekly I have to have some kind of post on here. Even if it doesn’t make sense or it, “isn’t that great.”

I’ve been so afraid and unsure of myself, comparing myself to other mom bloggers with bigger (actual) followings that I’ve allowed myself to be self-deprecating and self-sabatoging. It’s so easy to do as a Mom to compare yourself to others, and as a result feel completely incompetent and like every single thing you’re doing is wrong.

I’ve come to realize that if I give up on this, I’m partially giving up on myself, and I can’t allow that for a second. I have to set an example for my son. Of course it’s only natural and human to have doubts in everything, including ourselves, but we have to overcome them. I want my son to believe in himself, and in order for him to understand how, I have to model that for him.

I’m going to be working on updating the aesthetic of this blog and possibly getting my own domain name so maybe that will help with the performance anxiety a bit. So stay tuned on that!

Thank you for bearing with me. I know I keep promising that repurposing formula scoops/tins post. It’s coming, I swear!

Some updates for you:

We moved!

Recently we said goodbye to our old two bedroom, 650 sq ft apartment in favor of a townhouse twice the size and there’s so much more room for activities now! We are also right next to my SIL at Becoming Rivera! Vinny will be right next door to his baby cousin! ❤ ❤ ❤

We anticipate doing several renovations to the house, but all aesthetic! I’ve never lived in a space this large, so it’s a little overwhelming. But we’re going to make it our own, even if we end up making it #nailedit experience.

Vinny

Vinny is ten months old as of June 12th! He’s already somewhat walking, and as always is completely ravenous all the time! He continues to grow like a weed! He’s been going through growth spurts, teething, and developmental leaps so he’s been having good days and really not so good days. Overall, he’s an amazing baby, and I look forward to seeing what comes next!

Here’s some pictures to bring you up to speed!

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No smiles on his 10 month bday…that was a rough day. ):

Thanks for hanging in there with me! This really is the toughest job there is, but we got this! Thanks for reading, my gals (and d00ds). Till next time!

Don’t Leave Home Without It! 💩💩💩

(I know I said I’d post about reusing formula tins and scoops, but I’m sickly, tired, and I need to vent about this. It may not be very coherent, but I present to you my horror story)

My Gals.

Today was a day.

So it started out okay, went to the doctor for a good old Pap smear and blood test, and found out I have a virus making its way through me. 😷 Nothing a little vitamin c and rest won’t fix, tho.

Except there ain’t no rest for the momkind. Not even when we close our eyes for good, because we all know we’re gonna be hovering over our kids as ghosts just to make sure they’re taking their centrum and brushing their dentures.

But I digress.

So I’m running around feeling sick as a dog, getting my doctor stuff done, getting a phone interview done, running to the bank to get some cash for OfferUp Baby Supplies purchases I had lined up and fixing my debit card, and then I had to pick up my son who was at my mother’s so I could bring him to his 6 month checkup.

Well everything was running relatively smoothly, albeit tight. When what do my new super mom-ears should hear, but my darling son grunting and pushing into his rear.

Okay, so he’s pooping. I think to myself as I approach the halfway point between my mother’s and my family practice. I can just change him real quick at the doctor’s.

Except, oh wait, no I can’t…left the damn diaper bag at Mom’s for the sake of saving a good two minutes. Didn’t think I’d need it in the one hour and change I would be out.

Big. Mistake. 🤦🏻‍♀️

I pull into the country store on the way to the doctor and take my boi out and point out a grinning bulldog for him to reciprocate the sanguine gesture to. Then we wander around the tiny shop in search of a pack of overpriced diapers and a 10 pack of wipes.

Well, quite the assortment of condoms, but no baby amenities…

I hastily made a hand sanitizer purchase and made my way out, having my son wave bye-bye to the smiling doggie. As I went to put him in his car seat, I felt something drip down my wrist.

I looked down in hopes of seeing drool, but no such luck…

This was a big one.

In a viral, mind-hazed panic, I raced to the CVS down the street from my Doctor’s office. We wandered around looking for the smallest pack of diapers and wipes to get us by in this emergency situation, but I swear the price tag of every item read, “Arm, Leg, and Kidney.” In desperation I grabbed a 28 pack of size four diapers and a to-go pallet of store-brand wipes.

After I gave the convenience store clerk the down payment on a Ferrari in exchange for some infant essentials, I made our way to the bathroom, awkwardly dodging yet to be stocked inventory and pulling the plastic bag out of my son’s Kung-fu grip.

So we get into the ladies room and naturally, it is equipped with everything but a changing station…so I have to make due with what I’ve got. I pull my son’s shorts off to confirm that they have indeed been compromised, so I have no choice but to have him go without.

Let me just tell you, changing a category 6 diaper in a car seat on the floor of a public restroom is literally the worst.

💩💩💩 e v e r y w h e r e 💩💩💩

While I’m sweating like a mofo, I wrestle with my son to keep his hands out of his diaper whilst simultaneously trying to pry single wipes out of this cheap container like medieval basic bros trying to pry Excalibur from the fabled stone, only to have them come out three and four at a time. It’s either peel them apart and save some of them and risk my little boy do what little boys do and have all hell break loose, or sacrifice a few wipes in the interest of getting him clean.

And that is how that whole entire inventory of wipes got cleared tf out.

This whole time he’s squirming, uncomfortable, and crying, people are beginning to knock, and I’m losing balance while trying to get him clean without getting anything over his car seat. It was a challenge to say the least.

Finally I manage to get him cleaned up as best I can, throw the diaper in the open trash receptacle (in retrospect I totally forgot to cover it so I feel bad for whoever walked in on that…) and get the dock out of fudge, of course 10 minutes late at this point, with my baby in a tank top and diaper only.

And so now I have to desperately explain to the receptionist, who very patiently and politely pretends to listen to my plight, the series of events that just unfolded in hopes that I will not look like a neglectful parent. To what avail, I’m not sure…

We get our favorite medical assistant, at least, and we get him measured and weighed. Then the doctor comes in to look him over and of course I look down when he removes his diaper to see that I had MiSSeD a sPoT when I was cleaning 😨😰😩 But other than that, he got a squeaky clean bill of health. At least something was clean today…

So we finish up the 6 month requirements and go to check out and make his 9 month visit, all while I try to face his car seat away from people so they don’t see my baby in just a diaper and shirt like the son of rif-raf. Once I take the appointment card and go to do my walk of shame, what should happen but a convoy of the slowest moving people make their way into the practice, while others make their way out, all looking at my practically naked child, and then to me, judgement clearly plastered on their faces. I made my way to the car, buckled my upset son in, and made my way home in a sickly, sulky funk.

While all of this was happening, I felt like the biggest loser of a Mom. I started thinking crazy thoughts like, “I can’t do this!” And, “I don’t deserve to be a mom…” I let this one time I was not overprepared have me believe that I was a failure and a bad mom. I know you’ve been there, too, and I know I’ll be there again. We all have those #momfail moments that drain almost all of our HP and make us want to ragequit. But we know we can’t, and so we persevere.

I had a long talk with myself and realized that if I really was a bad mom, I wouldn’t have felt as badly as I did. I realize that I made a mistake, I did all I could do at the time to correct it, and I’ve learned from it. I know now that I should always have supplies on me, even if I’m only out with my son for an hour or even less, because you really never know when the Call of Doodie will strike.

So my Gals (and d00ds), be sure to keep an extra bag full of diapers, wipes, creams, powders, etc, and most importantly a change of clothes in your car at all times!! Learn from my mistakes!

We all feel like we suck at this game, but we got this!! It doesn’t get any easier, but we are always leveling up to meet whatever boss battles come our way.

Thanks for reading! Next post will be on ways to reuse those formula cans and scoops so you can really get your money’s worth!!

RKO Outta Nowhere—Bodyslammed by a Year’s worth of Feelings

Whatcha gonna do when menstrual-mania runs wild on you??

((I’m not the biggest wrestling fan, but the title just felt fitting))

So I’m up past my bedtime, my Baby sleeping against my chest, scrolling through social media when a link to Kylie’s secret pregnancy video diary/reveal/what-have-you pops onto my feed.

I scoff to myself. But click it for satisfaction of thought.

Now, Ya Grrl’s not normally one of those emotional, chick-flick-tropey, chocolate and tears type of gal. But something about this stupid video hit just right.

Maybe it’s because I’ve got my period, and I’m still acclimating to the Keto diet, which apparently does stuff to your hormones as the estrogen melts out of your adipose tissue (nature, you freaky), so all of that’s messing with me. But I got a little weepy.

It’s like all of the times I was “supposed” to cry and didn’t all came at me and pinned me to the mat–the positive pregnancy test, the first heartbeat, the first ultrasound/gender reveal, the baby shower, the birth…all of those times Moms normally cry, I didn’t have a tear to shed…

And then out of the deep blue this cheesy tabloid celebrity Baby video knocks the wind out of my tough girl persona sails (“It’s not like I like you, or anything, B a k a!!1!!1!! 😂).

Don’t get me wrong, I get misty and I do cry, just maybe not as much as a normal girl? 🤷🏻‍♀️

My baby, who was once a tiny little chia seed inside my belly, is now nearly 25 pounds of little man, and at 6 months fits into 12 month outfits. He went from a string-Bean troll doll to an actual baby to basically a toddler in under a year.

I feel like I didn’t embrace pregnancy and the half year stretch as much as I could have. Watching Kylie’s video made me wish I had taken the time to document more of my journey and connect with my son from the very beginning…maybe it could have helped with some of the issues I had in the third trimester and postpartum. I feel like I missed out on something somehow.

So maybe I blubbered a little bit like, well, a baby. But I can’t do it again, even if I want to, and I have to make the best of what I have right now.

And right now, I think I’ll snuggle my peacefully sleeping baby a little more, dry my eyes, eat a handful of Lily’s sugar free chocolate chips, and try to get some sleep myself.

Thanks for reading my Gals (and d00ds)!

^Sweet Dreams, Mon Gatito ❤️🐱

The Power of the Dark Side: How I almost let Antenatal and Postpartum Depression Force-Choke me to Death.

((I’m sorry to say that this post isn’t going to have any witty memes or pictures, and it will contain some dark descriptions of some dark stuff…))

6 months, 100mg Sertraline, and several ongoing visits with my therapist later, I wonder if this is still lingering postpartum, or if this is just a permanent state of being.

Don’t get me wrong, I have far many more good days than bad days nowadays. It’s just that when they’re bad days…well, I get through.

Like many people, I have lived with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. So it didn’t come as much surprise that I would experience postpartum depression. In fact, I expected as much. I knew that at some point I would need a little help after birth, and I just kind of accepted it as par for the course, and I’d just cross that bridge when I came to it.

But nobody warned me about antenatal depression…

Antenatal depression, or prenatal depression, is a clinical depression experienced during pregnancy. Normal clinical depression is caused by changes in brain chemistry, which causes the feelings of sadness, anxiousness, hopelessness, etc. Hormone changes during pregnancy also affect brain chemistry, and can exacerbate existing issues.

According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), around 14-23% of women struggle with some symptoms of depression during pregnancy. Often times, this depression is neither diagnosed nor treated properly as most people believe that these feelings are just a part of pregnancy-related emotional turbulence.

That, and the still-existing stigma of postpartum depression make a lot of moms want to keep quiet about their feelings, afraid of being judged or that if they seek help it means that they are inadequate mothers. This can create very dangerous, and very tragic circumstances.

My Story

As I mentioned before, I’ve been dealing with depression and anxiety for a while, the worst of which being from late high school through the middle of college. I had severe suicidal ideation, and would write suicide notes and plans daily, detailing how ugly and useless I was and how I didn’t deserve to live and how I might kill myself if I’d had the guts, mainly through running away and throwing myself off of the tallest building I could come across. I thank God that He gave me my friends and my husband, because if not for them, I don’t know where (or if) I’d be…

I was in a bit of a rough place to begin with when we were “trying” to conceive. I was enduring regular panic attacks and thoughts of self harm, but was working through them with a therapist, and my coping mechanisms had come a long way.

When I got pregnant sooner than expected, I was initially ecstatic, immediately turning to Pinterest for early pregnancy tips and reveal ideas. But, this excitement seemed to fade as soon as it came.

Towards my third trimester, these symptoms worsened. I was irritable and despondent during the day, and suffered severe insomnia at night (insomnia is a common occurrence in the third trimester, granted).

I would lay sobbing silently into my pillow to not wake my husband. I had become highly skilled in crying in secret over the years, and the thought of burdening my already overwhelmed husband made me hate myself.

During these restless nights, I found my thoughts darkening more and more. I remember one night visualizing myself walking to the bathroom, turning on my shower, and just standing in the water. I fantasized taking my shaving razor and slitting up and down my arms, shoulders, and back, letting myself bleed out into the running water until I could finally pass out and get a little bit of relief from my running thoughts. Thoughts that would tempt me to jump out a window and save my unborn son the misery of being born into a dying world, worst of all enduring it with a useless shell of a human being of a mother.

This was just one of many examples of terrible thoughts I’d had during these dark times. I would only reluctantly open up to my husband about these feelings, but only after being “badgered” by him, but I would continue to lay awake almost every night, crying angry, self-loathing tears as my son kicked and jabbed in protest.

Loss

My grandmother had passed away late into my second trimester. On Good Friday, of all days.

I could write an entire separate blog post on how incredible of a human being my grandmother was. I don’t think there’s even a way to condense into a paragraph just how inspiring, selfless, determined, strong, loving, accepting, firm, fun, and overall wonderful this woman was…and how much of a gaping, vacuous hole her passing has left in my family…

I hadn’t seen her in over a year at that point, as she had moved thousands of miles away several months before I conceived. She had finally been able to retire after nearly 50 years in the workforce, and she was going to finally enjoy the happy, worry-free life she had always deserved…

So when I got that call in January that she had lung cancer, and that call in April that it had taken her life…I just couldn’t accept either.

I was in denial for so long, and I’d be lying if I still wasn’t, to some extent. I would cry to myself on a daily and nightly basis, wondering why God had not taken me instead of my beloved grandmother, who had finally just started to be able to live her best life.

I’d look around at the world without my grandmother and began to notice then more than ever how terminally ill the world seemed. Climate change, corruption in politics, evil, hatred…the world as I’d known it had ended, and it seemed the world at large soon would be, too. How could I be so selfish, bringing an innocent life into this wretched, dying world?

Postpartum

While the prospect of dying in childbirth had initially petrified me, I began secretly hoping, wishing for it. If my son must be born, then at least he could be brought up by his loving father, family, and surrogate aunties and uncles. I would leave him in their capable hands to help him navigate this poisoned planet, and to bring him up to make as much of a difference as possible for good in the world.

Well, sure enough, his birth went perfectly. Peaceful, yet empowering. He came into the world like a lamb and would grow like a mighty lion.

I had a fleeting moment of optimism as I recovered in the hospital as I was bombarded by questionnaire after questionnaire regarding my mental health. I was more or less honest, but promised that I would be okay.

Maybe, just maybe, I could do this on my own.

Home Again

Things started off okay, more or less, until nearly a week back at home. I began feeling miserable again, even worse than before.

I would look at my postpartum body through tears of rage, furious that I had “let myself” “get like this.” I was livid with myself for not getting sick “enough” during pregnancy, and began hating myself thinking back on all of the times I had indulged.

I saw my raw, still very much healing post-birth form as that of a grotesque monster, my emotions as signals of an incompetent and incapable parent,  and decided that I needed to be punished.

I had little to no appetite as it was, but when I did feel like eating I would only allow myself limited portions, in hopes that nursing my son would cause me to shed excess weight faster. I knew that producing breastmilk required extra calories, but I figured as long as I allowed myself the 500 “extra” that it would go to making the milk and I would wither away and look “decent” again, while still being able to give my husband’s son that precious, precious breastmilk he so needed and deserved.

Needless to say, my supply dwindled, and I had to supplement my son at barely 2 weeks.

This fueled my self-loathing.

There were days when I didn’t even feel like my son was mine. I would look at him, in the arms of my friends and family, and just see him as some alien being. Some type of benign parasite that was once sapping energy from within me, that needed to be painfully ejected from the most delicate part of my anatomy, and that now demanded nutrients from another painful, delicate part of my anatomy. I would go through the motions involuntarily wondering when his true parents would come from whatever planet they were from to take him away.

Looking back, maybe my hatred for myself made it hard for me to attach myself to something that was half of me…

Spiral

I began to start planning my suicide. I began looking into life insurance policies, to see if my son and the rest of my family could further benefit from my death, how many ibuprofen it would take to kill a 190 pound woman, and crafting the will for whatever it was of value that I had to give away, and how it would all be dispersed.

As it turns out, life insurance won’t cover suicide, it’s more difficult to overdose from ibuprofen than I’d thought, and I didn’t have much to offer, aside from my wedding and engagement ring that I had willed to my son.
My husband eventually found out what I was doing, and talked me off of the ledge, so to speak. Eventually, I had to come clean to my doctors and let them know what I was feeling, and my worst fear had come true–I was prescribed sertraline for post partum depression, and had to see a Psychiatrist for further evaluation.
“But I’m breastfeeding…” I explained to my OB in my zombified state. Or rather, I was struggling to.

He explained to me that zoloft is one of the safest medications for nursing, and I later found that you can even donate breastmilk if you’re taking zoloft.
It was a bumpy few weeks between increasing doses and working through feelings with my therapist and the psychiatrist, and finally reaching out to my friends and opening up to my husband, but eventually I got through the worst of it.

Life Goes On

Today wasn’t the greatest day. I had some scary thoughts. But I’m not a slave to them, and I won’t be force-choked out by them anymore.

I will fight back. The Force is strong with this one.

I can see the road to happiness from where I am, and the woods don’t seem as deep.
Postpartum Depression is a real and scary thing, as is prenatal depression. Although not as heavy as in the past, the stigma is still very much there.

We feel like bad mothers for being depressed. We feel a pressure to forget about ourselves and pour our whole depleted energy into a small being we may not even feel that same overwhelming love that we see televised and written about everywhere, and wonder what is wrong with us. Self care is a thing of the past, we think, so we suffer in silence.
“You can’t pour from an empty cup.” I have seen this quote everywhere. I would sometimes rephrase it to myself, “You can’t nurse from an empty breast.”

I realized after I had gotten help that by not taking care of myself, I was affecting my ability to really care for my son. My suffering caused me to drastically lose supply, and make it difficult to feel attached to the thing that attached himself to my sore, bleeding, cracked nipples, desperately trying to pull nutrients from the drooping speedbags that hung from my chest.

I eventually had to exclusively formula feed because my PPD had warped me so much that I sabotaged my vision of exclusively breastfeeding until my son was a year old.

Once I was beginning to come to, I went from Post-Partum Depression to involuntary weaning depression. He is still thriving, and I will always believe that fed is best, but I had failed my son in my eyes. But more on that later…
What I want to say through all of this is, is that if you are suffering, you are not alone. It is nothing to be ashamed of. I know that you want to take care of your baby, but your baby needs you to take care of yourself. Your baby needs their mama, above all else. Please reach out to your loved ones, and your doctors. It’s hard at first, but it gets better. You can do this.

If you need help, but aren’t sure how to go about getting it, this website may be of help.
Thanks for reading! Tune in next time for a more light-hearted post on ways to repurpose formula cans and scoops!

Until then, thank you so much for reading, my Gals! Talk soon!

I made Labor and Delivery My Bitch

((So, as with any labor and delivery story, there’s a few graphic and tmi moments in this blog, but I try to keep it as discreet as possible. Also, this is another long one haha, skip to the end if you’re just here for the tips && tricks! But I’m hoping my story can offer some guidance and/or comfort for any of you ladies about to go through this scary yet beautiful process for the first time.))

In my labor and delivery class, they had us complete an exercise during which the parents would lay out laminated cards listing what was most important to us to what was least important when it came to labor and childbirth from medicated vs. nonmedicated, to vaginal vs. cesarean, to boy vs. girl. Every few minutes, the nurse instructor would have us take out three things until we were left with one card standing–a healthy beautiful baby.

All of this was to teach us that it’s important to have a plan or vision for your first labor and delivery, but not to be disappointed if it doesn’t go to plan, as the end goal whether it’s a smooth sprint or a grueling, treacherous marathon is the same for each one: to have a healthy baby in your arms at the end of it.

🙏🏼That being said, my labor and delivery went more or less perfectly.🙏🏼

Everything went exactly the way I wanted it to–I labored alone for the first few hours, my husband met up with me after he was done work, and then it was just he and I in the delivery room, with only essential staff in and out to do routine checks and for when the big moment came. I even delivered naturally, only having used nitrous oxide intermittently to take the edge off and help calm me down a little, although surprisingly I had never felt more at peace in my adult life than when I was laboring and even birthing. I’m an anomaly, I know. 😅😝
Let
(TL;DR–hax after the long-winded storytime)

Early Labor

ACE1F299-24D2-4AA6-9640-D8112A3795EB
The day of my 39 week appt, if I remember right

h=”225″]1FE8F01D-A35E-4C70-9732-C82D109CE275 Ready to pOp![/caption]

my 39 week appointment (I was 39 and 2), the receptionist explained to me that if I had my baby before my 40 week appointment not to worry about following up with them, as the hospital would let them know and they would take the appointment off for me. I had cheekily smiled and said I’d see them next week as I took my appointment card and left to run around kingdom come in search of a card and gift and to get supplies to make watermelon ice cream for a going away party I would be attending that same night, parking as far away as possible to get those steps in. I briefly entertained the idea of making a few laps around the mall, but my lightening crotch did not permit.

E028D2F6-BA57-4686-9F3A-1BB2C330676F
The clawmarks in my clutch from lightening crotch pains.

ad ever been. I could not wake up for the life of me. I figured this was due to all of my running around the day before, and staying at the party later than I had intended.  I had some last-minute sprucing up to do for the baby, so I decided I needed to do a little yoga to get myself moving. I found a labor and birth prep yoga video and decided that at 39 weeks and 3 days gestation, I should probably start a birth prep regimen. Better late than never, I guess.
Lite
ed to throughout my pregnancy that had either had children already or knew someone who did told me to expect my son to arrive late, as “first babies are always late.” This was not something I liked hearing, being heavily pregnant in the heat of summer, but I shrugged it off as an inevitability, and seeing has how my husband was the king of being late, and how he and I were overdue first-borns as well, I mentally prepared myself for being one of those gals who would get a daily, “anything yet??” text at 40 weeks plus. 🤦🏻‍♀️
🧘🏻‍♀️ The yoga
t a little surge of energy, and was able to complete the last of my little nesting tasks. I settled onto my couch for a nap until my husband got home for his brief window of showering and redressing to tend to his business. I made him a quick breakfast sandwich as he had a few more minutes than usual, so we could catch up before we had to be ships passing in the night.
Shortly before h
n my abdomen, like a menstrual cramp. I absent-mindedly commented on this, and my husband raised an eyebrow. I shrugged it off and told him it was normal, as I’d read that intermittent period-like cramps were normal towards the end. And so he left, and I dug out the orange sherbet I had started the night before, reminded my husband to pick up some cheesecake on his way back, and netflixed and chilled with myself.
About three quar
the Bone,” I began feeling more dull “period” cramps. These were mostly annoying and went away within about 20 seconds, if I had to put a length of time to them. But as the night wore on, and I was onto “Through the Looking Glass,” they seemed to come every 15 minutes or so, and seemed to get a little more uncomfortable and painful.
It was around 10
band, asking if we was coming home soon. He called me soon after and said he was on his way, asking what kind of cheesecake I wanted. I told him to skip the cheesecake and just come home.

I could almost feel his heart skipping a beat as he paused and then said, “Oh…?” 😂 I have never been known to turn down cheesecake, unless I was in some kind of distress.

Love_Cheesecake_Future When he got home (in record time, I might add), I explained to him that I was getting the period pain I had earlier pretty regularly, and that they were lasting a significant amount of time, to the point where I started having to seethe through them. We just kind of looked at each other a moment, and he came to my side and held me to him a moment, while one of the pains came on. We looked at each other again, trying to figure out if what we thought was happening was actually happening. 👶🏼
At this point, I was
between pains, and I was feeling a little bit exhilarated (maybe I’m a bit of a masochist, but after each contraction from early labor to transition, I felt a strange high during my small moments of peace), although excitement is a common occurrence in early labor, as your long pregnancy journey is finally coming to an end.
During this whole ti
as experiencing false labor, as there was “no way” that I could be having my son so soon. That, and the pains seemed to be spacing farther apart for a while. My husband and I reviewed our birth plan anyway, and tried to go to sleep.
💤 I was able to slee
I woke up with breath-stealing abdominal pains. I grabbed the edge of our bed and breathed sharply through my nose and out of my mouth. My husband woke up and put his hand on my stomach, which I pushed away reflexively. As the pain passed, I sagged back into the bed, and told him I was okay. He put his arm around me and told me everything was okay, and he fell back asleep. I lay awake, staring at my phone, making a mental note of what time was on the clock. ⏳
💩 It should be noted
of diarrhea and loose stools throughout the night, so I wondered if these pains had to do with something I had eaten. After one of these bouts, I found myself searching, “period pain 39 weeks” and I had come across some threads of women asking what it meant to be having period pains at 39 weeks, and kept seeing posts saying, “Get ready! Baby is coming!” and also mentioning that they had been having diarrhea and loose stools, as apparently that’s the body’s way of trying to clear the system before the impending birth.
That was when it hit m
happening. I put my hand on my belly and thought to my bump, “Is it weird that I’m kind of gonna miss you in here?”
I decided to just pas
ted getting closer together playing candy crush in bed, and breathing as quietly as possible so as not to wake my husband. After a while, I got out of bed and paced the living room, making note of how far apart and how long each contraction was. Around 7am, my husband came out of our room asking what I was doing in the living room.
“Maybe you shouldn’t g
him wearily. He agreed with me, as did my father-in-law and our brother-in-law, who he texted to tell them they would have to carry on without him.
My in-laws began text
ers, and my husband and I huddled together, his hand in mine to comfort me, me inadvertently bending his fingers back as I braced myself through each contraction then on.

people-of-earth-lend-me-your-energy
We would get plenty of texts from close friends and family lending their energy for a healthy and safe delivery

⌛️Once they began t

5 minutes apart for a minute at a time, I called my OB GYN, as was instructed to me at my last appointment. He said to give it a while since it was my first baby and I likely wouldn’t be that far along, and call him when I was 3 minutes apart, and advised me it could still take some time to get to that point.
One short and yet long
back, as my contractions were coming every 3 minutes and getting stronger, to the point where I couldn’t communicate through them anymore. I could almost hear the doctor’s eyes roll over the phone, another first timer jumping the gun, he was probably thinking, but he told my husband he’d let our hospital know we were on our way. And so we made the 10 minute ride to the hospital to meet our son.

Active Labor

My husband parked in the first available space that was in reasonably close enough proximity to the entrance. He gathered our bags, and I leaned into the trunk as another contraction passed. We walked as quickly as we could to get inside (yes I walked–I insisted. I told you, I’m an anomaly). The kind woman at the front desk got me a wheelchair and whisked us up to the third floor and I was admitted into delivery.
🌆Our room was so serene
dating medical equipment, with a large row of windows overlooking the metropolitan horizon of our tiny city. I gazed out the window, breathing through the pain that seemed to keep coming just as fast as I was able to catch my breath.

Shortly after we were checked our room, a kindly older nurse introduced herself and got me prepared, attaching the baby vital and contraction monitor to my stomach, and getting me settled. She gently told me that this being my first baby, I likely wouldn’t be too far dilated, and not to be discouraged if I was here for a while, and assured me that they would do their best to keep me comfortable and myself and my baby safe and healthy. Then we went back and forth as she began asking me the standard intake questions.
Mere moments into this i
y husband’s arm and breathe through another wave of pain. She asked to feel my belly during the contraction and eyed the screen. When I looked back at her and said, “Sorry, you were saying?” the nurse looked at me, dumbfounded, and remarked, “That was impressive, you must have some really bad periods…” 🤕

At this point, I had not asked for an epidural, but mentioned I’d be open to trying nitrous oxide, as that was part of my birth plan. Apparently my contractions were strong enough that most mothers would be asking for “the good stuff” by now. My goal was to deliver naturally, but I wasn’t going to turn down an epidural if necessary. But for the most part, up until this part of labor, the contractions felt like most period cramps I’d experienced, and I figured if I’d made it this far, like Moana, there was “No telling how far I’ll go,” but I’d give it a try.
For a while, my husband a
ween the hospital bed and the rocking chair they had available. The nitrous oxide I’d asked to try came, and I breathed into the odd facemask, feeling like the Pyro from Team Fortress, through every other contraction. It helped to take the edge off and keep me calm, as I mentioned before, but only having had one hour of sleep, it also made me even sleepier, so I started nodding off, getting about 30 second naps between contractions. Gotta get it while you can, right? 😴
About an hour or a little
th the doctor, who after introducing himself, reached into me to measure how far into this roller coaster I was in. I waited with bated breath, wondering if he was going to tell me I wasn’t even far enough to be there, praying not to be sent home. I wondered if I was doing so “well,” as I’d been told because I wasn’t far enough along to be admitted after all. I looked at my husband anxiously, his eyes darting between the doctor to me.
After a moment or two of h
tor said, “About 6 or 7 centimeters.” My eyes widened. The Nurse squeezed my shoulder. “That’s impressive!” she cheered (I was very impressive to her, apparently, God love her). After withdrawing his fingers, the doctor mentioned that we could be having the baby within the next few hours!! 😱😱😱
🛁At this point, I thought I w
they had available, pretend I was at a spa. My husband poured water on my belly during each contraction, as per the nurse’s instruction, which calmed me a little, but did very little to get rid of the pain. I was still breathing through each contraction, and continuing to fall asleep between them. After 15 minutes in the tub, I began to feel a pressure in my backside, as the nurse said I would. We mentioned this to the nurse when she came back to check on me, and she said that I could start “bearing down” during these contractions to get my son to descend lower. This felt a little awkward to me, but I followed her instructions, grunting lowly through each pain, pushing slightly to encourage my little one to get one step closer to making his grand entrance.

Transition

After another 20 minutes, I decided I needed to go back to the bed. The nurse commented on how surprised she was that my water hadn’t broken, as by the sounds of things, I should have been making good progress in making my son descend. I shrugged and made my way back to the bed, and went on to business as usual, inhaling strength through my nose and exhaling pain through my mouth, and constricting my husband’s hand.
About another hour or so passe
urse shift change, from the kindly older nurse to a sweet, mellow younger nurse. My new nurse also remarked on how impressive it was that I had gotten to this point and was admitted at around 6-7 cm without asking for an epidural. I smiled weakly and replied, “I’m doing my best.” And that would be my mantra for the rest of the night and beyond. 💪🏼

Not very long into her shift at all, my lower back started hurting. Badly. Like someone was punching me with a burning hot lead glove along with each contraction. I had my husband push against my knees each time this happened, which was helpful for the first several of these contractions, but quickly stopped working. My new nurse told me to try getting on my hands and knees to take pressure off of my back. A little while into this new position, breathing stopped working, and I let out a low, loud yowl like a dying cat. I heard the nurse whisper that she’d go let the doctor know what was going on, and I whimpered, “my back hurts so bad…”
The doctor came back and decided
remember looking at my husband during this process, his eyes wide with fear, and feeling a flood of warm fluid burst from between my legs. “So gross…” I whispered. The doctor left to tend to another, higher risk delivery as I lay there in a wet bed smelling strangely of artificial honey (weird description and tmi, I know, but it’s the best way I can describe it).

The Birth

It was just my husband and I for a while, and he started grumbling that the doctor wasn’t back yet, and my contractions and back pain were getting worse and seemingly impossibly closer. I briefly wondered if I should get the epidural just for the back pain as the nurse came back and said that we could try pushing. I mentioned that I wanted to try squatting, as I had read that would help let gravity make the process easier. She gave me a device to sit in and hang onto while I pushed per her capable instructions. She told me I was doing great.

After about an hour of this, the doctor came back and instructed me to get on my back and hold my legs back. I casually mentioned the epidural, and the doctor said that we were just at the point where it could make pushing longer. I opted to power through and get it over with, to bring my baby into the world that much sooner. ⏱
Pushing on my back was aggravatin
ly (definitely not pleasant, though) but aggravating. I didn’t feel as…”open,” as it were, on my back, so I could feel all of the pressure concentrated to my most vulnerable area. Not that I couldn’t beforehand, but I definitely could feel a difference while I had gravity on my side. ⬇️

I knew based on what I had read and what we had learned in class that I had to push as though I were taking a dump, but apparently I was not doing that right. For the first several pushes, I kept getting feedback to push into my butt. I kept apologizing, apparently, and the nurse said, “Just think about meeting him…and seeing all this hair!” 😍
💞After another frustrating and disc
empt at evicting my son from his cozy little rent-free dwelling, my husband lovingly touched my face and turned it to look at him. I know he said something encouraging, though for the life of me I can’t remember what it was amidst the haze of the instruction from the doctor, nurse, and listening to the intermittent monitoring of our baby’s vitals. But I do remember is his eyes, so wide with wonder and fear, glistening with emotion. The love behind his eyes, knowing that he couldn’t wait to meet his son and see me out of pain, was enough to give me the strength to get that baby out of his little amniotic sanctuary and into the real world.

showyoutheworld2
iF yOu WoUlD jUsT cOmE oUt PlZ

With my husband at my side, and everyone I loved via text lending me their energy, I was finally able to focus all of my power where it needed to be, and could feel myself stretching to make room for my baby’s big head. When I stopped to catch my breath, and refocus my eyes, I could see a group of people standing to the side, watching me. I didn’t have time to question what they were doing there, I had to get down to business to defeat the Huns (how many Didney references can I make? I need to Let it Go…).
After another 20 minutes of pushing,
my gosh, look!” I had been staring out the window and at the ceiling for the most part until now, so I thought there might have been something wrong, but I looked down and saw my son half hanging out of me, looking like a dolphin launching out of the ocean, with a head of thick, black hair. Looking at a small human being coming out of me was the most bizarre thing I had ever seen. I could see my husband staring out of my peripheral. This whole time he had been screaming with me, cheering me on, lending me his spirit energy to get this baby out of me.

It was about this pint that the doctor had instructed me to stop pushing and to start breathing like I was blowing out candles–my son’s umbilical cord had wrapped once around his neck, and it needed to be cut. I panted desperately, defying my body’s overwhelming desire to finish what it had started, waiting for the doctor to free my baby’s airway so that I could get him out. Finally once my baby was safe, he gave me the go ahead to continue.

After one more push, the doctor plopped my little slimy, purple baby onto my chest. I stared at him a moment as I caught my breath. I could hear the room coo in unison.

Neither I nor my baby cried right when he was born. Instead we just looked at each other. He blinked a few times and looked right in the eyes, his little, dark blue eyes searching mine, trying to make sense of what he had just been through, make sense of who I was, who this new being was that he had only known from the inside for so long.

I caught my breath, which had been taken away both from the physical feat I had just accomplished and from the miraculous sight of my newborn and smiled. All I could say for the longest time was, “Hi, baby…”

The nurses had been rubbing his back down with a towel this whole time (I hadn’t noticed a second nurse had come to assist). “Cry baby, cry,” they had been saying.
I looked at them, “Is he okay?” I as
from screaming.

“Yes, he’s great!” they assured me. And after a few more seconds of rubbing, I heard my son’s voice for the first time as he cried out, and I pulled him awkwardly into my chest, trying to figure out how to hold him. My husband leaned over, tears in his eyes, and kissed me and thanked me.

maibaby On August 12th 2017 at 9:26pm, my world changed for the better, and I truly fell in love at first sight. To this day, I still can’t get over the amazing thing that had happened to me. I look at him and still can’t believe I made him, and brought him into this world. I had been so afraid of motherhood, but my birth experience has brought to light to me how much strength I really have, and how much I am capable of.

Of course, every labor and birth is different, and I might not have the same luck next time, but regardless, I will always look back on this experience feeling empowered. Whenever I feel discouraged, I just need to remember that if I could do all that, I can do anything.

Labor and Birth Hax

Before LaborKegels Kegels Kegels! After I had my son, I ended up having a second-degree tear perineal tear, which is more or less normal. However, some moms can get tore up from the floor up if they have a weak pelvic floor game. I did a lot of kegels towards the end of the third trimester, along with squatting every time I had to pick something up from the floor (which is pretty much the only way to do such a task while balancing a medicine ball in your midsection, anyhow), and I feel this helped prevent me from tearing even worse, along with pushing until my son crowned while squatting.

  • Date Yourself! I had serendipitously stumbled across a study done on eating dates in late pregnancy and how it can actually help make labor easier. The study mentioned eating six dates a day from 36 weeks gestation on can actually help labor come on spontaneously (I heard that induction sucks balls), help avoid the need for Pitocin (which I heard sucks balls), and even help bring about a shorter first phase of labor (mine was pretty short, all things considered–about 18 hours if I had to put a time to it). I can’t say for sure if my choking down these nasty fruits every day for 4 or so weeks was what did the trick, but I’m not totally unconvinced. If nothing else, dates are high in fiber which do wonders for pregnancy constipation, and in folate, potassium, and magnesium, so incorporating them into your diet certainly can’t hurt!
  • You Better Work, Bih! Get those steps in! Being active will help build your stamina, and you’re going to need a lot of it when push comes to shove (pun not intended…okay maybe a little). Plus, the more you move once early labor starts, it will help get the baby into position easier and quicker than just bed-laboring will. I revisited some of the moves from the video I linked earlier while I was laboring at home and I personally feel they were pretty helpful in easing pain and getting my son into position. Here are some links with tips on Laboring Positions, Back Labor (I wish I had thought to try some of these…Counter Pressure helped me with my back labor for a while, though), and Birthing Positions that might be helpful. These all coming from my more “crunchy” side of Scrunchy lol but if at first you don’t succeed, epidural if in need! Whatever helps you get to the finish line is fine!
During Labor/Birth
  • Mass Text! Start a draft of your labor announcement in your phone’s notes and have your baby daddy/labor coach start a group of everyone you want in the know so you can spread the word when the time is right. If there’s someone else you want in the room with you, maybe have a code-word you can text them or set up a special ringtone if possible so they can get to you at a moment’s notice and as discreet as possible if you’re trying to keep it to just an audience of a select few.
  • Let me take a Selfie! Take some fun labor pics! It might help your mood and help you deal with the pain a little better. I wish I had taken some labor photos of myself and my husband, I feel like they could have been fun memories. It also would have been a fun way to pass time at home and at the hospital. #inlabor #babytime #blessed
  • Hair Done, Nails Done, Everything Did! While you’re still able to stand, do your hair and makeup, or have your bff, sister, or mom do it, so you can feel your fiercest in the delivery room. Some people might think it’s vain, but honestly, whatever makes you feel confident! Your makeup and hair will get messed up in the heat of battle, I promise you, but if you have your birth coach keep a few makeup remover wipes on hand, you can quickly wipe away any smudges and be photo-confident (you’d be photo-ready either way, you amazing miracle-maker, you! But I know how it is) for your first family photo. #igavebirthlikethis
  • Chapstick is Everything! Apply chapstick like it’s your job! All that breathing and screaming will dry your lips out. I had the worst case of yuck-mouth and rip-lips from all of my panting, and a simple tube of chapstick would have helped me feel so much less self conscious. Some moist towelettes would also have come in handy to help wipe the corners of my mouth, which were developing crud from, again, all of the breathing dry hospital air. I recommend having your birth team keep a few of these on standby
  • Food and Water! You most likely won’t want to, but definitely eat something to give yourself strength for labor! You might throw it up, as some women get nauseous from pain or from the physical strain of pushing, but not eating won’t do you any favors. Try eating something light and healthy like some fruit to keep your energy up. Also, d r i n k   w a t e r because you will get a dry mouth as I had mentioned before, and you’ll be sweating and losing a lot of fluid. Have your birth team bring some water bottles with straws so they can help you take a few sips between contratctions, or go the classic ice chips route. Anything to get your fluids!
  • Follow your Doctor’s and Nurse’s Lead! Hopefully you get the boss team that I did! People who are kind, professional, reassuring, non-judgemental, cool-and-collected, and know what they’re doing. If you get a team you can trust, follow their lead, and let your birth team coach you through every step of the way. Don’t be afraid to ask any and all questions, and speak up if you need something!
  • Use your Voice! That being said, if you feel something is wrong, don’t hesitate to let your medical team know! Even if they dismiss it, if your han-solo inkling (I got a bad feeling about this), let them know! They are there for you. They may be doctors, but mama knows best, so if you want them to do something or look into something, make sure they do it! This has saved mamas before. Sure, it could be nothing, and ideally it would be, but always, always, always air on the side of caution
  • Bust your Give-A-Damn! There’s no way around it–childbirth is messy business. Don’t be fooled by those picture-perfect Facebook and Instagram birth announcements with glowed-up instamodel mamas looking like glowing queens with their pink little bundles–that’s the magic of filters and makeup. What I mean is, don’t feel self-conscious about the way you look or sound when you’re contracting and/or pushing or at any point in your labor and birth. If you need to yell for any reason, yell! If you need to get into a certain awkward position, do it! I promise you, your medical team will not care! They’ve literally heard and seen it all (my nurse told me she’s been bitten before…yikes)! And if you’re worried about what someone in your birth team will think of you…maybe you should consider their position, because you’re going to be going through something dramatic, so if you need to be extra, you do you! Anything that will help the process be a little easier on you.

God bless you if you read that whole thing. I hope that my labor and delivery story helped give you some encouragement if you’re preparing for your own labor and delivery journey. Remember, you got this!

Some Momhood hax, DIY’s, and more coming your way! Tune in next time for my Post-Partum Story. “You don’t know the power of the dark side…