Labor && Delivery Story Sequel, Natural Vs. Epidural

((Sorry it’s been so long, my gals! 😬 As you can probably deduce, I’ve been a little busy these past several weeks. ☺😊🤱

I took some time to adjust to two under two life, and then I let things get away from me. But I’m going to do my best to get back into a weekly/bi-weekly schedule, and I have lots of content planned, so stay tuned!))

😊💘 So, my husband and I had an eventful Valentine’s Day! 💝☺️

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💚 Meet Michael Antonio! He was born February 14th at 7:07am after a 7 hour labor and delivery.

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“Speedy Delivery!” 😂 I mean, sort of. More on that in a bit 

⚖📏 He was born at 39 weeks and 5 days gestational age, and was a healthy 9lb 2oz and 21.5 inches at birth.

He’s been such a darling baby so far. 🥰🥰🥰 He’s been sleeping 6-7 hours solid at night since he was almost 4 weeks old! 💤💭🙏🏼 I’m still not getting much sleep, though, as I’m getting up in the middle of the night to pump milk at least once, and of course, doing periodical breathing checks. 😅😅😨

So let me give you the details. It was pretty intense!

🤰Prologue😪

At about 38 weeks, I was starting to get very, very uncomfortable. 😣 And honestly a little surprised and disappointed that Mikey had not made his appearance yet. I’ve heard that second babies come sooner than first babies (although of course everyone is different), and was hoping that I would have been able to meet our second son sooner rather than later.

So once I hit 39 weeks, I decided to try out the old induction tricks and wives tales. 💁🏻‍♀️

We had Chipotle for dinner pretty much every night, with extra hot sauce. 🌯🔥😋 I was drinking and eating pineapple like it was my job. 🍍🍹 I did lunges and squats every second I got. 🏋🏻‍♀️🏋🏻‍♀️🏋🏻‍♀️ I followed a few “Baby Mama Dance” videos, and Just Danced as often as possible 💃🏻👯‍♀️ And finally I tried spending some more “alone time” with the husband. 😘😝😅

But nothing seemed to be working. I know you can’t expect these things to work right away, but I was starting to get frustrated. Because with every passing day I was getting more and more miserable. 😩😫

Which brings us to the day before Valentine’s Day. My husband brought me a red velvet cake with our nightly burrito bowl dinner to lift my spirits. I emotional-ate half of it. I got really tired at around 9pm and decided to go up to bed.

🤰🏻Early Labor⏱

❗️Around quarter to midnight, I was woken up by a violent cramp. 😵😵😵

At this point, I had been having some pretty intense braxton hicks for a few weeks, so I assumed it was just more of that. I rolled over and went back to sleep.

‼️Next thing I knew, I was getting woken up every 15 minutes with more of these wrenching menstrual cramp pains.

This felt all too familiar…

“You should probably stay home today,” I said to my husband as he came into our room around 1am (he had fallen asleep on the couch after I went to bed).

🤩”Baby time??” My husband jested.

🤐”Maybe.” I said. I didn’t want to jinx anything.

As it turns out, I didn’t have to worry about that!

I made a few errors in my timing, but this is more or less how things progressed.

⏱From this point on, it was hard to get any more sleep, because every 10 minutes I was in searing pain. Within that hour, I was getting contractions every 5 minutes or less!

A little after 2am my husband called my Mother In Law, and then the OB on call. At this point, I was doubling over every few minutes, but managing to breathe through it each time. 😵😤

💩💩I also felt like I had to go to the bathroom for about half an hour at this point, but was afraid to. 😅😅 I know needing to push can feel like the same thing, and I was paranoid about delivering my baby at home in the bathroom. 🚽👶🏼😨

I mean, we were literally a 60 second drive from the hospital, so I figured I’d wait to go there in case the worst happened.

🚙💨 My in-laws arrived at about 2:45, and I waited out another contraction before we got into the car. We made the one minute commute across the street to the emergency entrance of the hospital. I got out of the car to the receptionist as my husband parked the car and got our bags. 👜🧳

👋🏻 “Hi, I need labor and delivery, please.” 💅🏻 I asked the kind gentleman at the desk as composed as I could. He seemed puzzled at my outwardly calm appearance, but believe me, I was in agony on the inside. 💀💀💀 He got me a wheelchair and we were on our way!

We were admitted at about 3am. I met my first nurse and she began my intake (people think it’s hard to answer questions at the dentist, try being interviewed while in the throes of back labor 😵😵) and then she proceeded to “check” me. 👈👈😂

“Hmmm, I can’t seem to find it…” I remember her saying (I apologize, some details might get a little fuzzy).

😱😱😱”What?” I asked. Can’t find it. What did that mean? Was I not dilated?? That couldn’t be, I thought.

“Let me get someone else,” she said, leaving me in a silent panic. After a little while, she brought in another nurse who proceeded to jam what felt like her entire fist into my business. 👊✊ I felt like a calving cow. 🐮🐄🤠

Now at this exact moment, not only did I have to take a huge post-chipotle dump 💩💩💩 (sorry if this is tmi…but this is a labor and delivery story so… 🤷🏻‍♀️), but I was also contracting and having back labor, all while this woman’s entire forearm was pressing against my internal organs. It was literally the worst thing I’ve felt in my life. 😰😰

🏳️ “I need the epidural this time!” I blurted out. My plan was to go natural this time, like I had before (with minimal use of gas and air). But honestly, in that moment I felt if it was going to continue like this, and I possibly wasn’t even dilated enough (or at all??), I wasn’t sure I could go another several hours of that every 2 minutes.

After they were done with their torturous examination, I decided to try to go to the bathroom, 💩💩 and I felt worlds better afterwards. 😌🙏🏼 The contractions themselves automatically became much more bearable. However, I was still getting the terrible back pain. 😓 The doctor came up shortly after this to check me herself.

I remember the nurse saying that sometimes the baby’s head can be positioned in such a way that makes it difficult to find the cervix, for some reason? 🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️ I was hoping this would be the case, as I was going to be upset if it turned out I wasn’t dilating, or something crazy. I did not want to get sent home after all of this.

“Well, the reason we weren’t finding it was because there is no cervix.” The doctor said, matter-of-factly.

She looked at me and smiled gently. “We’re at 10cm.”

🤯 “Oh.” I said, breathing a sigh of relief, while at the same time feeling a wave of shock run through me. Within 3 hours I had gone from “When is this baby coming??” to “He’s basically already here!”

💉 Not long after the doctor had finished, the anesthesiologist had showed up with his equipment. Even though the doctor had told me I would be pushing much sooner than later, I looked at the epidural longingly.

Although I was so close, the doctor said I still had the option of taking the epidural, and my back was killing me. It was worse than it was during my first labor, which was the only thing that made me consider it at the time.

Getting an epidural was a bizarre experience. It was very uncomfortable, a little squicky, but not super painful. It just felt like a couple of bee-stings in my back, which is what I’ve been told it felt like before. 🐝 And compared to what else I had been feeling, that night wasn’t bad at all. 👌

Truth be told, it was worse on my husband than on me. 😅😅

After a minute or two, I was able to relax a little bit. At the same time, though, I was shaking, which made me feel a little anxious. 😧😧

Things kind of slowed down from here. For the next hour, I took time to try and settle my nerves, joking around with my husband and the nurses.

Then at 5:30/6, the doctor came in to help speed things up. She broke my water, 💦and mentioned that she saw some meconium, or baby’s first poop (lot of poop talk in this post lol sorry 💩😂). This meant that NICU would have to evaluate Mikey before we could have skin-to-skin time.

I looked at the doctor in horror, I didn’t want anyone to take my baby from me so soon! 😰😰😰 Thankfully, she reassured me that he wouldn’t leave the room, and that staff from NICU would come to us to check him out and they’d have him on my chest as soon as they could. 🙏🏼😌

And then it was time to get down to business 💪💪💪

🤰🏻Delivery😫

I had a hard time getting him down and out. I had to go more or less by vague pressure and indication from the doctors to push.

💉 After half an hour, the doctor said she would have to give me Pitocin and turn down my epidural to help give me something to “push against.” I wanted to avoid Pitocin if possible, as I’ve heard the contractions from it can be unbearable, but at this point I just wanted him out and safe. 💯

For some reason I continued to have a bit of a hard time getting him out. The doctor, nurse, and my husband swear I was doing great, but it felt like a struggle! 😣😣 But I continued to push as hard as I could, and then…

💘My Valentine’s Baby👶🏼

It felt like another hour, but soon enough there he was! 😍😭😍 My second baby❤️

I saw them take him to the warmer as a swarm of NICU staff surrounded him to check his vitals. After a couple brief moments, he was on my chest. 🥰🥰🥰

Apparently he got stuck at the shoulder while pushing, and the doctor had to reach inside me and assist him out, which is part of what held things up for a while.

But I didn’t care. Whatever it took. He was here. The best Valentine’s Day gift ever. 💘💝💖🙏🏼💚🤱🏻

🌱Pros And Cons: Natural Vs. Epidural💉

So how did this labor compare to my last?

As I mentioned with my first labor and delivery (btw if you read this please forgive the formatting…still haven’t gotten to fix it 😓), it started out with dull period-cramps. The only thing that clued me in that it was the real deal was their consistency. And then, things very gradually progressed from there. I feel like I had time to get used to the pain and get through it with little to no problem (until that back pain at the end 😖😖).

Whereas this one felt like I went from zero to 100 within mere hours. 😵😵

🚶🏻‍♀️To put it into perspective, it was like going from a walk to a jog to a run with Vinny and a full on sprint right out of the gate with Mikey. 🏃🏻‍♀️

So now that I’ve experienced a natural birth and a birth with epidural, here are my personal pro’s and cons:

💉Pros Of Having An Epidural👍

  • Pain relief, obviously 😅🙏🏼
  • It gave me time to relax and center myself and really take things in 🧘🏻‍♀️
  • It gave me the opportunity to maybe get some more sleep which would mean more stamina 💤
  • It allowed me the center of mind to text loved ones 🤳

💉Cons Of Having An Epidural👎

  • In my case, I feel like it slowed things down. I couldn’t feel my contractions all of the way, which I think took away the “urgency,” if you will, and I think it inhibited my ability to push effectively. I think I might have been able to push and have him born sooner, had I not gotten the epidural. 🕛🕞🕒
  • I couldn’t stop shaking–anesthetics and analgesics can make people shaky, and I felt very shaky while under the epidural, which I think amped up my anxiety a bit 😬
  • Because I didn’t have feeling in my lower half, I couldn’t get up and move around to speed things up or use a tub or birthing ball for pain relief and anxiety, and I was trapped in bed, needing help to shift positions 😑
  • I wasn’t able to squat, which was part of my initial birth plan. Squatting helps gravity assist in getting the baby out, and is actually how it’s supposed to happen, but obviously it was not an option if I couldn’t feel my legs. 🤷🏻‍♀️
  • I now have constant back pain. It’s ironic the reason I got the epidural in the first place was because of back labor, because now I have back pain because of the epidural. 🤦🏻‍♀️ It’s a common side-effect, and it doesn’t happen to everyone. Eventually I think it does go away (at least I hope it does!!!), but even as I write this, the site where I got the epidural aches, and occasionally the left side of my back will go numb around the site. Laying on my back is also very uncomfortable still, and standing for long periods of time bothers it as well. ☹️

🌱Pros Of Having A Natural Birth👍

  • You can move around! Because you can feel your legs, you can move around, change positions, get into a tub, etc to relieve pain and anxiety and move things along. 💃🏻
  • You can feel everything, so you know what to push against. 💪
  • Less possibility of back pain from epidural site. 😌
  • Less possibility of feeling shaky from pain medication, just from nerves if you tend to shake when anxious or in pain. 😌😌
  • Bragging rights 😂

🌱Cons Of Having A Natural Birth👎

  • You can feel everything, and it’s painful 😕 If you’re someone with a high pain tolerance, and if you’ve had extreme menstrual cramps, it might not be so bad, though! My labor the first time felt exactly like really bad periods I used to have, and so did this one, aside from the perfect storm of pain I’d had upon admission. 💀
  • Anxiety–pain can heighten feelings of anxiousness and possibly cause you to doubt yourself, but trust me, you can do it! 💪

So, given these pros and cons, what would I do again? It depends.

I think I would prefer to go natural again, when/if we have another baby. I feel there are fewer cons to a natural birth than one with an epidural.

For me personally, giving birth naturally was an empowering experience. But, I’m not against getting an epidural again, either. I guess it depends on the size and placement of my next baby.

🌳Because Mikey was a big baby, and because of his position in my pelvis, it was more difficult for me than last time. And because of how quickly things progressed, I think it seemed even more painful.

So if this type of situation happens again, I might opt for the epidural. 💉👍

Of course they also say that each subsequent labor goes a little faster, so next time I just hope to have enough time to make it to the hospital! 😂😂😬🙏🏼

So that’s my story this time, and I hope I can offer some insight to any expecting Mamas who are debating natural vs. epidural.

I say ultimately, go in there expecting the unexpected. If you’re set on going natural, go for it! But, if things change and you feel you need an epidural to get through, don’t feel bad! I still feel it was worth it, even though without it I could have shaved an hour or so off my whole labor and delivery time, and my back probably wouldn’t hurt so much rn. 😓😓

Here are some pictures to bring you up to speed! 😊😊

Last bump pictures, exactly 39 weeks 🤰🏻

🤰🏻How have all of your labors been different? What are your biggest birth fears? Any other words of wisdom for expecting ftm’s I might’ve left out? Leave them all in the comments! 💬

Thanks for reading, my gals! 😘😘

👀If you’re new here, and this content or any of my upcoming content interests you, make sure you add your email and follow so you don’t miss any updates! 😁😁 And if you’re already following, thank you and bless your heart and soul! 🙏🏼🥰🤗

📋 Upcoming Content: My (Stay-At-Home) Mom Guilt, My Son’s “Home-Nursery-School Curriculum,” and Two Vs. One: How To Survive 2 Under 2

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My Toddler’s Overnight Bag

Hello, my gals! 😁❤️

38 weeks today!! 😨🤯🤰🏻 Things are getting a lil real!!

🤕Lately I’ve been having a hard time getting around due to a lot of lightening crotch, and apparently little Miguel’s head is resting pretty low these days so he’s getting ready! ⏱⏱

I’ve slowly been preparing things for baby number 2️⃣ this past month between getting out his bassinet and living room cot, setting up his diaper and clothing station in our bedroom, getting some freezer meals prepped, and as you saw in my “What’s In My Hospital Bag” post, the hospital bags.

Last week I couldn’t help but feel like I was missing something, and then it hit me–Vinny needs his sleepover bag! 😱😱

My in-laws have graciously agreed to keep Vinny at their house for the 2-3 days my husband and I will be at the hospital with baby Mikey 🤱🏻👪💚 And since it’s getting down to the wire, I knew I had to be prepared in case the unexpected happens.

I figured I might make a post about what I put in his overnight bag because I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this out there, and if any of you Mamas getting ready for baby number 2, 3, 4, etc are having your little ones stay over a relative’s house, maybe this will help be a guideline for what to send along with your toddler!


👕Clothes👖

I packed enough clothes to last 3️⃣ days.

The first thing I packed for him was the onesie, and I made sure to provide two for each day in the very likely event he gets one dirty. 😅 I included three short sleeve and three long sleeve onesies for him.

I also included his “Meeting Mikey” outfit in the bag. 😍 This is what he will wear to the hospital to meet his little brother and for all of the pictures we’ll be taking of them together 📸💚💙

I packed a couple pairs of pants. One pair of “Kicking Around The House” track pants, and one nice pair of nice khakis in case my in-laws want to take him out of the house. He also has the jeans to reuse if needed.

I included a couple of t-shirts as backup, but the onesies can also be used as a top if needed. I will leave the outfit combination in Gram-Gram and Pop-Pop’s capable hands. 😁

💤I packed a couple pairs of pajamas. I sent one pair of warm footie pajamas and another pair of cotton Batman jammies. He also often just wears onesies to bed, so again, whichever he sleeps in is at the grandparents’ discretion.

In order to fit three days of clothes and jammies, plus backup clothes into this diaper backpack, I used the Konmari method of folding. 🧺 I had pretty much binged Tidying Up With Marie Kondo when it came out and now I am absolutely infatuated with the Konmari method! 😍🤩It’s seriously life-changing! I’m slowly working on incorporating it all over the house. 🏠🧹🧽📦

Like seriously, if I had tried to fold these the way I used to, they never would have fit in this bag! 😤😤It’s crazy!

I was able to tuck all of his onesies in a mesh compartment in the bag and the rest of this clothes in the actual bag next to and on top of a fresh pack of wipies.


👶🏻Diapers and Wipes🧻

I packed enough diapers for 3️⃣ days and a whole new pack of wipes. Vinny will go through up to 4️⃣ diapers in a day, so I fit 12 size 5’s in the front pouch of the bag, three overnights in a zipper compartment of the inside, and the wipes inside of the bag next to and underneath his clothes.


Toys and “Wubbies”

Vinny’s loving Gram and Pop-Pop have a lovely assortment of toys and books ready for their grandbabies in their living room, all of which Vinny loves, so luckily I didn’t have to pack much in this regard. 🙏🏼

🧸He does, however, have two “Babies” he sleeps with at night, a black teddy bear and this little white one. He prefers to sleep with both, but will be okay with at least one. So I’ve packed this little guy so he has something to remind him of home at night and help him sleep. 🐻💤


🍎Food, Supplies, Etc🍼

Being 18 months old, Vinny has been eating “people food” exclusively for a while now, so he will be able to eat some of whatever Gram-Gram and Pop-Pop eat, and they always have healthy snacks to offer him such as bananas and apples. 🍌🍎😋

I did pack three days worth of his absolute favorite snack, these Earth’s Best strawberry cereal bars. 🤤😋 These things are like crack to him. I try to limit him to two a day because although they’re made with relatively good ingredients, they’re still a little sugary 😬😬 But I figure it will be a little something to provide comfort to him while he’s away from home.

🥛He also has flax milk that he drinks with dinner that I supplement with vitamin D, DHA, and Probiotic, so we’ll likely drop off a carton in the next few days so they have that on hand, and we will be able to fit his vial of vit. D, DHA, and a packet of probiotic with administration instructions in one of the “hidden” compartments of the bag.

Also not pictured are his ibuprofen and syringe (in case of teething), eating utensils, binkies, and toothpaste and toothbrush. I was able to fit these things in the “hidden” compartments.

I may also send along a small, separate bag with a pair of snow pants and his winter boots 🥾 in case they want to take him outside, as it’s snowy where we live right now. He will be wearing his winter jacket whenever the time comes so he’ll have that prepared.


Misc💁🏻‍♀️

So that was about it for what I packed for our little one, but of course every child’s needs may vary.

For instance, the people taking your little one may not have toys and books available, so I would suggest sending a few favorite toys and books along with the clothes and necessities. If you need to include these in a separate bag, that’s totally fine!

Much like we’re sending winter play clothes, it might be a good idea to send some seasonal play clothes as well, like bathing suits (along with sunscreen and big spray!) in the summer, or a raincoat and rain boots if you have a rainy season so that your trusted guardians can get outdoors with your littles. ☀️🌨🌧

💊And if your child has medicines they need to take, it would be a good idea to get a separate baggie for these with instructions if necessary. You could also include a list of any food allergies or anything else your guardian should know before feeding or administering medications, etc.

It would also be helpful to do a quick write-up of your child’s daily routine for your babysitter so that they can anticipate his or her needs. 📋✅

If you can arrange to drop off a car seat and booster/high chair ahead of time, or if you can get assistance with loading up the car real quick when the time comes so that your sitter has these at the ready, these will definitely be helpful!


And that’s about it, I think! No matter how much I prepare, I always feel like I’m still missing something 😅😅

I’m definitely getting anxious the closer it gets! But getting little things like this out of the way helps. ☺️☺️

💬 What do you think of these lists? Am I missing anything? What would you include in your toddler’s bag? Have you tried the Konmari method? If so, how has it helped you, or not helped you? Let us know!

Thanks for reading, my gals! 😘😘

👀If you’re new here, and this content or any of my upcoming content interests you, make sure you add your email and follow so you don’t miss any updates! 😁😁 And if you’re already following, thank you and bless your heart and soul! 🙏🏼🥰🤗

📋 Upcoming Content: My (Stay-At-Home) Mom Guilt, My Son’s “Home-Nursery-School Curriculum,” and My Bedside Nursery Corner (Second Baby)

What’s In My Hospital Bag–Second Baby

Hello my Gals! 😁😘

⏳⌛It’s getting so close! I can’t believe soon we’ll be welcoming little Michael Antonio into our family! 👪👨‍👩‍👦‍👦💙💚

I’m excited, but also nervous! I’ve been through it all before, and my first delivery went more or less perfectly, but just like each pregnancy is different, every labor is different, so I can’t be sure how this time will go. 😐😐

(btw if you read the link, so sorry about the formatting! Haven’t had a chance to fix it yet…)

I’m also petrified of c-section rn. 😰😰😰 Of course dying in childbirth is still a concern, but for some reason this time I’m particularly worried about having to have a c-section. I really don’t want to have to go through that. 🙏🤞

But I know I’m in God’s hands and He will carry me through regardless. 💖💯

So having been through this once before, I thought I’d do a post on my hospital bag.

Because you know, there’s a shortage of those types of blogs/vlogs. 😂😅🤷‍♀️

But hey, maybe I have something they don’t? I think it’s good to get a few different perspectives on things anyway!


👀Looking Back🔙

They say it’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared, but in the case of the hospital bag, sometimes less is more.

👶💐🎁I actually overpacked the first time, and we ended up getting a lot of flowers and gifts from visitors at the hospital, not to mention free swag from the hospital itself. So all of this combined with the new baby we had in tow, we ended up needing to make a few trips to and from the car. 😪😪

We’ll be going to the same hospital as with our first, and we actually moved to a place that’s literally a 30 second drive from it, 🙌🙌 so we are fortunate that if we forget something my husband can quite literally walk to our house to get something and be back within 15 minutes. 😄😄

Still, I’m tryna be as prepared as possible, you know?

‼Quick Pro Tip: I recommend calling ahead to the hospital or center you plan on delivering at and asking them if they provide any supplies for you and/or the baby, and then plan on having some extra space in your bag, or a separate tote entirely to be able to bring home some extras. 👜🎒🧳

Or if you really don’t want to end up lugging additional things home with you, just gently let people know if you don’t need/want anything extra, and that their presence is present enough! 😘😘

🏥I also highly recommend seeing if they offer a tour of the maternity ward. My husband and I did this with Vinny and it really helped me feel more at peace when the time actually came. 😌☺

Anyway, on with it!

👜The Bag💖

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I found this little guy on Poshmark, a used clothing app that I’m currently obsessed with! (#notspon) It was super cheap, and I only had to pay half shipping after using credit I had from selling clothes on the app! 🤩🤑

Supposedly it’s a an original throwback PINK dufflebag, which I took to mean one of the first promotional totes they give you with a certain dollar amount in purchases. 👍 I haven’t been able to verify this, but that wasn’t a huge deal to me anyway. I just thought it was spacious and cute, and would fit everything I need this time, with even a little bit of room to spare. 😊😊

🤱Mama’s Essentials✅

💘I got a cute little Valentine’s Day robe/top from Poshmark–another Victoria’s Secret piece (I’m a little bit of a sucker for VS/PINK 😅😅). It was only $5! 🙌🙌 I know it’s going to be way too short to wear as a robe, so I plan to wear it as a nursing top with some leggings. I just thought it would be cute to wear since we’ll likely be meeting our newest little cherub around Valentine’s Day💝

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♥A little something to help me feel cute after delivery☺

I also have my robe from the first time I went to the hospital if I need something a little warmer. It’s also very comfy. I got it on sale at Motherhood Maternity the week before I had Vinny.

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Super comfy and simple! 

I brought just a couple pairs of big, old underwear I don’t mind having to say goodbye to worst case scenario just in case. My hospital provides a pretty generous amount of disposable underwear, so I’m just bringing a couple pairs as backup.

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Not aesthetic, but comfortable and gets the job done!

I also brought a comfy nursing bra. It’s not very supportive, but it’s comforable and that’s top priority after having a baby and your bewbs are sore af. 😖🤕

I have these IceWraps cold/hot packs for pretty cheap on Amazon for my b00bz as well, in case they get sw0l.

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I’m bringing my pair of kitty slippers I wore last time so I have something to walk around in. I have a pair of–you guessed it–Victoria’s Secret slippers from–you guessed it again–Poshmark.  😂😂😂Last time my kitty slippers didn’t fit quite right from swelling, so I picked up some actual slippers in a slightly larger size than I typically wear for shuffling around my recovery room.

💄I will be grabbing my makeup/toiletries bag filled with my makeup essentials, hair ties, chapstick, a small hairbrush, and some hotel-sample sized shower stuff. I have some delightful tea-tree shampoo and some calming lavender body wash to help soothe my nerves once I’m able to take a shower. 😌✌ I’m also going to bring my VS PINK (LOL) sponge to help me feel more at home.

 

 

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Cute and Spacious! 

I also have a couple pairs of dark leggings and tank tops to go with my nursing robes/tops, along with my going home outfit, which consists of a loose tank top, comfy shawl, and my nicest maternity leggings. Something comfortable and flattering for my postpartum body. You still look pregnant when you leave, so don’t bring your goal outfit with you! Trust me, comfort over everything! 👍💯

I have three days worth of prenatal vitamins to take at the hospital to take as I begin my nursing journey. I’m determined to make it work this time…

👶Baby’s Essentials✅

Of course I have his going home outfit that I showed you in a previous post but I also brought a couple more warm things just in case. 😙😙

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This hat was custom made for Mikey by my talented and loving cousin-in-law 😍😍

I also brought some extra scratch mittens because newborn nails are little but fierce! 😬😬Vinny ended up scratching himself up pretty good the first few months of his life when I was too afraid to clip his nails and filing didn’t work very well. 😰😓

The hospital provided a few white half-onesies with scratch mittens on them last time, and I’m going to actually take these home with me because now that I think about it, I don’t think they reuse them and I put them in the linen basket last time. Missed opportunity! 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️

I brought a few pairs of socks for his little feet, too. 👣

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I always fold socks in a ball like this to save space. I’m no Marie Kondo, but I’m trying my best to be more organized!

I will also be bringing a couple of swaddles from when Vinny was born. The hospital provided us with a sleep sack last time, but we already have so many I’m going to tell them to hang on to it for someone who might really need it.

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My favorite swaddle from when Vinny was just a sm0l–I love giraffes! 🦒😍

I have a blanket and some burping cloths as well for nursing and in case he needs a little extra warmth.

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We’re taking a Boppy with us to help make nursing a little bit more comfortable. I just wrap it around my armpits and cradle the baby to me in a football hold, 🏈 as that’s the most comfortable for me. I might do a post later on about how nursing went the second time and what I wish I knew before. Hit like if you would be interested in reading about that! 😜

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Not our actual Boppy, but pretty close! 

I brought a couple of newborn diapers and a travel pack of wipes just in case, but again the hospital provided all of that for us so I didn’t go too crazy.

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These diapers are actually leftover from my baby shower with Vinny! That’s how fast these little things grow! 

🧔Daddy’s Essentials✅

🤷‍♂️Generally speaking, the husband’s hospital bag is pretty low maintenance–a change of clothes, pajamas, his wallet, and maybe some snacks and water. But it depends on the person! Your husband or boyfriend or whoever your support person is might feel like they need more than you do! It’s up to them what they bring, but generally, the aforementioned will just about cover it. 👍

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Something like this ought to do it for your Mans. 😙

👜My husband always has this “bug-out bag” prepared for himself in his trunk in case he gets stuck somewhere, with a change of clothes, a towel, and a bag of toiletries. I don’t have a picture, but if you can imagine an old, beat-up green dufflebag with leather straps, that’s it! 😅

👝👛We’ll both have our wallets on us and they will both be in this bag as well. I’m also having him take an extra towel for me. 😙


I think that’s about it! It seems like a lot, but it’s about half of what we brought last time. We mainly overpacked the baby stuff because we didn’t realize our hospital had the hookup, so I didn’t bring much for him this time. 🤷‍♀️

💬Hope this helps a bit! How many of you are getting ready for the big day for the first time? 🤩😍 How many of you have been there, done that? What other sorts of things have you brought with you? Think I’m missing anything? Can I ask any more questions? Let me know in the comments!

👀Thank you so much for reading! If you’re new, add your email or follow so you don’t miss any of the upcoming content if it sounds interesting to you.  😁😁And if you’re already following, thank you and bless your heart and soul! 🥰🤗

Upcoming content: My Son’s “Home Nursery School” curriculum, Why Time Away From My Son Makes Me A Better Mom, and My (Stay-At-Home) Mom Guilt.

Same But Different: Pregnancy Journies, 2 Under 2

Henlo, my Gals! 😁🥰

🤰2️⃣My second pregnancy is coming to a close! Only about 5 weeks left as of this past weekend! 🗓😱

It went by so fast! And yet, I honestly feel like I’ve been pregnant forever. 😅😪

Granted, that may be because I only got about a 9/10 month break from my first one. 😅😅 But still!

I’ve heard time and time again (and by that I mean for as long as this sort of thing has been relevant to me) that every pregnancy is different. Not just from mama to mama, but I mean from baby number one, to baby number 2, etc, etc.

And speaking from experience, that is so totally true. Things have been a lot different this time round. A little harder in some parts, tbh. 😰

💖But it’s all for the cause. 😌🤱

So I thought I might do a quick post on what was different this time to kind of give some insight on how no two pregnancies are exactly alike.

💭❔Weird thought just now, maybe it’s like the very first peek into the baby’s personality? 🤔🤔 Not likely, lol, but just a weird thought that popped up just now. 😅😅

Anyway.

🤢First Trimester🍞

In my post about my first trimester with my first baby, I mentioned that I was pretty nauseous. It was a little rough, but more or less par for the course. I puked a couple of times, 🤮 felt like puking most of the time, 🤢 but I feel that period didn’t last all too long. 🤷‍♀️

This time, I was N A U S E O U S.  🤢🤢🤢 I seriously had no break in feeling sick from morning through night this first, nay, WORST Trimester. 😣😫💀

With my first, I didn’t really feel sickly until about 8/9 weeks in. This time, the nausea is what tipped me off that I was pregnant before I took the test! 😬 I would have breakfast and not be able to finish because I felt like I would throw it all up. And this lasted all the way up to the end of the “worst” trimester. There may have been a few days of overlap into the second, even.

From probably about week 3 or so it was brutal sick-to-my-stomachness after every meal. I had been keto prior to this, and wanted to try to stay modified keto/low carb this pregnancy, but alas, all I could tolerate was English muffins and oatmeal. I had quickly become an obligate carbivore. 🥐🍞🥖

But no matter how much I dry heaved, no matter how much water I tried to force down my gullet, I still would not puke (aside again for a couple of times)! It was misery. 😰😰😰

😵😴I also felt extremely weak on top of being tired. Like I’d see spots and get dizzy moving around. Which was hard to deal with with a newly walking 10 to 11 month old who wasn’t content to snuggle or be contained for more than a moment. 😟😭

Aside from that, I didn’t have many other noteworthy symptoms. Just the usual sore breasts, tiredness, headaches, etc.

Oh, except I swear I felt this baby move at about 10 weeks! 🤯 Like there were little popcorn kernels pop pop popping in my belly! 🍿 Last time I didn’t feel movement until after 20 weeks! It’s most likely I just know what to look for now, but it’s crazy how early I felt it.

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I also showed a lot sooner this time, as is typical for each subsequent pregnancy. Here’s the bump at 10 weeks!

🥣Second Trimester🤕

(TMI ahead) 😰I had some freaky spotting in the second trimester this time! It looked like the beginning of my period for about a few days, so it was very unsettling. I only had a day of normal spotting in the very, very beginning last time. I had never experienced anything like that.

I was nervous something was wrong. Of course I got everything checked out, and luckily everything looked good with the baby. 🙏🙏🙏

They could never tell me quite why it happened, but as long as everything was okay otherwise, I could deal with it.

🙌Thankfully it hasn’t happened since!

I also had a week or two of irritating round ligament pain this time. Last time, it was just uncomfortable and for the most part I only noticed it when I was moving. But I think chasing after a toddler must have made my ligaments angry, so I would have to take time to rest because the discomfort would get to be too much. 😣🤕 Luckily this went away after a couple of weeks though.

😪I still never got that rumored second trimester energy burst. At least for no longer than a couple of days or so. But again, having a toddler and being pregnant will drain your HP like nothing else. 😵

Aside from that, everything else was more or less par for the course! Cravings were more or less the same as last time, too. Lots of spicy food and Panera Macaroni and cheese! 🤤😋

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Going swimming the beginning of the second trimester, feeling fly as a mother 😎😂

🤰Third Trimester😣

This time the biggest difference is Braxton Hicks. 😬🤕 I’ve been having them since I want to say about 25 weeks. Last time I didn’t have serious Braxton Hicks until about 30ish weeks, and they were mainly that gross muscle tightening feeling. Later on, after 35 weeks, I’d sporadically get what I can best describe as mildly intense cramps, but they would quickly subside.

This time at least a couple times a day I get episodes where I feel like my period is starting. 😣 It mostly happens at night, but it does go away after a bit. I know it’s mostly because I’m not being good about staying completely hydrated.

Braxton Hicks can act up if you’re not getting enough water, so if you’re pregnant rn, go drink some water! I know it makes you have to pee every other minute, but honestly it’s worth it! Stay Hydrated, My Friends! 💧💯

🤕🤕I also already have already been experiencing pelvic floor pain and “lightening groin,” or shooting pain down, well, the groin. 😅😓 Which is fun when I’m trying to take my son out for a walk at the Mall. I never felt anything like that until literally the day before I had my son last time. 😬 But from what I understand, you start to feel all of that lovely stuff sooner with each pregnancy because your body has already been through it before.

I also thought I might have preeclampsia because I’ve been getting a lot of headaches, seeing spots in the corner of my eye occasionally, and have minor swelling in my fingers overnight. But everything checked out fine! Blood pressure and urine tests all good! 😌😌

🙏Otherwise, so far so good! Measuring on track! Just super duper tired. 😴💤🛌 No labor signs or anything like that.

🗓I went three days early last time, and they say that more often subsequent babies come sooner. I feel like with my luck this one will be late, though.  😰😰We will see! 🤞🤞

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*insert Donald Trump ‘UGE’ here* Bump at 34 weeks!

And that’s pretty much it! As difficult as many moments in this pregnancy were and are, all things considered I think it’s still been very good! 😌😌

Like I’ve been saying, I think the major factor here is I have such a young, needy baby still so it’s been a little rougher this round. I can only imagine how it will be when and if it happens again…

But it is what it is! Who knows? Maybe that one will end up being the easiest! 🤷‍♀️😂 Either way, it’s all worth it. 🤰🤱🥰

💬How have your pregnancies been different? Or had they been more of the same? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks for reading, my Gals! 🥰😘

👀If you’re new here, and if this or any of my upcoming content seems interesting to you, add your email and follow so you don’t miss any updates! 😁😁 And if you’re already following, thank you and bless your heart and soul! 🤗🙏

📋Upcoming Content: What’s In My Hospital Bag Round 2, Why Time Away Makes Me A Better Mom, and My Son’s “Home-School” Curriculum: Toddler Months/Years

The “Boy-Or-Girl Blues,” How I Got Over My Gender Disappointment

When we first talked about having another baby so soon after our first, somehow I had gotten it into my head that the next one would be a little girl. 👧👗💅🎀💖👑

So convinced was I of this that I had even purchased (from consignment, of course) some girl clothes I had come across and couldn’t resist and had begun saving girly items for a possible sprinkle I’d have for her. I’d even had her name picked out (She was going to be named after someone very, very special💖). I had even made a Pinterest Board with her name containing the matching outfits we’d wear and hairstyles I could attempt on her. 👗💄👠👝💇💅🥰

Almost all of my pregnancy symptoms were even “indicative” of a girl–wicked morning sickness, 🤢🤮 carrying high, 🤰massive breakouts, 🌋😬 etc. I even found myself instinctively calling the baby “she” and “her” in the early weeks. Friends and family were even convinced of it. I was so happy.

But then at my 19 week scan, the ultrasound tech said those three words…

👦🔵”It’s a boy.” She stated, almost too matter-of-fact-ly.

My heart sunk. 💔💔💔 I must have asked the technician, much to her annoyance, three times if she was sure, and to each question she would reply with a cold “Yes.” I can remember watching her type “Boy” over the anatomy in slow, deliberate keystrokes.

I still hate to admit it, but I cried. I hadn’t cried much this pregnancy, but I did that day, on the examination table. I was devastated. 💔💔💔

I know that sounds terrible. After all, he was perfect! Healthy, measuring on time, no concerns 🙌🙏 …but I couldn’t bring myself to be happy.

I cried and cried all that weekend. I was inconsolable. I couldn’t get out of bed. My melancholy continued into that next week, as all I could think of was that I wasn’t getting the little girl I had dreamed of this whole year.

I had begun to suspect that I’d been having issues with prenatal depression leading up to this, too, so I know that’s also a big part of what was making this such a big deal. I stopped eating right when my birthday and anniversary came and went that month, and really let myself go when I found out the gender. I’m paying for that now. 😓😓

💻⌨💬I ended up reading and posting on a lot of forums regarding Gender Disappointment and learned that what I was going through wasn’t completely abnormal. It turns out what I had done was created this person in my head and my heart, and had made her “real.” I hadn’t prepared myself for the very real possibility that this baby would be a “he.” I had gone into this pregnancy believing that I was coming out of it with “my” girl, but this wasn’t going to happen. 🤷‍♀️😞

💯God had other plans💯

It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with all of this. Truthfully, more than three months later, I still struggle a tiny bit. I still see pictures of my niece and my friends’ little girls and I feel a twinge of sadness and jealousy. And sometimes I lay awake worrying that it will never happen for me…

💔How I Got Over It💙

One thing I’ve learned from all of this is that I can plan for something all I want, but God’s plan is better, and it will always prevail. 💯 And if you don’t believe that, then maybe look at it this way: everything in life, good and bad, happens for a reason. If you’re going through a hard time right now, it’s going to make you stronger, 💪 and it’s going to lead you to where you need to be.

That’s what this is for me.

Finding out my baby was a boy was what led me to Perinatal counseling. 📒🧠😌 I had been debating going before, but didn’t want to take the time and have to have another thing that I’d need babysitting for. But when I went through my gender disappointment, I finally made an appointment, and I’ve been working through some other things that are actually really helping in other aspects of my life. 🙌😁

It was really hard for me to look on the bright side at first, as everyone was trying to help me with. But I knew that I had to get through it, so I made a physical list of all the good. In doing so I’ve been able to  see that while it might still be a little devastating for me, there’s really so much to be happy about. ♥♥♥

  • First, I have a healthy baby, that’s plenty to be thankful for. 👶👣🙏
  • Second, Vinny will still have a little sibling close in age, which comes with all of the benefits I listed in a previous post. 👦💙👶
  • Next, it’s another boy, so my husband gets more chances to have his family name passed down in a traditional sense (almost all of his cousins are female, or have a different last name, and he his only sibling is my sister-in-law, so the family name depends on my husband and two of his significantly younger boy cousins), which I know is important to him. 😌💗
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💚Our Second Baby💚
  • Furthermore, as Vinny is named after my husband’s father and grandfather, Michael (Mikey) is named after my father and shares my grandfather’s name. Plus, Vinny was even born in the same month as my FIL and Mikey is due the same month as my Dad’s birthday! Talk about serendipity 💕💞
  • Finally, he’s my baby. 🤰🤱👶🥰 He’s part of me and the love of my life. If that’s not a reason to be happy, I don’t know what else is.

So maybe I didn’t get my way this time. And who knows what we’ll get in the future? But God willing, someday soon I’ll be able to throw that “Girl Power Superhero Sprinkle” I had already planned in my head, and my little girl will have two super brothers to look out for her and show her how to be her own hero. 🦸‍♂️🦸‍♀️🦸‍♂️🙏😂💖


I had also bought Mikey his own coming home outfit to help make me feel better. I try not to make retail therapy a habit as I have in the past, but it did help a little looking through Etsy at all of the creative, personalized newborn outfits and coming across this little gem. 😍😍

Now Mikey has something of his own aside from his brother’s hand-me-downs. 😊😊 90 percent of his wardrobe is going to be passed down from Vinny. 😂👕👖🤷‍♀️

And honestly, I can’t wait to see him in it. And I can’t wait to welcome him into our family. 💗👨‍👩‍👦‍👦🥰


Have you or someone you know experienced gender disappointment? How did you overcome it? Any other tips for readers? Post them in the comments!

Thanks for reading, my gals! 😍🥰😘 Stay tuned and I’ll tell you about how spending less time with my son makes me a better Mom. 😅👩‍👦💓

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🥳🧁🎉🎁

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! 😂🤣

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

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The day of my 39 week appt, if I remember right

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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.

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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…

Episode VI: Return of the Nausea (The 3rd Trimester)

(New Here? Read Episode IV and Episode V if you’d like some first and second trimester stories. Or not, it’s all good!)

The Saga Continues…

As I continued to run out of womb, my stomach and other internal organs continued to be compacted by my growing baby. This led to a long stint of an overstuffed, nauesous feeling every time I ate, and I wanted to eat all the time. The struggle was real.
Speaking of struggle, it’s a common joke/fact that heavily pregnant women struggle to get up and move. While this was true in the case of getting off of our futon-couch (although it’s hard for any nonpregnant person to get off of, to be fair), and in my turtle-on-her-back wobble out of bed every hour to pee at night, for the most part I was able to move about freely. I was still able to go out for walks and enjoy the summer, although not too far into my third trimester it had to be an outlet or some other facility with a restroom every several yards.
It was around my 7th month gestation when people were finally able to tell without any doubt that I was, indeed, with child. I pushed my belly band to the limit, and it was time to try out my maternity shorts I had purchased from Mother and Child Consignment a few months prior. The pair I have pictured in my second trimester blog fit for all of a week, and then it was yoga cutoffs and the one other denim pair of maternity shorts the rest of the summer.
At 29 weeks, I had gone in for my glucose tolerance test. I was given a small bottle of syrupy, orange liquid to shoot down my gullet right before having my blood drawn to test for gestational diabetes. Luckily, thanks to my party animal past, chugging vials of questionable-tasting mixtures was a skill I’d honed, so knocking back the sundex was a breeze. It actually wasn’t half bad–like an orange hug barrel with notes of melted creamsicle, in my opinion.

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Cheers, m8!

About a week later, I got a call from my OB GYN office letting me know that my results came back a little iffy, and so I would need to do a three hour panel–meaning that I would have to get four blood tests in three hours, and drink a different version of the sundex fluid. I immediately tried getting myself mentally prepared for the worst, assuming I had gestational diabetes. The nurse I spoke with instructed me to follow a diet heavy with carbs (oh no, so awful *crylaughemoji*), and a serving of cake and soda per day to challenge the way my body metabolized sugar. She mailed me a list of foods including bagels, potatoes, etc. For the last day at the office and that weekend, I’d be living la vida high-carb

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The meme I made and insta’d to share my plight

On my first day as a stay-at-home-mom-to-be, I sat in the waiting room of my Baby Doctor’s for my three-hour, reading the book, “Fuck it–Do what you Love,” which would be my theme for the rest of my pregnancy and beyond. It wasn’t easy leaving the office, and I still had my reservations on being “just” a SAHM, but in my heart I knew that was what I wanted to do, that was what I was beginning to love, and so I read up and had what must have been a gallon of blood drawn from my left arm.

Around the third trimester, I began to develop some severe insomnia, laying awake until nearly 3am almost every morning. Insomnia is normal in the third trimester, or so I’ve read, and honestly it kind of prepares you for the sleep (or lack thereof) you’re going to be getting with a new baby. But in addition to this condition, I also began battling some dark and scary thoughts and moods…I’ll detail that more in a future post.

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Another meme I put together to express my dilemma

But my last few months of pregnancy were not all bleak! I felt pretty well, all things considered. My baby shower, thrown by one of my best friends who goes by the alias, Ryuu (She’s also a bit of a writer, and an awesome artist! Check her out here! )threw me a Retro Gaming/Arcade baby shower in our hometown. Just about all of my closest friends were in attendance, as well as my closest family members. I had a coed baby shower, as I didn’t believe in excluding my male friends and relatives from the celebration of my baby, and they all had a blast.

 

My shower was a gender reveal, and at the end we put everyone’s need-to-know to rest by filling a green balloon “monster” with blue confetti, and inflate it a la dig-dug until it popped. Once the mini-explosion sounded, blue shreds of metallic paper shaped like carriages and baby bottles fluttered through the air to collective applause and, I-knew-it’s, all livestreamed by my other best friend for faraway family and friends to see. Everything went beautifully and perfectly, and I’ll never forget that day.


We got so many wonderful gifts for our son that day, and I could really feel the love in the room. That was the best thing about that day, to me, to be able to have all of my loved ones there to celebrate their new grandson/nephew(biological or otherwise)/cousin, etc. For the first time in a while, I felt peace and happiness.

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I had a couple of needed beach trips with my other other best friend (yes I have three best friends), cyanidekisses (Another awesome writer on this site! If you’re a gypsy hearted millennial who’s trying to figure it all out, check her out!) One to the lake and the other to York Beach. This is where I got my maternity shoot(s) done:


The rest of my third trimester was relatively restful. I built my son’s crib, changing table, and bassinet with my husband, got the apartment as ready as possible for his arrival, and went about my daily duties as usual. I still ran errands and did chores, including taking out the trash, and went for walks as often as possible, even going out of my way to park at the farthest parking space in the middle of an August day for the sake of getting more steps, and putting away other people’s abandoned shopping carts. Needless to say, I got several weird looks and a few raised eyebrows from onlookers.
I remember having really bad lightening crotch the day before my 39 week appointment. I had considered walking around the mall, where I was in search of going-away cards for a party I would be attending that day, but as soon as I felt the surge of pain run through my pelvis, I figured, “maybe not,” and tried to make my way back to my car, having to stop every few feet as waves of daggers ran their way into my pubic bone. I tried to play it cool so that people wouldn’t start to flock to me, as I was all alone, so I’d stop and check my phone, digging my nails into the clutch I’d bought for my baby shower as I was walking through the nagging discomfort.
The next day I went through the motions of my 39 week appointment. As I was checking out, the receptionist said, “Now, if you have your baby before your 40 week appointment, don’t worry about calling us! The hospital will let us know and we’ll take care of it.”
I smiled wryly, and took the card she handed me. I told her I would see her next week.
But the thing is, I would not. But I’ll tell you all about that next time!

Third Trimester Hax

  • Gettin’ those Steps This really helped work out any discomfort I’d had, up until a point. For me, stretching my legs and squatting to pick things up gave me some strength to get through the last leg of the journey. I can’t promise moving will provide the same level of comfort for everyone, as everyone’s pregnancy is different, but it made a difference for me.
  • Hubbie’s Tees In addition to my yoga and sweat shorts, my husband’s shirts became a part of my third trimester esthetic (and I’ve carried it over to my fourth trimester into now). I was able to make it work so they sort of looked like my own shirts. But regardless of how they looked, towards the end, they were all the fit (comfortably), and guys’ shirts are so much more comfortable! I highly recommend raiding your baby daddy’s closet if you’re close to the edge!
  • You put the Lemon in the H2O this helped me digest the little amounts of food I could fit in my squished stomach, and made me feel cleansed and refreshed in the summertime.
  • Can we have class outside? My husband and I took a labor and delivery prep course and I took an infant care and breastfeeding course (my husband was unavailable, so I got him up to speed). I felt the labor class armed me with coping skills I’d not learned anywhere else, and the breastfeeding class gave good insight into what realistically to look forward to. Both classes helped to ease my worried mind, even just a little bit, going into this adventure.
  • Tea Time! I drank this Third Trimester Tea every night from 37 weeks on, and it helped to ease my insomnia somewhat and helped me to feel relaxed. It also tasted great! Always check with your doctor before taking anything with herbs, though!

What I wish I did Differently

  • Lemme (not) Take a Selfie! I felt sooo self conscious in my third trimester, so I held back during my pictures. And it shows. I wish I had let my blinders down and just embraced it, the pictures would have looked so much better.
  • Hello Darkness, my Old Frenemy… bottling my struggles did not do good for me. I feel if I had let people in about what was going on with me, my PPD wouldn’t have been as bad. But more on that later.
  • Namaste (in bed) there are many labor and birth prep videos available, and I wish I did more of these. I did one video the actual day I wound up starting labor that I think may have done the trick! I can’t promise anything, but I feel like there is something to birth prep yoga! More on that next time, though!
  • Rings Off! My Gals, d e f i n i t e l y be sure to take off your engagement/wedding/promise/for fun rings off, probably at the end of the second trimester!! I wanted to keep my engagement and wedding rings on for my baby shower, but having retained water and other fluids being heavily pregnant, and it being the middle of the summer, my rings ended up s t u c k to my finger and I had to get them cut off!! Take it from me, going a few months without your rings beats paying a couple of hundo to have them cut and fused again…

So that is my third trimester! Tune in next time to hear my labor and delivery story!
Thanks, my gals! Talk soon!