Surviving the Newborn Stage

Motherhood

Bringing our first child home from the hospital was probably the most exciting and nerve-wracking feeling I’ve ever felt. And now that she is 4.5 months old, I can actually say: WE DID IT. We survived. And it was harder than anyone ever told me it would be!

Not much will make it feel easy perse, but I do have some trips that might help out if you feel like you’re drowning in helplessness!

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1. People will offer help. SAY YES

You know how you normally decline help in effort to be polite? Don’t do that! Having a baby is hard in so many ways and good people that understand that want to help you. We had neighbors dropping off take out, friends taking our dog out while we were in the hospital, and of course people bringing an endless supply of diapers. It was SO nice to not have to worry about those sort of things while I was healing and bonding with our new baby. 10/10 would recommend!

2. Take turns being on baby duty

I feel like I will get some criticism for this because a lot of people believe the mom should do everything for the baby (*eye roll*). However, this worked wonders for me and Q. London would not sleep AT ALL at night for the first month and saying it was exhausting is a major understatement. We came up with a plan to split the night in half: he would stay up from 12am-4am and I would be up with her from 4am-8am. This way we would at least get 4 hours of sleep a night. Of course this only works if you are pumping or formula feeding, but I am all for giving dad some breastmilk in a bottle and giving him the chance to bond too!

3. Keep notes with any important information

I’m not sure if this applies to everyone, but our babe had some eating issues in the beginning. Every time we visited the pediatrician, we were given a ton of new information and tips on what we should try/not try. It was overwhelming trying to remember everything. I started a note on my phone and eventually put it up on the fridge, that way I didn’t have the added pressure of memorizing everything. Learning how to take care of a new baby was enough and I didn’t need the extra work.

4. Find joy in the little accomplishments

If you’re anything like me, you’re gonna want to be a natural at being a parent and expect everything to come easily. It most likely won’t (and if it does, I envy you). Don’t try to tackle on too much in one day. I remember the first time I took London out of the house by myself. I literally just walked down the street to the grocery store. But I felt so accomplished and so much more confident in my new role. So take pride in those little moments and trust that soon enough, you’ll be nursing on a plane, pumping the other side, and eating lunch all at the same time (true story. lol)

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At the end of the day, you’re going to find out what works for you and your family, despite all of the advice people will try to give you. Just smile and nod so that they can end their rant about why you should use one brand over another and keep doing you! xx

 

Embracing the “Mom Bod”

Fashion

It’s been 10 weeks since I gave birth. The initial weight loss that happens after delivering your baby has long gone and I’ve hit the “now you actually have to exercise” phase of my postpartum journey. And boy, it hasn’t been easy.

I was the girl who ate anything and everything while I was pregnant. I told myself that it’s my first time and I could just lose the weight later. I didn’t factor in that it would take 8 weeks to finally feel recovered enough to exercise. Or that I would be busy taking care of a newborn. Or that I would just be too tired some days to even think about going to the gym. So I had a rude awakening 2 weeks ago when I stepped on the scale and realized those last 22 pounds weren’t going to come off on their own.

Maybe it was that moment, or the fact that I literally can only fit into stretchy pants, but I realized that I desperately needed to lose weight for the sake of my self esteem. I had reached a point that I dreaded getting dressed for an event because I knew how many outfits I would try on and how many things wouldn’t fit. I would end up in a bad mood (and late) every time I would go somewhere. It was Q who finally convinced me that what I needed was a shopping trip. And he was right! I know I want to lose weight and I know I won’t be this size forever, but I also need to be patient with myself. My body birthed a whole human and it’s going to take some time to get back to normal. I need to be able to keep loving myself and loving my body, no matter what number ends up being on that  scale. I’m writing this post as a reminder to myself, and a reminder to you as well, because we all can use a little more self-love. So we went shopping (he even came with me!) and then had a little photo shoot to celebrate.

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Our Birth Story: 6/15/2018

Motherhood

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If you follow along here, first of all, THANK YOU! Second of all, you’ve probably been wondering where the third trimester bumpdate went and why I have been MIA for a while. Well, surprise! Our little girl decided to join us early, so I never even got the chance to post my last update! We have been taking some time away from technology and social media to enjoy our daughter and adjust to the parent life. And boy oh boy, do I have some stuff to say about that adjustment, but that’s for another post!

In this post, I wanted to share about our birth story. It was nothing like I had planned or envisioned, but I know that it was exactly how God had ordained in His plan. As usual, skip to the end if you want to avoid some TMI-type details.

On Wednesday, June 13, I went to the bathroom and noticed that I had lost my mucous plug (gross, I know). I didn’t freak out, since I had read that it could still be weeks before you go into labor once losing your plug. So I came back to the living room to continue binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy with Quinton and non-chalantly shared the news. He freaked out and asked if we should be driving to the hospital! I laughed and reassured him that we probably weren’t going into labor “anytime soon”.

On Thursday, June 14, I woke up and noticed my underwear was wet. I wasn’t sure if this was another weird pregnancy symptom, or if it could maybe possibly be my water?! We decided to get checked at the hospital after consulting with the 24-hour nurse line. Per Q’s decision, we did not bring the hospital bag, because now he was convinced we weren’t having this baby, lol.

After waiting in triage for over an hour, I was told my water had broken, I was 3cm dilated, and I was having contractions 4-5 minutes apart. All of this was a surprise to me, because I was hardly feeling any pain! I waited 8 hours before getting the epidural, which I was so grateful for by that point.

Around 5:30 AM on June 15th, it was time to push. Within 20 minutes of pushing, London was born. Unfortunately, she had aspirated some fluid during the delivery and had to be sent to NICU before we had even gotten to hold her. While she was rushed out of the room, the doctors pumped me full of medications, due to losing more blood than expected. They “massaged” my uterus, to help it contract, but it felt nothing like a massage. I’m pretty sure that pain was worse than the birth itself! While I’m so eternally grateful for the doctors who provided her care, it was not at all what I had imagined for our first few days of being parents. Due to baby girl staying in the NICU, we weren’t able to hold her for the first 24 hours. I wasn’t able to do skin-to-skin or to breastfeed. Everything I had requested on my birth plan was denied to me. While I completely understood the situation, it didn’t make it easier to experience and I had to spend some time learning to accept  it all.

London was finally able to come home five days after her birth. It was the happiest and most nerve-wrecking feeling to bring her home after having around the clock care for so long! The days that followed were a challenge, but I was happy to be able to take it on with my husband by my side. Through everything that went wrong, he was such a source of support and strength. I now feel like there isn’t much we can’t get through together.

 

Happy Mother’s Day

Motherhood

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I won’t lie. Growing up, Mother’s Day was just an excuse to get to go out for lunch after church and give my mom an extra hug or two. As I got older, it became another holiday where I had to buy yet another gift. Fast forward to today, and I think I finally understand and appreciate the privilege it is to celebrate this day.

I was in church last weekend when the pastor asked all of the moms to raise their hand to acknowledge them. I didn’t raise my hand because I thought, “do people even consider me a mom yet?” Instantly, my husband leaned over and (loudly) whispered, “why didn’t you raise your hand?!” I laughed it off, but he was right. I’ve had one person refer to me as a “mom-to-be” during this pregnancy, and I must admit, I’m not fond of the term. I am a mom. Even though this girl still has a few weeks to cook in there, I’ve already taken on the role of being her mother. I’ve gone through hours of training during my childbirth & breastfeeding classes, I’ve had to make big decisions regarding her well-being, I’ve had to make sacrifices and put her before myself – things a mother does for her child.

So this Mother’s Day is for me.

It’s also for the mothers with children in heaven. For the women who are trying to conceive. For the women who only got the chance to know their child’s heartbeat. For the women who may not “officially” be mothers, but raised children as if they were their own.

Mother’s Day belongs to you too.

I hope that you feel that and believe it as much as I do. And I hope you are celebrated today and everyday, because you are remarkable. Happy Mother’s Day, mommas.

 

Product Review: Tree Hut Skincare

Beauty

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One of the not-so-wonderful side effects I’ve experienced in this pregnancy is dryness. On my legs, hands, and face. I’m ashamed to say that I hadn’t switched up my usual skincare routine in years, so I was clueless when trying to figure out what products to look for.

I reached out to Tree Hut and they generously sent me some products to help remedy my situation! Read on to see my thoughts below:

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I’m a huge fan of spending my Saturday night curled up on the couch, watching a movie, and trying out a new face mask. I was particularly happy with this product because there was no painful peeling involved at the end and no rinsing! This purifying sheet mask is infused with charcoal, lavender, and hollyhock extracts. It helps with:

  • Drawing out impurities
  • Hydrating & Cooling skin
  • Leaving Skin feeling rejuvenated

 

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I followed up the face mask with Tree Hut’s protecting daily moisturizer. I’m a big fan of any moisturizer that is lightweight, but still has SPF to protect my skin from too much sun. Use this moisturizer for:

  • UVA/UVB Protection
  • Light-weight Hydration

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To aid the dryness on my hands and legs, I used the 24-hour Intense Hydrating Shea Body Butter. This coconut lime scent makes you feel like you’re on vacation on a tropical island! I applied this body butter at night, after taking a shower and felt that it really helped soften my dry skin.

 

Let me know if you try any of these products out, or if you have any other holy grail skincare products that I need to check out!

Bumpdate: Second Trimester

Motherhood

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I found out that it’s true what they say. The second trimester is indeed the “honeymoon” stage of the pregnancy. Physically, I didn’t have many symptoms at all. Some minor dizziness and hilarious moments we’ll attribute to pregnancy brain. But emotionally, I was all over the place. The mood swings from the first trimester continued and possibly multiplied. This could also be due to the fact that I was in the midst of planning a wedding and figuring out a move, but that’s a separate blog post to come later!

I was all over the place emotionally because I was going back and forth between feeling happy and fortunate to be pregnant with every kick and roll I felt, and feeling embarrassed by the many stares and remarks from others about my size. I know I’ve touched on this here before, but to reiterate, being pregnant is hard! Growing a human is hard! The world needs to cut pregnant women some slack. There is so much pressure to look good, have a perfect basketball-shaped belly, and be a “fit mom”, even before you’ve delivered your child. I can’t tell you how many people made comments about how I look like I’m “about to pop”, and I have to awkwardly respond that I still have 2.5 months to go! It definitely took a toll on me for a little there. By 25 weeks, I had already gained about 20 pounds. It wasn’t at all what I imagined when I pictured being pregnant, but I’ve accepted it. I’ve accepted the stretch marks, the chunky cheeks, and the fact that I’ll have my work cut out for me when I get back into the gym this fall. And that’s okay! Because at least for right now, I can continue enjoying feeling my little girl tumble around my tummy (and an extra donut with sprinkles!)

5 Tips for Healthyish Eating During Pregnancy

Motherhood

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Healthyish. 

I am probably the first person to admit that I’m not the healthy one when it comes to eating. During the first trimester, I rationalized my excuses by saying I was “too nauseous” to worry about eating my vegetables and “any food is better than no food!” But by the second trimester, I read that the baby begins to take in amniotic fluid and can taste just about everything mom is tasting. That definitely made me feel guilty about all the pizza and fries I’d been pigging out on! I knew I wanted to eat healthier, but being the picky eater I am, I didn’t have a clue where to start. So I talked to my doctor who helped me come up with some tips that I’m sharing with you all:

1. Pack a Lunch

I’m ashamed to admit that I eat fast food way more than I should- probably three times a week. I’m on the road often for work, so it’s convenient to go through a drive-thru and order some chicken nuggets for lunch. I don’t think I even need to explain why that isn’t the best option. Instead, I’ve opted to pack my lunch at least three times a week. This has helped soooo much in regards to making healthier choices. Since I don’t have much junk food at home, I’m pretty much forced to pack something good for me and little one, which is definitely a win!

2. Stay Hydrated

One of the things I hear almost daily (from everyone I talk to) is a reminder to drink water. Not only does it help with those obnoxious headaches and preventing stretch marks, but it helps curb some of those cravings you get at random times of the day. In addition to delivering nutrients to your baby, which is pretty important.

3. Start off with Desserts

I don’t mean like, for breakfast. But if you’re going to indulge in some sweets, doing so earlier in the day can be beneficial. This is because your body continues to be active for the remainder of the day, giving it the chance to burn off excess sugars you may have consumed. Whatever isn’t burned when your metabolism slows down by the time you go to sleep will be stored as fats. Take that for motivation!

4. Get your 30 minutes of Exercise

My primary goal in eating healthier is to make sure my child is getting the vitamins and nutrients she needs. But if I’m being honest, I also want to stay away from eating junk food 24/7 because I dread gaining too much weight during pregnancy. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, of course. On these days, I make sure I carve out enough time after work to do 30 minutes of cardio. It might not erase all of the bad eating I did during the day, but it definitely helps.

5. Find Healthier Alternatives to your Favorite Foods

For me, this is pizza! I can go without a lot, but I can’t resist a good slice of cheese pizza from Pizza Hut. And when I have pizza, I always want soda. I just feel like you can’t have one without the other, but that’s a totally different topic. One fix for me has been making healthier versions of these foods at home. Buying some dough and low-fat toppings for home is much better than buying processed, greasy food (as good as it tastes) from a chain restaurant. For soda alternatives, check out the Ice Sparkling Water flavors!

Skinnytaste is a website I found a while back that has plenty of healthier versions of my favorite comfort foods. Check them out!

 

I hope this info helps some of you out as much as it’s helped me. Cheers to healthier eating!

 

 

Styling the Bump

Fashion

Pregnancy has brought out insecurities about my body I never knew existed. I find myself comparing my body to other pregnant women I see on Instagram or analyzing the roundness of my belly, thinking it doesn’t look like it “should”. It’s all bologna. The truth is, my body is amazing for being able to go through all of the changes necessary to carry life. Every woman’s is! I decided to get off Instagram, get dressed up, and love myself for a little photoshoot. My go-to outfit has been a simple, comfy dress that I can either pair with heels for a night out, or dress down with sneakers. *The trick is to buy a size larger than you normally would, to compensate for the extra curves*

Check out the photos below for some bump-fashion inspo!

 

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Dress: Papaya, Duster Jacket: Kohl’s, Shoes: Lola Shoetique

 

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Dress: Papaya, Shoes: Adidas

 

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Dress: H&M, Jacket: Eden Sky, Shoes: Macy’s

10 Pregnancy Symptoms I Never Expected

Motherhood

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Maybe it’s because I wasn’t well-versed in the pregnancy/parenthood/baby universe, but I can definitely admit that I was NOT prepared for the (mostly gross) symptoms I would encounter throughout the course of pregnancy. Thankfully, the internet exists and I could verify that these were in fact “normal”, or I’d probably be convinced I was carrying a baby alien…

*Don’t read on if you’re squeamish*

1. Constipation

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It’s gross, I warned you. But this had to be number one, because it was the most unexpected and the most annoying of all the symptoms.

2. Bloating/Gas

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By the end of the day, your baby bump has grown 2x the size, depending on what you’ve had to eat. And by the morning, it’ll be back to it’s normal size! And then there’s the uncontrollable passing of gas. On the bright side, you’ll never feel more comfortable around your partner than during this time!

3. Insecurities

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If you’re anything like me, you’re under the impression that you’re supposed to be glowing and having an adorable round bump you love to show off on instagram. The reality is, there will be days you hate the way you look and change your outfit 8 times before leaving the house. It’s not easy to see your body change so drastically in such a short time, but in the end, it’s worth it for the health of your little one.

4. Headaches

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Some days you wake up with a headache that sticks around for 48 hours, and some days it’s brought on by the annoying moments in life you no longer have the patience for. (See below)

5. Mood Swings

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Okay. This one I had actually heard of, but for some reason, thought I would be immune to. It’s not a myth. There were days I cried because someone I hadn’t spoken to in 10 years couldn’t make it to my wedding. Followed by days I would get irritated at my fiance for not replying to my texts fast enough while he was at work. *shrug*

6. Breast Changes

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They grow. They hurt really bad. They grow some more. Your nipples change colors. They might even start to leak.

You’ll probably hate them, then love them, then hate them again. It’s part of that body-changing process.

7. Cramps

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This was definitely the one thing I thought I would get to do without for 9 months, since you know, no period. Duh. Not true, though. Your uterus stretching to the size of a melon makes for some crampy times. Sigh.

8. Food Aversions

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I’d heard of food cravings, but didn’t know food aversions were a possibility! Luckily, I didn’t have too much of this. The only thing I haven’t been able to stand so far is Chinese take-out. Probably for the best, since I’m trying to eat somewhat “healthy”.

9. Dry, Itchy Skin

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Okay this one has been HORRIBLE. Your boobs and belly itch SO much. And scratching causes stretch marks. So you’re just supposed to put coconut oil on and hope for the best. WHERE IS THE PREGNANCY GLOW.

10. Tickling Feeling of Movement

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You won’t notice it at first, but in time, you realize that thing that feels like your stomach doing backflips is actually your baby. It’s a weird sensation and I didn’t expect it to tickle. But I did come to love it and I’ll gladly endure all of the bad symptoms to keep experiencing this one.

Bumpdate: First Trimester

Motherhood

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If you’re reading this, it’s because I made it through one of the darkest and scariest times of a woman’s life-the first trimester. (Dun dun duuuuun). Let me take you back to the moment I found out I was pregnant. I had been on birth control for 6+ years and my fiancé and I were not planning to start a family for at least another 2 years.  So to say I was “surprised” is an understatement. I went through the typical stages post-peeing on a stick time: shock at those two life-altering lines, panic of how I’m going to have a baby and plan a wedding at the same time, and then the inevitable excitement of becoming a “mommy”. All of this followed by rapid google searching, since of course, I realized I had no idea what I was doing. The google searching ended up being a HORRIBLE idea. I read story to story of miscarriages, MISSED miscarriages, blighted ovums (WHAT), etc. By the end of the day, I was convinced something terrible was going to happen to my baby.

It’s a scary thing to be growing a tiny human inside of you not be able to peek in and make sure little one is doing okay. I was forced to breathe, stay positive, remind myself to trust my body, and most importantly- stay off baby forums. I remember thinking “how can I care about something so much, that I didn’t even realize I wanted more than a few weeks ago?” Needless to say, I was relieved when I hit the glorious 12 week mark. Of course, the worrying didn’t completely stop then, but it was a milestone I was happy to cross, as the chances of something going wrong decreased significantly. For the most part, 12 weeks also marked the end of the less-than-enjoyable symptoms that come along with pregnancy: nausea, fatigue, constipation, etc. I finally felt that I could relax and start to enjoy the wonders of pregnancy, as I entered what people refer to as the “honeymoon” stage- the second trimester.