Two under Two

Motherhood

Recently a sweet friend of mine encouraged me to “share the journey along the way”. Shortly after that conversation, I sat down to write this blog post- partially for her, partially for you readers, but mostly for myself.

I love this blog. I love having these awesome “aha!” moments of mommy hood and sharing them, in hopes it’ll help another mommy out. I wait until I feel like I’ve mastered (or at least have decent experience in 😅) a certain area of raising littles and then write it out here for the world to read! But to be honest, I haven’t had many of those “aha” moments with two under two. Let’s face it-two babies is HARD. Some days I’m feeding one baby in my arms while rocking the other in a bouncer with my foot and I think I’m killing it. Then the next day we sit on the couch for hours watching a Disney movie because I don’t have the energy for much else.

But even in the midst of the chaos, there have been moments that I have little revelations. Little moments where I think “this is what parents really need to hear.” So I’m here to tell you what I needed to know myself.

1. Give Yourself Grace

Don’t feel like you have to have it all together when people see you. You just had a baby. Not long after your first baby, mind you. Your body is still healing. Emotionally, you’re still adjusting. You’re not expected to be the mom wearing makeup, going to the gym, and baking cookies for the holiday party. The time for that will come. For now, focus on getting as much rest as you can. Bond with your new baby and cuddle as much as time will allow.

2. Remind Yourself It’s Just a Phase

This time around, the phrase “it goes by so fast” has so much more meaning. With your first child you hear it repeatedly, but the weight of it doesn’t quite sink in until their first birthday where you’re left wondering where all the time went.

On the days when your toddler is having tantrum after tantrum, the baby won’t let you put him down, and you barely get enough sleep to function, remember that it’s just a phase. Three days from now, your toddler will learn new words to communicate her feelings. The baby will learn to self-soothe. And you might get lucky enough to get an 8-hour stretch of sleep at night too! So much changes in a matter of a few days. Take a deep breath and remember that.

3. Cut Corners Where You Can

Don’t try to do it all. If it’s stressing you out, find a way to make it less stressful. If it’s the dishes, use paper plates for a little while. If you can’t manage to get dinner together while taking care of two kids, buy some frozen meals.

The family will adjust.

What’s more important is your mental health and well-being. If there’s something that can be done to make your life a teensy bit easier, you deserve to do it.

4. Sit Down and Play Tea Party for the 500th Time

When all else fails, drop everything else and sit down to play. What I learned is that when the kids are crying and I can’t figure out what they need, it’s most likely my attention. So put the work down and be present with them for a little while. Not only will it make the crying stop, but forgetting your responsibilities for a short time can actually do you some good.

Time is truly a thief. So embrace those tiny moments (and tiny humans) as much as you can.

My Second Birth Story

Motherhood

It’s true what they say- every baby and every pregnancy is different from the other. With London, my water broke and while it was a small leak, it was clear that I was in labor and we would be having a baby. This time around, it was a little different.

I started experiencing what’s called “prodromal labor” in the weeks leading up to my due date. I was having regular, painful contractions that were 3-5 minutes apart. I went into triage about 4 times, thinking I was in labor. They would monitor me, check my cervix, and determine that there was no change. I was 3cm dilated already by 37 weeks, but my cervix wasn’t changing with the contractions. Each time we were sent home was a disappointment.

During each visit with my OB, she was surprised that I still hadn’t given birth! I was even more dilated every week that I went in. By 39 weeks, I was 4.5cm dilated and 70% effaced. We decided to try a membrane sweep to help speed things along. That night, I woke up to painful contractions again, but I didn’t think much of it since I had been having false labor contractions for weeks. I waited to see if they got more intense, but by morning, they had pretty much disappeared. By this point I was so tired and so ready to have this baby. I spent the afternoon walking the neighborhood to see if it would help start anything. I did lose more of my mucus plug, but still no (strong enough) contractions.

That night I woke up yet again to pretty painful contractions. I wasn’t hopeful, but my mom encouraged me to go into triage to at least have a cervix check. I was told that if I was at a 5, it is considered active labor and they would have to admit me. When we got in, the nurse checked me and determined I was only 1cm dilated. I was so confused because my OB told me I was 4.5 just two days earlier. I waited to be monitored and checked again after an hour. This time a second nurse came in and said she agreed that I was 1.5cm. I don’t know if it was the hormones, the exhaustion, or a mixture, but I was very frustrated and insisted on a doctor performing another cervix check because of the discrepancy. Thank God I did, because the doctor came and determined I was indeed 5cm dilated. He called my OB down to check me herself and she said I was actually 7cm dilated and admitted me right away! It was all so confusing and shocking, but I was just relieved to finally have the baby and be done with labor.

The rest of the day went as smoothly as I could’ve hoped for. I was able to get an epidural and it worked wonderfully. I was admitted at 9:30am and was ready to push by 3:00pm. I pushed for about 40 minutes and realized something was off by the number of people in the room and the fact that baby still was not out. I later learned that baby was much bigger than expected and had gotten stuck behind my pelvic bone. During the last push, one doctor had to assist by pushing down on my stomach while my OB pulled baby by the shoulders. Elias Ezekiel was born 11lbs even. Other than a small fracture, he had no health complications and Q was able to cut the cord. We were able to do immediate skin to skin and all of my prayers were answered about an easy and “normal” vaginal delivery.

I am still so thankful for an amazing doctor who always had mine and baby’s best interests in mind. We have spent the last month adjusting to our new family of 4 and loving every minute. London is the sweetest big sister and is obsessed with her baby brother. Christmas truly came early for us this year 🥰

Collab with Pink Blush

Fashion

Okay, I know it’s been a loooong minute and you can totally be annoyed at me for not writing on the blog for months. Truth is, being pregnant and running after a toddler all day is tiring! BUT, I’m making it a mission to keep this thing going. So I thought I’d share a little something fashion-related.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I recently did a collab with Pink Blush. I have been absolutely loving their shop these days! With this being my second pregnancy, the bump is showing loud and proud. To be honest, my self-esteem took a hit when I saw myself getting bigger so quickly. Then Pink Blush reached out and I found so many cute and affordable options that I can wear and feel great in! These are just a couple of the looks I’ve rocked recently.

https://www.pinkblushmaternity.com/p-53074-black-striped-layered-tie-front-maternity-dress.aspx?DepartmentID=1&utm_source=Bermariejerez&utm_medium=collab&utm_campaign=october2019

https://www.pinkblushmaternity.com/p-52426-mauve-striped-half-sleeve-maternity-maxi-dress.aspx?DepartmentID=1&utm_source=Bermariejerez&utm_medium=collab&utm_campaign=october2019

https://www.pinkblushmaternity.com/p-45272-red-plaid-button-accent-front-tie-maternity-top.aspx?DepartmentID=1&utm_source=Bermariejerez&utm_medium=collab&utm_campaign=october2019

 

I’m normally hesitant to order online because I worry about quality, but these dresses really surprised me. I would definitely recommend checking them out if you’re currently expecting, or even if you’re not! They have a section of women’s clothing (not maternity) as well, so get your shopping on!

https://www.shoppinkblush.com

https://www.pinkblushmaternity.com/default.aspx?

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!