Baby’s First Quirks

Having your first baby is a magical experience!

You just birthed a beautiful bundle of joy that you get to love and care for for the rest of your life.

In the first few weeks to months, some unfamiliar things might happen to your baby and you might feel the need to panic, especially if it’s your first baby.

Here are a few quick things that you might not be prepared for or aware of:

Baby acne: exactly what it sounds like.

It comes and goes pretty quickly, but it could feel like a century. Some babies get acne in a few small spots. Some babies get it all over their entire face. Baby acne is very bothersome to Mom because there’s nothing to do about it.

Don’t fret! It’ll pass.

And some babies never get it at all.

But just be aware that it can happen and it’s completely normal. You haven’t done anything wrong.

I put some breastmilk on my baby’s face where the acne developed and it resolved pretty quickly.

Other face rashes

My baby also got a random red rash on her cheeks pretty frequently. It would come and go.

Maybe it was the laundry detergent perfumes in my bedsheets?

Maybe it was from excessive cheek-kissing?

Who knows?

My solution: I put breastmilk on it each time and it went away.

Cradle cap: patches of raised dry, white or yellow/brown flakes on baby’s scalp. Sometimes gathered in the front of baby’s scalp by the hair line, or all over the scalp.

You might think your baby has developed a mysterious disease overnight, but that’s not the case. It’s just that too much oil is being produced by the hair follicles and this is the result.

It will go away on its own within a few weeks or months. You can wash your baby’s hair daily to loosen the scales if the cradle cap is bothering you too much.

Again, it’s completely normal and you haven’t done anything wrong.

Sensing a trend here?

I put breastmilk all over my baby’s scalp and massaged it in and I personally think it helped resolve her cradle cap. Breastmilk is a miracle worker.

Watery eye(s)

Your newborn might get watery eyes when he or she isn’t crying. This happens because either one or both of your baby’s tear ducts is blocked.

My baby’s pediatrician said to massage the inner section of her eye with a clean, dry or gloved finger, or a warm washcloth to unclog the tear duct. However, my baby hated when we did this, so we pretty much just let it resolve on it’s own.

Dry eyes

Fun fact: baby’s don’t have tears right away! They take time to develop, usually a month or few.

So, if you see your baby crying but not a single tear falls, don’t worry. It’s normal and there’s nothing to be done about it.

(You might even be too exhausted to realize that your baby is crying without tears.)

Miscellaneous issues:

Your baby may experience other similar or not-so-similar quirks during the newborn stage.

Whatever it is, it’s probably normal, you haven’t done anything wrong, and it’ll go away on it’s own.

BUT always check with your baby’s Pediatrician just to be sure!

Mothering Matters

Becoming a Mom has made me reflect on my relationship with my own mother, and has given me a glimpse of her mindset

As a mother, you will do anything for your child.

ANYTHING!

You protected your baby for 9months inside of you

You fed yourself healthy (and sometimes not-so-healthy) food so she could reap the benefits

You kept your body healthy so you could birth her safely

You continued to work so you could provide for her

You drove safely (well, maybe you still sped a little, but who doesn’t sometimes?)

You stopped having your favorite drink for 9months while everyone else around you was thoroughly enjoying theirs

You were overall cautious

And you will continue to protect her for life

You’ll wipe away every tear

Heal every injury

Rejoice with every smile

And be there for every moment in between

You’ll teach her right from wrong

You’ll be her first confidante

You’ll be an example of how she’ll live her life

She might even inadvertently turn into you one day

You get to be there for her through

friendships that come and go

relationships that come and go

situations that seem impossible to face alone

the whole nine

My mother has been there for me all of my life, sure.

But she has taken motherhood to the next level since the birth of my daughter.

She has fully embodied the term “grand mother”

Doing everything a mother does

But on a bigger scale

She gives my husband and I breaks to sleep or go out

She feeds our daughter

changes her

loses sleep for her

loves her endlessly

Of course, I do all of these things for my daughter too,

But the fact that my mother does these things for me, and for her granddaughter, makes me see just how much love she has for us

She might not always say those three words, but she shows them in countless ways every day

I’m so excited to be all of that for Lena and more

Here’s to the irreplaceable bond between mother and daughter

For me and my girl

For all moms and their girls

Let it be this authentic forever

Labor is Almost Never What You Expect

Towards the end of my pregnancy, I had an entire labor experience mentally planned out.
I visualized myself and my husband walking to the Labor and Delivery unit at the hospital.
I saw my vitals being checked
My labor progression status being assessed
I saw us waking to the birthing suite that contained the hydrotherapy tub.
I envisioned myself birthing my baby girl in that tub almost effortlessly…
Here, you may wonder how I thought I’d ever walk anywhere while in intense labor.
Well, I studied hypnobirthing during my pregnancy, so I envisioned myself breathing through each phase calmly and confidently.
I had heard the term “hypnobirthing” briefly during nursing school, but hadn’t thought about it much since then.
So, I looked it up and read that basically…(and I’m seriously paraphrasing here)…
-Hypnobirthing is a natural method of labor and delivery that focuses on putting the mind, body, and baby in charge of everything instead of allowing the healthcare professionals to call all the shots.
-In essence, hypnobirthing allows you to tap into your natural instincts of how to birth your baby. Your body knows what to do. Your baby knows what to do. So everything should happen according to those two factors.
-There’s no need to experience pain, because pain is just a direct result of your fear of the entire experience, based on what you’ve heard from family/friends and seen on television growing up. (Crazy idea, I know. I thought so, too)
-Women have given birth naturally for centuries before the influence of western medicine. Hypnobirthing is a way to tap into that natural process by calming the body and mind, and using different breathing and visual techniques.
[Side note: I don’t think all western medicine techniques are unnecessary, as I ended up using many myself. I’m just summarizing what I read in the book “Hypnobirthing: the Mongan Method. A Natural Approach In a Safe, Easier, More Comfortable Birthing” by Marie F. Mongan.]
I read on and decided that this all sounded great to me!
I practice yoga and meditation (not as often as I should).
I try to eat healthy and mind what I put into my body.
So this natural method of childbirth seemed to be right up my alley.
In addition to the book, I also bought the audio tracks on my Amazon Music app and listened to them almost nightly from week 30, on.
I won’t lie and say that my labor was painless.
During pregnancy, I watched many YouTube videos of women claiming that hypnobirthing works tremendously and that they didn’t experience any pain at all during labor and the birthing of their baby, only slight discomfort.
Well, in the beginning, that was my experience also. I actually didn’t even know that I was in early labor. I only went to the hospital because I woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and realized that I didn’t feel my baby moving, and that I hadn’t felt her move in a few hours.
When I got to the hospital and was assessed, the midwife told me that everything was fine, and in fact, I was in early labor; 5cm dilated, 90% effaced.
Wow!
There I was at home earlier that same day thinking I was still just having Braxton Hicks contractions.
I guess I should’ve figured it out when I was feeling them every 10 minutes all day long.
But, it didn’t click. I blame preggo brain.
My husband, Jay, and I even went outside for a long walk in the park that day. My goal was to get things going, but I didn’t know that I actually did.
At the hospital, I kept breathing through my labor contractions as Jay watched them on the monitor. He’d make a face every time he saw one coming in anticipation of my agony, but I didn’t show any.
So, to that extent, I would say that hypnobirthing was partially effective for me.
Until
I was still in labor come Sunday morning (2 days later). I tried everything to make my labor progress more quickly.
Jay and I walked the halls.
I sat on the birthing ball and did exercises, which I must say were much more painful during labor than they were at home a few days prior!
I did squats.
I tried nipple stimulation with a breast pump- which did work initially by making my contractions stronger and closer together, but then the contractions started to spread further apart again.
I drank Red Raspberry Leaf tea-some people swear by it…it did NOTHING for me.
My Lena Beans was just not ready to come out yet…
After about 28 hours of labor, the midwife asked if I wanted to try Pitocin to speed things along.
Pitocin is the synthetic form of oxytocin-the natural hormone released in a woman’s body during labor to create contractions and birth a baby.
She would give me Pitocin through my I.V. to speed things along.
I said no initially.
I waited it out for about an hour but then exhaustion set in hard.
I had been up for over 48 hours. The contractions were starting to get intense but still not close enough together to be in “active labor”. The breathing techniques I had learned over the past few weeks weren’t helping me manage the pain anymore. I was more than ready for this part to be over.
I kept thinking about the midwife’s suggestion.
So, I caved. I allowed Pitocin administration.
That kicked my contractions into high gear.
And I mean HIGH!
It was more than I could bear at that point.
I told my husband I wanted an epidural and he went to get the nurse right away.
His total support with me in this decision meant everything. Honestly, I was afraid that I ‘d look weak if I got an epidural.
For moms who openly plan to go natural, there’s such a stigma on getting an epidural. I had even told myself years ago that I would never ever get one after being traumatized in nursing school from seeing one administered firsthand.
But let me tell you, when you’ve been up for days, laboring for hours and hours, you may very well reach a point of pure exhaustion bordering insanity. I’m half joking but kinda serious because I was also dealing with PUPPP. Look it up. It’s AWFUL. That alone made me wanna get my baby out ASAP so I could have some relief.
Back to my point…I finally asked for an epidural, which I couldn’t receive for at least 40 minutes because I had to get the standard fluid bolus through my I.V. first. (So ladies, if you think you want an epidural during your labor, try your best to give the staff notice a good 45 minutes ahead of time.)
I experienced a super intense contraction during the epidural insertion, but I had to be very still to avoid paralysis.
Being extremely still while a huge needle is going into your back is hard enough.
Add an intense contraction on top of that? Whew.
We women are unstoppable goddesses.
Once the epidural was in and the medicine kicked in, I was extremely relaxed.
I didn’t feel A SINGLE THING.
At that point, the idea of natural birth went out the window and I decided that epidurals were the best invention on the planet. I had to remind myself that the main goal is to birth my baby by any means necessary.
[Another side note: I encourage any woman to go natural if that’s what you truly desire. It is possible! And I’m sure it’s very rewarding when achieved. This is just my story of what ended up happening to me, so don’t let it discourage you in any way. You have your own body and hopefully a baby that is much more eager to join this world than mine was.]
The midwife encouraged my husband and I to take a nap since we’d been up for so long.
And did we!
We knocked out for 2 hours until I was checked again.
The midwife said I was almost there, and to let her know when I felt like I had to have a bowel movement.
Another two hours later, I felt like Lena had moved down further, so I called the midwife in to assess me again.
I was right. It was go time!
At this point I was too in the zone to even show my excitement. I was in shock that it was really time to push…that I was really about to meet my little girl, but I could barely even keep my eyes open. Outside of exhaustion I believe I was in a hypnotic state at that point thanks to the hypnobirthing audio tracks I’d listened to endlessly for weeks.
I pushed with each subsequent contraction and 20 minutes later, my baby girl was born!
Then there were a few complications postpartum and I just laid there while the midwives worked to stabilize me.
Soooo yea
No hydrotherapy tub like I’d imagined
No smooth-sailing labor
That entire experience was more than I ever imagined it to be!
This may sound like a complete nightmare to you, but even as I retell my story, I have happiness in my heart about it all.
Everything I went through gave my husband and I the greatest gift we could ever imagine, and I wouldn’t trade her for all the money in the world.
Pain is only temporary and the joy you experience after you birth your miracle baby is priceless.
However your Labor and Delivery experience goes, you will look back on it fondly and smile at the thought of your precious one(s).
Be brave. Be strong. Be confident.
You got this!
Love,
Meg

Weight, what?

Motherhood brings out this whole new side of a woman.

Start with pregnancy…

It’s this (typically) 9 month-long journey filled with many ups and downs.

I’ll be real, my experience was not how I always imagined it to be.

Some women have flawless pregnancies and just love every moment of it. (Ladies, tell me your secrets!)

TV portrays pregnancy to be this wonderful, magical experience once the morning sickness phase is over.

That may very well be the case for some women.

For me? Not so much.

I was extremely nauseous for the first 4 months of my pregnancy with Lena.
I only actually vomited a handful of times, but I was nauseous A LOT. Trust me, being perpetually nauseous is worse than the act of vomiting itself.

Because of said nausea, pretty much all I could stomach during that time was toast/bagels/any type of bread I could get my hands on, dry cereal, pizza, applesauce… annnnd I think that’s about it.

I started to worry a bit after my first trimester ended because I had lost 3lbs instead of gaining any weight. My OB said this was normal, so I didn’t panic.
I did think it was strange though. I’d been carb-loading like I was training for a triathlon, yet I lost weight?

Somewhere around week 20-ish I steadily started gaining weight; about a pound a week.

Cool.

But then it rapidly increased…

After pound 25, I wanted to put myself on a diet.
I was only at about week 26, and I knew I had a ways to go before little miss Lena left my body to join this world. If I kept gaining weight at this rate, I’d be as big as a house by the end!
But, I knew that my baby needed nutrients and that this was all a part of pregnancy.
Again, my OB told me that everything was fine, to keep doing what I was doing and she would worry about the weight if it got out of hand.
She told me she had gained 58lbs during her first pregnancy and ended up weighing as much as her husband in the end, and she was still perfectly healthy.

That made me feel a bit better.

Around week 34, I had gained almost 10 lbs of fluid that week alone from being overworked!
I’m a nurse, so my job requires a lot of standing and constant movement. I had worked 4 out of 5 twelve hour nightshifts in a row, and it proved to be too much for my body to handle. I felt mostly fine, just a little short of breath here and there, which was expected at that point of pregnancy.
However, during my OB visit that week, my blood pressure was high and I had significant swelling in my face, hands, legs, and feet.

Needless to say, my OB was now worried.
Like, high-key red alert worried.
She wrote me off of work for a week until she re-evaluated me.

Many people would panic at this point.

I was concerned about my health, sure.
However, I was more concerned that she might keep me out of work until my delivery date, because that would only give me about a month at home with my newborn before having to return to work.
How could I have a newborn, learn how to breastfeed, go through the rollercoaster of postpartum emotions, deal with sleep deprivation, and return to work only a few short weeks later?
That would be devastating!

Luckily, at the next visit I had lost 7lbs of fluid and looked much better, so my OB was okay with me returning to work.
YAY!

I ended up stopping work 2 weeks later because my blood pressure increased again.
I was also feeling more short of breath, and the swelling had returned.

Bright side: at least I went back to work for 2 more weeks instead of staying home wasting my leave time.

By the end of my pregnancy with Lena, I had gained a whopping 54 pounds!

So yeah, that was not my favorite part of pregnancy.

I am now a little over 3 months postpartum and I have lost 36 of those extra 54 pounds. I’m feeling more and more like myself every week. I’m learning to be patient with my body and to appreciate the journey that it’s going through.

I realize that I went through a tremendous physical change; and while some women snap back within a few short weeks of delivering their babies, it takes other women a little longer, and that’s okay.

Ladies, my tip to you: ignore the pressure of society to need to immediately “snap back” into your pre-pregnancy body (or better).
Sure, you can strive to be back to your old self, but shouldn’t be the highest priority on your list (unless your career requires you to look a certain way).
You have a new life to take care of, while simultaneously continuing to do the hundreds of other daily activities that you do.
It’s okay to take it slow.
It’s okay to rest.
It’s okay to be exactly how you are.
No matter what state your postpartum body is in, it is perfectly imperfect, because you’re human.
Love yourself. Love your journey. And most importantly, love that/those little baby/babies that you have just recently given birth to.

Love,
Meg

My First Mother’s Day

How fitting that I launch my Mom blog on Mother’s Day?

This holiday has made me reflect on the journey of becoming a Mother, and the past 3 months with my daughter.

Motherhood started the moment that I found out I was pregnant, and it will never end. It’s a beautiful lifelong journey, bound to have many ups and downs, twists and turns, because life isn’t perfect 100% of the time.

Pregnancy brought on a 10-month-long series of physical and emotional changes. Because, c’mon, 40 weeks is equivalent to 10 months, not 9. I don’t care what anyone says, you feel those changes in the first 4 weeks. THEY MATTER!
(More to come on that.)

Labor and delivery was the most empowering experience I’ve ever had in my life! If I could bypass pregnancy and go straight to birthing, I’d probably have a tribe lol.
(More to come on that, also.)

The newborn phase is without a doubt the most exhausting phase thus far. It takes a toll on your body, mind, and general state of being. I feel like a highly-functioning zombie most of the time. I do strange things like put the almond milk away in the pantry. (Luckily, I usually recognize mistakes like that before they get too out of hand.)

I know each stage of life from here on will have its own challenges, and I may complain throughout them. But, I wouldn’t trade my beautiful baby for the world. She is perfect and I’m blessed to have her for the rest of my life.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mommas out there, rookies and veterans alike!

You are strong. You are honored. You are loved.

Intro to Motherhood

The first month of motherhood taught me:

•Patience

-with my body: the first two weeks I was still very sore, tired (wait, that hasn’t changed), and my body was slowly recovering…losing excess fluid, organs shifting back into place, etc.
I was happy to have my body back to myself, but I had to learn to take things slowly since it was nowhere near back to pre-pregnancy status.
-with my baby: she’s new here this time. She’s learning me, and I’m learning her. Figuring out what she needs with each different cry is a constant guessing game, but I’m getting better at it.
-with my emotions: because the rollercoaster starts when I least expect it. Postpartum hormones are strong and unpredictable. I cried on the way home from the hospital because Lena was crying in the car seat and I couldn’t take her out to console her. That’s so unlike me. I’m a NICU nurse, I’m used to babies crying. In fact, truthfully I’m kinda numb to it…but something about hearing your own baby cry breaks your heart (especially 2 days postpartum). So I lost it for a minute…or 10, but laughed about it later that day. I still have my moments when I cry with her because she’s screaming from gas pains.
Then there’s the emotional cry “OMG I just love her so much!”
On the other hand, there’s the laugh attacks; sometimes at random things, but most of the time, at her. She makes the most entertaining faces I’ve ever seen, and I lose it lol.
She’s been giggling in her sleep since day 3, and it warms my heart every time. She’s extremely smiley, too. She lives up to her middle name meaning “Happy One”
•Love

– for my daughter: obviously, but such an understatement. The amount of love I feel for Lena is unmatched. She is perfect to me. She’s the cutest, sweetest little person I have ever encountered.
-for my husband: watching him take care of her, play with her, and love her, makes me love him even more.
-for my mother: because motherhood, although abundantly beautiful, is the toughest hood there is; and I finally have a glimpse of how much she loves me, how much energy this takes, and how much she cares to do it all so selflessly. She’s been extremely helpful and is always there for us.
-for my father: I admire his love for his granddaughter and how hyper excited he is that she’s here.
-for my sister: her love for her niece was immediate and so full.
She helps me out and deals with my sometimes bossy requests, without saying a word-and I know she often wants to; ditto my husband.
•Gratitude

– that I was able to carry her for 39weeks

-that she is 100% healthy

-that I am 100% healthy and able to care for her

-that I am able to provide breastmilk for her
-for all the family and friends who love her already
I’m overall grateful for my life, and the people in it!

 

 

(written 3/11/18)

The Journey Begins

During pregnancy, I had the recurring thought to start a blog.

I just kept writing in my journal, knowing that no one else would see it and that I  probably would never read it again.

So, I figured why not make a blog instead? My experiences could help others.

Well, months later, here it is!

Read. Enjoy. Share. Ask questions…

Peace and Love,

Meg