A Day in New York

Since my husband is originally from New York, we often visit his family there. When we do go visit, his parents usually take the kids for one of the days we are there so that we can have a full date day. Most of the time we usually go into the city (Manhattan) to hit up the plethora of foods that it has to offer. It’s impossible to write about all the restaurants and activities in New York in one blog post. However, the last time we visited, I made it a point to hit up as many places as we could in one day so that I can write about it. So here it is folks! Hope you will find this useful if you ever spend a day in New York.

[Disclaimer:  This is NOT a sponsored post, nor am I affiliated with any of the places or activities I mention in this article. I literally am just recapping what we did in New York for  Day]

Lunch

Ok, why lunch? I woke up late… I mean hey, we rarely get to sleep in so if Andrew’s parents are gonna play with the kids in the morning, More power to them! This mama is sleeping in!

We started the day by going to Ippudo (West Side) for some authentic ramen. The original one is in East Village, and both places are pretty popular so expect some wait times. We got there at 10:45am because the restaurant opens at 11am. Since it was a Thursday, the line was pretty short so we were able to get seated right away.

We ordered ramen and the special of the day – Ippudo Gyudon, which is a rice dish with meat and side dishes. Both were pretty good! We also got their famous pork buns which I know is one of their specialties. Definitely worth a try. =)

Dessert

“Bibble & Sip” has been one of the places we’ve been wanting to try for a bit. You can walk here from Ippudo West Side. According to google maps, it’s exactly 407 ft away from Ippudo!

They are most famous for their cream puffs which they don’t usually start selling until noon. They also sell a variety of drinks and desserts. We tried two types of cream puffs – matcha and early grey. Both were pretty good but also really filling. They’re huge! We also got the black sesame panna cotta and my fave, hot chocolate with a jumbo marshmallow.

Food Break

At this point, we are pretty full so we decide to walk around. So even if we’ve been there a thousand times, we walk over to Times Square because sometimes you just have to be a tourist. Also, you gotta walk off the food so you can eat some more! Okkkkaayyy??

Times square was less than a mile away (0.3 to 0.4 miles depending on which way you go) from Bibble and Sip so walk on over there and enjoy the view! Yes, the shops around there are over priced, but window shopping is always fun (and freeee!!). Though I did get to pick up some stuff from Sephora because why not?? It’s Sephora! Andrew shakes his head at me all the time when there’s a Sephora around, but I don’t care! It’s Sephora!

Then because there was no way I could stuff my face at that time, we decide to trek on over to the Empire State Building because it’s Neeewwwww Yoooorrrkkkk! “Concrete jungle where dreams are made of. There’s nothin’ you can’t do. Now you’re in New York.” Sorry.. sometimes I break out into song and keep going because I think I sound fabulous. Lucky for you this is a blog, not a vlog… okkkaayyy?

It’s 0.7 miles away from Times Square so get on over there! Again, no lines for us since it was a Thursday and sort of a rainy, foggy day but hey, YOLO, so we go. Views were still amazing and there’s no time limit on the 86th floor so go you have time to just enjoy the views and walk around several times so you can work off that meal. The last pic below shows the ball that drops at midnight during New Year’s Eve. We didn’t get to take a picture of it while we were in Times Square because it was raining so there you go!

Pre-Dinner

My husband is a big eater. So since he knew dinner was going to be sushi, he needed to eat before hand so that he wasn’t going to be hungry. What can I say? I’ve got a keeper! Priorities people, priorities. 😉

We walked over to Hi Collar, which is about 1.6 miles away from the Empire State Building.  It’s described as a “western inspired Japanese cafe.” Their specialties include fancy schmancy coffee (siphoned coffees) and omurice (“fluffy omelet over tomato sauce rice”). I’m not a coffee connoisseur so I know nothing about coffee but real talk… it looked real cool but it tasted like cold watered down coffee. I did not understand it but the people sitting next to us seemed real sophisticated and they seemed to love it so there… you… go.

I opted for some vietnamese-style coffee and just waited for the hubs to finish his omurice and japanese coffee, which he said tasted ok. We were not too impressed, but this place got really great reviews so maybe we just went on an “off” day.

Dinner

By this time, my feet were a little uncomfortable, so we decide to uber it to dinner. It’s only 1.2 miles away so if you wear proper footwear, you can totally hike it to “Sushi Nakazawa.” Ok so the hubs planned this for my birthday. It’s real fancy (hence my shoe choice) and you have to book it a couple of months in advance. He booked the omakase dinner which is a prefix 20-something course meal. Each course is really 1 piece of sushi. You sit in front of the sushi chefs (for an extra $30 per person) and you can see them prepare all the courses. It will cost you about $180 per person. I know… but the hubs is a foodie and that’s what happens sometimes. I like makeup, he likes food.

Dessert

Since the dinner took about 2 hours, my feet were well rested and we were able to walk the 1 mile to get to “Spot Dessert Bar.” It’s pretty small inside, but the desserts are pretty and they taste pretty good too! I would go for “The Harvest,” which is kind of like a deconstructed cheesecake with berries and oreo crumbles. YUMMY! We also got the “Winter Yuzu” which is kinda really sour so if you like that kind of dessert, then by all means.

After that, it was around 10pm and mama had no energy left. As much as I wanted to be cool and stay out later, we had to go home and go to bed because I was exhausted and my feet said “nu uh, no more!”

Other Awesome Places

Again, it’s impossible to write about everything you can do or eat in in New York. But here are some that I’ve been to and have left a great impressions in my mind. Just in case you are looking for somewhere else to go to!

ChikaLicious Dessert Bar. Not to be confused with the ChikaLicious Dessert Club across the street which is also pretty good. They are in East Village. But this one is like an elevated version on desserts and you will not be disappointed

Contra. Lower East Side. It’s a Pre-fix menu and depending on what is included can range from $78 and up. You never know what you’re gonna get because the menu is ever changing. However, it has a Michelin star for a reason. I went before it received the Michelin Star so it sounds to me it’s just getting better and better =).

Renee’s. Queens. Guys, the best filipino restaurant in NY is not in Manhattan. It’s in Queens. Legit. Go here. I can’t even… I would take my mom here. And we all know Filipinos don’t like to go to Filipino Restaurants because they think they can cook better. I mean I can’t… but the moms probably feel that way. This place is legit though so take that subway and go!

That’s It!

Not really. There are tons of places! But this is already long enough. It’s a great place to explore. Honestly, the hole-in-the-wall places are just as great as the fancy schmancy places. Definitely a great place to visit from time to time because of all the different places and restaurants that you can visit. There’s also of course, broadway and off broadway shows. Until next time New York… until next time!

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the day!! <3!

(as per usual, all gifs are from giphy.com)

To Air Fry or Not to Air Fry: An Air Fryer Review

That’s the question these days. I’ve seen so many advertisements on these things that I just had to try one for myself! A healthier way to fry? Yes please! Less grease equals less mess? Yes please! A new kitchen gadget? YES PLEASE. I am a sucker for new kitchen gadgets. Do I use all of them? I mean, I don’t have to tell you everything right? Right now, we talkin’ about the air fryer! So back to the title: to air fry or not to air fry?

What is it?

It’s basically another way you can get the crispiness of fried foods without all the grease that comes with fried foods. There is supposedly something called “rapid air technology” that will cook your food evenly and get it crispy without all the grease that you soak fried foods in. Air Fryer is the new thing I guess.

What we got

Affiliate Link: Yes, there will be affiliate links below from which I can make money off of. Mama gotta pay the bills. Whether you click on it or not is totally up to you though! No pressure!

After much research, Andrew decided to buy the GoWise USA Air Fryer. It got 4 stars on Amazon and it was not as expensive as other ones that we saw.

This particular air fyer has 8 presets from which you can choose from depending on what you want to cook – fries, chicken, steak, etc. But you can also just set this manually if you don’t trust the presets.  This one is 5.8 quartz so fairly large, however, it’s not too heavy which is always a good thing for a shrimp like me. And it comes with a recipe book that will get you started right away!

What We’ve Cooked So Far

We’ve made fish tacos and compared it to frying on the stove.  The picture on the left is from frying the fix on a stove top, and the one on the right is from the air fryer. The fish from the air fryer was definitely less greasy and more evenly cooked. The fish on the stove top lost some of it’s form (crumbled), and is visibly greasier (note transparency of the paper towel).

We’ve also made fried dumplings. The picture on the left is from the stove top. The one on the middle is from the air fryer. We found that the dumplings from the air fryer had a more even, crispier texture on the outside than the ones from fried on the stove top. It was also, unsurprisingly, less greasy. As for what’s on the inside – see third picture below. The cross section of the dumpling from the air fryer is on the left. As you can see, it’s not much different from the stove top one.

Chicken wings! We made the Honey Lime Chicken Wings from the recipe book that it came with. They turned out pretty well. Skin was crispy and the meat was juicy.

We’ve also made sweet potato fries, and regular fries, as well as reheated baked chicken from the night before. I didn’t take pictures of those because we ate them too fast. Oops. But putting them in the air fryer definitely made the outer part of the foods crispier.

Pros and Cons

Pros:
– Foods are crispier, and has a more even texture
– No need for preheating in most dishes. You just turn it on and it’s ready
– Easy to clean. No grease splatters to wipe outside of the fryer (unlike the stove top)
– Less oil needed, so depending on what you cook, it may be healthier for you than using a deep fryer, or even stove top frying
– Great for reheating if you don’t like to use the microwave. It’s quicker than using the oven.

Cons:
– Size of the basket. You can’t cook much at one time because of the size of the basket. Fries are ok but once you get to the bigger surface areas, you have to cook it at even layer on the basket. For the chicken wings, we could only cook 7-8 wings at a time.
– Size of the air fyer. It’s pretty cumbersome to just keep on your counter if you’re only going to use it once in a while. You will have no room for anything else.
– Sometimes, foods are just tastier with grease! Am I right?

Conclusion

OK, so the answer to the question is it depends. Nothing can replace the awesome greasy goodness of fried foods. That’s just the way it is. However, if you do want a healthier option that can still give you some of the crispy-ness of fried foods, the air fryer is the way to go. I have yet to bake in it though so I can’t say much on baked goods. It claims that it’s pretty awesome at baking but who knows. Maybe I will update this review if ever I get around to baking with it =).

Thanks for reading and have an awesome rest of the day!

Filipino Food 101: Chicken Afritada

I have been putting off writing about Filipino Food because I am Filipino and if it doesn’t turn out well… well.. what kind of a Filipino would I be?!?! My mom and my grandma are great cooks, but as for me… well… let’s just say I did not get their genes on cooking. But you know, I try and sometimes it turns out well.. and sometimes Andrew has to be like “great job babe….” BUT I think I have nailed Chicken Afritada down! Right??

Chicken Afritada is a filipino stew that is cooked and simmered in tomato sauce and chicken broth. I would compare it to a more savory version of chicken cacciatore with added veggies. This is my own particular recipe after trying out a few in the past several years. I’ve had to tweak it so that it’s not too salty for the kiddos.

Ingredients:

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  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 medium sized onion (chopped)
  • 1 medium sized tomato (chopped) (optional)
  • 1-1.5 lbs of boneless chicken (cubed – dark meat tastes better in this dish)
  • 1-2 red bell peppers (cubed)
  • 2-3 small potatoes (cubed)
  • 1 8oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1-2 tsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (more if you want it to be saltier)
  • 1 bag of frozen peas and carrots
  • 1.5 tsp salt, pepper and garlic powder each

Instructions

Wash and dry and cut all the produce. I like to be ready to throw things into the pan so I’m not scrambling to cut them during the cooking process so it’s good to prepare these before cooking. Chop up the chicken as well, and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Saute the minced garlic and the chopped onion with olive oil in medium-high heat in a large pan. When the onions are glossy, add the chopped tomatoes. The tomatoes are optional but I like to put it in there to further flavor the chicken earlier in the process. Once the tomato pieces are softer, add the chicken and saute about 5-7 minutes until the chicken is mostly cooked.

Add the tomato sauce, the chicken broth, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes. Make sure that the liquids are covering all the solids because the next thing you’re going to add are the potatoes and the bell peppers. (If you’re going to use fresh carrots that are the same size as the potatoes, you can add it in this step as well).  Add more chicken broth (or water if you don’t want it to be too salty) if needed. Stir. Then cover the pan and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, turn the heat down to medium or medium low and let it simmer for 20 minutes.

Once the potatoes are softened add the frozen peas and carrots, then bring to a boil again. Then turn the heat to low and simmer for 5 more minutes. Taste and add salt or fish sauce if you want it to be saltier. This is where you’ll have full control of the taste of your stew. More salt will make it straight up saltier. More fish sauce will make it saltier with added flavor. Don’t worry, it won’t taste fishy unless you add a ton. Be careful because fish sauce does have a lot of flavor so a little goes a long way.

Finished Product

Voila! You’re done! We usually eat chicken afritada over rice, but you can certainly eat by itself if it’s not too salty =).

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Ain’t that a beaut? Well, that is what I tell myself and this is one of the dishes when the husband does not have to lie to me about being good. =) I also brought it to work and my coworkers said it smelled and tasted good. So I’m pretty much a master chef for chicken afritada really…

In my head, this is how people respond to this dish

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great rest of the day!!

Becoming a Mom (Part 2)

If you haven’t read part 1 (Ella’s birth story), click here. You know, you’d think after the first birthing process, you’d be like “I’m an expert” when it comes to number 2. Boy, was I wrong! Not to be outdone, here’s Isaac’s birth story. My story of becoming a mom… again.

Isaac’s Pre-birth Story

Whoever said that you feel sicker during pregnancy when you’re having a girl was totally wrong. I was sick the whole time I was pregnant with Isaac. Props to the hubs because he pretty much was a single parent to Ella since I was just a log on the couch the whole time.

Since Ella’s birth was via a C-section, I fully intended to do a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarian) with Isaac. The catch was that the OB wouldn’t give me pitocin and we would just wait it out. He did give me the option of scheduling a C-section in case Isaac decides to stay put like Ella did.  I chose a date 4 days before his due date. I just felt so sick and miserable that if he did not come out by then, I would opt for the C-section.

At 39.5 weeks, we go to the hospital for our scheduled C-section. I remember being sad and thinking maybe I should cancel and wait it out. I really wanted to do a VBAC. The doctor came in and said he doesn’t think Isaac will come naturally that day and asked us if we are ok with going through the C-section. Andrew and I agree this time. Yes. My mom was with us and my brother had gotten into town already and time-wise, it was the best choice so that we could have help.

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Ready to get this 2nd baby out! =)

Isaac’s Birth Story

They prep me for the OR. The anesthesiologist give me the epidural or whatever drug, the same way the epidural was given – via my spine. They bring Andrew in to be by my side as I lay down on the table.

Since we both thought we knew what was gonna happen, we were pretty calm about the whole thing. I remember that I wasn’t shaking as much and I thought that maybe they gave me a different kind of medicine.

The doctor comes in and gets ready for surgery. He pokes at my stomach and he asks if I can feel it. Ummm yes. Yes I can feel that. He says “Don’t worry, I won’t do anything until you don’t feel  anything but pressure.” Uhh thanks? Somebody better give me more meds!

The anesthesiologist gives me more meds I guess and finally I only feel pressure when the doctor asks me if I could feel anything. He, again, talks us through the process and I’m not sure why but I start to feel more than pressure in my stomach as the surgery continues. I tell Andrew I feel more than pressure and he tells the anesthesiologist. She asks me if i’m feeling pain and I go “well, it’s definitely more than pressure, so I think so?” I didn’t want to be rude, but like why would I say something if it didn’t hurt?!

So she ups the meds again. And I remember the room spinning.  I’m confused as to why I was feeling woozy and why the lights in the room were moving. I remember saying sorry twice because I thought I was asking for too much. Later on Andrew told me I said sorry the whole time I was on the operating table. I guess I was pretty hiiiiiggghhhh.

I remember snippets of what was happening – Isaac crying, the nurses saying he weighed 9 lbs 2 oz and me thinking, “well I guess it’s good I didn’t try VBAC.”  Then I remember Andrew bringing Isaac to me which is funny because I don’t remember him getting Isaac at all. Then I thought I was really high when I saw Isaac because legit I was like “Ella?” He looked exactly like her – swollen, red, and hairy.

Isaac’s Post-Birth Story

I get wheeled into the recovery room and they finally put Isaac on me and I remember crying uncontrollably. I remember thinking I felt so high on meds that it must have gotten to him and now something is wrong because he got some of those meds. There was no way I could explain it at the time but I wanted someone to tell me that he was ok.

The nurses and the doctors finally assured me that he was ok. I still felt so sick from the meds but I felt completely lucid by the time they wheeled me to the maternity ward.

All of Isaac’s tests were normal. He didn’t have to go to the NICU like Ella did (I was worried since he was also a large baby), which made me so happy.  The lactation consultant and the pediatrician realized he had a tongue tie so with our permission, they cut the lingual frenulum which made breastfeeding less painful.

The rest of our hospital stay was filled with visits from family and friends and me learning how to breastfeed Isaac… every hour… morning and night.

Becoming a Mom (part 2)

This time around, I knew that it was going to be hard. We weren’t going to be sleeping and I knew that breastfeeding is hard. I told myself before Isaac was born that if breastfeeding didn’t work out, I will not feel guilty about giving him formula.

I think that because I expected those things, I didn’t get the baby blues at all. On top of that, Isaac slept like a champ. I do remember that he would fall asleep on my boob while feeding and when we checked his diaper, he would poop but not really pee. So I supplemented with formula. And I was ok with it. Becoming a mom again for the second time was gonna be just fine.

Everything was going great until a week before he turned 2 months old. He stopped eating and just slept all morning. He had a fever and though we tried to wake him to feed him, he would suck the bottle for 5-10 seconds and go back to sleep. I got worried and called his pediatrician who told us to go to the ER.

Hospital Stay

They bring us back pretty fast and they start to run tests on him. He got poked with so many needles because his veins were so small. He cried so much to a point he just stopped crying because he was so tired. The ER doctor comes and says because Isaac seems inconsolable they are going to do a spinal tap. What….

I’m not a squeamish person but when they were about to do the spinal tap, I could not breathe. The doctor and two nurses came in and that room is not big. They ask me if I would like to stay or step out. I wanted to hold Isaac but I knew they are trained better than me and I would just be in the way. I tell Isaac I will just be in the doorway and give him a kiss.

Another nurse sees me stand in the doorway and as Isaac starts screaming, she walks to me and gives me a side hug as I finally break down and cry. She assured me that I did the right thing bringing him in and that they will help him as much as they can. She had no idea how much that meant to me.

A minute or two later they are done and once they give me the green light to come back to the bed, I scoop Isaac up and he stops crying and just rests his head on my chest as I apologize to him profusely. We sit together, and wait for results.

I don’t know how much time passed but the ER doctor finally comes in and says that Isaac had meningitis and has to be admitted into the hospital. My heart drops. I call Andrew to let him know we have to get admitted. He puts Ella to bed and arranges for a sitter to be with her  so he can come join me at the hospital.

We finally get a room in the pediatric unit. They tell us that we have to wait until they can grow a culture from the spinal tap to figure out if it’s bacterial or viral. If it was viral, he should recover pretty well – the prognosis would be good. If it was bacterial, it could be fatal if they don’t start treatment right away. So they start it just in case since it would take 2-3 days for the culture to grow.  More needles. My poor baby boy.

Andrew and I take turns at the hospital. Wonderful friends come and play with Ella during the day so that one of us could nap before going back to the hospital. They also came to drop off food so that we didn’t have to worry about cooking.

After 3 nights and 4 days at the hospital, we finally get the results that it was viral meningitis. Isaac was waking up, smiling, and eating again. He was still lethargic but much better than 4 days before. The doctor said that it could take him up to a week to go back to normal but he is doing well enough to let us go home.

Finally Back Home

That night, when we were all home, I was finally able to breathe.

For part 1 of this series, I said to make sure to ask for help if you need it. Before this happened, I was that mom who tried to do it all. If people helped, cool. If they didn’t, totally ok with that as well. Never wanted to be a burden to anyone. Still don’t. But this incident made me realize that the term “it takes a village” really is true.

We wouldn’t have known what to do if our heroes didn’t step up to help care for us and pray for us. Help from friends nearby and words of support/prayers from friends near and far got us through one of the most difficult times of our lives. For that, I am forever grateful.

I’d learned an important lesson at that time. Accepting help made me a better mom. I’m still learning tons every day. I pray and hope that nothing bad happens to my children. But if something does happen, I know that there are people there that I can rely on always, that will help me become a better mom every day.

Thanks for reading and Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

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(all gifs from giphy.com)

Becoming A Mom (Part 1)

Well since Mother’s Day is coming up, I thought I might share Ella’s birth story. She is my first baby after all, making me a mommy for the first time in my life. I write this sort of humorous, but genuine, entry in hopes that it will brighten up your day if you’re going through a tough time while pregnant, or if you’re just having a tough time period. Here’s my story on becoming a mom.

Ella’s Pre-Birth Story

To start off, Ella is 4 now and is a healthy, thriving, happy little girl who loves dresses and sparkly shoes and bows/hairbands on her head. Despite what you may think while reading the rest of this article, I love this kid to death and she has filled our lives with laughter, joy and love.

Ok, now that we got that over with. Real Talk. This baby was late. I mean laaaaa-aaaate! Friends who were due either the same time as me or a little later than me, all had their babies 1 week and a half before me! I was an angry pregnant woman when the 3rd friend texted me that she had given birth. Ok, well I mean I was happy for her of course, but angry that Ella was still in my uterus pushing up on my belly. Get. Out.

The doctor would not induce until almost 2 weeks past my due date. So, 1.5 weeks after my due date, Andrew and I go to the hospital to get the baby out! We got there at 7am, induced by 8am, epiduraled at 10am, broke the water at 11am, and 9 cm by 4pm. I was progressing well the doctor said.

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Here I am waiting to be induced so I can be a mom 😉

Nope. Legit this baby did NOT want to come out. I was at 9 cm from 4 pm to 11pm. My doctor came in, measured and said that my cervix was getting a little swollen. He said we could wait 2 more hours and give me more pitocin (the drug that induces), OR do c-section. Andrew and I said different answers at the same time. He said we can wait and I said C-section. Who do you think won that battle?

Ella’s Birth Story

We get prepped and ready to get our C-section on at 12:00am the next day. The anesthesia they gave me – so I couldn’t feel them cut me open – was strong. I felt nothing but tugging and pressure in my stomach area. However, the side effects included uncontrollable shaking. If this happens to you ladies, do not try to suppress it. That makes the shaking worse. Just breathe through it. You can do it!

I was lucid the whole time. I heard the doctor say “Ok here we go” as they cut open my uterus. Then I heard him say “whoa! I’m sorry the first thing you see in this world is my ugly mug!” Oh, the doctor got jokes. Ok. Apparently, Ella had turned around sometime while I was waiting to deliver and was facing forward instead of the favorable facing toward the back. That’s why she didn’t come down.

The doctor then said “ok we’re going in so we can get her out.” And I felt this heavy pressure pushing up into my lungs and I couldn’t breathe for a good 10-15 seconds. They were reaching inside the uterus to get a good hold of Ella, but that created a lot of pressure upward and so I felt like my lungs couldn’t take in any air. I couldn’t breath y’all!

I then hear the doctor struggling and saying “Come on little one! Come out! She does not want to come out!” I’m telling you… he’s got jokes. Finally I feel the pressure release and I hear Ella cry. I remember a tear dropping from my left eye. Although if it’s from hearing her cry, or the drugs, or the fact that I didn’t die cuz I could breathe again, I don’t know. But I was happy it was over.

They weigh her and I hear the nurse say “9 lbs, 11 oz.” I’m 5’1 and 120 lbs pre-baby. My doctor says “9 lbs 11 oz?!?! there was no way you were going to push her out! You would’ve broken something!” Jokes. They get Andrew to come get Ella while they were sewing me back up. Andrew comes back with Ella in his arms and you can tell that it was love at first sight for him.

When I see her I think “Whose baby is that?!?!” Ella was swollen, red and hairy! Like so hairy! I remember saying “oh hi” and Andrew bringing her close to me. I smelled her. Ladies, they do not smell like babies right when they come out. I have no idea what smell that was – almost like the smell of iron, I guess maybe from the blood or placenta –  but it was not the baby smell.

Ella’s Post-Birth Story

Growing up, people have always told me I’d be a great mom someday.  I loved kids that’s why. Then Ella came and I have never felt like the worst mom ever than during the first couple months of her life.

She was such a large baby that her blood glucose levels were not normal and she had to go to the NICU. Because of my C-section, the milk didn’t come in fast enough, and I never had enough milk for Ella. Breastfeeding was a huge fail. I couldn’t sleep because she kept waking up screaming every hour. I would put her on my boob and she would fall asleep again and then scream again less than an hour later.

We took her to the pediatrician when she was 3 days old and she said that Ella had lost more than 10% of her body weight. I didn’t understand because she was on my boobs 24/7. When she wasn’t on my boobs, I pumped. My boobs were raw and bleeding and I cried every night because it hurt and she kept crying, but she still lost weight?!? I was so confused and angry. The pediatrician said we would have to supplement.  Ok fine.

That actually helped me to hear that she didn’t have to rely solely on my boobs. I pumped instead of breastfeed so that my nips would heal. (I meant it when I said that nips deformation could happen post pregnancy here.) When they healed, Ella wanted nothing to do with my boobs so I just continued to pump instead of breastfeed. Definitely felt like I failed there. No sleep, not meeting expectations, and whack hormones did not help with the feelings of inadequacy. It would take time for me to feel like a mom.

Becoming a Mom

Before Ella, I wanted to be a stay at home mom to be with my babies 24/7. The first 6 weeks of Ella’s life, I couldn’t wait to go back to work. I would wait for Andrew to get home from work, give him Ella, and go cry in our room or just sit on the couch and space out.

The first 6 weeks of Ella’s life, I was just in survival mode. All I remember was that I needed to keep her alive and healthy and not go crazy when not getting any sleep. Then one day, I remember looking at Ella and thinking “Wait… you’re my daughter! I’m your mom! This is crazy!” I’m not sure what happened, but full blown mama bear mode just hit me. Everything I did from then on became purposeful. Instead of just surviving, I wanted her to thrive. I wanted all of us to thrive. I felt like I was becoming a mom for real.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a continued learning process. We still had and have tons of tough days. There are days when my patience runs out, days when I get no sleep, days when all I want to do is get the kids to bed so I can have my “me time.” But the desire for all of us to thrive has stayed. My love for Ella (and Isaac) has only grown since I first became a mom. I mean these kids are cray, but this mama got their backs no matter what.

Lastly, I just wanted to let you all know that everyone’s experiences are different. Yes, you may fall in love with your baby at first sight. But if not, don’t feel bad! Hormones make you feel all sorts of things! If you are having a rough time, ask for help! People sometimes don’t want to step on toes or cross boundaries, but they do want to help. So just ask! Parenthood is something I cannot explain. It is definitely not easy, but when my babies come up to me and give me hugs and kisses for no reason other than the fact that they love me… that, is priceless.

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Photo by Candice Mapa Photography

Happy Mother’s Day Everyone!

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Photo by Arpasi Photography

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the day!

 

(all gifs from giphy.com)