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)

Things I Wish I Knew About Pregnancy/Post Pregnancy

Before I got pregnant with my first child, I think I had tunnel vision on what it was going to be like – during pregnancy and after. I read snippets of books and blogs about the miracle of birth and how the first time you hold your child, he or she would be the most precious thing you’ve ever set your eyes on.  No one told me about some of the not-so-wonderful part of it all.

Don’t get me wrong. Being a mother has been such a great experience for me and I would not trade it for anything else. I just wish I knew about everything else that came along with the pregnancy and right after it, so I wasn’t so much “deer in headlights” and overwhelmed with things I didn’t know would happen.

So here it goes. Pull up a chair and sit back and relax. This is gonna be a long one!

During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, it’s expected that your stomach will get larger and maybe even your breasts. But ladies, like for real, there are other changes that can happen. Everyone is different of course, so this may not happen to you. So just consider these fair warnings.

Swollen legs and feet – when I got pregnant for the first time, I was a practicing physical therapist in an outpatient orthopedic clinic. I was on my feet all the time but at the end of the day, I would stand in one place to do my paperwork. My circulation wasn’t great to begin with, so my legs and feet were huge by the time I went home – I mean major cankles ladies!
Don’t worry: I found that walking around helped to increase circulation which helped bring fluids back to the heart and decrease swelling. I also found that drinking a ton of water helped to decrease swelling. I know that sounds weird, but drinking water will flush out your body and decrease fluid retention – yes girl, you will pee a lot! It’s ok though! It’s a good thing!

Back, Hip, and Pelvic Pain – to account for a growing belly, ligaments tend to loosen up in your pelvic area. This can cause you to have pain in the hips, pelvis, and low back.
Don’t worry: Core and Kegel exercises helps increase support. It’s important to keep working on the muscles that are holding you together because your ligaments are like “bye felicia” at this time. So work on tightening the core and pelvic muscles to help give you extra support at this time.

Hemorrhoids – ok, so this is embarrassing but it has to be said. Sometimes, it happens ok? I am 5’1 and some change and my first baby weighed in at 9 lbs 11 oz when she was born. There was a lot of pressure down there while she was still in my belly. Couple that with the constipation that pregnancy can bring about (yay hormones, thanks you’re awesome….), hemorrhoids are sure to happen!
Don’t worry: eat foods with lots of fiber to help decrease constipation. Fair warning that that can bring about gas. So yeah, farting or swollen veins coming out of your anus? You pick. I picked farts. Also, if hemorrhoids do still occur as in my case, Preparation H helps with the itching and could help decrease the size of the hemorrhoids.

Emotional changes – as if women didn’t already have the monthly emotional changes to deal with when we are not pregnant, let’s just go ahead and make it unpredictable during pregnancy. Because why not?!
Don’t worry:  It really helps to surround yourself with people who can encourage you and be there for you during this time. Lean on them for support and they’ll help you get through the tough times. Oh and chocolates, lots and lots of chocolates!

After pregnancy

I don’t know about the other moms out there, but when Ella came out into the world, I was a little more drugged up than usual because I had to get a C-section (she would not come down the canal people!), so I wouldn’t say that I looked into her eyes and it was love at first sight. Here are some things I did not know could happen after the baby is born.

It Could Take A While to Feel Joy of Motherhood – is this bad that I’m writing this? Like legit, when I first saw Ella I was like “whose baby is that?” in my head. For some reason, I imagined a perfectly bathed newborn who was not swollen or red, thank you very much. Ella was swollen, and red, and hairy! Is that mean? Sorry, but for real, I was like “whoa.”
Don’t worry: some people don’t experience this at all and has the whole “love at first sight” type of thing. But don’t worry if you do experience this. Hormones plus drugs can make the brain and emotions get all wonky.  It’ll get better and you’ll be that mama bear in no time!

“Sleep Like A Baby” is a false statement – I don’t know what baby they were talking about in that saying, but not my baby. Nope. For the first week, every hour, you can be sure Ella was up. Then maybe every two hours for two weeks after that. The first month is pretty much a blur because there was no sleep involved. Cat naps maybe. But sleep? what is that?!
Don’t worry: After the first month, unless you have a colicky baby, you can get maybe 3-4 hour stretches at a time. Just keep going and hopefully their sleep duration will get longer and longer. By 6-8 months, both my kids were finally able to sleep 10-12 hours at night. So there’s a light at the end of the tunnel! You can do it!

Post “baby blues” is a real thing: yes, I knew that post-partum depression could be a real thing. The doctor defines that as no good days. But what if I had a good day every 2-3 days. They don’t necessarily count that as “depression.” But it’s real. If hormones were crazy before pregnancy, they’re even crazier after pregnancy. Couple that with no sleep, then it’s just the time of your life isn’t it.
Don’t worry: I think by Ella’s third month, my hormones finally settled and I was getting longer stretches of sleep. This is when I finally felt the “joy of motherhood” as they say.  Just hang in there ok? One, you got no choice, you got a baby. And two, with support from people who you trust and love, it’ll get better!

Bleeding Right After Pregnancy: I don’t know about others, but I kept bleeding for weeks after Ella was born. I’m talking like “oh yay my period is lasting like 4 weeks” type of bleeding.
Don’t worry: it’s normal. The doctor explained it in this way: I had 10 months of building up the lining in my uterus, so the body will take time to clear out that lining as well.  It’ll eventually stop and your period won’t come back for a while. Unless you’re like my friend whose period would still come monthly during and after pregnancy. No break for her.

Physical Changes: Ok so yeah, your boobs get real big… and hard. Like you need to pump that milk out because no joke, it hurts when it builds up. Not only that, but sometimes the ducts in your breasts can get clogged. And wooooooo it will huuuuurrrrtttt. There’s also a chance of mastitis, where your breast tissue gets inflamed and infected because of a clogged duct.
Don’t worry: If it’s not infected, massaging your breasts while breastfeeding or pumping will help unclog the duct. Heat compress and warm showers can also help. Frozen cabbage leaves right on the boobies can help decrease inflammation and engorgement. But ummm, you will smell like cabbages. Just wanted to warn you. Do you want engorged boobies or smell like a cabbage? Slap that cabbage right on there! Ok be gentle, cuz it hurts!
If infected, you’ll have to probably get antibiotics to help get rid of the infection. But it works real fast so you’ll feel better within a day or two.

More physical changes: The shape of your breasts/nipples may also change. I mean let’s be real, if it’s getting sucked on/pumped every hour of every day, yeah it’s gonna change! And it may hurt! I saw my friend breastfeed her baby and no lie there was a small piece missing from her nipple. No joke. Ouch.
Don’t worry: They have creams for your nips to help decrease chaffing and pain.

Even more physical changes: My feet got half a size bigger. I don’t know if my swelling just never went down or what, but my feet definitely is a half size bigger after Ella.
Don’t worry: Shoe shopping heeeyyyyyy!! After all that, you deserve it mama! Have. At. It!

So there is it folks! Just wanted to make sure you were well-read on what could happen during and after pregnancy. Again, everyone is different, so you may not experience any of these. If so, good for you! If not, just wanted to let you know that it’s ok! You’re not alone! Surround yourself with good, supportive family and friends. I promise that will help the most during the tough times.

And lastly, please don’t take this article the wrong way. I love my babies! They are my life. But pregnancy is just not for me and just thought I’d share some of my experiences to let you know it’s ok! You’re not alone! And to hang in there, because you will get through the tough times.

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

(All GIFs from this page are from giphy.com)

Date Night

I heard once before that your spouse should come before the kids. But after having 2 kids, I realize how difficult it is to put your partner first. Little ones are just so needy and it’s easy to think that your significant other doesn’t need your immediate attention.

But sometimes I ask myself, that if we constantly put the kids first and then they grow up and leave for college, will we still know each other after the kids have left?  So we’ve tried to make it a point to make some time for each other, whether it be staying home and watching a movie after the kids go to bed, OR actually get dressed nicely, put on some makeup and go out somewhere when one of our parents are available to babysit.

We got that opportunity last night! For my restaurant review, go here.

It also helps to just go out and not be stuck in the house as a reminder that you are more that just parents. Break out that smokey eye, those hoops earrings, and that leather jacket that you spent an arm and a leg on cuz parents, you deserve it! Also… date night is just not complete without going to Target after 😉