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First Month Being a New Mom

Challenges:
Let me start off by saying that even with these challenges that I’m about to discuss, I wouldn’t change any of it. My daughter is one of the best things in my life, and she is so precious to me.
I talked about this briefly in my labor and delivery story, but both Zoé and I wound up on antibiotics after she was born due to my testing positive for Group B strep, and my spiking a fever after she was born. Now this in itself was a challenge for me. I had to watch my helpless newborn have IV’s in her little hand for the first 2 days of her life. But that wasn’t the only challenge that was faced from the antibiotics. After we got home it became clear that we were both having reactions to the medication. Both of us would get hives, and anytime my breast milk touched my skin for the first 2 weeks, it would burn and I would again get hives. This has slowly gotten better. And there were a few other issues from the antibiotics that I won’t get into, but they could’ve caused some problems.
Latching has also been an issue. When we were still in the hospital she was latching, and doing really well with it, but she was having a few issues. When we went to her first appointment with her pediatrician, at 6 days old, we found out Zoé has a lip tie. It’s a minor one, but still a lip tie nonetheless. We were told that if it caused issues, it would be speech related, and that it didn’t need to be clipped. Well, a few days went by and I started to notice that Zoé just wasn’t latching, like she was in pain, and she wouldn’t sleep at night (which she had been doing, and still does). So I decided to check her tie, it was inflamed. So I figured that was the issue. I talked to this great woman I know, and she pointed me in the direction of a nipple shield. Basically it’s exactly like it sounds, it’s a shield that goes over the nipple. It has been a life saver. I went out and bought one, came home, put it on, and decided to try to feed Zoé. She latched right on the first time without an issue, she was happy. And she again started sleeping through the night. My plan at this point is to find someone that will clip the lip tie, so that my baby doesn’t have to struggle. But for now I’m so thankful that I found out about the shield and that she can eat without a problem.
Successes:
My sleeps through the night. I’m not sure how I got a baby that does that. I mean, we have had a few 4am nights, that she just wouldn’t settle down. But for the most part she’s in bed by 11pm(she eats right before this), and she’ll sleep until 4 or 5am to eat, and then she’ll sleep until 7 or 8am, before officially waking up. Even if this doesn’t continue (which I’m praying it does), her sleeping so well, has really helped me with healing after having her, because I actually feel rested.
I can now do domestic things with one hand. Of course that has been made easier by using a ring wrap. But goodness, as a mom, you really learn how to do things one handed, and in my case it seems like I have to do things one handed with my non-dominant hand.
What I love most about being a mom:
I love when I wake up in the morning and my little baby is right there smiling back at me, and making the sweetest little noises. I love watching her get so excited when she hears or sees her Daddy. I also love watching her explore the world around her, and wondering to myself what could possibly be so interesting. I also love when she’s nursing, and she looks up at me with her big blue eyes and smiles do big that she practically unlatches herself.
I’ll never forget the first time she realized that Mommy was one of her comfort zones. She was being held by some family, and she started to get upset, because she was being passed too much. She was crying so hard, so I took her. Once she realized it was me, she grabbed hold of my shirt really tight, looked at me, calmed down, and went to sleep. It nearly made me cry. It was the first time that she didn’t need me just for food, but for something more. She just wanted her Mommy.
Being a new mom is definitely challenging, but I love it. I love getting to watch this little human that I grew inside of me for 9 months, grow everyday. There are some days that I still can’t believe I’m a mom to a precious little girl, that I actually have a daughter. I love you, my little Zoébeañ.

My labor and delivery story.

Here’s my story:

On June 30th I started to have very early labor pains. Contractions were coming every 15 minutes with some closer, but not too many. They weren’t that bad, just noticable contractions at this point. This lasted all weekend, which really exhausted me.

By July 3rd, I woke up out of a deep sleep at about 4am, to really painful contractions that were coming every 3-5 minutes apart, and there was no way I was going back to sleep. I was in active labor. 

Later that morning I had an appointment with my midwife, so I decided that unless they got any closer I would just wait until my appointment to go in (both my midwife and my Doula were aware that I had been in early labor all weekend). 

By 10am I had no change, so I was hooked up to some monitors to track my contractions and keep an eye on the baby. 3 different times a nurse in the office came in to tell me that it was going to be another 10 minutes, because they weren’t getting what they wanted. Then after about 30-40 minutes of this, I was told to go eat lunch and come back in an hour, and they would try again, they thought maybe the baby was just sleeping, and I needed to eat something to wake her up.

So after an hour I came back, they hooked me back up, and within 10 minutes they told me that I could now see my midwife. So into another room I went. And then the words that no mother wants to hear came out of my midwives mouth, “You have to go the hospital, your baby’s heart rate is dropping during contractions.” She then went on to explain that it wasn’t a bad drop, but they needed to be able to keep her continuously monitored and the only way to do that, was for me to be in the hospital.

So after crying for a bit(more out of fear for my baby) to the hospital I went. By 3pm I was in a room and was hooked up to monitors. It was a pretty typical labor (well hospital labor) at this point. I couldn’t get out of the bed, they wanted me to lay on my back during contractions (which by the way, I didn’t listen to, I was gonna move around), and they hooked me up to an IV of fluids and an antibiotic, because I had tested positive for Group B strep, and they told me I couldn’t eat. They also wanted, but I didn’t let them, to hook me up to pitocin to make labor stronger.

The labor by this point started to go pretty fast, by midnight I was dilated to 9, but this is where I stayed for the next several hours. Now honestly by this point I was really out of it, I was exhausted, and I was still going with no pain meds. So by the time I was 9 cm, I would have a contraction, and almost immediately fall asleep, and the start of the next contraction would wake me up. So I remember very little about this part. But according to my husband and mother, I became very angry and was kicking things. The only thing I really remember was my Doula at one point saying, “Brenda kicked the peanut ball across the room again.” And I also remember really wanting to push, and being mad that I wasn’t allowed to. 

A little after 3:35am I was finally told I could start pushing, because I was dilated to 10. By this point I started to remember things again. And let me tell you, after being told for hours that you couldn’t push, finally being told I could was the best news I had gotten in almost 24 hours. And I was determined to get my baby out of me as fast I could. I pushed for 15 minutes, and she was born at 3:40 am, July 4th. She was born all at once, once her head was out so was the rest of her. She had also passed her meconium (when I say that, I do mean she passed ALL of it, not just some, she came out pooping actual poop). She was on my breast within moments of being born. 

She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I was instantly in love with my daughter. 

There was some worry after she had been born that she might have been affected by the group b strep, because I spiked a fever as soon as she came out, so both of us were put on antibiotics for our stay in the hospital.

 But overall, now my baby is healthy, she was the healthiest baby on the floor when we left the hospital with her to come home. She’s now 10 days old, and has stolen mine and her father’s heart. She’s discovering things and changing everyday. She is the best baby, she sleeps through the night (at least for now), smiles all the time, and has started to giggle in her sleep.

Below is a picture of my daughter. I hope you enjoyed my story. 

What’s in my birth center bag?

I will have a few different things in my bag, that maybe you wouldn’t necessarily need to go to the hospital, but since I’m giving birth in a free standing birth center, this is what was recommended to bring, along with a few things that I thought would be good to bring. Things to keep in mind, I may seem like I haven’t brought enough of something, but I’ll only be in the birth center for 6-8 hours after our daughter is born.

Babies and Daddy’s bag:

Since they both have less stuff than I’ll have, I’m putting their stuff in the same bag.

For baby:

3 preemie newborn onesies

2 regular newborn onesies

1 0-3 month onesie(not pictured)

A newborn dress, for her to come home in.

One pair of socks

4 hats, in varying sizes

8 newborn diapers

5-6 size 1 diapers

Baby wipes

2 blankets (not pictured)

Nursing pillow (not pictured)

Daddy’s stuff:

Swim trunks

A change of clothes

Socks

PJ’s

Snacks

Phone and charger

Mommy’s bag:

For laboring:
2 sports bras

A robe

Socks

Essential oils and a diffuser

Toiletries:

Maxi pads

Breast pads

Toothbrush/toothpaste

Hairbrush

Shampoo/ conditioner

Hair ties

Chapstick

Granny panties(not pictured)

Coming home:

Maxi skirt (I’ve been told wearing a skirt is more comfortable)

Sports bra

T-shirt

Flip flops(not pictured)

Other:

Phone and charger

Snacks(not pictured)

For snacks, I plan to buy some that are high in protein, and some that are a little more bland in taste. 

DIY Padsicles

Why bother making padsicles?


Let’s go on a journey together… You’re laying in the hospital, birthing center, or the comfort of your own home, preparing to push a baby out of your vagina. Yes, you’re 10 centimeters dilated, but your baby’s head is gonna be bigger than that hole it’s coming out of. So even if you don’t tear, or wind up with an episiotomy, your lady bits are gonna sore, and you’re going to be bleeding a lot. So wouldn’t something to catch all of that blood, and sooth the area down there sound nice? Well, that’s where a padsicle would come in handy.

See, all a padsicle is, is a frozen pad. So you get some comfort, something to help with the swelling, and something to catch all the blood.

Here’s how:

What you need:

Aloe vera gel

Witch Hazel

Lavender essential oil(I can’t​ use this, as I’m allergic, so you don’t have to use it either.)

Maxi Pads(Overnight, with wings are best.)

Freezer bags

Spoon

Instructions:

Open up the pad, very carefully, trying not to tear the package. Lay the pad open and use something to keep it open, I just used my other ingredients to do that. Save the wrappers from the inside as well, you’ll need those later.

Next, apply the aloe liberally to the pad, not just in one spot, but all over. 

Then, Apply about 1-2 teaspoons of witch hazel, and rub that in with a spoon.

At this point, if you want you can add a few drops of lavender, like 3-5 drops all over the pad. 

After this, you can put the wrappers back on the wings, and then wrap back up your pad. 

Finally, put your pads in a freezer bag, and put them in the freezer for after the birth of your little one.

Now you will have something that will make postpartum just a little bit easier.

Second Trimester: Pros and Cons

The second trimester… Definitely was easier in the regard, that I could mostly eat again. Not so easy in other areas, let’s walk through some.

I’m gonna start with the cons first.
Heartburn:

Oh, my goodness the heartburn has been awful. At times, it feels as if I’ve swallowed the sun, and it didn’t sit well, and it’s trying to get out. And that’s putting it lightly.

The only think that has helped even kinda relieve it has been papaya, and almond milk. 

Oh, and you want to know what the worst thing to give me heartburn has been? Not spicy food, no, but milk and ice cream, yeah, the thing that everyone suggests you try to get rid of it.

Gag Reflex:

I have a bad gag reflex anyway, but it has gotten significantly worse with each passing day. I can only brush my teeth at night, and I have to be careful, so I don’t get sick and throw up. 

As a result of this, I have pregnancy gingivitis. Which is very annoying, but working on making it better.

Falling:

I’m not so sure it’s a con, considering if I hadn’t fallen, some of the things I experienced from it, probably wouldn’t have happened, but I’m gonna add it anyway.

My husband and I had just moved, and our new place has stairs. I was literally on the bottom step and fell. I still don’t know what happened. I grabbed the railing and pulled up, which I learned later was not the best thing I could’ve done.

A couple days later, I was in agonizing pain. My hips were out, my shoulder was a terrible mess, because of the fall, and was literally on tears because of it. 

So my advice to you: don’t fall while pregnant, it’s not a good idea.

Sleepless nights:

This one kinda goes hand in hand with the heartburn, but definitely been having a more difficult time sleeping at night.

From the growing belly, round ligament pain, restless legs, and lag cramps, sleeping is just not happening.

Pros:

Sex of the baby:

This has definitely been the highlight of this trimester. Finding out we are having a little girl was so amazing. She moves so much, and is already loved so much.

Feeling baby:

I have been feeling our little one since the first trimester, but now the movement is so much stronger. And she really loves when her daddy touches me, she gets all content and moves, and just loves him. 

Seeing baby move:

For weeks now, I have been seeing the baby move from the outside for weeks. It is the most weirdly amazing thing I have ever seen. Every time she moves now, my whole stomach moves.

4D ultrasound:

We got to see her features. The 4D ultrasounds are out of this world. You can see so much. And we even got to see some of what her little personality will be. She stuck her tongue out at us, and then she crinkled up her nose and got mad. Below I have added a picture of the ultrasound.

So here were my pros and cons. It’s definitely been a better trimester. I only have a few months left now, and we can wait to meet our little girl. 

Henna VS. Commercial Hair Dye During Pregnancy

Before I begin this blog post, I just wanted to say that this post is simply just what I have found, and is not to be taken as an “an everyone must do this, or that…” Type thing. As with anything, this is your choice to dye YOUR hair, and I am not going to criticize anyone who does or doesn’t. -End of disclaimer 
Like most women, as a teenager, I wanted to experiment with my hair. So, yes, I’ve dyed my hair. The first time I dyed my hair, I was about 15 or 16, and it was with henna. Which made my hair super soft, and didn’t damage my hair, and turned it a really pretty black color. And it lasted about 6-8 weeks. The next time I dyed my hair was with commercial hair dye, I was almost 18, I think. I dyed it red, like very red. I did not bleach my hair before hand, and I loved the color. But I did notice that no matter what I did, I could not get rid of the red dye. And it had seriously fried my hair. It has now taken over a year to remove the red dye from my hair, the initial removal included 5 hours of striping and re coloring my hair (the person who did all of that is seriously a life saver, and did amazing not damaging my hair more), and then a few months later, cutting my hair to get what little red was still left out. 

But, since I got pregnant, it has been on my mind, women who dye their hair while they are pregnant, is there a better, more natural way to do it?

Here are the facts:

Henna:

Like I stated above I have used henna in the past to dye my hair. What I know about henna without doing much research on it: It’s a plant based product used to dye hair and skin. Pregnant woman use it often on their bellies, during maternity pictures. And it’s used in weddings. After doing a search, one of the first things I found was this, “Natural henna, derived solely from the plant, and with no added chemicals, is safe to use on your hair or on your skin. This type of henna is brown, and is harmless. It’s often suggested as an alternative if you want to avoid chemical hair dyes while you’re pregnant.” 

The key words I picked out of this were, “derived SOLELY from the plant, and with no added chemicals.” 

For now, we’ll just let that sink in, and we’ll move on.

Commercial hair dye:

Also having used this, I know what it did to my hair. I also know that they smell of harsh chemicals, ones that if you have a chemical sensitivity, would probably cause you issues. I also know, that before using a commercial hair dye, you are supposed to check to make sure you’re not allergic to it, same with henna, but for different reasons. After a quick search, here is what I found: ”

Toxic chemicals and compounds such as resorcinol, paraphenylene-diamine (PPD) and coal tar dyes have all been identified as carcinogenic and mutagenic, and can cause a breakdown of the hair shaft. For a woman who is pregnant, the effects may be even more devastating — it could be harmful to the baby”

Again, I will just let this sink in, and I’ll move onto my final thought.

Final thoughts:

What I would like to ask every pregnant women out there is this, Is the risk of harm to baby so low, that I would decide to sit and put chemicals or any hair dye on my body, so I can look pretty? Like I said before, I’m not judging anyone, I’m just asking you to think about it, and not just take the word of your doctor, that it’s safe. Research please. 

Personally, I will not be dying my hair while pregnant, not because of the reasons above, but simply because my hair needs a break. 

And remember this: whatever you put on your body, WILL affect your baby, whether in a big or small way.


Things all first time mom’s will hear…


“Not possible, you’re a first time mom.” “It’s just gas.” “It’s hard to tell that early, ESPECIALLY when you’re a first time mom.” “You’re baby is not big enough to feel, it’s only an inch and a half.”
The above quotes are things that have actually been said to me, when I started feeling my baby for the first time and people thought it was too soon for a first time mom.

I was about 9 weeks pregnant when I felt what I was pretty sure was my baby girl. Yes, at this point she was very very small, and yes, it wasn’t gonna be a lot of movement, but I was pretty confident it was her. And not long after that, it was pretty much confirmed that I had been feeling her, when I went back in for my prenatal appointment at 11 weeks, and they used a Doppler to find her heart beat. She was right where I thought she was, because I had been feeling her. 

So other first time mom’s out there you will more than likey hear your fair share of absolutely ridiculous things from people. Or hear other ridiculous things from other first time mom’s.

I heard this one about a week ago, “So when the baby pulls on the umbilical cord, can I feel it?” Umm, like, how, like I don’t even know where to start with this one. “If I have sex on Monday will my baby be a girl?” Umm, no… “How many months is (insert number) weeks?” It’s really not that hard to figure out. “Pregnancy brain is not real.” Yes, yes it is, I have it, wait… Do I? Yes, I do, ask my husband.

Trust me, I could go on all day, about some of these things, but there just isn’t enough time in the day to write them all down.

But I think my main point of this post, is pregnant women will feel, and experience things at different rates (except for the umbilical cord thing, that’s not gonna happen), don’t let anyone tell you it’s not possible.