I’ll Always Show Up For You…

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On 8-8-14 at 8:34am, my life changed forever when I heard her cry for the very first time. Welcome to the world, Aviva Zelda Shaftel….you are LOVED. I am your mommy….I will do everything in my power to take care of you, make you feel loved and create a happy, joyful, meaningful life for you…

I’ve been writing this blog for 6 weeks, in my head and in between feedings, diaper changes and occasional random moments of calm. So much has gone on this past 6 weeks that I just can’t figure out where to start or where to end. So, I just wiped the page clean and I’m going heart blazing open, honest, no BS, real talk on this blog right now. Our journey this past few weeks has been just amazing, but it has also been filled with challenges. We are not the first people to have challenges to get through after or around a birth and we won’t be the last. That said, this is my journey and I’m going to share it honestly in the hopes that it will help others.

Aviva’s Birth Story

I’m not going to tell it like the “birth stories” you read all the time…I’m going to skip to the part where the heart bursts open, rips wider than it ever could and where every single instinct that makes you a parent, kicks in like being hit by a train of love, emotion and fierce over-protectiveness like you never thought you could ever feel. Her first cry. The moment I knew our baby was out of my body and in this world with us.

We had a scheduled C-section for 8am on 8-8-14. She was born at 8:34am and that’s where this story begins. I can’t help but cry through this (already) as the emotions I felt that day are still so real and so raw inside me as if I have PTSD or can’t help but relive it every time I think about it. When I heard her cry I was so overwhelmed with joy and relief that I burst into hysterical tears (they had to give me oxygen) as I watched them run her over to my left where all I saw was a bunch of nurses and my husband huddled over her under the light. This is normal and then they’re supposed to bring her to me right away. That didn’t happen. Instead it took longer and more people crowded around her. I asked “Is she ok?” “Is everything okay?” over and over again (our OB was on the other side of the curtain stitching me up)…no one answered and I could tell something was wrong. Finally, my husband came over and brought her to me and had to tell me that she was cut during the C-section but that she was going to be okay. He was amazingly calm for me (although not at all inside). He told me the cut was on the side of her head and it was deep and hit the muscle- that he had inspected it (he’s an Oculoplastic Surgeon) and decided we needed a Pediatric Surgeon to stitch it up so were waiting on him to arrive. They took her back over to the light and away from me. Still, no one said a word to me and instead just kept stitching me up and getting us all ready to move to the recovery room. Three hours later (yes that’s right)…my husband went with the surgeon and held our daughter while her head got stitched up. Eventually, we all were back in the recovery room together.

This is a very brief and very non-emotional depiction of what happened. It was deeper, heavier, way more scary and intense than I can recount right now. Just trust me.

She got cut- should that have happened? NO! Is that common? NO! Did it get handled right with our OB? NO! I could go on. Sigh. No. Just no. (Days later after we were home, my husband reached out surgeon to surgeon, to talk to our OB about what happened and how it was handled. I also spoke with her at my 2 weeks postpartum appointment. We’ll never be okay about what happened but are trying to move past it).

After we got into recovery my blood pressure dropped super low and they had to pump me full of all sorts of stuff and like 10 lbs of fluid. All we could focus on was this little girl and getting her my Colostrum. My milk hadn’t come in yet (very common after a C-section) so my husband helped me hand express the Colostrum into a little cup and then we were syringe feeding it into her tiny little mouth. Our sweet girl was exhausted! She had that trauma to her head on her way into this world and then had to have a surgery right away. By the time she got back to us, she was out cold. It broke our hearts in two. I was laying there with my catheter in and still totally numb from the breast down from my C-Section spinal block. I was also totally wiped out but every ounce of energy I had was being put towards getting this little love fed.

My husband at this point had checked his rage and emotion about what happened to her in order to be calm for me and to just move this thing forward and make sure she was okay. In my own way I did the same thing because there wasn’t time for us to feel our feelings about what happened. We had to check that at the door and walk through into parenting solely focused on Aviva and what her needs were. No time to cry or to scream about it. No time to ride the emotional wave of “you f-cking hurt my baby…” etc. etc. No time and too selfish. This is Aviva’s story now. Check yourself at the door mom and dad. We’ll deal with you and your emotions later.

This is the beginning of the SHOWING UP. In the OR my husband showed up so big for me and then he just went into surgeon mode and made SURE that she got the proper care and insisted on it even when they wanted to just put some surgery tape over her wound. There was even a vein that ran through that gash in her head, which has subsequently reformed around the scar- amazing. Once we got back to the recovery room we both had to show up for Aviva. We did all we could to get her fed. Then we tried to breastfeed. This poor little thing was so exhausted she was just sleeping through it all. And then when it was time to latch on…she couldn’t do it. She never could, actually. So thus began part two of this story…Aviva’s weight loss after birth.

Aviva was born 6lbs 7.7 ounces and 19inches long. She wasn’t able to latch and breastfeed off of me and so we took to manually expressing my milk and then syringe/tube feeding it into her mouth. This process took at least 2 people and one very exhausted little baby girl mouth. She eventually lost 11% of her body weight. We were told on day 2.5 that unless we were able to get that percentage back to a lower amount, we’d have to stay in the hospital. So at this point we’d seen 2 lactation specialists and had been brought a breast pump. I began pumping my milk and then we’d put her on my breast and tube feed her and try to get her to latch. My husband and I were fiercely committed to getting her weight up and thus stayed up for 24 hours pumping, tube feeding, etc. we were even high five-ing at 3am like “Team Aviva! We got this!” No actually, we were just delirious. Eventually between a nurse and a lactation specialist we were urged to give her some formula just to get her over the hump. This was a very hard thing for me to do as I was so committed to breast milk only for my girl. That said that’s my thing and in order to get her to be okay…she needed this and so she got it. My husband was such a voice of reason for me and calmly helped me work through that to make the right choice for Aviva. So between the one dose of formula and all the pumping and syringe/tube feedings together as a team…we were able to get Aviva to only 7% from her 11% loss and thus on day 4, we were allowed to leave the hospital.

Part three of this story is a thank you to the people who showed up for us SO BIG that we can not even imagine having gone through what we did with out their support. My parents and my brother came into town days before Aviva was born. Once we got to see them hours after her birth (and no one told them what happened and they didn’t know we were okay for way longer than it should’ve ever taken for them to be informed-ugh!!!!) they went into super-amazing-power-support mode. They brought us water, healthy food to eat, made sure we had everything we needed (and often we did not- our hospital experience was subpar on many levels). Most important…they were there to emotionally support us. I can not begin to explain this. My emotions were crazy between my horrible pain, hormones, sadness, anger and fear and the stress that occurred around Aviva’s cut and weight loss. I know there were moments where my dad and my husband were alone and he was able to lean on my dad about his feelings dad to dad, and then when I was alone with my mom and just cried my heart out to  her and she was able to support me and comfort me in the most beautiful way. I just can not say thank them enough for those days in the hospital and what they did for us.

On a side note, this is also when my little brother saw my boobs for the first time. We tried hard to keep them out of his sight but when all you’re doing is whipping those things out to try to feed the baby and every other person that comes in is there to help assist this process..well, it’s hard to hide them. After the hospital and back at home it was just like f-it…there they are. He was such a good sport about it. I am certain when he returned to LA he went right to see a therapist and I don’t blame him. Sorry bro but thanks for looking at my eyes. You were an unreal support to us. What brother shows up for 12 days and gives 100% to help his sister and her husband through this process? Mine. This man knows how to show up in life. Proud to be on the other end of this from him and so blessed. 

Part Four of this birth story is about Aviva’s father. In the moments that followed her coming into this world, my husband began showing up for his daughter in the most beautiful way. He was the one who saw her head was bleeding and immediately jumped on it because no one was telling us what had happened. He then made sure she was taken care of because he knew better, medically and because of that- she won’t have a terrible scar on her head for life and was properly treated for what happened to her. He kept his cool the entire time and gave her calm energy and tremendous love even when he was holding her down while she was being stitched up by the Pediatric Surgeon. He then showed up for me in recover for days like a rockstar. I will never forget this moment in the wee hours of the night we stayed up all night together trying to get her fed when he turned to me and said “We will get through this. We’ll get through anything. I love you and I love her and I am committed to you both and we’ll be okay.” He had tears in his eyes while he said that to me (I was 100% crying ugly cry style) and I knew in my heart what I told him- this is what I have always known about you and why I picked you to be my partner and the father of my children.

In the days and weeks that have followed this hospital stay, my husband has done everything in his power to show up for us both. Watching the man you love go to another level of depth of love and care is a truly special experience. I am honored to be partners in life, love and now parenting with this exceptional man. Aviva is so lucky you are her daddy, Sol. As Aviva’s namesake, my Grandfather Abe used to say, “beautiful.” Yep- just like he said it and every single thing we’ve been through- there you go showing up so big, with love- it’s beautiful. Thank you.

On day four we got to take her home and that’s when the real journey began. Supported for over a week by my folks and my brother with us and all the love from family and friends, we felt blessed. My family bought groceries, cooked meals- most of the time mine needed to be hand fed to me while I was working on breast feeding or trying to syringe/tube feed her or pump my milk for her. They did laundry, cleaned up the house, ran errands (my husband had to go back to work right away) and they gifted us a night time Doula who helped from 11pm-7am so that I could try to sleep and heal in between the 2-3 hours I’d be woken up to feed/pump. They went above and beyond for us all day long and into the night for days and days. Showing up with so much love and emotional support. I am certain Aviva felt their energy and love all along the way too. A beautiful thing. She also got LOTS of snuggles, kisses and holding sessions by her Grandparents while they were here and her uncle Jack serenaded her on the guitar too. Once they all left, it was time for my husband and I to “learn our dance” as my mom put it (so spot on). We had only begun the emotional roller coaster that was the first few weeks of Aviva’s life. There’s so much that went on I’d love to write about but for now, I’m going to focus on one piece of it…

Breastfeeding. Or lack there of:

It didn’t matter how many breast feeding books I read. It didn’t matter how in my mind I knew our breast feeding journey would be so beautiful and important. It didn’t matter how much I was committed to breast feeding Aviva before she was born. Once she was born, and didn’t latch on to my breast- none of that mattered. From day one I was committed to doing all I could to get her to breastfeed.  In the last 6 weeks, we have seen a total of 6 lactation consultants between the 4 in the hospital and the 2 we’ve worked with at home. Totaling 6 opinions of what we should try and do. All of which, we have open-heartedly tried. We’ve tried nipple shields and different holding styles and techniques, different pillows for support, pre-pumping, you name it- we’ve probably tried it. In the beginning, I would pump and we’d syringe, tube feed her while attempting breast feeding as well.

Eventually, she lost weight again and wasn’t in a good zone. We ended up needing to rent a scale for the house. We saw her doctor and where put on a plan which we did 100% and it still didn’t get her weight up enough. So then we had to start bottle feeding. It was the only way to get her weight up to a safe place. So then we tried like 4 different bottle systems until we finally found one that didn’t give her gas, that she didn’t gag on and that worked. All the while, still continuing to try to get her on my breast.

Now let me say this to my own credit and I’m going to emotionally pat myself on the back for a moment here…I was recovering from a C-Section which yes, is a major f-cking surgery folks and painful and rough those first 2 weeks-wow, I was emotionally still reeling from her head being sliced open when I was, I was now watching her head wound and caring for that too, I was upset by how poorly my OB handled the entire situation, I was overly exhausted, my hormones were crashing and crazy,the 10 lbs of fluid they pumped into me at the hospital when my blood pressure dropped were still in my body which felt just awful and looked even scarier, I was feeling a million emotions about her not being able to breast feed, worried about her weight and yet STILL…every single time I put her to my breast…I got totally zen-ed out. I KNOW she feels me. I KNOW she feeds off my energy (maybe not my breast but definitely my energy). So I made sure no matter what- if it was morning, noon or 4am, this baby was put on my body with loving, calmness and nothing else. Every single time. I showed up for her. I checked all the above and put it aside and made sure that when she’s on me, or in my arms- she feels peace and love and me showing up for her. I did it in the hospital and I’m still doing it now.

For moms who are experiencing these problems- pat yourself (yeah right now) on the back. This is SO HARD. You feel like a failure. Our society is has made breast feeding seem like the end-all and if you don’t or can’t do it- yeah- you suck as a mom. Or yeah, you’ve failed your child. Okay- first of all, that is NOT true. If you TRY you have succeeded. If your baby can’t latch, that’s not on you! If you can’t pump milk because you don’t have any AND your baby can’t latch…that’s not on you! I’m lucky in that I have a great milk supply and so I am able to be 100% attached to my breast pump day/night in order to feed my baby through a bottle, breast milk…with love. I will do this as long as I can for the time I feel is right and if things change then we’ll roll with that too. I have learned through my own process with breast feeding that there’s so much pressure to be able to do it and if anything we’re a society obsessed with it. It’s not fair to us moms and it’s by the way not cool to judge people about doing it or not- you do not know their journey so you should not judge it.

I’ve had people talk to me who had the easiest time breast feeding and suggested I go read a book…um, I’ve read that book- there’s nothing I am doing or not doing at this point that will change whether she latches or not. She’s too tiny or her jaw is too tight or whatever it is. That doesn’t help me and it doesn’t feel good. I’ve had people suggest I am stressed and that must be the problem. Again- no. I have only showed up 100% calm and loving while breastfeeding this baby who just, simply can’t latch right.  I wish I could tell everyone to ease up on moms. It’s hard enough one thing to deal with, but several and with all this pressure? It’s not fair and it’s not okay. I wish this could change I really do. I’m sharing this to try to do my part to shift things a little. If you’re going through this stuff- honey hold on to your heart…you can only do so much and then you just have to do what YOU feel as the mom, is best for your baby. If it’s pumping your milk and you have milk to pump- do it! If it’s formula and bottles- do that! The baby will thrive if it’s fed and if it’s receiving LOVE. End. Of. Story.

What goes on with pumping and trying to breast feed at the same time:

- ripped up nipples

-clogged milk ducts

-severe breast pain

-severe nipple pain

-your life is no longer your own…it belongs to the pumping schedule, for so long as you choose to pump

-needing to upgrade to a better pump

-investing in every single size of pump accessories as every few days things change or stop working

-trying a million different nipple creams, heat, ice, cabbage on your breasts, massaging your breasts, nipple protectors, nipple shields, nipple pads…

There’s more but these are just a few things. And you know what- ALL WORTH IT! I’m happy as a clam that I am lucky enough to have milk and to be able to pump it and feed our baby. She’s also latching now at times and I continue to work to try to get her on the breast but if it doesn’t happen I’m totally okay with it because I know I tried and she tried and at the end of the day, she’s gaining weight beautifully now and totally thriving!!! As a mom, what more can you ask for?!

Side note: MIND-BODY CONNECTION: The night my milk went away…

The day after my parents left and we were still very much in the thick of the very stressful pumping/tube feeding our baby who had lost weight zone…all of a sudden, a totally sleep deprived, stressed out, pain-ridden me stopped being able to pump out any milk. This went on for hours. In the middle of the night my husband (once again showing up for me) checked to see how much was in the fridge and realized only about an ounce. Instead of telling me this, he came in to the nursery and told me that in the morning (he’d taken off from work that day to be with us- times were TOUGH that week and thank God he was there as I wasn’t even allowed to drive at that time post surgery) if I couldn’t pump milk then we’d go rent the same pump the hospital had (which our Doula had assured us was the best pump if you’re exclusively pumping) and we’d try that and if that didn’t work then we’d get formula and told me over and over again that no matter what he’s there with me and that she’s going to be okay.

This calmed me and I was able to meditate myself to sleep (I meditate all the time and I highly recommend it). In the morning she had that one ounce but my milk wasn’t happening. Off we went the three of us to rent the pump, stop by her doctor to pick up formula samples in case we needed to use them and all sorts of milk supply stuff that our lactation consultant suggested. The love and calm from my husband and from that storage space inside me where I had to go get some from, plus the sleep I finally got, plus the new awesome pump…and poof! We got milk! And not only did we get milk…we got lot’s of it. Only goes to show that your mind and body are SO connected. The moment I calmed inside and believed she’d be okay no matter what…baby got milk. She’s still getting it and we have a whole freezer of extra milk just in case!

Yes this is the longest blog ever and yet I haven’t even scratched the surface of all I wanted to share! I’ll save some of it for another time. For now I just want to say, in all of this the message was clear…life is all about showing up. Love is about showing up. Showing up physically for people, or emotionally, spiritually. Just show up! It serves your heart and the person on the other end.

To the love of my life, Aviva Zelda….I will ALWAYS show up for you. You forever have my all and your daddy’s too. To the people who showed up for us in all the ways you did- there are so many of you, we both want to say thank you. It meant the world to us and always will. Now I have to go show up for Aviva and pump and feed her, change her, rock her and look into those baby blues and tell her mommy loves her. I know she can feel it….

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About her name:

Aviva: She’s named after my dad’s father Abe (Abraham/Avraham). Her name is Hebrew and means springtime, renewal, new life. I had a very special connection with him and when he passed away, years ago, vowed to name my first child after him. Thankfully, my husband also found this beautiful and so we did just that.

Zelda: This was my dad’s mother, Selma’s Hebrew name. Grandma Selma passed away this year while I was pregnant with Aviva. She was so over-joyed and excited about Aviva before she passed at 96. She called all the time to talk about my pregnancy and when she found out it was a girl, was beside herself. That coupled with my grandma’s lifelong commitment to Hadassah it seemed fitting to use her Hebrew name, Zelda, which means happiness.

Aviva is our renewal. She is our springtime, our new life and our happiness.

A Room For Her To Dream In…

1We’re having our baby in 12 days! Her room is ready and we can’t wait to bring her home to this peaceful space where she’ll get to dream until next summer (when we’ll be moving on to our next adventure as a family)! Here’s a peak at our little girl’s nursery! There’s no specific theme but there are a lot of butterflies around. The large pieces such as the crib, the dresser, nursing chair and ottoman, rug, changing table dresser, are all white, cream or light wood. I thought this made sense so they can all be used again because they are gender neutral. So, if we have a boy next then we’ll only need to add accents to the nursery set up and can re-use everything else. Since we’re having a little girl now, I chose accents in soft pinks, yellows, greens, beige, some purples and greens, blues too. The main accent color being soft shades of pink but they’re very much accents and not over powering it all. The room in the sunshine feels very bright, light and calm. The whites and creams pop out and it’s very serene. 
2In the darker hours the room gives off a candle light color and glow. It’s all exactly how I envisioned it. I’m so excited to get to rock her in this chair and put her down to sleep in this crib under her butterfly dream catchers with crystals and feathers softly floating above her. Here’s wishing for sweet dreams baby!

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Dresser, hamper, basket of stuffed animals, a couple books, a bird night light and a painting of me, pregnant as a butterfly by my friend Kim McBride. The butterflies around me in the painting were finger-painted by my female friends and family who came to my Mother’s Blessing party to wish me well on my journey into motherhood.

What’s in these drawers…..
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The changing table all set with the basic needs for the first little while. I’ve chosen to try the Honest Company’s diaper and wipes bundle. They deliver it to your door and in my research, it’s the safest for sensitive baby skin brand out there that’s also affordable. We’re stocked up on the newborn size and we’re going to give it a try and see if it works for her! Other items include Angel Baby Bottom Balm, Coconut Oil (I plan on using this for her “lotion” in her massages and will probably use on her tushy too- safest option in my opinion). For bath time we’re going to try California Baby Super Sensitive Shampoo and Bodywash.

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The nursing chair and ottoman is the best! Land of Nod has the best chair options out there. It’s going to be such a dream rocking our baby in this chair, nursing her next to my little bunny light. I can’t wait to fill this little picture frame with our baby’s face! It’s waiting and ready. A little Hamsa hangs next to my nursing chair with a beautiful Hebrew prayer for a baby girl. I wear one around my neck and it’s my gift to my baby girl’s room…a little something from her mom to protect her in spirit.

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12 11 I love our crib and sheets/changing pad/towel sets by Dwell Studio.5And finally…a little peak at this (mostly pink) closet! Thanks to our dear friends and family for all of this! We’re so touched and blessed by your generosity- these gifts and hand-me-downs are just the sweetest and I can’t wait to see her in all of them! It’s going to be so much fun dressing her up!  On top of the closet we have a stack of swaddle sacks, swaddle and receiving blankets as well as a stack of burp cloths and heavier blankets for when fall/winter comes our way. I pre-washed EVERYTHING you see in this entire room in Honest detergent or Seventh Generation detergent.

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All set…now all we need is our baby! :)

 

This blog is dedicated to all my “skinny jeans”…

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I have to assume it’s common at 9+ months pregnant to have dreams about wearing clothes you haven’t been able to wear in months right? (Let’s just say it is and that my latest fantasy wouldn’t be considered “weird” at all)… This isn’t like a sex fantasy it’s like, a fashion fantasy. It’s been a reoccurring dream I’ve been having lately where I get to open up my drawer of skinny jeans, pick any pair I want, put them on, zip them up with ease, button the button around my waist and then in an effortless and carefree way, toss on a heal, pick a fabulous top that doesn’t require a bra with the letter G or F on the tag, grab my beautiful baby, put her in the stroller (and yes she looks fabulous in this dream too- totally baby-chic in a little onesie someone got us that has “Je t’aime” written on it, a baby denim pant and adorable little booties) and off I go for some kind of cat walk like walk down the street, smiling at her sweet face the entire way). Total fashion fantasy pregnancy dream.

(Note: picture above is of me and one of my dearest friends Alex aka my “gay husband” who’s soon to be a “guncle” (gay uncle) to our little one. He’s also the most stylish man and I happen to be wearing my ultimate favorite skinny jeans (that I also was wearing when I met my husband for the first time so they’re extra special ones). I’m wearing vintage Gucci heals and some top that doesn’t matter- it’s all about those jeans!)

So when will I be back in these favorite jeans? The answer is simple- I have no idea! Also, it doesn’t really matter. The baby weight we gain WILL come off eventually and the jeans will be back in rotation but who knows when or how long it’ll take. So this brings me to the “why” of this blog. Why the hell am I sharing my weird jean fantasy and talking about skinny jeans right now? Simple- because the issue of pregnancy weight gain and post pregnancy weight loss is on all our minds but mostly- it’s in our faces! We preggo ladies can’t get away from reading about or hearing about the latest celebrity or model who just gave birth then walked the Victoria Secret runway 2 months later, or who “bounced back after baby” in what seems like a miraculous amount of time only to look almost better than she did before she got knocked up! What the hell? How do these women do this? More important- holy sh-t that’s a lot of pressure society- thanks a lot! Jeez!

Let me shed some light on at least part of this. I have worked in fashion in my past and have known plenty of models, actresses, and socialites over the years. I know what their lifestyles can be like, some of the secrets they have about pregnancy (I will share in a moment) and also the fact that financially, many of them can afford things that 99% of women on this planet can not (personal chef, personal trainer, nutritionist, tons of help at home, etc).

The bottom line is this: do NOT compare yourself to anyone but yourself! It’s one of the hardest things to do as a woman who lives in our society bombarded by images and stories that are meant to make us feel like poop and teach the men in our society that we should be super-human and that what is beautiful is something that most of us can’t possibly attain with out being unhealthy in some way. Not to get on a soap box here but I think it’s SO important when nearing the end of pregnancy and looking ahead to the next phase, to try to be kind to ourselves and realistic.

During my pregnancy I have been taken back by the number of comments I’ve received about the size of my bump or questions about my weight gain. I’ve spoken with pregnant friends and all of us have had the same experiences. This only reinforces that our pregnancy weight gain or weight loss post baby, should be a personal thing. The truth is that just as every woman’s body is different, so is every woman’s pregnancy. My pregnancy is totally different than my friend’s. Each of them has had their own personal struggles just as I have had mine and none of us share the exact same experience so why would we share the same weight gain or loss?

Health plays a part in all of this too don’t forget. For example I haven’t been able to work out for months now aside from the occasional prenatal yoga class because working out was triggering my pregnancy migraines. So, I had to stop. I went from lot’s of activity to very little and for months, of course that will play a role in how my body looks, feels, what I weigh or perhaps even how I bounce back after child birth. Only time will tell. So, how do I feel reading about pregnant women being super active while I’ve been laid up on the couch more than I’d like to remember these past nine months? A little jealous but then I remind myself- that’s their pregnancy journey and I can’t compare myself to it.

So if you’re pregnant and looking at what society’s images and stories are telling you, I urge you to shut the magazine, turn off the TV, close your Facebook feed and do something that makes YOU feel good about you. Or meditate and feel your beautiful baby growing inside you and focus on what this is all about. It helps and it brings you back to the center of all this- you are creating LIFE. There’s no size or weight range or activity level that has anything to do with this- just your body doing something miracle-like and it’s perfect, just as it is.

Now just because you shouldn’t compare yourself to the latest pregnant celeb doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to know about a couple tricks they use to get their bodies back fast. I will now share two of them with you. And yes, I am planning on doing both of these things so I will also try to report back on how it worked out for my body after baby (at some point).

1. The Belly Bandit- This belly wrap is considered the best out there and they make different versions of it for different needs. I will be using the one designed for mom’s who’ve had c-sections as it will best suit my needs. I would suggest you look through the website and learn about why compression is so wonderful and which one is best for you. The bottom line here is that by wearing a wrap you will help your uterus go back to it’s normal size much faster than it otherwise would. There’s also a ton of support for your back and stomach muscles here and as far as I’m concerned, there is no reason not to try this! I already have mine so I can get in it as soon as possible after birth!

2. ShrinkxHips- Many pregnant women’s hips have shifted and widened in order to allow for space to hold the baby. This is another wrap made to help your hips go back to their normal size. I’m going to try it with the Belly Bandit and see if it works. I’m not sure I’ll wear both but if I can, I will. It also will depend on my c-section recovery. If one of these goes out the door for me it’ll be this one but I plan on trying. I have it ready to go when I’m ready. I also have purchased this company’s C-Panty made for women who are recovering from c-sections, like myself. Looking forward to reporting back on all of these!

The other secrets these women in the media have are the amount of help they have around them and the resources they have to get back in shape like their life depends on it. Remember, for many of these women their career does depend on their body looking a certain way. Chances are, yours does not. So, give yourself a break! Just focus on taking care of your baby with all the love and attention you have to give and also being GOOD to yourself! Eat healthy and balanced, drink lots of water and do what you can with what you have to work with! I know I will be recovering from a c-section and so my jumping back into my work out routines will not be on the same timeline as my friends who are having natural childbirth. That’s okay! It’s all good! I will do what I can and keep my focus on taking care of me so I can take the best care of my little girl.

The skinny jeans in my fashion fantasy may collect some more dust and that’s all right with me. The most important thing is that I am the best for my baby and that means being kind to myself so I can show her from day one what’s important and being “perfect” by what society shows us, is not it. Being HAPPY, is. Happy, is beautiful!!!! (And it’s sexy too)! ;)

Note: If you’re struggling with how to answer questions about your pregnancy weight gain or if you feel someone is out of line, judging, or upsetting you about your body during this time, try these answers on for size:

* That’s personal and what’s important is that my baby is healthy. 

* I don’t discuss my weight with people. I’m sure you don’t either. (Smile)

* Thank you for the concern with my pregnancy. Let’s talk about how excited I am to have this baby!

* You think my bump is (too small/too big)?! That’s so interesting! I think it’s my perfect bump! (Laugh it off and rub your perfect bump!)

*No I’m not worried about loosing my pregnancy weight. All I care about is that my baby is healthy! 

I urge you to try to change how much focus is on the weight and body issues around pregnancy and postpartum loss by changing the conversation. Re-direct it back to what’s important- the baby’s health and yours. One woman at a time, perhaps we can nudge our way through what society is feeding us so that it’ll be different for our daughters!

 

 

3 Week Countdown and the Magic Question: Are You Ready???

our little girls face at 36 weeks ultra-sound

our little girls face at 36 weeks ultra-sound

“Are you ready?” This is the magic question at 9 months pregnant and 3 weeks to go until our planned C-Section on Aug. 8th! Everyone is asking me this from the check out lady at my local organic market to my family and friends. Ready? Hmmm, is anyone ever really “ready” to have a baby? This is the magic question and it seems to deserve a pretty amazing answer so I’ve been giving it a lot of thought.

Part of me wants to say YES! I have been ready to be a mother since I was about 10 years old and I started the “Mother’s Helpers” baby sitting service in our neighborhood in Tucson, AZ. All I wanted to do was baby sit everyone’s kids and soon after I launched my first business venture, I was booked solid and had to enlist other “mother’s helpers” to fill the load. I LOVED taking care of children and people just trusted me. This went on for years. There were a couple of families I baby sat for every summer in Coronado, CA when we vacationed there and truly there wasn’t anything that brought me more joy than watching those kids at night (and playing with them during the day on the beach as our families would hang out in one big group almost daily). The best!

By the time I was entering college I think I knew I was “weird” because when my girlfriends would talk about what they wanted to be when they grew up (in a very serious, slightly “I am woman hear me roar” but not like a loud roar, more of a cool roar because we went to NYU and thus were sort of above roaring kind of way)….the first thing that I thought was “a mom.” GASP! Dare I say that out loud? No, no, I’d pick something else to speak on but that was my real answer. I would even fantasize about being a mom sometimes and dream about how it would feel, how it would look, how I would be with my children. Those thoughts always brought me a lot of peace. I never thought I’d have to wait until 34 to actually become a mom but as life turns out in a perfect surprise in the way only life can, here I am and the other part of my dream is my partner in this mother thing- my partner in everything, my husband. The road to him wasn’t a perfect dream but being with him is and so because I’m with him, yeah, I’m “ready”.

But are we really ready? My latest pregnancy insomnia situation would tell you no- no we are NOT ready and let me tell you WHY (but let me wait until about 1:30am to start thinking about it and then I’ll tell you by about 3-4:45am). We’re not ready because we don’t know exactly how to deal with every single parenting situation I can think of between the hours of 12-5am. We aren’t ready because we haven’t discussed every single detail of how we’re going to do every single thing. We aren’t ready because of the unknown, because of the scary, because of our own issues that we’re still working on with in ourselves, because of our fears. We aren’t ready because I don’t even know all the reasons why we’re not ready but I know there are so many more of them!

So, no- we’re not “ready” but you know what we are….we’re “set.” We’re set to go. We’re set because I’ve got us so outrageously organized that we could go into labor right now (please God don’t let me go into labor right now) and everything from our hospital bags to the emergency call list to the baby’s nursery and all things needed to care for her are all set and done. THOSE things, are ready. We’re set because I’ve got a planned C-Section (because I have to have one and have finally come to terms with that at 9 months pregnant). While I re-coup I have all the help I need with family coming in and a night time doula, to allow me to heal while still being 100% there for our little girl. Everyone who’s going to be around her has taken the latest infant CPR training course and has had a shot necessary here in Washington because of an outbreak of whooping cough, which can be deadly to a newborn (really people please vaccinate your kids this is ridiculous). So we’re set on safety and support. We’re also set because I’ve read a ton about everything newborn related and feel pretty prepared. We’re set because I’ve decided how to set up doing things but have a back up plan if they don’t work well with our baby (remember man plans and God laughs). We’re set because we’re organized and we’re informed.

I feel like I’ve practiced my entire life for motherhood by watching other’s parent, by taking notes from my own parents, by baby sitting, being an observer, reading, dreaming about it. Even living my life and learning and growing, evolving into who I am today and all I know today was preparation. I feel like I’ve been preparing for this my whole life sometimes knowingly sometimes not. I am so set, so organized, so excited and over the moon about this that I can barely breathe as I think about holding her for the first time. I’m ready to be her mom as much as I can be today and tomorrow and the next and the next it’ll probably be the same answer.

I’m not ready to love her though….because I already do and truly, that’s all SHE really needs from me, isn’t it? There it is- magical answer to the magical question. Now I just have to get through the next 3 weeks and perhaps at some point, get some sleep (that may help me get even more ready).

 

 

3rd Trimester Book Suggestions: What I’m reading now

books3rdtrimesterIf you’ve been following this blog or me on Instagram, etc. you’ll probably know that I have become a total pregnancy nerd (term lovingly coined by my husband, the MD.PHD Oculoplastic surgeon/scientist….ya honey it takes one to know one umkaaay)….  ;) I have totally embraced being a nerd. First of all- I think nerds are hot (see above mention of who I chose to have a life and a baby with) and also I think being informed is powerful and calming.. The more I know going into anything important, the better. Nothing is more important to me in life than being a mom…the job I am about to take on, for life. So with that said….let’s get our sexy-hot-nerdy read on!!!

In the 3rd trimester these have been my favorite go-to books. Take them or leave them but in my opinion, these are some really wonderful, helpful reads to help prepare you for the first few months of motherhood. Here’s my list in no particular order (in fact I will be honest I am usually reading 2-4 books at the same time these days)….

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding- By, Diana West, Diane Wiessinger and Teresa Pitman

This book is enormous and I don’t think you need to read every single word but it’s extremely helpful if you plan to breastfeed your baby. I am certain it’s also a good book to have on hand while breastfeeding so that if you need some support you can look things up directly in the book to answer your questions, give you suggestions on how you may do things differently and calm your nerves. So all in all I say read up on how to start out but also keep this book next to your nursing chair just in case!

The New Jewish Baby Book: Names, Ceremonies & Customs- A Guide for Today’s Families- By, Anita Diamant

This book is obviously not for everyone nor is it really necessary for anyone unless you’re like me: Jewish and wanting to create a Jewish home for your family but in a modern way that works for you. My husband and I love traditions that our religion has brought to our life and both have a very strong Jewish identity. We have and will continue to have a Jewish home, but, we often find things to be outdated and not always on par with either how we live/think or how life is in today’s times. There are a lot of wonderful things in this book that help the modern Jewish mom and dad to be think about how to celebrate your baby’s birth, bring new life into your home and start to create a path for your baby’s Jewish life in a way that is loving, spiritual, special and right for you. It’s not a how to kind of book but it’s full of ideas- some that I have found truly lovely and will probably take from in our home/life as new parents. I haven’t finished this book yet but I enjoy opening it up to break up my other reads now and then.

The Happiest Baby on the Block- By, Harvey Karp

You may have heard about this book as it’s quite popular and for good reason! I absolutely loved reading this book! If you read only one book from this list- let this be it! This is the how to calm your crying baby book that above anything else I have ready, breaks it down, teaches you WHY they are crying, how to figure out what to do about it and most important- teaches you about the 4th trimester. That’s right- the 4th trimester. Our baby’s first few months of life is just that. They aren’t fully ready to be on the outside yet, they really need a fourth trimester and something our bodies just can’t give them. To make the transition easy for life outside the womb, we must understand how to re-create what it was like for them in the womb as much as we can. This will make our baby’s first few months of life (and ours as parents) much easier and less stressful. I love this book, can’t recommend it enough and will keep it close by for reference in case we need it after our baby is born.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child- By, Marc Weissbluth, M.D.

This is another great book to help teach you how to prevent and deal with your baby’s good sleeping habits. I’m not finished reading it yet but I am loving what I’m learning and I feel like the more you know about how to prevent things, the better you are prepared to start off on the right foot with your baby’s sleeping (which of course also means your sleeping) for the first few months. This is a great book and I think, a very worthy read.

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby- By, Tracy Hogg with Melinda Blau

Last but not least one of my favorites from this list! I LOVE this book. There’s so much in here that just resinated with me about how to communicate with our baby. There are many things that are on par with Harvey Karp’s book as well. Only reinforcing for me how important understanding what your baby really needs you to do for it in the “4th trimester” is. This is also a good book to hang on to for after you have the baby and need help with certain situations. I think it’ll be a good go-to book to have on hand for any new mommy.

Enjoy getting your nerd on! Knowledge is power mama!!!

 

 

 

 

The Home Stretch

third-trimester

 

So it’s the third trimester….the “home stretch” as every single person I speak to keeps calling it. Calling this time of pregnancy the “home stretch” is totally appropriate though. Really it’s a stretch in every sense. Your tummy is stretching barely able to keep up with this growing baby and feels like it couldn’t possibly stretch more (but it can and it will, not to worry or at least that’s what everyone tells me). Also, just about every thing you try to do feels like a stretch because your body is limited by this soccer ball in the middle of it. That ball doesn’t bend in half like your tummy used to (back when you had a waist and not a person growing there). You’re unable to sleep through the night (if at all) and so just getting through the day and doing “normal” things feels like a serious stretch of what energy you have left. Then there’s the mental part of the stretch because you’ve got “pregnancy brain” and are suddenly quite forgetful and absent minded, so trying to get through making a to do list or getting everything done in one day seems like a mental stretch (one that sometimes doesn’t quite touch it’s toes). Also your hormones are getting a little out of control again and now you’re just playing catch up with them constantly.

I’ve been a little quiet lately because in my home stretch my migraines have picked back up and have really been kicking my pregnant butt on the daily. On the days I don’t have a really bad headache, I usually have a medium one and am exhausted from the day of migraine prior. I’m not sleeping through most nights because of back pain and tummy pain (my stretching tummy is killing me around the belly button, which I found out is my stomach muscles stretching apart down the middle of my tummy to make room baby’s growing body). The tossing and turning and trying to get comfy all night leaves me pretty tired during most days. Then there’s the really wonderful reason for being tired….the baby thinks night time is time to dance, party, twist turn and kick the sh-t out of me! I can only say that I may be looking at the clock at 3am thinking…really? But, I’m smiling because I love feeling her it makes me so happy. It’s on some other level of amazing every single time. Then there’s the necessity of eating which is something I often want to do but man whenever I do it now- hellllloooo indigestion!!! I have never really experienced anything quite like it. It feels like the food I ate is sitting in my chest and can’t move and it hurts and makes eating hard. That said I have to eat and feed this baby so I just get it done, try to make it healthy and eat less at a time as slow as I can to help things along. Popping Tums is helpful but doesn’t seem to do that much. It’s just a part of the home stretch for me (and I know many other moms to be too). Oh and then there’s needing pee all the time and the bladder pressure of the baby- but I’m pretty used to that now. I chalk all this stuff up to being in the home stretch and third trimester and so I’m not feeling all “poor me this is sooo hard” but more like….”58 days and counting until I meet my daughter and I can hardly wait.”

The one thing (other than sex, which I highly recommend to all pregnant, tired and maybe a little stressed out ladies) that has brought me relief from all the above is my prenatal massages. One of the massage therapists told me to look up what my internal organs look like in the third trimester- that it would make a lot of what I’m experiencing make much more sense. She is right! As you can see from the photo above…things are in places they normally wouldn’t be and many of the home stretch and third trimester aches and pains are explained just by looking at this photo. I mean- check out where the stomach is for example?!? Wowzer! Also, if you ARE pregnant I suggest you share this photo with your partner because it will help them understand things a lot too. We had a good laugh about everything when I showed it to my hubby. Someone can tell you your organs are all messed up but there’s something about the visual! Wooo baby!

So it’s all stretching and it’s almost time for the baby to come home…try to do what I’m doing and enjoy the moments you can, focus on the happy times and the feel good movements of your baby, of the excitement of starting to set up your nursery, of watching and feeling your baby get the hiccups for the first time, of that look on your partners face when he feels the baby going nuts inside you. Soak it all up because soon enough, life is going to change forever and if you’re like me, you know these moments matter while it’s still just you two. Even if you don’t feel well, there’s still joy here because no matter what even in the worst migraine ridden, exhausted and overly hormonal day…at the end of this home stretch is your baby in your arms and you can always think of that, for smiles.

 

 

Organizing for Peace

hanging to dry
If you are my mom, this photo is making you cry for the 2nd time. If you’re anyone other than my mom you’re probably wondering what’s going on here? So, this is the beginning of my “organizing for peace” project at home. What you see here are blankets, swaddle blankets, cloth bibs, onesies, baby tights, tiny newborn hats and socks and the sweetest little baby girl dresses I’ve ever seen, all hanging in my laundry room to air dry after their first non-toxic, delicate wash. We’ve been so blessed to have received all these things as gifts as well as some gorgeous hand-me-downs from a dear friend. Our little one is going to be snuggled, swaddled and dressed in some lovely items thanks to the kindness of others. We’re so touched. So, what is this organizing for peace concept and what the hell am I talking about? I’ll explain…

Through out my life I watched my mom organize, plan and multitask like no one I’ve ever seen– with ease. I was always there by her side as her little helper (and later as her actual more capable helper) to assist in whatever she was putting together. My mom organized huge charity galas and philanthropic events, political fundraisers and business events. She organized amazing birthday parties for family and friends, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs for us and even friend’s kids and family holidays. She had dinner parties all the time and with all this always going on, she organized and cooked dinner for our family almost every single night too. I learned from watching the master! Sure, I learned how to put events together, how to party plan well, how to raise money for good causes, how to manage to cook dinner while putting together 5 other things with out getting stressed out. All wonderful lessons but the most important lesson of all- I learned how to celebrate life.

Through all this organizing and multitasking, the underlying theme for every single thing was celebration of something positive. Brining joy into people’s lives through celebration and togetherness and making people happy. This was and IS my mom’s artistic gift. I’ve never met anyone who does it like she does. I feel I too got that gift although I am no where near a master like she is but, it’s kinda…”my thang.” I love getting people together. I love to celebrate life and make a point of letting the happy times shine bright in my life because there are most certainly, so many hard and sad times too.

So here I am, having a baby with the man of my dreams. The happiest time of my life. Not the easiest, but the happiest. We’re now 27 weeks pregnant and we’ve got about 12 weeks until I give birth. I’ve been told by many and I understand why, to have everything I need to have done, done 1 month before I’m supposed to give birth. This is to allow for (God forbid) an early birth taking place or bed rest, etc. So to me this REALLY means I have 8 weeks or so to get to a point where everything is done and I can just focus on resting up for baby girl’s arrival into our world. Now let me just say that my way is not for everyone, just as your way isn’t necessarily for me. This is just my space to share with you what I’m doing and if you find it helpful- then that makes me so happy! If you don’t agree with my style or do not find it helpful then that’s a-okay too! To each his own! There’s NO one size fits all way to do life, pregnancy or motherhood. Can I get a right on???!!! Okay so now that I’ve said THAT…here’s what I’m doing…

Organization = Peacefulness: When something this big, this life changing is about to happen- I want to be as prepared and organized about it as I can. I find this creates a peacefulness within me and thus a peacefulness around me. I believe our home is at peace when I create that peace (not just the candles lit and incense burning kind of peace- although I do that too). I believe my husband feels more relaxed when he gets home to a clean, organized home with a happy and mellow vibe no matter what his day was like. I believe I wake up feeling calm when I have put to rest all things I could the day before to create a new, fresh start to the new day. I also feel calm when I know what I need to do this day and feel I can achieve my goals. Organization is the first step to creating calm. Knowing what I need to do and then calmly, with out stress or sense of urgency, getting it done. It’s not hard to do and it feels quite good.

Make a list: I make a list of all the things I need to do to prepare for baby’s arrival and give myself plenty of time to accomplish this list (factoring in the days I do not feel well because I have many of them). If there are items on the list that require my husband’s involvement I create a separate list for him and clearly outline when I’d love for those things to be done. This makes it easy for him to help me and then he can feel good about creating the peace too!

Thank people in real time: When I get a gift for the baby or for us I add the detail of the gift to my list of thank-you’s and then immediately write that person a thank you note and send it (I’ve opted to go “green” with my thank-you’s and use www.punchbowl.com to send them out. They’re cute, I can get them done fast while doing 8 other things on my computer and people seem to love them.

Create One Registry: I used www.myregistry.com because you can add many different registries to it and combine them (although mine is mostly amazon.com) but your friends and family only have to deal with one link. It’s very user friendly for them. I use this for myself too. I have talked to new moms, read books, blogs, done tons of research all to figure out what we need and want. I added items to my registry that I will go and buy for us in the end if they’re not gifted. This way I have a solid and ongoing list of all the stuff I’ve learned we’d want or need. It keeps me organized and is easy for others who are sweet enough to treat us to things.

Nursery: A work in peaceful progress: As furniture, gifts and what not for the baby’s room and for the baby herself have arrived, I’ve been putting them in her nursery and closing the door. I haven’t really gone in that room until this past weekend, in order to begin my process. First I went through and opened all the things that require cleaning before touching her newborn baby skin. I put them in a laundry bag and set them aside. Then, I moved all the items in boxes that do not need to be dealt with right now against one wall. After that I vacuumed the room, cleaned and disinfected everything (including door knobs and windows, closet rods, etc. I used non-toxic and baby safe cleaning products to do so. After that, I put on a shelf in the closet some items that can be dealt with a little later (once I have a dresser and drawers to put things in, counter top space, etc) or things I don’t want sitting on the floor. This includes mom/dad’s diaper bags (which are so cute and we can’t wait to use)!

nursery boxes in a corner

mom:dad diaper bags in closet

 

 

 

 

 

The nursery chair was delivered already so I cleaned and vacuumed it and then sat and rested for a moment. This was a LOT of work. I spent hours doing all this. When you’re pregnant doing things like this can take a lot out of you. This ONLY reinforces my reasoning to do it NOW and not wait until I’m 8 months and huge and stressing. No thank you!

Stokke high chair box

nursery chair

The high chair we picked out is the Stokke….I put the accessories with it all together and this is one of the “dad to assemble” items that can wait. Other dad to assemble items include the crib and eventually there will be a changing table and dresser. These will all get done by the one month away mark for total peacefulness but are not on the “do right now” list as they don’t involve ME. The things that involve me need to get done sooner than later and while I’m having some feel good get sh-t done days!

Next I took my closet organizers that say 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months, etc. 0-3 months and hangers closetand soft velvet pink baby girl hangers and got the closet set up for clothes. I did 2 loads of laundry using Honest detergent and no dryer sheets (you never know if you’re baby will react to those fibers so it’s best to go with out them). I hung what needed to air dry and otherwise did a low heat, delicate dryer setting for the rest. Then I folded everything that doesn’t have a home yet (because they require drawers) and put them in a large garbage bag. This way, they are clean, folded and ready to be put away when the dresser arrives and is assembled. Easy breezy. The rest, I began to hang up in order of sizing and as we get more things, I will just follow the same program as it comes. I cried only 4 times while folding baby blankets, baby socks, onesies, hanging up little dresses. Thank you pregnancy hormones for always keepin’ it real!!! :) Finishing this nursery set up step felt SO good. I got much accomplished and am excited for next steps!

closet shot 3

closet shot 2

 

 

 

 

 

closet shot 1

closet filling up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note on our nursery: This room will be a shoe-free-dog-free-sickness-free-stress and drama-free zone. That means, our sweet dog and her hair- not allowed. Take your shoes off before entering. Please don’t come in here if you are fighting or have a cold (in fact don’t come over period no offense). If you are bringing any drama to our life or stress leave it at the door baby. This is the peace-zone and I want our baby to feel it and become it. I think it’s important to set up these concepts before the baby comes and agree with them as a couple because it’s realistic to imagine times where we’ll have to check each other on this or even….stand tall as a couple and just say “no” together, for the sake of our baby. Organizing for peace isn’t just about making lists or cleaning honey…so much more!!!

The Hospital Bag (mine and hers): I haven’t packed these yet. It’s still too early for me. But…it’s on my list and it will be packed before that month away date you betcha! I found this awesome list to help me pack mine and so I thought I’d share it with you!

My Bag:
1. Robe and towels, wash cloths
2. Shampoo, conditioner and soap, skin care products, etc.
3. Toothbrush and tooth paste
4. Make up, hair ties, hair stuff, ect. Don’t forget there will be people coming to visit and you may feel like looking a little nicer. (Or not but nice to have the stuff in case)
5. Pillow and soft and warm blanket
6. Ipod/music for delivery (for us it will be Bob Marley/Reggae mix from our wedding)
7. Sweats/lounge outfit, nursing/sleep bras and underwear
8. Socks and slippers
9. Going home outfit
10. Healthy snacks and water bottles
11. Pads for vaginal bleeding (can occur even w/c-section births so be prepared)
A note of what to grab on the way out:
-Camera
-Cell Phone and charger
-Computer and charger
Baby’s Bag:
1. 4 Receiving blankets
2. 2-3 Soft Blankets
3. Breastfeeding pillow
5.  The diaper bag: Pre-stocked with wipes and diapers of your choice, cream for diaper rash, etc.
6. 3-4 Burp Cloths
7. Breast Pump/nursing pads: The hospital will have both of these, as well, but it is something I would prefer to use my own of.
8. Bottle: Just in case breast feeding as issues you don’t want to be stuck with out getting the baby your milk ASAP
9. Nursing Cream
10. Baby Hat/Beanie: You need to keep the little ones head nice and warm
11. Socks: Also need to keep their little piggies warm!
12: Mittens: To keep them from scratching their poor little faces.
13. Pajamas/clothing: The hospital gives you a white onsies and that is it. So if you want your baby to wear anything else you better bring it!
14. Going home outfit! You know this is going to be photographed right? Right! I can’t wait to pick this out!
Be Ready Then Rest: There is nothing I find wrong with being totally ready, set, put away, cleaned and organized for our daughter’s arrival 4 weeks before she’s supposed to come. If I have learned anything from my pregnancy it’s that the fantasy isn’t always the reality. Just because I WANT to have 12 weeks of being able to put stuff together and get sorted out- doesn’t mean I WILL have that. I don’t feel great, I haven’t and who knows- it could get worse! So to be ready and have an extra 4 weeks to just rest and “be” before she comes…is 100% perfect and CALM to me.
An interesting side note on this entire concept is that being Jewish, there is a very “old school” and superstitious way of looking at this process which I am acutely aware of. This is, not to do anything until the baby is actually born and okay. There are variations on this but the most extreme one is to not bring anything into the home until the baby arrives because God forbid, the baby dies during birth (I know, gasp- hard to even type those words but THIS is where all this came from and I get it- the death of baby and mom was more common way back when and there were reasons for some of these beliefs and practices (but not in today’s world). So to me- the person who celebrates life every chance I get, who desires a totally peaceful, zen-like, calm space for her baby to come home to, who wants the people IN our home to be peaceful too, who believes organization leads to peacefulness….to me- this actually feels toxic, negative and kind of wrong. That’s just ME though- it may feel totally right for YOU! And you know, someday I hope my daughter will get to have a baby and she’ll decide what she wants to do and how she wants it to be done and I will support her choices and do whatever I can do to make her life happier, easier and more peaceful. Isn’t that my job? I’m her mommy. My job starts now and I’m doing all I can in the way I feel is right, to do a good job for her.
Oh, and btw, I am Jewish so yes, I have asked myself…what would I do God forbid something bad were to happen and all this is set up and done? You know, then I’ll deal with it then. But there’s no room in my body for negative thoughts because guess what? I’m growing a human. This little girl is inside me and I believe she gets all the energy good or bad that I give her. Also, thank God so far everything with her has checked out perfectly and so there’s currently no sign to worry about a thing. But do I worry? Sure I do. Just not too much because I also trust in the universe and God and in myself and even, in her, that it’s all going to be okay in the…
beginning.
With love and peacefulness I’m signing off to go organize a dinner while I clean the house because we’ve got new friends coming over and I think it’s time to celebrate some life!!!

 

 

 

Everything Under The Sun: This is a long one…

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I blame this blog on my hormones! I can’t pick one thing to write about so I’m going to write about everything! Which actually seems about right because at the moment and lately, I am all over the place with emotions and thoughts. I’m feeling everything under the sun as they say. (I wish it was sunny right now, ah, Seattle)…I digress. Okay so get ready this blog is going to get a little crazy! I’m going to give it to you straight and I’m going to tell it like it is. If you’re pregnant I say grab a snack and curl up honey, it’s about to get REAL here….

“How are you feeling?” This is the sweetest question and at times the most frustrating. Why? If you’re like me and you are having a rough pregnancy and not feeling well most of the time then answering this thoughtful question only forces you to talk about how not great you’re feeling. That said, it’s unavoidable and is always coming from a caring place no matter who’s asking. At almost 26 weeks pregnant, I’m a little sick of my answers as they’re often the same. Sometimes I just want to lie and say “great.” Mostly because I wish that could be my real answer. It’s not though. I have a headache every single day still. Sometimes it goes away, sometimes it morphs into a migraine. I’m also always exhausted and sometimes light headed or dizzy. Sometimes my stomach is a mess. Sometimes all of the above at the same time. How am I feeling? I’m feeling like I can’t remember what feeling amazing feels like. But, I know I will feel that way again.

The one thing that makes even the yuckiest day feel better? Feeling my baby girl moving inside me. She moves ALL the time now. She kicks, stretches, twists, turns. I don’t know what she’s up to in there but I feel her all the time and I LOVE it! I just revel in her movements daily (and nightly because she really gets going when it’s time to go to sleep- which of course then keeps me up).

Making this little girl makes every day I don’t feel well worth it and I’d do it again in a heart beat just so I can hear hers. Truest thing I can say. I can feel her inside me and I just hold those moments of serenity and peace, happiness and the purest joy one can feel. I hold them very tight and I say “thank you.” I couldn’t feel more blessed or grateful if I tried.

That doesn’t mean I’m all zen all the time over here though. Nope, not exactly….

“Out of respect for my decisions as a mother, please keep your opinions to yourself. You do things your way and I’ll do things my way. “ This is what I’d like to say to everyone who seems to have an opinion about how I should do things with my pregnancy, my birth and my newborn care. It seems everyone has an opinion these days and feels like it’s their duty to share it with you. It began the first time I got a pedicure when I was only 9 weeks pregnant. The nail tech doing my toes had a boat load to tell me about what I should and shouldn’t do while pregnant. She asked me questions about how I was going to do certain things when I gave birth and with newborn care. Oh my God lady really?  Now, this doesn’t mean that when I ASK someone I think is an amazing mother for advice on things that I don’t want to hear what she has to say. I DO! That’s why I’m ASKING!!!! It’s all the unsolicited chatter that’s both annoying and hard to tune out. These days everyone has an opinion and seems to want you to know it. Here is my take….

I have always wanted to be a mother. I’ve been studying moms for years- watching, learning, making mental notes about what I do or do not want to do when (if lucky enough) it’s my turn. I’ve read all the books I think important on pregnancy and newborn/childcare, I’m taking classes to get certified in infant CPR and newborn safety. I won’t let anyone be alone with my baby unless he/she is also certified in these courses because that’s my choice as a mother. I don’t take Tylenol for my daily headaches because that’s my choice as a mother. I don’t drink ANY alcohol while pregnant because that’s my choice as a mother. I eat insanely healthy making my fetus’ nutrition requirements in the womb my #1 food decision making factor and only occasionally go nuts on a food craving because that’s my choice as a mother. I’ve decided my baby will go right into her crib and not have to re-adjust to a crib after finally adjusting to a basinet, because that’s my choice as a mother. I will breastfeed. I will swaddle my baby, wear my baby and treat my newborn as if she’s still in the womb for the first 3-4 months of her life because that’s what I think based on all I have learned, is best for her. P.S. check out “The Happiest Baby on the Block” for more on this concept- I totally dig it. The list goes on but it’s my list because these are my choices as a mother. I own them. They belong to me. I didn’t make them lightly.

I will love her and care for her with all my heart, with all my might, with every once of everything I have inside me just like I’m trying to do now, because she’s my child. I am her mother. This is the most important thing I’ve ever done in my entire life so please, R.E.S.P.E.C.T me. Unless I ask you for advice, in which case bring it baby because if I’m asking you that means I truly value what you have to say. Oh and women who feel compelled to tell us pregnant ladies about horrific miscarriage/childbirth or death stories? Really? Keep it to yourself. Not cool. We’re worried enough as first time moms to be as-it-is! Can I get an amen?!?!?

“What’s Your Birth Plan?” Why is my birth plan your business? Why is my birth plan up for judgment? What if my birth plan isn’t at all what I’d want it to be because maybe, it’s not something I have the luxury to “plan” at all?! Perhaps this is personal and maybe not the grocery store clerk, hair dresser, society or anyone’s else’s business except for me and my husband? Perhaps. Although it certainly doesn’t seem that way. Since the beginning of my pregnancy I’ve been asked this question. I feel like there’s a lot of “chatter” going on in society these days around natural birth, using midwives vs doctors or being in water vs in a hospital. I’m all for au natural routes, trust me but I also value the medical field and I believe that OB’s are with us for a reason. Thank God for them. Seriously. So why am I so annoyed by this question? What’s the big deal? The big deal (to me) is:

#1 I would love to have natural childbirth with out an epidural, totally drug free and I would say bring on the labor pain baby let’s do this. I would LOVE to have that “birth plan.”

#2 I have to have a C-Section birth. I have no choice in the matter. I have had 4 opinions from OB’s/surgeons, etc. based on a medical circumstance I can do nothing about.

3# I’m 26 weeks pregnant and I still am working hard at making peace with my situation. This is not what I would want but I also have no choice. It’s too dangerous for me to have natural childbirth and could put me at risk of not being able to have another child- end-of-story.

What do people say when I tell them I have to have a C-Section birth?

“Oh my God WHY???”

“WHY would you want that???”

“Are you SURE you have to???”

“I’m SO sorry.”

“That’s SO not you! Really?”

I’ll wrap this up with my thoughts on all this. It’s pretty simple. If you’re wondering what someone’s birth plan is, make sure you’re asking with out judgment and with care because not everyone get’s to pick their birth plan and even if they do, it doesn’t always mean it’ll go that way. There are many births that start out natural and end up with C-Sections (1 out of 3 babies is born in the US via cesarean section) . There are also many women like myself who don’t have a choice in the matter. Don’t make us feel terrible about it. It’s not really kind. Be gentle with us pregnant ladies….we’re making life, we’re making a million small and large decisions every day about and for that life… it’s delicate and often private.

My take away on my childbirth situation? There’s not much I can control about it and that is very hard for me so I’m taking control of what I can:

- We will have Bob Marley playing during the entire thing so that the soundtrack to our wedding is also the sound track to our baby’s birth. (We had a Bob Marley cover bad at our wedding). (Note: we listen to a lot of reggae and she ALWAYS goes nuts in my tummy when we do and when her daddy dances around the house with me. So, it seems like she’d probably opt for this as well if I could ask her).

-I will be in the room with my husband. He’ll be the one right next to me holding my hand, looking in my eyes while our trusted doctor does what she needs to do. (I am often asked if my husband will watch the surgery since he’s a surgeon himself- no sir, he’ll be up by me, with me and we both trust our doctor enough to handle this beautifully no matter what comes her way).

-I will hold my baby as soon as humanly possible and show her more love than I can put into words.

That’s my plan. :)

Now for some much needed HUMOR….
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This is how I feel at least once a week these days. (If I’m really honest it’s probably more like 3-4x a week). My hormones are out of frickin’ control! I want to beat the sh-t out of them (and I’m not a violent person). I want to say “Hey! Hormones! Get outa my way I’m trying to be zen here!” Instead they have a tendency to just run over me like a train and leave me limp on the tracks not knowing what hit me. These pregnancy hormones are killer. They make you cry, they make you have anxiety, they magnify anything good or bad. Nothing really helps them except for time. In time, they pass. I don’t think there’s anything that can be said about this except- it’s hard. It sucks to feel taken over by some crazy force of nature and feel out of control of your emotions. It’s extra tough when it happens right before you have to be somewhere or right before your husband has to leave the house or right before you have to go to bed (because then you just- C-A-N-T go to bed). All I can say is this- try to breathe, this too shall pass and there’s always light at the end of the hormone tunnel of darkness and doom.

***Shout out to my amazing husband- you f-cking rock my world and deserve a metal for your awesomeness in calming me down, knowing just want to say, how to deal with my hormones and most important- for knowing how to turn it into laughter in the end. God you’re the best.

And for my last vent of the blog…the pregnancy bathing suit situation….

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“Can’t you just wear your old bikini bottoms with a bigger top?”- My husband

Mmmm, no. Not exactly. But I kind of love you more for thinking that I could. So, yes…I’m hunting for bathing suits and will be rocking them during the end of my pregnancy. Which means- even bigger boobs and a bigger belly! Maternity swimwear leaves a lot to be desired. I bought one little (okay fine not so little) black bikini and wore it twice at 23 weeks pregnant (below). Everything is even bigger now and I’ve got to buy a new suit just 3 weeks later! 1920170_10152216357264086_3737433014049087833_n

So I decided to do something I have never done…try on one pieces. Now, before you get all weird about this let me explain- I have TRIED to buy one pieces over the years, however I’m so short waisted that they are almost always ill fitting and thus I have never actually bought or worn one. I ordered a bunch of one pieces online (I highly recommend online shopping vs normal shopping while pregnant- it allows you to take bathroom breaks when you need to, take a break from trying things on when you feel you’ve had enough and it’s much easier on your ego in the privacy of your own home, with your own mirrors). As it turns out…my thought that my baby bump would somehow fill out the “extra” length in the one pieces that my torso is lacking was 100% wrong. Nope, same issues when pregnant. So, it looks like I will be that girl by the pool or at the beach in a bikini. Not because I’m trying to gross you out but because I’m too damn short waisted to rock a one piece. I apologize in advance. Feel free to look away.

Finding the right bikini isn’t so easy. I’m wearing a 34G bra but my bottom size isn’t that different than it was before so everything that fits the top is enormous on the bottom (nothing like a saggy bikini bottom, ew gross)! In the end I’m probably going to have to invest in 2 bathing suits and combine them to get one that fits. Also a quick note on why I can’t wear my old bikini bottoms like my hubby thinks I can…(bless his heart)…

#1 Brazilian cuts=not okay with a baby bump

#2 The bump shifts the way everything fits even bikini bottoms so I end up looking like I’m not wearing much on the bottom at all and that Brazilian cut quickly becomes a thong! Yikes!

So for all you mamas to be out there- if I can let my bump run free you can too! Come on join me and let’s wear our bumps out proudly this summer! Okay fine, join me so I’m not the only one!!!!

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my hormonally charged blog. If you’re still reading this, you deserve a cupcake!

peanutbuttercupcakesmmmmmmmm……..

 

 

 

Ain’t Nothin’ But a G-Thang….Baby….

Ya, no- not THAT kind of G- Thang….this kind….

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It’s not all old skool gangsta rap and 40′s up in this house. But, it IS about the G’s now.

A little back story on why this is more insane than I can wrap my head around:

I was the very late bloomer kid who didn’t get her period until she was 16 or boobs until she was 18-19! Yes, that’s right….18-19. I was a dancer and for a while there, a model as well so it worked out okay for those things to have no breasts and still not look like a woman. However, it did not work well in my “real life.” No sir. I was teased about being flat chested in middle and high school and I knew none of the boys liked me and thought NEVER would because I had no boobs. My friends all developed quite early only adding to the obviousness of my “situation.” I cried often about this, I prayed for breasts. Shoot- I even prayed for my period! (What was I thinking)?!?! But by the end of high school- the boobs hadn’t arrived and I had learned to accept my flat chest, embrace it and just hope to find a guy someday who cared more about my eyes or my smile or maybe my long legs than my small rack. Or even my brain, soul and spirit?

Right around my freshman year in college I went from an A cup to a C cup out of no where and thought it was pretty cool but no longer needed any of that for self esteem (thank God). In time I went from a C to a D and eventually by the time I got pregnant I was steadily a 34D. My breasts were the first thing to grow in pregnancy and new bras were in order pretty soon thereafter. I have blogged about trying to save your boobs during the pregnancy process. I’ve talked about the cream I’m addicted to, Mama Mio’s Boob Tube and discussed needing new bras, sleep bras, etc. But it wasn’t until last week that “getting a new bra” took on a life of it’s own.

My “new bras” from a couple months ago were being busted out of so, I thought I’d pop into Victoria Secret for a one cup size up option. After dealing with the salesgirl for way too long who seemed just baffled by my request, I asked for someone else- perhaps a bra specialist? Did that exist at the Seattle Victoria Secret downtown? Why yes, it did. So the nice lady, Hannah, took me into the back dressing room area to measure me. The dressing rooms were all filled so she opted for me to leave my tank top on and measure me right there in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the back room changing area. Important note: Hannah was wearing a head set. She was often answering calls and even clicking her headset on and off while measuring me. Finally she stopped and said, “Yeah that’s what I thought.” “What?” I asked. As she gave me the gesture as to say “hold on, I’m getting a call” and clicked her headset to listen to something, she then clicked back and said to me….ON SPEAKER SO EVERYONE COULD HEAR… “Yeaaaaaah….so, you’ve sized out of our store.” Everyone stopped and looked to see the FREAK! She then quickly said, “Oops! Sorry about that. ” And clicked off her mic. I stood there mortified while she then gave me a list of 3 names at Nordstrom in the bra section to ask for. She said they carry very large sizes and should be able to assist me with my “special needs.” Oh my God seriously? Okay so I’m a special needs bra size now? How on earth did this happen? (Flashes of crying myself to sleep at age 13 after being teased by the boys for being flat as a pancake and praying for boobs jumped through my brain).

Off I go to Nordstrom with my special needs boobs. I was able to get measured and fit (in private, in a dressing room like a normal human being) with out the detail of my situation being blasted on a microphone for all to hear. The kind lady assured me a) they have plenty of bra options for me b) I should buy one with a tiny bit of room for more growth in the next month or two c) my breasts will grow much more when the milk comes in for nursing d) they carry bras through size K so I shouldn’t be worried about the future of my bra needs through pregnancy and nursing. K? Wait- so what size am I right now then? I was a 34DDD a couple months ago?

34G.

G is for good God woman your boobs are out of frickin’ control right now!

G is for these girls need to stop growing because I will not be oKay in a K!

I bought a strapless bra (featured above), a black lace one and a nude bra. They fit perfectly, feel wonderful, support my special needs and make me look better in clothes than I was looking in my DDD’s. All I can say is this is ironic on some other level to me, the girl who cried for boobs and didn’t believe my mom when she assured me some day I would have them. Perhaps I prayed just a little too hard? Either way…I’m adding 3x a day to my Boob Tube application and trying to mentally prepare for more growth. My husband has decided my current theme song is the one featured above and now refers to the girls as “The G’s.” Let’s keep it G-rated for a while okay boob fairy?

P.S. To the idiots who teased me all those years- ain’t nothin’ but a G- thang!  I hope somewhere along the road you realized that a woman’s value is not in her chest, but in who she is as a person. (Sorry I had to go there).

P.P.S. Will my daughter be a late bloomer as well? Probably. I hope so. Sound weird for me to hope so? Well, I had to develop my character and really push to like myself and learn who I was because I didn’t have boobs and because I wasn’t popular with the boys.  By the time I got them, they didn’t matter because I didn’t need them to feel worthy.

 

 

 

Miracle Moments

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If you’re like me, the day/night before you have a big deal OB/doctor appointment or ultrasound you are riddled with worry and terrified something will be wrong. You stay up all night with concern. Essentially, you make yourself crazy. I’ve discussed this with some friends who are also currently pregnant and it seems we all tend to do the same thing. Some of us pray, some of us chant, some of us eat ice cream, some of us watch TV or movies to try to distract our thoughts. Either way you spin it, the night before one of your major OB or ultrasound appointments is nerve racking. Then, all of a sudden, you’re laying there on the table waiting for someone to tell or show you that your baby is okay, that everything is perfect and that you have nothing to worry about at that moment. Most of us are lucky enough to get that news although not all of us. It’s because of that fact that we worry. Every mom to be knows the odds- that some of us are and some of us aren’t going to be the lucky recipients of good news. My guess is that this will continue to happen until the baby is actually born and then it will manifest itself in new ways of worry that pertain to the baby’s health moving forward. I guess this is called being a mom!

That gorgeous, perfect, amazing, adorable, miracle of a photo above here, is from our 20-21 week ultrasound yesterday. We were lucky enough to be told our baby girl is looking perfect, that her brain, her heart, her kidneys, limbs, spine, lips, hands, feet, etc. are all where they should be, as they should be and looking wonderful. There I was on the table holding my husband’s hand with happy tears streaming down the sides of my face. We were squeezing each other’s hands every time we watched the ultrasound move to check another organ. She was moving around through the entire ultrasound! My husband joked that of course, she was dancing because she takes after her mom. He later joked when the tech was checking out her femur bones that she’ll probably have 6′ legs on a 5’10″ body like her mom. Once things started going well in that room we relaxed, we could make jokes and we could enjoy each moment. Then, at one point, our little baby seemed to have her arm bent over her head in the same exact way her dad tends to fall asleep! He turned to me and said “Oh my God! Just like me!” It was just awesome. It was awe inspiring. It was a true miracle to watch. It made me believe in a higher power on another level, truly.

When we got home, I collapsed. My body gave out, my brain stopped working and I just couldn’t do one more thing. Finally all the worry, the sleepless night and fret caught up to me and I just fell into the couch. I could hardly even make it to the bed a couple hours later. Granted, we just came off of moving into a new home. I had been pushing myself for days packing our stuff up and then moving and unpacking and setting up our home. (Doing something like this is much harder pregnant and certainly pregnant and dealing with fatigue, migraines, etc. but better at 5 months than 9 right)?! I was exhausted going into this “night before a big ultrasound worry” but then it just zapped me completely. Luckily, I have a husband who understands, who steps up and who takes care of me in these moments. For that, I’m beyond grateful.

For these moments of miracles, for these tests and ultrasounds that make us crazy concerned, that drive us to pray and chant and stay up all night no matter how exhausted we already are…they are so worth it. They are also just one more part of the equation that makes us what we are in the process of becoming….a mother.

Now it’s time to get some rest and enjoy my baby dancing around inside me. Until the next big appointment! Here’s to getting some sleep!