The Most Over-Due Blog In The World

So, I suppose I could say, it’s 8pm and the baby is asleep (okay she’s not a baby anymore she’s a “toddler” now- whatever she’s our baby)…

I could say, that I have loved her all day and now I am done. I could say I loved my husband all day and now I am done.

The words themselves would be true but I’m not done.

I’m never done.

I haven’t written a blog in ages and it’s not because I don’t want to or haven’t had SO many things to write about. It’s because I haven’t had time. It’s also because I haven’t made time. It’s also because I haven’t asked for time.

Tonight is a good example of why for me, being a stay at home mom is so challenging and also so wonderful at the same time. I should start by saying that I chose to stay at home with our daughter and hope to also have another child in our future to stay at home with (until they are both in school and then things will likely change).

Our sweet little pumpkin pie is 16 months old now and has had “Hand Foot Mouth Disease” which she got at a birthday party, for almost 8 days. The first few days were horrible- she couldn’t eat or drink, she had a fever and was so uncomfortable and broken out in spots and a rash. She’s turned the corner now but still the spots on the bottoms of her feet hurt and walking and standing are painful things. The ones in her nose and on her face get so irritated when she eats and has to have her face wiped off. We haven’t left the apartment as she’s been contagious (and so scary looking poor thing).

She’s needed crazy snuggles and love and often holding her all day long (she weighs 22 lbs now and is very active). There was one day where I did all the cooking, cleaning, making of meals, cleaning up of meals, changing of diapers, reading of books, feedings, etc with her in my arms. I am not complaining this is my ultimate pleasure. I am honored to be the one holding her. She’s amazing. I am constantly so in awe and proud of her. She’s a sweet little girl who is very loving and gentle. She’s also very silly and has a really fun and funny sense of humor.

So today my husband went to work as usual and then tonight he went to a company holiday dinner. I couldn’t go of course. I haven’t been able to go for a while to things. We were sleep training her so we couldn’t leave her with anyone when he had a conference out of town, work events, etc. I can’t go because I choose to be home with our daughter.

While my husband is gone all day and when he’s gone in the evening (which he sometimes is anyway because he’s a surgeon and is on call often) I do the following:

  • Wake up with the baby and change diaper/get her breakfast
  • Attempt to empty the dishwasher while she’s eating breakfast
  • Get laundry out and/or put it in (make myself coffee)
  • Entertain her/make sure she eats a good breakfast
  • Clean up from her breakfast (did I brush my teeth yet?)
  • Play with her, read to her, try to teach her things
  • Attempt to have coffee 4-17 times before 11:30am
  • Decide it’s gross to re-heat said coffee anymore and make fresh cup of coffee
  • Make her lunch and try to feed her enough before her nap (forget about that coffee I just made)
  • Go “potty” with her in the bathroom while she tells me she wants me to hold her and sit on my lap, clean up the bathroom now covered in toilet paper which she was ripping and pretending to blow her nose with while I attempted to pee with out her on my lap
  • Feed myself something fast while cleaning up from her lunch and try to get milk in her before her nap (which she often fights even though she’s exhausted)
  • Put all the clothes, bows, shoes, socks, blankets, diapers back into the drawer, folded, that she took out while playing the “in and out” game
  • Attempt to get her down for nap which can be: reading to her then putting her in crib, taking her on walk until she falls asleep, putting her in car and once she falls asleep doing a grocery shop as fast as humanly possible with her asleep in the stroller using stroller as grocery cart, praying nothing wakes her up
  • Once she’s asleep and in her crib (or asleep in her stroller if it’s one of those days) I go to town! I’m a woman on a mission do not mess with me: laundry, clean the entire house up, dishes, cook for us, cook for her, cook for my husband’s gluten-free lunches to take to work (because he doesn’t have options and rarely gets a lunch break to find an option)
  • Try to respond to emails and/or make phone calls that need to be made for me or us (neither of which are easy to do when she’s awake)
  • Think seriously about taking a shower- maybe I won’t wash my hair- I can now shower in under two minutes and just get it done…walk into shower just as baby monitor goes off and she’s up and crying for me. Okay shower later.
  • Change diaper while she protests it with her entire body and then poop comes out of her diaper onto the changing table and everything involved: me and my clothes included must now be washed/give her water and a snack, maybe go run errands while wearing her on foot or putting her in the stroller until 4:45 when she starts getting hungry for dinner and I make it then feed it to her.
  • Clean up from dinner and then milk and playtime.
  • Dishes/laundry, clean up the house.
  • My husband usually gets home and most often will be the one to give her a bath- this is their special time. It’s very sweet and I love it when that happens. He usually says something like “you go take a break” (sweet) but what I end up doing is dishes/clean up/laundry/some emails I never got to before, catch up on texts or calls
  • Then we hang out as a family and play with her until it’s time to go to bed (7-8 depending on the day’s schedule). This is if he’s home and if he’s not away on business in which case I do everything for a few days straight.
  • One of us puts her to bed and then my husband always has work to do and I always still have cleaning up of some sort to do and/or cooking to finish.
  • I make his lunches. I make sure our daughter is set with food. I put water and coffee beans in the coffee maker, water in the Britta. I make sure all our daughter’s toys are put away and wash the ones she’s been drooling on all day. I clean the floor of her playroom.
  • I research whatever recent thing is going on with her that I’m not sure how to handle
  • I finally take a shower. I do not enjoy it. I am spent. It’s not luxurious at all.
  • At this point sometimes it’s almost 10pm or later. Granted there are days I shower while she’s napping and that’s awesome but it’s not the usual. Sometimes I get it in before she wakes up- rare. Once in a while I have to do it while she’s up and she cries the entire time no matter what contraption I put her in, toys or food I distract her with.

So then it’s time to what- write a blog? I have been thinking about my blog idea or several all day (okay for months) but then ALL I want to do is put my PJ’s on, curl up in a ball, watch a show, turn off my brain, have a glass of wine and chill out.

So, tonight my husband went from work to the party and I stayed home as I have been for days, with our sick babe. All I could think about is that I’m the woman behind that man and who’s ever going to even meet me? I don’t even know these new people he’s working with yet and I’d really like to! I’d love to meet their families and connect. All I could think about is how much I love to get dressed up and go to parties. How much I love to talk to and meet people. I love it. I used to live for it. It used to be a huge part of my life.

That said I used to pray for the life I have now. THIS is the life I wanted then. Now I have it. I wouldn’t change it for the world! However, I think it’s important to be REAL and HONEST as a stay at home mom and put it out there that you’re not just all the things listed above. No, I am a woman who has a lot to talk about, who has traveled the world, had interesting and exciting jobs, who is well educated and loves art, music and fashion. I’m into cooking and into entertaining. I am a political person who’s passionate about issues and stands up for those issues. I am not just this person in yoga pants at 10pm stressed and exhausted (possibly covered in puke- depends on the day) almost too tired to even take the damn shower she’s been thinking about all day.

I don’t have any answers. I am figuring it all out as I go. My husband is leaving tomorrow for a job he has monthly where he operates in another city for a few days. My daughter and I ride solo then. So tonight I am making sure he’s got a bag of snacks packed. I made him cheddar cheese-jalapeño gluten-free corn bread to take with him (gluten-free is tough where he’s going). I run the dishes so all our babies’ sippy cups, utensils and teething toys get clean for the morning. Normally I just keep going and thinking about what I need to do tomorrow until I fall asleep but tonight I decided to sit down and write.

So here I am. The most over-due blog ever.

Now that I’ve written I really want to get my other blog ideas out there. I realize I need to ask my partner to help me carve out the time by doing more and really I will have to leave the house to do this unless she’s asleep. So what! Okay! I can’t usually go to the party or go on the trip but I need to be able to do this one thing for myself in which I hope to also help other moms out there feeling the same way. I won’t be able to get this done unless I ASK FOR HELP. I need to make the time AND ask for it.

I have loved my daughter and my husband all day. I am not done. But right now, I am loving me.

Sweet dreams to all the hard working stay at home moms out there! It’s hard but it’s LOVE WORK!

Nine Months as a Stay At Home Mom

First and foremost…happy 9 month birthday Aviva Zelda! Since the day you came into my life I have never been happier, more full of love or more proud. You are amazing and everyday I thank my lucky stars that you are my daughter and that I am so blessed to be your mommy. Also Happy Mother’s Day to all the hard working, deeply loving and exceptional moms out there! I wish you all a happy day filled with lots of snuggles, love and appreciation from the family you take such good care of!

11188292_10153027580939086_7751599704895587127_nSo today it’s been 9 months! 9 months that I’ve had the pleasure of caring for precious baby girl. I’ve been reflecting a lot lately about what I do all day, how I do it and what it really takes to do this stay at home mommy thing. As per usual, I will share  my own experience in this blog in the hopes that perhaps it will be helpful to some of you and/or make you feel like you’re not alone. It’s also my goal to put on display a little bit of the raw deal of what goes on to keep this baby taken care of and my family life/home happy and well cared for everyday.

Before I start I just want to say something I feel is REALLY important and that is this:

I believe every mother should do whatever is best for them: work full time, work part time, stay at home with the kids or any version of any of that. The reason being (and I stand by this)…happy mom=happy child. They sense our energy and they are tied to us whether we are with them all day or not so we best be the best version of ourselves FOR THEM- whatever that means. I believe it means something different for each mother.

For me- this means choosing to be a stay at home mother. I have always known I wanted to (if I could) raise my children myself while they’re little. Lucky for me I married a man who also wanted what I want and so we decided together to make certain sacrifices and certain choices to make this happen.

The three main ingredients to my stay at home mom success are:

1. Unconditional love

2. Patience

3. Organization

I wake up every morning and immediately start to organize in my head what I need to do first to set up the day so it’ll be successful for Aviva and me. A lot of this I often handle before I go to sleep and that helps: make a batch of formula so it’s ready to grab as needed, have baby food made and labeled in the fridge for the next 3 days (if it’s running low- make more food so there’s never a shortage. Baby food prep takes some time and it’s not the kind of thing you can just do quickly as needed- too much pealing, chopping, steaming and pureeing going on). I usually make her food first thing in the morning while she’s asleep or after she’s in bed at night. This may sound weird but I often make us dinner in the morning. Yep! If she’s still asleep, I do not waste one moment. I am running around this house like a bat outa hell trying to get as much done as humanly possible prior to her waking up (usually between 7-8:30am depending on how our night went). So I start making us dinner and I get that dinner ready so all we have to do at night is re-heat it. I start the laundry, empty the dishwasher, put the dirty dishes in the now empty dishwasher, check email, try to make a phone call I’ve been trying to make for 3 days, grab some coffee, make her a bottle and then…”waaaaaaaaa!” She’s up and it’s time to rock!

After she’s up it’s pretty much: feeding her, reading to her, playing with her, diaper changes, helping her with her developmental skills, feeding her, putting her down for a nap or going for a walk so she’ll nap or a drive so she’ll nap, feeding her, reading to her, diaper changes, playing with her, going for a walk, playing, bathing her, feeding her, putting her to bed. In the midst of this we go to appointments, go grocery shopping, clean the house, do laundry, make food, meet people, etc. Every day is a very full day. After she’s asleep she may stay asleep (love it when that happens) or she may wake up at night and then I’m back on for feeding her, rocking her, putting her back to sleep, etc.

Caring for Aviva is my ultimate joy. Even on days where she’s insanely fussy, needs to be held constantly, is having separation anxiety if I walk away from her for a minute and screamingly cries if she can’t see me, has had her shots and is feeling lousy, is teething badly and totally unhappy. It’s all good. I LOVE IT. I LOVE IT ALL. I LOVE HER- ALL OF THESE DAYS. That said- the aforementioned days-those are tough ones. Those are the days I’m unable to shower until after my husband gets home or after she’s gone to bed. Those are the days it’s almost 1pm and I haven’t eaten, had coffee, peed or done anything that resembles taking care of myself. That’s okay because I chose this and I would choose it again. She needs me and I want to be there for her.

This is my job. I take it VERY seriously. I’m in charge of shaping this little person into the person she will become. I am in charge of helping her learn how to eat, speak, roll, crawl, walk, to dance. I am in charge of trying to make her smile and laugh, to teach her to have calmness and also confidence. I’m in charge of her feeling safe and LOVED.

I find it so funny when sometimes people say things like “so what do you do all day?” or we were at a friend’s home and the husband commented on my being a stay at home mom and said…

“So when you get bored of hanging out drinking chardonnay all day, do you think you’ll go back to work?”

Really? Haha! I almost fell off my chair. Don’t get me wrong- a day of sipping wine (I prefer pinot noir thanks) and hanging out sounds freaking ah-mazing to me but that’s about as far from what I do all day as the eye can see.

This whole concept of being a “working mom” vs. a “stay at home mom” is kind of ridiculous to me. Essentially either way you’re a working mom. I work hard all day (and often all night) to care for Aviva. Is what I do not work? I’m a cook, housekeeper, full time baby-sitter, house manager, speech coach, therapist, physical trainer, to name a few. Let me tell you, I have had several awesome jobs and even ran my own successful business. I have done a lot of things but nothing I have ever done has challenged me on as many levels as this job. My job doesn’t have a start/stop time. It’s 24-7. I am on call for my daughter. My husband who is an eye plastic surgeon often says that my job is harder than his. I always laugh at this. He reminds me that my job requires even more focus, patience and especially love than he has to bring to work everyday. I think it’s something to think about: why do we not talk about the stay at home mom life as being a job? Sometimes I feel like society is a bit judgmental about those of us who CHOOSE this.

The way I see it is I’m the most qualified for this job. I have a bottomless pit of love for my child, I have patience as deep as the sea and I’m hella organized. Also, as a bonus- I LOVE to cook and take joy and pride in feeding my family healthy food that I prepare for us. I mean, I’d hire me to be Aviva’s 24/7 person! Heck yes.

So on that note. Here are some highlights from the hardest most emotionally challenging job I’ve ever had that is also the most rewarding, meaningful and joyful experience of my entire life…

This is me at 10pm sooooo excited to have finally showered, only to put pj’s back on. As it turned out this night was a rough one so any sleep I got was necessary. See how pumped I am to be showered?! Tada!

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Teaching Aviva how to snuggle… FullSizeRenderand when she only wants to sleep on me for nap-time (where I then loose 1-2.5 hours of being able to get anything done and I don’t care because it’s worth it)

IMG_3237 Playing with her and helping her learn (with so many laughs)…

IMG_3255 Reading with her. We read at least 2x a day- she’s a huge fan of books although lately she also tries to eat them. Teething!!

IMG_3168 Feeding her is such a joy. I LOVE to cook for my family. I take pride in it and also it feeds my soul. Here she is with a spinach/greenbean/pea/lentil puree that’s one of her recent favorites. Yum!

IMG_3184 Oh and just having fun with her! She’s my dream come true! She’s my heart…

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Here’s too all the mamas who are working hard inside or outside of the home or BOTH! Happy Mother’s Day!

With Love- Happy Mom of one 9 month old Aviva Zelda !!!!!

All You Need Is Love

10676358_10152707350929086_4485169029334586016_nOur daughter is four months old now. The depth of emotion felt in these past four months has far surpassed anything I’ve ever experienced in life. We’ve been through so much and I feel like each experience deserves it’s own blog, but since it’s taken me this long to have time to write I think I should try to sum things up in a way that will be helpful to other women who may experience the same thing. Okay so mamas…future mamas…listen up! Some of this I hope you get to experience because it’s AMAZING and some of this I hope you never have to go through. It’ll be obvious which is which. 😉 Here goes!

Pump It:

Our daughter couldn’t latch. We tried everything under the sun including seeing many lactation specialists. Eventually and very soon after her birth I started to pump. I had to. I pumped exclusively and although I continued to try to get her to latch, I had to bottle feed her my breast milk. Thankfully (and remarkably- you’ll find out why later) I was able to get her 2 full months of exclusively breast milk. It wasn’t easy but I was totally committed to it.

Pumping exclusively sucks. It’s SO hard. I had nothing but problems. I had clogged ducts. I had clogged nipple pores. I had HORRIBLE pain. It took me forever to let down and my pumping sessions would sometimes take 45 minutes- and hour plus,  8-12x a day. By the time I finished pumping and feeding her it was time to pump again. I couldn’t leave the house I was so tied to the breast pump.

There were times when I was pumping that my supply was good and then times it was average. Eventually it took a nose dive and I will be forever grateful for the good periods where I produced enough to have extra to freeze (as we used it later once I had to stop).

I felt like a complete failure because I wasn’t breast feeding Aviva. I would cry all the time when someone would ask me about how breastfeeding was going or sound shocked or sad for me when I told them what our situation was. I had a “plan” to breastfeed her for one year. There’s a lot of societal pressure to breastfeed. It’s currently “in” and there have been waves over the last century of it being “in” our “out.” The reality is that as long as your child is thriving…it doesn’t f-cking matter if they’re being breast fed or not. Seriously- it REALLY doesn’t. So ladies….if this is happening to you please just know that if you TRY- you’ve succeeded. It’s not always on you how it turns out. Sometimes things are just out of your control. My daughter is amazing. She’s a total love. She’s super connected to me and totally obsessed with me but she never latched. Point being- it made zero difference in how connected we are or the love felt between us. Also, she’s just as happy (if not happier) enjoying a bottle of formula as she was breast milk.

The Bottle: A Trial and Error Story

When you have to try bottle feeding super early like we did it’s not easy. We tried a bunch of different bottle systems until we found one that worked. The trying part is tough. It involves what looks like choking, spitting up, painful gas, sometimes just plain spitting it out. The one that worked, well it worked until it stopped working and then we tried another system that hadn’t worked for her before but now that she was older and more evolved, seemed to be magic. Now we’re trying another nipple with that bottle system because she’s getting older and we’ll have to see how THAT goes. Point here is- try try and try again. Trial and error is the name of the game! You can’t give up you will find something that works. Do not get too cozy with the thing that works though because it may not work tomorrow. You have to be like water. It flows and gets where it needs to go. Be water mamas. Be water….

The Perfect Formula:

It doesn’t exist. Our baby is now on formula. She’s on her third type of formula since we had to start it. She’s always been on organic formula but because of constipation issues we’ve been trial and error-ing this as well. Finally she seems to be okay on this one. If you have to have your baby on formula and are like me, you want the safest, closest to breast milk, most non-gmo, organic option possible you will end up with about seven options. Within these seven options there’s a ton of good vs. bad and none of which has yet to be scientifically proven either way. You could make yourself CRAZY trying to make the right choice. I did. That said I finally just had to choose and then when it didn’t work for her tummy I chose again and then again a third time. So long as your baby is happy and gaining weight, growing and thriving…you’re making the right choice. There’s probably no difference between all these formulas at the end of the day but just do what you feel is comfortable for you in your heart. That’s all you can do as a parent, as a mother, I am learning. Once you’ve made a choice- let it go and just see how it goes. Be water remember? Flows…gets to where it needs to go.

Trust Your Body:

Our bodies are truly amazing. I mean- we make humans! How amazing is that?!?! What’s also amazing is that when something isn’t okay- our bodies give us clues and signals to let us know.

While I was pumping I had such terrible breast and nipple pain that often times I would cry. Many times when I would say to my husband things while pumping like “I feel like I’m doing serious damage to my breasts, “I feel like my body is fighting itself” and “It just doesn’t seem like I should be in this much pain.” I also found myself several weeks postpartum still bleeding pretty significantly and still having random shooting pains and cramping. Granted I did have a C-Section but much of the above seemed not quite right to me.

At six weeks postpartum I got heavier cramping and started bleeding even more. My husband had me call the on-call doctor for my OB. She suspected I got my period but told me to go into Triage if I developed a temperature or felt light headed (light headed- something I felt a lot after giving birth). We went to see my OB after that and she also suspected it was my period. She even jokingly called me “Fertile Myrtle.”  I was surprised to have gotten my period given the fact that I was still nursing (pumping, etc). My husband (thank God) pushed for an ultrasound just to make sure things were okay. As it turns out…they were NOT.

Even though we had a scheduled C-Section and this really shouldn’t happen (nor should your baby get cut on her head during a scheduled C-Section which also happened to us and we were STILL in the process of emotionally recovering from and Aviva was healing from)….apparently, I had retained placenta.

It’s a f-cking miracle I even made any milk in the first place. No wonder I had SO many problems nursing and pumping! My body was SO confused! It still thought it was supposed to be pregnant!!! No wonder I was still bleeding and having so many painful issues. I was so lucky we caught this and that I didn’t get a terrible infection or worse. The treatment was to have a D&C. We were SO unhappy with our OB after this, the second complication. Plus we felt she managed us so poorly through both that we decided to get another doctor on board. This took a little time but was handled it before I got super sick. I was starting to feel truly awful.

Trust. Your. Body. Your body knows and will tell you when something is wrong.

So, I had to have a D&C and as it turns out, they had to put me under at a level much deeper than we’d thought which was very scary for both of us. Once the doctor was in, she saw that there was a good amount of placenta there and it was quite stuck so it was good I was out because she did several passes.

(Shout out to my mom who flew in to help watch Aviva and take care of things while I recovered. I’m not sure what on earth we would have done with out you and your loving help. I have the best mom in the world. Period. End of story.)

After the Placenta it’s the After Party:

I can’t confirm or deny that after this procedure I’ll have scar tissue that will cause us issues in the future when we try for another baby. It’s too soon for me to know this. I have to just trust in the universe, as I try to do….that we will be able to do in life what we wish and want, with all the love we can throw at it. I choose not to stress over this and instead focus on my beautiful and amazing love of a child, Aviva.

Also, about 6 days after my D&C, I got Mastitis and after that my milk couldn’t come out unless I manually expressed it into water, leaving it un useable. After that I had to stop nursing cold turkey as I couldn’t get any useable milk out in any way. I used liquid sage drops (natural estrogen) to help my milk stop. Also, ice packs on my breasts and sports bras. It took about 3-4 weeks for my milk to stop trying to come in (when she cried or was on my chest my breasts would still try to fill up and it would hurt).

I don’t know HOW I would have gotten through these rough waters with out my husband’s love and my mom. These two people got me through in so many ways. Other family and friends too, sure but the people in the trenches with me..they gave me the love I needed and more importantly- helped with Aviva while I had to deal with some not so easy stuff. LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED. Truly. And, always.

All You Need Is Love:

You gave birth. Your hormones are crazy. Your feelings are out of your control. Every new mother feels this. Add to that that things don’t go easy….your baby get’s cut/can’t latch/looses weight/has a medical issue/you have a medical issue….IT FEELS SO CRAZY….

WHAT YOU NEED IS LOVE. LOVE. LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED.

You need love from your partner, your family….you need LOVE girl. And oh…my…god…do you need love.

Love will get you through anything. It’ll get you through surgery, complications, more surgery, more of anything. It will get you through. The people who truly love you will show up for you and that is all you need.

I say, when things feel crazy as many moms experience after giving birth…just focus on the love coming in and let it be your fuel because often times you will need it when you start to run on empty…you will need that fuel to keep going.

Note: I have so many blog posts in my head that I have wanted to share but our “stuff” has gotten in my way. Now that things are chilling out and going well I will be able to get back to writing more and I look forward to doing so. With, LOVE, of course. Always. 

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).

 

 

Getting Ready Mentally: great books to read and more!

Nerds are cool but PREGNANCY NERDS ARE HOT!

My husband calls me a “pregnancy nerd.” He says this with a look of pride and admiration. He’s an MD-PhD (and the coolest nerd on the planet). He says this not because it takes one to know one, but because it’s awesome to take this seriously and educate yourself before you start.

It’s totally true, I have become a complete nerd about our pregnancy and that started BEFORE we even conceived! I got my nerdy-on months before we “went for it.” Let me explain why; this (making a baby/being a mom) is in my world, the MOST important thing I have ever done and will ever do in life. So, I decided to learn as much about doing it as possible. This included what I needed to do before we “went for it”. It may come as a surprise to you that in fact there is a lot you can do before you start trying to conceive (TTC).

It’s my hope that I can make your journey a little easier by sharing what I learned, what I did and what I geeked out on along the way.

Picking your OB:

This is a very important relationship and you want to feel totally comfortable with this doctor, with the practice they are in and the hospital they deliver at.

If you have family or friends to ask for referrals then you’re lucky. For us, we’d just moved to a new city and didn’t know anyone so I had to do it on my own. The way I went about this was to start with my insurance and get a list of OB-gyn’s in my area. Then I googled the hospitals near us in Seattle that have Neonatal care. I personally do not want to give birth at a hospital that doesn’t have this. Here’s what you’re looking for.

So then I took the names of the OB-gyn’s that deliver at Swedish from my list and started looking them up online (this included yelp reviews). I spent hours and hours on this. I finally narrowed it down and realized that the top rated people covered by my insurance, in my area, that deliver at Swedish are ALL in the same practice! So, I called and started to try to get into someone there. Then, I asked the owner of my pilates studio who’s lived in Seattle forever and seems to know everything if she knew of anyone great. She then gave me a name of the OB-gyn that I now go to that was a part of this fabulous practice. Once you choose, I suggest you go make an appointment and start seeing this person right away for your pap and a little chat about TTC.

Let’s geek out:

I’m listing the books I loved and the order in which I suggest reading them. The first two I suggest reading before you TTC as there’s a lot of helpful information in there. Keep these books to go back to once you’re pregnant.

“Getting Ready to Get Pregnant: Your Complete Pregnancy guide to Making a Smart and Healthy Baby” by Michael C. LU, MD

“The Mother of all Pregnancy Books” by Ann Douglas

“Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy” From Doctors who are parents too

“The Girlfriends Guide To Pregnancy” by Vicki Iovine

“From The hips” by Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris


Note: I will add to this list as I read more great books!