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Sleep Training Decisions

Sleep Training Decisions

Hi mamas, mama-to-be, daddy-to-be.. or anyone else reading this post! We need to talk about SLEEP. Yes, we all love it. Depending on where you are at in life, sleep could be 8 straight hours, 20 straight minutes, or anything in-between!

Sleep training was something I literally had no idea was even a “thing”. You think about becoming a parent and you just see cuddles, kisses, and some poop in your future. You know babies sleep, and you know babies don’t sleep. But, I mean, am I training a child to sleep like a train a dog to go potty outside?

In the beginning I was a firm believer in the fact that my child would carve this path for me. I would follow their lead and we would all be as happy as can be. Why wouldn’t we, she knew what she needed or didn’t need, so if I follow her cues, I could have a happy baby, have life, and “breeze” through this thing called parenting 😉

… I know, I laughing at myself too. SO go ahead, get that good HAHA out at my last statement.

Fast forward to NOW. I do still believe babies have a GREAT instinct of knowing what they need, especially as they get older and you need to adjust to starting foods and then whole foods and water and milk and naps, crawling and walking.. the list goes on and on. We can’t force our children to be ready for any of these things, they will move on when they are ready, all we can do is follow their lead. But what about sleep?

I am not a stranger to the book section… on amazon :p I have my fair share of parenting books. Some I read the whole thing, others a few chapters, some a few pages… others are still sitting unopened. I tried a few of the methods. I was completely against the CIO (cry it out) method. I made up my mind that if my child was crying she was crying for a reason. She needed her mama to rescue her!

So I tried the “no crying sleep solution”. This was quite the process haha. First you needed to go through all these mental check lists, of “if you are ready to actually do this”. Then you need to log your entire day… you needed to log naps and nighttime; how did they fall asleep, where did they fall asleep, what time did they fall asleep, did you move them after sleeping.. at night there were even more things to log. I did it though, I did two or three days and nights of logging. Then it was time to test it. The method basically means you put the baby down awake, but stay in the room. You can rub the baby’s back, or something like that. They fall asleep and you slip out. So, I’m like cool let’s try it. So night one.. she’s screaming and jumping and trying to climb out of the crib as I’m there calmly patting the back of a raging baby hahahaha. The book never said what to do for a baby that was mobile, or a demond.. haha JK!! But there wasn’t advice on how to calm a baby that wasn’t laying down. So after one night I did give up on this method. It was just not right for me.

Im going to back track a second here. I want to tell you about my daughter’s sleep transitions over the past year.

Starting off Finley, was an AMAZING sleeper. Newborn to about 3 months old she was a normal breastfed baby, she was up every 4 hours, basically on the dot. As a brand new mom getting 4 hours of sleep in a row I saw that as a WIN! I was happy with that!

Around months 3-4.5 she was only getting up once and sometimes even sleeping through the night! I also need to add that at this point she was basically putting herself to sleep as well at night! RIGHT!? SCORE!

Then we hit the “4 month sleep regression”. We hit that around 5 wish months. Well, this was my downfall. I catered to her regression. We were sleeping on the couch together, I was going in at every peep she made! I figured something must be wrong, my once, “sleep through the night baby”, is waking up; she needs me. Well, between 5 months and 10 months we went from sleeping through the night to up 2 times, then 4 times, then 8 times a night, until I was up about every 20 minutes with her. YES, you read that right, every 20 minutes she was waking up. Which sometimes meant between her waking up, me nursing her, and then walking around and getting her to sleep, by the time I would walk back to my room and pick up the covers, she was awake again! I should also mention naps were almost nonexistent, or 20 mins tops!

We did get a Dockatot around 9ish months. That helps so much with the naps, she was taking 2 hours naps once we got that! She was sleeping better at night, but she was still up 4-5 times a night (on a good night).

Finally, I took my struggles to Facebook hahah. I mean, let’s be honest… you can read as many books as you want, but first hand mama advice with a push of the button help center is what all sleep deprived mamas need in their lives.

After a TON comments with advice and techniques. We settled on the Cry It Out Method. But of course it wasn’t just that simple. Did you know there are essentially two ways to do this sleep training method? There is the lenient version and the hardcore version. At least thats how I think of them :p

So what exactly is CIO? CIO stands for cry it out. You want to first, before anything, settle on a bedtime. What time EVERY NIGHT will your child go to bed? Ours is 7pm. But the goal is between 7-7:30pm. That means she is SLEEPING by this time, not starting bedtime routine at this time. Next, plan a bedtime routine. This can be as long or as short as you would like. Ours most of the time is; dinner, play a little (depending on time), nurse, bath, lotion, diaper, pajamas, teeth, say goodnight to daddy and dog, books, prayer, bed. It sounds like a lot, but really, I can drag it out for 45 minutes if I need to, or do it in a quick 15 start to finish. Routine is so important. Finley now knows that once she is in the tubby, is it time to calm down for bed.

The Lenient Version>> this is when you don’t just leave your baby to cry and cry. You set a schedule for yourself. The schedule can vary depending on what is most comfortable for you. Some parents set a 5-10-15-20 rule. Some do every 30 mins. The point is; you go in to calm the baby. but you DO NOT. I repeat you ABSOLUTELY DO NOT PICK UP THE BABY! This is the most important rule of this method. You are teaching your baby independence. They need to know they are capable of soothing themselves to sleep. So if you plan to go in, you can lay them back down, pat or rub their back, sing or talk softly, but you do not pick them up! So if you decide to go in after 5 mins to soothe, and then wait 10 and go in and then wait 15.. or go in every 30 minutes.. that is up to you and you’ll have to read your baby to know exactly what will work best.

We tried the lenient version the first night. However, it makes things DRASTICALLY worse! The first time I went in and it was awful. The next time my husband went in, and although it didn’t sound like a murder was going down in our nursery, it still wasn’t pretty. It was legit painful, broke my heart to see her so upset. That’s when we decided to try out the hardcore method.  (ps. In another post I will go through night to night our CIO experience.)

The Hardcore Method >> this is the drop and leave method. hahaha. Kidding, but not kidding. You go through your bedtime routine and with the baby still awake (can be drowsy, but NEEDS to be awake) you put the baby in the crib. After you leave that room, you do not go back in unless it is an emergency situation. The only exception I see in the hardcore method for going in, is if you are still a nursing mama. Breastfed babies do tend to still nurse during the night (once or twice tops), so if you do go in to nurse, you pick up, nurse, and put right back down, and make sure it is before that baby falls totally asleep! That is very, very important. The hardcore method is not to abandon your baby; it is for the babies that do need that tough love. Once we stopped going in after we put her down during night time routine, everything changed for us.

I also want to add that we did not sleep training until Finley was 10 months old. Though, I do think it is something we should have done when we hit that sleep regression. I knew she was capable of sleeping through the night already, so I should have started to sleep train at that point- so around 5-5.5 months. I knew that she did not need to be up multiple times to eat at night. I do not recommend this for any baby under 3 months old, and honestly I would talk to your doctor before trying any type of sleep training. Nutritional needs should always come first! However, sleep is also super important for physical and developmental growth.

So why CIO works and why you should consider it.

There seems to be a ton of debate around this method, and I can see why. A baby crying, i mean, screaming their lungs out does NOT seem like a step in the right direction. Some will even go as far as to say it is setting the child up for abandonment issues and the feeling of helplessness. Believe what you want, I am not here to force my opinions on you, only to share an experience. Then there is the other side, a baby needs to learn to self soothe, a baby can’t do that with mommy doing it for them. Your baby will learn independence and setting up for a smooth transition into becoming a toddler learning to self soothe by crying it out. I won’t lie, I used to think it was abandonment. I couldn’t do that to my baby girl!!! But you get to this point in sleep deprivation that you know it is not “normal” anymore. You know that this is NOT the best thing for you, let alone that precious child.

There is much more to “crying it out” than just letting your child cry until exhaustion. In my personal opinion, they are learning the difference between crying because of survival reasons; nutrition, pain, etc., and crying for attention. Don’t get me wrong, give that baby attention 100% during waking hours! Love on that baby HARD when she’s awake. But, she needs to learn that awake time is for playing and cuddling, and night time is to sleep and recharge. Because sleep is just as important for them as it is for you.. (talking to that mama dragging from day to day with 7 cups of coffee and tooth picks holding her eyes open). No one in the house can function without proper sleep. Not you. Not the baby,  not your significant other, not even the dog.

Within a month of Finley sleeping through the night, she started to babble (yes at 10 months old she wasn’t even babbling), she started saying mama and dada, she even started walking! Makes me wonder how much her lack of sleep was holding her back physically, and developmentally. She started nursing more often and longer during the day, she started eating more at her meals. She was a new baby. She was always a super happy baby, but you can really see the light in her eyes now!

**NOTE: I am not telling you as a mama what to do for your baby, I am simply just giving my insight on my journey as a mama. I am not trying to give any type of specific instructions or information out to you, just going off my memory :p

Sleep Baby=Sleeping Mommy
Sleeping Mommy=Happy Mommy
Happy Mommy=Happy Family!

Why you really DON’T “have to” find out the gender of your baby.

Why you really DON’T “have to” find out the gender of your baby.

I’d like to start off by saying that no matter what you choose; to find out or not find out the gender of your baby, I support your decision either way. Neither way is right or wrong. But, I am going to tell you why I personally think you should WAIT to find out!!

We live in a day in age where surprise and mystery, and the chance to be anxious about something doesn’t exist. Sure, you can plan a surprise birthday party, but that’s just a surprise for ONE person; iffff the secret is actually kept. We also live in a world that we know how much money is being taken out of our account before it’s gone, what TV show is airing not just within the next hour, but literally the next 3 months+, and what the weather will be like for the week (even though that’s still sometimes a surprise- haha).

But there IS a surprise that can be fun, and you’ll love it no matter what. Yup, the gender of your baby. So why don’t more people want the surprise? Here are the answers, uhmm excuses 😛 I hear…

1. I have to prepare.
This is the biggest and most common answer I get in return to my statement of ” you should wait to find out!!” I just find this one so funny because I felt 110% prepared for my little one. We had absolutely EVERYTHING and more than we needed to bring a baby boy or a baby girl into this world. Plus buying gender neutral for your big ticket items is smart; chances of your next baby being the same gender is still only 50/50! I will say the only real prep you need, is to decide if it’s a boy, if you’ll be having him circumcised or not. Otherwise all decision are the same for a boy or girl!

2. What about a nursery theme?!
This one I guess makes sense. However, I don’t think it’s a good enough reason to not be surprised by the BEST SURPRISE EVER! There are a ton of really, really cute neutral themes, that you can go back and put a boy or girl accent on after the baby arrives! We did light blue, grey and white for our color; with cute owls. Once miss Finley was born, I got cute grey pink and gold curtains, and will be getting a few wall images that are girly. The reason I say this isn’t a big deal, is because in no time at all they will have a favorite character or something and you’ll be redoing the room anyways!

        

3. I just can’t wait.
But, you can. First off it is so amazing that NO ONE in the entire world, with the exception of a small select medical team that takes the ultra sound and records the results, knows what is growing inside you! No one can spill the beans! I can tell you that it WILL be human. And that you WILL love it to death either way. I also know for a fact that you CAN wait, because not long again you didn’t have a choice but to wait! Guess what, no one even had a complaint about it 😉

Those are just the top three that I hear all the time. I am a huge fan of waiting to find out. Honestly, it was hard. Because we COULD know if we wanted. We actually tested ourselves to the max; we have the ultra sound lady put the gender on a print out of the ultra sound and seal it. We gave to to my husband’s secretary, and she locked it up in a safe that only she knew the combination to! So it was right there, at our fingertips. But we powered through. That moment that our baby emerged from my body and they said “it’s a girl”… okay, now I’m crying…

I’m not saying that having a baby you know the gender of, is any less of an adrenaline rush or special moment. But, boy oh boy is it surreal to fall in love all over again. All those days, weeks, months of gut feelings are proved wrong or right in a single moment. Ps, mom’s gut feeling is usually the right answer 😉

It is the best surprise life can give you. A surprise that can’t go a wrong. A surprise you’ll love love love, LOVE no matter what. Plus it is just so fun to see everyone else’s anticipation, and watch everyone battle it our over who is right, which old wives takes hold true, and which ones are totally out there!!

So be brave, take on the challenge and DON’T find out the gender of your next baby!! It is hard, it is exciting, it is so much fun!!

Do you have any gender stories? Did you also decide to not find out? Or why did you decide to find out?!

My Birth Story (or short Novel)

My Birth Story (or short Novel)

expecting

From the moment I saw the two pink lines on my home pregnancy test, words can’t even begin to describe all the emotions that were radiating throughout my entire body. Scared. Happy. Thrilled. Nervous. Speechless. Excited. Impatient… just to name a few! From that moment on, I started to visualize how I wanted my pregnancy to go, what I expected it to be like.

You anticipate the “morning sickness”, and wonder what that is really like… you try and picture yourself as your belly grows; will it be high, low, round, wide? You also start to have a vision of what labor will be like. Maybe not right away, but eventually you will start to think about labor and delivery and how you want your experience to go.

For me, I was never actually scared for labor. I knew it was going to be hard, draining, one of the most difficult moments of my life; but I did a ton of research, I felt educated; I felt completely prepared. I chose a method called Hypnobirthing, the Morgan Method to be specific. I read the book, I googled it over and over, I purchased MP3s with a home study course on it, and I spoke with other mom’s who have completed this training and went through it in real life, gaining experience and guidance from these stories. Yup, I was 100% ready to take on labor and delivery, and be a champ.

*This post is not to scare, worry, or cause panic for anyone already hesitant about child birth. my story, I think, is rare, and not your common birth story. However, its good to be educated and know what all the options are, and I basically went through all the options :p *

Fast forward>> 38 weeks and 4 days.

Friday, November 4th.

walk

Im going to start my birth story here because I think it is just fitting to do so. This was a Friday, and just like any other pregnant woman nearing the end, I was ready to get this baby out of me. I absolutely loved being pregnant, but there comes a time when sitting, standing, and laying down cause more hassle than comfort, and you are just ready to meet your baby! During the afternoon I decided to go for a walk, plus the dog loves to get out and run around. I went over to my in-laws and walked the perimeter of their property. A little hilly, grass and fields, and walked about 2 miles. I was tired (of course) but I felt great! I got home and was bouncing on my exercise ball in the middle of the living room, and I just had this weird feeling. I sent a text message to my friend and said pretty much exactly this, “I went for a walk and I feel like the baby dropped, but got stuck and can’t drop anymore.”

Clearly, I just thought it was a weird pregnancy feeling, because if something doesn’t feel normal, it just means you are pregnant! haha :p

That evening I had a post up on my timeline about getting my baby out of me, and a few people recommended Evening Primrose Oil (EPO). I figured, why not and went to Rite Aid, they were buy one, get one free (cool!- took the last two bottles). That night I popped one in (orally) with dinner and that was that. Ate dinner, and settled in for the night until we went to sleep.

Side note: I honestly don’t think that taking one pill of the EPO really had any effect on this entire story and how it panned out, I think it was just odd timing.

Saturday, November 5th.

Saturday morning I woke up, and in true pregnant lady fashion I made my way to the bathroom to pee. I got back into bed to cuddle with my husband and the dog, and was a little crampy, and felt a little surge of liquid, just thought it was one of the many symptoms of pregnancy, so I just stayed there. I moved slightly, and that little gush was not so little anymore. I sat up, and looked at Evan and said, “I’m pretty sure my water just broke.” He jumps out of bed asking if I’m serious, the dog runs to the other side of the room staring at me.. and as more liquid was pooling out of me, I said, “yes, I’m pretty sure, grab me a towel.” hahah. So, I have to insert here that for about a week before this I was convinced my water was going to break while I was in the shower and I wasn’t going to notice it… I didn’t believe people when they told me, “YOU’LL KNOW!”… I am here to (kind of) confirm that statement, you WILL know when your water breaks.

So I call the Midwives while Evan gathers our bags and puts the car seat in the car. I was a little freaked out because when I called she asked if the baby was still really active, I didn’t feel many movements so she said to come in and not wait for labor to start at home. (Usually labor will start before the water breaks, but in some cases , aka mine, it didn’t.) So we packed up and headed to the hospital.

We got there, of course it was probably one of the BUSIEST days on the Labor and Delivery floor. We were put in a triage room, and waited hahaha. Soon enough a nurse and a resident came in and they did a swab test to make sure it was in fact amniotic fluid, and I didn’t just pee myself, which came back positive, and then they checked me to see how far along I was… well, I was basically 90% enfaced (softness of your cervix) and 1 cm dilated (how far open your cervix is). Which at first I was like okay,that’s fine people go from 0-10 in hours, I’m not worried.

…6 hours later, lunch, and a few walks around the L&D floor, we were officially admitted and moved from a triage room to an actual laboring and delivery room. This whole process was exciting, I knew that at any moment I would be meeting our beautiful baby!

mobile

I would like to insert here that I did have a birth plan. Not that I was 100% demanding we stick to it, but I did have a vision of how I wanted this whole process to go down, I wanted into be as natural as possible. I knew it would be hard, but I wanted to accomplish that feat, I knew I could do it.

That evening, still waiting for active labor to start, our midwife decided to help the process along. So of course being induced isn’t 100% natural, but it was about time to get the party started. She gave me Cervidil, a small mesh pouch of medicine that is inserted near your cervix. Cervidil is used to help soften your certvix, and can stay in for up to 12 hours, or pulled out if it works faster than that to get the process going. So I got that about 8:30/9 pm… and was told, you better get some rest since this could help things get moving and we could be in for a long night!

Sunday, November 6th.

Woke up around 8 am, my Midwife came in and took the Cervidil out, checked me, and SURPRISE, I was about 80% enfaced and still at a 1. -__- from there we discuss other options. First off, we could just wait, but we [thought] my water broke so we also didn’t want to prolong it too much for the risk of infection. Second, we could start Pitocin (Pit). Pitocin is administered through an IV and is basically a man made version of Oxytocin, the hormone that causes or strengthens contractions during child birth.

We chose to start the Pit. and go with a very low dose, and work our way up slowly, waiting for my body to take over, and then we would stop it. Every 2 hours my nurse would come in and up my Pit. a little more. I was having contractions, but I couldn’t even feel them, it was basically nothing. At first we all thought that I was just super woman and these “strong” contractions were no match for me. However, they just weren’t contractions that were strong enough to help dilate me, they were just either Braxton Hicks, or normal uterine contractions during pregnancy. The thing about being on Pit. is that you can only have clear liquids. ZERO food. Lots of water, cranberry juice, and chicken broth; it wasn’t until the next day I realized I could have jello (something you can chew!!)

food

Sunday night rolls around and we are all tapping our toes with questions at this point. WHY didn’t the Cervidil work better? WHY didn’t the Pit. throw me into labor like it does for other people? I was checked again because they have to check you before administrating any other medication or make a decision to induce further. At this point I was still around 70% enfaced, but I made it to 2 cm dilated. haha. We decided to take a break from the Pit. and I got to eat a sandwich for dinner. That evening my Midwife used a little bit more aggressive treatment called Cytotec. This was a small pill that is also used to induce labor by softening the cervix. This was a second option because once in, you cannot get it out until it is completely dissolved and disappears on it’s own, so if labor starts you just have to go with it. It gets to work and lasts about 4 hours; you are allowed to get this pill twice. So i got the pill inserted around 9 pm.. midnight roles around and my midwife did another check to see if the Cytotec helped any, it didn’t so we did another dose. I went to sleep, again, thinking we could be in for a long night once one of these induction methods kicks in!

Monday, November 7th.

Monday morning I wake up, at this point I am exhausted just from being hooked to monitors, lack of food, nurses coming in and out to check on me every hour or so; so even though I haven’t make it to “active” labor yet, I am drained of energy. I wake up, and since it is Monday I now have a new midwife on for the day instead of the one that was on call for the weekend. This midwife is a little older so ultimately she is a tad more cautious and does things just a little different than the first. I was allowed to eat some breakfast, because once again, anything could start at any moment; better get some food in me! We ate and discussed the plans for the day with the new midwife on duty. Mind you, at this point we have had 2 different midwives now, and went through 3 nurses due to shift changes, and they also turned off the baby lullaby in our room, that plays when a baby was born (at this point probably somewhere between 7-10 babies were born while we are waiting for ours 🙁 ).

Just like the routine has been going, I needed to be checked after the Cytotec and before making another move. This was going to be one of the only checks this midwife wanted to do, because of course with each check, you are giving the chance to introduce bacteria and cause an infection. So she checked, and when I say checked, I’m saying it felt like she was all the way up, and grabbing my throat! hahah It was INTENSE! (Midwives will not do checks throughout your pregnancy, so when I came in on Saturday, that was my first time experiencing a cervical check, some Ob docs will do them routinely at the end of a pregnancy, however they just tell you where you are at during that moment, doesn’t really tell you anything else). However, I was a little over 2 cm dilated, and 60% enfaced. I was now dilated enough that she was able to tell that my waters DID NOT actually break. To this day it is still a mystery what actually happened, if I had a tear higher up, if an outer membrane broke but not that sac with the baby… we don’t know, and never will! I will tell you my theory at the end! So, now we kind of have an answer, my water was not broken, but where do we go from here. They are not allowed to send me home, because the swab test Saturday came back positive so I had to be admitted, and honestly, I was not about to go home with all these unanswered questions about what the heck my body was doing!

Monday, late morning, I was put back on Pit., and we started with it higher and kept it a little more aggressive, hoping things will still take course and start up. Around 5 pm my midwife came back and said that she was going to break my waters and then hopefully my body would know to kick itself into labor (especially since I’m still on Pit.). So she broke my waters, and man oh man is there a TON of fluid. I thought when my “water broke” at home it was a lot, NOPE, deff not a lot compared to this! I’m going to compare it to the first time at home it was about a pint of fluid, at the hospital when they actually broke it, it was more like a gallon (for anyone wondering HOW MUCH to actually look for when you think your water had been broken). Once she broke it, she then went it and did something she called “aggravating” the cervix. Not exactly sure what it entails because it felt just like a cervical check, however it is supposed to help stimulate things and get stuff moving… I guess.. hahah :p

Slowly throughout the rest of Monday evening I was actually starting to feel contractions!! It was a miracle to start to feel some discomfort knowing that this time something was actually happening!! Once again since I was on Pit. I was only allowed clear liquids after breakfast (around 8 am).I can’t really remember too much of all the details, maybe once I talk to Evan I can come back in and update, but I remember that the contractions were getting slightly more intense as the night went on, as they should. Since the bulk of the night time happened after midnight, Im going to switch over to Tuesday for the rest of the story.

Tuesday, November 8th. (Election Day!)

Finally we were having that “long night” that we have been potentially waiting for, over the last few nights. I was still on Pit. had IVs going and I needed to stay on the monitor while on Pit to make sure the baby, and myself were doing okay. I also needed my BP taken even 15 mins, and an alarm goes off if you don’t time your pee breaks with the Bp timer (haha oops, it happened way too many times!). Being there so long, Evan knew that machine like the back of his hand. We were able to disconnect and reconnect me and stop alarms without having to wait for a nurse to come in.

As the night went on the contractions did get stronger, I was able to breath through them and swaying back and forth picking one leg up at a time helped a lot! Somewhere maybe around 1-2 am I started to get these terrible shakes! I was told they are hormonal shakes (some will say Pitocin causes shakes too, so I don’t know!). But they got INTENSE! The only thing that seemed to help was if Evan would massage my feet and I would just focus and breathe. The shakes were almost uncontrollable, my entire body would shake and my teeth were chattering, it was crazy! Luckily for the most part they came and went, it wasn’t constant 100% of the time, probably just 80% of the time hahaha. I decided to get into the tub; women say it helps so much with pressure during labor.

My nurse went and filled up the tub for me, I got in, I had one contraction and felt like I was about to poop. So of course she made me get out and go to the bathroom. Sadly, the tub was short lived 🙁 Plus sometimes they say when you really feel like you have to poop, it might be the baby! For me, it was not, it really was just a bowel movement.

Our night is proceeding on, Im still on Pit. and my body is now taking over and doing contractions on its own as well. My nurse of course at this time was called into labor with someone else, or off the floor, I don’t know.. all I know is she was not available right at this moment. Of course, that is when I started to have contractions ON TOP OF contractions! Pit was causing contractions and then my body would do one on its own. I would contact for about 5-6 mins, have about a minute break, and I would contract again for 5-6 minutes. That happened maybe 4 or 5 times before we finally got a nurse in there, and she kind of had oppsie bug eyes when they saw how high my Pit was (which it was high because only a few hours prior we were still trying to get my body to contact!) They lowered the Pit a little and it helped. But now I was completely exhausted. I hadn’t eaten since 8 am, and that was a LIGHT breakfast, and the last two days before that I had two small sandwiches the entire time. My body was pretty much spent.

Now the pain/pressure was getting intense, which I knew was going to happen. As contractions get stronger, and as you dilate, of course it is going to hurt. I can’t remember why, but I was checked again by the nurse, at this point I was STILL only 2 cm dilated, but at least I was less than 50% enfaced. I decided to get the IV pain med Fentanyl. This is administered directly into your IV, and you go from sober to 5 bottles of wine in about 45 seconds. It took the edge off just enough and I was able to nap a little. It lasts for about an hour. Once that wore off I got another dose. because I was only 2 cm dilated and my body didn’t know which way was up at this point.

Now it is 4:30ish am. My shakes are literally shaking me up off my bed, I couldn’t get up to walk, and after that last check telling me I was STILL only 2 cm dilated after a dose of Cervidil, two doses of Cytoec, and on Pit for 3 days, I was feeling 100% defeated by my own body. At 5 am I decided to get an epidural.

The anesthesiologist was wonderful, I didn’t feel a thing when he was doing whatever he does back there! Maybe it was the fact that the nurse literally had to hold me and I had to time my breathing just perfect so that the shakes didn’t cause him to miss; whatever it was, he did a phenomenal job! After that I was literally amazed at how the whole epidural works. It numbs literally only what needs to be numbed… though my right leg was dead weight and kept finding its way to the edge of the bed, and Evan would have to come pick it up and put it back for me hahaha. With the epidural you get a little button. When you push that button a dose of the Fentanyl gets administered. It only will release it after 20 mins, so you can’t “overdose” on it. But it is there for if you feel you need a little umph in pain medication.

After that I actually got some sleep. Maybe about 3 hours later and we were up and trying to figure out what the next move was, because surprise surprise, no baby yet!

New midwife comes in because we are on yet another new day, nurses shifts change and we have gone through 4 or more nurses at this point!

Now the epidural is slightly wearing off… and we are still trying to decide what the next step is. Sometime during the morning I had a second epidural since we still had a LONG road ahead of us and I just needed to rest. My body hasn’t had food in what felt like forever, I was on minimal sleep, and we were just lost in this mess of a thing they call labor. The positive side (yes besides the arrival of our baby there was ONE slightly positive in this mess), when I woke up after a night with the epidural, my body was able to relax enough and I got to 3 cm dilated and almost fully enfaced! -__- But yes, still not even close to half way dilated at this point!

Evan went with his dad to the cafeteria for lunch, because he didn’t want to eat in front of me. The nurse was changing me (yes, I literally needed to be changed and cleaned up by someone else, one of the [joys?] of this entire process), and she mentioned to Evan I was having my “bloody show”, so don’t go too far, because (you guessed it) things could start happening at any moment now! PS. This was around 11:30 am.

Noon, or somewhere around that time, no later than 1 pm during one of my routine temp checks I was told that I now had a fever. I now had a fever, my HR was up and so was the babies. These three signs combined are a red flag for infection. An infection that can happen after your water has been broken for a certain amount of time. So basically now I needed to be monitored even MORE! Temps more often, BP more often, and cannot by any means get off the monitor. We keep asking what do we do now, the answer was, we will just keep monitoring it.

Now, not only am I physically, drained; but I am physically, mentally, and emotionally drained.

Not long after that Evan receives a text message from his sister, saying she called the hospital and talked to the head of nursing… less than 2 minutes later, the head of nursing is in our room asking what she can do for us. haha We were getting worried at this point. It has been 4 days and NOTHING is working! An infection has settled in and now I was on antibiotics to keep it at bay. How long were we supposed to keep “monitoring” this situation before a decision needs to be made, does something bad have to happen, does the baby need to go into full distress? We obviously didn’t want to wait until it was basically too late.

At this point I had a major breakdown. I just couldn’t do it anymore. The waiting, not having answers, wondering why my body wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do, hunger, exhaustion, pain, discomfort, a brewing infection,  cabin-fever… the list goes on and on. Evan and I discussed it, and decided we were going to push for a c section. It definitely was one of the last things I wanted to do, just for personal reasons, but it was to the point that we needed to get the baby out safely, and before it caused any health problems for myself. We spoke with our nurse and she brought in our Midwife. The Midwife was pretty hesitant to “jump” to a c section ( I use that word jump VERY loosely). She felt around on my belly and said she thought that the baby was about 7 pounds, MAYBE 7 and a few ounces, then she did a cervical check because she didn’t want to agree to a cesarian if I was about ready to push.

She does the check, and I think I hit my all time low, and the feeling of ultimate defeat. I was only 4 (and barely a 4) cm dilated, but at least I was completely enfaced; or she could have just said that maybe to make me feel better. So I only made it to 4 cm dilated after; 4 days, a round of Cervidil, two doses of Cytotec, Pit for almost 3 days straight, in and out of active labor for almost 24 hours, two doses of Fentanyl, two epidurals with Fentanyl, and a brewing infection. After that she said she was going to consult with the OB on for the day, and bring him in to speak with us.

By 2:30 pm we were signing paper work and prepping for a c section. I didn’t know how to feel. I was nervous because I had never had serious surgery before (just my wisdom teeth out). I was upset because absolutely NOTHING went how I envisioned it would go, not even CLOSE, I didn’t even get to watch Baby Mama because we forgot the iPad! I was excited because I know that FOR REAL this time we would soon be meeting our baby. Most of all I was still completely exhausted. I don’t think I could even see straight at this point.

surgery

A c section was different than what I expected it to be. I felt more than I thought I would. Unless it was just because my body was so tired, it didn’t really know what to think! It is mostly a blur, but I remember my shakes came back FULL  FORCE while I was on the table. Only worse because my body was numb from my chest down, so it was my arms, shoulders, and head that took the brunt of the shaking this time. If you ask Evan, he would say that I was about to levitate off the table, yes I am not kidding you that is how bad the shakes were!

evan

We did a “family style” cesarean, which basically means that once the baby is ready to come out, they drop the blue curtain so that there is a clear one between mom’s upper body and dad. Sadly, I was not able to pick my head up enough to see anything, but Evan got to see them pull the baby out, as the announced it was a GIRL, born at 3:18pm… FINALLY!

finley

She came out with the cord wrapped around her neck, but full of life, crying while getting the fluid sucked out of her. They took her over to a table to make sure she had to 10 fingers and 10 toes, she got a 9 and 9 or 9 out of 9 on the test that they do. They then handed the baby over to Evan and at that moment I got super nauseous, so as Evan got to enjoy our little bundle of joy, I started dry heaving on the table -__-. I was, and still am extremely upset and heart broken over the fact I was not able to do skin to skin immediately. I was told that as long as she was okay, that it shouldn’t be an issue. Which maybe since I was dry heaving, it wasn’t possible, I don’t know. But at least Evan got to hold her right away!

Once Evan had her they were allowed to leave and go back to our room; during this time I was going to be put back together and cleaned up. This part seemed to go on FOREVER! It was about 45 mins to an hour (if not longer) until I was wheeled back to our room. A new room, since one side of the hall is for laboring and deliveries and the other side is for c sections.

Poor little girl was trying to latch onto her daddy the entire time that I wasn’t there! But finally I was in the room and they were hooking me to this and unhooking me from that.. and all of a sudden my shakes started to come back 🙁 As the nurse was going to get me something that I could now take that would help the shakes, my baby was placed in my arms and the shaking abruptly stopped! I was finally able to hold my baby girl <3 After; 4 days, a round of Cervidil, two doses of Cytotec, Pit for almost 3 days straight, in and out of active labor for almost 24 hours, two doses of Fentanyl, two epidurals with Fentanyl, a risk of  infection, and a c section; we were DONE, we were a family with a perfect 20 inch, 8 pound 4 ounce baby GIRL! (a far cry from the guesstimate of 7 pounds hahah).

me

Now that Miss Finley Rae was FINALLY here, we were far from being free of this ongoing experience. I was unable to get out of bed for I think it was about 15-20 hours. The day of the surgery, and up until the late morning/afternoon the next day. I had a catheter in, compression wraps on my legs, and an IV of antibiotics just to make sure that any infection that I may have gotten during the laboring process would be clear of my system.

Overall, our stress level went from 586983 to 0 when the c section was over. Of course we were still extremely exhausted and delirious at this point, but we safely had our little girl in our arms; both myself and baby made it through safe and healthy.

The rest of the hospital stay was normal, just routine checks, bonding with our baby, and just resting a little from this traumatizing experience 😡

So there you have it, my birth story. My birth novel. When anything that should have worked, didn’t.

family

This is my theory.

Being a short, small framed person, it is very surprising that the size of my baby was never a concern. Clearly, I was ALL BELLY during my pregnancy. Miss Finley took up my entire torso, her head was down in my pelvis and her booty was still all the way up in my ribs!

all-belly

So remember back in the beginning of my long winded story, I said that I went for a walk and I felt like the baby dropped, but couldn’t drop anymore… so I think she made her way maybe about half way through my pelvis and get stuck. She didn’t drop enough to fully break my water, but possibly broke an outer membrane of water. So even though it was torture going through all the induction methods, for them not to work; it may have been a sign. A sign that if I were to give natural child birth it could have been bad, really bad for myself and the baby; especially finding out that the cord was wrapped around her neck!

So I really do think that Finley was too big for me to give birth to, I am only 4′ 10″, small frame, and barely 100 pounds pre pregnancy. Even though my midwife said we “did’n’t even get to the point to know if that is true or not”. That is the theory I am sticking with, even if it’s not what may have actually been going on, it gives me piece of mind to have an answer!

Being that 1 in 2500 person

Being that 1 in 2500 person

There are two types of people in the world. The optimist who thinks that a 1 in 2500 stat means you did something amazing. On the other hand, there is the pessimist who sees this stat as a bad omen. But what happens when bad stats happen to the optimist? Talk about a whirl wind of emotions.

       I am that stat. I’ve always been the “1 in a million” side effect person. If it has a side effect, I’ll probably contact at least one of the more serious ones. Before I get into the beef of my story/message, here is a little back story. (Stick with me, this is a long one!)
       When I was in 4th grade I started getting TERRIBLE acne. I mean, it was pretty bad! Nothing ever worked, I started seeing a dermatologist and went to her for the next 5 years. I tried basically everything. Topical medications could only fix some of my acne issue, it was way deeper than that. Long story short I eventually was put on a medication that was very strong, but the only side effect was dark, spotty pigmentation on your skin. They were sure this would hit the spot because that side effect was so rare they have never even come across it at my hospital (Geisinger). ONE in a MILLION were the odds for this side effect to occur. Well, a few months later I was in their media studio getting pictures taken of my forehead for dark, spotty pigmentation.
       At that point in my life, I honestly didn’t think much of it. I was a great sport about it, hey, dark spots were way better than tons of massive pimples on my face! But I guess what I am trying to get at is, I am that 1 in a million, optimistic person that the odds are never in my favor.
       Recently (as of a year ago) I got married. My husband and I knew that basically the day of the wedding we wanted to start and try for a family, we weren’t in a total rush, but we didn’t see the point in waiting either. It would happen when it happens. Six months later, it did!!
       It is so important to me to take care of my body. I know how important exercise and healthy eating is, and I was determined to have a healthy pregnancy. And I do. When it comes to baby, he or she is perfectly healthy, and I am also doing fine. However, my placenta decided to be my pregnancy side effect. (not so much a “side effect” but a condition, maybe)
       Don’t get me wrong, we are 200% aware that this one of the LEAST things to “make a big deal” over when it comes to pregnancy, birth, and infants. However, it is still a matter that cannot be over looked, because honestly it could be deadly if gone undiagnosed. If we were to pick a “complication” or a road block, this would probably be it.
       Pregnancy is a feeling like no other. Everyone experiences it a little differently, and each day is a completely new adventure; all starting from day one. You are over joyed, you are scared, you are nervous, you can’t believe something is growing inside of you. You take your vitamins, go for walks, and eat balanced meals. You are on the track to greatness with this little bean floating around inside of you.
       I really did feel like I was doing everything right, and I was, so what could possibly go wrong?!
US1US2
       At our second ultra sound at about 19 weeks (pictured above!) our ultra sound tech seemed a little concerned because it looked like my placenta was not only very low and close to my cervix, but that it might have an extra lobe on it. Not seeming too concerned, or else she had an amazing poker face, we left and waited until our next appointment to hear the results. (Which was the next day).
       Our midwife seemed hesitant but ordered another ultra sound via the radiologist’s request. We went back for another around week 24 (pictured below!) and got a normal and a transvaginal ultrasound (the one they look from the inside). She was able to see a little better, to see what exactly was going on.
US3
       Still being optimistic, I knew that I have done everything I could to create a healthy and proper living environment for this baby. Sure I ate more carbs than normal, and took a few weeks off exercising when energy just wasn’t there. Overall though, I was doing a great job at being pregnant. So why would something go wrong? People drink, smoke and do drugs their whole pregnancy and have perfectly healthy pregnancies and deliveries.
       Okay, so we were supposed to have an appointment with our midwife to go over ultra sound #3 results, but we got there and it was canceled. We were a little disappointed because we wanted to know the official results, but we rescheduled for the following Friday, since that was the first open appointment. Meanwhile, that week went on by, so did the weekend. Monday morning I get a phone call from one of the midwives. She was very calm (same one that almost didn’t give us the third ultrasound) and was pretty unclear and didn’t make it seem like the findings were anything to worry about, but they would refer to me to a specialist to confirm it.
       Let me just say, that was a painful week waiting to get to the midwife appointment to really dig deep and go over our results. We were aware that it was possible that I had partial placenta previa, a condition that affects 1 in 200 pregnant women, a condition where the placenta is partially covering part of the cervix (all in all, short and sweet), we knew that there was a change this would move up with the uterus and out of the way… which happens in most cases leaving only 10% where it will be a complication for birth. We also knew that there was a chance that my placenta had an additional lobe to it. Nothing was confirmed of course, this is just what we got out of the ultra sound tech during the appointment.
>>more on placenta previa here.
       Okay, back to the midwife appointment with the results! I am a little annoyed because the phone call we initially received made it seem like this was still not confirmed if it was an issue or not, however in the report, it clearly states that VASA PREVIA is current and present. Basically, from my understanding ( I will find out more at my specialist appointment tomorrow) my placenta is not only laying low, but it has a second lobe to it, called succenturiate placenta. However, this lobe has its own blood supply, and that blood supply looks like it is crossing my cervix. — not good.
       UGH, what? More terms that we are scratching our heads over. The midwife seemed a little more alarmed over the report, but she did stay very calm and basically just asked if we have any questions, but that we would be going to a specialist to get another ultra sound on a better machine, and see what the specialist has to say. Of course we didn’t freak out right away, because the midwife wasn’t. When we got home and started looking these terms up, that is when the panic started to settle in.
(it has been almost impossible to find an image of what I think is going on inside of me. This is the best I could find that describes a placenta with a succenturiate placenta and vasa previa.)
condition
       Again, I didn’t do anything wrong for this to happen. It is very uncommon, they say and occurs in 1:2500-3000 pregnancies (I am not 100% sure if that is the rate for when they DO find it, or for both diagnosed and undiagnosed). I am VERY lucky it is being looked into because there is NOT much awareness for it, and many doctors don’t know what to do with the situation since it is so uncommon. Going undiagnosed there is a 95% fetal mortality rate, but the chances go up significantly, and are very low when it is found prenatally.
       So what does all this mean? It is found, it was detected, so now what!? First off I HAVE to have a c-section. Basically no if-ands-or-buts about it. Normally doctors will put women on bed rest or hospitalized bed rest anywhere from 28 weeks to 33 weeks is most common leading up until a scheduled c-section around 35-36 weeks. Each case is different, each doctor has a different opinion. The one thing that is known across the boards, you CANNOT start to go into labor, if you do, you have moments to get to a hospital and get that baby out. Once you start to dilate, you could rupture that blood supply.
       It also means total pelvic rest. Which means no sexual intercourse, no vaginal exams, and no transvaginal ultra sounds (but this one has been proven to be safe, so depending on the doctor it may be allowed).
       Of course all of this could just be our doctors being super cautious, and triple checking everything, but they are pretty positive they see it on a regular ultra sound, so I highly doubt it will not be there on a 3D ultra sound. We are keeping our heads held high, trying to be optimistic about the research we absorb, and just taking it day by day. I will try to do another update after my appointment when I get some questions answered!
Prepping For Baby: Trimester Checklist Breakdown

Prepping For Baby: Trimester Checklist Breakdown

Being a first time mom-to-be is an overwhelming feeling of emotions. If you are anything like me, you feel like there should be all this “stuff” to accomplish from the moment you find out you are housing a little one for 10 months. In reality, YES there is a ton that eventually needs to be done, but it isn’t as crazy as you think it would be, or at least as crazy as I thought it would be. I’m not kidding when I tell you I thought i was going to be baby prepping DAILY \, some times during the pregnancy are busier than others. The first trimester (for me), was basically all the registry and trying to keep myself upright and productive! I did a ton of research on everything I was putting on my registry. i am not a huge “name brand” person, but I do want QUALITY! If we are able to have a second child, I want this baby stuff the last and hold strong, I am not about to start all over again for baby #2. Look for a soon to come blog post on how to go about making a dynamite baby registry!

I love to be organized. If you know me personally, you know I am a chaotic mess that loves lists. I think that describes me pretty well :p I can be so organized yet so scatterbrained at the same time, and let me tell you, pregnancy brain is not helping my case one bit! If you look back to my last post, you will see I made a nice litter template for you to write all your baby shower gifts on! I made this and printed it and it is already being put to good use!

Today is a different type of list, I went through and did a little research and made a list of what I need to get accomplished, or that I have already accomplished, prepping for baby!! This is not a tried and true method, because, well, I am a work in progress and haven’t actually had a baby yet! However, this is the list I am personally following to prep for Baby Barnes. I don’t really have it in a particular order, except for what trimester I found suitable for the task to go into. You might think differently, that is perfectly fine! Just check it off as you go!

If you think there is something super important that I forgot, PLEASE leave a comment below and I will be happy to add it and update the image for you 🙂

Pre-baby Checklist

Baby Shower Gift List Template

Baby Shower Gift List Template

If there is any time, it is party time, that you need to be organized! Am I right? Especially at this point in my life, with Bridal and Baby Showers happening; ones that are thrown for ME and ones that I throw for others. Being organized when it comes to gift opening time, well, it’s a MUST!

I love designing fun templates for myself and for others to use, to make tasks like this just EASY! I started to receive baby shower gifts already (yes, my mom got a hold of my registry!) and I feel disorganized or like I am going to forget who a gift came from if I don’t write it down ASAP!

Today I sat down and designed this, and I am putting it to use right now. I hope that you will get some use out of it as well!

babyshower gift list

Nutty PB-Cran Granola

Nutty PB-Cran Granola

You are going to want to SAVE this, SCREEN SHOT it, PRINT it… do whatever you have to do, because this is the BEST. RECIPE. EVER!
NuttPB Cran Granola
Nutty PB-Cran Granola
Ingredients:
– 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
– 3/4 cups Toasted Coconut Almonds (Blue Diamond brand)
– 1/2 cup mixed nuts
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
– 1/4 cup coconut oil
– 1/4 cup all natural peanut butter
– 1 egg white
– 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
– 1/2 cup dried cranberries
– 1/2 cup rasins
– 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
 
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 300F degrees. Line one fairly large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
 
2. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the oats (3 cups), almonds (3/4 cups), mixed nuts (1/2 cup), and cinnamon (1/2 tsp.); set aside.
 
3. In a medium sized, microwave safe bowl, combine maple syrup (1/2 cup), coconut oil (1/4 cup), all Natural PB (1/4 cup), and microwave for about 30-45 seconds. Or until everything is melted together. Remove from the microwave and using a fork or rubber spatula, stir until everything is mixed together well. Put aside and let it cool.
 
4. Once your mixture is slightly cooled, whisk in your egg white and vanilla. Pour this over the oats and nuts; toss and coat completely. Keep tossing until all the oats and nuts have an even coat of the liquid mixture on them.
 
5. Spread onto your baking sheet; bake for 45 minutes, stirring it 3-4 times. Once time is up, remove from oven and let sit out to cool completely. (I like to add the dried cranberries and raisins at this point so it can set with the rest of the granola as it cools) Letting it cool will help the granola get a crunchy texture, before sealing it. Once completely cooled you can add the optional chocolate chips!
 
Tip: Store granola in an air tight container; it will last up to 3 weeks! PS. it is DELISH mixed with vanilla greek yogurt! <3
BabyBump Bootcamp

BabyBump Bootcamp

BabyBumpBootcamp

Being pregnant is HARD work! Am I right mommy-to-be? That last thing on my mind is working out and being HEALTHY; when I am creating bones and molding eyeballs! BUT, it is SO important to stay healthy and active for YOU & BABY <3

Apply for my next Baby Bump Bootcamp starting June 27th! We will be doing workouts that are appropriate for each trimester, talking about our bumps, sharing awesome information, sharing craving-cutting recipes, and most of all, have that support from other moms, mommies-to-be, and everything in-between!

I am 18 weeks today!! How far along are you??

I would like to keep this group small, so please apply quickly to reserve your spot, group kicks off June 27th, deadline to join is June 21st! 🙂Simply like this post, comment, and APPLY HERE >> http://bit.ly/28A129h

Natural Detox Water: Skin and Craving Control

Natural Detox Water: Skin and Craving Control

Skin and CravingControl Water

I love water. I can never get enough of the good ‘ol h2o!! I know not everyone likes just plain water though. If you are going to add a little flavor, might as well add flavors that are also going to do something more than a hint of flavor. Sure add a lemon, but WHYYY should you add that lemon? Adding fruits, vegetables, and herbs to your water can have amazing health benefits to it, way beyond what you may think!

This drink right here is more than just a bundle of flavor added to your plain Jane water bottle. Take a look!

Lemon: awesome for your digestive tract. Gets things moving!!

Strawberry: these little babies contain biotin and antioxidant ellagic acid

which helps prevent sagging skin, hello geourgous skin!

Apple: Contains Vit.C a very powerful natural antioxidant. Plus it contains potassium and calcium!!

Mint Leaves: Helps to improve digestion. Also can aid in relieving seasonal allergy symptoms!

Cinnamon: Improves circulation and thins blood, and also manages your blood sugar level.

In return you have fewer sugar cravings

water1_5

I started off with two water bottles that hold 25oz each. I filled them up to the 24oz mark and assembled my ingredients!

For each I used:

  • 24 oz water
  • 1/2 of a small lemon
  • 1 strawberry
  • 1/4 of an apple (I used granny smith)
  • 2 large and 2 small mint leaves
  • 1/4 tsp of cinnamon (I think I will use a little less next time)

water1_4

I made two of these, I usually always try to get half of my body weight in water daily. Sometimes I do more, but today I thought two of these would work out just fine!! I made them this morning, had one by my side all morning, and finished by 1:00 to start the second one to finish off my day 🙂

Time Management: Printable Schedule

Time Management: Printable Schedule

TimeManagementSchedule

I may not be organized in every aspect of my life, but I am pretty organized when it comes to planning my day. I NEED a to do list! Some people stop right there though! They think since its down on paper it is magically all going to get done! This needs to STOP! We need to literally make time to plan the time we have.

First off always make a rough draft of your to do list. This means that it doesn’t have it be in any particular order, just things you want to get done that day. It might be in a piece of scrap paper and look something like this:

  • put laundry in washer
  • transfer laundry from wash to dry
  • fold laundry
  • make grocery list
  • go grocery shopping
  • do workout
  • read personal development
  • take dog to groomer
  • prepare dinner
  • eat and clean up dinner
  • office hours (9:00-11:00)
  • office hours (2:00-4:00)
  • contact coaches and customers

You get the idea! That is step one! After that I like to prioritize. I know this sounds silly, because its your to-do list, it ALL has to be done! But I am sure there are things that are more important than others! I dod a whole blog post on the ABCDE method from Eat that Frog read up on that part of the process HERE!

Once you do that I highly recommend using a time schedule sheet! This was you can SEE your day! I like to go by a half hour, just because I don’t like splitting up the blocks for half hour tasks, not everything in your day is going to tai a full hour to do! I just made these two sheets. The second one is the one I use, it is just Monday through Friday. I have it set to start at 7:30 am. I don’t have kids to get up and get ready for the day (yet) so my day doesn’t need to start at the crack of dawn. I do have a sheet for those people though! That one starts at 5:30 am, both end at 11:00 pm. Check it out below!! Also, don’t forget to subscribe!! 🙂

Time Management Schedule 5-30a-11p

Time Management Schedule