The First Moment I Felt Like a Parent

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In every friend group there is the “mom” friend. The friend that has extra snacks, a bandaid, and two bottles of hand sanitizer in her purse at all times. This friend is me. I’m the friend who can’t help but fold your laundry if I see it out. (Not because I don’t think you can, it’s just a reflex). I am the friend who is forever the designated driver, who worries you’ll be kidnapped if you use dating apps, and who feels the need to cook you food if you seem sick.
However, now I am actually a “real” mom!! So many people have asked if I feel any different. If I feel like a parent. In some ways I feel the same! But in a lot of ways I do feel different. Several people have asked when I felt like a parent for the first time, when it hit me.
In my post about Nolie’s birth I mentioned that I was dishcharged a full day before her. This was because when they came in Friday night to run some tests they discovered she was jaundice. I’m not a doctor, and I really didn’t understand everything they said. However, basically her body had too much of something which can cause brain damages if levels get too high. They told us to strip her down to just a diaper and we put her in this plastic crib. She was laying on top of a UV light and there was one above her as well. She had to wear this little headgear to protect her eyes. Let me just tell you- Nolie hated it. Oh she hated it so much! The second you put her down she would begin to scream at the top of her lungs. It was non stop. It was the most heart wrenching sound I had ever heard.
Every three hours we could take her out and feed her, they gave me a max of thirty minutes each time. The second I pulled her to me she immediately stopped crying. She didn’t make a single sound. I could feel her whole body relax and she would immediately fall into a deep sleep, exhausted from the non stop wailing. I couldn’t even get her to stay awake to eat. (I ended up having to pump and Michael syringe fed her. She seriously was so worn out).
After several hours I found myself sitting in the dark in a rolling desk chair. Michael was trying to sleep. I had my head leaned up against the plastic with my hand slid under the light, trying to soothe her. This was the hardest moment. I knew if I just took her out and held her that her screams would silence. No one would know, the nurses wouldn’t be back for hours. However, I knew for her health she needed to be under that light.
I was suddenly reminded of a time I got in trouble with my dad. I don’t remember what for and I don’t remember what the punishment was other than I was devastated. I remember my dad looking at me with sad eyes and telling me that he didn’t want to, but he had to punish me for my own good. I think I had gotten grounded and I desperately wanted it to be lifted for a night for something that at the time felt incredibly important. I couldn’t comprehend why if he didn’t want to punish me and I didn’t want to be punished, why were we still talking about it!
The answer was that he was instilling in me a great understanding of consequences that has served me well every day of my life. He taught me to trust his word – whether he promises to take me to the movies or that if I missed curfew I would be punished. He had to play an un-fun role so that I could grow.
Sometimes being a good parent means you don’t get to be your kid’s friend and that’s okay. Sometimes being a parent means that you have to follow through with something, even if it breaks your heart because the most important thing is the long term physical and moral development of your child.
Listening to my brand new baby scream with such vigor absolutely broke my heart. I just cried and cried because it felt like I could feel her fear and pain. I have never felt more helpless. I knew I could short term fix it in a second, but I couldn’t do that. She was under that light for 23 hours and I’ve never been so emotionally spent. It took everything in me to leave her laying there screaming. I think that is the first time I truly felt like a parent.

Nolie’s Birth Story 

Thursday May 11th:

Thursday I woke up relatively calm. I had an ultrasound at 1pm and an appointment at Baby and Company at 2:30pm to go over the results. We needed the ultrasound because they thought Nolie was breeched. If she was breeched we could try an inversion over the next few weeks. However if that failed, we would be transferred from our birth center into the care of Vanderbilt for a C section. (Baby and Company as a rule does not handle complicated pregnancies, and this definitely qualified).

I had been extremely emotional, however that morning I woke up calm. I just knew in my heart that she had flipped! I spent the morning doing the usual and then Michael took me to lunch at one of my favorites, Chuy’s. We went to the ultrasound and she was perfectly positioned! I was so happy. We celebrated with ice cream and then headed to Baby & Company. The appointment started out great. We all celebrated her flip. However, suddenly everything changed. We mentioned some weird symptoms I was having and all of the sudden I was hearing words like“preeclampsia” and “emergency transfer”. 

They quickly started drawing blood and asking for samples. I was told that if I had it, we would almost definitely be sent to Vanderbilt the next day to be induced. We scheduled our appointment to check back in and they told us to bring our hospital bag.

That night we spent wandering around our house trying to stay calm. We both tried to come to grips with the fact that we could be having a baby in a few hours. We also tried to hold on to the fact that everything could be fine, so we shouldn’t get too worked up. (Guess how easy it is for a very hormonal, very pregnant woman to stay rational…)

Friday May 12:

I barely slept a wink, but Friday morning I still felt like I had ample energy. I couldn’t sit still! I did all the laundry and dishes in the house. I swept and mopped. I vacuumed and scrubbed. My house was spotless and it was only 9am. I went to the chiropractor and then to get my nails done. Finally, it was time to go to the doctors. When we got there our midwife came out to greet us. She informed us she wasn’t going to be the one meeting with us, but wanted to say hi. In my head I immediately thought, this is an indicator that I have it.

The woman who came to take us back had a Vanderbilt badge. In my mind I thought another indicator. At this point I finally gave in and let myself believe that it was happening. She had me lay down and said she would be back in ten minutes to check my blood pressure.

When she came back she checked and it was high. However, she also informed me that my preliminary labs came back clean! AKA no baby that day! To be honest, I was a little disappointed. After spending the whole night imagining what holding my baby would feel like it was hard to hear we still had almost four weeks to go. Michael was disappointed too, but he was adorably happy. He probably had a better mindset- he was just rejoicing that I was healthy! They asked for one more sample so they could run another test, but told me to just go about life normally and not to over do it.

Saturday May 13th:

Saturday was hard. I woke up sad because I thought I would have my baby. I also still had to waddle to the bathroom every hour, which was now becoming one of my biggest sources of frustration. We spent the day unpacking the car and running errands. It was so weird but the house felt incredibly empty.

Sunday May 14th: 

Sunday was Mother’s Day!! After spending Saturday dealing with all of my emotions I finally felt better. Michael gave me the sweetest day (you can read about it here). About ten minutes after I published that post we headed down to the pool. Michael took a nap and I played solitaire. Then I braved the chilly water and waded around. The weightlessness of the water felt AMAZING on my back. And the cold water gave me so much relief in my feet. When it was finally time to head home we gathered our stuff. I checked my phone and I had a voicemail. It was our midwife.
She had asked me to call her back to discuss my final lab results. I called and she informed me that there was a problem with protein in my urine. Over the phone we were told that at this point I would not be allowed to deliver at the birth center. She asked if I was having any severe symptoms and if I felt we should go into Vanderbilt today. I wasn’t, so we scheduled for me to come in Monday to discuss the transfer process and to check my blood pressure again.  I hung up the phone in shock. I wasn’t sure what I was hearing. She made reference to inducing in the next week or so.

Emotionally I just felt numb. I think the on and off of the last two weeks had left me drained! We made a few calls, but decided not to deal with any of it until we had more information.

Monday May 15th:

Monday I woke up bright and early. My stomach was in knots. I just didn’t know how to feel! I didn’t want to get myself worked up, but the uncertainty of everything had really taken its toll. I waddled around the house cleaning up. (I figured if they put me in bed rest at least my house would be clean). Then I went and sat beside the pool to soak up some sunshine. Finally it was time to leave for my appointment.

At the appointment they informed me that I did have preeclampsia. They told me I was now a higher risk and couldn’t deliver there, but would be transferred to Vanderbilt. They scheduled me for a more in depth ultrasound Thursday morning and then an appointment with the Vanderbilt midwives that afternoon to officially complete the transfer process. We were told to bring our go bag again with us Thursday because the ultrasound results would set the stage for what day they induced. They said they like to induce as soon as baby is full term, and I would be full term – 37 weeks- this Wednesday. (The day before that appointment). Once again I was faced with a lot of uncertainty!

After the appointment I made my way over to Vanderbilt’s OB/Maternity ward. My dad came with me since Michael needed to be at work! He had called ahead and asked if someone could give us an unofficial tour. We walked around and then he bought me ice cream. What a good dad!

Tuesday May 16th: 

Restless does not even begin to explain how I felt when I woke up and realized I would have no more information about baby girl for two days! However, it was Michael and I’s two year wedding anniversary. So I did have that to celebrate! Michael had to work so I spent the entire day by the pool with a friend.

That night Michael let me pick dinner – I chose the Cheesecake Factory. I had been craving cheesecake for WEEKS, but had been trying to stay on my healthy eating. However, this seemed like a great excuse to cheat. We had a whole evening planned, but I felt really weird and tired so we ended up eating dinner and taking the cheesecake to go.

Even though we just went home, I don’t think I would have traded those peaceful moments with my sweet husband for anything.

Wednesday May 17th: 

Wednesday was perfect. I woke up and did some work and then met Sophie at the pool around eleven. We ordered lunch poolside and spent the afternoon day dreaming about our perfect little babies! We headed home around four and I showered. Michael was going out to dinner with a friend so I settled in for a quiet night. I made my dinner (peas and cheesecake- hey I was pregnant!) and started my Netflix binge. Around seven I started feeling weird again. I had a slight headache, but nothing major. I don’t know why, but suddenly I found myself calling the midwife. I told her when she answered that I wasn’t super worried but I did feel a little off. I remember even saying that since I had an appointment the next day that I was just updating her. She didn’t seem concerned at all, but said to be safe to run to one of the clinics by my house and check my blood pressure.

So I ran across the street. As instructed, I sat for a good ten minutes just breathing before taking it. The result was 176/119. The machine popped up a warning saying to go to the emergency room immediately. Surely, I thought, this was a mistake. I took it again three separate times over 45 minutes. Deep breathing between each time. I think I was in denial, so there I was yoga breathing and stretching in the corner of the clinic. My best result was still a 168/116. (185/120 at worst). I text the midwife and she called me back to say she let Vanderbilt know I was coming in. She said bring your husband and your go bag! I called Michael and he headed home.

I waddled around the house getting things ready. I finished the laundry just in time! When he got home we packs the car and headed down! We had to check into the emergency room, which at first was really intimidating. However, I ran into a friendly face from my dad’s church! My youth leaders husband was the one who triaged us! Then we got the okay to head upstairs.  When we got up they said they were very busy. Four women had arrived to the labor unit within ten minutes before me!

However, everyone seemed super calm. Honestly, it felt a little like they thought I was an over reacting young pregnant woman. (Michael and I laughing and smiling probably didn’t help- but we were nervous!) However, when they took my blood pressure the nurse got a lot more serious. They hooked me up to monitor baby, my contractions, and then a machine that took my blood pressure every fifteen minutes. Someone else came in and said we were inducing. And within an hour and a half we had a room and they were coming in to make a plan.


Thursday May 18th:

At midnight we began the pitocin. We were incredibly lucky in that when we arrived I was already dilated to a 2.5 and 70% effaced! So I didn’t have to take any medications to soften my cervix and we could just jump right in to the pitocin. She said that I would probably not feel any contractions for a while, but after thirty minutes it felt like my worst cramps. I labored from midnight until 11am. Then they came in to talk about an epidural. Apparently, they help lower blood pressure (mine was still dangerously high). Michael and I talked about it and we decided that even though I was terrified of the idea, that we would try it. Also, the fact they said I could have another DAY or so of labor was not very appealing. (Especially since I was experiencing what the nurse called back labor). At Baby and Company you can walk around and cope. I was hooked up to so much machinery I could barely sit up! All my ideas about pain management were not attainable.

Our amazing nurse, Vanessa, said she would get her favorite, Justin, to be our anastesiologist. He was a bright, happy man and put us at ease! There was a little concern because apparently the space where they put epidurals was incredibly small and tight in me compared to most people’s. But we got everything set up and we were good to go! Then I got my catheter. Michael laughed but that was the BEST part. The past nine or so months I’ve had to go to the bathroom at least once an hour. And while I was laboring that cut down to maybe thirty minutes. The problem was that I was hooked up to a lot of stationary machinery. I know the nurses were sick of coming in and helping me because one taught me how to unplug everything and said she couldn’t keep coming back in. (Embarrassing!!!) I was so thirsty, but I felt like I needed to limit my intake so I wasn’t constantly trying to to get to the bathroom.The second that catheter was in I drank an entire bottle of water and I was never so happy!!! Catheters rock. No shame!

Everything went smoothly until around 3pm. All of the sudden I could start feeling my contractions again and they were getting stronger and stronger! I let the nurse know and she called anesthesia team. We spent the next painful hour watching a lot of very confused faces and having them poke me asking if I could feel things. (The answer was yes. And mostly IN MY UTERUS). After a while they started something new in one of my IVs and said it was “the stronger stuff.” I don’t know what that means and I didn’t care to ask. After several hours of feeling nothing to suddenly feeling my labor I was so tired!! Thirty minutes later it was working a lot better. They gave me a button and said push it until it “won’t give you anymore!” I could still feel my contractions, but they were incredibly dulled- back to feeling like cramps. My own medical mystery, I guess!

Michael and I played some phase ten until around six. The midwife came in and said that when she checked me during the epidural event around 4pm, I was fully effaced but still not very dilated. She said she suspected that the baby wasn’t coming until Friday. Our nurse agreed and said if we got lucky maybe early morning. I was stuck at 5cm dilated. I asked if Michael should go get food now then. I could hear his stomach and I was in good shape. They said he had plenty of time! So I got my sodoku book out and Michael headed downstairs to the Caf. About twenty or thirty minutes later my nurse came in and I asked her to help me roll over. She started to when she suddenly gasped. She asked if I heard that pop? I said no, and she pulled back my blankets. Apparently my water had burst!! (Side note, she said she’s never heard one pop and the midwife later told us that in her several decade long career she’s only heard an audible pop twice before. How cool!!) It had “exploded” and sprayed everywhere.

She looked up and excitedly asked where Michael was. I told her he was at dinner, and asked why. She happily, and a little frantically said, “Because I see her head!”

At 6:46pm I called Michael and told him to run. By the time he got upstairs they had everything set up, a nurse was holding one leg up and instructing him to grab the other. According to our nurse, Vanessa, at 6:58pm we started pushing (she was laughing because the first thing she told me when we met was she didn’t deliver babies after 6:45pm because shift change was at 7pm and that is too difficult. Oh the irony). I pushed for 32 minutes and at 7:29pm our gorgeous baby girl was born.  (The average first time mom statistically pushes two to three hours so I was so lucky!! That was seriously not a fun part).

They later told me she would have come out faster, but she had her little fist balled up against her cheek! They immediately put her on my chest and for a few seconds I couldn’t see anything else. She was so perfect.

However, I was pulled back into reality when the NICU team came in. Suddenly, I could hear people saying she’s not screaming. Someone kept giving time, like they were watching a stop watch. They took her from me and suddenly she was lost in a sea of people. My nurse must have seen my panic. She told me Nolie was pinking up and had a great pulse, but they just needed her to make noise. All I remember is closing my eyes and in a whisper repeating the only prayer I could think of. “Dear God, please don’t take my baby away from me.” It feels like I laid there for hours- closing my eyes, praying with my entire soul, and straining my ears to hear that cry. After several minutes we got a whimper and then finally a scream. I’ve never felt so much relief in my life. I don’t know if anything could ever feel that scary to me as those moments.

When I was finally holding that sweet baby girl in my arms again I couldn’t comprehend how much I love her. She immediately latched on and I just stared at this perfect little person. I don’t even remember what happened until the next day. I just couldn’t stop staring and kissing her!

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// Enolia’s first picture! //
The next few days were incredibly stressful.  I was discharged Saturday morning, but baby girl had some more health concerns. They found us a “family room” to sleep in while she was a patient. Those were painful hours.  We were finally released Sunday afternoon, with appointments already scheduled for Monday morning.  However, I was just so happy we got to go home. She is doing okay now! Nolie is still jaundice and is losing too much weight (jaundice makes her sleepy, she won’t eat, it’s a bad cycle!) so any prayers would be appreciated.

Anyways. That’s how I met my baby.  ❤

 

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// Dress & Bow: CharlieandWill 

Buy Buy Baby Gift Registry Review 

A few months ago we went to Buy Buy Baby to look around and to make a registry.  (We made quite a few, all set to private, so that I could review them for the blog). Our Buy Buy Baby experience was fun! However, also incredibly overwhelming.  There is so much stuff in that store! I found things I had never imagined but somehow felt I needed now.

When you register they give you a cute little gift bag. It included a few different things. One incredibly convenient thing was they provided registry cards with your code on them.  That would make giving your information to friends and family super convenient. They also included a copy of Fit Pregnancy Magazine. This is my favorite!! I have gotten one in the mail every month since at no charge. I sincerely love reading it.  They have great advice, fun stories, and even a coupon or two. (For me, that free subscription made the whole gift bag worth it).

The bags also included the following coupons:

  • $5 off a bundle babyorganics
  • Avent bottles (three coupons)
  • $20 off Shutterfly
  • $5 off purchase $15 buy buy baby

Also, the following samples (some had coupons too) :

  • Blue lizard Australian sunscreen baby .2fl oz
  • Noodle and Boo newborn hair and body wash
  • Noodle and boo super soft lotion
  • Babyganics hand wipe and laundry detergent (another coupon)
  • Dapple bottle and dish soap & $1 off coupon
  • Mustela .16 fl oz
  • 1 boogie wipe & $.50 off coupon
  • Weleda diaper rash cream .05 fl oz & $2.00 off
  • Lansinoh 2 disposable nursing pads & 2 breast milk storage bags
  • 1 boogie wipe & $.50 off coupon
  • Weleda diaper rash cream .05 fl oz & $2.00 off
  • Lansinoh 2 disposable nursing pads & 2 breast milk storage bags

Overall, it was a pretty cute gift and the product and coupons inside were great. I’m glad we made the registry, even if just to get the coupons! Buy Buy Baby also had an amazing selection. There was literally thousands of baby products available. That said, we decided not to use this registry as our public gift list. The actual store is 45 minutes from our house. Plus, the products there were in a higher price range. I compared some of the exact same products to Target and Target was a little less.  (Don’t forget to check out my review of Target’s complimentary baby registry gift bag!)

 

Where did you register? Did you love it? Comment below!

Chocolate Covered Stawberries 

Recently I decided to make chocolate covered strawberries for the first time in years. It was so much simpler than I expected! It literally called for two ingredients. And took me less than 10 minutes to do. They turned out great and were so easy!

 
To start I washed the strawberries. They were on sale at Publix for $2.50 for an entire carton! After washing I dried them and then picked out the prettiest to use. The rest I packed for Michael’s lunch for the next day.  


Next I got the chocolate ready. I ended up using the Ghirardelli white choclate melting chips. (Less than four dollars after tax). I loved them and it was so simple. Literally I poured them into a glass bowl and microwaved it for thirty seconds. Then stirred it. Then microwaved again for another thirty seconds and it was ready! 

 
From there it’s a simple matter of dipping the strawberries in the chocolate. (You just hold the greenery in your fingers and rotate the strawberry for even coating). Then I laid them to dry on a sheet of aluminum foil- I was out of wax paper but the foil worked just fine! 


Lastly, you just leave them to cool so that the chocolate hardens. Literally less than ten dollars and ten minutes to complete. I also had a bunch of leftover chocolate so I made chocolate covered pretzels too. It was so simple.  

 
I was thrilled with how it turned out. Michael was so impressed (he’s about to read how easy it was though!) I also couldn’t help but get excited when I realized this is going to be the perfect activity to do with the baby when she is older! It’s simple and a fun treat! 

Honest Company Prenatal Vitamins

Two weeks ago I switched prenatal vitamins. I decided to try a brand that I absolutely LOVE for everything else.  I started using the Honest Company’s all organic prenatal vitamin. My old ones made me unbearably nauseous. Plus, once I saw the brand I was very excited. If you read my blog you know how much I love the Honest Company (click here to read about their free sample and here to see my dedication to their diapers). I’ve been taking these every night, sometimes with dinner sometimes later, and I haven’t been sick at all. I am so impressed.  The only possible downside would be if you have a hard time swallowing pills… these are GIANT.


One thing I LOVE about this prenatal is that it has folate (vitamin B9).  So to clarify, when you’re pregnant the doctors constantly remind you to get your folic acid in.  Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate.  (Which, some people suggest is causing cancer). Folate is naturally found in foods like say spinach or liver (ew to both). So I’m over the moon that this is a better version!

Here is the list of daily values of the different components of the vitamin, based on the recommended amounts for pregnant and lactating women.

  • Vitamin A – 50%
  • Vitamin C – 100%
  • Vitamin D – 350%
  • Vitamin E – 100%
  • Vitamin K – NA, daily value not established Thiamin – 100%
  • Riboflavin – 100%
  • Nacinamide – 100%
  • Vitamin B6 – 1200%
  • Folate – 81%
  • Vitamin B12 – 100%
  • Biotin – 100%
  • Pantothenic – 100%
  • Calcium – 15%
  • Iron – 150%
  • Iodine – 133%
  • Magnesium – 11%
  • Zinc – 100%
  • Selenium – NA, daily value not established
  • Copper – 50%
  • Manganese – NA, daily value not established
  • Chromium – NA, daily value not established
  • Molybdenum – NA, daily value not established

The pills also include their Prenatal Wellness Blend that consists of the following:

  • Organic ginger powder extract
  • Organic spirulina (whole plant) powder
  • Marshmallow (root) powder
  • Plum (fruit) powder

If you’re not impressed then i’m shocked!! I love that these are so chalked full of goodness.  (In comparison, my old prenatal only contained ten of the things listed above). 

You can buy these several different places.  They are available at Target, Amazon, the Honest website, and a dozen other locations.
 

 I am so excited that I decided to try these!(: 

 

Nursery Accent DIY

We are having a total blast decorating the nursery! While I still have an abundance of energy I am trying to finish some Pinterest craft ideas up. This project was for a wall decoration in the baby’s room! It was an hour project that cost less than $20 to make.

I started by going to Joann’s and picking out a giant cardboard letter. Originally I was going to buy the wooden letters, however I realized that this would be much easier to hang and lighter- in case sometime in the future it got knocked down. (Listen, this kid is half Michael’s. I’m expecting more rough housing and injuries per this one child than all three of my siblings and I combined.)

 

When I got home I took out that handy can of gold spray paint that we used for our DIY gold frames and for the dresser handles. Michael gave it one good coat and we left it to dry.

 

Once it was dry I gathered up the remaining flowers from my DIY mirror project. I cut off a few buds and leaves, plugged in the hot glue gun, and here we are!

This was an incredibly easy project and I think it turned out wonderfully. I’m 100% happy with it. Michael has it hanging up now and I am in love.

DIY Flower Mirror 

I really wanted to create a gorgeous mirror piece to hang over the baby’s dresser. I had a hard time finding a good sized mirror though. Eventually I found one at this store that just opened up near the house called Tuesday Morning. It’s a cute shop and I got the mirror for $40!

The mirror size was great, but it was an off white with fake antiquing along the edges.  I wasn’t a huge fan, so I pulled out some of the leftover chalk paint from my dresser restoration project! I gave it two coats of paint and it was a perfect match for the dresser.


After that dried I took apart two flower bunches I bought at Joann’s. (I was in luck, when we went the flowers were on a 40% off sale. So the large roses were $5.99 and the smaller spray roses were about $2.40)! I pulled the buds off the stems and then trimmed down the attachment studs. Next I took my handy glue gun and attached a few on the top right corner.  Then a smaller bundle in the lower left corner.

Originally I was going to spray paint the flowers gold to keep with the theme, but I’m glad I left them the way they were! And I’m glad that the larger buds have the slightest touch of pink. I think it’s so feminine and fits the room.


Next I took some heavy duty picture wire and strung it between the two triangle hardware pieces on the back.  This made it much easier to hang! The wire was $3.99 at Joann’s.

It was a super easy craft and now I have this darling mirror! I am so beyond happy with it. Also, my love for chalkpaint has grown even stronger. The nursery is coming together and we’re getting more and more excited everyday!! Keep an eye out next month or so to see a picture of the final product hung up! Soph is going to do a cute little lifestyle shoot of the nursery when it’s finished!!