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sptloustalot

Mommy Mania

Thank God I Failed Geometry: Part One

December 6, 2019

I had to switch math classes my junior year in high school because I was failing Honors Geometry. I had a brain for Algebra but just could not comprehend the concept of shapes. So, after Christmas break, I got moved into a regulars Geometry class and got seated behind a boy named Zack. In March 2009, Zack asked if I wanted a summer job as a lifeguard! Me and my “I’m independent and need my own money” self jumped at the opportunity. Little did I know what failing geometry and a chance encounter with Zack  would bring me.

The next month, I attended a CPR training to get the first part of my lifeguard certification. I arrived at a neighborhood pool and spotted two cuties sitting in the corner. They were broody and aloof which, to a 16 year old girl, was very alluring. I struck up a conversation with the one I deemed the “Bad Boy” (shoutout Nassim) and ended up talking to him and the other boy I called the “Catholic Cutie” for a little bit. I remember going home and telling my mom that I hoped I was working at the same pool as the “cuties” *Y’all, my 16 year old self was embarrassing* We didn’t end up working at the same pools and nothing ever really came from our brief interaction at training. Months went by with no “Bad Boy” or “Catholic Cutie” sightings and my teenage mind wandered to other boys.

I’d gotten to be good friends with my supervisor (shoutout Bobby) and, one night in June 2009, he invited me and my sister to play volleyball at a neighborhood court. I gathered some other friends and we headed out. We arrived and saw many familiar faces, one of those being the “Catholic Cutie”. My heart did a little jump, but I was playing the field at the time so I didn’t even think about it. We played for hours and the Catholic Cutie didn’t speak to me at all, not even two words. In the sweltering Houston night heat, we all decided to be rebels and jump the fence to take a swim in the neighborhood pool. A few of us made it over and I thought it would be super cool to take off my shirt and do a back flip off the lifeguard stand! *Again, heavy eye roll at 16 year old Shan* Catholic Cutie stood on the outside of the fence with the scaredy-cats looking broody and cute. I secretly wondered what he was like.

^Baby Will and Baby Shan Summer 2009

After our rebellious dip in the pool, we piled into our cars and headed to the nearest Sonic to hang and indulge in a refreshing slushy. I was sitting at a table with my sister and friends when I felt someone slide on to the bench next to me. Glancing over, I see Catholic Cutie looking at me, and moving his slushy in my direction. “I used to work here, try this,” he says with a smirk. “Um, no thanks,” I reply, fully freaked out, and move to another table. (Mmk, I know what you’re thinking “You called him cute, why would you move away?!” Y’all. I didn’t know him at all and the first the first words out of his mouth were asking me to try a slushy he created. All my true crime consumption has told me to RUN.)

Weeks went by and our supervisor got another group together to play Fugitive on a hot July night. Among the dozens of faces in the starting parking lot, I spotted Catholic Cutie. Part of me was intrigued, but most of me just hoped he would try to feed me again. This time around, I learned that Catholic Cutie’s name was Will and he was 18. Again, intrigued. If you don’t know the game Fugitive it goes like this; you get a big group of people together at night, and they need to make it from one end of the neighborhood to the other without getting caught by the “police”. The “police” are 2 people from the group driving in a car with flashlights. If you get caught by a flashlight, you’re out and go to the end spot. It was my turn to be the police and was waiting to see who my copilot would be. My supervisor, Bobby and his friend (shoutout Nathan) made an attempt to shove Will in my passenger seat with no avail. Zack got the seat. Little did I know, Bobby, Nathan, and Will were beginning to hatch a plan to get us together.

Later in July, Bobby got the group together again for another game of fugitive in a different neighborhood. In the middle of the game, I got separated from my friends and began to run around looking for anyone I knew because it was hella creepy. All of a sudden I hear someone running behind me. I turn around to see Will about 30 yards behind me and my heart skips a beat. My true crime obsessed self and my 16 year old flirty self were very conflicted about this potential interaction. Will catches up and stops next to me and simply says “Hey”. I was nervous as heck and I have no idea what we talked about. All I know is we spent the rest of the game running together and talking. My 16 year old flirty self won the battle; he was charming. I ended up having to race home because I was very late for my curfew. I woke up the next morning to a post on my Facebook Wall from Will, asking if I’d gotten home. Through a cringe-worthy comment conversation, he got my number and promised to bring me a Sonic slushy to my work that day. (Is it me or are slushies starting to sound romantic?) I thought for sure he was just flirting, and he wasn’t actually going to bring me a slush at work. However, I’ll never forget the butterflies in my stomach as I saw him walk up to the pool gate with that giant slush in his hand. We talked for a few minutes and he left to go to his own shift. As he drives away, I hear my phone ding. It’s a text from Will asking if I wanted to go to the movies with him on Saturday! I wanted to play it so cool, but I’m pretty sure I texted a big fat “YES” immediately upon reading it.

^Our 2nd date

The rest of the week was filled with anxious daydreams that only a lovestruck 16 year old could create.  When we ironed out the details for the date, I made sure to tell him he had to come to the door to meet my parents before I would get in his car. He did just that and seeing him shake my dad’s hand gave me butterflies. He picked me up in his little blue Pontiac Sunfire, and I was smitten (because just having a car was super cool). He played me a mix CD he’d burned of all his favorite songs, and I listened intently as he explained each one and why he loved it. We joked, laughed, and sang along as we made our way to the movies. In the small theater, we sat near the front, and I couldn’t pay attention to 500 Days of Summer. I was so nervous sitting next to him, and he smelled really good. On the way home, I remember praying he would ask me out again. However, there was a problem. Will was 18 and had just graduated high school. He’d be leaving for Texas Tech in just a few weeks. Despite that unfortunate detail, he did ask me out again. I then proceeded to pretend he wasn’t leaving; we were going to stay in this perfect fairytale.

For the next 7 days we spent almost every ounce of free time we had together hanging with friends, driving around listening to music, visiting each other at work, and going on dates. I was totally and completely head over heels for this boy, and every fiber of my being hoped he felt the same way. We met each other’s families and spent the summer nights at the pool. After our 5th date, he still hadn’t kissed me and I was dying inside. On our way home from the date, I was determined to make it happen without looking desperate (lol). He was taking me home and I was leaned over the console just starring at him for most of the way home. I think he got the message because at the next red light, he laid one on me! Sparks, fireworks, butterflies, all of the above. “Finally!” I said and we both giggled. (We now kiss every time at that intersection when we’re back home.)

On August 14, 2009 Will told me we “had to talk” and my heart felt like it was going to explode. We met at a local Starbucks, ironically on the same intersection we had our first kiss. I arrived early to mentally prepare myself for a break up, but also to think of anything to say to him to make him consider long distance. I’d even burned him CDs for his road trip up to Tech. He sat down and asked me what he thinks we should do about “us”. Vulnerably, I confessed that I wanted to give this a chance and see if we could make it work After all, whats a 9 hour drive? My heart felt like it was going to explode again when he said he wanted us to be official and do the long distance thing. To my 16 year old heart, long distance sounded so romantic and grown up. Little did I know how gut wrenching it would be to have to continuously say goodbye.

I left for family vacation to Colorado on August 15th and returned the day before Will left for school. When it came time to say the big goodbye, I was a wreck. We were hugging by his car and he whispered to me “have you ever wanted to say something so bad, but didn’t want to seem dumb?”, “I love you too” I said. He drove away and I cried for hours. It seems silly now, but in that moment I truly did love him and I believe he truly did love me too. We’d spent the past two weeks bearing our souls to one another, as only two love struck teenagers can. He accepted me as the goody church girl that I was and respected the boundaries I wanted to put on our relationship. He made me laugh uncontrollably and felt so safe at the same time. We understood each other and wanted nothing more than to just be together. He felt “different”.

^Saying goodbye before he left for Tech

The next few months were filled with sappy text messages, hours of phone calls, music filled Skype dates and one surprise visit. We sent care packages and burnt CDs to express each and every angsty feeling. For Thanksgiving 2009 we both happened to be going to New Orleans to visit our extended families. Our families were about 6 miles apart in New Orleans, so we got to go back and fourth to meet everyone and spend our first Thanksgiving together! Christmas came around and I got to have him for a WHOLE MONTH. That break looked a lot like summer, spending every ounce of free time together and taking forever to kiss goodnight. We spent time with each other’s families and baked a ridiculous amount of cookies. Our deepest conversations happened when we’d sneak off to drive around town. We could drive for hours talking and listening to those burned CDs.

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^Will sent me a pair of shoes he decorated!

^Thanksgiving in New Orleans, First Christmas, Will decorated my room for my present

The rest of the semester continued much like the first. He came home for Spring Break, Easter, and surprised me a few more times! We had some hard times too. Mostly, we just had “I miss you” fights and arguments, but some real world stuff hit us too. We had to learn how to be honest with one another and communicate extremely clearly. Getting to still know each other from 500 miles away wasn’t easy by any stretch of the word, but we were committed to one another. Fun fact: On Spring Break, in his childhood bedroom, with a James Avery ring, Will got down on one knee and asked me to marry him one day. SWOON. Young Shannon squealed yes, and meant it with her whole heart.

^Will surprising me at one of my soccer games!

Before we knew it, it was Summer and we had 3 months together. My heart couldn’t freaking stand how excited I was to have him back home. I was working at the pool again and he was working with his dad across town, so all we had were nights and weekends to make the most of our time together. Then, poof, he was gone back to school. Our relationship, now stronger than ever, was ready for another year. I decided to apply and planned to go to Texas Tech as well. I told myself, and everyone else, that I was going because I loved the campus. While that was true, I was going because Will was there. I couldn’t wait to be at the same school as him and see what life would be like in the same town. Those daydreams and plans got us through the first semester with him back at Tech.

After a year and a half of dating, important conversations began to come up. After all, he did ask me to marry him one day. Yeah, we were 17 and 19 but the love was real and we really meant the promises we were making each other. We dreamed about our future and what our lives would be like when we got married after college. In January 2011, religion came up. He’s Catholic (hellooooo Catholic Cutie) and I was not. Young Shannon was insanely stubborn, rooted in her faith, and was determined not to be Catholic. Young Will was insanely stubborn, rooted in his faith, and was determined to raise a Catholic family. Both of us were unwilling to bend in that area, causing us to question why we were doing this. We took a few days to think things over and figure out if we were willing to compromise.

The night before Will left to go back to Tech for spring semester, we broke up. Standing on my front porch, we gave each other back our class rings and hugged goodbye. He drove away and I watched his taillights go all the way down our street until they turned. My mom was there to catch me as I collapsed into a ball of tears on our living room floor. I couldn’t breathe when I realized what had actually just happened. Because of how we loved Jesus differently, we couldn’t be together. How was that possible?? It was awful, heartbreaking, soul crushing, and horrible. I cried for weeks and could hardly eat anything. I truly thought I might die from a broken heart. I honestly don’t have the words to write about because I try to block that month out of my mind.

Now, you know this story has a happy ending, but we have many more obstacles to get through before that happens. Stay tuned for part two of “Thank God I Failed Geometry”.

 

Mommy Mania Pregnancy

Hospital Bag Round 2

November 12, 2019

I had definitely learned my lesson from Winifred’s birth: less is more! I had read every mommy blog and Pinterest article out there and had packed every single thing I might need. I used about 1/10 of what I packed (see here)! So, this time around I got real with myself on what would be absolutely necessary.

Truthfully, you’re at the hospital for 24-72 hours depending on how you bring that babe into the world. If you’re anything like me, when taking a 3 day trip you pack 28 outfits when at home you wear the same pair of jeans for a week. Try to resist that urge when you’re packing for the hospital. Trust me, RESIST, even when the “nesting” is telling you to pack all the things. As my husband says, “you’re not going to a third world country, we can always get you what you need”.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate Amazon links. Meaning, I may benefit from purchase made from the links. These are all products I’ve purchased myself and LOVED using. 

Here’s what I packed for the hospital round two.

First, I packed everything in packing cubes and it was an absolute game changer. It made everything easy to organize and access while I was in the hospital. Unpacking was also easier with everything in cubes! I used these!

 Mama Clothes- With my first, I stayed in my hospital gown way too long because I didn’t know I could change. This time, I asked the nurses if I could change in to “real people clothes” the second I got into my postpartum room. This made a world of difference and put me in a good mood!

This all went into two packing cubes (undergarments/outfits)

I used EVERY piece of clothing I packed (we stayed for almost 48 hours). The robe was a savior because hospitals are cold but the “breastfeeding sweats” are real. With my first, I brought slippers and didn’t use them because the nonslip socks were more convenient and got the job done! We also didn’t opt to take photos, so I didn’t need a cute or matchy outfit.

Fun Fact: You don’t need underwear. You’ll want to live in those mesh undies forever!

Toiletries- I put these in the large clear packing cube

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Washcloth
  • Toner
  • Moisturizer
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Chapstick
  • Brush
  • Nipple balm
  • Hair ties

There is no feeling like scrubbing your face and brushing your teeth after birth. You’re in labor for a long time and it feels incredible to freshen up. It’s the first step to feeling human again. This time, I didn’t bring shampoo, conditioner, or my makeup. I had just taken a shower before leaving for the hospital and I didn’t think I could stand long enough to even take one after giving birth. Again, we weren’t taking photos, so I didn’t bring my makeup. I also didn’t bring my oils or diffuser. It didn’t even cross my mind to use them with Winifred’s birth, so I didn’t bother packing them.

Comfort Items

I didn’t bring my massage bar or the baseball. I think I subconsciously knew I was going to get an epidural so I wouldn’t need them. Having more than one charger is a must, especially when you have more than one person in your birthing room! Also, I’m biased but I think my birth playlist is bomb.

Baby- Daphne Grace had her own small packing cube! This made it way easier to keep her stuff together and find everything!

We kept it SUPER simple for DG. Last time, I had a whole diaper bag packed with diapers, wipes, 2 outfits, burp cloths, baby book, everything. Y’all, the hospital has everything you need for baby! It’s also encouraged to do as much “skin to skin” with baby as possible, so we kept Daphne Grace naked and in a swaddle the whole time. This made it more convenient to feed and to skin to skin. We brought 2 going home outfits because we didn’t know if she would need a Newborn outfit or a 0-3 month outfit! We thought she was going to be huge but she ended up needing a newborn outfit! The swaddle and bow were for cute baby pics, but we never ended up taking a cute picture of her in them! #secondbornproblems

Extras

The only extra thing we brought this time was a basket of goodies for the nurses! I just bought a cute, plastic crate from Target and filled it with candy from HEB. We didn’t bring our birth ball, pump, or letter board. The hospital has pumps and birthing balls. I also knew I wouldn’t keep up with the letterboard, so I didn’t even bring it. #secondbornproblems

Overall, my philosophy changed from “its best to be prepared” to “less is more, we aren’t going to a third world country”. Keep your birth simple and don’t try to use too many things. Someone can always go get you what you need!

 

 

 

 

Mommy Mania

Surviving, Not Thriving

October 30, 2019

So, you just had a baby. One of the biggest things in your life has happened and everything in your world is completely different. After one day in the hospital, they let you leave with full confidence in your ability to keep this teeny tiny human alive. If you were anything like me, you kept checking behind you to see if they were really going to let you leave leave the hospital with this newborn. But alas, here you are at home with your new baby. You’re tired, scared, unsure, full of raging hormones, and trying to heal.

It’s a lot, lets all just agree on that. No matter how your baby enters the world of how many babies you’ve brought into the world, it’s fair to say you are overwhelmed.

For me, the first few weeks were the hardest. Trying to “get to know” a newborn is messy and, at most times, frustrating. Adjusting to a newborn and a 13 month old was way more difficult than I had anticipated. I was working SO hard to breastfeed, keep my house clean, and my toddler fed. I had stitches, a pooch, and struggled to recognize myself in the mirror. I was juggling doctors appointments and playdates while trying to sleep more than 30 minutes at a time. IT. WAS. A. LOT. The days were definitely filled with sweetness, but they were also full of some very dark moments.

A moment comes to mind that might put this into perspective; I was one week postpartum and struggling. It was 11:00 am and I was trying nurse Daphne because we had a 12:00 doctors appointment. Of course, she is not latching and thrashing around. I had just put Winifred down for a nap and she was in her room screaming her head off like I’ve never heard before. I covered myself back up and gave thrashing Daphne to my mom and went (shirtless) to try and settle Winifred. I rocked her for 20 minutes and set her back in her crib, only to hear her wail again as soon as I closed her door. I decided to let her settle herself because Daphne still needed to eat and we were running out of time. I sat down, put the nipple shield on, and tried to get Daphne to latch. She latched for 5 seconds and knocked the shield off, sending milk all over she and I. At this point, Winifred is still screaming bloody murder, Daphne is crying, I’m covered in milk, and it’s 11:30. To add to the crazy, I realized that the base for Daphne’s carseat is not in my car. My dad, bless his extremely helpful soul, rushes out to attempt to put it in. He comes back and explains how he used the seatbelt to attach it. Confused and teary, I say “what??”, knowing that’s not the way we attach the seats. I tried, and failed, to explain how to use the anchor straps and the anchors in the seat. Out of hormone induced frustration, I burst into tears. Y’all this was a dark place. Both kids screaming, engorged breasts, milk everywhere, and it’s 11:45. Through the tears I ask my mom to take Daphne while I put the base in the car. With milk all over me and mascara running down my face I load up a screaming Daphne and head to the hospital; leaving my dad with  shrieking Winifred in her crib.

On the way to the hospital, Daphne is still screaming. I’m sobbing and whispering to my mom “I can’t do this. I can’t do this.” Resigning to the fact that, for the time being, one of us is going to be crying at all times. She pats me on the should and gives me an empathetic glance, “Yes, you can.” she said, “It’s not forever. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.” I knew she was right, but I had just entered the tunnel….the light was a tiny speck and very far away. We were at the very beginning of this very long journey.

The “baby blues” hit me hard in those two weeks. One moment, I was completely overwhelmed and crying. The next, I was elated and crying. Always crying. I felt like I had to do it all on my own because one day I would have to. I had my mom here, but I was hesitant to use her out of fear. I didn’t want to become too reliant on her and then fall to pieces when she left! Both Will and my’s mom did this on their own without help from their parents, was I a lesser parent because I was leaning on my mom? It sure did feel like it.

The nighttime was the most difficult time to get through. Daphne Grace was becoming nocturnal and was quite fussy. My dad always says, “The world is never darker than from 2-5am”, and he is so right. Will and I took shifts holding her in the rocking chair that sat in the corner of our room. One night, I sat there doing anything I could to just get her to settle down, and my mind went to the dark place. “This won’t end”, I remember thinking. “I won’t ever sleep again. I can’t do this, if I don’t get sleep. Why won’t she just shut up? What kind of mother can’t soothe her baby?? How can I already be failing so miserably at this??” The thoughts and feelings got darker and darker as the hours passed. Guilt crept in when I realized the awful things I was thinking. Tears rolled down my face and silent sobs escaped me as desperation set in. I didn’t want this. I didn’t want to be feeling this way about my baby or myself, and I surely didn’t want to be thinking such dark things at this time of night. I sat there starring at my husband and his useless nipples as I stayed awake nursing Daphne. I began to beg Jesus to let my baby fall asleep. Please.

I’d prayed for babies my whole life and there was a time when I didn’t think I’d even get one.  Now I had two. I should be on my knees with gratitude, but I wasn’t.

This was the baby blues; the least severe form of Postpartum Depression. My hormones were all over the place and I was struggling to cope with my new normal.   I knew I had to do something to pull myself out of this funk. I had to get my ish together or these babies were going to eat me alive.

The first thing I did was accept help. I started to let my mom help me with the kids and the household duties. She would hold Daphne while I put Winifred down, or make me lunch while I nursed. I relied on Will a lot more when he came home and would wake him up more to get the baby at night. The weight got lighter. Day by day, I had my mom help a little less and I began to do more on my own; taking 2 under 2 in small bites. My confidence was boosted, knowing I had her in the wing if I needed. I slowly began to see that I could absolutely do this. Will is also a champion dad. He would come home from work, just as exhausted as I was, and jump right into the thick of it with me. We were surviving, definitely not thriving.

Next, I had to ask for what I needed. I couldn’t expect to do everything on my own, but I also couldn’t expect everyone to read my mind and give me what I needed. I had to be vocal with my needs and my feelings. If I needed 10 minutes to walk outside and take a breath, I need to ask someone to take the girls. It was important for me to recognize my own needs and advocate for my mental health. It definitely made it easier on everyone around me, so they wouldn’t have to walk on eggshells around my hormonal self.

I had to catch myself in the middle of the darkness. I needed to figure out how to pull myself out or let someone know what I needed. I had to realize that these were just feelings, and feelings aren’t truth. Just because I felt like a bad mom doesn’t mean I was one. Just because I felt like I couldn’t handle 2 under 2 doesn’t mean that was true. My feelings were valid and justified, but they were not the end all be all of my value as a mom. The little things I started to do mattered, good or bad. How I treated myself had a huge affect on my emotions. I figured I should make a list of the small things I could do to battle those moments when the “baby blues” got ahold of me. Here’s what I came up with:

  • Wash your face
  • Change your clothes
  • Take a shower/bath
  • Go for a walk
  • Sit in the sun
  • Take 5 minutes to go in a room and breathe
  • Dance to a ridiculous song
  • Snuggle your baby
  • Drive around alone for 10 minutes
  • Get a sonic/starbucks drink
  • Clean something
  • Do a facemask
  • Do some yoga/light stretching
  • Read your bible

**These are just things I’ve found that help me feel better. If you feel like the “baby blues” are getting worse or lasting longer than a few weeks, PLEASE reach out to your OB for help.**

I love my babies. I love my life. I love being a stay at home mom. But I’m not a superhero and I do not have my life together all the time. Quite frankly, its a mess 99% of the time and thats ok. I have a lot of feelings and I feel them. I have highs and lows everyday and I ride the waves. I express my needs to those around me and do my best to keep myself if check.

Mamas, we can’t be afraid to let people know what we need. It’s not a crime to need a break or to ask for help. We weren’t meant to do this on our own. We need support and people to talk to when we feel that darkness creeping in. It’s not something to hide or cover with shame. Some days are absolute s**t shows, other days are filled with incredible memories. We just gotta take them as they come and show them who’s boss.

 

You got this; We got this.

Mommy Mania Organization

2 Under 2 Necessities

October 21, 2019
  • The Haaka– Y’all. Run, do not walk to get this bad boy. The Haaka is a suctioning  mini-pump you attach to the breast your baby is not feeding from. It catches the milk from each let down that would otherwise go into a breast pad or all over your shirt! I cannot tell you how much this has blessed my life. I have not used an electric pump and I already have a huge stash saved with 0 effort. It’s so easy to use and is an absolute MUST.
  • Prepped Caddys- Bear with me, this is a lot but it’s a life saver when you need to get stuff DONE.
    • Breastfeeding Caddy– I keep this with me at all times, especially in the first few weeks. I did not make one of these after Winifred and it would have saved me a lot of hassle. The idea is to get literally everything you might need during a feed into a caddy so it’s easily accessible! There is nothing worse than needing something across the room when you’ve got a baby on the boob. Having everything in one place makes it easy to carry from room to room as well. In my caddy I have:
  • Postpartum Caddy- I keep this in a basket next to my toilet. This has everything I need to do my business and take care of my lady parts after a vaginal delivery. I did this after Winifred and Daphne. Both times it was super convenient and made sure I took care of myself! In my postpartum caddy I have:
  • Stretch-mark Cream– Ok, this stuff is actual magic. My mom purchased this for me based off the amazon reviews and they were RIGHT. After a week of using this stuff most of my stretch marks are completely gone! My stomach was fully covered in long purple stretch marks and now I have 4 tiny ones left. I wish I would have taken before and after photos. The ones I have left have no color anymore and are almost invisible! A little goes a long way and it’s so easy to apply. 11/10 would recommend!
  • Lactation Balls– I love these things so much! When you have 2 under 2 and you’re breastfeeding, feeding yourself is important and difficult. You have to make sure you’re eating nutrient dense food but with what time?? The hospital gave me a recipe for lactation balls and we decided to try them out. WOW they’re amazing and SO easy to make! You can prep them in advance so you don’t have to worry about time. They have ingredients that support breastmilk production and are an easy grab and go option. Pinterest also has different options for lactation balls, cookies, and smoothies to fit your needs!

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  • Double Stroller– We were gifted this incredible stroller and we LOVE it. It’s the Contours Options Elite Tandem Double stroller. The seats can switch around to accommodate our growing babes. It can hold the carseat and Winifred and can change for when Daphne gets older. It’s nice and compact so I don’t feel like I’m taking up the whole sidewalk or store aisles. It also has a huge storage space under the seats, which is amazing. Winnie loves being in the front and seeing everything, and I love that I can see baby Daphne. It works for walks to the park, in the library, at the mall, and everywhere else we need to go. It’s definitely a city stroller though, not meant for hiking or beaches.

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  • Toddler Activities- Alright this one is hella important. I have a 13 month old who doesn’t understand why she cannot be in my skin while I feed Daphne. We kept having meltdown after meltdown while I was breastfeeding and it was stressing me out. So, I decided to have fun activities or simple things for Winifred to do while I feed her sister. I’ve searched Pinterest and found some fun things to have Winnie do that is minimal prep and super fun for her! Checkout my Pinterest board on what I’ve done/plan to do!

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  • YOUR VILLAGE- This is by far the biggest necessity. With 2 babies, I needed HELP. It took me weeks to accept that this was difficult and I couldn’t do it completely alone. My mom was staying with us the first few weeks after having Daphne. At first, I wanted to do it all by myself because “I would eventually be on my own”. This led to multiple anxiety attacks and many many tears. It was hard; really and truly hard, and I needed help. Once I accepted the help, I could breathe again. I could let my mom hold Daphne while I prepped to breastfeed, or let someone do the dishes for me. It didn’t mean that I couldn’t do it on my own one day, it just meant that I needed time to adjust to our new normal.  LET. PEOPLE. HELP. YOU. You can be supermom later.

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Mommy Mania

Eating for Two, Healing for One

October 17, 2019

I’ve struggled with some form of disordered eating since elementary school. I remember being in 5th grade, comparing myself to the “skinny” girls. I would wonder what it was like to look like they did and to have my clothes fit like theirs did. That’s when the skipping meals started, and continued for a few years. When I was in the 8th grade, the binge eating started. I would eat so much so fast I felt absolutely sick, trying to eat away the bad feelings I had.  That’s when the bingeing and purging started and went on for about a year. The restricting continued until later in high school. I saw how dangerous the behaviors were getting and I didn’t want to end up in the hospital. I fought it, hard. Doing my best to not think about food, my body, or what I wished I looked like. I actually managed pretty well until my freshmen year of college. The anxiety and stress of being far away from home and starting over triggered those thoughts and fears. The restricting was at its worst and I spent hours in the Rec center, on the elliptical.

I felt completely out of control and it scared me. I didn’t think I could get myself out of the darkness I was in, so I opted for “treatment”. I began going to therapy twice a week and accepting an accountability partner to keep my urges in check. With the strategies I learned in therapy, I started to love myself and heal my relationship with food. Eventually, my behaviors were under control and I could ride the waves of temptation without drowning. However, the thoughts and anxieties that surrounded my relationship with my body lingered. I still struggled daily and had an extreme relapse my junior year.

When I got pregnant with Winifred, the anxieties heightened. I knew weight gain came with a healthy pregnancy; it was expected and encouraged for a pregnant woman to gain a moderate amount of weight to grow a human. In my heart I knew that, but my brain panicked as soon as I saw those two pink lines. “You’re gonna get HUGE” I heard, “Your body is going to be wrecked”.  The darkness came and the battle begun between what I knew to be true and what my disorder was telling me. In the first trimester, I developed horrible morning sickness that lasted all day. It made it almost impossible for me to eat anything besides crackers and I felt myself starting to wither away. In 14 weeks, I’d lost almost 15 lbs.  The battle of my brain continued. My disorder was SO happy that I was losing weight without “technically” having any disordered eating behaviors. That part of me overjoyed to be growing a human and getting smaller. In a twisted way I felt like I was getting the best of both worlds! Then, there was the part of me that was freaking out wondering if my baby was getting the nutrients they needed to be healthy.

My parents came to visit when I was 14 weeks pregnant. My mother walked into the kitchen while I was cooking and her jaw dropped. The sight of me made her audibly gasp. My jeans were falling off, my legs and butt had diminished significantly, and my eyes were sunken and dark. She said “Um, how much weight have you lost?”.  “I don’t know”, I muttered, lying. I’d know exactly how much weight I lost due to the morning sickness. For 2.5 seconds, I felt proud that she’d noticed my weight loss. Then, I was crushed by guilt. How on earth could I feel proud that my body was disappearing when it was supposed to be creating a healthy baby? For days, I was sick at the thought of how proud I was. I called my doctor to get checked and to talk to him about my weight loss. I had to take back control for my baby.

Through the rest of my pregnancy, I stayed off the scale and prayed every time a “dark” thought came into my heart. I asked my doctor not to tell me how much I weighed unless I needed to know for health reasons. He continued to support me and only told me I was well within the “healthy” range for my weight. That’s all I needed to know. This didn’t stop me from being extremely sensitive to every word someone said about my pregnant body or what I was eating. I was extremely easy to trigger with words and I dissected every single thing someone said about me and my belly. My moods were completely dependent on what someone did or did not say about the way that I looked. I know how unhealthy and unfair that was to this body that was working so hard to create a little life, but I couldn’t stop. Will got the brunt of it. I would snap every time he made an innocent comment about my cravings or when he encouraged me to eat healthy for the baby. It came to blows one night when I realized how negatively this was affecting him. He was walking on eggshells around me wondering if he was going to say something “wrong” and receive aggressive comments in return. I was blaming him for my insecurities and anxieties when all he was doing was making sure I was eating stuff that was good for me and the baby. I was making my self worth his responsibility and that was completely unfair. I had to put myself  in check and realize that my disorder was twisting Will’s love and turning it into criticism. I was making it his job to not trigger me instead of hearing his words for what they truly were; love.

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The next 7 months I spent on my knees praying for God to soften my own heart. I prayed  to put the baby before myself and to view my body as a temple that was creating life. I didn’t want these thoughts and triggers anymore. I didn’t want to see food as a problem and my body as a number on the scale.  I wanted to be able to see my body for what it was; strong and capable of creating life.  Slowly but surely, I began to give myself grace and enjoy my changing body as the baby grew. Soon, I was even grateful for the extra pounds and stretch marks. It meant that my baby was growing. I’d prayed for a baby for years…why had I been so focused on the superficial parts of my body changing?

After Winnie J was born, my body wasn’t mine. I was breastfeeding and going back to work while trying to navigate motherhood. I avoided mirrors at all cost, knowing I wouldn’t be happy with what I saw. I wore baggy clothes and fastened my pants with hair ties. My mind was on Winnie J and keeping her healthy and happy. I know felt like I didn’t even have time to think about the mush that was my stomach or the insane jiggle in my thighs; don’t even get me started on the complete unevenness/”saggyness”. of my boobs. When Winnie was 4 months old, I felt ready to take control back and work to build a new version of the body I was proud of.

As we know, a wrench was thrown into my plans. The week I began to workout after Winifred, we found out I was pregnant with Daphne Grace. As the shock wore off, I couldn’t help but have the thought, “What is going to happen to my body now?”. I had gotten to a healthy place mentally, but my body was nowhere near recovered from my pregnancy or Winifred’s birth. I was overwhelmed with dark thoughts. How much more will my abs separate? How many more stretch marks will I get? Will I jiggle even more? Will my breasts get even more saggy? What the hell with this body even look like after 2 babies in 2 years?? I gave myself a day to wallow in the darkness, then get my ish together. History would not repeat itself with this pregnancy.

I’m proud to say that it didn’t. I was stronger mentally and did my best to fuel the baby belly with great food while indulging in my cravings. For 15 weeks, I felt strong and in control of my triggers and anxieties. Then, one day after school a coworker approached me, rubbed my belly and said “wow! Are you having a 17lb baby? You’re HUGE”. She did not mean any insult with her comment, I know that. It came from a loving humorous place; I was showing very early and very hugely. I wish I would have taking the comment for what it was, but I let it fester. It ate at me for days and I let it sink into my soul. I began to suck in as much as I could in the presence of others and wear shirts that made my stomach look smaller. I couldn’t wait to be further along, as if to justify the size my belly.  I faltered in my strength.

At my next appointment, I asked the nurse to weigh me and tell me if I was gaining at a healthy rate. Instead of avoiding looking at the scale, I wanted to tackle the anxiety in a healthy way. When I asked, my nurse laughed it off.  Triggered. I know she wasn’t laughing to make me feel silly or stupid, but my disorder told me that’s why she laughed. When I asked my doctor the same question, he brushed it off, saying I didn’t need to worry about that. Triggered. Being shrugged off made my anxiety spike. As calmly as I could I explained about my past and why it was important for me to know I was healthy while still gaining weight. He pulled out a chart and showed me my starting weight and we discussed what my goal weight should be and what was considered healthy for me as my pregnancy progressed.

I knew I was stronger, because the old me would have taken that chart and made sure I hadn’t gained an ounce over the “goal”. But I didn’t. I lived my life and loved my baby. I ate when I wanted and what I wanted, just making sure I was eating food that was fuel. I was stronger and better for my babies.

The disorder wasn’t winning, I was.

I’m now two weeks postpartum with Daphne Grace. My skin is saggy and I still have a “bump” that takes me look 5 months pregnant. I’m struggling with clothes and how I feel about this new me, but that’s ok. I’m so proud of this body and the two beautiful humans it created. I’m grateful that it can now supply Daphne with the food she needs. I now have the desire to keep this body strong and healthy so I can be my best self for my family. The dark thoughts are there, don’t get me wrong, and mirrors are still difficult to face, but I’m not a slave to the disordered behaviors anymore. Each day, I decide what voice I’m going to listen too and I’m doing my best to choose the voice of the Lord telling me I’m strong and beautiful. I like that voice.

I now have two daughters; two girls whom I want to love every inch of themselves. My daughters will not see me step on the scale and cry. My daughters will not see me refuse a cooking on account of “calories”. My daughters will not see me pick apart my body in the mirror. They will see me eat fuel, working out to celebrate my body, and love this body that created them. I want my daughters to have a healthy relationship with food and their body, and I now have the opportunity to be an example of that.

I look forward to the opportunity to embrace what my body is now. I get to love myself through these changes and show the girls that their mommy is taking care of her body and is grateful for all it has done.

Mommy Mania Pregnancy

Call it Textbook: The Birth of Daphne Grace

October 2, 2019

“Oh my gosh, oh my gosh”, I whispered to myself. It was Thursday afternoon and I was in Winifred’s rocking chair, watching her play after nap time. I’d just had my first ACTUAL contraction. It wrapped around my entire torso and made me audibly gasp. I had back labor with Winifred and Braxton Hicks for weeks, so that was an extremely new feeling. My heart nearly exploded out of my chest to feel a normal contraction! I was 39 weeks pregnant, had been losing my mucus plug for days, and was SO ready to meet this baby. The day before I thought my water broke, but upon doctor inspection I’d just been slowly peeing myself all day. That’s always nice to hear, right? HOWEVER, I was so encouraged by this one little contraction for two reasons. 1. This meant my labor might actually be “normal”. 2. We could possibly be having a baby very soon.

My contractions continued most of that evening and I was having about 1 an hour. With each one, I grew more and more shocked that this reality I’d been begging for was happening. My mind was racing and I decided to head to bed, for this might be my last night to sleep for a while! Welp. “A Pipe Dream” is what I call that. The contractions intensified around midnight and my gut told me to start timing them. They were fierce as I laid in our silent house, breathing through them. I tried to be as quiet as possible to not wake Will until absolutely necessary.

There was something empowering about laboring quietly and alone. Me and Jesus got to have a long conversation about Daphne Grace, her safety, and our family. With each contraction and each breath, I asked God to help me endure this pain for the insane beauty that was surely to come. I asked for him to help me accept that this was Daphne’s process to go through and all I had to do was my best to help her enter the world. I tell you what, my best conversation with the big man was laboring over my toilet, breathing in and out. Give it a try.

The contractions increased to 9 minutes apart by 7am. Will rolls over to kiss me good morning and I say “Ok, so we’re about 9 minutes apart”! With wide eyes he says “Ummm ok.”, flung the covers off, and became a tornado of productivity. While still contracting, I hear him rushing around the house; putting the carseat in the truck, packing his hospital bag, showering, and finishing up some work things. I giggled to myself, thinking about what was going through his mind. Guess I should have given him a tiny bit more of a heads up.

I stayed on the toilet most of the morning. It was the place I found the most comfort and apparently “real” contractions make you have to go to the bathroom a lot. Who knew? They intensified very quickly and by 10am we decided to venture to the hospital. The car ride was calm in between contractions. Will and I kept looking over at each other in shock and awe, giggling. We’d had 9 months to prepare for Daphne’s arrival, it’s pretty much all we’d ever talked about! But there is something about realizing that a tiny human being is coming into your life when you have another tiny human being at home, it’s just surreal.

We got to the hospital as the contractions were almost too intense to breathe through. I was wheeled up to Labor and Delivery which, apparently, was in the middle of baby Palooza week! There were 3 laboring mothers in front of me, waiting to be checked in. Nurses buzzed around, phones rang off the hook, and housekeeping rushed from room to room prepping them for the new arrivals. We waited, breathing, and laughing at the situation. Of COURSE Daphne Grace would enter the world during the baby boom of Midland.

We were finally in our room (the same room WJ was birthed in!) and we had an absolute sensational group of nurses with us, several of which recognized us from last year. I got settled into the bed and got my blood taken as they asked me alllllll the questions. Then it came time to check to see how dilated I was, I was shaking. (See Winnie’s birth story for previous trauma with cervix checks). I expressed my fear and apprehension with the nurse. She was empathetic and told me she would do her best to be fast and gentle. She delivered and I heard the most beautiful words a laboring mother could hear. “All right, so you’re about a 7/7.5! You’re staying here!” “SHUT UP!” I said out of pure disbelief. “Are you serious?!” Tears filled my eyes because all those contractions actually did something. My body was working with me this time.

I decided to get the epidural and it’s a decision I’m proud of. I knew what my body could handle and it couldn’t handle another birth like Winifred’s. I labored for about another hour or so and the cutest man came in and gave me a great epidural. Why was it a great epidural? Well, because I could still move my legs and feel all my contractions but nothing was painful. I found great joy knowing I could still work with my body.  I was laid on my side with the peanut ball (God’s greatest invention) and was told they would call my doc and tell him to come check me!

Womp womp. My lovely nurse comes in and tells us that my doctor was out of town this weekend and his on call doctor would be delivering Daphne. My heart sank. I knew this was too good to be true. My labor was going way too textbook to keep going so well. But, what could I do? I was having this baby and somebody had to catch it! I accepted it and prayed some more about the things I could not control. So, the on call doctor comes in and low and behold, she’s the most positive and amazing doctor I could have asked for. I expressed my fear about Daphne’s size and how difficult WJ’s labor was. She encouraged me and validated my fears, while making me feel safe. Another prayer answered.

After 2 hours on the peanut ball they broke my water, and another hour later it was time to PUSH! I was so in shock about how smoothly it was going and how empowered I felt through this process. Will had been so encouraging and wonderful, holding my hand the whole time and trusting me to trust my body. I was shaking, partly from the hormones, partly because I was so nervous to meet Daphne. It almost felt like a first date. “What will she be like? Will she like me? Will I be enough for her?” etc.

When it comes time to push, a FLOOD of people come in the room; nurses for me, nurses for baby, interns and doctor. Will was by my side, my mom at the ready with her camera, and my dad assumed his position behind the chair. Deja vu hit for sure. I began pushing with every contraction and, damn. I had an epidural and it hurt, bad. By the 5th set of pushes I was exhausted and in pain. My nurse gave me oxygen and every one else in the room was encouraging me with “Come on, mama! One more! You can do this! Breathe! She’s almost here!” and I was overwhelmed with emotion. By the 6th set, her head was “right there” and everyone told me that we were going to have a baby with a head full of hair! Everyone took a turn looking, even Will, and I got to feel her head with my hand! Did I mention that all modesty goes out the window when you’re spread eagle in a room of 20 people trying to push a baby out? Cause it does.

The doctor started to whisper to the nurse and the nurse replied with “yeah, she said that happened with her first”. Oh no, I thought. I asked what she was saying and the doctor said that Daphne’s head has a little crooked and getting caught on my bone. COOOOOL, apparently I make babies with crooked heads. My mind quickly went to a dark place as I envisioned forceps, massive tearing, and torticollis all over again. I asked her what we should do and she said it was nothing to worry about and she would guider her with my pushes.  The 7th and 8th sets of pushes were intense as the pain and pressure peaked, her head was coming out and the doctor had straightened her out, no forceps. After the 8th set, my doc looked me in the eyes and said “If you do your best on this one, she’s out”. So, with every ounce of my entire being, I pushed and pushed. With a quick sharp pain and a release of pressure, the doctor was handing me my perfect baby girl. Head full of black hair, covered completely in vernix, and screaming her lungs out; she was here. “You did it!”, Will said holding my hand and staring at our beautiful girl.

They wiped her off and my mom got to cut the cord! I could not get to her fast enough as we started skin to skin. And I got that feeling. That feeling moms tell you you’ll get when you have another baby. You don’t love your first born less, your heart doubles. They were so right. I felt like the Grinch with my heart growing 3 times its size. She was perfect and beautiful, and ours. She was here.

Daphne Grace entered the world at 4:02PM on Friday, September 27th. She was 8lbs 1oz and 20 inches long. She’s perfect and we are so in love!

This birth was different than my first. Traumatic vs. Textbook, but they were both perfect. These births brought my beautiful girls into the world and I’m grateful to my body for both of them.

Mommy Mania Pregnancy

38 Weeks with Daphne Grace

September 23, 2019

How far along? 38 Weeks
Baby is the size of a: Pomeranian (lol what)

Total weight gain: another lol, I calculated wrong so I’ve gained about 20 lbs the whole pregnancy

Baby Development: Daphne Grace is pretty darn cooked at this point! Her only job to is to practice breathing and to keep getting fat. She’s rocking both of those! At her sonogram this week, the doc was impressed with how much she was practicing breathing. They also believe her to weigh about 8lbs 7oz, which is what Winnie J weighed when she was born. That is a little scary to hear, but those sonograms can be up to 2lbs off. So, we aren’t going to make any decisions based off of those measurements. She is also shedding her “fetal skin” and her sweet soft baby skin is making its way! Her eyes have most likely into their final color! I seriously cannot wait to see her smushy face and kiss her all over!

Movement: Movement has been more sporadic this week. She moves mostly when I’m laying down. She is still super strong, looking like she is going to come out of my belly button these days. She takes my breath away or makes me stop walking with how strong her kicks are!

Food cravings: Still craving fruits that are juicy and veggies. Sugar snap peas are my JAM and I eat a bag a night with no shame.

Miss Anything?  I miss sleeping for more than an hour without having to go to the bathroom. For the past week, I’ve gotten up every 45-60 minutes to go to the bathroom. It’s quite exhausting and annoying. It may be compounded by the fact that I know I’ll be even more sleep deprived when Daphne Grace comes.

 

Symptoms: CONTRACTIONS. Y’all, on Sunday, my contractions were so bad I had to start timing them. They were anywhere from 10-20 minutes apart and they felt so different from Braxton Hicks. If I laid down, they slowed down but didn’t stop. At this point, I called my mom and let her know what was happening. She was supposed to come on Thursday, but my dad put her on a plane that night! Thank God he did because Imelda hit Houston on Thursday and both airports were closed! So, she’s now and is a HUGE help with Winnie J because this mama’s back is in some serious pain. The contractions slowed way down this week and returned to being Braxton Hicks. I still get them every day! TMI but I’ve lost two chunks of my mucus plug, which I find super exciting.

Mood?  Anxious. I’m SO ready to meet our new little love and sink into our new normal. I know life won’t be easy but I’m just ready to have this baby and coral the circus. I’m also feeling thankful. Will and my mom have been so patient with me as my nesting spikes. Most of the stuff I want to do, I physically can’t. So they ask what they can do and lovingly clean the weird things my body is telling me need to be cleaned. They’ve encouraged me and convinced me that I’m not crazy, no matter how crazy I feel.

Winifred Update: This. Girl. Definitely turning into a toddler with big feelings and big opinions. I never knew that someone who didn’t talk could have so many opinions on the littlest things. Poor Winnie J had a fever this weekend and her appetite went out the door, again. She is still a “Self proclaimed” vegetarian and will not eat any meat other than eggs. I now FULLY understand how parents end up making chicken nuggets and mac and cheese for every meal. Please take this as my apology for judging. Because Winnie J is living off of scrambled eggs, grilled cheese, and bananas! Nevertheless, she is the light of our lives. She has learned to climb just about everything and wants to explore all the time!

This week, I started lifting my shirt and patting my belly saying, “baby” to get her used to the word and see if she understands a little. Welp haha she kinda understands. If we’re on the floor playing, she’ll make me lift up my shirt so she can pat my belly and say “baby”! I melt into a freaking puddle every single time. I cannot wait to see her be a big sister.

Mommy Mania Pregnancy

37 Weeks with Daphne Grace

September 20, 2019

How far along? 37 weeks
Baby is the size of a: Honeydew Melon

Total weight gain: 17 lbs. (took full advantage of carbs this week for SURE)

Baby Development: Daphne Grace is still giant and that’s ok! I’m so happy she is healthy and gaining weight, as she should. Her systems are pretty much ready to rock and roll at this point. The only thing left to finish is her digestive system and that won’t happen until she has her first feeding! She is still in birthing position and very low. Her reflexes are developing, too! I think it’s so crazy that babies are born with a full set of reflexes! She’ll grasp, flinch, and hold on tightly to our fingers. I can’t freaking wait!

Movement: I think DG is running out of room in there! She is moving less and less these days but she is still strong. Her feet are pressed right up above my belly button. I can feel little toes and her heels. It’s been my favorite part of these last few weeks. I love those little feet. She also gets the hiccups when I lay down to go to sleep; I look forward to seeing those hiccups on the outside!

Food cravings: Chocolate Pop Tarts! I craved those early in my pregnancy with Winifred but that craving hit late this pregnancy. I only wanted them for a few days, instead of weeks and weeks.

Miss Anything?  Lots of things. I’m truly ready to not be pregnant anymore. I want my baby on the outside.

Symptoms: So emotional. My highs are super high and my lows are super low. I cry everyday, multiple times a day, for different reasons. I had an OB appointment this week and my blood pressure was a little high. I think it was because I was super stressed about my cervix check, but they’re watching me for preeclampsia now. I really don’t think I have it, but its nice to be monitored. I also have this super fun thing called “Lightning Crotch”. I get this pinching feeling that feels like lightning down there. I thought this might mean that I was dilating at least a little bit. NOPE. During my cervix check, doc says, “Nope, you’re closed up tight down there”. Not really what I was hoping to hear. Also, bonus, I have lots of weird gray hairs. Can’t tell if they’re from Daphne or Winifred. However, on Saturday, I did lose part of my mucus plug. So, I’m taking that as a tiny step forward.

Mood?  EMOTIONAL and discrouraged. I truly, truly thought I was going to be at least a little dilated. I know that I’m only 37 weeks and Daphne Grace isn’t done cooking yet, but, selfishly, I’m so done. All my bodily signs point to her being ready to come out! I’m getting anxious because I don’t want to be overdue like I was with Winifred. I just can’t do that again, especially if she’s as big as they think she might be.

Winifred Update: Praise God, Winnie J is eating more this week. She is still on a meat strike, but is eating tons of eggs, so I’ll take it. Her personality is SHINING this week! She is such a talker. She babbles alllll day long and has some very strong opinions. She’s started to really use the sign language we’re teaching her and point to things she wants. It’s so nice to be able to communicate with her. Winnie J is still going to daycare two days a week and I’m so thankful for that! She’s begun to develop some separation anxiety from me, even when I’m in the room. So, I’m glad to have her still be away and ok for a few days a week. SHE TOOK A STEP! She’s also getting really stable on her feet, so I hope we’re close to walking!

Mommy Mania Pregnancy

36 Weeks with Daphne Grace

September 14, 2019

How far along? 36 weeks
Baby is the size of a: Chihuahua (lol)

Total weight gain: 15 lbs.

Baby Development: Welp. DG is still huge! We had another ultrasound this week and she is measure at about 7 and a half pounds. Head is still in the 97th percentile but she went down to the 89th percentile as a whole! She is still insanely low. Y’all, TMI but the sonographer had to almost violate my lady business to get a good measurement of the top of her head. Good news though, doc said she is super healthy and all her organs are functioning and looking great! She is still very active which means her placenta is strong and working. She has SO MUCH HAIR. I truly cannot wait to see what she looks like.

Movement: Daphne Grace is moving like a mad woman and I kinda love it. Now that I know where she is positioned, I can tell where her little feet are and I can push them back. She is strong! I wonder if she’ll be able to bust out of swaddles like her sister. She is using my bladder as a squeeze toy; that is proving rather interesting and painful.

Food cravings: I’m allllll over the place this week. I cannot get enough sugar snap peas but I also really want Chocolate Pop tarts sooooooooo there’s that. I’m just letting DG call the shots at this point.

Miss Anything?  Clothes. Right now I have about 6 shirts I can fit into and 5 pairs of shorts. I honestly miss a diverse wardrobe.

Symptoms: No appetite unless it’s a craving. Nothing sounds good and I don’t really feel hungry until 10pm when I get STARVING. I’m also having a lot of severe back pain because my belly is hanging so low. I got a support band to go under my belly and it is a game changer! I can walk around without looking like a penguin and grunting like Serena Williams.

Mood?  Restless. I’m so ready for Daphne Grace to get here. I struggle because I know she needs more time to develop and cook but I want her here so bad. Our house is ready for her! Nursery is done, hospital bags are packed, newborn clothes are washed, and our room is set up for her temporary sleep space! Now, we wait. I’m just so ready to start our new life with our second miracle.

Winifred Update: I can’t believe how much she changes from day to day! We go spoiled having Will home this 3-day weekend. She got to show her dad her favorite park and spend some quality time with him in the sun! We’ve started to teach her sign language at mealtime to cut down on the random screaming. So far, Winnie J knows “more” and “all done”. We’re now working on “Water”! It’s amazing how fast she learned those signs and I can’t wait to continue that communication. Winifred now has 4 teeth and is looking like a real life toddler! She is allllll over the place, climbing on everything and making as much noise as possible. She is obsessed with the dogs and her books. She would read all day long if she could. We continue to visit the library 2 days a week, and Winnie J is making friends! I love seeing her wave at the other kids and share the toys. She is such a tender heart. She has also begun to “walk” around using her little walker toy, so I’m hoping that walking is right around the corner! This mama would rather not have to carry two babies everywhere.

Winnie J is also practicing using a fork to feed herself. Surprisingly, she picked it up fast! She can get food on the fork on the first try and will get it in her mouth. However, she won’t chew or swallow any food she gets in her mouth with a fork. Confusing and frustrating.

Mommy Mania Pregnancy

35 Weeks with Daphne Grace

September 14, 2019

How far along? 35 weeks
Baby is the size of a:  spaghetti squash

Total weight gain: 13.5

Baby Development: Daphne Grace is getting lower and lower in there. She is preparing for birth as her body puts the final touches on her skeletal system and her organs. Her lungs continue to grow stronger as she practices breathing! She should be packing on more and more fat, but I need her to cool it with that. She’s HUGE. She’s working on her first poop as we speak! Her finger nails are getting pretty long and ready to be trimmed!

Movement: I am now feeling movement almost exclusively right at my cervix. I don’t think she can get any lower! She loves when I drink anything with bubbles. Thankfully, she is off my lungs which is an amazing relief to be able to breathe again.

Food cravings: VEGGIES! Broccoli and sugar snap peas are LIFE.

Miss Anything?  I miss being able to cuddle Winifred. She can’t fit in my arms like she used to and it’s painful when she sits on my belly. However, I do love that I can hold both my girls at the same time.

Symptoms:  The sciatic nerve pain is back and makes my right leg feel like it’s on fire. Some stretching relieves the pain a little, but it’s intense. My emotions are everywhere at this point too. Poor Will having to deal with my ups and downs. He needs an award.

Mood?  Determined. After we finished Winnie J’s party, my mind went completely into nesting mode to get the house ready for Daphne Grace. We had to switch the girls’ closets and get all the infant stuff down from the attic. In one day, our house went from a complete disaster to ready for baby! I’m now just going down the list to make sure we have everything we need for the hospital and postpartum life. It’s making my heart very happy to know our home is ready to welcome Daphne Grace home!

Winifred Update: Truth time; this week was insanely difficult with Winifred June. She is now one and going through the 8th mental leap, which can make babies very fussy as they try to figure out their new world. She is also cutting her top two teeth, causing her to have an ear infection. THEN, she got most of her 1 year shots on top of all this. She is going through so much and it’s hard for her tiny body to handle it all so, she screams. I can’t take it away and there is only so much I can do, so we cuddled a LOT this week. By Thursday, she started feeling more like herself! We went to the park and the library to cure the stir-crazy. I’ve been blown away at the mental jumps she’s made this week. She’s beginning to explore the world around her and venture out on her own to make friends or try something new. She still comes back for cuddles, which makes this mama heart happy. SHE WANTS TO WALK SO BAD. She’ll stand up on her walker and scoot around the house. It should be only a matter of time! She is currently obsessed with books, we read allllllll day long.