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Mommy Mania

Mommy Mania Teacher Tales

To All the Moms I’ve Judged Before

November 18, 2018

First, all moms are superheroes.  It doesn’t matter how you became a mom; adoption, fostering, natural birth, C-section, planned, or unplanned. You are a superhero. It doesn’t matter if you are a stay at home mom, working mom, homeschooling mom, or room mom. You are a superhero.

This is a letter to working moms, specifically, teacher moms.

For three years, I secretly assumed and judged things I didn’t understand. My heart was hardened toward coworkers I thought weren’t giving their all to their job. I didn’t understand their lives and where their hearts were. “I’ll never be like that,” I thought, “I’ll be able to do it all when it comes time”. WELP. Here I am y’all; I’m on my knees begging you to forgive the judgments I’d placed on you. I was fifty shades of WRONG.

I thought coming back to work would be easy.  I believed that I could compartmentalize my heart and mind to be the best teacher I could be, then pick up my baby and be “mommy does it all”. LOL. Like my life would be the exact same with a tiny human in it?

I didn’t understand how a heart can be torn so completely in two. I didn’t understand that as soon as a little life is in your world, everything else comes second without you even thinking about it.  Here is my “I’m sorry”.

I’m sorry I didn’t understand. Lots of moms are late to work. I used to think “Oh my goodness, just wake up 10 minutes earlier”. Now I know, it doesn’t matter how early you wake up. When your kid takes 30 minutes to finish her bottle or has a major blowout on your way out the door, your timeline is screwed.  You weren’t lazy, you were being a mom. So much of motherhood is out of our control, and I’m sorry I didn’t understand that.

I’m sorry I questioned your commitments. When the fall festival or Christmas carnival came around and you didn’t jump at the opportunity to volunteer your time or money, I would wonder why these events weren’t more important to you. I didn’t know that these events fell at bedtime and having a routine is super important for a family, especially when you have to be functional the next day. I didn’t realize how much diapers, clothes, and baby things cost. No wonder your forehead wrinkled every time it came time to donate money to another staff member’s birthday or event. The most important thing was providing for your family, not buying donuts or balloons for another event.

I’m sorry I didn’t think that you had room in your heart for students and your kids. Before I had Winifred, my students were my whole life. I thought they were “my kids” and I couldn’t imagine what would happen when I had a kid of my own. How could I love my students AND my baby as much as I wanted to? Teacher moms, you do it every day.  Your heart was twice as big as mine. You learned to love you students and give them what they needed, then go home and love your own children with a fierceness I never knew of. That takes the most gentle and brave of women, to show nothing but compassion and love all day long. To “deal” with children during the school day and go home to MORE children was something I didn’t think I could handle. You guys showed me how to do that with such grace. Thank you.

I’m sorry I didn’t know how valuable your weekends were!! When you didn’t want to take work home or didn’t answer our teacher texts on the weekends, I was confused. “Your baby naps right?”, “Don’t you want your lessons to be cute and engaging”. These are the thoughts that would go through my mind. I didn’t understand that every moment of the weekend is precious with your baby on the weekends. You want to soak in each second you can spend with your child while you aren’t at work. Bringing work home is something you just don’t want to do when you have a beautiful baby to stare at! Your lessons are just as engaging with or without the cutesy-ness. Also naps, what are those?? LOL.

I didn’t understand how incredibly hardworking and strong you are.  I didn’t understand that you were SO tired and overwhelmed, but you came to work anyway, ready to rock and roll. I didn’t understand how easy it was to put your baby first and to follow your mother’s intuition. I didn’t understand how huge your heart had to be and how stretched thin you must have been.

I have learned my lesson in the most humbling of ways. You have NO clue what another mother is going through or what she is doing to take care of her baby. We are all moms and we’re all just trying to do our best. I pinky promise, I will never again judge another mother in a situation I know nothing about.
So, to all the moms I’ve judged before: thank you for showing me what being a superhero looks like.

 

 

 

Mommy Mania Organization

My 10 New Mommy Must-Haves

November 3, 2018

This isn’t a news flash, but being a new mom is hard. It’s beautiful, wonderful, and down right difficult. Babies don’t need a lot but they “need” a lot, if you catch my drift. In my 2 whole months of being a mom, I’ve found myself saying “Oh my gosh, I’m so glad we have_________”.  So, here’s a quick list of the 10 things that have saved my new mommy behind.

  1. DockATot – Holy guacamole this has been the greatest thing. This is what we’ve had Winnie sleep in since she was about 2 weeks old. The DockATot is a cosleeper that gave me peace of mind (told myself we wouldn’t cosleep, LOL). She sleeps in it next to me and I know that I won’t roll over on top of her. The DockATot has also made her transition to daycare much smoother. It is small enough to travel with back and forth, so she is comfortable at daycare. These are a bit expensive BUT TOTALLY WORTH IT. I got mine on sale with Zulily and I see them on FaceBook markets often.aYAzEie6Sy67TLQv89zPXg
  2. Milk Saver– I found that when I was breastfeeding or pumping one breast at a time, the other breast would leak. I hated seeing that milk go to waste in a breast pad. Enter the milk saver! A genius invention to help you save every drop of your liquid gold! I’ve seen several kinds used; Amazon has tons of options.
  3. The Pocket Nanny– A devise that tracks feedings, pumping, diaper changes, and more.  This was an absolute lifesaver for the first 4 weeks or so when your brain is absolute mush. We liked using this better than the apps because when Will and I traded in the middle of the night, we knew the baby’s stats. This wasn’t even on my registry. It was a gift from another new mom who knew of it’s magic!
  4. Moby Wrap– A must-have if you’d like to get anything done during the first 6 weeks. It’s the perfect way to combine productivity and cuddles. Winnie loved to be close to me, and I loved having my hands free!IMG_2725
  5. Something patterned next to the changing table– Ok, this may sound weird but bear with me.  Babies are wiggle monsters when they get on the table, it’s a proven fact. Our saving grace has been this black and white tapestry we hung next to her changing table. The patterns and contrast stimulate her eyes and brain, while allowing a swift diaper change.
  6. Pajamas with built in mittens– Another completely genius idea. Winnie doesn’t always like to be swaddled but her arms flail constantly while sleeping. We found these Cloud Nine Pajamas from Target that have the mittens folded onto the sleeves. When it’s time for bed, you can just fold the tops of the sleeves over. Boom. Mittens.
  7. Sound Machine– Another thing I swore I wouldn’t use. Well, here we are. When Winnie was a newborn, she loved the “heartbeat” option. Now, we just use the white noise to help us both get more sleep.
  8. Bubba Keg– This 54 oz. beauty was a huge help with breast-feeding thirst. I knew I needed to drink 2 of them a day to help keep my supply up. The fact that it was so big helped because I didn’t have to refill the bottle every 30 minutes.IMG_7575
  9. Plexus Joyome– Yes, I sell it. However, I cannot begin to describe how much this helped the skin on my belly. I have stretched out skin at the front of my belly that was killing my self esteem. I put the Joyome on my belly morning and night. After about 3 weeks, the scars went from purple to pale, my skin felt tighter, and it keeps getting better. I’m super impressed with this skin care product!
  10. A Good Cabernet– Because wine is good.

 

*BONUS* All. The. Boppy. Pillows.

Mommy Mania

1 in 4

October 23, 2018

This week was infant and pregnancy loss awareness week and, to be honest, it was hard to focus on anything else.

Some of you may know that Will and I lost a baby on the 4th of July 2016. However, I’ve never actually sat down to write about that loss or the struggles we experienced in conceiving Winifred. I’d like to do that now. *some of this might be triggering if you’ve experienced a miscarriage*

The summer of 2016 was sweet. I had just finished up my first year of teaching, we celebrated our first anniversary, and I was about to stand next to my sister as she married the man of her dreams. It was wonderful. I was home in Houston, helping prepare for all the wedding festivities, when I realized I was late for my period. I figured it was probably from all the stress of my sister’s wedding, so I tried to not think too much about it. A few days went by and I confided in my sister what was happening. She said, “Oh boy, are we about to be in a Rachel and Monica situation?”. I laughed, thinking how extremely unlikely it was that I would be pregnant. Although, in reality, it was extremely LIKELY that I was pregnant. Will and I were doing nothing to prevent it, I was just in denial.

Being a mom was something I’d always wanted! I could picture myself with kids, a million of them. I couldn’t wait to experience motherhood and all that it entailed. So, why was I so terrified? Will and I had been married for a year, we both had amazing jobs, and we were deliriously happy. Wouldn’t this just be the icing on the cake? It was time to to know for sure if I was going to be a mom or just freaking myself out. My sister and I snuck off to buy pregnancy tests, smuggling them back into our parents’ house. I waited until the next morning to take it, per the mommy blogs’ instructions. The test was negative. “I’m sorry, what?”, I thought. How could that be possible?? I was 12 days late, and I was NEVER late. Maybe I really was just stressed. I tried to just focus on my sister’s wedding, but something inside me felt so off.

For the next three days I took a test every morning. Negative. Frustration kicked in as I looked at negative test after negative test. What the actual heck? My boobs were sore, I was exhausted, and the smell of food made me absolutely sick. Was I having an hysterical pregnancy? Was I really just THAT stressed? Am I just insane? All possible explanations.

On July 1st, 2016 at 4:00am my whole world stopped. “Pregnant 1-2 weeks” popped up on a ClearBlue Digital. I dropped the test and fell to my knees on my childhood bathroom floor. For about 20 minutes I sat in shock as the weight of this news enveloped me. Then, I burst into happy tears. Was this the plan? No. Was I ready? No. Was this the happiest I’d ever been? Yes. There was a little life inside of me, planned or not. My dream was coming true. I was going to be a mommy and Will was going to be a daddy.

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I was exploding with emotion. Will wasn’t in town yet and because my sister, Rachel, was the only one that new of my “lateness”, I sprinted into her room. (Keep in mind that it’s 4:30am) I jumped on her bed grinning ear to ear. Rachel, shocked from my abrupt entrance, sits up groggily and asked what the hell was going on. All I could do was hold the test about an inch from her face whispering “LOOK!”. She grabbed her glasses and tried to focus on what it was. When she realized what she was looking at she says, “Are you freaking serious??”, and we both just laughed. This would be the biggest secret we would both ever keep. It was, after all, the day before her wedding!! I couldn’t wait for Will to come into town, and I decided to wait until Rachel’s wedding was over to tell him.

Rachel’s wedding was absolutely perfect. She was the most beautiful bride on the planet and joy filled the day! When Will and I got back to my parents’ house, I told him I had a little present for him and handed him a tiny box. He opened the box to find a tiny green pacifier with a piece of paper saying “Baby Lou coming soon!”. What happened next makes my heart twist when I think about it today. Will looked at me with tear filled eyes, said “Babe…are you serious?” and pulled me into the biggest hug. We laughed, we happy cried, and we laughed again. I’m gonna tell you right now, there are few moments that have made me happier than seeing his face when he found out he was going to be a father. Will and I decided to tell my parents that night. According to my calculations I was about 5 or 6 weeks along. I know that was before it’s truly safe to tell people, but we wouldn’t see our families again until Thanksgiving, and we wanted to tell them in person. So, we packed up the pacifier and walked downstairs.

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Now remember, my parents had literally JUST got home from their daughter’s wedding and were more than exhausted. Still, as in shock as they were, they joined in our joy of the life that was coming! The next day, we told Will’s family during his father’s birthday dinner. Will’s brother and his family were there, which made the announcement all the more special. We were over the moon to have both of our families praying over this baby. During the next 24 hours we went into baby hyper drive!  I downloaded all the baby apps, we tried out baby names, and dreamed of what would become of this little life. We both KNEW it was a girl. On the app, I learned that at 4 weeks, the baby is the size of a poppy seed. “Poppy” I said, “What a cute name”. It stuck. We referred to the baby as Poppy, it was perfect.

On the morning of the 4th of July, Will rolled over and kissed my belly. “Good Morning, Poppy”, he whispered. I wanted to stay in that moment forever, everything was like a dream, but the 4th of July party my parents were throwing required all hands on deck. I went to the bathroom to get ready for the day and felt sick. “Morning sickness”, I thought, weirdly excited. I sat on the toilet and saw blood. Bright red, thick, and lots of it. I called to Will and he came running. I showed him and we both just starred at each other, unsure and surprised. “Go get my mom”, I said as tears rolled down my face. The cramping started as my mom climbed the stairs. “Mom, I think I’m having a miscarriage” I said between sobs. She looked at the blood and nodded. “Why don’t you get in the shower”, she said, hugging me. I obeyed. A dark feeling came over me as I watched the blood go down the drain.  My whole body felt heavy as the water pounded my back. This wasn’t real, this wasn’t happening. We’d made plans, we had names picked out, we WANTED this baby. I crumpled in the shower, sobbing. My thoughts were racing, wondering what I had done wrong or what I could have done to save the baby. I begged God for this not to be real. I pleaded with Jesus to make another miracle and keep this baby alive. I knew my prayers were futile in that moment, but I had to try.

The hours following, Will and I just laid in bed and held each other. My parents’ party had started but we stayed upstairs. My cramping had worsened and I just wanted to be in bed. Will left to tell his family about the loss. I hate that he had to go there by himself, I can’t imagine how lonely that must have been for him. We had just told his family not even 24 hours ago. A part of me felt guilty, like we were taking away a present we had given to our families. When my parents’ party started my cousin and my friend’s mom (who are both Labor and Delivery nurses) came to comfort me. They were saying all the right things, but I couldn’t hear them. All I could think about was my dreams crashing down.  When Will came back, we decided to join the party and do our best to be ok. As hard as it was, being around people we loved most really helped our hearts.

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It took a very long time for me to feel like myself again. It was like a little piece of me left with the baby.  I was only 5-6 weeks along and I’d only known about Poppy for 4 days but it felt like a lifetime. It changed me. I started to feel ridiculous. There were women who had been much farther along than me and lost their actual babies. There were women who had carried to term and had a still birth. Did I really have a right to grieve as much as I was? I resisted sharing with people at the risk of being dramatic. The pain was still so real. I felt alone, vulnerable, and miserable. I felt stuck.  The doctors said it was safe to try again next month, but we weren’t ready. Our hearts weren’t ready and, to be quite honest, I was terrified to try.

“At least you know you CAN get pregnant.”
“There was something just wrong with the chromosomes.”
“This is more common than you think.”
“Everything happens for a reason.”

All things said out of the most sincere of places, but none of them helped. I wanted my baby back in my belly.

Fast forward to 2017. Will and decided for real that we would start trying and I was still terrified. What if I lost another one? What if it’s still born? What if my body can’t do the one thing that a woman’s body is suppose to do? I prayed a lot through those fears during this process but it never got easier, I just had to trust in a God that gives and takes away.

In September of 2017, I found myself looking at the faintest of second pink lines on a First Response Test. I was overwhelmed with hope! I’d become obsessed with tracking my cycle and testing 5 days before I was scheduled to start my period. We’d really wanted to get pregnant in September so I could have the baby right when school was getting out. You know what they say about making plans right? I showed Will the test. Naturally, he was unsure about the validity of the faint pink line, but every app says that a line is a line. My eggo was preggo. To be safe, I took a test again the next day. To my joy, the second line was still there! Experience told me to hold my breath and wait for the other shoe to drop. It did. 3 Days later, I was bleeding. This was my first “Chemical Pregnancy”. To my knowledge, a chemical pregnancy is when the egg gets fertilized but doesn’t implant in the uterine wall. Your body starts making hormones to prepare for a baby (hence the positive test) but the pregnancy doesn’t “stick”. Most of me was numb and extremely disappointed. We’d been trying for a while and this was my first glimmer of hope. Will and I took some breaths and held each other. Will said that we could try again but I wasn’t sure. I didn’t know how I’d get through this season of life with my heart still in tact. To be honest, I didn’t.

I had my second Chemical in October. This time, I was furious. I was furious at God for treating my fertility like a yo-yo, dangling it in front of me and snapping it back up. He and I had several rough conversations over the course of that month. I gave in.  I stopped tracking my ovulation and stopped the test strips. I focused on my relationship with Will and we started researching the process of becoming foster parents.

In December 2017, I found myself late again. I refused to test, waiting for the inevitable. It never came. I could feel my body starting to change and I was full on freaking out. On December 15th at 4:32 in the morning another First Response told me there was DEFINITELY a baby in my belly. The second line was so dark that it pulled the dye from the control line. I’d never had a test THAT positive. I burst out of the bathroom and ran to our room hysterically crying. Poor Will was so confused as I shoved the test in his face. “Are you happy?” He asked. I told him that I was unbelievably happy, but what I didn’t tell him was how unbelievably scared I was at the same time. I didn’t think my heart could handle another loss. I prayed with all of my heart for this bean to stick for good.

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And stick she did. Winifred joined us 9 months later, perfectly healthy.

This pregnancy was not perfect, it was scarred. My heart had scars from the losses. I didn’t let myself get attached to her until about 25 weeks. It’s something I feel guilty about to this day. I would feel her move and kick but I wouldn’t let myself picture a future for my child until we were in the “viability zone” of the pregnancy. I put walls up because of the pain I’d experienced before her. I’m not proud of that but it’s what my brain had to do to cope with the anxiety. I’m not sure if those scars will heal or if they’ll affect my next pregnancy (God willing there is one). But I do know that I’m sitting here starring at the most perfect child and my heart is so so happy.

I still grieve for my babies in little ways. I got a P. tattooed on my arm to remind me of Poppy and to pray for our little lives in heaven. I know that one day we will all be together as a family one day.

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Losing a baby is hard, no matter how far along you are. It was difficult. I’ll tell you what, though. Sweeping my feelings under the rug didn’t make feel better. Trying to hide my grief didn’t make me feel better. Talking about it made me feel better. Letting myself feel my feelings made me feel better. Sharing my experiences made me feel better. So, if you’re going through this, talk about it. If you know someone who is going through this, don’t use a cliche phrase to try and comfort them. Just let them feel their feelings and be there for them. It takes a village.

 

 

Mommy Mania Teacher Tales

So, I Went Back to Work.

October 14, 2018

My first official day back at school was supposed to be October 11th. However, the kids didn’t have school on Monday, so I went back on the 8th to get my classroom ready for my return. I felt like I was prepared for the mess I would encounter when I went back. The few times I visited school to show off Winnie, everyone would tell me to not even look in my room and to enjoy my time without stressing about it. Every time I talked to my coworkers they told me it was bad but to put it out of my mind until it was time for me to come back. I listened, they were absolutely right. No matter how bad it was, there was nothing I could do until I came back. I didn’t look in my room and tried to come to terms with the fact that it was going to be a disaster. I was grateful for coworkers who were supportive of me taking full advantage of my leave. Nothing could have prepared me for what I would walk in to.

When I went in on Monday, I was in shock. It looked like an actual tornado had gone through my room.  Pencils, paper, erasers, book pages, crayons, markers, scissors, and chairs were strewn about the room. Worksheets were spilling out of every mailbox and cubbie. Student’s pencil boxes (which I had purchased and filled with supplies) were broken and covered with glue and markers. My teacher materials had been stolen or broken. I couldn’t believe it. Then, I saw my library and Fun Friday activities. Books, games, toys, and activities that I had purchased with hard earned money, DESTROYED. Fun Friday items that had been provided by Donors Choose, DESTROYED. Books had pages torn out, glued together, and the covers were torn off. My blocks and Magnatiles covered in glue and thrown all around. Everything covered in marker and pencil. The students had shoved the books and materials under every shelf. I burst into tears. I was livid and hurt. My blood was actually boiling. Upon investigation, I found there were about 4 students responsible for all of this, the rest had done minimal damage.  “These kids have no idea what’s about to hit them on Thursday”. I thought. My mom and I threw most everything away and organized what we could. We covered all my shelves with butcher paper and turned them toward the walls. It was as “kid proof” as I could get it while still being functional. For the next few days I stewed. What in the actual heck was I going to do? Would I rip my kids a new one or clean it up and move on with my year? I had no idea. I was still so mad I couldn’t decide.

 

When Thursday morning came, my only concern was dropping Winifred off at daycare. A former coworker of mine had started an at home daycare with her mother and was going to be taking care of her. When I got to the house, I actually felt good! The house was adorable, cozy, clean, and welcoming. Winnie had been in the house 10 seconds and was already being loved on. They took her out of the car seat and gave me a tour, it was perfect. It made my mommy heart so happy to know she was going to be safe and loved by wonderful people.  However, when it came time for me to leave her and go to school, I couldn’t hold back the tears. They started streaming down my face as I thought about being away from her all day. I couldn’t fathom how this day had already come. She was so little. She had just started smiling, and now I was going to miss days full of her smiles. I knew she was going to be ok. I just didn’t know if I would be. I had already cried off my mascara as I pulled into the school parking lot, but I had to get my ish together. It was going to be a long day.

I decided I wouldn’t go on a war path to make my students pay for what they’d done. Yes, they should have behaved much better, but they’re 6. So, I collected some of the destroyed items and placed them in the front of the room. After breakfast, I brought the kids to the carpet and explained that I was sad and my feelings were very hurt about how our classroom was treated. I held up each item and we talked about the way it should be used and not be used. Surprisingly, the students who were responsible fessed up and I had to celebrate their honesty. It’s not easy for a 6 year old to own up to something that might get them in a ton of trouble. We took a deep breath together and made a pinky promise to handle our classroom objects with great care and respect. I gently reminded them that if they had anything to confess to or return to me (a lot of stuff had been stolen), that no one would be in trouble. Some students confessed or pulled my materials out of their backpacks and we celebrated that our friends were brave enough to be honest! I wanted to set up my classroom as a place of trust and honesty. As hard as it was for me to let go of my destroyed materials, I knew that if I wanted to have a successful year with these babes, I had to move on. So, another deep breath and we all let it go. It’s all just material things and it won’t matter at the end of the year. We have learning to do!  #wewillrebuild

Now, if you know about my school year last year, it was rough. I had a student in my class who did some physical and psychological damage to the point of me having to be put on anti anxiety medication during my pregnancy. I was hoping for some reprieve this year and, for the most part, I got it. I have a class of the SWEETEST and brightest babes. I do, however, have one little trouble nugget. She is just as sweet and just as bright as the others but she has trouble with the word “No” or redirection of any kind. She had run my classroom for 9 weeks and was not a fan of me coming in to change her routine. By 9 am, I was in tears again. She was giving my behavior management skills a run for their money and I was already exhausted. Luckily, my administration was there for me and intervened when I needed help, but I started thinking about Winnie. I was questioning if this was going to be worth leaving my daughter.  I began to calculate all the things I was willing to give up to be a stay at home mom. I could live without Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Starbucks,  makeup, fast food, getting my nails done, etc. I would live minimally if need be. I love my job, and I’m really really good at it, but it didn’t want it to affect the kind of mother I would be. I didn’t want to go through the hell I’d gone through last year. The day was full of tears. I kept repeating “I can’t do this. I can’t do this”.  I went home that day and just collapsed into my mom. I looked at her and asked “How do moms do this?” Was there something I was missing?

I thought seriously about just walking away and never going back, but I’m glad I did. Friday was much better. Winnie’s daycare sent me out with a warm, homemade tortilla and two fresh tamales (they are the best family)! How could my day not already be better? My nugget had another rough day, but our first meltdown was at 10am this time instead of first thing in the morning, so I count that as a win!! She was getting better and responding to me, while my administrators continued to intervene and constantly support me.  I could see a light at the end of the tunnel; maybe this wouldn’t be a repeat of last year. The other 16 babes were wonderful. You could tell they were craving structure and rigor in the classroom! They were masters at our routines and procedures by the middle of the Friday. I got so many hugs and drawings that I thought my heart would explode. My friend at the daycare sent me a video of Winnie sleeping soundly and it gave me some peace. I felt myself getting back into the groove of this job that I love so much. It felt good!! I know this is what I’m supposed to do with my life.

I’m just gonna say it, working moms amaze me. All moms amaze me, but I was not prepared for how difficult this would be. I love my job and I love my baby. Will I be working forever? I don’t know, but I do know that this year will be a good one. Finding a balance will be a priority.  I’m learning how healthy it is for me to separate my work from my family life now that I’m a mom. I could go on about how I now understand things I used to judge moms for before I was one, but that’s for another blog post.

 

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Mommy Mania

Mommy Guilt’s Reputation

October 11, 2018

There is only one person on this Earth that would pull me away from my kid for a night. Her name is Taylor. Freaking. Swift.

I had fought with myself for weeks, having a mental tennis match with my conscience. As badly as I wanted to go to this concert, did I really want to leave Winnie for a night? Was she ready? Was I ready?? What would people say about me leaving her to go to a concert? How would pumping work? Could I time out my sessions so I wouldn’t miss any fun? Would my boobs explode?  What will I wear that would even look good on my new body? Would I always regret missing this once in a lifetime concert? Would I regret losing 30 hours with my baby who will never be this little again? I was honestly overwhelmed with “what ifs” and the lack of answers to my unending questions.

Ultimately, I decided that this concert would be the perfect first outing away from Winnie. It was only one night, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and Winnie would be just fine with William. The Reputation Tour was supposed to be incredible, and my best friend worked her butt off to get us tickets. I had been spending gobs of time with my baby, getting to know her. I was not abandoning my child, I was taking care of myself  for a little while.

I only cried for the first 2 hours of the drive to Arlington. All I could do was picture Winifred’s face and wonder what she and Will were doing. I soaked in the sadness for a moment and let myself feel all my feelings, took a deep breath, and rolled the windows down. Letting the strong winds of the road dry my tears, I began to enjoy my “freedom”.

Our AirB&B was adorable! To be honest, the thought of sleeping in a king sized bed without waking up to every baby noise was a tad bit more exciting than seeing Taylor Swift.  After a quick pumping session, we met up with our friends at a local Arlington brewery for a couple drinks before we got ready for the concert. It was surreal for me to be able to order a drink for myself! It was something I hadn’t done in so long. I almost felt like I was using a fake ID or doing something I wasn’t supposed to, but I moved past that feeling pretty quickly after my first sip of beer. I remember having the best time drinking and laughing with my friends — for a second I forgot I had a baby back home. The mom guilt hit me like a truck. Wow, why was it so easy for me to “forget” my baby? Was that normal? Was I an awful person?? I had to excuse myself to collect myself. In the bathroom I took deep breaths and convinced myself that I was not an awful person. Moms are allowed to still be people. I was allowed to have a few drinks with my friends without my baby being my every thought. I was just being Shannon!! After a nice relaxing afternoon, the girls of the group left to take the first “getting ready” shift at the house.

This was the part I’d been dreading because I’d been living in comfy sweats for the past 6 weeks. My body was in the weird in between stage. I’d managed to lose all the baby weight but no part of my body was the same. Everything was loose, squishy, and not in the same place it was before. I brought clothes I thought I could fit into and would make me feel at least a little bit human. I felt BOMB about my makeup and my spirits were on their way up when it was time to put the clothes to the test. Welp. I’d brought a pair of jean shorts I’d worn pre-pregnancy to about 4 months pregnant. Couldn’t button them. I’d bought a large T-Swift t-shirt that I thought would be super cute. It was too tight and see-through. Sweeeeeeeeeet.  I walked into the other room and my friend said “you look miserable.” She was right, I felt awful about the way I looked. After consulting with the other girls we got me set up with a baggy t-shirt one of them was wearing earlier that day. In the moment I felt better but, after we left, I just wanted to cry. I felt like the frumpy friend. I wanted to just melt into the floor. I had to internalize those insecurities because I knew I would hate myself even more if I let this ruin the most amazing concert ever. I had to be grateful for this body. This body worked its ass off for 9 months to create the most beautiful gift. This body was strong and capable of sustaining life right now! That’s a big deal!! I decided I would be proud of this new body.

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Once we got there, my insecurities kind of settled. There were a billion people at Cowboy Stadium and zero of them were worried about what I was wearing or how I looked. We grabbed a beer, found our seats, and the mental math began. “Ok, it’s 7:00 and I pumped at 5:00. Taylor goes on at 8:45 and it will take me about 40 minutes to pump and dump it somewhere. That means I have 1 hour and 45 minutes. Set a timer.  I’ll have to pump again right when we get home.” I came up with this genius plan to try to use a hand pump at my seat and dump the milk into our empty beer bottles to ensure I didn’t miss a minute of music. Definitely my classiest moment. I made an Instagram story about my “pump and dump” concert that I thought was hilarious. However, 10 minutes later my inbox had about 5 messages from other moms telling me how ridiculous that was. They told me it was unnecessary for me to dump it, it’s liquid gold so I should keep it, one beer won’t mess it up so I should save it, and so on. This actually made me feel mad and a little shamed. Yes, I’m well aware that it’s unnecessary to dump your milk after just one beer, , and I know how valuable it is. I know these messages came from a good place and none of them truly meant to shame me. But people, WHERE WAS I SUPPOSED TO STORE THE MILK AT THE CONCERT???? Me dumping one time was not a big deal and frankly, it was no one’s business what I did with my milk. If only they new my freezer was bursting at the seams with saved milk. My funny story was not an invitation for input.  Let mom’s live. Let’s give advice when it’s asked for. Geeeeeeeeze. Ugh, but I digress.

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Proof. ^^^^^^^
It came time for me to pump and it was just plain comical. A sight to behold. My sweet friend holding my jacket over my chest so I could lift up my shirt to situate the pump, me casually looking down my shirt and laughing as I attempted to latch the pump.  I tried my best to be discreet but the pump would NOT work. It was too dark for me to see and I didn’t want to flash the little girls in front of us. My window of time was closing, so I grabbed my stuff and bolted to the bathroom during the last song of Camilla Cabello’s set. I managed to snag a stall and set my pump up. A hand pump is no joke, y’all. Ouch.

As I pumped as fast and carefully as I could, a wave of loneliness came over me. This sucked. I’d paid so much to see this concert and all I could think about was my exploding boobs. I was missing out on conversations and experiences in order to pump. I was sad. Tears rolled down my face as I sat there, alone, in a stadium bathroom stall. My friends had no idea what this felt like. I wallowed for a second as the bottle filled with milk. As I sat there with my feelings, the loneliness turned to pride. I was being a mother. I was doing what I had to do to keep my supply up, so I could continue to provide for my baby when I got back. I was proud of myself for that. Of course, I was heartbroken to see the milk literally go down the toilet, but I could let it go. I finished just in time and exited the stall to a completely packed stadium bathroom. I was a little embarrassed to be carrying out my milky pump to rinse, that was until a sweet older lady saw my pump and said “You go girl! Take care of that babe!”. We exchanged a laugh and smile as my embarrassment turned back to pride.

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I got to my seat just as Taylor entered the stage and my whole body went numb. I was in the same stadium as Taylor. Freaking. Swift. And I just couldn’t handle it. She was insanely incredible. She put on the most amazing concert experience I’d ever seen. We sang every word, danced to every song, and hung on everything she said. We were #blessed to be on the third row of our section with two rows of tiny humans in front of us, giving us the best view. On the walk back to the house, all we could do was relive each song over and over while talking about our favorite sparkle Taylor outfits. I felt like I was a 6 year old giddy girl after my first N*sync concert! Best.Night.Ever.

I’m so thankful that I went. There were big bumps and I had a LOT of feelings, but I did it. William had a sweet night with Winnie and she was well taken care of. I got some mental and physical rest, while challenging myself. I regret nothing. I managed to be a mom but not ONLY a mom. I was Shannon for a little while and THAT WAS OK!

Morals of the story: Mom guilt is real and you can overcome it. Don’t tell moms what to do with their breast milk. Motherhood can be lonely but you got this. Taylor puts on the best concerts.

Mommy Mania

My Postpartum Must-Haves

October 2, 2018

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When you’re in the postpartum room of the hospital, there is a constant flow of people coming in and out of your room; nurses, doctors, lactation consultants, pediatrician, hearing specialist, hospital photographer, and that awful person who pricks the baby’s heel. The sleep I thought we would get was not going to happen. Although I knew everyone was there to make sure Winifred was healthy and safe, a part of me wondered if anyone was there to help ME out. I mean I did just have a significant tear in my lady parts and I had no idea what I was doing. There was a lovely nurse who gave me the low down on taking care of myself “down there” during my first trip to the restroom. However, a quick tutorial didn’t seem sufficient for what felt like a major situation.

So, with the help of my mom and good ole Google. I gathered supplies to help heal my mind and body from having a human exit me.

 

Mommy Must-Haves

  • Nursing Bras Amazon
    • I love these bras. They are full coverage with tons of support, but don’t give you a uniboob.
  • Nursing Pads Bamboobies
    • These are reusable and super absorbent.
  • Nipple Cream Honest Brand
    • Made with all the good stuff and heals like a dream.
  • Cotton Undies (Target)
    • Full coverage is a must when you have to wear those giant pads
  • Peri Bottles Amazon
    • This is a must if you have stitches. Helps you feel clean and relieves itching.
  • Dermoplast Pain Relieving Spray Amazon
    • I could not have slept without this stuff. It temporarily numbs you
  • Witch Hazel Pads Amazon
    • These were the unsung hero of my recovery. These pads give you cooling relief and help expedite the healing process.
  • Perineal Spray Earth Mama Organics
    • Just a few spritzes of this a few times a day!
  • Sitz Bath Earth Mama Organics
    • The box gives you several ways to use it and I would recommend each one! The herbs in this product relieved pain, itching, and felt so good. I would use this at night as needed.
  • Baby Wipes
    • As weird as it sounds, I used these to dab my area after the Peri Bottle.
  • Poise Pads
    •  I found the poise pads worked way better for what I needed them for. They were more full coverage. As I bled less, I just bought the smaller ones.
  • Stool Softener
    • Its embarrassing, but you need it. You really really do.

I used most of these products during my extensive bathroom routine. I’m going to share that with you because I had NO clue what to do. Heres how it went.

  1. Fill Peri Bottle with warm water
  2. Do your business
  3. Change pad
  4. Put Witch Hazel pads on your pad
  5. Use Peri Bottle to clean yourself
  6. Dab your area with a baby wipe
  7. Dermoplast Spray
  8. Perineal Spray

DONE.

Don’t be afraid to ask your nurse questions about your own recovery. If you aren’t in good health, if affects your relationship with your baby and your baby’s health as well. You deserve to be taken care of during the healing process, too.

Mommy Mania

Whats In a Name?

October 2, 2018

I was about 30 weeks pregnant when I woke up with an anxiety attack. My eyes opened and I was immediately overwhelmed by the thought of what was about to happen. Not the giving birth or labor part. I had done my research, I had spent countless hours watching birth videos and taking natural childbirth classes. I felt oddly confident in my ability to give birth. It was the rest of it that scared me. I was so concentrated on the birth part that I hadn’t given much thought to my child’s whole entire life.

The “bigness” of it all hit me like a giant wave that came out of nowhere. My thoughts started racing and I couldn’t slow them down. This child is going to grow up. They’re going to interact with other people. They’re going to choose a career. They’re going to VOTE. They’re going to be someone’s significant other. They’re going to be an actual human and it was our job to make sure they were a decent one.

Will woke up to me sobbing over the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” book I had  started reading to calm me down (lol). He held me and reassured me that we could do this. We were both raised by incredible parents. We were both on the same page about big picture child raising. We both already loved the crap out of this baby and everything was going to be ok. “Babe, we don’t have to raise the kid in a day. It will grow slow and we can figure it out”. Those are words I’m still repeating as I hold this tiny future productive member of society.

Because we waited to know the gender, it was hard for me to picture our child’s future or personality. I liked it that way. I couldn’t place any expectations on them. They were going to be who they were going to be, but we had to give them a name. This part came rather easy for us.

We wanted our baby to have an original yet classic name. Not a name that was too out there, but not too trendy. I’ve always been a fan of old fashioned names. Names that have meaning and sound cute on a tiny human but also fit a grown adult. With me being a teacher, we had to think outside the box.

I’d had my girl name picked out since I was 17. I was working at a summer camp with 2nd and 3rd graders. One week, this tiny little nugget with blonde hair and blue eyes came up and asked me what was for breakfast. Y’all she was stinkin’ precious. I asked her what her name was and she said, “Winifred” with the most adorable voice and I was sold. The more I thought about that name, the more I fell in love with it. It was classic and mature, but “Winnie” was perfect for a little girl. I then saw the movie Tuck Everlasting. The main character, played by Alexis Bledel, was named Winifred and they called her Winnie. I just loved it. It solidified the name in my mind. I was so lucky that Will felt the same way.

Her middle name changed a few times. I had originally wanted something like Elizabeth or Margaret, but that would have given her the worlds longest name. So, we knew we had to give her something short and sweet. For some reason I love the way “J” names sound with out last name, so we started there. Jane was our first choice. However, I’d noticed more and more couples using Jane as a middle name. I figured it was about to become the “Marie” of our generation. I was stumped. Searching for another “J” middle name was proving rather difficult until the summer! June. A beautiful and simple name that also happened to be our anniversary month! Boom. Winifred June. Her name was perfect.

I love repeating her name. Screaming it across the house as if she were in trouble, saying good morning to her, coming up with nick names, picturing her principal saying it as she walks across the graduation stage, writing it down, all of it. Naming a human is a huge responsibility, I wanted to get that part right.

The anxiety is still there sometimes as I wonder what she’ll be like. But for now, I’ll hold her, kiss her, love her, and make sure I raise her the best I can.

Mommy Mania Organization

What was in my hospital bag?

October 1, 2018

I was over packing. I KNEW I was over packing. Did that stop me? No. Packing my hospital bag became a form of relief for my anxiety. I packed and unpacked at least 3 times. The house was spotless and the nursery was completely ready; there was nowhere else for my nesting urges to go. I scoured Pinterest and Mommy blogs looking at dozens of checklists to create my own. I wanted to be overly prepared regardless of the fact that every new mom told me they used basically nothing they brought with them. So, I’m going to share what I brought with me to give birth. I’m here to tell y’all, I overpacked.

My Checklist

  • 2 nursing bras Amazon
  • 2 nursing tanks Amazon
  • 1 cute outfit (robe and nightgown from Zulily)
  • 1 comfort outfit (worn out t-shirt and maternity yoga shorts)
  • 3 pairs of nonslip socks Amazon
  • Afterbirth waist trainer Amazon
  • 2 pairs of full coverage underwear (Target)
  • A going home Maxi Dress LaRue Chic Boutique
  • Breast pads Bamboobies
  • Slippers

Now, lets pause and take a moment to laugh at the volume of clothing I brought. The length of your hospital stay depends on your birth and how the baby is doing, but I was there a total of 48 hours. I was in labor for 27 of those hours and I had to wear their hospital issued gown during that time. I also wore a gown for the majority of my postpartum stay. So, I needed one outfit. ONE. I went home in my comfort outfit. The last thing I wanted to put on my body after birth was the waist trainer, that puppy is still in the packaging.  The mesh underwear the hospital gives you is GOLD, so I didn’t need my own. Surprisingly, I wish I had brought more socks. One pair was soaked when they broke my water, one pair got bloody afterward, and I was left with one pair. I never wore the slippers; the nonslip socks were way more convenient. I used both nursing bras and 1 nursing tank! The breast pads were a great buy! 10/10 would recommend getting the reusable Bamboobie brand ones.

Toiletries

  • Toothbrush/paste
  • Extra hair ties
  • Face cleansing wipes
  • Moisturizer
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant Lume
  • Chapstick
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Brush
  • Plexus (of course)
  • Nipple Balm Honest Brand
  • Headband The Be Brand
  • Essential oils/Diffuser
  • Makeup

I’m so thankful I brought my toiletries. Nothing makes you feel human again quite like washing your face and brushing your teeth. I didn’t end up taking a shower there, but I’m glad I had shampoo and conditioner in case I needed them.  I would recommend getting travel sizes of everything you can, that way you won’t weigh down your bag. The Honest Brand nipple balm is AMAZING. LOL at the makeup. That bag was never touched. I could see bringing it if we had planned to have photos taken during our stay at the hospital, though. I didn’t end up using my diffuser but I did use some oils! My amazing nurse put some lavender on her palms and rubbed my temples during contraction breaks and the peppermint oil helped with my nausea.

Comfort Items

  • My own pillow
  • My own blanket
  • MULTIPLE 10ft phone chargers
  • Bluetooth speakers
    • Birth playlist on Spotify
  • Birthing Ball
  • Baseball
  • Massage Bar Lush

Having some comforts from home was way more helpful than I thought it would be. My pillow and blanket made me so happy!  Bluetooth speakers and your own playlist are a must, in my humble opinion. My playlist was made up of every single song that made me happy, regardless of the genre. We had a little bit of everything playing and it kept everyone’s spirits up. Fun Fact: Winnie was born to “Who Run the World” by Beyonce! The birthing ball wasn’t completely necessary because hospitals have their own. However, I felt the need to have my own for sanitary reasons. Will used the baseball to create counter pressure during my contractions. This helped keep his hands from getting too tired.

For Baby

  • 3 outfits
    • different sizes
  • Socks
  • Mittens
  • 2 Burp cloths
  • Several Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Baby Book
  • Bow/Hat
  • Announcement Swaddle Post Peanut
  • Receiving Blanket
  • Carseat/Base

We brought 3 different outfits because we didn’t know how big baby would be or the gender! Same with the hat and bow! I bought an adorable swaddle from Posh Peanut and got a matching hat and bow to use for the announcement photo, depending on her gender. The only thing we didn’t use for baby was the diapers and wipes because the hospital had plenty of those!

Extras

  • Pump
  • Snacks for the nurses and staff
  • Letter board for announcement Amazon
  • Folder

I brought the folder to put all the papers in! They give you so much information in the form of pamphlets and papers. I needed some place to put it all! I didn’t end up using my pump in the hospital, and hospitals provide amazing ones from what I hear.

I wish I’d brought a nursing pillow! It was really difficult to nurse without one. I had to use a shield and it was just a mess without a stable pillow to put Winifred on. I also wish I would have packed snacks for my family and Will.

*Nurses are actual ANGELS from heaven. I don’t know what I would have done without my nurses! We brought this basket of chips and candy to say thank you!

Truth be told, it’s up to YOU what you bring. I think being over prepared and over packed made me feel more in control of a completely unknown experience. Do your research and read the blogs, but go with your gut. Bring items that bring you joy! No one judged me (to my face) for all the stuff I brought into the room. The birth process is alllllll about bringing your babe into the world in a positive and safe environment. As the momma, you do what you gotta do to make that happen!

Mommy Mania

Burn The Birth Plan

September 28, 2018

On the morning of Thursday, August 22 at 7:45 am, I woke up with a very strange feeling in my back. They say “when you have your first contraction, you’ll know”, and that is so true. It was so different than any cramp I’d had this pregnancy. I was officially 6 days past my due date and, while I had wanted to go into labor SO badly, I was a little in denial that this might actually be happening.  I went into the bathroom to find I had lost my mucus plug (EW.) and immediately had another contraction. “Ok”, I thought, “this is real and you’re going to have a baby, an actual human baby”.  I told Will that he’d better stay home from work because this was it! The contractions came fast and furious, immediately coming 6-7 minutes apart. This caught me off guard because every birth class we’d taken told us that contractions in early labor can be super far apart and last up to 20 hours before they got that close together. I had to adjust my mindset real quick. The contractions were specifically in my back and very painful. The only thing that brought relief was having Will push against my back or push my hips together to open my pelvis. The dogs were anxious, I was anxious, Will was anxious. I thought I’d be more relaxed at this stage, but I was honestly just glad we had everything was packed and by the door.  At about 1:30 pm and my contractions were 4 minutes apart. I said “I’m done, I’m not having this baby here, we’re going to the hospital.” and off we went!

 

On the way to the hospital the contractions got longer and stronger. We couldn’t find a close parking spot, so we had to walk quite a ways. Will offered to drop me off but I didn’t want to be away from him and have a contraction. I was quite the spectacle, having to lean against several cars, trees, and benches while having contractions. Poor Will, all he could do was rub my back and tell me we were almost there. Luckily, a nice stranger saw us struggling and got someone to bring us a wheel chair. I burst into tears from gratitude and fear that this was ACTUALLY real. I was whisked into Labor and Delivery where things moved briskly. Nurses in and out, got changed into a gown, blood pressure, saline lock, urine test, got hooked up to fetal monitors, checked the birth plan, made sure everyone had copies of said birth plan, answer medical questions, all while having contractions. Then, there was the cervical exam. Let me just say, 0/10 would recommend getting a cervical exam mid contraction. I was 4 cm and progressing, which was super encouraging. It was now 2:30 pm. After the trauma that was the cervical exam, we were all in good spirits. My parents arrived shortly after us and I felt better being at the hospital. Will was extremely supportive, we were good and everything was going as planned.

 

I continued to labor in several positions and pacing the room, breathing and praying over this babe I was about to meet. Will was an expert at suggesting a change in labor positions as he saw my pain increase, my mom was an angel with her words of encouragement and my dad was a ready to get me a popsicle or water whenever I needed. I was overwhelmed with gratitude to have this support system with me. I couldn’t have made it as far as I did without them. Contraction after contraction of back labor and raging hormones started to take its toll and my body reacted via vomiting. Cool. However, I felt empowered and strong. This is what my body had been preparing for for months. This is what my body was made to do and I’ve never felt more powerful. I was letting out my inner cave woman with groans and low “whale-like sounds” as Will calls them. I wasn’t worried about anyone else except for my baby. Hours and HOURS past. I had progressed to 6cm by 12:30am, a little discouraging, but I was thankful to have progressed. My incredible nurse saw how tired I was getting and suggested that my doctor break my water. This was not a part of my plan, as I wanted to labor as naturally as possible. However, at this point, I was too exhausted to care (burn the birth plan pt. 1). So, at 1:00am, doc broke my water. The back labor immediately intensified and I was in a crippling amount of pain. I was now 7cm and 100% effaced. Again, progression! I was encouraged enough to feel like I could continue unmedicated. Unfortunately, at this time, LLW’s heart rate had risen to a level that made the doctor and nurses uncomfortable. So, I was hooked up to fluids. Again, not part of the plan (burn the birth plan pt. 2).

 

LLW’s heart rate lowered, and they let me continue to labor naturally. The contractions were closer and closer together lasting almost 2 minutes and I was feeling like I just couldn’t do it anymore. My back muscles were so tight; I didn’t feel like I got any relief at all between contractions. I couldn’t breath through them; all I could do was involuntarily scream my lungs out. This part was particularly hard on Will, I think. He had to physically hold me up half the time and tell me to breathe over and over again as I writhed in pain. There was a point during these contractions where I looked him in the eye and said “Help me”.  I could tell he wanted to tell me that I could get an epidural and no one would judge me. I could tell he wanted to take it all away. But, he knew that I wanted to do this my way and he could not have been more supportive. I will forever be grateful for his commitment to what I wanted. With tears in our eyes we knew something had to give or neither of us were going to make it.

After 4 hours of this (4:00am), my nurse checked me again and I was still at 7cm and my cervix was starting to swell. My nurse said “Honey, finish this contraction and we need to talk”. I began to sob because I knew what she was going to say. In my birth plan, I stated that I didn’t want to be offered pain meds unless I specifically asked for them. Up until this point, she had been amazing at resisting suggesting the epidural even when I knew she wanted to. However, she saw the big picture that I couldn’t see in that moment. The swelling was going to keep me from delivering naturally if we couldn’t get it under control. My options were an epidural, to give me rest, or a C-section. Will and I choose the epidural (burn the birth plan pt 3). At this point I didn’t feel the guilt I thought I would feel. Will burst into tears, looked at me, and said “Thank you”. He was done, just like I was. We had done our best. I so desperately wanted an unmedicated birth, but I wanted to have a healthy baby more. “On it!!” said my amazing nurse and within 10 minutes, the military-like anesthesiologist was wheeling her cart into my room. She looked me in the eyes and said, “I could hear you screaming down the hallway. You cannot be doing that while I do what I do. You HAVE to breath silently if you have a contraction while I do this.” Out of fear of her and desperation to have relief I held Will’s hands and grit my teeth while she did her thing. Within 15 minutes, relief overwhelmed me and I regained the confidence that I could still do this naturally.

After another hour, I was checked again and was STILL ONLY 7 FREAKING CM. Another sob fest, and I was offered Pitocin to see if that would dilate me the rest of the way. “Sure” I said, “bring it on” (Burn the birth plan pt. 4). My parents, Will, and I got some much needed recovery time while the Pitocin worked it’s magic. I was checked at 9:00 am and was 9.5 cm! WHOOOOOO HOOOOO! My nurse called the doctor and gave me another half hour to sleep.  I took this half hour to pray over this baby I’d waited SO long for. I watched the heart monitor and thanked God for keeping baby safe during this labor. I thanked him for my amazing husband and parents. I spend that last 30 minutes soaking in being pregnant, breathing, praying, and preparing for my entire world to change in the most beautiful way possible. The nurse snuck in during those quiet moments, took my hand, and said “Alright, love. You ready?”, “Yeah”, I replied. “Let’s do this”.  When she checked me again I was fully dilated! Happy tears this time.

It was time to push! Luckily, I could feel the contractions a little through the epidural. I had the urge to push and could work with my body! This is what I wanted so badly. To work with my body and help it do what it was meant to do. With Will on one side, the nurse on the other, my mom at my head, and my poor dad in the corner, I began to push like the primal woman I was!  I pushed for 2 hours and made very little progress moving the baby down. She was stuck on my pelvic bone. The doctor came in, helped me push through several contractions, and tried to get the baby unstuck from my pelvic bone with his hands (thank God for the epidural). After 20 minutes of pushing with the doctor, he looks at me and says, “Alright, Shannon, here are our options. We can use forceps to guide baby out, or we can do a C-Section”. Will and I looked at each other “Forceps!” we said (Burn the birth plan pt.5). Then, it was go time!  Three nurses came in, and the doctor set me up with the forceps (thank God for the epidural). The next contraction the doctor coached me through 3 pushes as he gently pulled LLW out. A few seconds of pressure and huge rush of hormones later at 11:37am on August 23rd, I hear Will say, “Babe it’s a GIRL!!!!”. “WHAT?!” I said as a burst into tears of joy and laughter. They laid her on my chest and I stared in awe of how absolutely perfect she was. Everything we had gone through in the past 27 hours was completely worth it. She was finally here and perfectly healthy. Winifred June Loustalot, 8lbs 7oz of God’s best everything.

 

Moral of the story: Never again will I type up my birth plan.

 

 

Though she be but little, she is fierce – William Shakespeare