One More Hug

My sister was talking with me the other day about when I go into labor and the plan for her to stay with my daughter Emma. I couldn’t even think about it without almost bursting into tears. I know it sounds silly but I’m not ready to leave her because I know in doing so everything changes. Of course this change is wonderful and a gift from God but I’m still having a difficult time.

It sounds so selfish to say that, it really does. But it’s as honest as I can get. I have so many emotions about another baby coming along and so much love for my baby girl that it’s all becoming a little too much for me (and too real with today being September 1st!).

So, I wrote this poem sobbing imagining that day not to far away when I will hug her one last time. I love you my sweet baby girl!

One more hug

I want to give you one more hug,
Before I say good bye.
Because this is the last hug,
Where it will be just you and I.

I’m going now but will be back soon,
And with me I’ll have someone new.
A baby that will live with us,
A brother just for you!

But as I look at you so grown,
With tears in my eyes.
I know this will be harder for me than you,
Having to say this kind of good bye.

So my darling sweet first daughter,
I give you one last hug good bye.
Our family is growing and that means some changes,
But I still promise moments of just you and I.

I will always cherish,
These first two years we shared together.
From you saying mama to I love you,
My heart is full forever.

And now we’ll make new memories,
With our growing family of four.
And it will be just as special,
If not, even more!

So here I go with one last hug,
I squeeze you tighter than you know.
A part of me doesn’t want to leave,
Or ever let you go.

God has blessed us abundantly,
And I’ll be back to hug you again.
I hope you know how much I love you,
And my love for you will never end.

New Mom Must Haves

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I haven’t been a mom that long but there have been some items I think are really great so I’d like to share with new moms, moms-to-be and anyone else interested! Here are some of my personal favorites in no particular order:

1. Boon Drying Rack. I have the Lawn and I love it. There’s also smaller sizes which include the Patch and Grass. Personally, I think it’s crucial to keep your bottles and their parts separate from your regular dishes and these ones aren’t an eye sore in your kitchen.

2. Boon Bottle Cleaner (Forb). I have used all the regular sponge cleaners, Munchkin, Dr. Brown’s, you name it, and I always ended up with the same results: the sponge on top would fall apart after a few weeks. I also worried about mold (you know, that moldy smell you sometimes get after you wash dishes and realize your sponge needs replacing?). I saw this at Target and couldn’t pass it up. Silicone, BPA free and won’t store water on it! You can also get on their website.

3. Chicco walker. I absolutely love this walker and my daughter does too (check out my videos on her on Instagram)! It has a lot of great features on it including various sounds and little gadgets to keep your peanut busy. It moves smoothly and the wheels also rotate in any direction. There’s also bumpers on the bottom to prevent from rolling off stairs. I purchased at Buy Buy Baby and used a 20% coupon (because it is a little pricey).

4. Fisher Price Brilliant Basics Baby’s First Blocks. These are one of the few toys my daughter plays with. I have bought a ton of different things but she always goes back to these. They’re great for teething (she currently loves putting them in her mouth), banging them together or on anything she can! They also help to develop early motor skills such as hand-eye coordination. I’m looking forward to the day she can place the shape in the proper place without my help!

5. BabyGanics Moisturizing Daily Lotion. I just love this lotion! I know everyone has a preference when it comes to this, but the best thing about this lotion is how thick but non-greasy it is as well as being fragrance free (they do have fragrance ones as well but Emma’s skin a little sensitive like mine so I didn’t want a smell). Here’s some other great things about it:

  • Created with the Plant-Based Ingredients including Shea Butter, Olive and Avocado Oils
  • Non-allergenic formula that is extra gentle on skin
  • Pediatrician & Dermatologist tested
  • Exclusive 100% natural NeoNourish Seed Oil Blend to help nurture and support baby’s skin
  • No: parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oil, petrolatum, artificial fragrances or dyes
  • Never tested on animals

6. Aden + Anais swaddle blankets. I really do love everything Aden + Anais. Not only do I have their swaddle blankets that we used the first three months of Emma’s life, but I also have their thicker blankets as well as towels, wash cloth sets and bibs! I truly love their products. You can get at most baby stores. Target has a line created especially for them that they carry (I prefer Buy Buy Baby because of the coupons).

7. MAM teether. I love this teether! It took me a while to find one that Emma really liked and this was it. It’s easy for her to hold, it doesn’t get too cold and she loves biting on the top bristle part as well as the sides. It’s by far her favorite (she also loves this strawberry one too). Obviously every baby is different, so you might end up trying a bunch (like I did!) or finding a good one your child loves right away. This one is definitely my recommendation.

8. Baby Ecos laundry detergent. I wanted something that would be good for Emma’s sensitive skin and since I use Ecos already, I was super happy to find out that their was a baby version! It’s hypoallergenic and keeps clothes soft with a built-in fabric softener. I actually get mine from Home Depot (surprisingly!) because it’s cheaper than any other place (Costco, Sam’s Club, you name it, I’ve checked them all!). They also make a stain remover that I get as well. Shipping is free for orders over $45!

9. Dr. Brown’s Microwavable Steam Sterilizer Bags. These are awesome! And they aren’t just for Dr. Brown’s bottles, you can put any kind in here. My girlfriend told me about them and since then I’ve been using. They’re perfect for traveling and I feel really comfortable about my bottles being ‘clean’ (I should note I soak them in hot, soapy water first then sterilize afterwards).

10. Wine. Lots and lots of wine! 😉

 ps. I was in no way endorsed to promote any of these products although I should be;)

Why ‘This is 40’ Terrified Me

The first time I saw ‘This is 40,’ I watched it by myself. My husband didn’t want to see it and when a free night alone presented itself, I took the chance. At first, I couldn’t stop laughing. However, as the movie continued I found myself becoming increasingly depressed. It was so depressing that by the end it started to terrify me.

Is this what forty looks like? Was this going to be me? My life?

I swear some of the fights in the movie were identical to ones my husband and I have had, words and all! I made my husband watch the movie. He had a similar reaction saying, “it was awful”. We eventually watched it together and while the second time around seemed a little more funny, it didn’t change the outcome. I was still utterly depressed when it ended.

Forty seems so far away except it’s not. I’m not getting any younger. Maybe I will be pregnant at forty?  Could I even handle that? Could my husband? Could our marriage?

The movie is realistic. The couple isn’t perfect. They have their own parent issues as well as issues as parents themselves, growing children each at different stages, financial issues/concerns, marriage challenges and individual almost midlife crises taking place. I think it’s the reality of the movie that’s so scary to me. It depicts real life…

So, how do you find the time for your kids, your husband and yourself? How do you keep the spark alive in your marriage? How do you deal with the challenges growing children? How do find ‘me’ time so that you don’t completely lose it?

I wish there was a magic answer to all of these questions, or a manual, but there aren’t.

Marriage and raising kids takes work. A lot of work. They are relationships you have to continue to nurture. And while a movie may shed some insight into a future life, it doesn’t mean that’s where your life is headed.

I’m happy I saw the movie. I’m happy my husband saw it. And I’m happy that we both agreed while there were some funny moments in the movie, it’s not us and won’t be us. The unknown future can be a scary reality, but trusting in your life’s plan and focusing on positivity can help keep you on track. Every relationship is different and while common grounds exist, no two ones are the same.

I don’t know if I’m looking forward to turning forty but I do know I’m not as terrified about it.

The Things No One Can Prepare You For as a New Mom

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Motherhood is without a doubt one of the hardest jobs in the world and there is absolutely no preparation for it. You can read all the books in the world, take all the classes and even ask your mom friends but none of this will fully prepare you. The books are guidelines and generalizations which can honestly be a little frightening (I recommend NOT reading ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’). The classes are in similar format, giving you generalizations and while I found them to be overall informative, they still do not prepare you for motherhood. And finally, our dear mom friends (I explain in detail here, ‘Being a Mom, I Get It‘)…why would they scare us with their experiences (maybe some of your friends did!) or tell us how difficult it is? They don’t, because everyone has their own experience and it isn’t until you actually go through it that you can understand why they didn’t and completely relate.

I’ve made a list of things, in my opinion, that no one can prepare you for as a new mom. Again, this is from my own personal experience but hopefully it helps any new moms-to-be out there (or reassures any recent mothers):

1. Going into labor is a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ situation. You cannot predict when you will go into labor, where you go into labor and what you will be doing so you have to just ‘go with it’ and of course, try not to panic. I went to the hospital with a concern about leakage which I thought was my water breaking but didn’t end up being that. They ran some tests and found that as my contractions were happening (which I could barely feel), my little peanut’s heart rate would drop. Since I was three days away from my actual due date and their concerns, I was admitted and induced (totally wasn’t ready for that!).

2. Birth plan…what birth plan? As the overly organized and prepared person that I am, I had a birth plan. My husband and I decided together that I wanted to have a natural birth (I won’t say “we” because he wasn’t pushing out the baby!). We took the expensive classes, practiced the breathing techniques at home and made the birth plan which we had our instructor review and edit. I then provided a freshly printed copy to my OBGYN in advance to keep in my file. When they told me I was going to be induced I knew that meant Pitocin (drugs), which I specifically stated on my birth plan that I did not want. Well, I didn’t have a choice! I was upset at first (I actually starting sobbing!), but I knew that this was a possibility. Some mothers have birth plans which end up working out perfectly for them (well, aren’t you a lucky duck?!) but for me, it was the complete opposite. I also ended up having an epidural because of the pain from the Pitocin. In the end, it didn’t matter because all I wanted was a healthy baby and I would do whatever was needed for that to happen!

3. But how do I push? For obvious reasons, you don’t practice pushing during your birthing classes but they make it sound so easy, just push! Well, there’s a technique to it and I don’t know how to explain it (after 26 hours of labor, I was quite delirious by the last hour) but what I do know is I felt like every vein in my head and face was going to pop! That is what I would consider to be the wrong way to push. Luckily, I had the most amazing nurse with me who helped and I figured out my breathing (which took a little bit of time) and Emma arrived 45 minutes later! I will say that pushing hurts at the very end because there is no epidural that numbs the pain but it goes quick at that point, or at least for me it did.

4. You will be sore!!! The amount of pain you are in afterwards is…rough. Maybe you are or will be one of those moms that doesn’t feel any pain that day or the next but whether you had a normal delivery or C-section, I have a feeling you will be sore. It gets better, I promise you, but plan on sleeping being difficult the first few nights and don’t be afraid to take Ibuprofen, it’s given to you for the pain by the hospital (and won’t affect your baby if you’re nursing).

5. Don’t feel bad if you send your baby down to the nursery! You just had a baby, you literally just pushed a baby out of your lady parts or had a C-section which is also an intensive procedure. You want rest and you need it, trust me you sooooooooo need it. The first night we didn’t send her down until around 2 in the morning because we were both exhausted and she was wouldn’t stop crying. I felt terrible, I actually didn’t sleep, paced around for a half hour then called and asked to have her brought back down to us. The second night I didn’t feel as bad because I was beyond exhausted and so many people reassured me it was okay to do (again, as a new mom, you question everything)! Please know, you are not a bad mom. You are not at all! And if anyone makes you feel that way, they are an idiot!

6. Breastfeeding is NOT easy. Honestly, the class I took, in my opinion, was a joke. They did not at all explain how much work and dedication it takes to breastfeed. They did not go over the issues and problems you could run into or how stressful it can be for you and baby. If you can breastfeed, do it. Do it because it’s so good for your baby. But if you can’t, don’t worry and don’t feel bad. Formula nowadays has all the nutrients your baby will need. I had to stop breastfeeding after three weeks. I wasn’t producing enough, Emma wasn’t gaining weight and we were both crying and miserable. I tried everything: weighing her daily, feeding her every hour, visiting a lactation consultant…it just wasn’t in the cards for me. I felt terrible for weeks. I felt envious of my friends who new babies who could breastfeed. But then, I let it go and I lived my life. I found the best formula for Emma and she is a healthy and happy 8-month-old now!

7. You will be sleep deprived. I never knew how much sleep deprivation could actually affect a person. I felt like I was going crazy! Luckily, I had help. I had my husband, my mom and my sister who were all beyond amazing. They saved me. If you have people willing to help, take it. When your baby sleeps, YOU SLEEP. Trust me, you’ll burn out quickly if you don’t get rest. Once your baby starts sleeping through the night, things get so much better. Emma started at 8 weeks so we were really lucky. But even then, you never really get your sleep back, you just learn to make it work with what you get!

8. Who cares what your house looks like! I am a cleaning freak. I hate clutter, messes, dust and dirty dishes. When she would sleep, I would clean. I would cook and clean and do laundry. Why?! Who cares! When people come over they get it! Again, when your baby sleeps, YOU SLEEP. There is nothing more important than you, because if you aren’t taking care of you, you can’t take care of your baby. Cleaning can wait, carryout can replace cooking and laundry should only on a need-be (most baby stuff) basis. If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking, yeah right, I can do it. Don’t. I overworked myself trying to be the perfect housewife and mom, got burnt out and it was a disaster!

9. Do something for you. When you bring this new baby into your world, your life revolves around them. You don’t have time for yourself but you need to make time. Do something that you would normally do so you don’t feel like a prisoner to your baby. I did my nails! It’s one of my favorite things to do and it gave me some sense of normalcy. It’s important to still have your independent self, even though you are now (and forever will be!) a mom!

10. Leave the house for a bit. If you can leave (based on feeding schedule) the house, I recommend doing it. I tried leaving a few times but would come back a half hour later having crazy anxiety. I worried if my husband was having any issues with her, was she crying, was she hungry, is she okay? It was bad. Finally, he told me to leave for 4 hours and not to come back a minute before. In that moment, it felt like the hardest four hours of my life. I did it though and I needed to. When you are on maternity leave you get few breaks. I had four hours of freedom (I know that sounds terrible but freedom from my baby) to do whatever, and even though I think I cried the first hour in my car, I actually did some things for me and it felt good. Granted, when I got home you would have thought I was gone for a week!

11. Be a partner. Being new parents is so difficult. You don’t know what you’re doing, you’re questioning everything and you’re fighting. You’re fighting at what one is doing vs. the other and it just becomes a battlefield! That’s when you need to stop and be a partner. You are both in this together and you need to be a team, not working against one another. When my husband would come home I would get upset or critique him with Emma because I felt like he was undoing the things I did or not handling her properly. But who was I to judge? He was just being a dad the same way I was just being a mom! I ended up asking him to do some things a certain way instead of telling him and we both shared tips about things we found to work best. The minute we became a team and not competitors we were able to focus doing the best by Emma, and that’s what was most important.

12. Have a date night. It will be so hard to leave. You will go out and want to come home the minute you pull out of the sub but don’t do it, stay out. You need to reconnect. You need to focus on the two of you. And don’t spend the whole time talking about the baby! Sure, share those special moments but don’t let it consume your evening. Get back to the two of you because your relationship is a crucial part of the new family dynamic. If you are single, have a YOU night. Have someone come watch your baby while you get a manicure or a massage. There is no guilt in leaving for a few hours. It’s refreshing and good for you!

13. Do what you need to survive. You have no clue what you’re doing, I get it! I didn’t. All the books you read tell you not to do this or that and you’re worried about your baby. In the first three months, it’s all about survival mode. If you have to drive your baby around in the car seat for him or her to fall asleep, so be it! You do what works and trust your gut.

14. Ask your mom friends! I have the most amazing mom friends. They are literally the best. I felt like I was group texting them daily (probably was) and no matter how many questions I asked, they all responded. They never judged, never made fun of me and never got annoyed with me. In fact, I still text them now about things! They are moms and they know. Emma had a lot of stomach issues in the beginning and they told me about gripe water and gas drops. Never even heard of this stuff and it worked amazingly for her! Whether you need reassurance, time to vent, cry, ask a question or just laugh, know that’s what your mom friends are there for!

15. Love. Love every second, every minute and every moment. Take pictures! I’m so happy I took so many to look back and see how much she’s grown. There were moments were I couldn’t wait to get to the next phase (definitely out of the crying one!) but now I look back and I miss them. I miss the way she would curl up and fall asleep on me after a feeding or how tiny she was! Of course there is always something to look forward to (her first smile, first laugh, etc.), but don’t let those beginning moments pass you by…cherish and love them!

No one can prepare you for all the things to come as a new mom but the one thing I can prepare you for is this: it’s the greatest, most amazing job in the world! It gives your life so much love, happiness, fulfillment and pure joy. It will change your life forever and it’s the best thing that will ever happen to you…or at least it has been for me!

How Can I Have Another?

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I love my daughter. Words cannot begin to express just how much I love her. There is this amazing bond that develops when you have a child and it’s truly the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced. She’s perfect, she really is. And I know most people feel this way about their children. They are perfect in our eyes because they are ours. We made them. We love them. And our lives will never again be the same…

My husband and I were talking the other day about having more children and I honestly said to him…but how can we have another? How can we bring another child into this world and love him or her just the same when we have such an incredible baby now? How can we love another as much as we love her? The questions then continued on in my mind. Will I ever be able to love another the way I love my first? Will I be measuring all other children against her? How can I balance my love for more than one? How can I equally love?

It sounds silly when I say it out loud. Of course I will love another child just as much as her! There shouldn’t be that question…but there is. There is because we don’t have another yet. We have one…and she is perfect. I am over the moon with her. If we were never able to have another I would be beyond content if that was God’s plan. I want more children though. I definitely do. I want as many children as we are supposed to have. But I’m scared…

I’m scared of what my feelings will be for this new baby. I wonder how Emma will react. I wonder how I will be able to devote time to both children and not have feelings or guilt if I can’t be equal in my time. I wonder how I will be able to love them both. I wonder how our family dynamic will change. I wonder about a lot of things…

But some things are out of our control and in those moments, we need to let go. We need to let go of all the worries, fears and anxiety and trust that everything will work out the way it’s supposed to. And that’s not always easy to do, especially for me. I am a control freak!

But there is this fear that lives inside of me…this tiny fear of ‘what if’ and also, am I even ready? I want time with my daughter, lots of time. I want to hear her talk, watch her begin to form her own thoughts and ideas and start adventures with her that she’ll be able to respond to and remember. I want to do all these things before we bring another child into the world. But again, it’s not up to me when that will happen.

So for now, I will love her. I will love her with all of me. And I know when the time is right, I will love another just the same.