babies · Newborn · Uncategorized

Newborn tips

Years ago, my baby sister asked me to write her a book on how to be an adult. Needless to say, I never got around to it. Nor do I have any clue what I would even put in that book.

Now she’s days away from having her first baby & becoming a mama {!!!!!} and she’s been asking me to write the mama-version of said book for the past 10 months. I obviously haven’t gotten around to that either.

However, I figured it’s not too late {yet} to give her some quick tips based on my experience with newborns. It goes without saying {but I’ll say it anyway} that every baby & every mama & every experience is different and no one thing works for everyone, but these are things that I’ve found to be true and that I wanted to share.

  1. Have no expectations. Be excited. Be happy. Be nervous. Be whatever you want to be, but do not for one second have any expectations about a schedule or what your life will look like or that everything about the next few months will go swimmingly or that everything will be insane. None of that will hold true 100%, so just let it go and get excited for one of the sweetest, hardest, craziest few months of your life.
  2. If you’re breastfeeding, nurse on demand. Don’t worry if he doesn’t eat for 15-10-5. Don’t worry if he wants to eat every 2 hours instead of every 3. If he’s fussing and you don’t know how to fix it, try nursing him. I’m not saying it’s always the answer or to use your boob as a pacifier, but I am saying to let go of the rules and guidelines and schedule at first and just let your boobs figure out how to feed your baby and let your baby figure out how to eat and be comforted by his mama.
  3. Snuggle {and wear} that baby. I know I don’t have to tell you this, but newborn cuddles are the best. Soak them up. If you want to lay on the couch and snuggle, do it. If you want to get something done, put your babe in a wrap and enjoy snuggles AND be productive. Again totally your call, but snuggles are available either way and you cannot spoil your newborn so enjoy him!
  4. Get out of the house! If you want to, that is. If you don’t want to, then by all means stay home! But if you want to get out, now is the time. Do not worry about if he’ll cry in Target or how you’ll feed him or if people will think you’re crazy for going out so early. If you want to explore the world with your newborn, do it. You’re in charge, mama. I loved having down time at home, but I also loved being out in the world with my baby girl snuggled in close. This is where I’ll say again that every mama is different. I have friends who didn’t go out for weeks, and that is totally fine, too. I only say this to encourage you not to be afraid of nursing in the car or in public or of your baby crying in public. I don’t want you to feel like you can’t go out, so I’m just telling you that you CAN {and it’s actually a lot easier than you think}.
  5. Ask for help/advice. There are no dumb new mama questions. If you have a question or want help or advice, ask!!!  I hope & pray that everyone has people who check in on them like my people checked-in on me when my three were born. This is when you start to create your village, and it’s nothing short of amazing during this crazy new season.
  6. Don’t expect sleep. You’ve probably read this a billion times, but everyone will ask you “how’s the baby sleeping” immediately after he’s born. You’ll probably get all cocky because – pro-tip – brand new babies sleep a lot. So you’ll be all “oh he’s sleeping great, we have to wake him to eat, he sleeps anywhere!” which is all true and all normal and all wonderful. It doesn’t mean you’re getting boat-loads of sleep, but it does mean that at least he’s sleeping. And then he “wakes up” – because that’s what babies do. They get more and more awake and they have sleep regressions and sicknesses and teething and about a billion other excuses to make sure you never get too many decent nights of sleep in a row. He’ll sleep and he won’t sleep and you’ll sleep and you won’t sleep and it’s all okay and normal and you actually get used to functioning on less sleep than you ever have in your life. Let’s just say now isn’t the time to give up coffee….
  7. Don’t expect a schedule. Like the sleeping thing. And like #1, but this seems worth the extra mention to me. Newborns do not have a schedule. I know that we all read Babywise and we all have ideas for schedules and we all hear talk of nap times and bedtimes and eating times. But all of that is for slightly older babies. There is this glorious newborn window where there is truly no set schedule. Try {even if you’re type-A like I am} to enjoy this time with no schedule. Of course it makes it hard to plan your days, but it also means you have this flexibility that you don’t have when your kid needs a nap at 1pm sharp and you’re driving down the road windows down & blaring music because she will not for one minute sleep in the car if you can help it. Not that I’ve done that recently or anything…
  8. Accept meals and/or cleaning and/or grocery runs from people. Have someone to set up a meal train. Eat out or get take-out. If someone offers to run an errand for you or bring you food, let them. People genuinely want to help you during this special time and it is AMAZING to not have to cook or think about what you’re eating that night. In that same regard, if someone offers to bring food/coffee/whatever when they come to visit you, say yes and enjoy it.
  9. Don’t worry about bothering your baby while he’s sleeping. As newborns they can & should sleep through people talking, lights on, dogs barking, etc. Grandmas and other well-meaning folk will try to tell you to turn off the lights or the TV or whatever else could possibly be bothering this {clearly totally undisturbed} babe as he sleeps. Smile, nod, and keep the damn lights on. We vacuumed while ours slept. We moved them in and out of the car and into stores and they stayed asleep. This won’t happen forever so again, ENJOY IT. It’s like a newborn jedi trick and it’s amazing and I wish it stayed that way forever, but it doesn’t.
  10. Soak it up. This doesn’t mean you have to enjoy every second, but it does mean you should remember even the messy, chaotic, crazy times. There will be the sweetest moments you’ve ever known that you’ll want to literally hold onto forever. Those moments will get you through the sleep-deprived times when you’re wondering what on earth you’ve done creating this sweet babe who needs you all.the.time. But none of it lasts forever. Heck, it doesn’t really last long at all. So snuggle & feed & comfort your baby. Write stuff down, take a ton of pictures, smell his sweet head and enjoy this time of becoming a mama and getting to know your first sweet baby. This first-baby thing will never happen again and it is truly a magical, wonderful thing.

Congrats, baby sis. I cannot wait to see you become a mama and I am beyond excited to snuggle my nephew and to become an aunt. I’m here for you anytime you need me & I love you more than words.

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Yes, I had a c-section

This post was originally published on www.2phines.com on March 9, 2015. 

*****

I’ve wanted to write this post for almost a year now.

 

I’ve started it several times, but somehow it comes across as too defensive, or like it will offend someone else, or I just don’t have the words to truly express how I’m feeling.
But then I read this article.  And YES.  Yes yes yes.

It’s a lot of what I’ve wanted to say – under slightly different circumstances, and without calling my actual delivery a “horror show”.

{Side note – random “birth” pictures are included in this post because all posts are better with pictures. Some are from our iPhones, but most were taken by my friend Jenny who was 6-months pregnant at the time and stayed in her car foreverrrrr waiting for it to be time to take pictures of a freshly born Harper.  Hours later, she captured Harper being cleaned off and shown to our families. This wasn’t our plan, but I cherish these first photos, especially since this is the part I missed while in recovery.  Thanks again, Jenny, you rock!}

I’m the first to say that my labor & delivery with HQ wasn’t “ideal”.  Phine & I have often joked that I had the easier pregnancy and she had the ideal delivery.  Phine went into labor on Saturday, was in labor all day, finally went to the hospital around 10:30pm or so, got an epidural, pushed like 3 times, and Kinley was born at 2:23am on Sunday morning.

None of this means that Phine’s labor was easy by ANY stretch of the imagination.  More ideal than mine, sure, but not easy.  I saw her all day Saturday.  Girl was in PAIN.  She was in pain but didn’t want to complain because we were both in labor {her’s was just progressing much faster, which neither of us knew at the time}.  And because she’s just hardcore like that.  It was painful and she was a rockstar the entire time.  She also chose the epidural and told me how wonderful it was {and then I would also choose it a day and a half later} and then pushed squirmy Kinley out like it was nothing. Like I said, she’s a rockstar.

But I’m a rockstar, too.  And she was the first to tell me that.

My labor didn’t go that way.  I was in “pre-labor” {which seems like a bullshit term, to be honest. 3-5 minute contractions for 3 days doesn’t seem very “pre” to me, but whatever…} starting Friday, all the way until my water broke Monday morning at 3am.  Thanks to the “golden ticket” {what I now call your water breaking}, I was admitted to the hospital early Monday morning. I was then in labor all. the. dag. gone. day.  I got the epidural late morning and then finally got to really rest for the first time in 3 days.  After 19 hours of “active labor,” at 10pm that night, it was finally time for me to push.

After 2 hours of pushing with no progression, we discussed allowing me to try to push for 20 more minutes before attempting a vacuum assist or c-section, or moving forward with the c-section then.  Harper was face up, so wasn’t coming out as easily as she should have.  I think I pushed maybe 2 more times, and then opted for the c-section.  My Dr {my FAVORITE from our practice, who I trust with my life} told me that was his suggestion.

{He also told me immediately after the c-section that we made the right call.  That I had done absolutely everything right & everything I could, and that if my next baby isn’t in that position, I’d be an excellent candidate for a VBAC, but because of Harper’s position, she wasn’t going to come out vaginally.  Talk about reassurance.}

The c-section was great.  They gave me some kind of meds {ha – I have no idea what all I took that day} in the delivery room, I waited {this was the worst part of the entire thing – no epidural at this point, lots of pitocin, no spinal yet, just contracting after the hours of labor & pushing while waiting to go to the OR}, they wheeled me to the OR, I had to sit up {ouchhhhh} so they could give me the spinal, and then they laid me back and I was in sweet relief.  The anesthesiologist and nurses were so nice, Cameron showed up and sat down by my head, and I knew our baby girl was actually on her way at this point!

Harper didn’t cry right away, which is good because there had been meconium in the fluid when my water broke.  They took her to a room right beside us, suctioned her out, and we heard her sweet sweet cry.  At this point I was sobbing, naturally.

They called “daddy” to come get Harper, and Cam walked off to our sweet baby.  What happened next will forever be my favorite picture that only lives in my mind {dangit where was our camera?!}.

I will never ever forget the image of my tall, handsome husband wearing his scrubs and carrying our tiny newborn daughter toward me.  He was so so so happy & proud.  We were both bawling.  Then he laid that sweet girl right on my cheek and I cried big wet tears all over her beautiful face.  Her eyes were open and she was just as calm as she could be and staring at me all “hey mom, how’s it going?”

Best. moment. ever.

Is it how I imagined it?  No, not really.  I don’t know if you CAN accurately imagine that moment, honestly.

Did I want skin to skin & immediate breastfeeding?  Yes, that’s actually the ONLY thing I cared about in a so-called “birth plan” and it didn’t happen.

Did it matter?  Not one freaking bit.

Our girl was here.  And safe.  And I’ll never forget my first look at her gorgeous face.  Or my first time holding her & nursing her a couple of hours later.

Of course I would’ve preferred to do that immediately vs 2 hours later, but in the grand scheme of things, it honestly didn’t matter.  She still latched like a pro, breastfed like a champ for 12+ months, and we’re crazy bonded.  Trust me on that one.

But here’s the thing.  Yes, I’m just now getting to ‘the thing’….

Like the author of this article said, I so often get the “I’m so sorry” response when people hear that I had a c-section.  As the author says…

It is always, always, delivered with genuine caring and disappointment on behalf of my subpar birthing story. 

That’s exactly how it has always made me feel.  Subpar.  Like I didn’t do something right.  Like I should’ve chosen to never have had a c-section despite my feelings for how right it was for us, and how honestly great of an experience it was overall.

You should’ve seen me in that recovery room, shaking as I came off the fluid & meds, finally eating ice chips as the first thing I’d eaten in days, not holding my brand new baby who was in the nursery getting cleaned off.  I was as happy as I have ever been.  Just knowing my girl was out & safe & in the same hospital as I was and that we were about to be together made me the happiest mama in the world.  I was beaming {through the shakes}.  Maybe it was the drugs, but I don’t remember being worried or scared or upset or anything – just so unbelievably and uncontrollably happy.

So, don’t feel sorry for me.  Don’t pity me or any of the mamas who had c-sections & and are here to hold their babies.

I’m tired of the well-meaning “sorrys” and the feeling that those of us who had c-sections somehow had a subpar birth experience or just didn’t try hard enough.  I’m done with it.

Because this. {not my words, but I agree with it so so much…sorry for the language…}

Speaking of nature. I’m all for nature. Totally on board with nature. I understand that babies have been being born the way they’re born for however long humans have been around for, and it’s all worked out fine. But a lot of the time it actually hasn’t worked out fine. Many mothers and babies have died along the way, for things which medicine routinely corrects for these days. Prematurity. High blood pressure. Babies in wrong positions. All of these could and often did spell death for both parties not so very long ago. The Caesarean section is a marvel. Medications which can help labor along and reduce pain without permanently damaging mother or child are wonders of modern medicine.
Sure: I love nature. But when nature wants you dead, fuck nature. Take medicine and science. Hell, if nature just wants you to be less comfortable than you’d like to be, fuck it. Take the epidural, and don’t feel bad about it.
I remember the moment my daughter was born. I don’t have any more “natural” scenarios to compare it to, but I can’t imagine anything could be better than those few minutes.
You can argue that having an epidural should be considered under the umbrella of “natural” childbirth, but maybe we shouldn’t even bother. Maybe calling one birth natural and the others… “unnatural” (I guess?) is fucked up and childish, perpetuating the myth that there are definitively better routes to getting a baby out than others. 

Preach it, sister.

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What I’ve learned about potty training

Harper Q is potty trained {if that’s ever a thing you’re done with…}. “I wear good {big} girl panties – I no wear diapers, only babies wear diapers.” “I tried, mama.” “I need to go potty!!” “I get an m&m because I peed. I get it myself.”

All those are things we hear on the regular these days.

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It actually happened faster than I thought it would, now that I can look back and see the past few weeks from a spot that is not eye-level with our or any other toilet that we’ve visited.

But in the middle of it???  I thought I was going to die. I was signing myself up for the crazy house & packing my bags.  And lucky for y’all {?} I wrote about it at the time.  I waited to post it because I didn’t want to jinx my sweet girl or our carpet, but I feel like if she regresses now it’s pure rebellion, so that’s a another issue {and another visit to the crazy house}.

Here you go.  The truth about potty training…

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Oh, friends.  We started potty training last Friday afternoon.  Harper had school in the morning, so we started that afternoon after naps. We did the whole strip her down the first day thing & it worked like a charm. She peed the first time, looked down like what the heck is happening down there, started to go a 2nd time and then turned into this child who told us when she had to go potty & hit the mark every time. For the evening. And the next day.

{By the way, there’s a 2/3 day regression/rebellion/visit to hell. My friends said they didn’t want to tell me about it until I got there. Cool. Thanks, guys.}

Nothing can be that easy, and obviously we’ve had our fair share of accidents & trying not to poop & washing big girl panties with pee in them. Overall, I’m a huge fan of the strip-them-down method & I think it worked super quickly for Harper, but not in the 3-day way. I’m not sure if the 3-day thing ever really works, but for us it took longer than that. And in that time, here’s what I learned:

  1. It will give you all. the. emotions. Thank GOD I didn’t do this when I was pregnant with the twins. I would’ve been a hot mess. It’s literally the highest high when she goes all by herself and you can see on her face how dang proud of herself she is. Or when she goes all day without an accident & it’s party central up in this house. Or when she makes it on 2 hours worth of errands without an accident and then goes on her own when you get home. YAYYYYYY!  But then there are the lows….ohhhh man, there are the lows. When she has her first accident in a couple days and you blame yourself for not asking her, but you are also like come on kid, what the f. When you have to sit eye level with the Trader Joe’s potty twice in a 30 minute span only for nothing to come out. When she jumps down says “okay, I tried” after approximately 2.5 seconds and you have to somehow get her back on the potty  or watch her like a hawk until she finally goes again. Emotions, y’all.
  2. The regression/resistance day is a b. Like I said, Harper took to the whole potty training thing SUPER well for the first 2 days. Rockstar. I’m over here doing a happy dance and getting all excited about all the pee going into the potty. And then day 2/3 hit. I say 2/3 because it was late Sunday morning, so since we started mid-day it was almost at the day 3 mark. When I started complaining to a couple of my best mama friends about what was happening, they were like “ohhh yeah, we didn’t want to tell you, but this is the resistance day. enjoy!” How’s that now??  So apparently it’s a thing. It lasted 24 hours of her not wanting to go on the potty/she’d “try” but nothing would come out & then later she’d pee on the floor, etc. And then it stopped. Just like that it up & stopped and no more accidents & she was back to telling us when she had to go. Now this may sound all easy breezy and just like 24 hours worth of pee, but y’all. In the moment?? I was GOING. FREAKING. CRAZY. It’s not a good time. Get wine/liquor/coffee/chocolate & just ride it out. Trust me.
  3. You’ll eat at least as many m&m’s as your toddler. She gets 1 for pee & 3 for poop. I have no idea why we skipped 2. I get a handful every single time. Yay for being a mom.
  4. You’ll be done with public bathrooms in 2.5 seconds. This is the part I was dreading the most. It’s just as bad as I anticipated. The first couple of days that we went out we did the whole go to the potty when you 1st get there & when you leave & any time she says she has to go thing. It was terrible. I spent way too much time waiting for her to try to go on a public toilet & telling her not to put her hands/face/whatever else on all the surfaces in the bathroom. And thinking about that fun “how far poop particles fly when you flush” trivia. Gross. Then we realized she’s a camel. And she legit didn’t have to go that often. So now when we’re out we only go when necessary, thank God.
  5. It actually IS easier than diapers. Eventually. People kept saying “oh you have 3 in diapers, oh my gosh” blah blah blah. And I thought YES, but I get to choose when I change my kids {unless they poop}, I’m not running to a public bathroom with 2 babies hanging on for the ride, my toddler isn’t peeing her carseat, etc.  And while that was true, now that HQ has the hang of this whole potty deal, I am definitely not missing changing her diapers. She’s doing such a great job and it makes it way easier on me that she’s not having millions of accidents and she’s doing so much “by myself,” like she loves to do. Plus, she loves the dang princess panties & one less kid using the box of diapers we buy or the cloth that we wash is a win in my book. So carry on, potty training mama’s – fight the good fight…and don’t forget the travel potty.

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Coffee & A Village

I’ve been dreaming of starting this blog for so long.

But today is the day.  It’s been a day {or a morning – it’s only nap time as I start this…} full of reminders about how amazing & incredible & NECESSARY my village is.  Every day brings this sweet reminder, but today has been full of friends who work out with me and work with me and remind me why we do these things.

Friends who come visit for lunch since it’s easier than meeting me out with 3 kids 2 and under, and then they  make lunch for my kids and don’t laugh when my idea of lunch for myself is queso and chips. Friends who are texting about busy times and hard times and funny times and gut-wrenching times.

Village, y’all.  Everyone talks about it, but good Lord it’s even more important than I first thought.

When I got pregnant with my first daughter, Harper, I jumped hardcore into the mom blogs.  I read all.the.things. about baby gear and baby schedules and mom life. I loved hearing about this part of life from experienced mamas. I loved finding trusted blogs and then being able to rely on them when I had a question about my baby or schedule or product. Or when I just wanted a laugh about this crazy adventure called motherhood.

Then when Harper was 14 months old we found out that I was pregnant with twins.  Yes, twins.  {We thought 2 under 2 sounded fun – joke was on us at that 10 week ultrasound. More on this at a later date…}.

I took to the Google and the blogs like it was my job. SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN PREGNANT WITH AND HAVING TWINS. TELL ME ALL THE THINGS!

I have several real-life friends who have twins {and their advice and experience has been life saving and the biggest gift I can ever imagine}, but I loved reading other people’s stories, too.  People I didn’t know but who were going through something I was about to go through and could give me an idea of what my life may {or may not} look like.

All this to say that I found another village through blogs.  My in-person village is absolutely amazing. Supportive and loving and incredibly smart and helpful in all of the most wonderful ways. But sometimes it’s midnight or 3am or 6am and no one is awake or knows that I’m awake and this blog-village is always here.

I have so many ideas for this village on the inter webs.  Stories and experiences and funny moments from myself and so many other amazing mamas that I am blessed to be on this journey with.

I’ve dreamed about writing these things down and putting them out here for others to read {and for me to be able to remember, if we’re being honest}, but I’ve always stopped myself from hitting publish because it wasn’t pretty enough or finished enough and I didn’t have time {which I clearly won’t have for at least 18 years}. But here we go, y’all.

It takes coffee & a village.

And now you have some background on the name of this new baby blog. The village part, at least. I feel like coffee needs no reason or introduction. Because coffee.