Pregnancy

Minerva’s Birth Story

Pregnancy is one of the most miserable experiences in my life. I absolutely love and adore labor, delivery, and snuggling the new baby BUT I am just so sick and in so much pain that I don’t enjoy pregnancy at all. Minerva’s due date was July 5th. My one wish was to not be pregnant when July arrived.

So the week leading up to me going into labor, I was absolutely exhausted. I felt sick. Everything hurt. I had no motivation to do anything. I sat around that week just making sure Maxine had all her necessities. After my 37 week checkup, I told my obstetrician that I wouldn’t make it to the next appointment. Of course, he didn’t believe me.

The night before the next appointment, I decided to put in the grocery order that I was putting off. As soon as I hit ‘submit’ I said, “well I’ll probably go into labor tonight after the cancellation cut off.” Marvin said that I probably wouldn’t but if I did, he would still go pick up groceries at 9:00 AM. While I was watching Devious Maids that evening, I had a terrible bout of nausea but brushed it off because I’d felt horrible the entire week anyway. Once that feeling went away, I decided that it was time for Maxine and I to go to sleep. Of course my night owl was not ready for bed so when Marvin got home, she stayed up for a while with him.

Next thing I know, it’s 4:00 am and my stomach was bugging out. I got up to pee and then I had a pain that felt like one of the cramps I get during my endometriosis flare ups. I found that strange so I walked around upstairs some and then it happened again. I decided to download a contraction timer app in this moment because what else was I gonna do at 4:00AM?  I didn’t know if they were contractions or not because with Maxine my water broke. Well after a few hours and many less than 5 minute apart cramps, I decided that these actually were contractions and I should really get ready to go to the hospital.

my timed contractions

Maxine and Marvin were still asleep. I packed Maxine’s overnight bag, texted my mom and Dana, then woke Marvin up. Maxine was still in her nightgown for the 30 minute drive to the hospital because I packed her outfit for the day in her overnight bag. When we finally got to the hospital, they checked to see if my cervix was dilating. I was 4cm so they waited an hour for progress to decide if they were going to admit me or not. Shortly after I was hooked up to the monitor, my mom arrived because Marvin had to go get the groceries still (LOL). Maxine was so happy to see my mom.

maxine in her nightgown

After about 20 minutes, the doctor on call came in to check on me and remembered me from calling earlier that morning and said that they were admitting me. YES! I was so happy because I was so OVER being pregnant. I was excited to change into that ugly hospital gown. Once I was all set up and connected to the IV, I decided to walk the baby down some. After walking three or four laps around the women’s center I felt that I needed to be back in my room.

walking laps around the women’s center at Obici!

I sat on the birthing ball for a short while and then my water broke. That’s when I lost all control of my pain. Those contractions HURT SO BAD after my water broke. Around this time Marvin got back to the hospital and immediately fell asleep. I don’t blame him. He worked open to close the day before and hadn’t had much sleep. I would have been asleep too if I worked a twelve hour shift. My dad arrived around this time too. That worked out perfectly because he was able to take Maxine on a walk.

Maxine's last picture with mommy as an only child
Maxine’s last picture with mommy as an only child

I was basically screaming through contractions at this point. I asked the nurse for an epidural and she said I needed to wait for my IV bag to be empty. I tried to wait for that to happen but shortly after, I had three back to back contractions that had me in a ball on the bed. I screamed “I NEED AN EPIDURAL RIGHT NOW” so loud that the nurses heard me from the nurses station and they came to the room immediately. My nurse checked me and I was 5cm dilated. Marvin woke up at this point and the anesthesiologist came in and got started. My IV bag wasn’t empty yet (lol in yor face nurse).  Marvin kept me still and after three pokes with that long needle my epidural finally was inserted and the medication kicked in. I felt so much better. The nursing student (who was AMAZING) put my catheter in and the nurse checked me again and I was 9cm. This happened over 30 minutes! I went from a 5 to a 9 in half an hour! The nurse then said that we had to wait on the Doctor to push. What I didn’t realize at the time was that the entire floor was full of women in labor and I would have to wait nearly an hour and a half to push. No big deal–I had zero urge to push at that point and needed to get myself in the right mindset to push. To kill time, I chatted with friends online who had no idea I was in labor. I also gave out some Babywearing advice in my local Babywearing Facebook group.  FINALLY it was time to push. This moment was so great. My mom called my sister on FaceTime so she could “be in the room” and that made me feel so happy. It was weird pushing this time because I could not feel myself pushing at all. After three sets of three big pushes and two tiny pushes, Minerva slid on out.  She had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck twice but the doctor corrected that quickly. Marvin cut the cord and then they gave Minerva to me (with a towel of course because I don’t do icky slimy anything).  I was so happy!! Finally not pregnant anymore!! That was exactly what I said too. My placenta came out very fast this time as well. I’m glad too because I did not want to see it at all and it was gone so fast that Marvin didn’t even notice it being delivered.

I don’t think I could have planned a better birth experience. I really am so grateful with how everything went. It was perfect.

me meeting Minerva for the first time. My sister’s facetime screenshot. I’m definitely crying here.

Hello 6 lbs 1 oz of perfection 💕

Our first selfie

A happy family of four.

We are so excited that Minerva is finally here! Her due date was July 5th. She was born June 21st at 1:33 pm. Here are some pictures from her first week of life.

minerva
One day old Minerva 💕

crying
Minerva Crying at one day old

sleeping
Sleeping Minerva

8 days
Minerva at eight days old
Assignments, breastfeeding, words

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is something that is incredibly near and dear to my heart. I have nursed my daughter for almost 15 months and we have no plans on ending the relationship anytime soon. It is incredible, really. I have provided food for Maxine for over a year. ME! I made it! Sometimes I sit up at night and just think “Wow! The female body is amazing!” Breastfeeding Maxine has helped me slow down and take breaks. I was always busy before I had her. I always had to be doing something. That is only one of many reasons why breastfeeding is so beneficial for me, as well as for babies.

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Nursing at ODU

 

There are many health benefits provided for mothers and babies. Breastfeeding helps mothers recover from childbirth more quickly and easily. Oxytocin is released during breastfeeding and that helps to make the uterus return to its original size quicker and reduces postpartum bleeding (American Academy of Pediatrics). My daughter’s pediatrician also told me that breastfeeding reduces the chance of getting breast and ovarian cancer later in life.  Breastfeeding also burns calories! There are some who admit to breastfeeding only to lose weight faster. That was a perk for me, but the main reason I chose to breastfeed is because it is free! It does not cost a dime to feed your baby straight from the tap. Breast milk provides ideal nutrition for infants and up through childhood. It contains the perfect balance of fat, vitamins, and protein and that is exactly what baby needs to grow (WebMD). Breast milk is free from chemicals as well (Alison Daly). Breast milk also contains antibodies to help your child battle viruses and bacteria. It is great to continue breastfeeding your child while you are sick. I had a terrible cold a few weeks ago where all I could do was sleep, but Maxine continued to nurse the entire time and only got a sniffle! That is the power of breast milk! According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, breastfeeding also plays a role in the prevention of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breastfed infants are also less likely to be overweight according to the AAP as well.

The first six months.
The first six months.

The most important benefit of breastfeeding for me has been the bond it created. Knowing that Maxine needs me makes me feel complete. There have been countless smiles and giggles during nursing sessions. I swear that I suffered from less postpartum depression thanks to the relaxation that breastfeeding allows me to have. I know that one day the nursing relationship that I have with Maxine will end, but for now, I will continue to cherish every single moment.

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Works Cited

Alison Daly, Christina Mary Pollard, Colin William Binns. “Benefits, Barriers and Enablers of Breastfeeding: Factor Analysis of Population Perceptions in Western Australia.” 07 02 2014. PLOSone. 10 12 2014.

American Academy of Pediatrics. “Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mom.” 10 7 2014. HealthyChildren.org. 10 12 2014.

WebMD. “Breastfeeding Overview.” 2005-2014. WebMD. 10 12 2014.

Parenting, uplifting, words

You are Amazing

Recently, I have seen so many fellow mothers put themselves down, put down their partners, and just whine about EVERYTHING. I’ll admit, I’ve had my days where I felt less than human and only wanted to stay in bed all day. Most people have those days. But seriously, is your life really that bad?

You feel like a bad mother because your kid won’t sleep.
You feel like a bad mother because you aren’t breastfeeding.
You feel like a bad mother because your baby doesn’t want to be put down.
You feel like a bad mother because someone else said that your kid is “behind.”

YOU ARE A GREAT MOTHER. Being mom is not a competition. Sure, you feel like you could be doing better, but who hasn’t felt this way? Everyone has their own way of parenting. There is no right or wrong way to parent. As long as you are giving your child all the love she needs, who cares what other’s think? I know I don’t! I breastfeed, I babywear, and I do things my OWN way. People tell me how envious they are of me. Don’t envy me! I have my own problems too. I’m not perfect! I am absolutely willing to answer questions and help people in any way I can. If people criticize you because you aren’t doing what THEY think you should be doing, ignore them. If ignoring it is hard, fake it ’til you make it. Don’t respond to their criticisms.  Wait a bit before you respond. Be rational and don’t fly off at the rails. You are an amazing mom. If you don’t believe it, just look at your kid…I bet they KNOW your are the best.

Your partner did something you didn’t like.
Your partner won’t talk or listen to you.
Your partner doesn’t make enough time for the baby.
Your partner is acting strange since the baby has arrived.

YOUR PARTNER IS TRYING THEIR BEST. This is tough. I get it. Your partner isn’t a mind reader. Your partner may be working all the time and who can blame them for wanting to relax when they get home? Even if it is just texting when you can’t talk face to face, start a dialogue. When they get home, you can continue the conversation. If you don’t put in the effort, they won’t. If you try, they will try. If you put your foot down, of COURSE they will make time for conversation with you. Just don’t be an asshole about it. Seriously. I know some of you are saying, “but I’m nice about it! What does this girl know?” You may not think that you are being mean but sometimes it may come off as a little rude. You’re tired. You’ve been home all day with the baby or even babIES. Check the tone. If your partner does something you don’t like, tell them…nicely. If need be, gently remind them. Leave a note. It can’t hurt. Your partner may have limited weekday time with the kids and make up for it on the weekends. You can’t fault them for not having enough hours in the day for everything. In my home, my husband works a lot. Sometimes he is just home for bedtime. They have their own bedtime routine. That little bit of time is him making time for the baby. Something like that may work for you. If you feel your partner is acting strange since a new member of the family came along, are you sure that they just don’t feel replaced? All of your love is now funneled into this new life and you are blinded to everything! Your partner might not really be acting so strange. :)

Something didn’t go your way.
Someone looked at you wrong.
Your stack of papers fell
The dinner didn’t come out how you expected.

EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE. Every once in a while, things go awry. That is expected. Even with me…my life is far from perfect. Whining about every single little thing will not fix it! Venting can be great. I mean hey, that’s part of the reason why I have this blog. But if you are whining about everything to the point that people don’t want to be around you, reevaluate things in your life. Are you so focused on the bad that you are missing out on the good things around you? Even the little things? I tried a “No Whining Wednesday” in some forums that I participate in to see how it would go. FAIL. A few people discussed good things that happened but overall the tone was negative. I might try it again next week. I think that finding the good things makes you feel better. Emotions are contagious…spread happiness people!!

When things seem hopeless and everything seems like it is spiraling out of control, look down at your baby and know that YOU ARE AMAZING.

Parenting, School, update

Balancing Life

Last semester, I gave birth to Maxine. I had two classes; both were online. I did my midterms online with her sleeping on my chest. I had her sleeping beside me as I took my finals. I also kept a B average.

So far this semester, I have an A in all three of my classes. Two classes are on campus and one is online. This week is spring break and I finally have a chance to slow down and just breathe.

The number one question that I am asked is “How do you do it?”

I am a 26 year old college student balancing family and school. Luckily I have a large support system. My husband is there to keep encouraging me. When I’m in class early mornings and at night, he’s at home bonding with Maxine. He is an extremely hard worker and I appreciate that he was able to slightly adjust his exhausting work schedule so that I can attend school. My parents are a great help as well. They are always there for us and if I want an uninterrupted nap, I know I can always head over to their house. Any time that I feel overwhelmed, or just need help with school work, I can always call my sister. She is wonderful! I can honestly say that if it were not for the incredible support system that I have, I would not be doing so well at school.

I also have a schedule for everyday. Organization is key! If you do everything spur of the moment, it’s hard to get everything done. Friday is my free day. I wind down and do zero schoolwork on Fridays. My online assignments are due on Thursday, so I try to have them done by Wednesday evening. Saturday and Sunday I do all of my English reading and homework. I have math on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and I complete any homework from that class once I get home. While I’m doing homework Maxine is normally wrapped on my back or in the ergo on my back fast asleep. Babywearing is the reason my homework gets done! Maxine gets cuddles and I have my hands free.

I get adequate rest breaks so I don’t get overwhelmed. I set break times for myself and Maxine gives me breaks too because I have to nurse her.

My life is exhausting and I love every single second of it! I’m am so happy that it is spring break and I’m spending all of my extra time this week with my family.

Next week I will be back to my hectic life. Midterms are next week! Maybe this spring break will have a little studying involved…

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Maxine, Pregnancy

Discovering Maxine

So I was looking back at a couple of private entries from when I first found out I was pregnant with Maxine and got all teary-eyed! I was in a dark place before I found out that I was pregnant with her. Something told me to take that test though. I am so glad I did. It was just what I needed.  I’m ready to share these two entries!

A reason to live||February 10, 2013

Just when I though it was no longer worth it.

Just when I though I didn’t matter.

Just when I was giving up.

You happened.

Dear M of the future,
I will meet you in hopefully 8 months.

Dear Maxine Elisabeth or Vincent,

I already love you.

I really hope I don’t lose you.

Please stay
Please don’t go away

Please…keep giving me this reason to live.

I can’t believe it.

I AM PREGNANT.

FINALLY. 

finally.

Grandma and Grandpa Brown || February 12, 2013

Today I told mom and dad that they are going to be grandparents!!

I got them a valentine’s card that was for grandma and grandpa and added in a “future” and “soon-to-be” in front of the grandparents on the card.

They were shocked and said, “what? I don’t understand. What are you trying to say?” then dad said, “wait, are you pregnant!?”

I told them yes and they were very congratulatory. I think they took it very very well. I am very happy that they know now!

They seemed very happy.

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Maxine changed my life SO MUCH. I am so thankful and elated that she is in my life now. She is the greatest gift that my husband and I have ever received and I love watching how fast she is growing. Three months have already flown by. Time, can you slow down now?!