Fertility Supplements for Men and Women: FertaMax & Conceiving Baby

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of FertaMax. All opinions are 100% mine.

FertaMax fertility supplements logo

Realizing just how different each of my kids would be actually began at conception. My husband and I had very little trouble getting pregnant with our first born. Actually, I consider that pregnancy as something we didn’t try to prevent, but we weren’t necessarily trying. Either way, I was pregnant in less than 6-weeks back in 2008. Several years later, I would have a much different experience. It took well over 1-year to conceive my second child. Looking back, I wish we had fertility supplements to help us along. Having to deal with disappointment and dozens of negative pregnancy tests is rough.

I recently discovered FertaMax, which is a natural supplement for women and men that are trying to conceive — and men, too! Obviously men and women require a different amount of vitamins and minerals, so there’s no way for a fertility multivitamin to be unisex. FetraMax took those unique and specific ingredients and tailored them for each gender. With two different and specific formulas available for men and women, FertaMax can help to bring men and women to the peak of their fertility.

Mens Fertility Supplement Conceive

Movies and media always give off a perception that conceiving a baby is simple, quick, and a no-brainer ‘activity’ that comes natural for women and men. We grow up expecting to simply terminate our choice of contraceptive and easily we will have a positive pregnancy test in a matter of weeks. Then we learn that it isn’t quite like that and discover that conception for man and women is actually much more complicated, frustrating, and sometimes impossible.

Will we have a third child? Right now, I don’t know. I love both of my children and they are my world, but my husband and I are currently undecided about adding a third child to our family. The main difficulties with my last pregnancy were conception and a difficult caesarean section. I was also told by my obstetrician that conceiving again would be extremely difficult for us next time around, so FetraMax fertility supplements would be a great way to help boost and support ovulation and fertility.

I would love to purchase their Mom & Dad Starter Kit, which includes one bottle for mom and one bottle for dad. FertaMax for Men targets sperm count and motility through necessary vitamins, minerals, amino acids, green foods and extracts derived from herbs, vegetables and fruits. All of these ingredients join forces to create a balanced alkaline environment that is less hostile for ova and sperm.

10 Reasons FertaMax Fertility Supplement

*Find out even more reasons to choose FertaMax!

Learn more about FertaMax and discover how these easy-to-take tablets can help you and your loved one with fertility.  Use Fertamax discount code SS2014 to receive $20.00 OFF of your purchase!

** Stay connected when you “like” FertaMax on Facebook AND “follow” FertaMax on Twitter!

Did you experience trouble conceiving?

Have you ever considered fertility supplements?

 

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Cord Blood Banking with LifebankUSA: Win $150 Babies ‘R Us Gift Card!

Lifebank USA Logo

We have to make thousands of decisions for our children as we raise them. I always assumed the tough decisions wouldn’t start until after my child was born. I had imagined the only tough decision that I would have to make during my pregnancy was whether or not I wanted to know the gender of my baby before birth. Quickly, I discovered just how wrong I was as questions were thrown my way by obstetricians, friends, nurses and hospitals. Pregnant woman Cord Blood Banking

I knew very little about cord blood banking when my first child was born. The doctors and nurses offered very little information, left out the beneficial facts about cord banking, and basically skimmed the discussed with a basic definition so that we could move our appointment along.

More than 3-years had passed between the time my son was born and my second pregnancy began. I progressed and became much more experienced as a mom. I learned all about cord blood banking and the benefits it could provide for my family in the future. I realized that I should have done my own research during my first pregnancy, but it was just another parenting lesson of many that I have learned through the years.

Why Choose Cord Blood Banking?

Did you know that you can collect and preserve potentially lifesaving stem cells through cord blood banking?  They could save the life of your child or a blood relative one day. You can actually collect them from 2 sources of stem cell-rich blood: the umbilical cord and the placenta.

Sleeping infant

This service is called Placental and Cord Blood Banking, and it’s available only from LifebankUSA. Whether you choose Placental and Cord Blood Banking or Cord Blood Banking alone, there are many important reasons to choose LifebankUSA.

New Jersey-based LifebankUSA is a technological leader that is pioneering key medical innovations. They are the only company to offer cord blood, placenta blood and tissue banking — and the first to release placenta-derived stem cells for a successful transplant — Owned by the Celgene Corporation, a world-class biopharmaceutical company, LifebankUSA also operates a robust donation program and collects cells from anywhere in the US for use primarily in advancing medical research

LifebankUSA Babies “R” Us $150 Gift Card Giveaway

LifeBankUSA is having a contest!  Simply head on over to their Facebook page and enter to WIN Babies”R Us gift cards worth $150.00! They are going to select THREE winners at random and this contest will run until March 15, 2014.

   Babies R Us Gift card

*Head on over to LifeBankUSA.com to learn more and do some research before you decide whether or not cord blood banking is the right decision for your family. Don’t be quick to decide like I did in 2009. The decision-making starts now and choosing to save cord blood could save a life in the future!

Don’t forget to “Like” LifeBankUSA on Facebook — and of course, I encourage you to enter the Lifebank USA gift card contest so that you can be 1 of 3 selected winners to receive a $150.00 Babies ‘R Us Gift Card!

 

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Disclosure: MamaNYC received monetary compensation from the sponsor of this post in order to provide an honest and thoughtful post based on personal experience. All words and thoughts are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements & Testimonials in Advertising.

Infant Products Mom Must Have: Top 5 Baby Items Mom Needs For Newborn!

Infant Products Top 5 Baby Items

Infant Products Mom Must Have:

The Top 5 Baby Items Making My Life Easier

There’s a lot of commotion, loud noises, banging, jumping, and running around going on in our home nowadays. I don’t remember things being THIS crazy when we only had one child, but everything doubles when you have your second child. Earlier today, I was gazing around the house (yes, gazing – do you need a visual? too bad!) and I started to realize that my life could be a lot crazier if it wasn’t for a few of the amazing infant products and gear that we own.

These things aren’t exactly unusual or out of the ordinary, wild products you’d never be able to find unless you read the Super Secretive Motherhood Manual (Yes, we have one – it’s called Intuition!). However, I will say that four out of five are items I did not KNOW existed or think we would need during my first pregnancy.

I left these items off of my baby registry and didn’t get ahold of them until after my son was born. So, I hope an expectant mom out there will read this post and do what I didn’t do – and have a bottle warmer ready for the first night home for their first child. Boy, I had a rough night that time around…

(These are in no particular order. The order depends on what time of day or what my daughter needs THAT second, so I can’t do 1st through 5th place. It’s not fair, so I am skipping that for the sake


#1 The First Years Babypro Quick Serve Bottle Warmer

First Years Baby Bottle Warmer

Have you ever had a screaming baby in your left ear, whining preschooler on the right, and all you need is for the water in the pot to BOIL? Why does water only take 3-4 minutes to boil when you’re in no rush, but a lifetime when the baby wants to eat? 

I didn’t know about bottle warmers when I put my baby shower registry together during my first pregnancy. Luckily, I had a girlfriend pass hers down to me when my son was 3-months old. I had no idea why I would want to use it, so I shoved it in the closet. We were using the pot and boiling water method, which takes forever when a baby is hungry. 

I finally had enough and started to look into ways I could speed up the process. Microwave? No way – bad idea. That’s when I actually read an article online about bottle warmers. The lightbulb went off and I realized that I didn’t have to buy one – I already owned a baby bottle warmer! Oops. Silly first mom moment, but I still joke with my husband, ".. remember how we used to boil water and didn’t know how easy it would be to use a warmer?". 

Naturally, I would buy another one this time around for my daughter. Baby bottle warmers are a life saver during those 3am feedings when your head isn’t on right and eyes are too sensitive to light (Amen for light dimmers in the kitchen!). When you are cooking dinner and all of the burners are in use on your stovetop, your bottle warmer will be right there waiting to warm up your bottle! 

I went with The First Years Quick Serve Bottle Warmer. Besides an unbeatable price (~$15.99), I also knew The First Years brand made very reliable and simple bottle warmers since this was the brand used when my son was an infant. It’s small, quick, and makes my life much easier! 


#2 Baby Bottle Brush Cleaner

Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Bottle Brush

Such a simple kitchen item, but an absolute MUST with a baby around! Cleaning bottles on the inside is a nightmare and I do not enjoy doing it (shocker, I know).  The baby bottle cleaner brush is probably the simplest baby product that we own. Nowadays, baby gear is full of buttons and functions. Our battle cleaner does one thing: clean bottles.

I couldn’t live without our bottle cleaner and have no idea how I would reach the bottom of the baby bottles if not for our baby bottle cleaners! We actually have three in the house at all times: [1] baby bottles; [2] backup (just in case!); [3] all other water thermoses, cups, and non-baby bottles. Yes, I like to use a bottle cleaner for cups, too. Who wouldn’t? I think everyone needs one in their house — baby in the house, or not!

We use Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Bottle Brush, which I found available on Toys ‘R Us ($5.49), Wayfair.com ($11.99), and Amazon (as low as $1.80).


#3 Playtex SmartSteam Microwave Baby Bottle Sterilizer

Playtex SmartSteam Baby Bottle Sterilizer

 Last month I wrote a raving review for a great product that Playtex sent over just in time — because I was only days away from going crazy when it come to sterilizing baby bottles. We go through an average of 6 or more baby bottles per day. That means 6 bottles, 6 nipples with sealers, and 6 nipple caps. Filling a pot with water to boil all of these items is a nightmare. If my son wanted to take a bath, I had to tell him he had to wait  10-15 minutes until I could turn off the stove.

Playtex Microwave Baby Sterilizer

I no longer have to worry about anything but turning my microwave on now that I have my Playtex Baby SmartSteam Microwave Sterilizer. Some may argue that the sterilization process didn’t take "that long" with boiling water, but I beg to differ. It’s a giant pain in the butt and even if the SmartSteam saved 30-seconds of my day (it’s a lot more than that though!), I can tell you that a busy mom with thousands of things on her plate cherishes every moment of her day. 

I’d much rather be laying on my living room floor with my two angels playing Transformers and cars with my little boy while my 2-month old waves her closed fists in my face (I think she wants to fight me; I’m waiting to see if she makes the first move…) Moms love their time, so anything that will help spare even one minute of my day (it’s MORE than that!!) – I will love that product and the brand for giving me that time back with my kids. 

Check my Playtex Baby review to learn more about the SmartSteam Microwave Sterilizer. You can find this baby bottle sterilizer on Amazon (as low as $49.99),  Toys ‘R Us ($33.99), or any other favorite online or local retailer in your neighborhood.  


#4 TinyLove 3-in-1 Rocker Napper

Infant Rocker Napper TinyLove   Tiny Love Rocker Napper Newborn

I definitely have a place in my heart for TinyLove products and could probably go on and on about how great they are. Although all of their products are absolutely fantastic, I could not live without their 3-in-1 Rocker Napper. I had an opportunity write a TinyLove 3-in-1 Rocker Napper review in July (2012) before my daughter was born (January 2013), but luckily one of my friends leant me her newborn daughter for review purposes.

If I thought the Rocker Napper was a great product in July, I hadn’t seen anything yet! Having my own child here to use the napper 24/7 has obviously given me a much different better perspective and need for it. During late-night feedings with my daughter, I turned to the Rocker Napper to become my daughters in-between place to sleep. We spent a lot of time in the living room late at night during her first few weeks at home. We would start off in the master bedroom with my daughter in her bassinet, but I was laying on the couch with my daughter in her napper by 3-4AM. 

Infant Rocker Napper TinyLove Toy We also have a bouncer chair, but these each serve different purposes. Plus, I actually use the Rocker Napper 8 out of 10 times over the bouncer. It’s a place for my daughter to nap during the daytime. It’s a place for an infant to hangout and enjoy the rocking vibrations while gazing above at the music and flashing lights (stimulation!). It’s a place for mom to put baby down next to her and hangout – bonding without baby in your arms (attachment = good; over-attachment = not so good). 

I am definitely going to be a little depressed when my little lady outgrows her TinyLove Rocker Napper. You can read my Rocker Napper review, or head on over to TinyLove.com and purchase today for $99.99. The price is well worth it and this napper definitely is a blessing for our family!


#5 Prince Lionheart: Premium Wipes Warmer

Prince Lionheart Premium Wipe Warmer

My mom actually purchased our wipes warmer when my son was born in 2009, but it is just as new! This is definitely a great investment and a key item for moms to have for bay. The baby wipes warmer is simple to use and really makes a huge difference for the temperature of baby wipes (just add generous water to the EverFresh pad refills every 2 weeks and replace every 3 months).

As a new mom, I had never even considered how my newborn would feel like a freezing cold wipe placed on his skin. Once my mom had suggested the idea when she saw the Prince Lionheart Premium Wipes Warmer on the store shelves, I then started to notice how cool the wipes felt. Hey, I don’t think I would enjoy a cold wipe on my skin at 4am! Plus, I hated how my son would go from sleepy and ready to go back to sleep during a late-night feeding to alert and ‘ready to go’ after I changed his diaper. Not cool!

Prince Lionheart Replacement Ever-Fresh Pad for Wipe Warmer

Now that I had a winter baby (my daughter was born in January), I really noticed how the wipes warmer has helped out. Even though you have a heated home and don’t think it’ll happen, wipes are essentially wet and therefore emit a chill (How else could I explain it? Wipes get COLD!). 

How has my wipes warmer made MY life easier? It’s actually benefitting my daughter more than it is my life, but I am unbelievably thankful for my wipes being warm and not waking my daughter at 4am when I want her to go back to sleep. It’s equally made my life as a caring and loving mother since I don’t have to feel bad when her legs clinch at the touch of a freezing cold wipe. It’s a win-win for mom and baby! 

The Prince Lionheart Premium Wipes Warmer retails for $29.00, but I found it on Amazon for as low as $18.00! The refill pads, Prince Lionheart Replacement EverFresh Wipe Warmer Pads, are available on Amazon for only $13.99. Refill pads need to be replaced every 3-months and each pack contains 2 pads. Total investment if your child is in diapers until he is 3-years-old (arguments sake!):

     $29.00 (warmer)
+  $84.00 (warmer pads)
              = $113.00 (total for 3-years) 

 


Disclosure: This post is not sponsored, endorsed, or paid for by any of the aforementioned brands. Selected products were chosen simply because they make my life a heck of a lot easier with an infant. The only product which I received for review purposes (and no monetary compensation) are #3 [Playtex SmartSteam Microwave Baby Bottle Sterilizer] and #4 [TinyLove 3-in-1 Rocker Napper].  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements. and Testimonials in Advertising.    

Postpartum Depression Treatment & Residential Mental Health Options

 

Bridges to Recovery Depression Logo

Postpartum Depression Treatment &

Residential Mental Health Options

 

Life after baby isn’t always sunshine, sweetness, and smiles. Your body and mind have gone through a lot, which you probably don’t have a full understanding of until you’ve found yourself down a deep and endless hole called postpartum depression. As a woman who just gave birth to a beautiful and healthy little girl, I can tell you firsthand that postpartum is a difficult time. There are options available, such as Bridges to Recovery, which is a depression residential treatment center in Los Angeles and Pacific Palisades. 

Baby Blues Postpartum Depression

Luckily, I have not suffered from postpartum depression or had to deal with mental health issues, but I do have loved ones that have experienced the difficulties in recovering and dealing with these diseases. Sometimes the issue might not require inpatient treatment, but it’s always best to consider your options for recovery and seek the help of a professional — an outsider looking in might see something that you can’t diagnose yourself.

Depression Treatment Options

There’s a negative stigma on postpartum depression and it scares me. Women should be allowed to cry in front of other people after childbirth. We shouldn’t have to feel like people are going to automatically label us as depressed, crazy, or as a bad mom simply because our hormones aren’t perfectly balanced. Women shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help.

I know as a mother of two young children, I always put my kids first in my life. However, I know I am not being selfish when I put myself ahead of them when it comes to my health. If I don’t put myself first when necessary, I won’t be able to function as the mother that they deserve. 

Postpartum Depression If you think you might be suffering from postpartum depression or require treatment for other mental health issues, don’t be afraid to reach out and seek the help that you deserve. It’s better to save your own life than to be embarrassed about what others might think. Research a depression treatment center like www.bridgestorecovery.com/depression-residential-treatment-centers and take care of yourself before you worry about anyone else.

   

 

 

 


 

Life After Pregnancy: Why I Needed a Life RESET Button After Baby

Life Reset Button

Life After Pregnancy:

Why I Needed a Life RESET Button… 

I’ve been meaning to sit down and explain my erratic postings, or lack thereof between the New Year and the end of February. Believe it or not (you surely will believe it), this is my 5th attempt at writing this letter to my readers. I don’t know if I am actually doing this so much for my readers (no offense), but more or less as a way for me to hit the restart button on my own life. The past few weeks haven’t been easy and I really wanted to share my story (the abridged version as best as I can!). I did a lot of searching on the Internet to try and find the answers and reasons as to WHY I felt THIS way. When would it end? How could I help myself so it would stop? How did it to be this way and why wasn’t I all smiles?

As many of you know, I recently gave birth to my second child. After a torturous pregnancy that would make anyone say "I’m done having kids now!", I finally rounded third base and headed to home plate. My pregnancy was far from fun, but manageable. I wasn’t feeling great, but I was able to work and live my life. Most days were horrible, but I would still be able to pull myself off the couch and function. I pushed through the first 36 or so weeks and blogged full-time just as I had before. I did slow down a little bit, but nothing worth mentioning or noticeable to others.

What Matters Mom Quote Kids

I gave birth to my daughter on January 24th through a scheduled caesarean section. I was petrified beyond belief, which was obvious to all of those around me. My OB’s had actually tried to toss me into surgery several times during the 2-weeks prior to my scheduled date. That’s a story for another day (don’t worry – that story will be shared very soon!). Basically, I did all I could and filled myself with excuses because I was very stubborn and put my foot down with my doctors: I was NOT having a baby prior to January 24, 2013. That was THAT.

I remember laying in the preparation room prior to surgery and shaking – inside and out. I was sweating, laughing out of fear, and yelling in the next breath at anything I could get angry with (including the wall?). It was scary and I just wanted it all to end. I had voided the idea of a caesarean from my mind throughout the entire pregnancy, but it became very real as I lay in that hospital bed.

The pain was excrutiating for me while I was in the hospital, but literally vanished and became unnoticeable to me as I moved around the house. I literally came home from the hospital and started to clean the kitchen and living room an hour later. I sat on my couch and laid in my bed for 9-months. I was SICK of sitting around and the ability to bend, stretch, hop, and jump off of countertops — thrilling. I went from couch potato to cleaning freak within a matter of minutes and it felt amazing!

My first few days home were great! I was a bit tired, but otherwise my physical state was perfect and I was basically cleaning the house, playing with my son, and tending to my newborn with great enthusiasm. Mind you, I wasn’t exactly feeling well enough to sit down and work on my blog and other ventures. I was, but the motivation and drive that I was feeling was geared more towards remaining active and moving around. I was tired of SITTING, so cleaning was actually a great alternative (go figure).

That all changed just as my daughter was turning 1-week old. Her sleeping schedule wasn’t exactly perfect (waking up anywhere between 2:30-4am for a feeding). However, I was getting MORE than enough sleep since my 3.5-year-old son sleeps until 11am-12pm. My daughter was basically sleeping 22-23 hours a day (seriously), so I would wake up to feed her and get right back to sleeping. I was averaging about 9-10 hours of sleep – broken up sleep, but I WAS sleeping! 

My body went into shutdown mode and there was nothing I could do to change it. Vitamins, iron supplements for my anemia, coffee (and LOTS of it!), drinking plenty of water, eating a nutrition and well-balanced diet. I literally tried everything in the book and nothing made a difference. I could sit on the couch and pass out in a FLASH without even realizing I was falling asleep. Pulling myself out of it and trying to function so that I could work, clean, FUNCTION – impossible and difficult to manage. 

Tired Mom Parenting Exhaustion

I knew it wasn’t postpartum depression. Maybe it was a slight case of the baby blues, but I wasn’t unhappy. I was (and always have been!) a very happy person. Sure, I had raging hormones occasionally, but the only thing that was holding me back an upsetting me was my inability to work. I could literally stare at the TV with a blank, emotionless, tired, and bored face. I wasn’t bored. I wasn’t sad. I was just VERY tired and frustrated because I was tired.

Remember pulling an all-nighter in college and having that achey, foggy, unmotivated, scatter brain mentality the following day? I felt like that every single day and started to wonder if this was just how life was for mothers with more than one child. Going from one child into the world of a 2 child family was insane! I just knew that i had to snap out of it or risk losing my mind.

The kids were never part of the problem — I was. Well, I wasn’t, but rather how I felt. I was mentally exhausted and hadn’t even done much of anything. After awhile of frustratingly pulling my hair out and crossing everything off the list of ways I could possibly self-medicate and solve this problem (I drank WAY too much coffee in February), I began to reevaluate the situation. I took a step back and realized this had to end immediately.

I’ve always been the type of person that just wants to GO-GO-GO, work – work – work, and pull all-nighters to get the job done. Suddenly I had NO motivation? Everyone said, "…but you JUST had a baby! You need to rest!", but I know my body and something wasn’t right. It just didn’t feel right and too much time had passed for my pregnancy and c-section to be an excuse. I was well past recovery and my daughter was on a well-adjusted schedule already. Something HAD to give and it wasn’t going to be my sanity… 

 

Im Just Tired Exhaustion Quote

 

To make a long story short and best summarize what I went through between late-January into late-February, I guess what I really did need in the end was TIME. I stopped taking my prenatal vitamins and instead turned to a multivitamin for women. Even though I was and always have drank plenty of water, I also increased my daily consumption. I was eating a balanced diet throughout this ordeal, but I flipped and switched out some of my regular foods for other choice meals that I might not usually purchase. Whether or not one of these smaller changes helped, I don’t know. 

What I do know is that I suddenly felt motivated and focused again. It was as if the switch went straight from the off to on position in the blink of an eye. Just as sudden as the onset of exhaustion had hit, I was taken right back into a fresh and renewed state of being AWAKE again. It was great, but would it last? 

 

Exhausted Mom Quote

 

I didn’t get my hopes up … and decided to take things slow. I decided to avoid any rigorous cleaning for a few days and basically chill out with the kids, only straighten up toys when the floorspace got out of hand, and remind myself that there is always tomorrow. My growing anxiety over feeling responsible for not only ONE life, but TWO children was another mental burden that had originally set my mental state into overdrive. I had to learn a better way to balance what had to get done and who I should be giving attention to when needed.

I had a hard time giving into my usual work ethics and expectations of myself during my pregnancy, but I was at least able to continue working. Being able to do absolutely N O T H I N G was horrific. Some might have enjoyed feeling like that, but you almost feel like you are worthless since you don’t have the energy to do much of anything! I always felt very glad that I have always been able to bite my tongue and repeat, "this too shall pass". It was far from easy, but I knew this would end. It could have taken a few days, weeks, or months. Until then, I would keep pushing through and do wht I could to help myself improve and feel more alert.

So tired Everything is funny

So, what am I getting at? Basically, I needed to feel like I could press a restart button on life and erase the mess I had created. After a rough pregnancy, terrifying pain from surgery (thankfully recovered from physical pain quite fast!), and horrific postpartum lethargy issues… I am unbelievably blessed with a gorgeous, happy, healthy, and perfect little girl.

I couldn’t ask for more. Every day that I spent in bed sick to my stomach, having to skip Christmas Day dinner, suffering through the surgical pains and forcing myself to walk again (bit my tongue REALLY hard; caesarean pain is NO joke!)… it was ALL worth it. 

I have spent entire days cleaning up my life over the past 3 weeks since I (all of a sudden) bounced back. I literally woke up one day and felt wide awake and fresh. I didn’t get my hopes up since I felt good sporadically in the past weeks, but this time it was real!

I want my readers to know that I am happy to say everything is back on track. I’ve been working behind the scenes sending emails, corresponding with my favorite brands, outlining plans for large upcoming campaigns, and feel so excited to get back on track finally!

My original "final" reset date was April 1st, which was a deadline I had set for myself where my personal life (bills, paperwork, etc.) would be all caught up with. I also picked this date for MamaNYC to begin rolling on as it was before.

Happily, I can say this deadline isn’t necessary. I’m done, ready, good to go, caught up, completely finished, prepared for the future. I couldn’t imagine that a pregnancy could cause someone to get so behind on ‘life’. Second child meant double the work! All I wanted in the end was two healthy and happy children — that’s all I could ask for! 

Here’s my restart on ‘life’…. BAM!

 

Life Reset Button

 

 

We’re Having a Baby …TODAY! – It’s Baby Day & I’m Out Of The Office!

  Having a Baby Girl Today

Today is January 24, 2013

…and I’m having a BABY!

Today is THE day. I will be walking into the hospital and heading to the 3rd floor Labor & Delivery ward at 5:00pm (EST) today. It’s been a long, stressful, strenuous, difficult, happy, exciting, aggravating, and ridiculous 9-months. Through the ups and downs of this pregnancy, I had to keep my end goal in mind and it wasn’t hard at all to remember and think about why I was doing all of this. We’re very blessed and thrilled to welcome our 2nd child into our family. It didn’t come easy and calling this pregnancy a ‘challenge’ is just the tip of the iceberg, but I did it!

Little Girls Quote Daughter  

January has been a very tough month and I had to skim back on my workload a LOT, which was difficult and very hard to accept. I worked as hard as I could for nearly 8-months of my pregnancy, but eventually learned that I would have to ‘throw in the towel’ and accept the fact that I wasn’t going to be able to do as much as I wanted to do on MamaNYC. It wasn’t physically or emotionally possible, so I found it to be very challenging. I love what I do and the idea of not having the stamina nor patience to work on my blog was difficult.

One of the things that I do love about blogging is the ability to take a step back without leaving. I know a lot of people will argue and say, "you didn’t leave though; you were still blogging nonstop!". Yes and no. I wasn’t able to do the workload that I normally enjoy, or meet deadline like I generally do without any problems. I could plan ahead until the sun came up, but it didn’t happen or help the situation at the end of the day. When you are exhausted — you are exhausted. Being physically and mentally exhausted to a point whereas sitting up is a chore made it horribly difficult to compose a sentence – never mind a blog post!

What am I looking forward to doing?

Well beyond the idea of holding my little girl and finally being able to kiss her and say, "you’ve already been driving me nuts for 9-months!", I have a lot of exciting plans and news to come. Whether I was able to do work on the frontend or not, I was working much harder on the backend behind closed doors. I guess it made me feel better when I could compensate my blog post efforts for future plans. Lining up some amazing opportunities for the next 3-months that would excite my readers kept me busy and very anxious for the next chapter of my life, blog, family, 

Quote Daughter Baby Girl

I’m excited to regain my energy levels and capacity to do the things that I want to do on a daily basis. Feeling this way (lazy, useless, achey) is hard to deal with for 9-months, so I am looking forward to bouncing back (quickly) and starting February off with a BANG. Things will be VERY hectic and busy in our home, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

With that being said…. I will be posting an update as soon as I am able to do so on Friday afternoon. Yes, I will have my laptop with me in the hospital! Call me crazy, but working on MamaNYC and chitchatting with friends and fellow bloggers is how I relax! I’m definitely going to continue to take it easy, but you are going to start seeing a lot of new features, fun, reviews, giveaways, and changes within the next 2-3 weeks. Stay tuned because there’s a lot to come!

… wish me luck!

 

Love Always, Nicole  

 

 

Caesarean Section Day: Caesarean Section History, Tips, Facts & More!

Caesarean Section Day
Today is Caesarean Section Day:

History, Tips, Facts & Knowledge

January 14th is Caesarean Section Day and I felt it would be fairly appropriate to discuss some interesting facts and details about this birth choice since I will be giving birth in 10 days through a scheduled c-section. While my first pregnancy was not a planned c-section, I did wind up having an emergency caesarean section after 15+ hours of labor. Therefore, I have opted to schedule a c-section for my 2nd pregnancy as opposed to a VBAC alternative. 

I decided to do a little research and investigate further background history, facts, statistics and tips for a healthy recovery before heading in for my c-section next week. Since a caesarean was not part of my birth plan during my first pregnancy, I did very little research and went into labor very unprepared for what could happen. That’s why I am educating myself this time around and hopefully arming myself with more knowledge about the process as a whole.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  

How common are caesarean sections today?

A recent study says 1 in 3 first-time moms (32.8% in 2010 and 2011) are giving birth by caesarean section, which are most likely to have repeat C-sections.

In an effort to explain the high cesarean section rate, health professionals often point the blame on mothers. Many assume that leading factors for the rise in c-sections are due to more and more women asking for c-sections that have no medical rationale, the number of women who genuinely need a cesarean is increasing, and/or that the liability pressure is increasing the rate of surgeries. However, no one reason has been found to be the primary reason to hold accountable as a sole factor for the growth in caesarean sections, which has been steadily increasing since 1996. 

Why do women need a caesarean section?

There are many different reasons why an expectant mom would require or elect to have a caesarean section such as, preexisting conditions, complications during labor, or complications in pregnancy where a vaginally delivery may pose a risk to the baby. Women are having elective caesarean sections, which means the surgery is performed for reasons other than medical necessity. One reason for this is that many women find it convenient to plan the date of their child’s birth. However, other women prefer a c-section because it is quicker than a vaginal birth.


Caesarean Section Risks

When c-sections are done, most women and babies are fine, especially due to advancements in medicine and surgical refinements in recent years. However, c-sections are a major operation with risks included with the surgery itself and anesthesia. The rate of cesarean birth has increased rapidly over the last decade. Some health care providers believe that many c-sections are performed without any evidence of medical necessity. 

Risks for Baby: 

Anesthesia: Medications make the woman numb so she can’t feel pain. Some babies are affected by the drugs given to the mother during surgery and may cause the baby to be inactive or sluggish.

Breathing problems: Even if the baby is full-term, babies born by caesarean section are more likely to have breathing problems than babies that are delivered vaginally.

Risks for Mom: 

Bladder or bowel injuries.

Blood clots in the legs, lungs, or pelvic organs.

Increased bleeding, which may result in a need for blood transfusion.

Infection in the incision, uterus, or nearby organs.

Reaction to medications, including anesthesia.

Death is rare, but it is a much more likely risk compared to vaginal delivery. 

Future pregnancies following a c-section birth may result in a risk for.. 

Placenta Previa: The placenta implants very low in the uterus; covers all or part of the internal opening of the cervix/birth canal/

Placenta Accreta: The placenta implants too deeply and/or too firmly to the uterine wall.

*Both of these conditions can lead to severe bleeding during labor and delivery, endangering mother and baby. Risks increase with the number of pregnancies. 


History of Caesarean Sections: 

* Who was the first to perform a caesarean section? Dr. Jesse Bennett performed the first caesarean section in North American in 1794. At the age of 24, Dr. Bennett performed the first c-section on his wife, Elizabeth. The surgery was performed without any antiseptics and equipment inside of their modest home in Virginia  Too much of Dr. Bennett’s surprise, his wife and baby survived the operation. 

* When were c-sections first performed? Caesarean sections have been performed as far back as the Julius Caesar era, but they always resulted in the mother dying. The first recorded woman to survive the surgery didn’t occur until the 1500’s.

* Caesarean sections were only performed when the woman was dead or dying as an attempt to rescue the fetus in ancient times.

* Caesarean delivery has become the most commonly performed operation in hospitals in Western countries.

* Controversy surrounds the rate of caesarean section and its use for reasons other than medical necessity.

* During the 1850’s, maternal mortality following Caesarean sections was principally due to hemorrhage, infection, or both. Anesthesia, improved surgical technique, and antisepsis were introduced in an effort to reduce these complications.

* Ines Ramirez performed a caesarean section on herself on March 5, 2000. She is believed to be the first woman to have successfully performed the surgery on herself.


Caesarean Section Recovery & Aftermath

A cesarean section is major abdominal surgery, which will require a longer recovery period over vaginal delivery. Recovering from a c-section comes over a matter or months and can be a difficult time for women. Here are a few quick tips, facts, and to-do’s that I learned post-caesarean section after the birth of my son:

START MOVING AROUND & WALKING!

I know that the last thing you will want to do in the hours following your c-section is walk, but this is one fairly major regret that I had in the recovery period following my sons birth. I basically sat in that hospital bed and relax – a lot. Yes, I needed the rest and relaxation, but I should have moved around more than I was in order to help the recovery happen faster.

Ask your nurses and/or doctors for permission (before anything!) and start off by standing up and slowly pacing around the hospital room. You’ll feel like you are walking in circles, but I can tell you from experience – it is going to take a few minutes for you to cover the circumference of that room! You will most likely be unable to stand completely straight, so feel free to stay slouched over until you feel comfortable straightening your back. Start off slow with 5-minute walks around the room or standing next to your hospital bed as you move your legs around. Progress at your own pace, but definitely avoid laying around whenever possible. 

TAKE YOUR MEDICATIONS

Your doctor will discharge you from the hospital with painkillers to help ease the pain of your incision. Don’t anticipate the c-section scar or abdominal cramping to be anything remotely similar to period cramps. The pain from post-caesarean is much more intense and you will need to take your painkillers no matter what. They will not only help to subside the pain "today", but help you to get moving around the house without being slowed down from the pain. As previously discussed (above), moving around is going to promote a speedy recovery. Don’t forget to take your pain medication regularly and on time, even if ou don’t think you need it at the moment. I regretfully thought that I was healed and no longer needed my pain medications, but quickly realized that I was only feeling better at the moment due to the pain killers helping! 

CONQUER THE STAIRS

This is not going to be an easy task, but you need to tackle them head on and likely won’t be able to avoid them. The hardest part of my recovery was walking up and down the steps in our home. There was a main flight into our living room from the front door, which included well over 15 steps. Once I made it indoors, I made it a point to stay put and avoid going outdoors whenever possible! However, I also had a set of 6 steps that I could not avoid at ALL because they divided the very main (and – unavoidable) rooms in our home. 

Watch your step! Surviving the steps is going to be a challenge, so take your time and brace yourself because this isn’t going to be pretty. Start off by walking up the steps backwards so that you don’t have to straighten your back as much and stand in an inclined position that will require using your stomach muscles. I did this for approximately 1-week post surgery and I would give this idea full credit for making sure I actually made it to the bedroom and bathroom! Once I started to feel better, I rotated more and more until I was finally walking up the staircase looking forward. You can graduate from backwards to sidewards as you feel comfortable. I would say that the entire process of regaining the ability to walk up the staircase with a  ‘normal’ stance took approximately 3-4 weeks. It is gradual, but possible!

TAKE IT EASY

Yes, I told you to move around and walk whenever possible. However, I also think it is equally important to rest whenever possible. Your body has just been thrown into a whirlwind of pain, unbalances, and scheduling conflicts that are going to run you down. Try to keep everything that you will need for you and the baby within reach. If you do most of your hanging out in the living room during the day, setup a changing station with wipes, powder, diapers, and ointments in arms reach. Avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby during the first 4-6 weeks.  

ABDOMINAL SUPPORT

Use good posture when standing and walking to promote recovery and avoid extra pain(s). You will have sudden onset pain at unexpected moments, so don’t think your abdomen is okay and start ‘acting normal’. Things will slowly process and pain will wither away, but there will be moments when your body reminds you that it is in recovery (still). Hold your abdomen while sneezing, laughing, or coughing. I remember telling people to avoid telling jokes around me because the pain was overwhelming while laughing, which causes the abdomen to jolt up and down.

DRINK FLUIDS

Help replace fluids lost during delivery and breast-feeding and drink lots of fluids. This will also help to prevent constipation. Empty your bladder frequently in an effort to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections. 


Signs of Incision Infection:

Keep an eye on your incision and contact your health care provider if anything seems unusual. Here are a few signals that there may be an infection:

* The incision is red, leaking discharge, or swollen.

* Fever higher than 100.4 F.

* Increasing pain around the incision.

 

 

Introducing New Baby to Siblings: Easy Tips To Follow & Things To Remember!

Introducing New Baby to Siblings

Introducing New Baby to Siblings:

Easy Tips To Follow & Things To Remember!

Back in September (2012) I discussed a few tips and methods to use when introducing pregnancy and baby to your child(ren). Having a new baby in the home can be a huge change for children, but luckily we can make the transition as easy as possible and a happy experience for everyone. My little girl will be here in 20 DAYS, so I am starting to increase the discussion about a new baby around our home and help my son understand that this is very real. Introducing new baby to our son is very exciting, but we’re also nervous! 

We didn’t hide the idea of a new baby at all and actually told our son that I was expecting a baby the second we found out. While other parents may prefer to wait a few months, I did discuss this with my husband and we both decided it would be okay to tell our son early on. Looking back, I have no regrets and think that has helped him understand the process as a whole. However, I am now at the point where I have to help him make the distinction between ‘a baby is coming’ and ‘a baby is here’.

Remember… my son is only 3 1/2 years old. He does understand that mommy is having a baby, but I think he’s somewhere in between total comprehension mixed with a touch of confusion over how’real’ this is going to turn out in the end. I’ve done a lot of preparing, research, and consideration of how to make this a memorable and loving experience for both of my children. Here’s what we have been doing, tips we will start implementing this month, and ideas on how to keep everyone included and happy when introducing baby!


Prepare Through Perspective

While you’re in the hospital, your toddler is probably going to be much more interested in what is going to happen to him instead of what’s happening to you. While it is of course important to tell your child that you will be in the hospital for a few days and doctors will take care of you, I am trying to remember the perspective of my 3-year-old. Of course he cares about what mom is doing, but he is also a toddler and much more concerned about whether or not his toys will come along for the hospital adventure.

Tell your child(ren) what the plan is for their days while you are at the hospital. Stress how much fun he will have playing with grandma while they wait to hear news about his new brother or sister. Mention the crayons and coloring books that he will have to color and cookies that grandma wants to bake. Remind him that he is going to have a great time while you are at the hospital, but how much you will look forward to his visits. Encourage your significant other or relatives to bring your child to the hospital as much as possible for sibling visits so that you aren’t bringing a stranger home. Let your children become well acquainted early on. 


Happy Homecoming for Everyone

This is a time for your new baby to enjoy the spotlight, but try to make everyone feel equally important. Try to avoid talking about your homecoming as if it is just for baby. Be sure to acknowledge that this is a homecoming for the entire family to celebrate coming together again with your newest addition. 


Conversing for Baby

Help your child interact and socialize with his new sibling by explaining what the baby is thinking. Tell your child how much the new baby enjoys when he holds his finger tight, or thinks its fun to see him playing with his toys! Help your child(ren) see the new baby as a ‘real’ person by being the translator and tool of communication between the two as they both strive to develop a relationship. Even though your new baby cannot talk or communicate early on, it is important to try and speak for the baby so the siblings gain a strong relationship from the beginning.

Special Big Brother Clipart


Gifting for All

Anyone that has a younger sibling knows how it goes: new baby is born, new baby get gifts, older children are left sitting in the background bored out of their minds. I have two younger brothers and remember how it felt to see both of them receive the attention as I felt left out. I was only 4 and 6 years old when they were born, so I was vulnerable to overwhelming emotions that left me feeling sad and out of the loop with my family. 

Don’t count on your friends and family members to include your child(ren) in the celebration and excitement of a new baby. Wrap up a handful of small gifts and keep them handy for situations that call for a little bit of extra attention for your toddler and/or other child(ren). Your new baby will be showered with gifts and love from friends, so don’t let the jealousy and sibling rivalry begin so soon!

You don’t need to spend a lot – think "stocking stuffers". We’ve set aside a handful of gifts for our son that are all valued under $20.00. Two Christmas gifts were delivered late last week, so I have reserved those toys for the hospital visit with my son. I’ve purchased ‘big brother’ books and t-shirts to read (and wear) with my son the night before I had to the hospital, too.

I went out and spent less than $10.00 on crayons and new coloring books, which he will receive (one at a time) as guests stop by and throw attention on the new baby. We did purchase one larger item ($45.00), which we will give our son on ‘homecoming’ day. How much you spend and what you decide to buy is up to you. We have tried to purchase gifts for our son that will help him feel like he is involved and his help is needed as he transforms into the big brother role! 


Share Your Time

This has been one of my biggest concerns ever since I found out that I was pregnant with my second child. My little boy has received undivided attention from mom and dad ever since he was born (April 2009). He’s spoiled, constantly has all eyes on him, and attention is always (and only) on his needs and wants. How am I going to give my son all of the attention that he is used to receiving while trying to hold, feed, care for, and tend to our newborn babies needs?

Newborns require a lot of maintenance and love, so it seems virtually impossible to say that I can realistically divide my attention throughout the day to make sure everyone feels the same amount of love. I don’t want to overrun myself into the ground, so I’ve thought of a few simple things that I can do to ensure my son gets attention while I am feeding or changing the baby. It’ll be easy enough to hold the baby bottle while reading a book to my son (ask your toddler to hold the book and flip pages as ‘mommy’s helper’). I can also hold a conversation with my son about his favorite toys while changing diapers, too. Keeping an open ear and at least listening or talking back will show my son that I am here — and I am listening. 


Daddy, daddy, daddy!

Since I am a stay-at-home mom, I am used to playing mom and dad during the day. However, I am going to take 100% of the attention that my son has received and divide it in half as the new baby requires a lot of care and attention. As much as mom can push and divide her attention during the day so that all children are included, it’s obvious that she will need to spend more time with the new baby. It’s important that the older child(ren) don’t feel left out as they lose some of moms attention, so dad will have to step in at night and takeover in her absence. 

My son is already latching onto daddy (big time) at night and seems to think that mommy is boring (that’s not cool!). I am tired (all of the time) and a little grumpier than usual (just a little though!), so my son has already been showing a lot of excitement and much more enthusiasm over daddy than mommy. Mom should reserve one-on-one dates with the older child(ren) and dad should set aside time for the new baby, too. However, we will make sure that my husband brings our son on fun father/son outings while I am home taking care of the new baby.

We will make it a juggling act with a 1-on-1 ratio at all times. Since we have two adults and two kids, mom will have all attention on one child while dad cares for the other. Of course this won’t be how things will always go, but it’ll have to work during the first few weeks while baby requires an overwhelming amount of attention. Since our new baby is being born in January, I can’t start family outings for a few weeks (at least). This is why it’ll be important for dad to take our toddler OUT while I stay home and care for our newborn indoors. 


We’re a Family, Inc.

Super Sister Clipart Superman While your new baby is receiving all of the attention, your other child(ren) may start to feel neglected and not as special as his new sibling. Extend any compliments received to your other children and talk about "the family" as opposed to "the baby". You have a new addition to your family, which is very exciting, but don’t let your toddler overhear friends or passerby’s compliment the ‘beautiful baby" without acknowledging that she has a "beautiful and proud big brother, too!".


Teach Those Talents!

Your toddler won’t know how to bridge the gap or relate to anything that your newborn is doing. He likely doesn’t realize (just yet) that the baby is going to grow and become an active, playing, and talking family member. For now, I am sure my toddler is going to think of the baby just as she is – a baby. Ask your child(ren) if they would like to teach the baby to do all of those things that he is good at — in a few months/years, of course! 

Last week I told my son that his baby sister won’t know how to walk, draw, sit up, or color in the lines. "Do you think you can help mommy out and show her how to use crayons?", I asked my spunky and excited little boy. His response, "… only if she knows how to share", started a great conversation about how I would also love if she learned how to share with his help. He’s a great artist, very creative, and loves sports. All of his talents passed on and taught to his little sister would make mom and dad very proud! Plus, I loved watching him smile as he felt very special that I was actually asking him to use his talents to teach his sister!

 

Do you have any other tips to share with me as I prepare to introduce my son to his new sister this month? Leave a comment below and help me figure out what else I can do to make this a smooth, happy, and exciting experience for everyone!

 

 

Birth Plans For Dummies Book: Create a Baby Birth Plan Pregnancy Book

 Birth Plans For Dummies Book

Birth Plans For Dummies Book Review


Birth Plans For Dummies is an easy and trusted way to develop a birth plan for expectant moms. There’s a lot of information available and sometimes pregnancy and labor can be quite overwhelming and scary. Luckily, I have access to this ultimate resource guide to help me understand, develop, and implement a plan for the birth of my little girl.

Delivery is much more complicated than choosing between vaginal or caesarean section. Expectant mothers can find all of the information and options for labor and delivery to be stressful and complicated, which is why Birth Plans For Dummies is such an important and resourceful guide!

Birthing Plans Hospital Delivery

Now that we’ve reached December, I am getting very (VERY) close to my due date and have to start considering my options. My due date is on January 26, 2013 and I couldn’t be happier. Even though this is my second pregnancy, I can tell you that things do change and memories do fade. I’ve had to brush up on everything from remembering what foods I can and can’t drink, symptoms and how to relieve them, and now I am at a point where it is vital that I construct a birthing plan. 

There wasn’t exactly a "plan" set in place during my first pregnancy. I did all the research that I thought was necessary and decided to of course go with a vaginal delivery. I had no medical complications standing in my way or reasons to consider other avenues that were available at the time. We waited until my water broke (10 days late, by the way) and headed to the hospital. My son decided to lay on his umbilical cord after 13-hours of labor, which resulted in both of our heart rates and blood pressure levels reaching near death.

Labor Exercise Contractions

While my plan was intended for a normal vaginal delivery, I was rushed into an emergency c-section and met my little boy moments later. I learned that no matter what you intend to happen in life – always have a backup plan. Even though I couldn’t predict an emergency c-section, I never thought of devising a backup plan that would mentally prepare me for a situation such as mine. 

Since I am 33-weeks pregnant, I have scheduled a c-section delivery for my little girl on January 22nd. I’ve decided to do my research this time around – even though I have a pretty set-in-stone plan to casually walk into the hospital in 6-weeks and undergo surgery. Anything can happen, so I am going to make sure that I have weighed all of my options, understand the complications, and know what to do if my plan decides to change. 

Pregnancy Labor Day Joke

Birth Plan:  The birth plan is a list of your preferences to be used as a guide for how you would like your labor and delivery to go. It is a communication tool used for expectant mothers and all those involved in the delivery of a child to understand and explain the mother’s preferences for labor and delivery. As labor can be unpredictable, you should create a backup plan and understand other options available.Birthing Plans Book Labor

With so many methods, options, strategies, and techniques available for labor and delivery, it is very important for an expectant mother to understand what each entails and how complications can lead to a change in plans. Birth Plans For Dummies covers all of these issues and more, including instructions on how to write your birth plan and put it into action! 

** You can also download the first chapter for free to see what this book is all about before buying it! Birth Plans For Dummies’ Chapter 1 – Creating a Birth Plan: What It’s All About is currently available as a PDF sample chapter. Learn more about how to buy Birth Plans For Dummies below!*


Here is a list of various chapters/topics discussed:

♦ Creating a Birth Plan: What It’s All About 

♦ OB-GYN, Family Practitioners, Midwives, Oh My! 

♦ Leaving Home for a Hospital or Birth Center

♦ Natural Methods for Soothing Your Mind and Body 

♦ Helping the Baby Out: Interventions for Vaginal Birth

♦ Cesarean Section: Yes, You Have Options

♦ Nourishing Your BabyBirthing Plans Dummies Book

♦ Writing Your Birth Plan

♦ Allowing for Flexibility in Your Birth Plan and Recover

♦ Ten Ways to Preserve Birth Memories


Mama Says...

Buy It!

Head on over to the official For Dummies Store to learn more about Birth Plans For Dummies! This book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Plan, Apple iBooks, Kobo, and many other online and offline retailers in your area.

* Download and read a sample chapter from the book: Chapter 1 – Creating a Birth Plan: What It’s All About 


Disclosure Policy Review

 

 

 

10 Things I Learned About Being Pregnant During My 2nd Pregnancy 101

10 Things Learned About Being Pregnant Pregnancy

… because I learned more about being pregnant

during my 2nd pregnancy!

Now that there are only [gasp] 45 days left until my little girl is born, I wanted to start wrapping up my feelings about being pregnant. This just might be the last time I am pregnant, which I am VERY bittersweet in dealing with at this moment. I am hoping there isn’t a breakdown in February when it all comes full-circle and I realize I will NEVER again have a belly, or will I accept it without any regrets? No, I am not tying my tubes, but my husband and I have always said that we only wanted two children. I refuse to tie my tubes for personal reasons as I am a true believer of "never say never" and "you never know", so I won’t say this IS my last pregnancy, but chances are very high. 

One thing that I can say is the experts are dead on when they say that not one pregnancy will be identical (or even similar) to another. I have seen two VERY different pregnancies and cannot believe the extreme differences in symptoms and overall experiences. It’s amazing. Truly!


 #1 Each pregnancy is unique and expect nothing to be the same.

Whatever you knew about your previous pregnancy(s) – throw it out the window and forget all about it. If you have been keeping track of my pregnancy updates over the past few months, you should know that my first pregnancy was a landslide compared to the last few months. I have experienced horrible 1st trimester symptoms, which of course continued on through my 2nd trimester

Walk into your next pregnancy pretending to know nothing about how marvelous round one turned out to be, or how lucky you were to avoid morning sickness. Don’t think for one second that THIS pregnancy is going to be just like your girlfriends or neighbors told you it would be. It’s cool to watch shows like "A Baby Story" on TLC, but don’t assume that your pregnancy, labor, or delivery will assume the same patterns or similarities to those women.

This is YOUR body, YOUR baby, and YOUR reaction to pregnancy.

This is your time to create your own baby story, so start off with pregnancy on a clean slate. Both of my pregnancies have been complete opposites, which I have summarized below. Whatever I knew about my pregnancy with my son 4-years ago has not happened this time around. Honestly, I wish I had believed ‘them’ when they said that each pregnancy would be vastly different from the next. I didn’t think it would be dramatically different, but I was very wrong.

#2 It’s OKAY to lose control and expect less of yourself. 

Pregnancy Fat Months Quotes

I say this as I bite my tongue (very hard) because I fought myself a lot during the first two trimesters of this pregnancy. As someone that relies on her work (MamaNYC and other various projects) to keep my mind and sanity in a ‘happy place’, I wasn’t able to do the work that I wanted — and it pissed me off. I was VERY sick during the first 4-5 months and didn’t care about what I would have to go through to make sure the work was done.

I don’t like to use the ‘pregnancy excuse’ as many (MANY) pregnant women LOVE to do. I’ve always been independent, reliable, and hardworking. Having to turn down work killed me and I never said NO. Things became very difficult for me to do and I had to teach myself that there’s always tomorrow and there’s always going to be someone that understands this isn’t easy. On the same note, I also had plenty of fantastic folks that didn’t care too much. Deadlines had to be met and there was no excuse for turning work in late.

 

Anyone that knows me well can tell you I will wake up at 5am just to make sure I can meet a noon deadline. My schedule was insane and consisted of VERY late nights and VERY early mornings prior to this pregnancy. I would wake up around 5am and work until my son rolled out of bed around 10/11am. Thereafter, I would stop in to check emails and put together posts quickly if my son was playing alone, watching a movie, or enjoying your basic downtime midday. Otherwise, I would wait until bedtime and work well into the wee morning hours, which meant less than 4-5 hours of sleep. I did this without thinking twice — but of course a few cups of coffee!

Stretch Marks Pregnancy Quotes

Now I am barely able to stay awake without a nap every 3-4 hours, which is no easy feat for a stay-at-home pregnant mom! I discovered that my priorities and scheduling had to be changed up a bit in order to better accomodate my body. If the blog and other projects had to be put on hold – so be it.

Letting go and realizing that you can’t do it all is very difficult, but we are lucky enough to do what we can – when we can – and how we can. Don’t push too hard when your body says STOP. Listen to your body and don’t ignore when it tells you to relax. People will (hopefully) understand and the work will be there for you to complete when you are ready. 

#3 You will never be comfortable. Delete that word from your vocabulary!

You can buy pillows for your body and belly. They’ll help, but don’t expect to ever feel 110% comfortable and relaxed. The best thing you will feel is ‘okay’. There is always going to be something irritating, bothering, twitching, rubbing, and sucking the life out of your bones. Do your best to feel comfortable, but don’t think that you can ever achieve extreme relaxation until delivery has come, gone, and your body has healed. 

#4 You ARE crazy – it isn’t "them"!

Do you know how everyone else is wrong, inconsiderate, and WRONG (Did I say that twice?) while you are PMS’ing? Imagine all of that going on for 9-months. I realized that I just have to start saying, "I know I am likely wrong because I am pregnant, but…". It has saved me a lot of fights and bickering with the husband since I can provide a prelude to my insanity as a pre-apology and excuse for sounding like an idiot!

#5 You are going to forget your name, basic math, and how to spell. 

This was a big issue for me during my first pregnancy since I was a full-time college student. I am now thanking my LUCKY stars that I decided to take a Graduate school hiatus for 2012 because my grades would have been terrible. I’ve forgotten how to add (BASIC MATH!), percentages, spell, and structure a proper grammatically correct sentence (I can only imagine how many errors are in this blog post!). My memory is shot. As someone that is usually a stickler for grammar, spelling, and calculating in my mind — I gave up on trying to sound like I know what I am talking about. I’ll sharpen up again as soon as my little girl is born, but until then – I am glad to know that my name is on my New York State Photo Identification Card!

#6 There is NO such thing as a pregnancy "glow", so don’t bother looking for it… 

I tried to find this thing that they call the "pregnancy glow" during my first pregnancy, but it never came. I thought that it just forgot to stop by, so I kept an eye out for it this time around. Nothing… weird, huh? Everyone will say that you look beautiful. 

#7 There will ALWAYS be something to worry about. 

If I told you that you wouldn’t worry every single moment throughout your pregnancy, I would be lying. Not a minute goes by during the 9-months of pregnancy when I don’t feel anxiety over what I am eating, drinking, whether or not the baby is moving, etc. The motherhood worrying and panicing begins now, so use this time to prepare yourself for many more years of anxiety. This is only the beginning!

Pregnancy Planned Quote

#8 Some pregnancies will last forever, but others will happen in a heartbeat.

My first pregnancy lasted for 9-years and I am not exaggerating (maybe a little!). It seemed to go on, and on, and on, and on. There was NO end in sight and I also couldn’t look back in time and remember a time when I wasn’t pregnant. This second pregnancy has flown by and I cannot believe it is almost over! I think that my second pregnancy has gone by very quickly because I have experienced pregnancy (and learned that it DOES come to an end!) and also have a 3-year-old boy to keep me VERY busy.

I’ve always said that my 9-months of pregnancy went by very slowly, but the first 9-months of my sons life FLEW by. How did he turn 9-months old overnight when I had previously spent 9-months, which felt like an eternity, while I was pregnant with him? It was amazing to see how fast 9-months would go by with my son HERE versus pregnancy. Ever since I discovered that time goes by much faster with a child around, I realized it is important to enjoy every waking moment creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Now if I could only figure out how to slow down my second pregnancy… (No! I am NOT ready for this!)

#9 No one else can feel or see the baby kicking and moving, so don’t waste your time.

I dealt with this during my first pregnancy and it made me crazy! Every single time I would feel my son kick or see him move left to right inside of my belly, I would grab my husbands hand and.. NOTHING. He would look at me like I was insane. My son did a LOT of moving and it was very visible from the outside of my belly, but my husband was never able to feel for himself (and so he thought that I was nuts, clearly).

I haven’t asked him to feel fetal movements in my belly at all during this second pregnancy. It’s just something I have grown to accept! He DID feel her kick a few weeks ago and jumped in surprise. It was his first time feeling a baby inside of my belly and he was glad to feel a kick, but said it was creepy (as a man would!!!). He has listened to her heartbeat with our at-home fetal monitor, but movements – it has literally come down to accepting the fact that she will kick like CRAZY when my hands are on my belly, but the SECOND she ‘knows’ dad has his hands on my belly – all movement STOPS. 

On the contrary, I cannot keep my son away from my belly. He’s been laying on my stomach, holding, kissing, and talking to his sister ever since we told him that mommy was having a baby. She goes WILD when he is near and it is the cutest thing ever! She definitely knows when her big brother is around or touching my stomach. He SHOULD have felt her moving thousands of times, but I don’t think he understands that it is a baby kicking when my stomach moves. You win some; you lose some!

#10 Read all of the books that you want to read. Clean all of the counters that you want to clean. You will STILL be miles away from ‘Ready’ when baby arrives!

I say this with the utmost respect for my fellow nesters and all of the baby books published in the world, but nothing will prepare you for what is about to happen. Of course it helps – absolutely! However, I realized when my son was born that everything that I thought I knew about infants and parenting wasn’t going to help on this motherhood mission that I was about to embark on for the rest of my life. It did provide a great deal of support and assistance so that I could know what to do in certain situations, but motherly instincts are all that matter at the end of the day.

It’s a crazy concept to swallow for anyone that hasn’t had a chance to experience motherhood yet, but it is real! Just as they say you will love this baby (unconditionally) from the moment you lay your eyes on his, I learned that even though I had NO experience as a mother and my baby resume included mild babysitting for neighbors and two younger brothers (which were babies in very early-90’s), I suddenly knew exactly what to do and how to do it. 

On the other hand, I also realized that everything that the books had told me about what to expect wasn’t exactly how it would play out at all. Just as every pregnancy is unique, so are infants and each child will provide a brand new slew of expectations and issues. Our first night home was a nightmare (I may or may not have considered returning him to wherever he came from) and I couldn’t believe THIS was something that we ‘asked for’. Did people seriously have kids just so they could pull all-nighters with a crying baby on their shoulder? Luckily, I was able to get my son on an amazing schedule his 2nd night home and he’s been a fantastic sleeper ever since!

Winnie the Pooh Adventure Quotes

We also did a lot of preparing and cleaning prior to my sons arrival, which didn’t help at all. The moment my son was home – the messes began and haven’t stopped ever since. You can (and should) clean before baby arrives, but don’t think it’s "ready" for ‘life’. You are going to wakeup in the morning to find bottles strewn all over your kitchen and powdered formula covering your stovetop and counters. There will always be a mess when baby is around. You will always need to buy more, clean more, organize more, dust more, sanitize more, sterilize more…

Prepare yourself, but your job will never be done. Stock up on as many diapers, wipes, cleaning supplies, and other goodies that you will need for baby. Always keep an eye on your inventory and restock when it is halfway through to empty. Read your parenting books and enjoy parenting articles online, but always try and read a chapter ahead, or a milestone into the future. Know what your baby is going to do next before it happens. Don’t sit around and wait for your baby to start teething to learn about pain remedies. Do your research before it happens — and you’ll be happy you did when she starts teething at 4am on a Friday night! 


SUMMARIZING PREGNANCIES:

Pregnancy #1 (2008-2009):

Conception took approximately 6-7 months, but very inconsistent and ‘no pressure’ attitude. We weren’t TRYING, but we weren’t AVOIDING. We both wanted a baby, but figured it would happen if it was supposed to happen — and it did. Found out we were pregnant in September 2008 only due to a missed period. I did have ONE day of nausea throughout this entire pregnancy, which actually occurred 3-days prior to a positive pregnancy test, so I didn’t even know it was a pregnancy symptom. I blamed the poor Chinese restaurant in our area!

Symptoms were light and easy. I wondered why I didn’t have that "morning sickness" that they talked about. Was I seriously pregnant? Why wasn’t I sick? The biggest worries that I had during my first pregnancy were…

extreme lethargy (mostly because I also have a severe form of anemia);

hunger (I had to eat constantly – no exaggeration!);

fweight gain because of the hunger (I packed on a LOT of weight. You wouldn’t recognize me at all!);

heartburn (only during the last 5-6 weeks; this was the worst part as it kept me up all hours of the night crying);

bone pressure & pain (very severe since my son was very low in my belly; pressure in the private areas can be extreme!). 

Looking back, I had a VERY easy pregnancy. I was home all by myself from months 6-9 due to being forced out of my employment because of pregnancy discrimination. All I did was sleep, relax, and watch television from February until the very end of April when my son was [finally] born 10-days late.

I grew antsy and frustrated towards the end as the heartburn flared up into a severe case of "OH-MY-GOD-HELP-ME-NOW" (yep) and the pressure down ‘below’ became difficult to cope with, but that was nothing. All of those symptoms were a blessing and simply a fact of pregnancy. I had it very easy and took it all for granted.

Pregnancy #2 (2012-2013): 

Where do I begin…?

Conception took just about the same amount of time as our first pregnancy. Although we were actually trying to conceive this time around, I knew it would take just as long (if not longer) since.. well, it wasn’t so easy for us to have alone time since we are no longer alone. Having a (then) 2-year-old boy running around isn’t a simple task when you are trying to conceive. Oh, you’re ovulating? Too bad! Your toddler wants to finger paint and go to the park. We started trying around August/September 2011 and officially became pregnant around late-April/early-May 2012, so it was maybe 2-months longer than our first time around with our son.

We found out we were pregnant when I had a VERY unusually tired tired with absolutely NO energy at all. Even though I have severe anemia, I am normally awake around 6am and can go until 2am with less than 4-5 hours of sleep. Suddenly I wanted to sleep ALL DAY — and I did. My husband went straight to the pharmacy for a pregnancy test and voila!

Symptoms have been severe and horrific. Everything that I knew and learned about pregnancy from past experiences went straight out the window. I’ve had the same symptoms as last time – tenfold. I’ve been sick, nauseas, and tired nearly every single day since week 8 and good days are few and far between. The symptoms during this second pregnancy include all of those that were faced back in my first pregnancy and more:

extreme lethargy (except this time around I can’t sleep 18-hours a day because I am also a SAHM watching a 3-year-old boy);

heartburn (since very early on 2nd trimester; not as severe – yet, but consistent); 

bone pressure & pain (severe pain since mid-2nd trimester; growing in severity, but more lower back & sciatic pain);

nausea (very extreme and consistent since conception – basically!); 

high blood pressure (1st trimester-early 2nd; adding to feelings of stress, anxiety, etc.);

severe migraines (weeks 8-25; likely due to high BP earlier on, but extreme and killing my ability to function);