Thursday, October 31, 2013

From the Interwebs: "Teach Me How to Breastfeed"

I posted this on the Facebook page a while back, but it's worth reposting! I love how informative AND funny this video is, plus the song is super catchy.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Guest Post: "Henry Louis' Birth"

I was told on Monday that my OB does not "allow" pregnancies to go beyond 42 weeks, and while this wasn't news to me it made me antsy because my first son was so eager to be here he came rushing out the day after his due date. This one was more than content on staying put.

Induction was set for 730am Friday. My waters broken at 9:18am and I was told there was meconium in the fluids. This altered my plans for intermittent monitoring. I would now be hooked up to wireless fetal heart rate monitors that would dictate the remainder of my labor. My contractions came on strong and hard, piggy-backing 2 and sometimes 3 without a break in between.  I was checked at 11am and found to be at only 5cm, they began talks of pitocin and augmentation of labor. This jumped my BP up and I began to panic. I remembered from all my readings, especially Ina May's words, fear and panic are the worst enemies of progression in labor. So I dug down, and found my mantra, "OOOOOPENNNNN".

After being checked again at 1:45 I was found at 7+ fully effaced and baby was at 0 station - here's what I had been dreading - transition. I knew it would be painful, but I didn't know it would be so short this time!! At 2:22pm I brought my son Henry Earthside in two pushes with the guidance of my midwife, husband and mother. He was born perfectly healthy, APGAR of 9, 7lbs even 21.5 inches long. And every once a little gentleman.

It may not have been my ideal way to go into birth, and the start of labor shocked my body so that my contractions were honestly way more painful than that of a naturally progressing labor, but it was short sweet and to the point! I labored for 5 hours 4 mins with no augmentation (other than AROM) no tearing, no medical interventions or drugs. I'm a birth Amazon 😁

This post was written by Megan from CT. She previously worked in healthcare but is now a SAHM to her two little boys. She plans to be a certified doula by the end of 2014 and her life goal is to become an independent midwife and attend home births. You can find out more about Megan at her blog.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Join me on Kiwi Crate! Monthly gifts for your child to do crafts and learn while having fun!

In case anyone has toddlers/preschoolers at home! Every month you get a themed box with crafts and learning activities for your kids, my guy loves them!

We EACH get $10 off if you sign up with my link! I figured I'd share here since I know a bunch of us have some older babies at home.

DISCLAIMER: I am not affiliated with Kiwi Crate in any way, nor am I getting compensated for sharing this here (other than the aforementioned $10 we each get by signing up). I just really like their products, as does my 2 year old :)

Please CLICK HERE to get your $10 off your Kiwi Crate box!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A vent about the "Mommy Wars"

So tired of the freaking mommy wars!!!! 

I know someone whose infant twins are fed breastmilk (she's exclusively pumps because they won't latch, as some preemies tend to do) and formula to supplement. The formula isn't agreeing with them, so she's asking in preemie mom groups, multiples mom groups, etc for suggestions and they're all just giving her sh*t for formula feeding!!!!

I'm all for EBF, and ideally every child would be EBF! But sometimes it can't happen!!! Where's the support for the women that are doing their best and HAVE to supplement as a last resort??? I had horribly low supply and tried EVERYTHING I could think of, and I was able to BF until 9 months but supplemented all the while because the pediatrician was scared that my son was failing to thrive. I cried and suffered so much, but I got no support ANYWHERE. One set of people gave me hell for still insisting on BFing, and the other set gave me hell for "succumbing" to formula, as if I wanted to! 

Ridiculous that even among women that SHOULD understand her, all she gets is judgment. If she were making the amount of milk she's getting (almost a liter a day!!!!!!) with a singleton, she'd be GOLDEN. But because its twins, everyone feels compelled to judge because she's not making enough and needs to feed her children.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Disney While Pregnant

I'm a bit obsessed with Disney World and try to go often, since I'm in relatively close proximity. Earlier this year, we took our then-19 month old son for his first time, along with my then VERY pregnant sister. Not just pregnant, but pregnant with twins! I put together this video with some tips based on what she did while on the trip to keep comfortable and have the best possible time.

If anyone has any other tips, I'd love to hear them!

In case you can't see the video above, you can see it directly on YouTube here.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Guest Post: "A Story of Strength: Know Your Options"

Hello, my name is Brittney Horn and this is my birth story.

I am a 27 year old stay at home mother to one amazingly smart 3 year old little girl. I am married to the love of my life, TJ. We have been together for nine years, married for five. One year into our marriage, we decided to try for our first child. First time was a charm for us. We got pregnant right off the bat but my first trimester was extremely hard on me due to the nausea. Was in and out of the hospital getting iv fluids to maintain hydration. I couldn't hold water down. Second trimester was amazing! Loved it! Then the third trimester hit.

I had just started my 34th week of pregnancy, on our way home from the hospital tour and as we approached a green light, the car in front of us locked his brakes. We had to do the same resulting in my seatbelt tightening around my stomach.  Later that night I felt pain, didn't think anything of it. 

During the night, the pain got worse. I got up the next morning, got ready for work and went about my normal day, with continued pain. After four hours at work, I drove myself across town to the hospital where they said I was in preterm labor with contractions less than two minutes apart. I was dilated to one cm. After what seemed like forever, I was sent home on bed rest. The next five days were just a repeat. Labor starting and being stopped. 

Fast forward almost six weeks to five days before my due date. At exactly midnight my water broke. I didn't want to be sent home from the hospital again so I allowed my husband to sleep while I paced the house and sat on my birthing ball for five and a half hours. I then woke him up and off to the hospital we went. Once there, the rest of my water broke. At 3 cm I was taken to get an epidural. My contractions were about one minute apart. The anesthesiologist missed the first epidural. Second one was a success until the pump they had me on died. I started feeling my legs, third epidural on its way along with pitocin. Neither worked because by that time I was stuck at 8cm, my daughter flipped her head and was stuck in the birth canal. My temperature starting skyrocketing and I couldn't stop shaking. The doctor said emergency c section and I saw 5 nurses and 3 doctors running in. 

It was such a rush to the operating room. Once placed on the table and drape was up, I was crying for my husband whom they said was getting in his coverups. After a few minutes of prep, the doctor informed me that they couldn't wait and were going to do the first cut. He did so and I about flew off the table. It was like I had absolutely no pain meds or anything on board. I screamed and the last thing I remember was the doctor yelling stop, she feels it, she needs to go under. 

At 6:55 pm on February 21st 2010 our beautiful daughter, Audrey Lynn was born weighing in at 7lbs 5oz, 20 and a quarter inches in length. She was pulled out by her right foot due to being stuck in my birth canal. I woke up eight hours later on a sleep apnea machine. I never heard my girls first cries, I never got to feed her her first meal or change her first diaper. Thank God my husband was there to do all of that. Having my daughter was a true blessing, just wish I could remember the most important parts of it. I refuse to go back to that hospital and I am now researching midwives and doulas. My husband and I are trying for our second child and I want nothing more than to have her/him naturally. With C-Sections growing by the day, we all need to know what our options are. I now know that I have other options and I hope to be able to use a better one for our second child. 
Thank you for reading my long story. Its not easy for me to talk about.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Dollar Store and Target Haul for Toddler Activities

What do you do with your young children instead of tv time? Any tips on other activities I could do with the stuff I got? Thanks!

In case you can't see the video above, you can see it directly on YouTube here.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Guest Post - "Heartache and Hope; Sara-Marie's Story"

We conceived our first child by complete accident. I had been told by doctors and specialists that I may never conceive due to scar tissue on my uterus, so to find out after only being with my (then boyfriend) fiancé for a few months I was so shocked. We had used protection but it failed. After a rough pregnancy first daughter was born vaginally 9 months later in July of 2010 at 41 weeks.

Several months after our first was born I had the Mirena IUD put in. A few months later I had pregnancy symptoms, so to calm my nerves took an at home test... positive. We immediately called the doctors office. They couldn't get me in for a week... Within 24 hours I started cramping and had my first miscarriage. I saw my doctor and had the IUD removed, as now my body was trying to reject it and I had a very unpleasant internal infection... 

About a year or so after our first was born, and only a few months after the IUD nightmare, we decided to try for baby 2. A few months later, a late period, a positive test. Called the doctor. Within 12 hours I started cramping. Second miscarriage. Heart break. This happened 2 more times, bringing my miscarriage total to 4. I demanded every test possible be run to find out why I wasn't carrying past 8 weeks... Turns out I had MRSA, a real pain in the arse type of staph infection that I most likely picked up at the hospital after having my first daughter. More antibiotics. That was November 2011.

Now we're at January 2012. We stopped trying because my heart was still so broken from my 4 losses. I started thinking I might be pregnant again, even though we weren't trying, but wasn't about to get my hopes up again. I got a call from an old friend of mine that week... Another friend I'd grown up with and was close with for 16 years unexpectedly passed away. More heartache. His funeral was in a week. 3 days after the phone call I decided I needed to take a pregnancy test as I was late and had enough to deal with. I figured I was just under a lot of stress. Positive. Great. 3 days after that I went to my friends funeral. I was a wreck. Emotional. Preparing for another miscarriage and saying goodbye to someone I'd seen as family and loved very much. After we got home I called the doctors office, preparing for the telltale cramping to start within 24 hours. Nothing. Went to my doctor and had an ultrasound set up. I was still prepared for the worst. We told no one at this point.

When we went in, we saw a heart fluttering in a little black sack... I couldn't believe it. 5 weeks and 6 days along... Scheduled another ultrasound for about 2 months later along with reoccurring hcg monitoring. Up, up, up. Next ultrasound. Saw her body and little limbs and a strong heart. We were finally having our second baby! At 37 weeks and 4 days I was rushed in for an emergency cesarean. Turned out her umbilical was wrapped around her stomach, shoulder and almost doubled around her neck and was strangling her with every contraction I had. The c-section, and the quick choice of the OB-GYN saved her life. We had our second beautiful daughter in September 2012.

We decided we wanted to wait a few years before trying one more time for a boy. We set August 2015 for our wedding and decided after that would be perfect to try again. 4 months after my second daughter was born a friend brought me into the hospital. I was so dizzy and sick I couldn't walk... So I gave a urine sample, had some blood taken and we waited. As it was late at night they had to phone the doctor to come in. He arrived and came right in. He looked me right in the face, and all calmly and nonchalant he explains to us that there are 3 things going on that could be causing my symptoms. My lymphocytes were elevated, I'm pregnant, and my white blood cell count is high. Umm... Okay... Wait... What?! What was that second thing?! My period wasn't even due to start for approximately 2 days... At the earliest!! Blood work confirmed a few weeks later that I was around 5 weeks. 

At 19 weeks I had severe cramping, I had the runs and was vomiting with contractions. I went to the hospital. I felt like I was in labour. To my horror I was told I was miscarrying, even though baby's heart was strong and I could feel his kicks. The doctor wouldn't even bother to come in and see me. I was told to go home and let it progress. There was nothing they could do. I was beyond devastated... I drove over 2 hours to get to my home town and see my usual doctor. I went to the emergency since it was after hours, where I was rushed for an ultrasound and hooked to IV fluids. Baby was doing just fine. No miscarriage, just severe food poisoning from a steak most likely... Talk about a roller-coaster of emotion... Relief. Anger. Resentment. Frustration. But I'm now 30 weeks with an active little boy. I will be having a scheduled cesarean early November 2013 and having my tubes removed at the same time.

It's been quite the road. Going from believing I'll never be able to have kids, losing 4, and soon to be a mother of 3 beautiful children. If its taught me anything, it's that anything is possible and to not give up. Things happen for a reason, even if that reason isn't clear.

Sara-Marie describes herself as a fluffy stay at home momma of two gorgeous little girls, Madison and Miley, (her M&M's), and a little boy, Lane, on the way. Born and raised in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Sketching people and painting landscapes are two of her favorite hobbies, but most of all, she loves being a mom, friend, and (soon to be official!) wife! You can check out Sara-Marie's sketches at her website.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Guest Post: "Gestational Diabetes"

"Look around the room.  You are not alone!  There are many other moms going through exactly the same thing,"  the movie comforted.  I had to laugh.  This would have been more comforting if I wasn't the only one in the Gestational Diabetes educational meeting.  There was one other pregnant woman who was supposed to attend but she got a flat tire, they told me.

I didn't know much about GD except that I didn't want it.  I had to switch my Ob/Gyn when we moved from Buffalo to CT, and at my first appointment with the new Ob/Gyn, they gave me the slip for the infamous Glucose Tolerance Test.  Of course, I googled my way through the information on the test from fasting a full day before to sitting completely still during the test.  The most important advice was from a mom saying that there is no sense in trying to "trick" the test, one way or another.    
Research shows that you are at an increased risk for GD if you have a strong family history of diabetes, you are non-white, you are overweight, or are older than 25 years old.  I have one family member with diabetes, but otherwise I considered myself to have a healthy diet and was keeping up with walking while pregnant.  When I found out that I tested slightly higher than the threshold set by my Ob/Gyn, I was crushed.  They gave me another slip to go for the three-hour glucose test.

When I found out that I tested slightly high again, I was devastated.  I felt guilty that I wasn't giving my perfect baby boy a healthy place to grow.  I felt like I let him down.  Most of all, I felt overwhelmed.  I was to attend the Diabetes clinic to learn about my diagnosis (this is where I watched my educational GD movie.)
Basically, the placenta and hormone madness of pregnancy interfere with the insulin's ability to process sugars.  If the baby gets too much sugar, they are at risk for health problems, including a difficult birth and high birth weight.  My Ob/Gyn took this very seriously and was not going to negotiate my treatment.  I was given a glucose monitor and finger pricks and was to check my sugars four times per day for 2 weeks and report them to the clinic.  I was given a strict diet and was instructed on how to count my carb intake.  At the time,  I couldn't imagine how I would do this during the workday.  
When I reported my sugars for the first week, the nutritionist told me that she thought I needed to start insulin.  What?  Why?  My fasting numbers (the morning numbers, the sugar levels you report after not eating for the entire night) were the high numbers.  These were the levels that could not be controlled by diet and exercise alone.  
My first reaction was to stop all carb intake, but this is not recommended as the baby needs carbs for proper growth and development.  I asked if I could wake up at 2 am and walk on the treadmill...would that help?  She said it might but that she would personally make sure that I would not do that.    
The nurse showed me how to inject insulin.  I assumed I would just use my thigh or arm.  No, you stick it in your belly.  I started to cry, and told her that that's where my baby was, as if I were carrying my baby differently than any other pregnant woman.  She reassured me that the baby couldn't feel anything.  It was not painful for me either, you just avoid the stretch mark areas and use a new area each time.  I did my injection before bed, but some people have to do them before meals as well.  
The kicker is that when you start insulin (at least in my Ob/Gyn practice), you have to come for Non-stress tests (NSTs) twice per week.  This is when they strap a monitor to your stomach and record the baby's heart rate as they move.  Of course if that baby is sleeping or inactive at that time, these can take a long time!  I brought cold water and a clementine to speed things up.  Otherwise they manually jiggle him around a bit or bang something loud to encourage movement, which I enjoyed much less.  I also had an ultrasound once per week to check the fluid levels and make sure Luke wasn't being affected in any way.  
I did not know much about diabetes.  I give people with diabetes who are working to control their sugar a lot of credit.  The counting of foods, the blood sugar pricking, that is not easy.  The silver lining?  Luke could not so much as make a funny face without the doctor recording it.  They had everything measured, monitored and tracked.  Nothing was going to go unseen with all of these appointments.  I also got to meet many wonderful people in the diabetes clinic that educated me, and was able to meet every doctor in the practice so that whoever delivered me was going to be a very familiar face.  Luke was not affected by the GD.  He was a perfect size and the delivery was (fairly) uneventful.  I also lost my pregnancy weight quickly since I was on such a strict diet.  
I had to repeat the glucose test 12 weeks postpartum.  The funny part was how my perspective changed.  Pre-Luke, I brought books with me and played with my phone during the testing.  Post-Luke, I enjoyed sitting and having a few hours of me time, even if it involved blood work and a terrible sugary drink.  I am so thankful that my postpartum blood work came back normal.  This is the case for many people with GD.  I am at a higher risk for GD for subsequent pregnancies and diabetes later in life, but if there is a next time, I'll be armed with much more information.  

I can share more about my actual diet if you are interested.  For now I would say:

1.  Be prepared when going out for meals.  One time I had a salad with tuna on top with no dressing and my sugar level SPIKED.  There must have been sugar in the tuna, something I did not anticipate, so explain your needs to the server.

2.  Try out Diabetes Lifestyle bread from Stop&Shop.  It has about the same amount of carbs as certain breads but must be processed differently in the body since it didn't cause a sugar spike.  I felt like it took too much experimentation to find foods that worked for me so I stuck with a routine diet and reminded myself that it was temporary (hopefully).

3.  I was SO AGAINST insulin injection even though I didn't know anything about it.  It felt like a medication that I didn't want my baby exposed to.  I felt like starting insulin meant that I had failed, that I tried to control everything with diet and exercise but couldn't.  In reality, do your best and then do what you gotta do.  I regret wasting any time or thought in self pity; this is for the baby!   Even when the nurse told me I had to start insulin, I said I needed to call my dad and check with him first.  I explained the appointment to him and he said "yes, take it, do what they say."  And I did.  I needed someone I trusted to "okay" the whole thing.  Not all medical professionals understand gestational diabetes to the same extent, and the thresholds for treatment seem to vary as well.  Make sure you trust your Ob/Gyn's judgement as this could become very serious if not treated.  Be aware that starting insulin does not mean you can relax and stop checking your sugars.  The placenta/hormone madness changes throughout the pregnancy as do the insulin needs.  Towards the end of my pregnancy, I dropped my insulin dose a few units each week because my sugar was getting too low (as directed by the Ob/Gyn).  Make sure you know the signs of low sugar and that you have an emergency dose of sugar (like juice) with you.

4.  Since I had just started my new job, I could only think about how I would check my sugars at work, how I would have my 15g of carbs spaced throughout the day while seeing patients, and how I would fit in my 2+ appointments per week.  I had to cut down to part time, and I had to speak to HR and my co-workers about taking time during the day to check sugars and eat my snacks.  I was so blessed to have an understanding employer and I realize not all offices make such accommodations for their employees.  My advice on this would be get everything in writing from your doctor and stay in open communication with HR/co-workers.  If your job cannot make accommodations, then you have have to make it work another way.  It's temporary (again, hopefully), and your baby's health depends on your compliance.

Please feel free to leave any GD questions or insight!  I was hesitant to share my experience but feel that it is worth it to be open if I can help even one person.

This website is helpful:

and I did not have this book but it seems informative:

***This is all written from experience only, I am not qualified to give medical advice on GD.  Ask your Ob/Gyn before doing anything!***

This is my blog editor, Luke.  

This post was reposted with permission by the original author, Lindsay Gill, momma to Luke. Please read more about Lindsay at her blog, Wedding Rings to Teething Rings.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Gestational Diabetes - Now What? (3/3)

So you've been told you have Gestational what happens?

Usually, the first line of treatment is a diet/meal plan. There is an example of one here. The thing about GD meal plans is that they make a great structure for what your diet should be like in pregnancy anyway! I am not saying "diet" as in "plan to lose weight", I mean "diet" as in "the food you take in". You're building a whole new body within your own, so it can't hurt to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. These will be the building blocks of someone else's (your baby's) entire organism! Just that thought was enough for me personally to start eating more whole foods and less processed junk.

It is also recommended hat one exercise daily, even a brisk walk after ever meal. Exercising increases the muscle tissue sensitivity to insulin, which helps your body metabolize sugar. Ideally, a woman would be on an exercise program before and during pregnancy not just for overall health (at ANY size), but because this is the more surefire way to help your body metabolize. No amount of exercise will keep you from developing GD (as one cannot control their ethnicity or family history), but it can definitely help in its management.

You may also be asked to monitor your blood glucose levels several times a day, usually fasting first thing in the morning and after every meal. The reason for this is to check for patterns and look for any spikes in blood sugar. This can give care providers a window into how you metabolize sugars regularly, outside of a lab setting. High sugars after eating could signal that a change in diet is needed.

High sugars in the morning, however, may signal that the body is overall not metabolizing sugar, and a doctor may then suggest a regimen of medication. The most common form of medically treating gestational diabetes is with insulin injections, which are self administered, usually directly into the belly. Obviously, one is taught how to do this by professionals so that the baby is never in any harm due to the injections. Another alternative is pills, such as glyburide and metformin.

 I hope this series has helped answer some questions about what Gestational Diabetes is and what it really means. I will be sharing a guest post soon about a readers experience with Gestational Diabetes, and I hope if anyone has any questions or would like to share your own experience, you will please comment or email me. Thank you!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Guest Post: "Laila's Story"

For months I have gone back and forth about writing this... but I would like to go ahead and document it, at least for my daughter to read when she gets a bit older.

When I was younger, I was told that I would never be able to have children due to PCOS. I accepted my fate and kept my head held high. I would adopt. One way or another, I would be a mommy to someone someday.

I met my best friend turned husband in 2007. When we were married in 2009, we decided we definitely wanted children. I told him they may not be biological if we were to have children and his views on adoption/foster parenting matched mine. We began making about a 45 minute drive each weekend for our foster parenting classes. We were midway through the classes and we were informed that the demand for younger children and infants was high, so we would more than likely never have a child under the age of 16 in our home. We have nothing against teenagers, but we were looking to be able to instill good values and eventually adopt the child we were raising. We had just been teenagers not all that long ago and we knew what the job entailed. Lots of angst, rebellion, and heartbreak is generally what surrounds the teenage years. This isn’t true for all children, but we learned that teenagers in foster homes were more likely to rebel than your average teenager. We discontinued our classes.

We began charting ovulation and I began my monthly blood tests to check for pregnancy. After more and more attempts, and even more failed pregnancy tests, we decided it wasn’t meant to be. Several of my friends at work had become pregnant, and all I could think of was “Why not us?” It was hard. It was 2011 and we decided we were just going to chill out on the “trying to get pregnant” process. Finally have some us time.

 ENTER April 2011. This month was not a particularly hot month, but for some reason, I had been waking up at all hours of the night in hot and cold sweats. I hadn’t missed my period or anything like that, in fact I had just gotten off of it. It had to be my hormones I thought. The week of the 28th, I scheduled an appointment to have a blood test to check my thyroid. I had been feeling ill all week. I was definitely getting sick I thought. At my appointment, she asked if we had still been trying, “On and Off” I answered. She told me I should try and take a pregnancy test as well, just to make sure. I dreaded it. The heartbreak that followed every time I took a test in that office and it came back negative... “Here we go again”, I thought. As I sat and waited for the test to turn, she prepared the needle for the blood test. “OH MY GOD IT’S POSITIVE!!!!!” she yelled. I calmly looked over and asked “What?”  “THE TEST!!!!! YOU’RE GOING TO BE A MOMMA!!!!!!” I began shaking. It had to be wrong. I requested another test. She informed me that the medical grade tests were 98% accurate. I was in disbelief. I took another test “POSITIVE!!!!!” she screamed again. I still said no. I requested the blood test. Those tests are 100%. I was shaking.

I left work early that day; it was my husband’s day off. I had bought a card a long time ago that I had intended to give him when I found out we were pregnant. It said: Get ready for the pickles and ice cream! We’re pregnant! When I got home Jeff was concerned. I told him that I would be right back. I went to the closet, got the card and the 2 stick tests, and wrote my heart out about he was going to be a daddy. I placed the sticks inside and sealed the envelope. I placed the letter directly into his hands. He wanted to know what it was... He shook it and tried to see through it. He had no clue. He opened it and looked right at the tests. “Whose are these? “He said. “Read the letter!!!”. He read it and stood in shock.  He turned to me, searching my face to see if I was about to yell JUST KIDDING!!...and I grinned from ear to ear. He gave me one of the biggest hugs I think I have ever had. In fact, he started cutting off my air supply at one point. He wouldn’t let go. “LET GO!!!!!!!” I yelled. When we pulled away he just continuously asked me if it was real. Over and over again. I told him the tests were 98% accurate and that the blood test would be back tomorrow to let us know 100%. That night we went through one of the largest hail producing storms Tennessee has ever seen. My car was totaled. Thank God for full coverage insurance!! Haha.  The next day the test came back positive!!!! An ultrasound followed and we found out I was 6wks along.

The months flew by. The morning sickness finally trailed off. I loved being pregnant. I was going to have a natural, drug free birth. After watching countless documentaries and reading horror stories about hospital births, we found a midwife and quickly learned my insurance doesn’t even touch midwifery services. We decided at the recommendation of a friend, on a local Obgyn. I would still have the natural birth, but I would simply deliver at the hospital….right? Throughout my pregnancy, EVERYONE told us we were definitely having a boy. The day we were to find the sex, Jeff asked me what I felt in my heart it would be. I said “I think it’s going to be a girl.” BINGO! Jeff’s heart grew 100 times larger that day. A daddy’s girl. He was ecstatic. So was I. I wore pink to work the next day to announce to everyone. We would name her Laila. (Like the Eric Clapton song, but spelled different)

The day was fast approaching. I was huge, and I loved it. I was getting foot and back rubs every night (which is still continuing to this day. Lol...) I was finally on maternity leave. This was the life. But it wasn’t. We wanted our little girl. We walked as much as we could, trying to get labor to start. My due Date was Dec 25th. Our doctor kept throwing induction around, but we declined. She would come when she was ready. Laila was a very busy baby while in the womb. She constantly hiccupped and kicked around.

On the evening of January 3rd, I was sitting at the computer at home, playing an old Sims game, and I felt a pop. Then came the small flood. My water had broken…on its own. YAY!!! I calmly texted Jeff to call me. He called and wanted to know what was up. I told him my water had broken and he needed to come home. I didn’t tell him that when my water had broken that it had a green tint to it, meaning that Laila, being an overdue baby, had her first bowel movement in the womb. Which is a normal thing for babies that are past due, but it makes things a bit trickier because infection can set in quickly. I didn’t want to tell Jeff because he tends to drive a bit too quickly when there’s an emergency. I hopped in the shower, and started to pack. When Jeff arrived, I told him about the fluid, and I moved/ waddled faster than I had in months. Haha!

I had been very adamant about having my female doctor deliver Laila (I think it’s a bit odd when men go into the obgyn practice. Just sayin’); however, she was not on call that night. It was the only male dr in the practice that happened to be on call. Oh well. They got me hooked up to the monitors and I began the journey into labor. The contractions were hell. With no pain medicine, it was by far the worst pain of my life. It was 9 pm. I had read that first babies take a lot longer to be born. Oh my gosh. I labored in bed, on the ball, in the bathroom in the hall. I started shaking, which was completely normal the dr assured me. I was freezing. I started convulsing a bit. Laila’s heart rate was high, and it would not go down. A team of nurses rushed in, and the next few hours were a blur to me. I had about 10 blankets on me and they had begun to give me oxygen. They wanted to give me Pitocin to make my labor speed up. I declined. My actual dr. finally arrived and checked me. I was at 6 centimeters. But then she checked my temperature. It was 103.5 and rising. The baby’s heart rate was too. Emergency C-section she said. I asked what my other options were; she said there are no other options. She said I could either be put to sleep, or take the epidural and be awake to hear her first cries.

The nurse called for the anesthesiologist. A boy, a bit younger than me, arrived to the room. HE was the anesthesiologist….the student anesthesiologist. The senior tech was already in surgery with another patient. I asked the boy how many epidurals he had done. “Enough.” He answered as he looked down at the floor. I turned my back and sat as he pushed and poked, meanwhile having the worst contractions ever. He found the spot…and he messed up. He put it in crooked and it numbed one of my legs.  I was still feeling everything. He wanted to try again. He removed the needle and replaced it. Nothing. Finally the dr arrived and said they would get the senior tech to do it, but there was no time left, I needed to get in the operating room ASAP. Poor Jeff was a nervous wreck the entire time. He tried massaging me, I didn’t want to be touched... I didn’t want to talk. I felt like I failed my baby. But I know it wasn’t my fault... sometimes, in these situations, you don’t have proper thought process.   They rushed me into the room, and the senior tech once again tried the epidural. Nothing...again.  One leg was numb, and they had given me so many epidurals at this point, the left side of my body was numb, and my face was drooping, similar to that of a stroke victim. I was pitiful. FINALLY they did a spinal tap on me and got me to go numb from the waist down.

They finally brought Jeff in (while they were cutting and removing organs I might add). We sat behind a big blue curtain waiting. They informed me that because of the stress she had gone through and the meconium that was in the amniotic fluid, that she would be rushed off to the NICU unit to be tested for infection. We continued to wait for what seemed like a century and then we heard it. The most beautiful cry ever. I hate that she was torn from me violently under bright lights and didn’t get to come on her own terms. Her daddy didn’t get to catch her or cut the cord. But she got here safely either way. Jeff went around and got to her hold her first. Then they brought her around to me after getting her all cleaned up. She was amazing. She had stopped crying by the time the brought her around. They laid her across my chest and she just stared at me. Jeff and I both cried as we held that scrunched up little baby.

Then they took her away.

They wheeled me into recovery. I was refusing pain meds, but I could barely breath it was so severe. My dr advised me to take half a Percocet and some ibuprofen. I felt better. My legs were still numb, and the feeling would not return for 2 days. It would be 6 hours before I could see my baby. I was advised to recover the rest of the night, as they discovered I had an infection in my blood from the fluid. They kept me on antibiotics. Although Laila didn’t show signs of infection, they wanted to make sure. They told me they would be keeping her in the NICU for 7 days for back to back antibiotic treatments. When I went to go see my baby, she had holes in her little bruised hands; she had holes in her tiny little feet, and an I.V in the top of her head. But she looked at me with such wonderment. I began skin on skin contact right away. My milk came in that night and she fed perfectly. Thank God for that. I wanted to feed her on demand, so they paged me every time she was hungry. Every 2 hours. The nurses all gave me kudos for being such a good mommy, even though I was still losing a lot of blood, I went to her every time they called. And I went to her even when they didn’t call. I was in love.  Jeff constantly stayed with the both of us. Taking time with me, going to see her.  He didn’t get any sleep. I love that man.

When they informed us that they were discharging us, we found out through my dr that we could do something called in-rooming with Laila. She would be hooked up to monitors in the room and we would be allowed to stay there with her. The room had a bed that was as hard as a rock. And being a vegetarian at the time, they didn’t understand that I didn’t eat meat. They constantly brought steak and chicken. How annoying.

No one could give us a straight answer on when she would be discharged. But finally, after 7 days, the dr came in and said she had passed her tests and we would be discharged. I immediately began packing. They came in and unhooked her. We got to hold our baby for the first time. No cords. No monitors. It was a beautiful thing.

That night we went home and cuddled our baby. She slept a lot. They said it may take a few days for the medicine to wear off.

Two weeks later, I was feeding her; I burped her and saw a lot of blood running from her mouth. We raced her to our local Children’s Hospital, where she was hooked up to monitors and readmitted. We stayed with her again. After many tests, they determined a dairy allergy. Being a vegetarian, cheese was the only dairy product I ate. But being a mother, sometimes you have to make sacrifices. I asked no questions, and became a vegan then and there that day. After another week in the hospital, we were free to go.

Laila did not get here easily, and her first few weeks of life were enough to make some people lose hope. But we didn’t. Sometimes, life throws you for a loop. That’s life. Don’t let it conquer you or steal your soul. Don’t ever let the darkness creep in, I have come close many times, but my husband and my miracle baby keep me on track. This is Laila’s story. Today she is a healthy baby girl that loves being outside and having songs sang to her.  I would happily lay my life down for her. Thanks for reading.

Bundles of Joy,

Guest Post written by Spen'Sar Custer, mother of 1 from Tennessee. She's also a hiker, outdoor enthusiast, artist, music lover, wife, and a tree huggin', dirt worshipping, happy hippie.You can read more about Spen'Sar at her blog, The Happy Hippie.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Plus Size Babywearing (3/3) - Soft Structured Carriers, ErgoBaby, Evenflo and why NOT Baby Bjorns!

Last video in the series! Please send any questions to




Evenflo Snugli:


ErgoBaby Waist Extender:

Resource for nursing while babywearing:

In case you can't see the video above, you can see it directly on YouTube here