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    As Seen On TV...

    Have you ever found yourself watching a tv show and saying, “OMG that could never happen to me, you only see that on TV”... Well, early morning on January 9th, I was proved completely wrong...

    I’m going to go back a little to give you an idea how things got crazy so quick. On Monday morning, I went to my regular maternity check up, my doctor had already told me I had to go to the hospital that Wednesday night to get induced, which I was okay with because I was induced with my oldest because I had gestational diabetes. I got hooked to the machine for my NST like I had been doing every Monday for the last three weeks. I was having contractions but at this point I have been having them for like a week and they told me I wasn’t in labor yet. They also checked my cervix and I was 3 cm dilated and that instead of going to the hospital Wednesday night, I had to go in Thursday morning to start the Pitocin.

    So at this point, everything seemed normal and everything was set up for Thursday. I went on with my day. I went to bed at my regular time since I had to go to work the next day, it was going to be my last day before maternity leave. Around 12:18am I woke up with strong contractions, this is when things got CRAZY.

    I woke up my boyfriend and told him we needed to go to the hospital because the contractions were too close to each other and painful. I started to get ready and called my mom to let her know I was dropping off Evanna because we were going to the hospital. I started to get a bag and lunch bag ready for her so she could go to daycare later that day. Then, my boyfriend remembered he needed to get gas, so I told him to go while I finished packing. At this point contractions were getting even closer and stronger. I felt a big urge to go pee, so I go to the bathroom and realized I was bleeding a lot...BIG FREAK OUT MOMENT. I thought something bad had happened to the baby. I decided to get in the shower (socks and shirt still on so I wouldn’t make the bathroom look like a crime scene).

    By the time my boyfriend got back I could feel the baby pushing out. Poor thing was all freak out, he said “what are you doing we need to go” and I told him I couldn’t move and that the baby was coming and that he needed to call my mom and tell her to come get my little girl. At that moment, I got the biggest contraction yet and even though I tried to hold it, his head was out. I could feel his hair but I couldn’t see if his face and he wasn’t crying. I told my boyfriend to call 911. I was already in supermom mode, there was no stopping this and I was going to deliver my baby in the shower. Another big contraction came and I pushed as hard as I could instead of holding it like the last time. And there he was, I caught him with my hands and asked my boyfriend to get me some towels because I was all wet and freezing. At this point, the ambulance still hadn’t gotten to my house. My boyfriend was still on the phone with 911, the baby wasn’t crying yet and I wasn’t sure if he was breathing or not. I decided to try to clean his mouth and nose to make sure there was nothing preventing him from breathing. 911 told my boyfriend to lay him down flat to see if he would cry so I laid him down and he cried a little so that was a huge relief. They also told him to tie the umbilical cord with a shoe lace, which he did, the poor thing was all shaky. Then finally 911 responders came in and started the whole process to get us to the hospital.

    So this is my story on how I gave birth to a beautiful 8lbs 3oz baby boy all within an hour from when I started feeling my contractions. And now for sure I will think before I watch something crazy on TV and say this kind of things only happens on TV LOL.

    -Maryana Rois, @mary_jumbles

    Who Takes Care of Mom?

    The day my daughter was born, I let myself go. I know that sounds dramatic, but it's true. The second my doctor put my 8 pound baby on my chest, I unconsciously told myself I now come second. I won't eat until my daughter's food is ready. I won't shower until she's been bathed first. I won't work unless she's napping (I'm only able to write this because she finally went down for her second nap, praise Jesus). 

    Everything I do is for her. Everything I do NOT do is for her. I'm basically a slave to a one year old. And I'm totally cool with it, because I love her more than anything on the planet...here comes the big BUT...Who takes care of me? Who will put ME first?

    If you're a mom, I'm sure you've asked yourself that question before. Want to know the answer? YOU! You have to put yourself first. Have you ever asked your children, "Is it okay if mommy goes to the movies without you?" Of course you haven't, because you probably won't like the answer. We can't expect alone time to come to us, we have to MAKE the time. If you don't, you'll start to lose yourself. I know I did. I started to forget the old me. Who even was I? I started to believe my name was Mama, not Kristin. Man, I missed that girl. She was a cool chick.

    Remember when your baby was first born, and you forgot what the inside of a shower looked like? I'm kidding, kind of. Those first few weeks are brutal. Your hair is a mop. You have week old stains on your sweatpants. God only knows when the last time you shaved your legs was. If you got to sleep for more than 45 minutes it felt like winning the lottery. Now that your baby is sleeping through the night, and you pretty much have a routine down, why not spend some time focusing on yourself?

    Oh right, mom guilt. Mom guilt can suck it. Me and her are not friends. Don't let her get to you! She is not real! She doesn't have your best interest at heart. That's your responsibility. Want to have a "me" day? Let me tell you how.

    As the poetic Shia LaBeouf would say, "JUST DO IT!"

    Okay but for real, here's what you do:

    1. Get someone to watch your children.

    This is the hardest part, especially if you don't have family around. But a "me" day is about YOU, so if possible, get your spouse or partner to stay with the kids. They don't need to tag along.

    2. Relax.

    If you don't, you won't enjoy yourself. The baby is fine. Your kids are fine. This is your time to focus on YOU.

    3. Figure out what to do.

    Get a massage, get your nails done, get a tattoo, whatever floats your boat. The last "me day" I had, I got a pedicure and two new piercings. (Mom-life crisis, anyone?)

    If you don't want to spend money, you can do your own nails at home, do a face mask, take a bubble bath, read that book that's been sitting on your shelf, or even take a glorious nap. 

    Whatever you do, treat yourself with kindness and grace, because you deserve it!

    Comment on this blog post and tell me what plans you have for your next "me day!"

    -Kristin, owner + creator of Free the Mother

    xoxo

    Our Journey With Special Needs

    I feel as though my experience as a mother has been somewhat unique (at least I don’t meet many people in my circumstance). I had a fairly typical pregnancy. I had one pregnancy loss, but my doctor said that what I went through was fairly common, and I should have no reason not to try again. Even with the encouragement I was super nervous.
    I was finally feeling like I was in the homestretch of my pregnancy, and that everything was going smoothly, but around 36 weeks I started to feel a strange pulsating sensation in my lower back. It was not super painful, but it was uncomfortable, and I had a very bad feeling about it, so we decided to get it checked out at the hospital. As we were pulling in the driveway I felt a flush of fluid run down my leg. I thought that my water had broken, and started to get a little excited actually. I assumed I was just going into labor, and was nervous, but so excited to finally meet my little girl. I looked down, and the car was covered in blood. I had passed a blood clot to the placenta that caused a full placental abruption.
    We both came very close to losing our lives that night. I was stabilized after two blood, platelet, and plasma transfusions. My daughter was born without a heartbeat or breathing for nearly 20 minutes. After getting her somewhat stabilized she was put on life support, and a cooling blanket that put her in a hypothermic state for 72 hours to allow her brain a chance to rest. Upon coming off her cooling blanket she went into seizures, and there was a big question to if we would ever be bringing her home. She struggled to be weaned off of life support, and we did not even hear her first cry till she was nearly a month old. It was consistently the scariest time of my life. Coming home to an empty nursery every night was devastating.
         
    She eventually was transferred to Children’s NICU for her first surgery for a placement of a gastric feeding tube. She has coordination issues, so feeding in the typical sense is very difficult. She was then given the diagnosis of quad cerebral palsy in addition to original diagnosis of HIE (basically means brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation). I have always been a perfectionist, so having a special needs child is not something I felt like I was capable of handling. But, through this experience I have found people just adapt. Everyone has there own reality, and this is ours. Instead of bouncers and rattles, we have medical equipment and feeding pumps.
       
    As we are heading into the one year mark, her birthday is two days after Christmas, it is bittersweet. I’m so impressed by how far she has come, but it’s hard not being affected by other children reaching so many milestones she has yet to meet. Overall, I’m well aware of how lucky we are, and how much worse things could be, but I’d be lying if I said I’ve completely come to terms with things. I see her struggle so hard to do the most basic of things people take for granted. But, she continues to show progress with all of her therapies. It may be at a pace I’m not accustomed to, but this whole experience has also been a hard lesson in patience. They are not playing when they say inchstones and not milestones.
         
    She now smiles and interacts, has her favorite shows and toys, and her own unique personality. None of this seems like a big deal, but she was almost five months old before she even really made eye contact. I have become so codependent with her throughout all this. I’m so scared to leave her with anyone. I feel like we have been through so much together, that I am really the only one that truly understands her. I know this all sounds terribly depressing, but sometimes I feel like I have to express how far we have come, so people can understand how truly amazing she is. I’m not sure if parents of typical babies love this hard, I’m sure they do, but it’s hard for me to imagine anyone loving anything more than I love this little person.
    -Sarah Hayse, @sarahhaysek

    First Month of Motherhood: My Experience

    Today is a special day. As I sit holding my newborn in my arms I reflect on this motherhood journey and the ups and downs of my first month postpartum. I am a first time momma and I can’t believe it’s been one month today that I brought a beautiful baby girl into this world.

    Each morning I stare at her soft perfect skin and think to myself that she’s a blank canvas full of potential and endless possibilities- so pure and so new. The world is her oyster. I daydream about all the beauty we will show her and all the adventures we will go on as she grows yet on the other hand I want to stop time and keep her in my arms protecting her from any pain and discomfort. The feelings of happiness, fear and joy were so intense that I cried daily. I was overwhelmed by my emotions the first two weeks after giving birth.

    The postpartum journey is bittersweet as I am so in awe of this little human my husband and I have created yet my body and hormones were wreaking havoc on me as well . This can make it hard to the sweet fleeting moments with your newborn and the emotional roller coaster that mothers talk about is real. My body ached, I was sleep deprived, I was bleeding and had a new found appreciation for mesh undies. I was adjusting to my new body that’s now showcasing a squishy belly. I was introduced to horrid hemorrhoids and learning to breast feed and get a good latch was not an easy task in the beginning. It also didn’t help that I was sensitive to anything anyone told me. The first two weeks postpartum I also felt an odd emptiness, a sadness that I could no longer protect my baby in my belly and feel her daily kicks and the anticipation of her birth which seems silly but it’s how I felt at that moment in time. 

    The Postpartum period and the baby blues brings the unexpected. I read so many books and blogs before giving birth but nothing prepares you for those first few weeks except love, support and encouraging words  from family and friends. I realized my baby and I had to learn about each other. I needed to learn her crying cues and I had adjust to my new role as a momma while my body healed and hormones leveled out. I was fortunate enough to have my mom stay with me the first two weeks and having that support was essential. I recommend that all new mothers put together a support system for the first couple weeks as you heal and find your new way of life as a momma.

    The saying it takes a village brings own a whole new meaning to me now. My dear mother gave me good advice during her stay when I was feeling overwhelmed and said, "honey your job right now is to love and nurture your baby and yourself, nothing else." Once I processed those words of wisdom a weight lifted off my shoulders and I realized that was all that mattered and the cleaning, cooking, unfinished projects and emails could wait. 

    Today one month postpartum I feel strong and accomplished as a new momma, not every day is perfect I still struggle but love and nurturing my baby is a true gift and each day I learn new things about my baby girl and myself. Cheers to all the new mothers out there. Stay strong and confident in your instincts and may you find strength in yourself and all those around you during this postpartum transition and the sweet journey of motherhood.

     

    -Christine Rapley, @c.rara22

    Fourth Trimester

    Honestly, motherhood is hard as hell. It’s ram your head through a wall hard. It’s cry your eyes out at two in the morning hard. It’s wanting to scream at the top of your lungs 23 hours of the day (the other one hour you’ll be asleep…maybe) hard. It is not what I expected AT ALL

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    Most moms only tell you the good and magical things about being a mom. They don’t tell you about how postpartum bleeding lasts weeks after birth and your bathroom will look like a scene from Carrie, how it’s going to feel like your butt hole is going to rip into a million pieces the first time you poop (no really, that was scary shit. no pun intended). Or how you’ll have to squirt a bottle of water on yourself after you pee instead of wiping. Oh and hemorrhoids. Yup.
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    They don’t tell you that your body doesn’t just go back to what it was after you give birth (if you left the hospital in the jeans you wore pre pregnancy, I loathe you. jkjk…or am I?). They don’t tell you that peeing your pants every time you laugh, sneeze or move is normal now. They don’t tell you that you sometimes won’t even want to get out of bed because you’re scared of what the day might have in store for you. They don’t tell you that you won’t know what to do with your baby when you get home, how to calm them down, how to read what they want. They don’t tell you that you’ll probably have zero sex drive or any desire to even kiss your partner for weeks, you might even feel like you HATE them. They don’t tell you how much you’ll be googling “when does a newborn sleep through the night” and “why won’t my newborn stop crying”, no joke I must have googled this about 27 times and read the same articles over and over. Talking about poop color is now the norm and you might as well go save a poop color chart into your phone now.

    No mother wants to admit that when they first meet their baby, they don’t feel all mushy and warm inside like you’re supposed to. I had pictured us meeting to be magical but after pushing a watermelon sized human being out of your vagina it’s hard to be all sunshine and rainbows at first. It’s overwhelming for sure. And yeah, sometimes I even resented her a little for using me as a human pacifier! I remember one night just sitting up in bed crying hysterical while I was nursing her asking myself “WHY am I doing this???”, “WHY did I want this???” but of course those feelings start to fade and you realize it’s all worth it. You’ll question yourself, you’ll doubt yourself, you’ll even ask yourself if your baby is broken because they cry so much. But it’s beautiful in all its craziness.
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    Postpartum anxiety aka baby blues is SO real. Taking care of a tiny helpless human is actually pretty damn scary. You’ll worry about everything and anything. You’re afraid to fall asleep, you’re afraid to put them down to go to the bathroom or take a shower, you’ll constantly check if their chest is moving up and down while they’re sleeping. You’ll most likely feel like you have a lump in your throat 24/7. THIS IS NORMAL. Not only did your body go through a massive life change, so did your mind! Hormones are flying around like crazy, you’ll be crying one second and happy the next. It’s basically like having your period, but a thousand times worse. If you’re having trouble coping and your anxiety leads to depression, get help from your doctor, partner and loved ones. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – this does NOT make you a bad mom.

    You will constantly ask yourself, “why does she cry when I put her down?”, “why does she only sleep on my chest?”. For the first three months of your baby’s life, it can help to think of her like a fetus outside of the womb. I wish I had known this while I was pregnant so I could really understand WHY Rori was always crying and upset, it’s so hard to forget that every single thing for them is new. YOU are their entire world. They’ve been in your belly for the past nine months, the safe sounds of your heartbeat and the tightness and warmth of the womb is all they ever knew.UntitledNow just imagine yourself going back to womb from world…I wouldn’t be happy either! This is why I’m constantly promoting baby wearing and swaddling. It mimics the womb so baby is the most comfortable they can be and you can regain some sanity! White noise is a lifesaver even now and Rori is four months old. I’m not going to say it gets easier after the fourth trimester, but it definitely gets better. You’ll find yourself again, you’ll love your partner again, your body will go back to normal. This chapter seems endless and all babies are difficult, but one day your crazy ass will want another one! That’s motherhood. giphy (1).gif

    It takes a village.

    **I don’t want to scare anyone into having a baby, because it is a beautiful journey. I wrote this blog to educate new moms or soon to be moms on things that no one tells you about postpartum/fourth trimester!

     

    -Shannen Fusco, @raising.rori

    Check out Shannen's blog, www.lifeofafusco.com