Tag Archives: baby

Balancing Act – Working Mother

I feel like I am in a constant balancing act.

I console myself by telling myself: I am not the only one with a family. This is do-able.

  1. Being the best professional and healthcare provider and perfecting my craft
  2. Being a great mother and wife
  3. Being whole and one with me

Continue reading Balancing Act – Working Mother

Tips For Your Baby’s First Birthday Party!

No one wants to spend too much money, and no one wants to look like a joke when that special day comes. But to be honest, at the end of the day, you are celebrating one year of motherhood and your baby surviving through one complete year. What a feat! But it shouldn’t depress you, nor should it be something that brings you troubles.

1.  Keep your celebration to your budget!

We have all heard of the extravaganzas and celebrations, with the celebrity set-ups, thrones and golden high chairs, bounce houses, snow cone machines, clowns and larger than life characters. Some folks spend upwards of $5000 on these parties. And while it may sound great, if it isn’t in your budget, why fret over it? There are many affordable ways to throw a memorable birthday party that your friend and family will cherish with you.

2. Try to decorate yourself

You can search many online party retailers like: Oriental Trading Company, where many party decorations are sold in bulk or at a discount. They have several themes you can choose from and many of their items are color coded to make it easy for you. If you are planning on shopping in person, ask around, there may be a party retailer in the area that sells items at half the price of the Party City store. You can save some money on table cloths, streamers, balloons and all the little things you never thought could come so much. Get a disposable helium tank for under $50 and blow up all your own balloons! I was able to save on decor and use the money elsewhere, I decorated myself!

3. Hire some entertainment.

Its a one year birthday party so expect children to be there. If you are anything like me, and you don’t have a bubbling personality that can entertain both adults and littles for hours, then hire a clown, fairy, or entertained. Usually they charge for 3 hours, which can range from $100 – $300 depending on what you want them to do. Our entertainers painted faces, blew balloons into creatures, brought crafts and played with the kids the whole day! They were so excited. And it took a lot off of my hands that day.

4. Choose a low-cost venue

If you can host it in your house, so be it, if not then consider a park, community activity center or a nearby neighborhood clubhouse. You won’t believe the prices they will quote you. Be prepared to make a deposit and be prepared to clean up!

5. Hire a photographer

You have to have some way of capturing those precious memories. If you can’t, then there are so many apps that allow you and your guests to upload pictures of the day into one place to be accessed later. You don’t need a wedding photographer, ask around and you can find someone reasonable who will charge by the hour. If you are in Houston, contact me and I can refer you to someone great!

6. DIY (Do it yourself)

What you don’t want to buy, make it yourself. Youtube is full of instructional videos, and with a little bit of elbow-grease and craft spirit you can create props that you never thought you could. I actually created these giant photo frames from styrofoam.

 

7. Get your cake early

Many grocers like Sam’s Club and Costco sell beautiful cakes, with multiple tiers and well decorated for a fraction of the cost. Give them a call. Remember to set up your order at least 48 hours in advance. I personally like the taste of the Sam’s cake… very moist and decadent. Never fails.

8. Food, food, and food

If you don’t want to cater then make it yourself or order pizza. Fire up the grill. Make some finger food and appetizers. Chip bowls and Salad Bars are also easy inexpensive ways to feed your guest, they will appreciate you, trust me.  Little Caesars has a $5 pizza, if you order 10 of them you are good, you just have to like the taste of the pizza, lol.

9. Gift bags!

Gift bags for the kiddos does not need to be a drag. Head to the dollar store where you can stock up and lots of fun items to stuff into baggies that the kids will enjoy long after the party. We find small books, crayon packs and even dolls. Two words: Dollar Store.

10. Have fun! Take pictures. Dance Dance and Dance!!

Everything you work for will pay back. At the end of the day it will be a great event and you will cherish every moment of it. It was worth all the trouble for me.

My Delivery Story

Our Beautiful Angel
Our Beautiful Angel

I was told during my last prenatal check-up that I would be scheduled for induction July 17th 2016.

My pregnancy was not free of problem. I was on bed rest for approximately 5 weeks during my second trimester when I experience bleeding and was diagnosed with threatened abortion. At 19 and again at 23 weeks I was told that I had a 50% chance of carrying my baby to term. I was hospitalized at 23 weeks and told that if my baby decided to make an early appearance then the NICU would be ready, I was in a time and era where there was a decent survival for preterm babies. I researched issues that premies could suffer, read blogs on experiences of mothers who stayed in the neonatal ICU cradling a one pound infant attached to tubes and cords. My heart was heavy as I laid in that hospital bed. I prayed. We prayed. We said the rosary every night and we were comforted because we knew that God was with us.

Now, flash forward to July 11th, now in the final stride of my third trimester with a large gravid belly, I sat staring at my doctor unsure of what to feel. She wanted to induce me because I was somewhat of a high risk pregnancy although serial ultrasound showed the hematoma under my placenta had shrunk and the baby was growing well. I was in between a rock and a hard place. As much as I wanted to see my baby and do whatever it was my doctor needed me to do to have that happen… I still wanted a “natural childbirth.” What is a “natural childbirth” well it that Labor Nirvana that you reach only after surviving hours of labor at home, having your husband drive you to the emergency department in a frenzy, swinging on a birth bar until you’re 10cm dilated sweating bullets and pushing out a baby and having enough energy to run a marathon once this is over. If I couldn’t have a natural childbirth… then all of this was in vain. I was reading so many posts, in the matrix, all the mommy-shaming for women who underwent inductions and c-sections and had birthing processes that required any medical intervention. Babies delivered in a medical way was a sad… sad… occurrence in the “natural childbirth” world… babies delivered ‘the way God intended’ deserved a medal.

Boo!

While I did try to push the process along by running excessively, going to the gym daily, eating spicy foods and way to much pineapple, this baby stayed put. She kicked. I belly-mapped. She was anterior-posterolatorajumbolumbo and thus not engaged. I was going crazy. I was only sitting on my birth ball and staring at my husband like a wild animal.

“This baby has to come out before July 17th!”

I made up my mind. I was going to ignore the call. I was going to wait it out. I was going to stand-up my doctor and remain on the couch a nervous-wreck watching ON DEMAND re-run of Housewives and Chopped. In fact, they didn’t call me so I got offended. Apparently the hospital was full. July 18th, Monday morning I got the call. I called my hubby home from work and started to pack my bag. How do you pack a bag for delivery… I don’t know, not like I used anything I took looking back.

Future Mommy and Daddy
Future Mommy and Daddy

We got to the hospital in the morning, taking selfies and stuff, looking bad to the bone. Thinking we were going to be parents that nights. I hadn’t experience one contraction yet, mind you. I was escorted to my room. I changed into my jammies. The nurse came in and told me to remove my jammies and put on the hospital gown, that is why it was placed in the middle of my bed, go figure. img_3405Another nurse came in and check vitals, started and IV and checked my cervix. My first nurse was my sorority sister (OO-OOP) and this was a good way to start. I was still closed and high. They placed the cervidil and put me on monitoring and I started the habit of craning my neck to check out the fetal heart rate and contraction monitor. My husband was playing movies on his laptop, some stupid lifetime movie about vampires, he thought it was a totally different movie, that was 45 minutes wasted. I got hungry, we ordered Thai, the nurse smelled the Thai and gently reminded me that I was NPO (nothing by mouth). Did I mention she was my sorority sister, she was so cute. When the door closed behind her I asked my husband to pass me my cookie, I needed energy for this journey, NPO my arse.

At 6 am my doctor came and checked me and unfortunately the Cervidil did not work. Whomp whomp whommmmp. We were going to start Pitocin. It was started, I asked if we could just do another Cervidil and cross our fingers. The answer was no. Still no real contractions, I had Cheeto Puffs under my blanket. I was going to need energy for this journey. At 9 am my doctor was back. She checked me, I was still high and a tight 3. In other words, still a high 2. She broke my water. That thing she stuck up there looked like it should have hurt a lot more but I didn’t really feel anything, I still jumped and squirmed. I bloody watery fluid gushed, the nurse cleaned it up, the doctor said “hasta la vista.” Woah, that was a lot of water, when I got up to pee it was literally running down my leg. Yuck. I ate crackers for energy. My nurse came in and saw the crumbs and scolded me. “For real this time!” Pinky promise I responded. “I don’t believe you!” She shot back. You have to, I pleaded with her.

My family was in and out of the room. They are pretty dramatic. My dad kept staring at me with teary eyes and his bottom lip was trembling. It was making me nervous. He held my hand, his hand was sweaty. Jeez, why was this so weird. My husband left so many things in the car, he kept going back and forth, he was probably uncomfortable too. At around 3 pm they turned up the Pitocin. Goodness, whew is that what contractions are… let me just lean back real quick. I didn’t want anything else to eat. It was getting real now. I needed to focus on this… argggghhhh whewwww… ok… ok… I got this. My dad and brother excused themselves. After several orders on how to redirect my pain I finally dismissed my mother. I was alone in the room grimacing, bearing down. I buzzed the nurse. I am going to take the offer for Stadol. Stadol please… now! Nurse gave me the Stadol, she is so cute, did I tell you guys she is my sorority sister, she pledge graduate chapter. Small world… whoa. Check me please. I need to see if this baby is coming out check me please!

“We just checked you… I don’t think—“

CHECK ME PLEASE! This was not a debate. I was 4-5 cm dilated and high. She overestimated the first time so you may as well have told me I made zero progress. GOOOOOOODNESS!! Grr!
“Do you want an epidural?” I looked at her and shook my head. Nah, I’m trying to do this natural. “You’re trying to what?” Look woman, it’s taking me too much energy to communicate with you leave me be. “Well when you need an epidural call me because they are outside waiting. And if they get called for an emergency case you will have to wait.” I got this, thank you! When she left I stared at the ceiling and tried to envision psychedelic triangles moving back and forth… not helping… gosh I knew that hypno-birth mumbo-jumbo was crap. Maybe if I actually took a class and didn’t rely on a free YouTube video. Then a contraction caught me. It was like someone took a vice grip and wrench and twisted my uterus and spinal cord with evil anger. NURSE!!

“Yes ma’am” She smiled, ever so sweetly. I was grimacing, was my pain a joke to her?! I need an epidural now I screamed with foolish authority. She smiled, “ I literally just left the room.”

This was not time to be Father Time or Mother Time or whatever. This was time to get anesthesiology in her. And thankfully they came in like 30 minutes. My nose was buzzing, my head was spinning. They put tape on my back, told me to hunch forward and staimg_3412y still. I knew the drill, I had done a few of these before. I honestly didn’t care who was holding the needle, a resident, attending, intern hell… medical student or the janitor, I just needed some pain relief. The needle went in, I jumped and screamed, everyone else in the room jumped and screamed. Ooops. Okay, I can wiggle my toes, lol. Laid back in bed as they explained the PCA pump to me.

 

“Now you really can’t eat.” Smiled the nurse. I haven’t been eating, I objected. She pointed to a half-finished orange juice carton. Oh, I thought you said: No food. “Same thing!” She rolled her eyes. I was a difficult patient. I think all doctors are difficult patients. I had already calculated the chances of my needed an emergency c-section, vomiting into my mouth, aspirating it and that aspiration leading to a full blown gram-negative oral flora pneumonia and not a simple chemical pneumonitis. I was willing to take that risk.

Enter, front and center: my mother. The diva. The wonder. The wild one. The funny one. The can-get-crazy-on-you one. She was already fed up. My dad arrived for the imminent birthing along with my baby brother. My aunty, who had agreed to help with the baby, entered as well. She said a prayer, touched my belly and the contractions got stronger. What the heck? I was giving her the side-eye. My friends visited, someone brought Tiff Treats… my nurse kept checking on my jaw motions. Now we are close enough to the event that I can go into dialogue.

“When are you gonna check her again?” My mom said leaning forward on her hands in a sarcastic way. She is not only a nurse but a mother of five so that give her authority over this L&D, this hospital and this universe.

“Are you her mom?” The new nurse asked. She was not my sorority sister. My sorority sister left, we exchanged numbers hugged and everything.

“Why do you ask?!” Shots fired. The nurse squirmed. I shrugged. You can get on her bad side if you want to but I am only a spectator now that this epidural is working.

“Well.. we just tend to not check so much because we don’t want to introduce infection.”

“That doesn’t make sense.” My mother retorted.

“Well that is what we practice here.”

“I don’t care what you practice here, I need you to check my daughter now.”

“I will check her again if she feels pressure or—“

“Um ma’am” my mom interrupted. She used polite titles when she was about to spewing anger. By this time I had sunk into the bed the best I could. Me and hubby made eye contact, maybe he left something else in the car, he was a little fidgety. My mom smiled, a twisted smile, a smile that let everyone know that she was capable of many incredible things including making your life a living hell. “I need you to check her now.”

“Ok, I’ll be right back!” The nurse jumped up and scampered out. We all exchanged looks. Uche stood up and said something about needing to go to the car. My dad said he was going to take a walk with my brother. The all clumsily pushed out the doorway. My mother looked unbothered, but bothered. I looked straight at the TV admiring my ability to seem so focused even though the volume was on mute. It took a whole 15 minutes for my mother to flip out and grab the first nurse she saw at the nurses’ station. She made up a story about me feeling incredible pressure so this nurse checked me.

“You are a 10!” She exclaimed smiling not knowing what kind of predicament she had just put her fellow co-worker in. “ And the baby’s head is right there! She is already out. Don’t push!”

My mom stared at me. “I hu na!” she spat. You see! (Igbo). I was numb, my brain was numb, I just couldn’t believe this was happening. I pushed the PCA pump away from me with hopes that my epidural would wear off by the time the doctor got around so that I could take another shot at a “natural birth.”

It took the doctor all of 20 minutes to get to the hospital. In in those 20 minutes my mother was a terror, she spent 95% of that time outside my doorway yelling at anyone in proximity. It put the staff in a tizzy. The energy in that room was hot. I was still out of it, probably in shock. The doctor peeked her head in a smiled nervously, “you ready?”

I nodded. Another young nurse walked in and started assembling my bed for the event. I called Uche and told him it was time. He looked like he had seen a ghost. He was really quite. He kept staring at me like I was suffering from consumption in an era where there was no cure. My mother was on my left side with her hands on her hips taking it all in like a mother hen. The young nurse confirmed the placement of the baby.

“Now look,” she said calmly. “The baby is right there, her head is right here. I am going to practice pushing with you ok. Daddy, I’m going to need you to hold this leg, Mama hold up this leg.” She check the baby again, can you feel me. I nodded emptily. The epidural was wearing off, I felt slight pressure, but not a lot. “Push down, push down here on the count of three… now breathe! Ok… ok… here is another one… another one.. ok here we go push push push push… deep and hard…. Good! Wait! Stop! Stop! Don’t push!”

I relaxed and looked at my husband. I looked down at the nurse who looked terse. “Her head is right here she is almost out. I need to get the doctor.” My husband exchanged a glance with me.

The Dr walked in fully gown. “Ok let’s have a baby!” She said firmly familiarizing herself in my space. “Oh, look at that, baby is right here. Ok, let’s get her out. Push mama… down and hard… push… wow! Her head is out!”

I looked down briefly then turned back to the ceiling.

“Push push push!” the doctor ordered. “Ok stop. Oh look! Your baby! Blah blah blah blah whomp whomp whomp blah blah blah”

Stuff was happening in slow motion. She pulled up a baby to show me. I stared at her. Then she handed the baby away and turned back to my afterbirth. My baby was rushed into the adjacent space for cleaning and stuff. I stared at my mom. She smiled at me. She was crying.

I still didn’t understand what had just happened. All in that instant, I had become a mother. My life had changed forever.

img_3417

 

Things I Actually Needed For My Newborn

Getting ready to bring a baby home can be so confusing. Buy this, buy that… what will I really need for that darling little love-bug staring up at me? What can I do without? If you have a baby shower, sure you will get a lot of stuff you don’t need, I got clothes sized 2T, and that’s fine just find storage. However, when it comes to spending your pretty little penny then maybe you should consider being a bit more calculated. I’m a month in… so I am going to tell you what Ive needed so far and also the things I will I didn’t buy.

Things I couldn’t live without out… with a newborn:

  • Napper/Changer/Playpen system.
    • So I haven’t used the other functionalities thus far, but as a mom that doesn’t like to lounge in bed, I found that having the portable napper in the living room so that I could cook, clean img_42791and watch TV when I wanted and being able to peer in on my little on as need. This was a gem. I used it daily, multiple times a day. In fact, it was the first thing my baby slept in as soon as we got home. I actually feel like baby prefers this thing over other options for sleeping.
    • PROS – cheap. cheap. cheap price. Didn’t cost a million bucks. It will follow your baby as it ages. Sadly me and my husband looked at it and knew this love affair with the napper would come to an end someday soon, but at least we would have a playpen.
    • CONS – I can’t say I ever used the changer. It looked suspect. The organizer compartment looked like something bought from the dollar store clearance section, but I cant complain because we just didn’t use it. It was a useless appendage.
  • Vitamin D drops
    • Unless you want your baby to blame you for their bout with rickets one day I suggest you not forget this step. Breastfeeding mothers this is controversial. Does your baby really need you to supplement or can you just set him/her on the lawn to bake for a few hours and call it done. A lot of factors can affect how much vitamin D your baby is getting. Are you and babe of a darker skin tone? Then you may not be getting the right amount of sun exposure. Are you in the far north with low sun exposure? That a thought. Were you vitamin D deficient to begin with? Good question, vitamin D deficiency is becoming more of a common issue for young women. I just didn’t chance it. Beside, it think baby like it. She smacked her lips and looked at me like, “You’re the real MVP, ma.”
  • Nursing Bras
    • Why the heck was I not told that this would be the single most important clothing item I would own in new mommy-hood? yeah I had a nursing bra that I bought… but no… I needed 400! One for work, one for sleep, one for play… one for the Sundays… one for walking, one to wear when the one for play is dirty. I needed a black one, a white one… a sport-bra like one. I really never had enough nursing bras. And since I plan to be nursing for a long, long time… then its true that I may never have enough nursing bras.
    • Trust me, trying to maneuver pulling your breast out an around a regular Vickie Secret pushup is not fun… and you baby will stare you down in the worst way.
  • Boobie Pads
    • Ok, they aren’t called boobie pads, but they are the little pads you stick in your bra when you start leaking. You will leak. Its not like one of those problems that SHE has and YOU won’t. You will leak through your bra and fancy shirts and have two bulls eyes on your already huge breastfeeding boobies, when your sleeping and when you out with visitors… so just invest in a few boxes and don’t forget to pop them in your bra especially when you are full. Disposable vs cloth? I’ll leave that up to you.
  • Wiper warmer
    • Are you a first time mom? Have you ever heard a baby that was just recently semi-sleeping screech like mad when a cold, wet wipe touches their bottom. Well, you will. Oh, you will my friend. Initially when I received the wiper warmer, I thought, oh cute. Now when I see the wiper warmer, I offer it a silent thanks and silently wipe my baby.
    • CONS – You have to be fast. Like Jedi fast to do the transaction before the thing cools back down. I’m not sure if mine just wasn’t efficient, I had the Munchkin brand, let me know if there is a better warmer. It could be argued what is the use if its just going to get cold mid-air. But hey, I got pretty fast warmer to tush so I appreciated it.
  • Changing table with changing pad
    • Babies excrete a lot of bodily waste and I’m tall so I appreciated having a designated changing table. We used this daily, many times a day. It was also nice to assort the diapers, warmer and hand sanitizer to have it right there so it was like a one-stop shop for changing. We actually bought a changing topper so it sat on a dresser, so saved room and looked awesome. I recommend, we bought it as a furniture set and the changing table was a $99 addition at BuyBuyBaby.
  • Simethicone drops or Mylicon drops
    • Babies have gas that leads to colics that leads to sleepless nights and being so sad because baby is sad. Simethicone breaks the gas up into little tiny bubbles that are easier for the baby to pass. There is no actual proof that it works per se, but I used it all the time and it felt like it was doing something, even if it was just a placebo effect. I swear by it actually, I keeps a stash hunty.
  • Infant car seat
    • This is a given, need I say more?
  • Newborn baby clothes
    • Ok, so hears the thing… everyone is going to advise you NOT to buy newborn clothes. They are going to swear up and down that your infant will outgrow them in 7 minutes and they will be useless… but um… not true for everyone. My baby is
      she looks and feels like someone's grandpa in these oversized high-waisted pants
      she looks and feels like someone’s grandpa in these oversized high-waisted pants

      approaching 6 weeks and we are rotating around the same 3 pants and its getting pathetic. Pictures are getting akward, we are being forced into creativity and sifting through all the oversized stuff is becoming torture. So get a few newborn pants and cute tops so you and your LO will look like you belong to the same socioeconomic class, whatever that may be.

  •  Aquafor/Petroleum Jelly
    • Newborn dry skin and its issues are no joke. Keep her comfortable.
  • Bows for little girls…
    • Although not necessary it help me. Babies look unisex for a long long time and dressing in pink didn’t do much. I would throw angry stares when someone did the “aw, let me hold him” and “how old is he?”… didn’t I tell you I had a baby girl? Is it that hard to remember

Yes, the items I couldn’t do without in the first 6 weeks. Frankly, I have a closet full of potentially useful items right now. I know I was running helter skelter before delivery wondering if I had enough, stalking the Target baby aisles and becoming overly acquainted with the staff and BabiesRUs. I’m not saying wait till baby is 2 months to do a mad dash for useful inventory as it presents itself, just reminding you that you don’t have to break the bank at one time if its not needed. Hell, we’ve only used our crib 8 times… for 8 naps that lasted less than 8 minutes. Hopefully, you get the point.

Postpartum-dom

Dun-dun-dun!

Welcome to the World of Postpartum! Are you scared? Well you shouldn’t be, but I understand why you would be. Why not? For the past 9 months there has been a plethora of information to the point where it is overwhelming. Click here to see what is going on in you uterus on the 28th week and 3rd day. Click here to see what symptoms you will have in week 19. Click here to enter this forum for expectant mothers July 2016. Blah, blah… but now. Now that you have pushed this baby out and your mother in law has whisked it away, and your husband is cooing in it face, and you are wondering what is ahead… the place goes silent. Crickets, real cricket.

“You’re lost?” Says a tall gruffy man in denim overalls holding a pitchfork with a strand of hay hanging from his bottom lip.

“Yes, I’m trying to find postpartum… I just had this baby.”

He leans into the car to smile at the child. “Oh, well she’s cute.”

“Yes, but how do I get to postpartum?”

“Wait, you’re planning on taking the youngin with you? There?!” He steps back and squints at you in disbelief. When he meets your stare unyielding he points to a fork in the road, towards a dark evil-looking forest. “Down yonder, that’s you destination.”

“But.. it… so…” You say peering over your steering wheel. You would have even believed him had you not seen the road sign confirming that way to Postpartum Land. Dang, what the heck.

“Meu-hahahahahahha!!” He is laughing maniacly and stepping back into a new fog and disappearing. A fog that was not there 30 seconds ago. Now your all alone (with a bouncing, crying baby) entering postpartum.

Postpartum starts the second you have that baby. And it is a pretty awesome journey. But why is it the only thing they warn you about is the “baby blues,” sleep deprivation, and depression? We have to change that, pregnancy is not the only place we need to hold each others hands. What did you hear about postpartum? How was postpartum for you?