Mother’s Day

As my first post, which happens to be on Mother’s Day, I thought it was only fitting to tell the story of how I became a mother. I’ve been meaning to write Teddy’s birth story before the details got too foggy and here we are, seven months later, finally getting around to it.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been baby crazy for as long as I can remember.  I would creepily admire babies in the store, I’d volunteer to babysit like the parents were doing me a favor and I watched the documentary Babies about 20 times in college.  Darryl and I had been married for four years and I had been slowly wearing him down.  After many conversations, we finally decided that no one is ever ready for the life changing craziness of having a baby so we decided to give it a shot.  After discussing it with my doctor, he told me to stop taking birth control a few months before we wanted to get pregnant.  I stopped in November, got pregnant in December and found out in January.

I had a great pregnancy, ate all the cereal and developed a new appreciation for air conditioning (being pregnant for the entire summer in Georgia is no joke).  Since we’re military, our families both live pretty far away with my family in New York and my husband’s parents in Florida.  We weren’t sure whether we would want anyone there for labor and delivery or how we would feel afterwards so my mom, dad and sister booked flights to come a few days after my due date of September 16th thinking there’d be a baby by then if not soon after.  My husband’s parents would drive up when we gave them the go ahead.  As much as I loved being pregnant, I was ready to be done at around 38 weeks and was starting to get anxious that my family could very well come and have to leave before the baby arrived since my hospital will let you go to 42 weeks before an induction is scheduled.  Getting induced was the last thing I wanted so I started trying all the natural ways to induce labor I could think of…drinking red raspberry leaf tea, eating dates and spicy food, visits to the chiropractor, lots of walking and curb stepping, bouncing on my birthing ball, and even made a batch of labor inducing cupcakes.


Three days after my due date came and went, my family showed up.  They were only planning on staying for 4 days so we were desperate to get that baby out.  My sister treated me to an acupuncture session which was recommended by my chiropractor to induce labor but that didn’t work either.  We tried to stay busy and pass the time but we were all getting anxious that they would have to leave without meeting Baby Allen (we didn’t find out the gender ahead of time so we referred to the baby as Baby Allen).  We had a doctors appointment, did a cervical check and had my membranes swept…still nothing.  Finally they had to leave about a week after my due date.  My mom extended her trip but knowing it could easily be another week, my dad and my sister had to return home and get back to their jobs and lives.


The day before they left, I got an induction date of September 26th.  At that point, even though I wanted to avoid induction at all costs, I was so over being pregnant that I came to terms with the fact that that was probably how it was going to go down.  This baby was very comfortable and was probably going to need to be evicted.  Darryl’s parents drove down the night before the induction was scheduled.  We all got breakfast the next morning and I spent the day getting ready, making sure everything was packed and dropping our dog off at a friends.  We were scheduled to go in at 9:00 that night so I made everyone dinner to keep myself busy.  We called the hospital at around 8:00 to make sure we were good to go and got the incredibly disappointing news that they were extremely busy and since I was low priority, they would not be able to admit me for induction that night.  They told me to call back at around 4:00 AM.  I was devastated.  I knew I would be too anxious to get any sleep and really didn’t want to go into labor running on no sleep.  I was ready to meet my baby and couldn’t believe it still wasn’t happening.  After finally calming down, we settled in for another night of being babyless and watched the presidential debate while I bounced on my birthing ball, trying to get things going.

At around 10:00, I started feeling some cramping.  I had had Braxton Hicks a few times but this felt different.  I didn’t really tell anyone because I didn’t want to get my hopes up.  Everyone went to sleep and I tried to lay down to get some rest.  That didn’t last for very long before I had to go into the other room where I swayed and leaned against the couch during each contraction and tried to close my eyes and sleep in between.  Finally, at around 1:00 my contractions were regular and about 5 minutes apart when I woke up my husband to tell him I wanted to go to the hospital.  My mom stayed at the house to sleep since we had a long night ahead of us.  The pain was bad but not unbearable yet and the 25 minute ride to the hospital was not fun.  We got to the hospital, dragged in all of our stuff (first time parent problems…why did we pack SO. MUCH. STUFF?!), they checked me and hooked me up to the monitor.  They confirmed that yes, I was in labor but they were still very busy and had no where to put me so they sent me home since I was only about 2 cm dilated.  This put me over the edge and I seriously contemplated laboring in the lobby so I didn’t have to get back in the car but decided we’d be more comfortable at home.  We lugged all of our stuff back to the car and made the 25 minute drive back in the other direction, something I thought we for sure wouldn’t have to do again without a baby in tow.


I continued laboring at home, managed to eat some toast and drink some gatorade and decided that I would indeed be receiving an epidural.  My birth plan had pretty much been, whatever needs to happen will happen.  I wanted to try to go as natural as possible but I hadn’t ruled out an epidural.  Once labor really set in, I very much wanted that epidural.  Finally at about 6 AM, I decided that if I waited any longer, I wouldn’t be able to handle that car ride again.  If I had to stand around writhing in pain in the lobby until they were able to admit me, so be it.  I think that’s when any sense of shame I had left went right out the window.

We got back to the hospital, they checked me again, confirmed that I was now at 4 cm which is usually the minimum to be admitted and began to admit me.  We had to wait until about 9 AM before a room opened up which meant I couldn’t get an epidural until then.  Finally a room was available and the anesthesiologist was ready.  He administered the epidural and I felt slight relief but not what I was expecting.  Things get pretty blurry at this point because I was officially in the zone but I told the nurse I wasn’t feeling much different and was still in a ton of pain.  The first anesthesiologist tried again.  A few hours later two other doctors tried again.  No relief.  I had accepted that it wasn’t working and I was on my own until this baby came out.  Just my luck, I was immune to the magic of epidurals.  At around 5 PM, a new anesthesiologist came in.  My nurse who was also pregnant told me how amazing he was and that she planned on having him administer her epidural when she went into labor.  At that point, I was willing to try anything.  At 9 cm dilated and 20 hours into labor, this miracle worker contorted me into a ball in between contractions somehow and was able to get the epidural to work along with a spinal block.  I could have kissed him but instead I told him to go find the cookies I made for the nurses and that he could take them all.  After 12 sticks with a giant needle and 20 hours of labor, I was in heaven once that epidural kicked in.  I was able to close my eyes and rest for a few minutes before it was time to push.

Finally, they gave me the green light to start pushing.  The room cleared out except for my husband, my doctor and a nurse.  I felt amazing and the room was calm and light.  We made small talk and jokes in between pushes.  They offered me a mirror so I was able to see his head which was super motivating.  After about 30 minutes of pushing, Baby Allen came into the world.  Someone yelled “It’s a boy!” as they put him on my chest.  We stared at him in awe with tears streaming down our faces.  We kept saying that we couldn’t believe how long he was.  At 22.5 inches and 8 lbs 7 oz, Theodore Bennett was pure perfection.  Our parents came in during the magic hour while we had skin to skin and tried to get him to latch.  It was beautiful and magical and perfect and I was already starting to forget the previous 22 hours of pain and torture.  The next few hours and days are a total blur since we had gotten little to no sleep in the 3.5 days we spent in the hospital.


So that’s the chain of events that made me into a mother.  Motherhood has been everything I’ve ever dreamed of and more.  It’s been harder, more emotional and more beautiful than I ever could have imagined.  Every single day, that beautiful boy brings me more joy than I can put into words and I’m so grateful to him for making me a mama.

It wouldn’t be a mother’s day post without mentioning my incredible mom and all the other amazing women in my life.  I wouldn’t be half the mom I am without their love and support.

Baby Theodore (21)

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Baby Mama Eats Whole: Part I

I’m two weeks into my third and a half round of whole 30 (the last round I attempted, half way through, I found out I was pregnant and morning sickness hit so I never finished) but this is my first round since having Teddy and also as a breastfeeding mom so I wanted to share my thoughts  and what has worked for me so far.

Thoughts

Surprisingly, this has been my easiest round so far and I really haven’t had to think too much about it.  During previous rounds, I’ve had countdowns and knew exactly what day I was on and couldn’t wait to quit multiple times.  This round, anytime I’ve been curious about what day I’m on, I’ve had to go to my calendar and count to figure it out.  It feels much more like a way of life than a diet.  Maybe that’s because I have a few rounds under my belt so I know what works for me or maybe it’s because my body really needed this reset to get back on track.  Either way, I’m really loving it and aside from special occasions or occasionally going out to eat, I feel like I could eat this way forever.  My husband would probably have different feelings.

Whole30 + Breastfeeding

I’ve made a few changes and exceptions for myself since I’m breastfeeding my almost nine month old and I was really afraid of my supply dropping.  So far, I haven’t noticed any changes in supply and our breastfeeding journey is still going strong.  I’ve included tons of sweet potato, fruit and extra healthy fats this round.  Not only am I worried about my supply taking a dip but anyone who is responsible for producing food for another human knows that it makes you ravenous.  You are literally eating for two.  I’m glad that I waited until Teddy was established with eating solids because he’s taking in a little less milk so there was less pressure on me, especially since I need to pump enough milk to send to daycare with him.

So the whole30 police would probably have me arrested, but smoothies have saved me this round.  They’re not technically allowed on whole30 but I make sure to keep them heavy on healthy fats and veggies and lighter on fruit.  I add 1-2 things from each of the following groups and blend in my nutribullet.

Veggies: spinach, power greens blend, frozen cauliflower

Fruits: frozen banana, frozen fruit mix, frozen blueberries

Healthy fats: coconut milk, flax seed, chia seeds, almond butter, coconut butter, avocado

Liquid: almond milk, cashew milk

The combination of spinach and blueberries will turn it this lovely gray color.  Don’t be alarmed.

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They keep me full for a really long time, are easy to drink on the go, they come together quickly and bonus: Teddy LOVES them too.  I have one almost everyday and it really helped me stay out of my breakfast rut that I’ve fallen into in past rounds where if I saw one more egg, I was going to scream/vomit/quit.  If I know I’ll be out for a while, I might also have a hard boiled egg or two.

In addition to smoothies, I’ve had a whole30 latte and I swear this thing is what gets me out of bed every morning.  I’m addicted to coffee and giving up creamer has always been the hardest thing for me but this is so freaking delicous, creamy and filling that I might never go back to plain old half and half again.  I use this recipe but basically you just brew a cup of coffee, add two scoops of collagen,  a spoon full of ghee, and I like to add a little almond milk creamer.  Blend it all up and you have a beautiful, frothy latte better than anything you could get at Starbucks.  And I love Starbucks, so that’s saying a lot.  Collagen has some protein in it and is supposed to be great for hair and skin which have both been a struggle for me post-partum.

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Whole30 + Baby Led Weaning

We’ve been doing baby led weaning with Teddy for the past few months and I’ll probably write more about our wonderful experience with that in another post but including him in the process has been really helpful.  Because he eats what we eat, making sure we’re eating healthy is more important than ever.  He still eats whatever is being served at daycare but I love knowing that when he’s home with us, he’s getting exposed to fruits, veggies, healthy fats and proteins.  In addition to feeling better and losing weight, being a healthy role model and offering him healthy options has been a huge motivating factor for me this round.

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Favorite Meals and Recipes

Breakfast:

  • Smoothies
  • Hard boiled eggs with a handful of nuts and a piece of fruit
  • Scrambled eggs with spinach and bell peppers in ghee
  • Fried eggs over leftover potatoes and veggies
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Lunch:

  • Leftovers
  • Hard boiled eggs with a salad
  • Grilled chicken salad with dump ranch
  • My favorite chili recipe, slow cooker jalapeno popper chili
  • Whatever I can find in my fridge
  • Fried eggs over arugula with avocado

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Dinner:

  • Slow Cooker Meatballs & Marinara Sauce with spaghetti squash
  • Easy Weeknight Paleo Chicken Drumsticks over arugula with roasted potatoes and avocado
  • Chick-fil-a nuggets with roasted sweet potatoes and veggies
  • Pan seared strip steak, baked sweet potatoes with ghee and roasted broccoli
  • Lettuce wrapped burgers with homemade ketchup and mayo with baked potato/sweet potato
  • Applegate hot dogs with sauerkraut, avocado and baked potato
  • Lettuce wrapped chicken fajitas with mango and avocado
  • Shephard’s Pie
  • Roasted sweet potatoes, roasted veggies, grilled chicken and avocado bowls

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Condiments:

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Lunch is definitely our biggest struggle, especially on the weekends since we tend to be out and we’re used to grabbing something while we’re out of the house.  Making enough food for leftovers is a huge help but we always seem to run out by the time Friday rolls around.  We’ve gone out to eat a few times since and have ordered what I hope is compliant from Chipotle, Five Guys and Zoe’s Kitchen.  Condiments are a huge help for me and if you spend an hour over the weekend making a batch, it makes a big difference because then you can keep the rest simple throughout the week.

Non Scale Victories

So far, my skin has definitely improved.  I was getting acne worse than high school since having Teddy and it’s seemed to clear up.  I feel like I have more energy.  While I’ve been hungry between meals and had to snack, I haven’t been ravenous like I was before after breastfeeding.  As far as weight loss, you’re not supposed to get on the scale until the 30 days are up so I’m not sure if I’ve lost anything yet.  No real change in the way my clothes fit but I feel better overall.

I’ll report back at the end of the 30 days!

Lullabies

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Inspired by A Cup of Jo’s recent post, I decided to put together a playlist of songs to sing to Teddy, specifically more mainstream songs that aren’t typical lullabies.  These days, I’m obsessed with podcasts and always have one on in the background so music has kind of fallen to the wayside.  I definitely want Teddy to have an appreciation for music as he grows up and I don’t think our botched version of The Wheels on the Bus is really going to foster that.  This playlist is full of songs I’ve always loved, songs with sweet lyrics that will make me tear up if I attempt to sing them to him and others that are just pretty songs to sing little ones to sleep.  Now if only I could figure out a way to not be tone deaf…

  • When We Were Young – Lucy Schwartz
  • Comfort – Deb Talan
  • Wildflowers – Tom Petty
  • Jesus, etc. – Wilco
  • Wagon Wheel – Old Crow Medicine Show
  • Edelweiss – Laura Gibson
  • Song for the Asking – Simon & Garfunkel
  • Can’t Help Falling in Love – Ingrid Michaelson
  • Make You Feel My Love – Bob Dylan
  • Beautiful Boy – Ben Harper
  • Baby Beluga – Raffi
  • You Can Close Your Eyes – Brooke Fraser
  • World Spins Madly On – The Weepies
  • Gotta Have You – The Weepies
  • Dedicated to the One I Love – The Mamas & The Papas
  • I Will – The Beatles
  • Skinny Love – Bon Iver
  • I And Love And You – The Avett Brothers
  • Laundry Room – The Avett Brothers
  • Harvest Moon – Neil Young
  • Talking in Code – Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s
  • A Sea of Chanty Sorts – Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s
  • Skeleton Key – Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s
  • With Arms Outstretched – Rilo Kiley
  • Butterfly – Weezer
  • The Girl – City and Colour
  • Two Weeks – Grizzly Bear
  • I Found a Reason – Cat Power
  • You And Me – Penny & The Quarters
  • No One’s Gonna Love You – Band of Horses
  • Do You Realize?? – The Flaming Lips
  • Only You – Joshua Radin
  • You Are The Best Thing – Ray LaMontagne
  • Trouble – Ray LaMontagne
  • Hold You in My Arms – Ray LaMontagne
  • God Only Knows – The Beach Boys
  • Old Pine – Ben Howard

 

Bits & Pieces

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After a relaxing weekend featuring volunteering at a Mother’s Day event at a local nursing home, an adorable baby shower and my very first Mother’s Day, it’s time to get back to work.  To help ease the Monday Blues, here are some bits and pieces from around the internet that made me smile…

Some of my favorite articles I read in honor of Mother’s Day: the birth of a motherour mothers as we never saw themall the reasons we as mamas rock and this one if you feel like crying.

I’ll be adding this entire list to my goodreads account.

Um, who wants to come over and drink these with me?

Anyone else struggle with lunch?  I need to work these quick, healthy lunches into my rotation.  Or this.

I finally got a copy of The Handmaid’s Tale from my library after becoming addicted to the new series on Hulu. So excited to start reading.

We’ve been talking about building a patio or deck in the backyard for months now and I think we’re finally going to pull the trigger.  I love this table and have been fantasizing about drinking wine outside under string lights after we put the baby to bed.

Hope everyone enjoys their week!

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