Monday, November 17, 2014

The time we needed to just get a way, for a day, just the TWO of us.

About a week ago my husband and I had a wedding to go to. My husband worked that day but we planned on going to the reception once he got off work. I went to the mall that afternoon in hopes to find a dress to wear, I wasn’t in the mood to shop to begin with, but needed to find at least something nice to wear.

Atiana was super fussy that morning, getting out the door took forever and once we finally made it out the door she decided to scream the whole way to the mall. I was hoping once I got her out of her car seat and into the stroller she would calm down. Well, that didn’t happen. The first store we went into she screamed, not even crying, just screaming. I gave her a Sippy cup with milk to try and calm her and she threw it across the store, so embarrassing. I grabbed a couple of random dresses, parked Atiana in the dressing room with me and tried on the dresses. She was quiet for the time being because I placed her directly in front of the mirror. I barely had any room to try anything on, I felt completely rushed because I didn’t know if she was going to have another tantrum or not and everything I did try on made me feel fat and just didn’t look good on me at all.

I left with nothing and decided I would try and walk around the mall in hopes that Atiana would take a nap. That lasted all about 5 minutes before the screaming started AGAIN. She didn’t want to be in the stroller, she just wanted to be held and there was no way I was going to get any shopping done carrying her. So, I decided shopping was out of the question and instead took her to have lunch and then drove home. She knocked out the minute we got into the car and slept for about 2 hours. Obviously she was just overly tired and teething.

Once she woke up I took her to my dad’s so I could attempt to find a dress again. I walked in one store, tried on 4 dresses and left with the first one I tried on. It wasn’t anything special, just a black dress that kind of hid all my flaws at the time. It didn’t make me feel or look fat and it covered up my deflated boobs. I bought some jewelry at the same store to match it and was back at my dad’s within an hour. At this time it was already 3 pm and the reception started at 6. I went back home and packed Atiana’s diaper bag and attempted to at least get my makeup done, but I wasn’t getting far, so instead I packed Atiana’s stuff up, and drove her to my mother-in-laws house a tad bit early so I could get myself ready for the night. I had about 30 minutes to get myself ready once I returned home. I did my makeup, got dresses and just threw my hair in a side bun. I looked like I felt, rushed lol.

We had Josh’s brother drop us off at the wedding and planned on taking a taxi home. It was open bar all night. I don’t know what was wrong with me that night but I just wasn’t able to loosen up. Maybe it had everything to do with how my day went, crying baby, not getting anything done, feeling rushed etc…or maybe it had something to do with how I felt, I felt like I just looked like a mess, like I didn’t put much effort into getting ready or maybe it had something to do with feeling distant from my husband all of a sudden. Maybe it was all these things combined and it was just weighing me down. Anyhow about 2 hours into the reception Josh and I started bickering. What we were bickering over to begin with isn’t important but it escaladed to a few hurtful things being said to one another and after that I was ready to leave. I walked outside to call a cab when a couple of our friends came out to talk to me. They just reminded me that right now we are both stressed because we have so much going on. One of our friends said something that really got to me, he said “You guys are Josh and Steph, you’re always happy”. He was right, we are always happy, we rarely ever fight because we ALWAYS communicate. We do pretty much everything together and we tell each other everything without holding back anything. So what happened, what made us both snap at one another? Shortly after, Josh came outside. He apologized and wanted to just forget about it all and go back to the wedding but I just couldn’t. I’m not good at acting fake or like nothings bothering me. If I’m upset, it’s very obvious and I didn’t want to kill anyone else’s mood. So we called a taxi to take us home early.

It took the taxi about 45 minutes to get there so we spent that 45 minutes talking about what upset us so much. Basically it came down to the fact that we have both been so busy, Josh with work and side jobs, and me with working and then trying to take care of all the home stuff on my own and still managing to find time for myself. Normally Josh and I share all of our household responsibilities because we are both working parents, but for the past week or two I’ve had to do them all by myself and I felt burned out and tired, and he’s been busting his butt at work to make extra money to pay for my surgery, so he’s exhausted and stressed out too. For the first time we realized we hadn’t been communicating like we normally do, and we felt disconnected from one another. We hugged, we cried and we hugged some more. We both realized we needed time alone together, time to reconnect, to talk and listen to one another. Stressing out and being this busy was causing us to drift away from who we are as a couple and it that is not ok.

The next day I called my best friend and asked her for a huge favor. I asked her if she would mind watching Atiana overnight one night so that Josh and I could have a night alone. Not just a night alone from Atiana but from the animals and household chores too. She immediately said yes and offered to watch her that Friday night. We had a wedding to go to that night so we decided to rented a hotel room walking distance from the reception and just enjoy the night together. We've only been away for the night from Atiana once since she's been born and that was when she only 3 months old. We have date nights often but we never leave her overnight. This night was much needed, we had such a great time. We were worry free and able to enjoy each other completely. It felt like it wasn't that long ago when it was just the two of us doing this often. The next morning we got up and went to breakfast, just the two of us, and then drove back home and had Atiana back in our arms by 9:30 a.m. : ) Needless to say, we can both agree that we felt completely refreshed and completely connected after that night.

The truth of the matter is having a baby changes so much about your life. Life becomes 1,000 times busier, especially if you’re both working parents. You HAVE to continue to have alone time, time to connect as a couple and continue to keep your marriage alive. Luckily for Josh and I, Atiana goes to bed pretty early and once she's in bed we sit down and relax with a glass of wine and catch up on our day. We make it a point to stay connected and always communicate about everything! However, all it takes is one crazy work week to throw us off and we are both on edge because we haven't had the time to sit down and communicate and connect. Communication is EVERYTHING in a relationship, it really is. When we communicate we feel so connected to our partner and when we don't we feel so far away from them. My husband has always been something special, he's a man of his word, a man that never goes a day without making me feel appreciated and wanted. I feel blessed to have married someone who knows me better than I know myself sometimes, someone who is so selfless and truly cares about his family more than he does himself.

To my wonderful husband (because I know you will read this): I love you with all of my heart. We don't fight often and I know that's because we communicate about EVERYTHING. However, I appreciate the little fights we do have because I truly feel those little fights are indicators that our communication is slipping a bit and they bring us back to where we should be. God placed the perfect man in my life and I'm thankful for that every single day. I can't help but brag about the man you are because I think men like you don't come around often and I know that I've truly scored with you : ) Thank you for always keeping our marriage spontaneous, fun, exciting, full of love and full of so many laughs. Thank you for showing me a kind of love I've never experienced with anyone else before, it's indescribable head over heels kind of love. And thank you for being the absolute best father to our beautiful daughter. It’s crazy how falling so in love with someone makes you want to create a life together and then how obsessed you become with that little life you've created together. I am so obsessed with you and this life we have together. I love you so very much. Thank you for giving me a life that I thought only existed in movies. You are the PERFECT ONE : )

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Being a Mom..

I can’t believe my baby is 9 months old. It seems like just yesterday I was at home all day long taking care of my newborn baby wondering if things would ever get easier. The newborn stage was not easy at all for me. Luckily my husband and running kept me sane most days. Although I look back now I miss it. I wish I would have held her more (even though I spent most of my days holding her non-stop because she HATED being put down), I wish I would have relaxed a bit more and not worry so much about cooking and cleaning, I wish I would have gotten out of the house more often with her and not stay cooped up because I was scared to go out in public alone with a new baby. The first two weeks were easy. She slept all day and only woke up to nurse and have her diaper changed. She has always been a pretty good sleeper at night, but during the day, it was nearly impossible to get her to nap for longer than 15 minutes, unless I allowed her to nap on me. My Ergo carrier became my best friend. By the time my husband would get home from work I was so exhausted because she gave me no breaks and she was ready for bed for the night by the time he got home (lucky him).

During my last few weeks of maternity leave I let her nap on me as much as she wanted. I knew those were moments I would never get back and wanted to soak it all in. Once Atiana turned 3 months she started napping better, she allowed me to actually put her down and she slept 10 – 12 hours at night. All of a sudden she became this perfect baby right when I had to return back to work (I went back to work when she was 3 ½ months old). I worked part-time my first week back to work. I had such a hard time transitioning and leaving my baby. However, each passing week became easier on the both of us. She loves daycare now! She’s so spoiled there and has become so smart from being around so many kids from ages 6 months – 5 years old. The daycare she attends is also a preschool and she’s included in all the preschool activities. I don’t have to worry about what I’m “supposed” to be teaching her which is something I always questioned when I was home all day with her.

My husband has always given me the option to stay home with our baby or to continue to work. I choose to work because #1 I’m not good at the stay at home mom thing. I’d go crazy! Call me crazy but I call into work “sick” less now than I did pre-baby because let’s face it, staying at home is much harder than being at work (most days) lol. #2 Josh and I want to continue to travel the world with Atiana. We still want to be able to go to nice dinners often, have nice things, buy our dream home within the next couple years (Our little family has outgrown our current home we purchased 6 years ago), and spoil the heck out of Atiana. We have so many goals still and having Atiana has only motivated us more. I’m thankful that we have a daycare we absolutely love because it allows me to continue to work knowing my baby is being well taken care of daily and at the end of the day I’m so excited to see her. She is my motivation in life.

At nine months old our baby has become such an easy baby! We are often told she’s the kind of baby who “tricks” people into wanting a baby. She’s so much fun, she never cries (she will whine if she’s overly tired but you’ll rarely ever hear her cry), she sleeps from 7:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. every night in her crib and within moments of opening her eyes she’s full of smiles and energy. She’s so hyper! Some mornings, if I’m not ready to get up at 6:30 a.m., I’ll bring her back to bed with me and nurse her back to sleep and she’ll sleep another hour in bed with me. I love how easy she is because it truly makes being a mom so enjoyable all the time. Never in a million years did I think I would be the kind of mom who would want to take my baby everywhere with me. I’m the weird one who actually enjoys taking my baby to the grocery store or Target runs.

I was never one of those girls who knew they wanted to be a mom. I always loved babysitting but wasn’t ever sure if I wanted to be a mom. Even once Josh and I got married we still didn’t know if we wanted to have a baby. We said if we did decide to have a baby it would be after five years of being married. We did lots of traveling together and spoiled each other like crazy and then realized we were ready for something more. We wanted a little one to take on all our adventures with us. It took falling deeply in love with the right person for me to realize I wanted a baby. I never in a million years knew how much I would love being a mommy until I became one.

So here we are, one week away from going on our first family vacation together to Cancun! Atiana already has her first passport and two more vacations planned for next year, Cabo and Costa Rica. While I’m nervous about flying with a little one, I’m excited to make memories and share our love for traveling with our little mini.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My Labor Story..

November 1, 2013 my husband and I went to bed around 11:00 p.m. I had slept for about an hour before I woke up at midnight (November 2, 2013) feeling a bit crampy. Not stomach cramps, but back cramps, just like I have when I'm on my period. I stayed in bed for about 30 minutes trying to fall back to sleep but the feeling just wouldn’t go away.

Not wanting to wake up my husband, I decided to go sit in the living room with a heating pad on my back. I sat with a heating pad on my back and decided to start timing the cramping I was feeling. I wasn’t sure if what I was feeling was contractions but something definitely felt a bit off. I timed them at 7 minutes apart with each one lasting about 60/90 seconds long. An hour had gone by and the cramping was very consistent. I decided to text my best friend who is a labor and delivery nurse to see what she thought and to warn her that tonight might be the night (she was going to be there when I delivered my baby). She said that what I was feeling sounded like contractions and to keep timing them and keep her posted. The cramping continued on and off until about 2:30 a.m. It wasn't anything unbearable, just light cramping that was a bit uncomfortable because it was all in my back and every time I tried laying down I would feel even more uncomfortable. I stayed up playing a game on my phone to help pass the time and to help distract the achiness I was feeling.

Apparently I was really into my game because I lost track of time and all of a sudden I heard and felt a loud POP. That loud POP freaked me out! I sat there wondering what the heck that could have been, wondering if the baby was ok, and then all of a sudden it clicked, my water, my water had just broke! I ran into the bedroom and woke up my husband telling him I thought my water had just broke. He asked me if I was leaking and I told him I didn't know I hadn't gone to the restroom yet to check. I ran to the restroom and sure enough I was leaking, slowly. I called my best friend and told her what I felt and she confirmed it was my water. She suggested we head to the hospital shortly because once your water breaks the contractions start coming on strong and you’re limited on time. I had no idea that you would feel and hear such a thing when your water breaks, I felt so unprepared.

I decided to take a quick bath, put some makeup on and get dressed before heading out. My contractions started getting stronger and closer together as I was getting ready. I had to stop and bend over the bed as each one came and just breathe through each one. My husband tried rubbing my back as each contraction came but it wasn't helping much. It was much easier for me to just breathe through each one in a bent over position. After each contraction I continued to get myself together and finish packing my last minute hospital stuff while my husband cleaned the house a bit, fed the animals, called our parents and loaded our stuff in the car. I was still leaking light amounts of water and had also started bleeding fairly heavy too. It was so hard to get myself ready because my nerves and emotions were all over the place so I had a hard time concentrating and found myself running circles at one point.

We finally left the house at about 3:45 a.m. and arrived at the hospital and 4:00 a.m. The car ride to the hospital wasn't long at all but holy cow my contractions started intensifying and some of them were starting to become back to back giving me no breaks in-between. At this point I think we timed my contractions at 3 minutes apart lasting about a minute long with a few that were back to back (those back to back ones are the most painful).

We checked into the hospital at 4:00 a.m. (1 1/2 hours after my water broke). My best friend and my dad met us there right away. They immediately put us in a room after signing a few things and hooked me up to the monitors. My contractions were about 3 - 5 minutes apart once they had me hooked up and though each one was fairly painful I was getting breaks in-between so it was tolerable. The nurses wanted to check to see if my water really did break and how dilated I was before admitting me. I was only 2 cm dilated and the nurses said my water hadn't broke. What, how was that possible? I felt my water break, what else could it have been!?!? My best friend said everything I described sounded like my water DID break but maybe it was a slow leak. Once the nurses checked to see how dilated I was the contractions started coming on harder. The nurses left the room and said they would call my doctor and see what she wanted to do. An hour went by and they still hadn't told me what my doctor said, or if they were admitting me, and at this point I was in a lot of pan! I had crazy back labor and my contractions were so strong at this point they were going off the chart. I held onto the rail of the hospital bed, trying to breathe through each one, but I could not catch a break! Just as one contraction would start coming to an end another one would start up again (back to back contractions suck!).

Finally at 6 a.m. after not hearing from any of the nurses, and not knowing if they were admitting me, I said "I need something for this pain, I can't handle it any longer". I sent my husband out into the hallway to flag down a nurse to find out what the heck was going on. When the nurse finally came in I asked her if there was anything she could give me for the pain. She asked what level of pain I was in from a 1 - 10 and showed me a chart and I said “10”. She asked me if I wanted an epidural and I said "yes, anything to relieve me of the pain". She said she needed to call my doctor to see if my doctor was ok with admitting me (ARE YOU KIDDING ME, I thought they were doing that hours ago). Come to find out those nurses were getting ready to go home for the night. Their shift was almost over so they were basically being lazy. After asking for an epidural they finally called my doctor and admitted me. They said it would be another hour until I could get an epidural as they needed to hook me up to an IV first and have me sign a few things.

A new batch of nurses came in and boy were they amazing! I couldn’t’ have asked for a better group of nurses. I was informed that my Doctor had fallen and injured herself and would not be able to deliver my baby. I was so disappointed because I felt so comfortable with her and had grown very close with her over the course of my pregnancy. At some point during my labor my doctor called my hospital room to apologize that she wasn’t going to be there. She told me that I was a very special patient to her and that she wished she could be there. She promised me that she would set me up with someone GREAT to deliver my baby and boy did she : )

The amount of pain I was in was so bad I couldn't even talk anymore. I was shaking uncontrollably, I was super hot and sweaty and I was throwing up with each contraction. My husband sat there fanning me with each contraction (the one thing I wish the hospital would have had or I would have brought is a hand held fan. The nurses set the air on super high for me and I was still sweating like crazy) and my best friend held a pan under me as I threw up. She also continued to put cold wet washcloths behind my neck which helped tremendously (Thank God for one heck of a best friend and one heck of a husband).

The nurses came back in to hook me up to an IV. I asked to use the restroom first. I could hardly walk to the restroom because the contractions were so intense. I sat on the toilet trying to go to the bathroom but it was so hard because the contractions wouldn't let me catch a break. I was finally able to go and when I looked into the toilet all I saw was blood.

Immediately after walking out of the bathroom the nurses had me walk across the room to sign a bunch of paperwork (I honestly had no idea what I was signing because all I could think about was the amount of pain I was in). I had 3 really big contractions just walking over to sign everything and had to stop and bend over a chair just to get through each one. As the nurse was explaining everything to me it was just going through one ear and out the other. There was no possible way for me to focus when I was having contraction after contraction.
Once I signed everything they hooked me up to an IV and began prepping me for an epidural. By the time I got the epidural it was 7:30 a.m. To my surprise the epidural was painless. I had all this anticipation built up that it was going to be painful and all it felt like was a small prick in my back. It was instant relief, thank god!

Shortly after the epidural I had a room full of people, my husband, my mom, my dad, my mother-in-law, my grandpa and my best friend were all in the room with me. Everyone was talking and joking, and I was trying so hard to rest up before it was time to push, but it was so hard because I felt sooo good finally and everyone was full of excitement. How is one supposed to rest when feeling so excited?? I was also starving!! I hadn't had anything to eat since 6 p.m. the night before. I knew the hospital wouldn't allow me to eat so I packed some snacks and my best friend snuck me handfuls of the cheez-its I brought. How is one supposed to have the energy to push without food lol.

Eventually I told everyone to go about their morning so I could rest. I expected to be in labor for many more hours so I wanted everyone to go about their day. Everyone except my dad left. My husband went out to the car to get our overnight bags. The nurses came in to check me again and said I was 6 almost 7 cm dilated and 100% effaced. I had progressed super quickly but knew things could easily turn around. Being the excited over exaggerator my dad is, he immediately texts everyone to come back, telling everyone I can have the baby at any moment and that the doctor’s could see her head lol. Everyone runs back to my room all excited when I had to tell them what my dad said was very much so exaggerated and that things could still change at any given moment.

An hour later the nurses come back into the room to check me again. This time I'm 8 cm dilated and I start feeling the contractions again but only on my right side. I could tell the epidural was slowly wearing off so I told the nurse I was starting to feel the contractions again and they upped my epidural some. All of a sudden my legs were completely numb, so numb that I couldn't even lift them or turn myself in the hospital bed without help. I started panicking a bit. Not being able to move the lower half of your body is a freaky feeling. I was afraid I was going to be so numb when it came time to push that I would have no control over what I was doing.

I tried my best to relax but 30 minutes later the nurses were back to see if I had progressed. I was now 10 cm dilated and 100 effaced but rather than have me push immediately, they allowed the baby to labor down a bit (This helped tremendously as far as not tearing too bad).

20 minutes later the nurses were back to check me and decided it was time for me to push. I wasn't prepared to push, I didn't feel that urge to push that everyone talks about, I was so nervous! I could however move my legs at this point which meant my epidural was perfect and would probably start wearing off again so if I was going to push it was the perfect time to do so. I kicked everyone out of the room except my husband and my best friend. The nurses positioned me and guided me to start pushing while my best friend counted to ten making me push for a full ten seconds each time (her counting to ten was so motivating, it truly made me push to my fullest even when I felt I was completely out of breath). I pushed twice and then the nurses had me stop because they could already see the baby's head. It was time to bring the doctor in to deliver our baby.

The doctor arrived quickly. Everyone positioned themselves and they had me start pushing again. It was only a couple of pushes before her head was out and then they had me stop pushing for a good five minutes. At this point everyone was talking about how much hair she had and the doctor sat there playing with her hair, swirling her fingers in it and styling it before she came out. Finally they had me push a couple more times and she was out! Pushing felt like I had just run a marathon, boy does it take EVERYTHING out of you. I only pushed for maybe 15 minutes before she was out but it felt like I had just gotten done running, I was breathless! The doctor that delivered my baby was so amazing. She was so encouraging while I pushed. She told me that if every patient she had pushed like me I would make everyone’s job so much easier. I think working out throughout my pregnancy helped tremendously with pushing.

They laid her on my chest immediately. It took her a few seconds before she cried but when she did tears of joy ran down my face. There is just no better feeling than seeing and hearing your baby for the very first time. After some skin to skin with my baby they measured her and weighed her - 7 lbs 4 ounces and 20 ½ inches long. We named her Atiana Nicole and she was born on November 2, 2013 at 11:58 a.m. My due date was October 31, 2013, according to my doctor. However, the place we got our 4D ultrasound at gave us a due date of November 2, 2013. Needless to say, she was born on November 2, 2013. Every detail about her that was given to us at the 4D ultrasound was accurate.

I healed fairly quickly post baby. I really wasn’t all that sore at all. I had bad sciatica pain that I had to get adjusted right away post baby and my butt hurt a bit making it uncomfortable to sit for long periods (I swear I birthed a baby out of my butt lol) but no other pain aside from that. I stopped bleeding by week two and still haven’t gotten a period yet but I’m sure that’s due to breastfeeding. My recovery process was crazy because I really didn’t even feel like I had a baby.

And that is my labor story! I didn’t have a birth plan written out but I was hoping I wouldn’t have to be induced, that I wouldn’t end up with a c-section and that I wouldn’t need an episiotomy and luckily everything went smoothly for me and none of those things needed to be done. I was terrified of labor prior to having my daughter and now I can honestly say it was such a beautiful day and I would do it again any day. I enjoyed every part of that day and can honestly say it went by far too fast. It was an easy labor and I feel very blessed.

Sorry it took me so long to get this blog post up. No one warned me how hard the first month or two of being a mommy is. Holy heck, I’ll save that for another blog post. I had lots of breakdowns and a baby that never let me put her down. She’s 5 months now and it’s gotten so much easier. She’s a whole different baby now, so happy and such an easy baby. I wish someone would have told me it gets easier after their about 3 months old lol.

I’ve been back at work for 2 months now and I finally have a good balance going on so I’m hoping to start blogging more. There are so many moments I want to blog about so that I don’t forget them!