Friday, October 20, 2017

Workin' It: Decluttering One Day a Week

Truth: Adulting is Hard. Also true: Decluttering after having a kid- SUPER HARD!

Have you ever looked around at your possessions and thought- do I really need all this stuff? Well that has become me since pretty much the moment my son was born. I feel like when you enter parenthood you just acquire soooooo much stuff, in addition to all the stuff you had before they came into your life. Pretty soon all you have is a house FULL of stuff. Stuff to keep your kid fed, clean and clothed, stuff to keep them busy and happy, stuff to teach them- a whole lot of STUFF.
So I made a decision earlier this month that I would pick one room a week to focus on and declutter the stuff.
How have I done so far? Well- I am 90% done with our bedroom, 90% done with our kitchen, 75% done with our living room and 95% done with our sons room. Overall that's pretty good if you ask me. However- none of these rooms are truly done. I don't know if its just that last 10-25% I just am so tired after working on the room that I give up, or if I just don't know what to do with the remaining 10% of stuff- but its been frustrating me. Have any of you had that feeling?
Next on our docket of cleanup is our Laundry Room, Bathrooms, Dining Room/Spare fun space, Spare bedroom and the backyard. The backyard is really my hubs domain- so I've been avoiding that space all summer/fall, because honestly- it is kinda terrifying at the moment. The Spare bedroom is the other space that I just dread- as it has become the catch-all spot for things that either need to go to the attic for storage or I don't know where to put it. Luckily no one has needed to stay over in our house most of the year- because they'd cry if they walked in there.

So what does the rooms that are *almost* decluttered looking like? What are some of my new found organization? Let me share:

Let's start with my son's room: 95% done
We removed 2 gigantic bookcases out of his room as they were just too big and darkened up the room (not to mention he didn't need that much storage space) and swapped them with 2 cube cases we had downstairs. We moved the big cases downstairs to help our living room with storage. We converted his crib to a toddler bed (don't ask about how that transition is going- as that's a story for another day). His kid-bookcase was moved into his closet and dresser moved to that wall, so now he has a book nook corner where we can sit and read in the recliner. He likes to grab books and hand them to me and then crawl up on my lap to sit and read them to him. I added chalkboard labels to his dresser so we can start to teach him the names of what goes in each drawer. I also then made all his storage containers for use in the cubes to contain all his toys. We are still working on the whole- clean up part of the room from the kiddo. He's kind of a "let's take ALL the toys out first- then I'll decide what I want to play with" kind of kid. haha. Last thing we did was install a baby gate in the hallway. This way he can't get to the stairs, nor the hall bathroom without us, nor the spare bedroom, but he can get to our room if our door is open. That way he can play in his room and I can be in my room without much fuss. He's favorite thing to do though since it was installed is run back and forth between our rooms. haha. All we have left to do is deal with the giant empty wall space behind his bed, and clear out the odds and ends that are at the top 2 shelves of his closet.
Too bad he LOVES pulling his toys out and throwing them everywhere- so at least I *try* to keep his room clean. lol

Now on to my bedroom: 90% done
I first tackled all the STUFF that had become taking space on our floor, as our bedroom became one of those rooms we'd move stuff when company came over- since who's going to go in your bedroom when they visit? (Admit it- you've done that!). Then I tackled my closet. I honestly hadn't gone through my closet of clothes since I was pregnant- so I had a LOT of clothes that didn't fit me then- still don't fit, so was time to pull them. I reorganized by style (Skirts, dresses, tops, jackets, pants) and color (my favorite way of doing my closet). I also moved ALL my jewelry into a over the door mega jewelry case my hubs got me for my birthday in Feb. My only beef with the organizer is it doesn't do well with bulky necklaces (which since I like costume jewelry- is a problem) but I've found places for them. The last major thing on my list for our bedroom was finding a home for my crafting cabinets- which for a period of time after I had my son I moved them into our bedroom because I thought I'd craft in our bedroom (HAHA- yeah- no.). Those babies moved downstairs into our Dining Room/Play area, as that space is going to be a play area for both kiddo and my crafting, as well as dining space. I still have to finish moving a few odds and ends that go in those cabinets (or declutter the cabinets so it all fits) as well as rearrange the furniture, as the flow through the room is all wonky. (Also fix our headboard, as a piece fell off. lol)

The Kitchen: 90% done
This one I feel like I got the most done in. First, I went through our plates/cups cabinets- which took up 3 cabinets. I got rid of random coffee cups and mis-matched items first, and then kept only plastic plates, cups and bowls- since right now my son breaks everything that is glass known to man. (Toddler + breakable= disaster). I then wrapped up our set of glass dishware into a storage box for use in a few years (when he isn't into throwing things) as well as all glass cups. I put our wine glasses on the top top shelf and everything else is everyday use. I narrowed our dishware down to 2 cabinets- freeing up 1 cabinet for food storage. Since we don't have a true pantry, this was crucial. I rearranged the "home" for many of our food equipment that stay on the counters or above the shelves, cleaned up on top of the fridge, as well as put many of our snacks/pack lunch items in a shoe organizer over the door. I also put our sons sippy cups and baby silverware in that organizer too- since it holds it so much better then a cabinet! My main focus for the kitchen was to just get rid of the sheer amount of knick knack kitchen stuff! The last thing we need to tackle is our pots/pans & tupperware cabinets and do a good scrub clean of everything- but overall- almost there!
Snacks and Sippy Cup/kiddo silverware storage for the win!

The Living Room: 75% done
When we moved down the bookcases from our sons room (and 2 of the cubes upstairs) we were forced to clean this room up sooner then on my schedule. Many moons ago we had these bookcases in this same place, but when we moved them upstairs- we put chalkboards on the wall to help with the blank wall space. Now that the bookcases are back- I know I know, those chalkboards gotta go. Anyways- we rearranged the couch to its tradition L shape, put my computer desk in the corner next to it and brought some more cube storage containers for my sons toys that are downstairs. We went through his toys and only kept what fit in 4 containers downstairs along with a few big items that he likes to walk around with (shopping cart & sit airplace)- rest went upstairs to his room. My hubs' computer joined the space of the bookcase, since he always says he doesn't need much desk space or might try a standing desk setup. The top 3 shelves we filled with his books and our records & record player. Bottom 2 shelves are for the kiddo. Only thing left for this room is finishing up the cleanup of my computer desk and attaching a fake fireplace that we acquired from the theater production we directed and was donated by a local church to us personally. I am gleefully excited for Xmas time when it is all setup- stockings- Yay! Also down the line I'd really like to find a better way of hiding cords and making our under-the-couch space not a constant deadzone for our son's toys and cups.
Don't mind my pile of laundry (that has since moved. lol) But look how clean!!!!

Almost there organization wise! Wee!

Once I get more of the rooms cleaned up and organized, I'll pop in and share more. I'll also share with you all the finish rooms if I ever get them done. haha. Organization when you are a working mom is TOUGH. I've only done 4 rooms total in a month and I'm not even done with those 100% yet! So fellow Working Moms & Dads (and even my non-working parents)- sending heart-felt good vibes. We can do this! Let's get Organized one step at a time!
-M

Friday, September 15, 2017

Favorites Friday: Being Comfortable and Keeping Kiddo Happy

So now that Favorites Fridays are coming back to the blogo- I'm going to introduce you also to some of my son's favorites. So not only do you get 5 things that I am loving, but also 5 things that my little munchkin is loving! Win!

Let's start with my favs:




1. Five Below Black Suede knotted flats: Ok- so I know- I really should invest in some higher quality flats, but honestly- these are so comfortable AND affordable. I beat up my flats and usually go through black flats every few months, so only paying $5 for a pair (sometimes less when on sale) is totally up my alley. I find their flats to not be too tight on the backs of my heels and don't break the bank.
2. LuLaRoe Perfect Tee:  Yes- I sell LuLaRoe, but honestly, even if I didn't- the Perfect Tee would be my go-to top. Like many LuLaRoe newbies I tried Irmas and Leggings to start, but once I tried a Perfect Tee on- it because my default top in my closet. I don't know how many I own, but it is a lot- because I wear them just about every other day with skirts (preferably the Cassie skirt) but also pants too! I have a few I can wear with leggings as I got them a tad bigger for that purpose- but the main reason I love them is that they are flattering and perfect to hide my mommy flub. I am ALL for anything that hides my pudge!
3. LuLaRoe Cassie Skirt:  Now hear me out- I know many of you scoff when you hear someone talk about a pencil skirt. But really- this skirt is da-bomb! I pair it with Perfect Tees and basically wear this with boots (during fall/winter) and sandals, heels or flats (during the spring/summer) for work. It is dressy enough but also comfortable enough for me to wear this combo basically every other day to work. It has a yoga waistband- so it gives you pretty much no crazy muffin top if worn with proper undies- and shows off your curves all while being made out of comfy stretchy fabric. Believe me- I am NOT a size 0, and this skirt makes me feel fab. My hubs loves it too. haha
4. Diet Dr. Pepper: I know what you're thinking- a Diet soda? Way to be healthy. shhh. I know, but honestly I don't know what I'd do without my one-a-day bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper. My Nana started drinking this many years ago, and as a kid I always laughed and made a face when she'd hand me one, but as an adult- its my go-to soda. My day job coworkers must also agree- because the vending machine carries 3 full rows of it (more then any other beverage) and if they don't restock by the end of the week- its totally all gone. haha. Give it a try!
5. Me & My Big Ideas Create 365 Planner Box Kit- Best Year Ever: This past Christmas I begged my hubs to get me a cool planner and stickers so I could stay organized and then turn it into a fun journal/scrapbook. I do adore this planner- it can expand pages, it is colorful, leaves room for lots of fun writing/stickers and the month view is my fav- perfect size! Now all I need is to find a good purse that will fit it- as this baby has basically stretched out my shoulder bag, because I try to cram it inside with all my stack of stickers along with. haha. Anyone have any suggestions on crossbody-style purses that can handle this awesome planner?



Now to my son's favs (FYI- he's 19 months old, for those that want to know age range. lol)




1. The First Years Take & Toss Spill-Proof Cups: So my son has a habit of throwing and/or hiding his sippy cups- so these puppies are great because they don't spill often (they do occasionally open up- but only rarely if I don't close it properly) and are pretty cheap. We bought a handful of the packages on Amazon- and honestly- I like them so much better then my 360 cups for the sheer ease of cleaning them. As much as I ADORE the 360 cups- because that is how we got our son off the bottle and they pretty much NEVER spill, they are a PAIN in the butt to clean. So if you hate cleaning dishes/cups- these are great in the dishwasher and overall clean up well for how cheap the price point is. These were basically how we taught our son to use a straw and he still loves them!
2. EZPZ Happy Mat One-piece silicone placemat+ plate: Another mommy blog suggested one of these types of plates and honestly- I don't know what I'd do without them. We go to sushi every week (yes my son adores sushi) and we've been using this at the restaurant every week- and it always does great. We use them at home too- but I think they are the bomb when at restaurants. Mega props to whoever invented these kinds of placemat/plates. :D
3. Moana on Netflix: I know many parents can attest to Moana being a big-time favorite movie in their house, and ours is no different. I also have found that the first 1/4 of the movie (basically up until "You're Welcome") has a somewhat calming factor- especially when close to nap time or bed time. Often times my son doesn't even make it to the above mentioned song, as the waves and music make him calm to sleep. Honestly- I think it was one of the better Disney animations in a while and I don't think there is a single song that I outright hate in this movie. Even though I've heard the songs about a bazillion times- I still can sing along and not be annoyed with them (*yet*). Bravo Disney!
4. Beat Bugs on Netflix: This show we ran across very early on in my sons life- and it so far has been a staple in our house whenever he is having an extreme freakout. He isn't the greatest socializer with people he doesn't know, so this show has helped him warm up to babysitters, but also gets him dancing all the time. He claps and smiles and dances and even hums to the catchy tunes. I've never been much of a Beatles fan, but I actually really do like this show and the music. When he sees the logo or even any clip of the show- he points and smiles and does a happy dance. We actually plan to be 3 of the 5 main characters for our family Halloween costume. ;D
5. Pediped flex Hayden sneaker in brown and blue:  Believe me- I didn’t pay $50 for shoes for my son. I lucked out and got a used pair of these babies for $5 from a mommy consignment sale. But honestly- if I could only invest in a single pair of shoes for my son- these would be it. He has extremely fat feet (chunky on the top of his foot) and these are so easy to get on his cubby feetsies, but also the velcro is strong enough that he can't undo them as easily. My kid is pretty smart at figuring out how to get out of shoes and socks- so anything that keeps him in them- I'm all about.


I hope you have a fantastic weekend and enjoyed our favorites of the week! I'll be busy going to a local Ren Faire followed by having a Yard Sale and Open House this weekend. Busy bee!
What are your plans for the weekend?
-M

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Workin' it! Wednesday: Blog updates and getting back in the groove of life

Ok. So I know that my life will NEVER be the same now that I'm a mom- it hasn't been for the past 19 months. My son is so freakin' adorable- but also a giant handful. He likes to cause trouble, get into things, destroy things- all the while smiling from ear to ear and giving me a big hug afterwards.
I know I've been super silent on the blogo this past 19 months since my son was born. Life just got a little crazy for a while.

Besides having my son, I got into selling LuLaRoe on the side (besides doing my day job of video graphics design), as well as ended up directing "Beauty and the Beast" at the one local community theater this past August. Believe me- I don't know what I was thinking when I said yes- I think my hormones were all out of whack when they asked me last September/October. But it turned out great- it just was a LOT of work with a very wild almost-toddler running around under my feet at rehearsals.

However, finally- things are starting to settle down and I'm ready to get back into things. I'm determined to get back in the groove of blogging- as honestly I miss it. I miss the community, I miss just typing it all out. So for now- I'm back! I may not post nearly as often as I used to, but I want to add in my "Mom Life" feelings to the blogo here as well as my usual stuff. So my random weekly features are getting a little overhaul. As much as I LOVE link parties, I just don't have the energy or time to run them, so my Totally Tuesday feature is getting swapped to "Totally Inspired Tuesday"- basically things that are inspiring me! My Mom Life posts will take over for Mondays for "Mommy Monday." The rest of my weekly features will stay the same- Workin' it! Wednesday (Basically anything that I'm working on that week- be it food, projects, home DIY, recipes, etc.), Thrifty Thursday (All the deals and finds!) and Favorites Friday- my FAVs for the week.

Check out my hand-dandy info graphic for the lowdown:




So- if you were a follower a while ago, or even if you are just popping in new just now- Welcome (or as my son's favorite movie Moana says "You're Welcome!")!
My life has changed a LOT from last time I was an avid blogger- so bear with me, as things are a changin'. But hopefully you still enjoy everything you find here on the good ol' blog of mine. Hugs to you all and looking forward to getting back in the groove of blogging and chatting with you all again!
-M

How I survived Gestational Diabetes

So, you failed your 3 hour glucose test and the docs are saying you have gestational diabetes. Big hugs to you mommas- I’ve been there. I know how this can seem sorta like the end of the world- especially when you’re emotional, pregnant, and if you were like me- immediately became a starving crazy person the second they told me I couldn’t just eat whatever the hell I wanted.

First things first, you probably were recommended to do the following:

  1. Meet with a Nutritionist
  2. Go to a Diabetic Center meeting
  3. Meet with a perinatologist 
  4. Schedule another followup ultrasound. 
  5. Down the road, you’ll probably have to also undergo Fetal Non-Stress Tests too (1 or 2 times a week- usually starting around 32 weeks). 
If you can, I totally suggest meeting the nutritionist FIRST. I couldn’t get in to see mine till after my Diabetic Center meeting, and I had a lot of questions that the center couldn’t answer but the nutritionist did. It’s easier to learn what you can eat and how to change your diet BEFORE you’re forced to track your glucose and receive a glucose meter.

Once you find out a suggested diet and figure out how to take your existing meal plan/diet and make it more diabetic friendly, you’ll have to start tracking your glucose. I was suggested to take mine 4 times a day- once when I woke up (fasting reading) and then 2 hours after each meal (breakfast, lunch & dinner). My doc suggested you take the glucose reading 2 hours after you START the meal- aka. I start to eat lunch at noon, so I take my glucose at 2pm. Forewarning though, if you’re a slow eater or you graze, your glucose might be a little off depending on what all you eat.
I found the hardest thing ever was having to go to parties/holiday get-togethers where you graze throughout the night. For me, I had my last 3-hr glucose test on Halloween and then I found out I had GD the week of my baby shower, followed by Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. It was a rough time for me.



When you do find a good regime- stick to it. I found I packed basically the same meal for breakfast and all my snacks (only really changing my lunch & dinners) so this helped keep my glucose in track. Because I work quite early, I would make my breakfast while packing my lunch and snacks and eat in the car or right when I got to work. But because I had the same thing for breakfast most days (once I figured what worked) my glucose readings were wonderful every breakfast reading.

Don’t be afraid to write notes on your glucose readings when they are high or low. This is a biggie. Many times we try to “trick the system” so when you’re bad and you know you ate something you shouldn't, you conveniently “forgot” to take your glucose or you took it a LOT later then you should of (I know the tricks people- again, I’ve been there). I found that when I fessed up and wrote what I ate or did that caused the high or low reading on my tracker sheet, the doctors were much more grateful and happy with the results- it also keeps you more in line/more accountable.
Also, I guess my little “notes” were funny, because every time I’d turn them into the doctors/nurses, they’d chuckle and comment how much they liked my little notes. I’d often write things like “guess I can’t have perogies with dinner” or “1 slice of pizza I can do, 2 slices- guess not.” It helps being aware of what caused you to have highs.
homemade pretzels ruined my Glucose Reading that day
My glucose was good all week one week- so I rewarded myself by making homemade soft pretzels for the first time while stuck in the house during the day after #blizzard2016. They were so worth it. All were enjoyed by hubs, me and baby A who was still relaxin inside the belly. My glucose after said pretzels- not so good.

Now if you have lows (like I generally would have when I woke up) figure out how to keep your glucose up while you sleep- I was suggested to have graham crackers with PB or a skinny cow ice cream sandwich right before bed to keep my glucose going while I slept (I guess I processed glucose a lot better when I slept). Figure out what works for you and stick to it- don’t try to push the system too much- otherwise you’ll have the heartache of finding out things not working or giving you bad readings. I know it sucks, but it will be over soon.
I was lucky when it came to the gestational diabetes train- I had been able to keep tabs on it 100% via diet- no pills, no insulin. Not all moms are so lucky (well in all reality- the moms who don’t have gestational diabetes at all are the luckiest ones!). Your doctor will be able to determine where you fall on the scale of GD. The big thing to remember- its all about the carbs! I always thought diabetes was a sugar thing (sugar is a biggie, but Carbs are the big thing you need to watch when on a GD diet). Exercise is key too if you can do even a little bit of it. I would walk when on break at work and it would help a lot- sadly once I got to my 3rd trimester, exercise just became way too tiresome- so I stuck to basic light exercise.

Here’s some ideas of foods that worked for me:
Breakfast:
·         1 cup no- pulp low acid orange juice
·         1 Morning Star sausage, egg, and cheese flatbread sandwich
Morning Snack:
·         1 greek yogurt
·         1 package of Nature Valley bars (2 bars in the pack)
·         ½ banana
Lunch:
·         Chicken quesadilla from Wawa
·         1 package of apple slices from Wawa
·         Sugar free jello
·         Diet Peach Snapple (my only non-water drink of the day)
Afternoon Snack:        
·         ½ banana
·         10 carrots with 1 tbsp hummus
·         (sometimes) 1 cheesestick
Dinner:
·         1 chicken breast
·         ½-1 cup green beans
·         ½ cup rice or potatoes
Evening Snack:
·         Graham crackers with Peanut Butter
OR
·         1 skinny cow ice cream sandwich
·         (Sometimes) some form of fruit cup if I’m really starving

I know this isn’t 100% what all the books say, but honestly- this is a basic lowdown of what I ate and had successful glucose for my entire GD time.

Another thing you’ll come across once you get through all the initial adjustment- once you hit 32 weeks, many doctors suggest you go to fetal non-stress tests. These are nothing to be scared of- actually they’re not bad at all (the best of all the test you have to do). Basically what happens is you sit in a recliner chair while nurses take a sensor and put a strap to hold it in place across the top and another across the bottom of your stomach. This sensor is to check that your baby’s heart rate goes up when he kicks. If your baby isn’t a big kicker- try drinking ice cold water (our nurses would always offer if we want anything- I always say water- they give me ice cold water- this has always made baby A kick up a storm). I heard that the cold water wakes up the baby in case they’re sleeping.
If your kiddo is doing good on their kicks, you only sit there for about 20 minutes or so. Then they take your blood pressure and you’re done! Easy peasy.

Now, my doctor also suggested getting Amniotic fluid checks with my fetal non-stress tests, so they usually do that after the FNST. Basically this like a super-quick ultrasound that only checks that your amniotic fluid is on track. Also easy peasy. My biggest complaint with the fetal non-stress tests is a) having to pay $40 copay EVERY SINGLE APPOINTMENT and b) the long wait in the waiting room- basically I’m waiting for a chair to open up- since they only had 3 chairs at my hospital testing center. If a mama before me was having issues and the kiddo didn’t cooperate (or they couldn’t get all the kicks within the 20 minutes or so, they start to get behind). Often times I’d wait in the waiting room 40 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how early my appointment is. The actual test itself isn’t bad at least.

It’s going to be tough, not going to lie to you. You WILL have really rough days and days that just down right suck- and you want to eat everything in sight. There will also be days where your significant other decides to make/order pizza and you already had your healthy meal and the smell becomes so overwhelming that you have to hide in your bedroom to get away from it (just speaking from experience…). I know its already rough being pregnant, not having that beloved glass of wine, and carrying around a giant bowling ball on your stomach for 9 months- but I promise, you’re a super awesome mom- you can do it!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

What to pack in your Labor & Delivery bag

What to pack in your Labor & Deliver Bag

Before having my son, I was paranoid I was going to go into labor in random places, so I had my labor & delivery bags packed for 2 months. I carried my poor cord blood registry box everywhere I went and every day to work (since it couldn't be left in the car due to temperature).
When my water broke in the last hour of work at 1:30pm (while sitting at my desk), I calmly texted my husband to come pick me up, because my water just broke. I told my boss and co-workers and waddled out to my car (where everything was all ready to go). I waited for my husband to get to my work (no more than 10 minutes), he hopped in my car and we drove to the hospital. Baby A was born at 7:14pm that day.

For those of you preparing for your baby, here are the basics that I packed in my Labor & Deliver Bag, and what I realized I might of needed when at the hospital:
  • Bath robe (This was a lifesaver and I lived in it the first week after delivery)
What to pack in your Labor & Deliver Bag- Robe

  • Prenatal vitamin
  • Snacks (for self & hubs)- since the kitchen was closed by the time we got to our room, this helped hold us over till hubs could run and get mcd’s
  • Chargers
  • Ipad/iphone
  • Sleepers for baby
  • Going home outfit (plus socks, hat, gloves, etc.) for baby
  • Breast pump & supplies (if you've never used one before, a nurse/lactation consultant can help you learn how to use it)
  • Wallet
  • Glasses
  • Own pillow
  • Blankets & pillow for hubs
What to pack in your Labor & Deliver Bag- Blankets for hubs

  • Change of comfortable clothes
  • Flip flops for shower
  • Antibacterial hand gel
  • Nursing bra
  • Nursing pads
  • Comfy pjs
  • Fuzzy warm socks
  • Boppy or nursing pillow (if it works for you- my kiddo is too much of a wiggle worm and doesn’t ever latch properly when laying on one of these. It's a great neck pillow though. haha)
  • Will
  • Insurance info
  • Birth plan
  • Birth certificate registration for hospital (send in ahead of time if you can.)
  • Cord blood registry box (make sure to fill out form inside BEFORE going into labor- I forgot about this and hubs was rushing to fill it out while I struggled through my early contractions)
  • List of people to email/call/text once born
  • Sleep Eye mask if you have trouble sleeping in hospitals (I was too paranoid/watching my child, that I basically had to be given some heavy-duty pain meds to get any sleep- which I was grateful for relieving the major pain downstairs, but it also knocked me out so I could actually sleep more than the 15 minute naps I was getting the first day.)
Your hospital might provide these, but it's great to bring your own if yours doesn't. If they do have them, make sure to take these home!:
  • Tucks
What to pack in your Labor & Deliver Bag

  • Disposable underwear
  • Giant maxi pads (stock up at home too)
  • Dermapast
What to pack in your Labor & Deliver Bag

  • Motrin extra strength
  • Stool softener
  • Sitz bath (don’t forget to take this home)- for Vaginal births.
  • Shake formula (even if bf, take these home from the hospital- you never know when you need it!)
  • Diapers & wipes (take what the hospital has too!)
What we brought that I honestly think helped lighten the mood:
  • Snacks/gift for nurses (this was a hit at the L&D)
What to pack in your Labor & Deliver Bag- Snacks for Nurses

What to pack in your Labor & Deliver Bag- Snacks for Nurses

What to pack in your Labor & Deliver Bag- Snacks for Nurses

Funny story about the treats- I came across this idea on Pinterest and decided to do a little "peanut-filled snack bucket" since "Peanut" was our nickname for our son before he was born. Well, when I was in the hospital and screaming bloody murder for my Epidural (the Anesthesiologist was backed up in the OR, so it took him 2 1/2 hrs to get to me), one of the things I actually screamed to the nurses right after screaming obscenities- "I'm so sorry I'm so horrible. I have candy for you, I swear!"
So when hubs got the candy, they laughed- I wasn't lying!
We actually had some of the nurses later in the night (baby A was born right at shift change) that were like "Are you the guys who brought the candy?"
haha. My only regret was not bringing 2 buckets- one for the Labor & Delivery nurses and one for the Recovery Room nurses (they were separate, so the recovery nurses didn't get any of the treats- poo).

I hope this helped you in packing your hospital bag. If you end up having a c-section, there might be a few things that you need that I didn't, but this is a great starter list for those who are going to have a vaginal birth.
Have a great day and happy packing!
-M

Friday, April 29, 2016

"Life is better with a bump" is a LIE: Things I learned while pregnant

So before I got pregnant I kept seeing all these adorable bumpie photos, cute maternity clothes and daydreamed about eating a whole barrel of ice cream without anyone fat-shaming me. I dreamed of getting teary-eyed at seeing my little one's ultrasounds (ok, I did actually get teary-eyed when I first say my little guy on the screen) and giddy when feeling him kick.
I only had a few friends that have been pregnant recently, so the truths of pregnancy were not totally real for me. Now what people didn't forewarn me was how people treat you when you're pregnant. Some women have absolutely wonderful pregnancies and others do not. Well, as it turns out- mine was the dreadful kind- however it didn't turn into that till I hit the second trimester (we will dive into that later in the post). Now granted, I know there are ladies who had it WAY worse than me, and those ladies I commend you for being true blue troopers.

Life is better with a bump is a lie: things I learned while pregnant


So, in order to help out any of you newly pregnant/or trying to be pregnant gals out there, here are some things that no one prepared me for or talked about when it comes to being pregnant, that I can now share with you (now that my little one is out of my bump):
  • The Questions & 3rd Trimester Comments: People will ask you “how are you feeling?” basically from the second you announce your pregnancy. It was the default question people would ask me- many times I’d be asked that phrase at least 10 times in one day (or more).

    Once you hit your 3rd trimester, people will constantly ask you your due date- questioning basically how much longer you’re going to look like you’re smuggling watermelons down the hallway.

    Also in your 3rd trimester, you’ll get a lot of “oh you’re riding low, you must be ready to pop soon”- I was told that basically my entire 3rd trimester. Newsflash people, my son just rode low the whole pregnancy (he stuck to my lower right side almost the entire time). He also was late- born at 40 weeks, 5 days. But my labor was less than 6 hours from when my water broke to him being born- so I guess him being that low helped somehow? haha.
  • The Weird/Degrading/Rude/Old-School Comments: Also, be prepared for people to make weird comments. So I was in the grocery store at the checkout lane and the cashier noticed my giant bump. “Oh when are you due?” “January 30.” “This your first?” “Yes.” “Know if it’s a boy or girl?” “Boy.” Her face then lit up and she responded “Oh you’re so lucky! You got the good one on the first try!” The first thing I thought of was… a) what if I had to try to get pregnant for a long time or had multiple miscarriages- that comment would be a little rough. B) the “good one”? Really? Do we still live in a society where having boys is considered superior to girls?- but then again, maybe its just me reading into things while being very touchy and emotion.
  • Lightening Crotch: Ok, some people might not want to talk about this special subject, but I'm gonna be real here (real specific). No one ever talks about “lightening crotch.” So for those who haven't experienced it yet, there is more than just back/hip pains that go on when you’re pregnant. What many fail to talk about is what the mommy threads refer to as “lightening crotch.” For some reason, these threads were the only place I ever found anyone talking about it, besides talking to my doctor. They rarely mention it on "pregnancy woes" lists that exist on any of those fun baby sites.

    Basically "lightening crotch" is when you get sharp pains in your groin. I almost always got them on the left side and mine started in my 2nd trimester. They would persist all throughout my 3rd trimester. It basically feels like someone is poking you down there or a nerve is being pressed on. Mine ALWAYS hurt after I slept on my side, and often would happen if I tried to lift my legs higher than knee level. Luckily I have chairs at the end of the bed, because every day I’d sit on the chair to put any clothes that were below the belt on- it was the only way to not be in pain. This pain in the groin- sometimes brief, sometimes lasting a few hours- was “normal” according to the doc. My doc gave this suggestion to help alleviate it- "do thigh exercises with a kids ball between your legs." Tried it- but for me it just hurt worse after that. So in short- lightening crotch I guess is normal- wish someone would of told me about that!
  • Paranoia: Be prepared for you to freak-out about every thing you’re feeling. When it's your first pregnancy, you have NO CLUE what’s going on with your body- no matter what people tell you. I would spend hours online typing in “ I feel this way, while pregnant” in google searches (which honestly is not always something you should do- Dr. Google is never the best source). I’d mention to my doctor certain symptoms, and most of the time it was “normal in pregnancy”- many of which I was like “Really? Seriously?” Often times you ask yourself- is this serious enough to call the doctor or am I just over-reacting? You will become the most paranoid person you know during this pregnancy, forewarning.

    Believe me, for at least in my case, the last few weeks I constantly thought my water might of "had a slow leak" or "these contractions must be it" before they'd go away for many hours to my disappointment. Well, when my water did break and my contractions started, I then realized "Yep. This 100% is it. Why did I think those symptoms/Braxon Hicks contractions I had earlier were the real this? This is 100% totally the real deal." Not everyone has it as intense and some people DO have slow leaking water- but in my case, it just was paranoia before the real deal happened.
  • LOTS of Tests: Be prepared to feel like a lab experiment (lots of test) and keep up with educating yourself. You don’t realize nearly how many doctors appointments, blood test, etc. that your OB doctor will suggest- it adds up QUICK. I quickly went through my FSA account (I only put $500 in it, thinking "that should be enough to cover my co-pays for the first majority of the pregnancy, since my kiddo wasn’t due till the new year. That should cover all my doctors visits, test, etc- right?"- Wrong.)

    Some people are LUCKY- they have a very smooth pregnancy, are not high risk in any way, have a great health insurance plan- and pay little to nothing during their pregnancy. Then you have the rest of us. Just be prepared to have your blood drawn, monitors placed on your belly constantly and peeing in a cup a hell-of-a-lot more than that first pregnancy test. The second the doc sees even one hiccup, prepare yourself for at least 3 more tests to follow that. I felt like I lived at the doctors. Again- some people are lucky, but be prepared to not be one of those.

    Now I "lucked out" and only had to go once a week for Fetal Non-Stress Tests (Recommended because I ended up having Gestational Diabetes -stay tuned for a later post on dealing with that). Because I could keep my glucose in check only by diet. I didn’t have to be on pills or insulin, but many ladies are not as lucky and have to go twice a week for the Non-Stress Tests. With my insurance, I had to pay my $40 copay for basically every single one of the specialists visits. I also had to pay $40 copay for my glucose strips, not to mention the $40 copay up front for EVERY fetal non-stress test I had to take every week starting at 32 weeks. I would then often got charged $40 after the visit (so total $80 a non-stress test)- because they'd charge $40 for the visit and $40 for the doctor to access it after the test was done! WTF?!

    If you’re considered high risk in any way, and/or end up having Gestational Diabetes- be forewarned- the copays start to add up quick. I was kinda flabbergasted over the sheer amount of money having to be shelled out during this pregnancy. Don't get me wrong, I am 100% behind making sure my kiddo is growing safely and is healthy- but DAMN! So biggie with this- be prepared to spend a lot of $ up front if you end up being considered “high risk” in any way shape or form.
  • Sometimes Doctors Forget You're Not a Doctor (Be Sure to Always Ask Questions if You Don't Know What They Are Talking About):  So, I started out with a semi-smooth pregnancy with my son. My 1st trimester was the easiest- I paid my $40 copay for my first OB visit to confirm I was pregnant, and I had NO morning sickness- just nausea. The only hiccup in my first trimester was that during that very first visit I was a single pound in the “overweight” category- meaning I was considered higher risk. I got pregnant at age 29 and had no previous history of miscarriage or whatnot. So other than that 1 pound, I was in a good place (I kept saying, couldn’t you have just let me go pee it out or something- 1 lbs, seriously!).

    However once I had my 20 week ultrasound- things went downhill from there. The ultrasound doctor noticed that one of the measurements was a little high- which in turn can be a red flag for various genetic disorders. He suggested talking to a genetic counselor, getting a fetal echo-cardiogram and another followup ultrasound. Of course all of this was dropped in my lap on a Friday afternoon, minutes before the end of the work day- so when I called back (I had bad reception in my workplace, so I missed the call) the doc was gone for the weekend. Nurse gives me the news with the doc's suggestions and I immediately have a mini-heart attack. She had no clue what all the doctor mumbo-jumbo ment- so I was left to turn to Dr. Google till my doctor could contact me via their patient portal or the following Monday.

    This was the WORST weekend I ever had to go through mentally during the pregnancy. Luckily the following Monday the doctor got back to me and answered all my questions and apologized for the news being dropped before everyone left for the day, though he still suggested I get all these tests/meetings done.

    I sat through the genetic counseling- though most of what she said I already had found out about during my weekend of traumatic googling. What she said didn’t change our minds on anything. I drove out to another hospital to get a fetal echo-cardiogram (because my hospital didn’t do those) and baby’s heart was doing great through that whole test. I got a followup ultrasound- at this one, baby looked great (and that one measurement was not to be measured after a certain number of weeks, so the followup Ultrasound didn’t discuss that at all!). After all of that testing, traumatic talk and what not- it was never spoken of again.

    Because I’ve had multiple times of dealing with specialists and constantly having to talk to doctors- I had to educate myself on various things to get it all straight in my head (because honestly, most doctors don’t tell you everything- let alone put it in easy terms that you can understand). Don’t hesitate to ASK QUESTIONS and do your research- because there is a LOT going on- and often you won’t find the answers to every single question you have from the short doctors visits.
my glucose numbers- gestational diabetes
My Glucose Numbers after the dreaded test...
  • The Nasty Glucose Test/Gestational Diabetes: Because I was 1 lb in the “overweight” category, aka. "higher risk," I had to take the 1-hr glucose test at 2 different times of my pregnancy. I passed the first one with flying colors. Then the second one I failed by only a few points. That sad failure in the second one ment I had to go through the 3-hour glucose test (Note: this test most insurance company’s consider special/extra tests- so I had to pay more for this test).

    When you’re one of the unlucky ones who has to do this 3-hour test, you form a bond with other 3-hour mamas in the waiting room. One such mama who was also taking the 3-hour test, actually ended up being in my birth class later, so we shared our trauma of the whole ordeal.

    Overall it wasn’t too horrible- I think the prep for it was the worst part- who the heck wants to force a pregnant gal to not eat/fast for 10-12 hours!? Mine was scheduled the morning of Halloween- my whole thought was “if I fail, I won’t be able to have much candy. So I’m taking the test the morning of Halloween, so I can have all the candy I want for one last time before the results come in.” Sure enough- I failed the glucose test (only the 1 hr and 2 hr- my fasting and 3 hr numbers were fine). Again, only failed them barely. *Stay tuned for my Gestational Diabetes post.*
  • Other Random Symptoms Rarely Mentioned: 
    • You often will Sweat on your upper thighs from where your tummy rest while seated. (I know gross, but totally happens easily).
    • Dry, itchy eyes (I had this the entire pregnancy!)
    • Sometimes when your toes swell/feet swell, they swell so much that the skin around your toenails hurt. Think about it- your toenails are not swelling too- Painful!
    • Acne like your 14 years old again! I got acne (still do and I'm 2 months Postpartum) all around my neck line and all over my shoulders/chest and chin. Gross.
    • Never sleeping comfortably from the 2nd trimester on. Doesn't matter what position you are in, you are never comfortable.
    • Carpel Tunnel (I had this happen a few times in my 2nd trimester).
    • Also, your cat might randomly decide they loveeeeee laying on you or near you. Though I've also heard some people say their animals avoided them while they were pregnant. My cat who hates most people, all of sudden was my best friend. Weird.
cats love pregnant ladies


I know I got real specific here for some things and kind of ranty/long winded on others, but I hope this helps you first-time pregnant gals or those wanting to get pregnant. Now that my baby is in the world, I adore him (though of course he does have times he's a pain in the butt). Just know, always ask if you're unsure if something you're feeling is normal. Even if it is normal, it never hurts to ask- as for some people "normal" actually isn't. You want you and your baby to be healthy in your pregnancy.
Godspeed in your pregnancy endeavors and I hope for your sake, you have a smooth pregnancy.
Have a great day all!
-M