6 common controversial topics every mama faces

Becoming a mom can be a very exciting and overwhelming experience. You are excited to meet your baby and so is everyone else. You have picked out the most beautiful crib, highly recommended baby bottles, the physician suggested breast-pump to name a few. Yes, you are all smiles just at the thought of bringing your little one home. But you know who else is excited? Your family and friends who may have already provided their welcoming or non-solicited advice. That’s right. Everyone and their brother has some tips and suggestions of how you should raise your child or handle certain things in general. Below are 6 common controversial topics every mama will face at some point in her journey.

  1. Co-sleeping vs. Crib/Room Share: At some point in every mama’s life, usually the first time you become a mom, the decision of where your child sleeps from the moment baby is born to toddler age and beyond will be a topic of discussion. The way you put your child to sleep tends to get a lot of people riled up. The questions you should ask yourself are, do I want my baby to sleep with me on my bed, or in her crib/bassinet or in a separate room? The moment you are discharged from the hospital and ready to take baby home, one of the few questions the hospital will ask is where your baby will sleep. This means you must, plan ahead and do what you believe is the safest and most convenient for you both.
  2. Formula vs. Breastfeeding: There are so many ways to feed your little one and you must do what works for you. Are you willing to give breastfeeding a try? Do you have enough breast milk? Are you pumping long enough and eating right to help increase your supply? Are you able to supplement with formula should your milk come in late? Are you concerned that baby is not getting enough? Is the baby having a hard time latching? Can you exclusively pump or breastfeed? These are questions only you will be able to answer so do your research about breastfeeding and formula ahead of time. Is the breast best or is just feeding your child all that really matters to you?
  3. When to start solids: You will have mom-friends and family members give their wanted or unwanted opinions about when they believe your child should start solids. But don’t forget that the only pace you are following when feeding your child is your child’s not a friend whose baby started solids at 4 months old or a family member that demands they start at a certain age. Always follow the pediatrician’s recommendations and follow your baby’s cues as every baby is different.
  4. Epidural vs. Natural/Vaginal vs. C-Section: Every mama-to-be will need to make this decision at some point and every mama will have a birth story to share. Some questions you should ask yourself regarding these subject areas are: do you have I birth plan? Do I want to be induced? Do I want a vaginal or c-section? Are there any harmful effects to baby and I if I got an epidural? Do I need to take a birthing class? What’s the recovery like should I choose to get a C-section? Thankfully, you can ask your doctor about any concerns you have but you must also plan ahead to better prepare yourself.
  5. Who do I want in my delivery room? Unfortunately this is always a sensitive area for mom-to-be. As if the whirlwind of emotions is not enough, determining who will be in the delivery room is just another thing to add to the list. Are you comfortable having specific people in the room like your siblings or in-laws? What happens if I tell my mother-in-law I don’t want her in the room? Will she be hurt and will this cause problems within the family? I personally suggest you talk to your partner ahead of time so you can both agree on who will be in the room with you. Most importantly, you don’t need extra stress added to your plate so always do what you feel is right.
  6. Immunizations: Vaccinations have been around for years and many parents still question if it is necessary or just causes problems for the child down the line. Again, do your research outside discussing and following your doctor’s recommendations. Are there side effects? Should I space the vaccinations out or follow the recommended health schedules (per country or region)? What happens if I choose not to vaccinate?

 

In the end, always do what works best for you. There is no wrong way to take care of your child if you are following your mama instincts and surrounded with a strong support system. There just isn’t.

Escaping the rut of motherhood

Motherhood is beautiful but can also be messy. It’s like you are one person before pregnancy, then another person during pregnancy and a whole new person after childbirth. The new person you become after childbirth is the one many moms claim change them completely. You begin (like you haven’t already) putting someone else’s needs before yours, which includes but is not limited to making sure they are fed, cleaned, feeling okay, entertained, loved, cared for and so on. It’s like your whole life is on pause while you cater to someone else, your precious baby. So guess what mama? You need a break. You sometimes need an escape to get your sanity back. You need to bust out of that mommy rut. Below are some helpful things that mom should do for herself every now and then.

Self-Care: Keep baby with trusted family or friend(s) for a few hours and get yourself a beautiful long massage. Get your nails and hair done and put your feet up without worrying about what’s next to accomplish on your never-ending mom-to-do-list. Remember in order to take care of baby, you need to first take good care of yourself. Baby will not die if she doesn’t see you for 3 hours. Run out of the house and pamper yourself.

Exercise: I personally enjoy doing yoga because it keeps me calm and stress-free. Whatever it is  you like to do to stay fit should be practiced consistently to help with those endorphins and sex drive. If you are unable to hit the gym, simply take baby on a walk in her stroller and brisk-walk, jog or stroll away.

Smart Eating: Let’s face it, as a mom, there is not enough time to cook let alone sit down to eat so if you are going to eat, eat smart. Eating smart means eating healthy. Eat whole foods and snacks that are filled with energy. Example of high energy snacks are protein-rich foods like almonds, bananas, protein-balls. Don’t be tempted to give into unhealthy snacks or foods because they are easy to grab or prepare. Intentionally picking protein-packed foods will give you long-lasting energy and won’t make you toss and turn when it’s time to turn in.

Sleep: They say sleep when baby is sleeping. This can be difficult during the early days as a first time mom. However, as baby gets older and begins sleeping longer, you can also get in some minutes or hours of extra sleep. Don’t stay up late to finish the last episode of your favorite show but instead take advantage of the extra amount of sleep you can get before you are on  mom duty again.

Mom time: Carve some time out of your long busy days and set aside a day that is for you only. Catch up with some of your girls and get away or read one of the books in your library queue. Gift yourself that alone time and watch it transform your life.

Don’t get lost being a mom because you are more than just being a mom. You are beautiful, strong and worth it. Love your babies as much as you love yourself and save your sanity.

New parents and marriage after baby

It’s very normal and usual to notice some changes in your marriage after the first baby. There’s the good, the bad and the ugly. I mean you have just undergone a major transformation in your lives and it is only expected for your temperaments to follow suit. Whomever says everything is the same after baby isn’t being  honest with you.

Below are five of many things that may seem different in your marriage after baby arrives.

  1. Stress due to lack of SLEEP. Do I hear an AMEN? New parents never realize how much sleep they needed until baby arrived. Like, it gets to point where you begin to wonder who needs more sleep? Mom says, well, if I am the one waking up every 2 hours to feed baby, I should be sleeping more. Dad is like, well, I have to wake up for work at 7am so technically, I need to get as many hours of sleep so I don’t get to work late and tired. The truth is you both need the sleep and can take shifts at different times so you both get enough rest. Even if you have to plan the next day’s sleep schedule in advance, do it to save your sanity.
  2. Work Life Balance. Mom starts to get upset when dad is constantly working after “working hours” or vice-versa. All of a sudden both of you start paying more attention to how much time either one is spending away from the family. This obviously stems from being overwhelmed with a lot to do at home with baby. Neither mom nor dad is completely wrong here because mom could use an extra hand in helping change baby’s diaper or run baby’s bath water. However, what I have noticed as a parent that can be helpful in these situations is planning ahead. If you or your spouse knows you will need to work after hours just be upfront and explain how long you will be away from the family. This way you can separate work time from having quality time with the family.
  3. What way is the RIGHT way? As a new mom or dad, you have almost subconsciously set-up some rules on how things should be handled with baby. Also, it is natural for the parent who’s around baby the most to feel in charge of how things should go. If this is the case politely explain to your partner how to handle certain things regarding baby. For example, explain that snack time is only at a certain time of the day not every twenty minutes or that there is a specific sippy cup used for juice. In the end, you both want the best for your child so you will come to an agreement on how things are handled in general. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  4. Feeling Unappreciated. It is easy to feel like you are doing so much for your family and it all goes unappreciated. There is nothing wrong in speaking up and letting your partner know how you feel. Even if you have to give them a hint. Do it. It can be as simple having them acknowledge the little things you do such as preparing baby’s meals or scheduling her doctor’s appointments. As human beings, we know there is no special award given to parents for doing a great job, but, words of affirmation go a long way. Tell your partner what you need to hear to feel loved and valued during the new-parent phase.
  5. Less SEXY TIME. He wants more sexy time but you are tired. You are both right here. Yes, I said it. Between changing diapers, returning back to work, cooking, cleaning, feeding baby to mention a few, there tends to be less and less sexy time between you two. You have been up for hours with little sleep for three nights in a row, so sexy time is not a priority. The truth is you just have to create the time. To avoid creating unnecessary distance between you setup sexy time and add it to your mental or physical calendar. It may not be as spontaneous but it’s a great way to keep your sex life alive until you guys are back in the swing of things. You can also have a trusted friend or family member babysit one night for a few hours while you both catch up on some alone time.

Always remember you and your partner are on the same team and this transition period is temporary. It only gets better with time so embrace the journey and remember the love you and your partner shared before baby.

7 Tips for Accepting Your Postpartum Body

You are just returning from the hospital or birthing center and the first thing you can think of is food or sleep or painkillers. Food, because you and baby just completed a marathon and are famished. Sleep, because you have been awake in labor for hours or days. Painkillers, because you so sore from the C-Section or vaginal tears. As if you don’t already have enough on your plate, your postpartum body is still there to think about. You literally start to think, “maybe I’d get back to my shape after breastfeeding is complete.” “I hear if you don’t exercise as soon as possible, the baby weight will NEVER leave.” “My friend Ana lost all her baby weight in just 3 months.” Blah, blah and blah!!!

The thoughts start to flood your brain. We have all been there mama. Stay calm and practice these tips for accepting your postpartum body just as it is.

  1. Don’t compare yourself to others. As you already know, comparison they say is the thief of joy. You don’t know if the person you are comparing yourself to has 2 full-time nannies, a chef, a cleaner and a personal trainer to get them back in shape. Try as much as possible to avoid comparison because it only makes you miserable.
  2. Don’t compare your body to others. Everyone comes in different shapes and sizes and everyone will lose weight at different rates and paces. We sometimes fall into the trap of wishing we had somebody else’s body because we think it looks better than ours. Instead, work on your own body and embrace the transformation no matter how long it takes.
  3. Give it time. If you had a baby a few days or weeks ago you are not going to bounce back right away. Depending on how your delivery was, it takes time to heal so be patient and don’t prolong the recovery process by rushing to get back into shape. You will get there.
  4. Exercise to bolster you mood. Engaging in light exercises like pilates, yoga, taking walks or going to the gym increases your endorphins while helping you lose some weight, which in turn boots your mood. Win-win.
  5. Accept your body. After birth your body is changing and gradually getting back to its old self so embrace the journey at every stage.
  6. Celebrate every success throughout the journey. You may have not reached your post baby body weight yet but one of the best tips for accepting your postpartum body is to acknowledge and appreciate any and every progress. Whenever I lost a pound of baby weight or I noticed my favorite top was not as snug anymore, I would jump with excitement just because. Hooray!
  7. Wear stretchy clothes. Stretchy clothing is always accommodating for every and any shape so why not flaunt your curves and new body? My favorite piece of clothing are leggings. They are very comfortable to wear and perfect for your recovery journey.

Don’t forget that you are still you so stay beautiful, you will get there.

6 signs you are ready for a baby

Because everyone’s idea and thought of starting a family is different, there is no right or wrong way in deciding where to begin. I personally did not put much thought into the “trying process” of conceiving until the time came. The time! So when really is the ‘time?’ It’s when you and/or your partner decide to start your family. For those who are married, there comes a time after the wedding when the relatives and family start to ask, “when are you having kids?” Well, you and your partner are the only ones that can make that decision.

Below are 6 signs that can tell you are ready for a baby.

  1. You are capable of taking care of yourself. In order for you to take care of a little human you should be able to take care of yourself first. Remember how the plane safety instructions asks you to make sure your oxygen mask is secured first before helping your neighbor? Yup, that’s it. Are you ready to be the healthiest and best version of yourself in order to be the best for your little one(s)?
  2. You have a strong support system in place. This wouldn’t have made much sense to me before I had my daughter, but now that I am a parent, I understand how much of a strong support system and community you need while parenting. Like the popular saying goes, it takes a village.
  3. You are responsible. There’s a deep raw responsibility that comes with having a baby. I mean you will be responsible for taking care of a little human’s life for a VERY long time. How is your attitude? Do you have bad spending habits? Do you clean up after yourself? Are you ready to be selfless? If you answers are somewhat in the lines of YES then you may be ready.
  4. You are open to change. Change is inevitable and welcoming a child into your life is going to be a big transformation in your daily living. Are you willing to wake up in the middle of the night to feed your baby? Are you ready to give up your social life for a little while to be home with baby? Don’t be scared. Change is good because it helps us grow. And trust me, becoming a parent for the first will teach you that.
  5. You are willing to make sacrifices for someone else. Becoming a parent is a very rewarding and blissful experience but requires a lot a sacrifice and selflessness. If you asked me before I had my daughter, would I want to my baby to be attached to my breast every 2 hours even through the night, I would have yelled a big NO. And yet, when it was my baby who was hungry or unable to sleep, it was me more than willing and ready to sacrifice anything to be there for her.
  6. You just know you want a BABY. Whether it is now, whether it is tomorrow, whether it is next year. You just know you want to be a parent but scared you may lose yourself or the time you have with your partner. No more “us” time or “me” time. The truth is, aren’t we all scared? Aren’t there times when we want to venture into something new but have a plethora of thoughts that hold us back? It’s because we are human. Rather than asking yourself if you are ready to be someone’s mother, ask if you want to be a mother.

Things I wish I knew before pregnancy

 

Taking it back to where it all started. Pregnancy! In my opinion, motherhood begins before childbirth and way before you get pregnant. I wanted to take a second to chat about being pregnant for the first time and the interesting things I discovered in the early weeks of pregnancy.

  1. Tiredness: Not until when I entered into the first trimester of pregnancy, did I understand what it meant to be TIRED. I remember sleeping for 14hours straight a few times consecutively and it wasn’t enough. The hormonal changes and what not completely took over my body in ways I never expected.1ca8171993ebf3fbd997d29b7e7df122
  2. Pee, Pee, Pee No matter what: Ah, if I knew how much I’d need to pee during pregnancy, I would have rented my bladder out and had it returned after childbirth. Unluckily for me at the time, I lived in an apartment where the bathroom was a little distance from our room (6 seconds walk). This made my night trips to the bathroom a horror story. Even when I stopped drinking water at 7pm.giphy7
  3. The Dr. says everything is okay: Yeah! Whenever I went for my pre-natal checkups I would have a long story of what I was experiencing such as my leg looks funny, I felt a pinch at the back of my foot, I can’t catch my breath, I think I felt a flutter kick. The response I would get was “you are alright”, “it is normal.” I would be expecting a more detailed response but all I got was “you are fine.” Thankfully, it really was.                                                                                              .200w.gif
  4. Everything smells: I am naturally built with non-sharp senses but my sense of smell heightened drastically during pregnancy. Before my husband would open the fridge, I would smell that sautéed kale I had for lunch two days ago.giphyu
  5. Everyone and their brother has some advice for you: I heard it all. Things like, “oh, you should rest and put your feet up,” “are you drinking enough water?”, “oh, you must be due on this date because….”giphy.gif
  6. Your pregnancy pillow becomes your first love: If you don’t get anything during pregnancy please do yourself a favor and get a quality and comfortable pregnancy pillow because sleeping during pregnancy can be extremely uncomfortable. Tummy sleepers, like myself get the brunt of it.giphyg
  7. You start to cry for every and any reason: Thanks to nature and hormonal imbalances I was able to estimate how effective my tear ducts were. Everything made me cry. I don’t feel myself- cry. I am so tired- cry. I am pregnant- cry. She gave me a “look” – cry. The list is endless.                                            giphytia

What are some things you heard or didn’t expect during early pregnancy? 🙂 xo

 

My Breastfeeding Essentials

Thanks to man-made inventions you are not alone in your breastfeeding journey. How?Because your breastfeeding gear has got your back. Below are a few essential breastfeeding items that have been useful and effective for my journey.

  1. Breast Pump: The electric breast pump I used was the Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast Pump. Depending on the size of your breast you may need a different size of flange. I also got the Medela Manual Pump to pump if I was briefly away from my daughter and feeling engorged. Both are amazing for their intended use.
  2. Hands-free pumping bra: You can buy a good hands free pumping bra or create two standard sized holes (around the nipple area of an old sports bra) like I did. MY DIY hands free pumping bra worked perfectly for me.
  3. Nursing Pillow: This is my top breastfeeding gadget that both baby and I cannot do without. We got the Boppy Nursing Pillow. It is also multi-functional and can be used as a propping, sitting and tummy time pillow (at different child milestones). My daughter gets so comfy during nursing and loves it. It also gives my arms a break from constantly holding her while nursing. We have traveled with it a few times. It’s that great!
  4. Nursing pads: Depending on your preference you can get the reusable or disposable nursing pads. Thankfully, I didn’t leak as much as I thought I would so I didn’t need more than one box. I got the Lansinoh nursing pads.
  5. Nipple Cream: I honestly didn’t think anything could soothe the pain around my nipples caused by frequent pumping (during the early weeks after childbirth). The nipple cream I used was the Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream. It worked very well for me.
  6. Breastmilk Storage Bags: I bought the Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage bags. These are helpful when you need to pump and store your breastmilk for later use. The bags come with a patented double click and secure seal to prevent leakage.
  7. Large water bottle: I kept a 64.Oz bottle with me majority of the time to remind me to stay hydrated. It also helped stimulate my milk ducts that greatly helped with more milk supply.
  8. Nursing cover: I got two kinds of nursing covers to use for when I feed my daughter in public. However, I preferred the Wsky Nursing Cover over the Nursing breastfeeding Scarf as the former is easier to manipulate and more breathable for baby.
  9. Nursing bra/tanks: I am either wearing the iLoveSIA nursing tanks or nursing bras for the most part of my day and both are very useful and convenient for nursing. The last thing you want is struggling with your bra and trying to calm a hungry baby.

There are many more breastfeeding items that you may consider using but these were essential for my breastfeeding journey. Let me know in the comments what your must-have breastfeeding items are. 😊 xo

The Breastfeeding Mama

Breastfeeding was something I didn’t do any research on during pregnancy until after childbirth.  Oh, and this was after attending a breastfeeding class. While I was in the recovery room a few hours after giving birth, I vaguely remember the nurses say,  “get her to latch,” “you need to place her head like this,” “her mouth needs to be wide open,”. As a first-time-mom, it was very challenging trying to breastfeed.

I am currently still on my breastfeeding journey with my now eight-month-old daughter. However, we had to overcome a lot to get to where we are today. First, my breastmilk didn’t fully come in till DAY 10 after she was born. Sounds worrying, I know. But I was determined. Determined to do what it took to feed my child.

Below are a few things that helped me during my breastfeeding journey. These tips come in handy for any new mama or mama-to-be.

1. Your milk may come in slower than expected: Yes, it does happen. Mine did. The first milk your body produces after childbirth is called Colostrum. The colostrum (thin and yellow-milky) produces a ton of antibodies to protect your newborn against diseases. At first, it may seem as though baby is not getting enough to eat because you don’t notice your milk forcefully coming out, but trust me, they are eating. Their tiny stomachs are getting just the right amount during each feed. If you are worried or concerned your baby is not feeding well or getting adequate breastmilk, contact your child’s medical practitioner right away or lactation consultant/nurse. Luckily, there are centers that provide a 24/7 hotline to reach in case of emergencies depending on your location. Before going crazy like I did, do a simple home test to check if baby’s feeding by monitoring the number of wet/soiled diapers they produce in 24hrs. I was told by my lactation consultant that the age of your baby in days is the number of wet diapers baby will have in the very early days of baby being born. For example, if your baby is 5 days old, he should have at least 5 wet diapers that day. This will eventually plateau at around the second week of baby’s birth.

2. Your body is your superpower: I didn’t know mothers had super powers until I became a mother. You are considered your baby’s feeding machine for as long as you are able. As stated earlier, my breastmilk didn’t fully come in until DAY 10 after my baby was born. She nursed frequently, say about 9 to 11 times every 24hrs until she was 7 weeks old. Because of how frequently newborns eat, mama is expected to work twice as hard in keeping up with baby’s feeding demands. You may have heard this before but I will say it again. Breastfeeding described in two words is about ‘supply’ and ‘demand.’ The more you feed, the more your body generates more milk. I know, it’s a magical experience so use your superpowers.

3. Surround yourself with a strong support group: One of the major reasons why some breastfeeding journeys end before they start is because mama lacks a strong supportive community. Although rewarding and very beneficial, breastfeeding can be painful, challenging, and time-consuming. Because of this you want to make sure your support system provides encouragement and cheerleading all the way. Also, ask other mothers on a similar journey or mothers who have successfully gone through the different stages of breastfeeding for advice and tips.

4. Consult with a lactation specialist: Working with a lactation consultant can be very advantageous; especially for a first-time-mom. I got a good amount of information from the lactation nurse I worked with just four days after my daughter was born. I didn’t know that to get my breastmilk supply up I needed to pump after each feeding session (at least during the early stages as my milk came in). Pumping also helped relieve me from engorgement, which could lead to something called mastitis where the milk ducts are clogged causing infection to the breast. Doing this helped me a great deal as I was determined to exclusively breastfeed my baby without having to supplement with formula only if it was necessary.

5. Nipple preparation: The good news here is that there is no physical way to prepare your body for breastfeeding because your body is already doing the work. However, because nipples come in different shapes and sizes it is important to prep the nipples for baby’s strong sucking by gently massaging around the areola where the sucking takes place. Getting baby to latch properly and carefully removing baby from the latch is very crucial in reducing nipple pain. Also, nursing on different sides for a certain amount of time is helpful in reducing  wear and tear on one nipple over the other.

I hope these tips were helpful. I’d be covering the breastfeeding essentials that helped me in part two of this post. How did you prepare for breastfeeding?

She’s here! Now what?

I remember how quickly the first few days flew by after my baby arrived. I had all the emotions you can find in the dictionary. I was tired, anxious, happy, sad, hungry, joyful. It’s the “fourth trimester.” The trimester no one tells you about. It’s the special time you spend with your little one alone or with your partner and/or family member(s). It can be awkward and a little weird. It can also be exhilarating  and joyful at the same time. In this “trimester,” you are trying to learn how to take care of a new little human, which could be for the first, second, third -or even forth time.

As a first-time-mama, it was a little challenging trying to manage a flux of emotions, waiting for my breastmilk to come in, figuring out the best way to take care of my baby, receiving guests and trying to get some sleep.

Below are some tips that helped me settle into this phase of motherhood.

1.       Limit the number of guests visiting at a time: Recovering from childbirth is no joke. I had my daughter vaginally and know how much rest and sleep my body needed. During this time, your baby is using all their senses including smell and touch to differentiate you from other people they meet. It is recommended to keep visitors to a minimum to allow your baby connect with you as you get used to your new family. You also just need a break after the long marathon you and baby just finished.

2.       Ask for help: This is one thing that I cannot over emphasize. It is more than likely that you will receive a ton of well-wishes and congratulatory messages from family, friends and loved ones after you have had your baby. Don’t hesitate to ask for help as much as possible. “What would you like?”, “would you like me to bring you anything?”, “how can I help?”. Someone can make you food and bring over, another can help you with your laundry, a friend can do your groceries etc. Just make sure you get the help you need because the last thing you want during recovery is stress.

3.       Sleep is a priority: Getting enough sleep is very important in the first few days and weeks after delivery because it helps you heal quicker. After feeding and bonding with baby, try to get some sleep while baby is sleeping. I took advantage of all the help I received in the first three weeks after my daughter arrived. When she napped, I tried to nap. Getting in small dozes of cat naps goes a long way.

4.       Drink lots of water: Drinking a lot of water after childbirth is pertinent to help you stay hydrated. It also helps with your initial breastmilk production for baby. I had my sister who came by for two weeks three days after my delivery to fill my 64ounce bottle with water every 1.5hrs.

5.       Chat with experienced mamas: if you are able, have a chat with close friends and or family members who are mamas that have gone through the process before. You will be surprised by how much you may learn. While doing this don’t forget that your experience will be different that others so don’t fall into the trap of comparison. Each journey is different.

23 hrs and 20 mins

mandiaphotonessanewborn-1.jpgAll it took was 23 hours and 20 minutes for my life to change forever.

At 3:23am on Monday, Sept. 18th, 2017, I felt a gush of fluid trickle down my thighs as I laid in bed and the first three words that came out of my mouth were “babe,” “babe,” “water.”
My husband who is naturally a light sleeper jumped out of bed and responded, “babe, are you okay?”
I immediately knew our little miracle was getting ready to greet the world sooner than expected.
We had both saved the labor and delivery lines on speed dial anticipating this day and called right away.
The attending nurse asked all sorts of questions and the conclusion was to come down to the hospital for checkup and observation.
The first round of checks were performed by Lexi who confirmed my water hadn’t officially broken. Uhm, lady, what does that mean if I felt a gush of fluid just less than an hour ago? Lexi said “you are fine to go back home and monitor any acute pain or early signs of  contractions and call back as needed.”
Okay!
My husband and I drove back home and everything seemed normal for a few hours until 7pm that evening. This was when it went down.
Before 7pm, I had washed and conditioned my hair with hopes that the false alarm will remain a false alarm until the next day or later in the week. After all the due date wasn’t for another week.
Nope! The real contractions started right after I had braided the last plait on my head. Funny but true.
It’s like baby wanted to give me time to get myself together before making it out of my birth canal. How selfless!
At a little past 7pm that evening, the contractions started to occur every 10-13 minutes and lasted for about 4-5 minutes each time. It was the pain I never felt in my life. I couldn’t walk a step without screaming, I couldn’t take a seat without yelling, I couldn’t catch my breath without crying. I just couldn’t.
Interestingly, I felt more sorry for my husband than myself because he looked helpless and not sure if saying “babe, it’s okay, take a deep breath, you are almost there” was enough.
We managed to get downstairs to the lobby of our apartment and drove back to the hospital. Luckily, the hospital was only 1.3 miles away from our house. However, this didn’t exempt me from screaming through the whole ride from the unbearable pain.
Lexi’s shift was over and Kristi was the my new attending nurse. She saw my state and said “I think we will just check you in”. You think?
Dr. Sarah was on call and came in to check how far I was dilated. Hello there, she said, “you are in early labor and about 3cm dilated.”
Nurse Kristi asked if I had a birth plan and all I could recall saying was that I wanted epidural to end this terror.
After check-in was complete, I was moved to the labor and delivery unit where the real miracles happen.
An anesthesiologist came in my room to introduce himself and walked me over the process for receiving the epidural.
“Yes, I agree” is all I can remember before I lost all sensation from my waist down. It was the most beautiful relief ever.
Hours and more hours passed with different doctors, and nurses dropping by to tell me how far dilated I was.
“You are now 5cm dilated.” “It’s 7cm.” Oh, and your water just broke by the way. Really? That’s good to know, I muttered. How far am I now?

“You’re at 8cm.” And after about an hour, I heard “You are almost at 9cm.”
At a point I didn’t care how far dilated I was anymore because one of the biggest hurdles had been crossed. The PAIN!!!
Kristi’s shift was over and it was time for Jessica to take over.
“Wande, I am going to teach you how to push okay?” Okay!
“Now, whenever you are experiencing a contraction, I need you to push through it. Don’t push until I say so. Got it?” Yup, got it.

In the middle of pushing, Jessica said, “ I can see her head. Would you like a mirror so you can see it too?” Uhm, no thanks, I said. That will be distracting. Can we get back to pushing please?

My husband held my hand the whole time, which kept me calm. We were a few minutes away from being parents. Priceless!
On Tuesday, September. 19th, 2017,  at exactly 4:58pm, our little angel was born. The pain, the tears, the aches, the fears all disappeared. What was in front of me was more precious than life itself. Everything else never seemed so far away. Our 2.95kg baby girl was all that mattered.
All it took was 23hours and 20 minutes, and my life changed forever.
What was your birth story like? I’d love to hear.