An Ode To My Daughter


My Dearest Gabriella Grace,

I love you more than life. More than there is sand at the beach. More than there’s water in the ocean. More than there are stars in the sky. More than anything. You were a wanted, prayed for, carefully planned soul. The day you were born, I promised God that I would give you the world. And I plan to give you nothing less.

But I will warn you: My job as your mother goes far beyond the love I have for you. I will always be your biggest cheerleader. I will always be the one screaming the loudest for you at your games. I will always be the Mom who puts notes in your lunch box. I will always be the Mom who feels like she won the jackpot the day you were born. I will always be the Mom who wakes you up with cupcakes in bed on your birthday. I will always be the Mom who stays up late, worrying about if I’m doing things right. I will always be the Mom who is the class “Room Mother”. I will always be the relaxed Mom, or at least the Mom who tells herself to relax. I will always be the Mom who literally gets sick to my stomach at the thought of you dating, driving and ‘being out in the real world’.  I will always be the Mom who tells you to stand up for what you believe in, even if that means you are standing alone. I will always be the Mom who, God help any kid that bully’s you. I will always be the Mom, who screams (loudly out the car window) “Bye honey, have a good day…LOVE YOU!!!”, as you walk up the stairs to school. I will always be the Mom who has lunch dates with her kids. I will always “check in” with you. I will always make sure you are protected from the evil of this world. I will always check on you, tuck you in and kiss you good night, one last time before going to bed for as long as you live in my house. I will always be the Mom who hides your favorite candy in her purse and eats it with you when we go to the movies. I will always be the Mom who pushes you, because I know you can do it. I will always be “that mom”: The Mom who is obsessed with their children. I will always be the Mom who believes in not judging others and will teach you not not judge as well. I will always be the Mom who teaches her kids values. I will always be the Mom who loves life, and I love it even more because you are in it. I will always be the Mom who shows you all the beauty God gave us on Earth. I will be the cool Mom. I will always be the Mom who encourages you to fill your mind with knowledge. I will be the Mom, running behind you screaming with joy as you petal your bike, alone, for the first time. I will always be the Mom who lets you win board games. I will always be the Mom who creates a magical Christmas, every year for you. I will always be the mom who goes the extra mile for you, just because you deserve it. I will always be the Mom who enjoys the simple moments. I will always be the mom who has to Google the latest trends to make sure I am “in the know.” I will always be the Mom who learns every word on the CD, decorates her SUV, makes t-shirts and blasts Justin Bieber all the way to his concert. Because, secretly…I like his music too.

Sure, you will call me embarrassing, sometimes you’ll wish you had a different mother, and probably at times even hate me. But the truth is. I don’t care. I am your mother. I am not your friend. I will listen, offer advice and will genuinely care about the events going on in your life. I will always be there for you. My shoulder will always be yours to cry on. I will bust my butt to give you the many things I didn’t have. I always be there to pick you up when you fall.  I am your mother, the only one you will have. I know the day will come when you will disappoint me, let me down, frustrate me and even upset me to no end. But I am your mother and I will love you through it all. No matter what.

I am strict. I believe in inspection and high expectations. I believe in motivating, pushing and exposing. I believe in chores. I believe in trying, giving everything your best shot and never ‘half assing’. I believe in 100% or nothing at all. I believe in instilling responsibly. I believe in cleaning up after yourself. I believe in consequences. I believe in rewards. I believe in leading my example. I believe in showing/teaching you to be healthy. I believe in giving you make up lessons, so you don’t look like a clown. I believe that less is more. I believe in modesty. I believe in loving your neighbor. I believe in teaching you to accept others. I believe in charity. I believe in allowing my children to decide their own religion, but still giving them a foundation. I believe in YOU! Not because I am mean, lazy or want to be your drill sergeant. I do it because I love you and want you to grow into a successful, powerful and strong woman. Just like the meaning of your name. Gabriella means strength. Sure, you’ll moan and groan as you do your chores, study inside while the other kids are out playing,  but just know that one day you’ll thank me for it. I know the day will come and you will thank me, appreciate me and maybe even regret some of the things you did. But you will never understand the love I have for you, until you experience the love you have for your own child.

I love you, forever and ever…To the Moon and back.

❤ Mommy

Advertisements

Life After Miscarriage


Upon our marriage, my husband and I spoke in great length about our future plans. Up until now, we have followed those plans, almost to a T. (With the exception of all these corporate moves we made, but hey…life is an adventure and everything has been an awesome experience) When our daughter was born it was agreed that our children would be three years apart, and a third child was debatable, given where we were in our lives at that part. But two kiddos, three years a part was our plan. After Ella was born and in the wake of my PPD, the thought of having another child scared me. I got a Mirena IUD at my six week check up and loved it! It was the perfect form of contraception for us.

This past summer, we starting talking more in depth about having another baby. Our daughter is getting older, shes very independent, goes to pre school and my husbands career is secure. We have our house, money is good, health care accepts midwives and birthing centers, so yeah, our ducks are all in a row! All is good! The only thing left to do was get my IUD out. For us pregnancy is/was a planned event. I do not do well with surprises and we are planners. I have never liked the idea of having an unplanned pregnancy.  So on October 13th 2011, I had my IUD removed. At the appointment, My midwife suggested I wait until I had two cycles before we started trying- after having an IUD for so long, I wouldn’t have much of a uterine lining; with a possible insufficient uterine lining it would increase our chances of miscarriage; so the longer we waited to get pregnant, the better. All though, I never got to the second cycle.

I was taking organic prenatals, organic fish oil and eating a well balanced mostly organic diet. I ended up getting pregnant right away. After four pregnancy tests saying “negative” despite having all the symptoms, I finally got a positive pregnancy test, and another..then another and another. It was November 15th, 2011. I took the tests and stared at them all for what seemed like hours. The line was faint, but it WAS there. I was pregnant! Due July 22, 2012. Just a week before our daughters third birthday. We were over the moon. We made phone calls, I text my friends with the picture of the pregnancy test and we started to plan our “pregnancy announcement video”. Excited doesn’t cover it. We were joyful and  the anticipation of planning for the next nine months was starting to sink in. This baby was wanted, planned and already loved so very much. While I had some fears, mixed feelings (now I call it mothers intuition) I just didn’t feel the same as when I was pregnant with my first child. “Your second pregnancy never feels like your first”. I kept telling myself. But something just felt off. Not right.

On Thanksgiving night I got very, very sick and could not keep food down. I had a fever, stomach cramps and was up all night throwing up and having bad cases of diarrhea. It was clear my body was clearing itself out. My husband had to go to work on “black friday” so as I laid on the couch with my two year old cuddled with me, watching the ipad… I felt a warm trickle down my leg. Then a drip and another. Did I just pee myself? I raced to the bathroom and was bleeding. It was bright red and it was heavy.

My heart sank. I fell to the floor. Tears were running down my face. My worst fear had come true. I have been around enough pregnant woman in my line of work to know what this was.

Two sonograms, two bags of IV fluids, three “exams”, four viles of blood and six hours later at the ER, it was confirmed.

I Miscarried. 

The news hit me with a ton of bricks. I was only six weeks along. I had hopes that maybe there was a mistake, maybe the sonograms were wrong. Maybe the ER doctor just wasn’t pregnancy savy… I prayed and prayed for a miracle. I didn’t want to believe it. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I had done everything right, ate well, took my pills, even added fish oil (which is known to lessen your chances of miscarriage) drank water, read the books. Sheesh,  I did everything by the books! This baby wasn’t a burden, an accident or an oops. Our baby was wanted. Why did this happen? Is it my karma for something I did, something I said? Was this Karma for being so vocal about others who did careless/selfish in pregnany by doing drugs, drinking or smoking when pregnant? (Something I could never fathom doing and admit to judging those who do/did) Am I not meant to be a mom of two? Was the timing not right? Is Gabriella going to be an only child forever? I had and still have many thoughts going through my head.

I recently read Michelle Duggar’s blog about the baby they lost, Jubilee, at 18 weeks. I can relate to the pain because at 6 weeks pregnant or at 20 weeks pregnant, a loss of a baby still hurts your heart. Her blog really spoke to me. She too, wonders if putting birth control in place was God’s warning to let HIM be in control. Was my miscarriage God’s way of telling me that he is in charge of my life, and to leave it all up to him? But then I tell myself that God doesn’t purposefully inflict punishment or pain on his children. Miscarriages hurt. Emotionally and psychically.

For me, the hardest part was knowing that I had a life inside me, a little soul who was sent to us from our creator. A little person who I had many dreams about. Dreams that started before I was even pregnant or knew I was pregnant. I dreamed of a little girl, a newborn with little bits of brown hair. She was perfect and so incredibly beautiful. I remember the dreams like a memory. I felt and feel like I already knew her.

But now, I have nothing. But an empty feeling in my heart. I cry and cry. Some days I don’t think about it. Other days, it is on my mind non stop. Some days, I get upset, sad and angry, watching pregnant woman in the mall or when I am picking up my daughter from school. They all seem to be very happy. Why didn’t they miscarry? Why did I? What about all the poor babies born addicted to Meth or Heroin? Why didn’t they miscarry? What about all the pregnancies that were not planned?  Why didn’t they miscarry?  What about all the irresponsible “16 & pregnant” girls we see glorified on MTV, why didn’t they miscarry? My baby only got the best for the little time I was growing her…and still didn’t make it. Life is full of unanswered questions, and at times, life can be so unfair. I simply don’t get it. And I don’t think I ever will.

What Is Next?

Well, I recently joined a gym and started working out 5 days a week again. (Working 0ut when my daughter isn’t sick, which has been frequent lately) I am doing yoga, trying Pilates and once I get pregnant again, I’ll do prenatal yoga 2 times a week. I am still taking my prenatals and eating very good. I am waiting to get my next cycle then taking the herb Soy Isoflavones to help boost ovulation with the hopes of getting pregnant in the next few weeks and having a healthy baby at the end of September. I pray. I pray everything works out well. I now realize how fragile pregnancy is. What a miracle life is.

I have been so distraught after my miscarriage that I called my psychic two weeks ago, looking for answers (who is always so good and spot on, BTW http://www.ushaji.org/ ) Last year, at a reading Usha told me that I was to have four children. I already have one, then a miscarriage and possible twins. Possible twins, as in, the baby souls have not decided if they wanted to come together or a part. Recently, she told me I may have some problems in future pregnancies but they would subside, and that she saw a healthy baby in my arms before the end of October. Just the thing I needed to hear. It gives me hope that I will conceive again and will hold my baby. For me, the only way I can attempt to heal from this miscarriage is to go on and have another baby. So here we start again, back to square one, watching my cycle, trying again, doing “the recipe” and taking it day by day. I have hope for the future and know that many people have miscarriages and then go on to have healthy babies. I keep telling myself that it will happen when it is intended to. Until then, I will just live. And snuggle my two year old a little closer each night, so very appreciative of the gift our children are.

I have hope. I have faith. I have God. And sometimes, that’s all you need.

A Letter to my second baby:

Dear Little One, While our time together may have been short I want you to know how loved you were. We prayed for you to go come into our lives and we are appreciative of the short time you were inside me. I know we will meet again and when we do, it will be right. I look forward to feeling you grow in my body, watching my body change  with your every milestone, decorating your nursery, preparing for your arrival, birthing you as my body intended, seeing your face and feeling your skin on mine. I know the day will come when I can put a face with the name. And what a beautiful name you will have. We, as your parents love you already and know the day will come when we meet again. Until then, we will wait; letting you and our creator decide for when the time is right. Please come back to me.               All my love, Mummy xoxo

Join our facebook page! “The Chronicles of Motherhood” http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Chronicles-of-Motherhood/184260078308068

This Mommy Is A Breastfeeder


Image

Breastfeeding for me did not come easy. Before my little one was born, I always thought I’d try nursing and see what happens. I had many issues in breastfeeding and I believe my troubles with nursing my baby began before she was even born.

I was induced. My OB tells me at my 39.5 week appointment that she was getting concerned with the size of my baby and my narrow hips. Her conclusion? I need to be induced before this baby gets any bigger. I was naturally pretty thin and my hips are rather narrow… I believed her. After all she, the doctor has medical degrees from Ivy league medical schools. I, on the other hand,  do not.

I wish I had done some research before getting induced because as I know now, the drugs given in inductions are known to cause breastfeeding issues, Postpartum depression and withdrawals. I experienced all of the above. Plus, my induction was not even medically needed. My “huge” baby turned out to be 8 pounds, 1 ounce. When I read my moms notes of my delivery I became incredibly angry.

Notes from July 30th, 2009

  1. 6am water broke 7:30am Pitocin up to 18
  2. 8:30am PAIN! Epidural –> 9am Pitocin up to 22
  3. 10am-3pm No progression, 4 cm
  4. 4pm Pitocin up to 24 –>5cm
  5. 5pm Litocane shot, more epidural
  6. 4:30pm-8:30pm 6 cm Statal injection
  7. 8pm if no baby by 10pm, c section is certain (“failure to progress”)
  8. 9pm 9 cm
  9. 10pm 100% efaised, -2 station time to push turned off all pain and pit
  10. 11:07pm Gabriella Grace is here! 8pounds 1oz 19 inches (stage 4 epi)

This diagram pretty much my experience in a nut shell, it fit me to a T. I was induced and a cascade or issues followed.

After a hard, long 23 hour labor, It was 2am and everyone left. I was put into a lovely postpartum room and after getting zero sleep for 3 days, I felt uncomfortable with my ability to take care of my hours-old newborn. So I asked the nursery nurse to take my baby so I could get some sleep. They did and my husband and I went to bed.

At 4am, while in the nursery, my perfect little girl stopped breathing and went gray. She was immediately taken over to the NICU for monitoring on an Oxygen machine. While in the NICU, they gave her a bottle. (Knowing what I know now, I should have done skin to skin and slept with my new baby on my chest, she probably needed her Mom and wasn’t thriving because she wasn’t close to me.)

From that point on, I tried to put my baby to the breast but she wasn’t having it. I even tried nipple shields and the Supplemental Nursing System. But my milk was not coming in and my baby was starving. And here came the postpartum nurses with more free formula. I am appreciative of them helping, offering advice. When the lactation consultant came in, I fell asleep. (Gotta love those hormones!) When I was discharged, they gave me 4 boxes of ready-to-feed formula and some paperwork on breastfeeding. As I tried to pump and put my baby on the breast, the more frustrated we both became.

Before having my daughter I didn’t take any classes offered at the hospital because I had taken so many classes in college, in doula school and privately while getting my several certifications. I am a “lactation educator”. (Once I have the next baby I am going back to school to become a Lactation Consultant) I worked as a Certified Infant Sleep Coach, Certified Newborn Care Specialist and Certified Postpartum doula for 5+ years as well as being a professional infant/toddler nanny for over 13 years. I worked with 50+ sets of twins and hundreds of newborns. I thought I had this baby thing down. Wrong. I didn’t have anything down. I couldn’t even get a let down! I opened all my breastfeeding books and starting reading websites from Le Leche League. I was still pumping and doing 50/50 bottles, figuring the less formula I was giving her the better. I started researching formula. When my baby slept, I was a google manic. What was in formula, the several warnings released over the years, the term “organic formula” is a proven Oxy-moron and plus…its man made, genetically altered. My breast milk was not. There was no warnings on breast milk, no oxy-morons, no alterations, no “ingredients”. I had to do something, this just didn’t feel right. I noticed when I saved my pumped milk and only gave my baby girl a bottle of strictly breast milk, she ate better, had less gas and slept a good 3 hour chunk. The light bulb went off, it was my first of many mommy “ah-ha moments”. Formula and Ella just do not mix.

Then I called the Boob Guru. The formula was giving my baby horrible acid reflux. My pediatrician wanted me to put her on very expensive formula that was for reflux babies, it was $49 a can plus reflux medication that was $94 a month. When I said I was “saving money for a baby”, it wasn’t involving formula and medication. (“Why buy the milk when momma makes it for free?”) My stubbornness kicked in and I said enough was enough. It was becoming a horrible vicious cycle. For what?

Seeing “The Boob Guru”:

I call her the “Boob Guru” but everyone at Milkalicious calls her Jennifer. I swear this woman should be inducted into sainthood for all the good she does for Moms. I first learned that my positioning was not what my daughter liked. We fixed that in literally one minute and what an easy fix it was. My daughter is very meticulous, even now. I find it interesting to learn the textbook way of breastfeeding but experiencing for myself was like a wonderful crash course. I learned more by actually doing then by reading.

Then we learned my daughter wouldn’t latch because she was never taught how. In 20 minutes, she was on the boob, eating like it was her last meal. Once we got a good latch, we removed the nipple shield and my baby went to town! chomp…chomp…chomp! The best part was that in a correct latch, there should not be any pain.

Mastitis: Easy fixable with a few herbs, warm compresses and lots and lots of nursing. Never had it again. I got warm towels, put them in the microwave, cut holes for my boobs to fit through and then nursed with the heat only touching my breasts. It feels like heaven!

I felt my supply was low or not making enough to sustain a growing baby; Probably because I was only pumping at this point. But first, I needed to eat more, drink lots of water. (Hard to make milk for your baby if you’re not feeding yourself first!)  I started taking More Milk Plus pills (3 pills a day, 4 times a day) and goats Rue drops (3 times a day), both made by Motherslove Herbal Company. I got a basket of granola bars, nuts, a few apples, a banana and 4-5 bottles of water by my rocking chair. When I sat down to feed my baby, I also ate a bar, some nuts and an apple along with a drinking a bottle or two of water. Within a full 24 hours, I was a milking machine! We stopped all formula feedings. And two days of having only breast-milk, my baby started sleeping all night. (What a magical feeling a good night of rest is!) By this time my daughter was 5 weeks old. She would get a warm lavender herbal bath at 7:30pm, lavender oil massage, soft ocean waves on the sound machine, warm jammies and a swaddle. By 8pm she was out. She would wake at 4am, nurse and empty both breasts then sleep until 7:45am. Everyday. And she has been an awesome sleeper ever since.

I started to nurse more, pump less, on my babies terms. Sometimes she’d want a bottle or sometimes she nurse all morning. (I was working at the time, sleeping coaching twins for a celebrity client and I pumped through out the nights I was working, this helped me build up an incredible supply) I had a pretty good feeling of what my baby wanted, some “boo” or a “ba-ba”. I felt so close to my baby while nursing, she’d hold my breast, stare into my eyes, thanking me for my efforts with every swallow/gulp. For me, nursing my baby initiated such an incredible bond. I miss that to this day.

My baby stopped taking the breast at 13 months, I was not ready to wean her and at 17 months, I stopped pumping all together. I ended up with a freezer full of milk, donated to preemies in need twice and still had some left over that I thawed and gave to my daughter until she was 19 months. This momma was a breast-feeder.

Breastfeeding: It wasn’t easy but it was a wonderful experience and I am so thankful I didn’t give up. It would have been the easy thing to do…but this Momma is stubborn! Sometimes being stubborn isn’t such a bad thing. But reaching out, researches resources and obtaining as much information was my remedy. I was a mother and I needed to feed my baby, the way my body intended.

With my next baby, I am doing things differently and I feel very confident in my breastfeeding capabilities. I have done a lot of research on breastfeeding, the science of it, how to videos, reading blogs, reading books etc.  I am changing it up. For the next pregnancy, I am not delivering in a hospital, not seeing an OB and not getting induced. Next time, I am seeing a Midwife, delivering at a birthing center, in a birthing tub, all natural (zero interventions/100% drug free) and will deliver on my babies terms. I have a new pediatrician who breastfed her three kids until age 3, two of them she did tandem!  Support is key! I feel so ready. Ready to feed my new baby, stare into their eyes and fall in love all over again, all while he/she eats from my breast. To call the feeling of breastfeeding-bonding “magical”, doesn’t even cut it. I am addicted.

I welcome any comments from Mommies who are having breastfeeding troubles. I’d love to help you. If perhaps you are ‘on the fence’ about which decision to make (formula or breastfeeding) maybe this video will help you with your choice. (Disclaimer: grab a few tissues before watching!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcjKeDyTZP8

Some helpful resources for breastfeeding mothers:

“When in doubt, whip it out!” 

Image