The stuff they don't always tell you about pregnancy and giving birth.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

DISCLAIMER: Before you read ANY further, let me tell you right now that things are going to get real on this post. Not real as in "I'm baring my soul" real, but like, bodily fluids real.

Are you still reading this? If you keep reading, then that means you really are okay with reading about the real stuff that comes with pregnancy and birth.

Okay, this is absolutely your last chance. Like, for real. Don't come back complaining that I didn't warn ya. 


Well, now that we're here, and everyone who is here is here because they want to, I'm going to tell you why I'm writing this post.

I'm writing this because I'm going to address some things that I wish someone had told ME before I gave birth. I don't know how many times I've talked to other moms, and we've thrown up our hands and said, "WHY did no one ever tell us this?" I believe that in certain situations, I feel so much more comfortable if I know what to expect. Now, I'm sure I will probably leave something out, and if I do, please let me know and I'll try to add it.

Okay, without further ado...

Things I Wish I Knew Before I Had My First Baby

During Pregnancy

+ This could just be me, but I get SO RAVENOUS in the beginning. I could be in the middle of a pleasant conversation about a show on Netflix with my husband, when all of a sudden it's like, "OH MY GOSH IF I DON'T HAVE A BURGER IN MY HANDS IN THE NEXT .00003 SECONDS SOMETHING VERY BAD IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO EVERY PERSON IN THIS ROOM." I don't even like cereal, and I used to keep cereal right next to my bed. I remember waking my husband up a few times in the middle of the night asking him to go get me some crackers because I felt like I was SO hungry, and if I were to get up, I would surely perish.

+ People LOVE pregnant women. One of the perks I wasn't expecting was that people just will smile at you when you pass by them and it totally makes you feel like a million bucks. They are kinder and will totally let you cut in front of them. And being pregnant totally gets you further up the bathroom line.

+ You've heard about postpartum depression, right? Well, you can also get it DURING pregnancy. I had it with my last two pregnancies, and the first time, it totally knocked me off my feet. The second time, I was able to recognize the feelings I was having, so I was able to tell my husband right away, "Hey, this is happening to me and I need your help." I was very very very fortunate both times because I was able identify it, vocalize my feelings, and it was pretty much gone by around 16 weeks. I am normally a super upbeat and cheerful person, so as soon as I felt that "fog," I knew something was different. 

At the Hospital

+ Getting the IV in the hospital is no fun at all. This last time with O, it took the nurse close to twenty minutes to get my IV put in and I was silently praying that for the love of all that was good and holy, that it would just be done with. I was having really strong contractions at that point and just wanted that part to be over with.

+ Okay, so this is MY personal opinion. IF you go the epidural route, I was actually *pleasantly* surprised that the epidural was not very painful. It really feels like a pinch and a slight burning sensation. Granted, I've never had any adverse reactions to the epidural, so again, I'm speaking from my own experience. I think the reason the epidural doesn't seem to bad, however, is because theres a good chance you're already in a good deal amount of pain and discomfort, that the pain from the epidural has always just seemed so small in comparison. Again, with my last birth, I was close to being dilated to 8cm when I received my epidural, and I was in so much pain, that I was about ready to stab myself in the spine with that thing. 

+ Be prepared to bleed. A lot. There's no sugar coating it. After you give birth, you start to wonder how you're still alive because there's no way there could be any blood left in your body. During this time, your husband is no longer your best friend. Your squirt bottle is. I would say before you give birth, stock up on all sorts of pads so you can decide which works best for you. I always opt for the long overnight ones. (Oh my gosh, I can't believe I'm really writing about this.)

Additionally, the hospital will provide you with insanely large pads, special ice packs for your nether-regions, and MAGIC underwear. TAKE. ALL. OF. IT. And when you've put all of it in your bag to go home, ASK FOR MORE. The magic underwear I'm telling you about? They are probably the most comfortable things on earth. Look, I've made quite a few exaggerations in my lifetime, but this is not one of them. Take as many pairs of underwear as they will allow you to. (And I don't advocate theft, but...ya know. Jk! Jk!) 

+ So, you've had the baby and now you're done, right? Wrong. I don't know if it's because I'm totally clueless (might be) or I just hadn't even thought of it, but hello! You also have to deliver the placenta. Which is not a small thing. This happens after the baby comes out, and by that time you're jello anyway. I was able to go through my first birth without even seeing the placenta, but the second time, my doctor held it up like it was some kind of trophy and at first, I literally had NO idea what he was holding up. (Okay, since I'm being super honest here....oh my gosh really why am I telling you this...but when he held it up I remember thinking, "Why on EARTH is he holding up a piece of steak when I just had a baby?? Who the crap is going around the maternity wing handing out steaks?") 

+ After the placenta is out, there's the whole business of trying to get your uterus to shrink back down to normal. This is also not pleasant. They push down on your belly (every few hours) to get it to squeeze down, and this last time with O, I remember asking the nurse one of the times to please please just skip it. No dice. Also, your uterus contracts when you nurse, and it feels like just that: contractions. They're not AS bad as the really bad labor contractions though, so, I guess that's the silver lining. 

+ Someone actually reminded me about this next one and I laughed out loud because I had totally forgotten! She mentioned that she "...didn't poop for three days because it hurt so bad." That one's pretty self-explanatory.

After the Hospital 

+ When you leave, you still look pregnant. Embrace your softness.

+ When your milk comes in, it really hurts. I can't speak for every single woman who has breastfed, but I was FLOORED by how painful it was. I vividly recall the first day I came home from the hospital with my first and laying in bed with these huge rocks attached to my chest. It hurt to even rest my arms to my side. I felt totally blindsided. My mom came into my room and I said, "Mom! This really really really hurts!" To which she replied, "I know." Dear, Mom. I LOVE you. But, you KNOW??? You mean people KNEW this already? 

So, I'm telling you right now in case there's no one else to tell you this. It. Hurts. BUT, and the big BUT is, it gets better. You can look up all sorts of remedies online, but what worked best for me was expressing a little bit of milk to relieve some of the pressure, and I apply a warm towel to them. Also, massaging them in the shower also eased the pain. 

+ Going back to the boobs. Once you've gotten into your nursing groove (go you!) you might realize that your breasts leak milk. Sometimes quite often. I was totally floored when after having my first, I realized that my breasts would leak when I even just thought of my baby.  Other things that would make me leak milk: other babies crying, when I hadn't nursed for a couple of hours (it's amazing- your breasts are so great at letting you know what it's time for you baby to eat again), and nursing. To this day, whenever I nurse O, I usually always start with my right breast, and without fail, my left always leaks a little bit. 

OKAY! PHEW! Did you make it to the end of this?? Now that I've throughly scared you?? 

I want to end with this.

ALL of the things I wrote about are real things. This is just what pregnancy and labor and recovery are like.

Yes, there is pain, yes there are discomforts, and yes there are tears. BUT, it is all fleeting, and once you meet that baby and think, "Oh! There you are!" nothing else matters. 

And after you've endured all that stuff, you'll realize that you are a freaking superwoman, and who knows, you might choose to do it all over again.

I know I do :) 

One-Pan Chicken, Sausage, and Brussels Sprouts

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I had a lot of people ask me for the recipe that I posted on Instagram the other day, so HERE YA GO! You guys, it was so easy and so delicious! Thank you, Serious Eats, for making me feel like a friggin super hero.

Why I'm okay with not being the world's best mom.

Monday, February 20, 2017

When S was born, I remember looking into her eyes, and right away, I wanted to give her the world.

Okay, actually, that's not entirely true. Back up.

After twelve hours of labor, I was so exhausted, and my brain was so fuzzy that I think I was half-asleep when she finally came out. I have the distinct memory of looking over at her under the warm lights, being tended by the nurses and seeing my husband watching over her. I remember thinking, "Oh. Good. I'm glad there are other people in the room to pay attention to her."

Guys, I was OUT.

But then, we had somehow hazily made it through the rest of the night, and the sun came up. After getting a bit of sleep, and some chocolate chip cookies in me (yup, that's the first thing I ate after giving birth) THEN, then I looked into her eyes, and thought, "I am going to be the very best mama to you ever."

And for a good little stretch, I think I did pretty okay. I nursed her and watched her chunk up, even though every time she latched those first few weeks, I winced in pain thinking, "Is it time to eat again? Oh gosh, I'm not ready." I took her on walks so she could soak the world up, I changed her clothes every time she spit up, and I sang to her during every one of her nightly baths.

Then a few months later, I found out I was expecting...again.

As soon as I found out, I cried. I had just put S down for a nap, and I knew I just wanted to scoop her out of her crib and hold her. I felt like I was letting her down because I felt like I was robbing her of my 100%. But, somehow, I was able to work through the grey early fog that came with baby number two, and tried my best.

Fast forward a couple years. S was 2 almost 3 and J was 1 almost 2. I will forever look back fondly on that year. It was such a special time because I felt like we were the Three Musketeers. We were always out of the house by 10am to do our thing for the day. Some days we'd go to the little beach by our house, or we'd go to the bookstore and play and get a cookie afterwards. Other days we'd go to the pet store or take their scooters to the park. Life wasn't perfect, but it was pretty darn rosy.

Things were rosy, but I was also getting tired. I was tired of trying to make things perfect for them all the time. But, see, I was able to deal with it. I pressed forward.

Fast forward another couple years, and I was pregnant with O. Sof was in preschool, and Pato and I were finally able to enjoy some one-on-one time. I loved having that time with him because he was happy just to cuddle with me and watch Daniel Tiger. But, that's when the guilt started to really creep in. This last pregnancy got pretty brutal during the last trimester, and it's not something I've talked a ton about on here. When I'm in pain or sick I really don't like to talk about it. Maybe part of me thinks if I don't acknowledge it, it will go away? Anyway, without going into so much detail, I'll just say that I think I cried every single day those last couple of months. Usually in the middle of the night because turning over and getting out of bed was so excruciating, I could barely even breathe. I did so as quietly as I could, not wanting to wake up C, who already was knee deep (no, waist deep? neck deep? entirely submerged?) in writing, and finishing up his dissertation. He would always tell me to wake him up so he could help me, but then that would mean waking him up four or five times a night, and I felt so guilty doing so. (Note: if you're pregnant, you have to advocate for yourself. If you tell your doctor something isn't right, make them listen and don't let them brush you off!)

The guilt weighed so heavily on me. Getting in and out of the car was so painful that most days we barely left the house. Some days, we'd go to the museum, and I would find a bench or an empty spot against the wall, and just plop myself down to watch my kids play. I'd try to put on a smile as they would excitedly show me and tell me things, but it broke my heart when I'd have to say, "I'm sorry baby, I can't run over there with you. I'll watch from here." It was around this time that I also realized that I wasn't doing enough to take care of myself. Things that I used to love to do, like write and read, were put on the back burner. And then the back burner was flown across the world and dumped into a hole. It finally clicked that I couldn't be "on" all the time. There was no such thing as a switch that turned on in the morning when I woke up, and off when I went to sleep. I simply couldn't survive that way.

So, what was my answer? It was simple. As much as I wanted to be the world's best mother, or at least the world's best mother to MY kids, I couldn't do it. At least, not in the way I originally thought. The mom who makes a hot breakfast every morning, kept a tidy house (while being on top of the laundry), the mom who didn't have time for herself, but made every day a little more beautiful than the last for her children is just not in me.

Because sometimes I do get frustrated and say things to my kids I immediately regret.
Because some days I just count the seconds till it's time for them to go to bed so I can finally relax.
Because sometimes I shut my bedroom door and beg the kids to please just give me some space.
Because sometimes (a lot of times) I rush too much.
Because sometimes I just really don't want to play another game of Uno.

I let that nonexistent perfect mother go, and I'm learning (yes, still) to love and accept the imperfect mom that I am.

Because a little part of me is happy when one of the kids comes into our bed at night, even though it means I'm left with just a sliver of space.
Because every time I make waffles, I really try to put some extra love in them because I know they're my Pato's favorites. If love could be bottled and put into salt and pepper shakers, I'd sprinkle it all over the place.
Because at least once a day, I try to look hard into their eyes, hoping they can *really* feel that I value them, that I hear them, that I see them.
Because my kids go to bed with their cheeks thoroughly covered in invisible kisses.
Because if there is one thing I can do, it's love them. One thing that I know that I'm capable of doing so near perfectly it's loving my kids.

And most of all, I've learned to accept myself and my imperfections because somehow, my kids have accepted them, too. And they love me anyway.

When the big kids are away...

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Oscarboy will play!

+ get into their stuff.
+ pull out all the utensils when I load the dishwasher. 
+ sit his bum right into every dirt pile when I sweep.


Oscar's bonnet is the "Petite Bonnet in Dot" from Petite Soul Shop, and you can find it HERE

Adventuring with Josset

Monday, January 30, 2017

I don't know if it's because we now have three children, or because we've moved across the country twice in less than two years, but I've become a lot more purposeful about the things we bring into our home. I feel like once upon a time, I was constantly looking for something more. A cute new something for the house (that I usually-okay-almost always, didn't need) or I'd buy an article of clothing for me or the kids that I liked but, I didn't really LOVE. Now, when I'm debating whether I bring something home or not, I always ask myself, "Do I LOVE this? Will I even like it five years from now?" The same goes for the clothes we wear.

Josset is a company I feel like I can really stand behind. Not only do I love the fabrics, prints, and designs of their dresses, but they also have a really awesome drive behind each and every one of their items. I feel like that in the crazy times we are living in at the moment, I'm always wondering what is something I could do to make a difference, even it it's a small one. Supporting this company who supports so many others is one thing I can do to help. Josset not only stands by their designs, but also by their employees. That is why each handmade piece is made by a Josset employee who has been paid a fair and living wage.

Also, this dress is definitely one that I'll be hanging on to if we ever have another girl or if S would like for her own daughter someday. Don't worry, I don't feel like I have to hang on to every single thing my kids wear, but when they're so beautiful and well-made, it for sure stays in the "keep pile." Plus, one of the best parts of this dress is that the owner of Josset wanted to make sure that her pieces are ones that can be worn longer than just a few months. As I look at these pictures of S in the snow, I can already imagine her adventuring in this dress with sandals and a popsicle in hand in the summer, and running around with leaves crunching under her in the fall. 

When purchasing your next item for your children, please consider shopping small and supporting someone's very real dreams.

To read more about Josset's mission statement, go HERE, and you can also find the dress S is wearing HERE.

A Gingerbread House for the Jones Kids

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I bought this gingerbread kit (Trader Joes does it again, guys) weeks ago? A month ago? Anyway...I've had it tucked away in a closet, waiting for the perfect day to take it out.

Today did not start off as the perfect day. Lately, it feels like we spend more and more time not being on the same page as one of our kids. This one child will often disregard our requests repeatedly, enough where I was beginning to wonder if my voice was actually on "mute." And to be honest, it's really hard and very frustrating. C and I often go to bed feeling exhausted and defeated. So, after a morning of tears (and a hard lesson on consequences) I decided we needed something to perk us all up. So, I sent the kids downstairs for a few minutes, promising them a "Christmas surprise" and got to work making the icing and setting out the gingerbread spread.

Isn't it amazing how it's the simple things that make your kids think you're the best parent ever? When they came up the stairs and saw what they would be working on, they were thrilled! We had the Christmas music playing in the background, and for the next hour, everything was a perfect, sweet, and sticky mess. I told myself beforehand that I would get in the way, and just let them decorate it however they wanted. I kept catching them sneaking little pieces of candy and their fingers were in their mouths only a hundred times.

And here is the finished product! They were so proud! It is now sitting in their room (I know, bad idea) right on their dresser. I'd be willing to bet that over the next few days, pieces of the house will not-so-mysteriously go missing. It's a good thing our house isn't made of candy or else we'd be completely homeless. 

Lines for Hugs

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

So, yesterday, C picked the kids up from school, and came home and told me that as S left her classroom, ", five or six boys lined up to give her a hug goodbye."

Sof proceeded to name them all, and said, "It was actually four boys."

So. Yeah.

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