Expect the unexpected

Don’t believe anyone who says being a parent is easy, or you’ll be a natural. Yes, you will have the ‘instincts’ there, instincts that are most likely based off of what you remember from when your parents were raising you. But there will be mistakes, lots of them.

Honestly, I think Joshua and I have lost track of how many mistakes we’ve already made, and Anastasia hasn’t even been home for a month yet.

But in truth, I think the biggest/best piece of advice I was given, and in turn share with you, is to expect the unexpected.

Tired as a mother

My pregnancy was not what I expected, I had heard so many women talk about how much they loved being pregnant and blah, blah, blah… I was MISERABLE. My entire pregnancy I was sick and in pain, from my teeth all the way down to my feet. Even my hips were in pain. I had the swelling (even more than normal women due to the preeclampsia), I had the round ligament pain, the cramps, the back pain, and the tooth pain. I also developed tendonitus in both my wrists which is apparently more common in pregnant women, this is the only thing that has yet to go away unfortunately.

Because of having to deliver early, I also didn’t really get to take part in the ‘fun’ activities that pregnant women get to do to, I was hospitalized the week of my baby shower and ended up sending my husband in my place. It looked beautiful. I also didn’t get to have any maternity photos done since they were supposed to take place closer to my due date.

Despite being bummed about missing these things, I do not mind and instead I am just beyond grateful that our little girl is home and healthy!

Even after the pregnancy the words rang true. I’ve mentioned before that I have been around children my entire life, both my husband and I have very large families. To put it simply I have been an aunt since I was 7 years old, I now have 22 nieces and nephews. But until I brought Anastasia home, I had no idea what being a parent really meant. Nothing really goes as planned. You really learn to take things and go with the flow.

Formula Feeding Mom Fail…

Definitely a lesson learned the hard way ordeal…

So, I was originally breastfeeding. While Anastasia was in the NICU and basically up until she turned 3 months she was taking my milk. But after my supply took a big hit and she started to develop terrible gas from my milk we decided to officially make the transition over to formula feeding, after all fed is best.

They say if you are feeding your little one formula, to make it using bottled water. Well… ‘they’ definitely know what they’re talking about. I didn’t disagree, when we were discharged from the hospital and the doctors told us to only use water bottles if we were going to formula feed, the first thing I did was buy a box of water, and I was still breastfeeding at the time. But on Wednesday, it was late evening and we ran out of water bottles I told my husband to just use the water from the fridge. My reasoning? It was ‘filtered’ and I knew of plenty of women who gave their babies water straight from the tap. After all how bad could it be to make her formula from the fridge until we can run to the store to grab some more water bottles. Well, it was a very bad idea.

True at first she didn’t seem to behave any differently. But after 24 hours of having her formula made using water from the fridge, that is when the terror began.

Yesterday was brought to you by: projectile spit-up and incessant crying.

Literally for 4 hours last night (I was at work during the day but my mom said it was about the same) she could not be comforted. We knew her stomach was hurting because she kept curling up in a ball, and again, projectile spit-up is not an exaggeration. She got some distance. She was crying, I was crying, it was a cry-fest to the max.

We tried laying her on her stomach. We tried patting/rubbing her back. We tried rocking, swinging, and more. We tried the pacifier. Literally nothing would get her to relax and calm down. After I tried my husband tried and finally she somehow squirmed and positioned herself on her belly across his stomach in the strangest position ever and INSTANTLY fell asleep. Don’t know how or why but we weren’t complaining.

So. You better believe we have some gallons of water from the store at our house now. She’s already making improvements since we stopped giving her the water from the fridge, I will never make this mistake again that is for sure.


But I can’t help but wonder…

What’s in the water I AM drinking?

Snuggles! Get your snuggles here!

35345809_10156490569217973_7943983025488920576_nAlright lets get it out there. I am sure at some point someone, somewhere, has told you to make sure you don’t hold your baby too much. But let’s be honest, can you really hold a baby TOO much? I understand the common ‘fear’ here is that your baby will get used to being held and will only want to be held.

I am still a new mama, Anastasia is only 3 months old, so clearly I am not going to be an advocate for not holding my baby. If she’s sleeping peacefully or something then yeah I will put her down in her crib but otherwise I am gonna fit in as many snuggles with her as I can. After all in my experience once babies get to the crawling/curious stage, they often want to constantly be on the go and don’t really want to be held anymore.

In truth yes, there are some things you should avoid doing, rocking to sleep being one of them, because then bad habits can form from that. But how many toddlers do you know that only want to be held and aren’t running around and getting into trouble. Most times I hear Mamas complaining about how much they miss the times when they could hold and snuggle their little ones for longer than 2 minutes, not the other way around.

I’m sure that there are some who disagree with me but I personally am an advocate for getting in as many snuggles as you can. But like I said, I am still a new mom. So in a few months from now if I end up regretting this decision, I’ll let you know.

The perks of being a working Mama

So, I recently had to return to work. Maternity leave was up and well I wasn’t getting paid to stay at home anymore, unfortunately. But going back to work and having to leave my daughter at home was one of the hardest things I think I’ve ever had to do.

Of course it doesn’t help that of the 4 months leave that I had, I only had 2 weeks at home with Anastasia (NICU stay of 84 days). So I was barely getting the hang of having a baby home before I had to come back to work. The only thing that helped was the fact that I knew she was in good hands, after all who better to take care of her than my own mother.

Grandma for the win!

As hard as it is leaving her every morning to come to work, I’ve realized that there are some perks to being a working mama.

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Gotta love my bulky headset... tech support life
  1. Adult interaction

Let’s face it, when you have a newborn your social life kind of gets put on the back burner. At least for me it was. I was never a social butterfly and usually prefer to keep to myself but after a while even someone like me begins to crave for some adult conversation. It was nice to be able to have someone answer your question too. Asking a baby why they wont stop crying usually means your tired and are at your wits end, and is usually answered with more crying either from you, the baby, or both.

2. Change of Scenery

As I mentioned in a different post, the first few days Anastasia was home, I would only leave the room to make her milk. In that same sense, I would only leave the house for one of three reasons.

  • Doctors Appointments
  • Visit the grandparents
  • Church

So yeah, it’s kind of nice having a change of scenery, not just where I am but the noises around. At home we had noise machines and lullabies, here I have keyboards and people talking, which for some reason I find comforting.

3. A break

I don’t know if this makes me sound like a terrible mama but I’m sure there is at least someone out there who agrees with me. Sometimes, especially with a newborn, it’s nice to have a little break. To know that she is in good hands and is safe and to give you some time in the day where you’re not constantly worried about her and her needs. Then when I get home I feel refreshed and energized to take care of her until the next day.

4. Appreciation of the time you have

Last but not least, what I noticed almost immediately after returning to work is how much more I appreciate and take advantage of the time I do have with Anastasia. Working a 9 to 5 (Mon-Fri) job makes me enjoy my evenings and weekends even more. When I get home at the end of the day I swear that Anastasia is even cuter than when I left.

So, although I would totally be a stay at home mom if I could, I wanted to take a moment and dwell on the perks of being a working mama. I have my goals and plans for the future to be able to have even more time with my little one but as it is now, it’s not so bad.

 

Does being a Mama mean you stop being you? A discussion about Hobbies and more.

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Maybe you feel like being a new mom is just taking up all your time. You are so focused on taking care of your little one, changing diapers, feeding, and checking to make sure they are ok, that you don’t have time for hobbies. Trust me, I understand. The first few days after I brought Anastasia home I only left the room to make her milk, in fact those first few days I was lucky if I got 1 or 2 meals in myself.

Or maybe you finally have some free time, baby is finally sleeping in her crib and isn’t waking up after 10 minutes. But just because you are a new mama doesn’t mean the laundry doesn’t need to be done, the dishes washed, or the floors cleaned. So in that free time you are probably trying to get everything else done. But does being a mom mean you have to stop being you. All the hobbies you enjoyed doing before becoming a parent, do you just give up on them? Or do you keep going?

There may be hobbies that don’t survive the transition, hobbies that kind of fall to the wayside. But let some of those hobbies follow you into motherhood. Being a mom doesn’t mean you have to stop doing or taking part in what you care about. It doesn’t mean you don’t get any more “you” time. Try finding something that you can do, at home or somewhere else. Trust me mamas, dad can handle the kids for an hour or two.

I knew a mom that said that rainy days were her days. Whenever it rained out, she left the kids with dad, and went to the mall or somewhere else and just enjoyed some solo time. If anything the break from the kids might help keep you sane.

I had alot of hobbies before I had Anastasia. Some hobbies I tried and they lasted for a while, some I tried and they didn’t last at all. I used to love scrapbooking but lately I just haven’t been a fan. I tried knitting and cross stitching, but quickly found that they weren’t for me. But throughout the years and the pregnancy, there are still some hobbies that survived.

My Top 4 Hobbies:

  1. Photography
  2. Writing (Journal, stories, blogs)
  3. Reading
  4. Drawing

These are the 4 hobbies I don’t think I could ever stop enjoying. They’re the hobbies that I think partly define who I am. If you were to ask anyone who knows me, to tell you about myself, they would most likely mention something about the 4 items above.

I don’t think becoming a Mama took anything away from me being myself but rather added to it. Yes I now have to share my time with my sweet Anastasia but that doesn’t mean I will never have time to enjoy what I want to enjoy. Even though Anastasia is only 3 months old, I have already started reading aloud to her. I own close to 400 books for myself and have started a collection for her as well. I look forward to being able to teach her how to read, write, and draw for herself. And photography? Well now I have myself a little model so you know that hobby isn’t going anywhere.

Taking care of, loving, and bonding with your baby is important. But it is also important to take care of and love yourself. Don’t lose yourself in the everyday responsibilities of being a parent and take a little you time.

Happy 4th of July!

I feel as if I should warn you, a pastime/hobby of mine is photography. I do not claim to be a professional, I just enjoy looking through a camera lens. As such, you will likely see many pictures, especially of Anastasia. So without further ado, in observance of independence day we threw a little photoshoot together.

A little summertime, a little freedom, a little red, white, and blue, and a whole lot of cuteness.

Earth Mama Angel Baby

Did you know babies like massages too? Being the youngest of 5 and having 22 nieces and nephews, I have been around babies my entire life, and I never heard about infant massages until I had Anastasia and was taught how to give her massages, and she really loves them.

And just like when we get massages, because let’s face it us mama’s need some massage time too, infant massages are best done with some sort of oil. There are a ton of baby oils out there that you can use and I am sure like with everything else you are buying (or planning on buying) for your little one, you are likely trying to do your research.

I have found that my favorite baby oil is the Earth Mama Angel Baby Oil, it is a pure, herbal massage oil for babies and according to the bottle it is the oil chosen by most hospitals (which is where I was introduced to it). You can get yourself a 4oz bottle for about $12 at your local Wal-Mart, I’ve had my little 1oz bottle for over a month and haven’t even made a dent in it, a little goes a long way.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure by clicking here.

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Earth Mama Calendula Baby Oil for Infant Massage 4-Fluid Ounce

Ingredients: grape seed oil, jojoba oil, calendula flower extract

I was originally introduced to this oil in the NICU when they were teaching me how to give infant massages to Anastasia, a great way to calm her down and it also helps with development, digestion, and just overall bonding. But I have recently found another use for this oil as well, CRADLE CAP!

After a few days of Anastasia being home I noticed that she was developing the small flaky scales on her head known as cradle cap. I debated trying a new oil recommended by friends or the Earth Mama Angel Baby(EMAB) oil that I already had, I went with the EMAB and am so glad I did. After one usage the cradle cap was almost completely gone! Her head was back to being smooth and “fuzzy” with her short blondish hair. Now I put it on about once a week just to keep the cradle cap away, it’s better to be proactive rather than reactive.

Why?

So, why do I like this oil?

20180703_160630I’ve used and worked with other baby oils before and I think what I like most about this oil is its absorption. I had issues with many oils and lotions and the fact that after using it your hands would still be oily, greasy, or slippery and you’d either have to wash or wipe your hands on something to get rid of this feeling, which to me feels like it defeats the purpose of using them. With EMAB, as I mentioned a little goes a long way, you use a drop or two and spread it where it needs to go and in just a minute or two it is as if the oil is absorbed and the skin is soft and hydrated but you don’t have that gross oily/greasy feeling.

It also doesn’t have any strong odors or smells (no artificial preservatives or fragrances added) and I love that it comes in a little spray bottle instead of one that you have to tilt or squeeze the oil out of.

If I try any other oils in the future I’ll probably write a comparison review, I’m thinking about trying the Burt’s Bees baby oil, but for now I will be sticking with Earth Mama Angel Baby, it definitely does the trick for me.

Disclaimer: I am not endorsed or paid in any way to write my reviews or thoughts about the products I try, I wish I was, but I am not.

Word of advice that I am sure you’ve heard before, whenever trying new oils or lotions or products in general on your baby it is best to apply it to small location first and wait 24 hours, if no redness or irritation is in the application spot then you should be good to go. My family tends to have sensitive skin so I like to follow this guideline if I am going to be trying something new, the easiest spot to apply the product to is the right or left shoulder (because it’s the easiest spot to check).

If anyone has any questions, comments, advice, or recommendations please feel free to let me know via comment or message.

Diaper Wishes…

I’m sure you’ve heard this term before but as they say, be careful what you wish for…

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As you all know, babies poop… a lot. Naturally in this case when it is your turn to change the diaper you are hoping/wishing for a poop free diaper and you think, don’t poop, don’t poop, don’t poop.

Well… then you have a day where your baby can’t poop even though she keeps trying. She is crying all day and is extra cranky. She’s not eating well. She curls her knees up to her stomach because her little tummy hurts. She isn’t sleeping, which means you aren’t sleeping. All this because she needs to poop.

So don’t wish for your baby not to poop… yeah it can be gross, stinky, messy, or all of the above but at least you will have a much happier baby.

The Adventure Begins

This adventure started with me peeing on a stick.

Not exactly the usual opening line in an adventure novel, but that is how this adventure started. In September 2017 my husband(Josh) and I discovered that our family was about to grow by 1 tiny human, little did we know just how tiny she would be.

We had our ultrasounds, we had our gender reveal, and we planned for her arrival. But no amount of planning can prepare you for the unexpected. I was due to have my Anastasia May 31st, 2018 but everything I had planned for did not happen.

On March 13th I was admitted into the hospital with severe preeclampsia, probably one of the most feared pregnancy issues except for maybe gestational diabetes but being a first time mom, I will admit that I had heard the term, but I did not know what it really was until I had it. My blood pressures skyrocketed to the upper 190’s/100’s and it literally came out of no where, accompanied by a terrible headache. I had normal blood pressures at every one of my appointments and have never had any issues my entire life. But they say pregnancy changes everything, and they weren’t wrong. I was 28 weeks pregnant when I was admitted into the hospital. Our goal was to try to carry until 34 weeks but that ended up not being possible as my blood pressure would not stay controlled so on March 23rd at 1:01 AM my little girl was born via C-Section (after 36 hours of induced labor yielded no results to deliver naturally). I was only 30 weeks along.

Born

Anastasia was born 2lbs 15oz and 15 1/4 inches long.

The road that followed was not an easy one. For 84 days she was in the hospital’s NICU, growing, developing, maturing, you name it. We are blessed that she has no medical issues. But the more we saw her, visited her, and watched her grow, the more we fell in love with her. She is quite sassy, and as all of her nurses said, she’s a feisty one.

On June 15th, after waiting for so long, we were finally able to bring our little girl home. That first night, I only slept for 2 hours… a mix of nerves, her crying, and emotions kept me awake. Not to mention constantly checking to make sure she was breathing. The NICU had monitors and alarms if something was wrong. We did not.

What have we gotten ourselves into!

35488011_10156495601527973_7073308784252157952_nAfter a few days we were hit with that overwhelming feeling of not knowing what we were doing. But between the lack of sleep, fitful nights, and occasional hours of crying, she would sleep with that goofy grin on her face and we couldn’t imagine having it any other way.

Mama Chewy, will be a collection of my experiences and adventures as I navigate this road called motherhood. I will be writing about things that happen, my daughter in general, product review, and anything else that seems to fit.

I do not, and will not, ever claim to be an expert parent. I always thought I was ‘great’ with kids because I have a large family (4 siblings, 22 nieces/nephews) but until I had a Anastasia I had no idea just how hard being a parent is. So with this said, feel free to comment, ask questions, offer advice, or just say Hi. I love interacting with readers and I would love to meet/make some mommy friends out there.

 

 

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