My World Changer

I’m amazed watching the joy you have inside your already fiery soul. It’s even cooler to watch you spread joy to others!

I had to snap some photos of Tove because I thought she looked too stinking cute. Grandma bought the outfit from PatPat kids. Luckily she’s not quite grown fully into it yet 🤗. Plus we had to show Connie how much we loved her presents from Caden Lane! You all will be seeing the name plate from here on out and the blanket is like the softest blanket ever. I just love her name so much. I hope she grows to love it too.

You can be a world changer baby girl, just never dim your light because you were born with it.

Tove’s Birth Story

TW (!) there’s some natural bodily functions and photos of a live birth included in this post 🥰

Sunday August 1st at three AM I woke up with a contraction and went to the bathroom where I noticed that I had lost my mucus plug! I tried to go back to bed but I woke up again at 5:30 and then for a third time at 7:30 AM and just decided to wake up for good at that point because I was unable to sleep through the contractions. I texted Brandy, my midwife from Willow Birth Services, to let her know our status.

The contractions continued throughout the morning. I don’t have much memory of what it felt like at that point but me and Ben were watching TV (love 🏝 island) and kind of just going about our day as normal. I remember I took the photo below as ‘evidence’ that I was in labor 😅 there was about to be A LOT more evidence.

After a couple of hours Ben started getting a little anxious and we decided to download a contraction timer app. My contractions were still very random and varied in frequency and length so it didn’t really help us with anything. I also messaged my doula Anna, from Nature’s Blossom Doulas, that my contractions were still a little sporadic but strong and that we were alternating between resting and being active/upright. Told her that Ben was right by my side, and him helping with the counter pressure was 👌🏼

At 5pm we got back in touch with Brandy but she told me to stop timing my contractions, “just live life as normal as you can”. She said between rest, food, and activity just to chill out and try my best to labor at home because they would change their pattern eventually. I ended up taking a bath because the pain was starting to get a little bit more intense. I made sure to stay hydrated and eat while I could because I knew I was not going to have any sort of appetite during active labor. (Grapes and coconut water for the win!)

I used my labor ball intermittently and when I got on the ground and Tex came to soothe me, which was heartwarming. We really don’t deserve dogs. I think I tried taking a nap at some point but just was unable to sleep at all because of the contractions. I even had Ben rub my back with some Oklahoma Medicine 1:1 salve to help with the pain.


Towards the evening my contractions started to feel like a constant tightness around my waist with some back pain. At one point, I think it was around 9:30PM, I looked at Ben and said to him to go to bed “because if you want to nap or need a nap before she’s born now is the time to do so.” I remember thinking later on in labor how jealous I was of his nap because I was so tired. I mean I still am to this day.

While Ben took a long nap I checked with my doula and she recommended I get into the bath again …which didn’t help the contractions at all… I also tried multiple multiple different positions all around the house. I even tried laying down for a nap with Ben in the bed and it was too uncomfortable, plus every time I was about to fall asleep I felt another contraction. I ended up getting on the floor and laying down with two pillows, one between my legs and one under my head on the ground because it felt better, but when the contractions came I immediately had to stand up. I think that was the biggest upset in my mind when I went into labor. I had thought that I was going to be able to either sit or lay and kind of like feel it out but for me it was so uncomfortable being seated or laying down while having contractions that it was just impossible almost.

Throughout the evening I mostly stood in the kitchen or bathroom leaning over the counters. I paced around the living room and kitchen- back and forth. Waddle waddle, moan. I tried heating up a heating pad and putting that on my back, which helped a little bit but I also got really hot and uncomfortable so it was like a catch 22. Then at one point I remember bending over the arm of the sofa with a heating pad on my back and just kind of like swaying back-and-forth to ride out the contractions and I must’ve fallen asleep because my knees buckled under me and I woke back up.

Then around 12-2 I threw up pretty much all of my stomach contents. I remember thinking “why did I decide to do this? I can’t do this” and immediately caught myself and said out loud “I can do this” and it helped. Mindset was my biggest tool going into labor. Not breathing but mindset! For those of you that didn’t know this, throwing up while pregnant is very difficult. You can’t bend down over the toilet so I had to stand over the kitchen sink. Laboring at home is oh so glamorous.

Shortly after, when the contractions got so intense that I had to get so loud with my moans that I was worried about the neighbors hearing me, was when I woke Ben up and told him it was time to call our midwife again. When he tried to hand me the phone I sternly told him I didn’t want to talk to her and I think at that point they realized it was time for us to go to the birthing center. Ben got pretty much everything packed and in the car and then he walked Tex real quick before we put him into his cage. We didn’t know how long it was going to take or if or he was going to react when we brought her home, so the cage was the safest place for Tex to be.

Having contractions in the car was the worst part of my labor experience. I could not find a comfortable and safe position, everything was so much louder in the car and I felt like I was stressing Ben (the driver) out. I would just never want to have to give birth in a car because it was so uncomfortable. Luckily it’s a short drive from our place to the birth center and we got there shortly before 3 AM. Brandy was waiting for me in the doorway, I don’t even think I said anything to her. I just got out of the car and walked inside because I was so entranced. Fairly sure I was in the transition phase of labor now that I look back on it.

We had decided which room we wanted to labor in ahead of time. There are two options, the Hygge Suite or the Jewel Room. I liked the natural light better in the Hygge Suite but the Swedish bars in the Jewel Room paired with a bigger tub are what sold me. So we went on into the Jewel Room and made ourselves at home. I asked Ben to get the bags along with the camera and affirmation board out of the car. The camera never made it inside so we actually didn’t take any photos of the birth with our camera; which I’m super bummed about. That being said… my doula is freaking awesome and she got some really good photos of us together during and when Tove was actually born so I’m super grateful for that!

When we got into the room and I was evaluated by the midwife & her assistant. I had decided to do a water birth so they asked if i wanted them to start the water for the tub and I said yes immediately. While I was waiting for the water to fill up and for the thermometer to read the right temperature I was hanging on the Swedish bars. Just kind of working through my contractions, one by one. My doula was really good about applying counter pressure. I was so in the zone so I don’t remember much of what was going on at the time, but I remember them telling me the tub was ready and so I got in! Ben was so excited in this moment.

At first I tried to lean with my back towards the tub and work through the contractions. However like I mentioned earlier I just found it so much more uncomfortable being on my butt essentially or being seated/lying down. I’ve always kind of been a squirmer when it comes to pain so every time a contraction came through my legs would kind of start to flail and that’s not conducive to getting through contractions and dealing with the pain really. So I switched positions in the tub! I ended up in a very unsexy position if you ask me. I was on all fours. Basically I sounded like a cow and I was mooing like a cow, while I also looked somewhat like a cow and she came out of me that way.

After a while I got so hot and there was a small fan next to Ben which helped cool down my face. The towels on the back of my neck with cold water were also really comforting. I think Ben found some random hypnobirthing playlist on Spotify that was playing but I stopped hearing anything really. Ben was sat with a chair pulled up to the tub and I had my hands in his and I was pulling his arms towards me during the contractions and it really helped subdue the pain.

Like I mentioned I was in a trance so I didn’t really have time to read my board or think of anything in between the contractions at this point. I was kind of just focusing on breathing and preparing for the next one because they were so close together. The one thing I noticed that helped though was keeping to the low guttural moans. When I was starting to go towards screaming that’s when my midwife and Ben both were doing the like lower sounds “uuuuuuuuuuugh” and I just repeated what noise they were making and that was so much more helpful when I actually had to push. I truly believe I tore because during one of the pushes I screamed a high pitch scream instead of staying with the lower register. I will say I also felt the exact moment when I tore because it just was such a quick painful feeling. It kind of went over immediately and then it was onto the next contraction and pushing again. I didn’t have time to stop and think over what had happened because we were still going through it.

Brandy said for me to reach down and “touch your baby” and that’s when I found her head was crowning under the water and it made it so much easier to push after that because I was like “Oh my God she’s here. She’s so close to being born.” Then a few pushes later, I can’t even remember how long, it didn’t feel long at all, Brandy my midwife yelled at me “My pick up your baby! My pick up your baby!” and so I did. She came out of the water, screamed immediately, and I looked at Ben and we both cried immediately. I was so happy and overcome with emotions.

I had a natural unmedicated birth and birthed a beautiful baby girl who is healthy.

They asked if I wanted to stay in the tub but at this point I was immediately over it. I don’t know why but I wanted out of the water.

We got into bed with her and did some skin to skin as well as tried to latch but she had a really bad tongue tie and lip tie. Brandy asked if we wanted her to cut it and I said yes. The sooner the better because she needed to learn how to engage her tongue in order to feed. After trying to feed we got some alone time as a family and Ben did some skin to skin contact.

I ordered some food from Hatch and had it delivered to the birthing center! Ben and I had our first meal in bed with baby girl and she pooped on Ben, which felt like a very welcoming dad moment. So grateful for the birthing team for recommending we got something to eat while still at the center.

When we were done eating and resting a bit we did her weight, height, and foot prints before we got released to go home. We also got her information for the birth certificate squared away. Ben got to do the delayed cord clamping on the placenta, which then got transferred over to Taryn, who did my encapsulation. I was also stitched up quickly before we headed on our way.

We had arrived at the birth center shortly before 3AM on August 2nd, 2021. Tove was born at 4:31 AM and we were at home before noon.

I would highly recommended everyone that we worked with as well as the birthing center. Never thought I’d want to give birth but honestly 2.5 weeks later and I already said that I’d do it again.

8 Weeks Postpartum

These pictures where taken when we were 8 weeks postpartum and one month was left in the fourth trimester. It’s a good thing she’s as sweet as can be, or else this journey would be a lot more difficult.

The outfit was a gift from my uncle in Sweden 🤗 and it’s the cutest thing. Disney for H&M definitely has my attention. The bloomers are easy to get on and off and honestly jazz up any onsie. Which is lucky for us cause she’s already outgrown the one she’s wearing in these pictures 😭 I told someone the other day that I’ve never wanted time to slow down so much in my entire life and yet I’m SO EXCITED to see who she becomes.

The littlest bean

Throwback to when Tove was just 5 days old. I look at this photo and feel ALL THE FEELS. Everything was so new for her, for me, for our little family. We were still struggling with feeding due to tongue tie and I was having a hard time with my breastpump. My hormones were all over the place. Ben would come find me in the room just bawling my eyes out. Exhaustion, fear, and anxiety were pumping through my veins.

Yet here we are..

it’s amazing the amnesia after giving birth. I miss the newborn stage already but I’m trying to also remember how much of a struggle it was. I felt like nobody prepared me for the fourth trimester. I did so much prep for giving birth when in reality I should’ve been preparing for when we brought her home.

The best part of the photo is that it’s edited 😅 below is the real deal- taken at 2:42am with a pillow case covered in after birth mess and newborn poop.

Two as Three

Today Tove “turned” two months old; two months of our family being three instead of just the two of us. The meaning of time changed completely the moment she was born; Ben and I say that time is just a construct now. Doesn’t matter how many hours we’ve slept in a day because her life goes on and she still needs us. Doesn’t matter if it’s 3am and she wants to feed, mamma has to eat as well. So we’re just rolling with the punches and I think we’re managing pretty well all things considered!

We’ve graduated to size 1 diapers from newborn and she’s almost fitting perfectly into 3 month old onesies 😱. Still not getting longer stretches of sleep but we’re also not on a consistent routine since my work schedule is all over the place. The swaddles though- brilliance.

Tove is definitely more alert now. She will follow you with her eyes and she’s almost to the point where she can hold her neck up on her own. An improvement from when she used to headbutt my collarbone. That first week I thought she was going to give herself a concussion 🤕

We have dance parties and Tove seems to be pretty fond of Kasey Musgraves new album 💿 but at night she’s all about the white noise Spotify playlist for babies.

She also eats SO QUICKLY, it’s like she’s chugging on my breast 😅. Pumping at work has been a challenge, and I leaked visibly yesterday. But we’re happy she’s eating well and growing! Some latch issues still so we’ve got an appointment for a lip and tongue tie evaluation towards the end of this month.

Every day is a new struggle but filled with so many AMAZING moments. I can’t describe the feeling I get from seeing her happiness just from the sound of my voice. Pure love 💕 ❤️

Mamma hair

Slowly been ramping back up the amount of hours I have to be at work and this week is the first time I’ve encountered shower fear.

I get anxiety and always start counting down the hours left until I have to go to work in the afternoons/evenings. I’m a morning person and just don’t do well sitting around and waiting to begin working. Sometimes the anxiety creeps in the night before or even before I’ve even left work to come back the next morning. It sucks but when you don’t have a set schedule you just have to be flexible.

Having a baby is very similar. I can no longer plan my sleep or when I’ll be able to get a shower. On days like today when Ben’s already left for work and I didn’t get up in time to shower before he did, I’m riddled with anxiety about doing my hair before work. I don’t feel comfortable getting in the shower when I am solo with Tove yet either. I don’t need mom advice, that’s just where I’m at.

So I bought some dry shampoo at CVS in hopes of at least combating some of the anxiety on day two of dirty hair. It’s been so long since I’ve used any that I got four different brands in hopes of finding which one I like the best/works best for me.

Is there a better, cheaper, easily accessible/ordered online you’d recommend? I’ll take all the suggestions.. k thx.

Haywire

Tuesday marks the end of my maternity leave so before starting work again I decided to take a trip to Dallas.

Ben and I are so lucky as parents, Tove doesn’t mind her car seat at all and she’s already a socialite at restaurants. She’s never been fussy or even attempted to make a scene so we decided to meet Taylor and her fiancé Blake for dinner on Saturday night at a restaurant called Haywire. It’s located at Legacy West in Plano and serves new American cuisine.

We had an early reservation and if the hostess hadn’t left us standing off to the side for 14 minutes while our table was ready I would have nothing but positive things to say about our experience. Taylor had booked the reservation and got us a perfect table upstairs on the patio overlooking the stage/courtyard area. We got lucky with the weather as well, so I wasn’t all hot and bothered 😅

We started with the “chefs 4” which included mini Elk tacos, queso, giant onion rings, and fried tomatoes. All of which was delicious. I’m normally not a huge fan of onion rings but man they were good.

For the main I got a lighter fare, the grilled Caesar salad and a side but Ben went for a bone in 18oz steak and he was VERY pleased with how it turned out. He was even picking the meat from the bone once he was ‘done’ eating 😅.

Next time I’m getting the snapper. Blake got it and it looked so good. Oh and definitely try the Mac and cheese at Haywire, it’s flavorful and the texture is on point.

Anything Is Possible

I once heard the shortest horror story ever: sold out.

When my friend showed me this sweater, from Kids of Immigrants, I wanted to grab one immediately but since I slept on it like a dummy they’re no longer available.

Being a child of an immigrant, and an immigrant myself I thought this sweater was really cool. Plus the blue and yellow just screams Sweden as well.

Hopefully they’ll have some equally as rad that I can grab from their next collection.

Texas Abortion Ban

This one hits close to home, in more ways than one. Not only did we consider having Tove in Dallas, but we also have family/friends still in Texas. Unfortunately rumor has it that Oklahoma is pushing for similar laws to go into effect here as well. This also hits close to home because like this post I shared on Instagram, there are so many reasons behind why a woman would ever choose to have an abortion.

I got pregnant in 2020 around the time Covid hit. Ben and I were SO EXCITED! Especially since all Ben has ever wanted in life is to be a dad. Having never been pregnant before, we immediately told our family the second I had taken multiple pregnancy tests and they all came back “pregnant”. When I saw the results on the pregnancy tests I cried because I was so happy and emotionally unprepared for what that feeling was going to be. We weren’t trying for a baby but I hadn’t gotten my period and well.. maybe the stars had aligned? So I scheduled an appointment with an OB, little did I know that I was about to be “Vanessa”.

I believe I was 6-8 weeks pregnant when I had my first appointment (this is the first time I’m writing about this and/or thinking about it since I pushed these memories into a “forget” folder in my brain.). Ben was at work so I drove to Edmond on my own and met with the OB for my appointment. Everything was normal until they went to listen for the heartbeat. I laid there on my own as they kept trying to search for one without avail. Something didn’t feel quite right. They told me not to worry because it was still early on in my pregnancy, maybe we were too early in fact and it just hadn’t developed yet. So I was sent to get some blood work/labs done next door and come back for my second appointment in 2 weeks. I left feeling very uneasy, but also had to share the “no news” with Ben that evening.

Was I worried? Hell yeah I was. But I had never been pregnant before and wanted to trust the doctors. However, a few days later I miscarried in the middle of the night in our apartment bathroom. It was a traumatic experience, but I am SO LUCKY that I didn’t need medical intervention. Or that I didn’t have to carry a “baby” to term who never even developed a heartbeat because I was past that 6 week mark. I am still grieving the loss from our first pregnancy, so much so that it totally robbed us of any joy our first trimester with Tove. In fact when I took the pregnancy tests and they came back “pregnant” I cried when I told Ben because I was so damn worried we wouldn’t be able to carry to term again. Plus I was so sick following the miscarriage and it continued well into my pregnancy with Tove. I was barely able to eat, I was violently vomiting all the time and had terrible IBS symptoms.. it was a nightmare. I cried so much in the beginning because I was scared to feel any resemblance of joy in case I got robbed again. We waited until the second trimester to tell our parents this time around and my mom told me “we are your family, you could’ve still told us” and it wasn’t that I didn’t want to share with everyone it was that I didn’t want to have to answer those calls or texts if I had another miscarriage. The aftermath was gut wrenching and emotionally draining and I didn’t want to have to share that with anyone again. Now imagine having to share with them that we had to have an abortion mid-pregnancy because our pregnancy was no longer viable. That’s definitely not something you want to share with the world.

Luckily we now have a beautiful HEALTHY baby, whom I was able to carry to full term but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t called planned parenthood out of fear because I didn’t think I could handle being so sick and losing another child. So to take away these rights from girls and women is so fucking ludicrous, and it hurts my heart for the ones who didn’t have as favorable of outcomes as we did. An abortion isn’t a quick fix or an easy decision, and I for one hope that my daughter will have the right to autonomy over her own body.

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