Would You?

I’ve tried to get better with the way I think about myself and the words I use on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s the small things that amount to something greater. So maybe if I stop calling myself stupid on a daily basis and replace the word with silly, I can feel less berated at the end of the day.

Don’t forget to feed yourself

I have been hungry for three days now. Doesn’t matter how much I eat or how many supplements I drink. Breastfeeding is exhausting me and triggering my eating disorder to a whole different level.

Being a new mom is hard, there are so many changes that happen overnight that are impossible to prepare for. You have no idea what life is going to look like on a minute to minute basis and it’s all about the new life you brought into the world.

I just want to take a moment and say how much it just SUCKS after having a baby. Yes it’s beautiful and magical and you have a being who you created in the world, but it’s okay for women to say that it sucks also.

I’ve struggled with eating disorders for the last 15+ years of my life and it was a struggle during the pregnancy, and it continues to be a struggle postpartum.

I don’t have the same animosity towards my body that I used to have because it never got me anywhere. It only let Ed (eating disorders) walk into my life easier. However, I will say that the changes are hard to swallow. The flappy boobs with big nipples don’t make you feel as sexy as you used to be. The wider hips.. well those can stay 😋 but the loose jiggly belly, naaah. It’s an adjustment phase, I’m learning to live in this new body just as much as Tove is learning to live in hers.

I just get so disheartened when I think of all the moms out there who are affected by the “snap back” culture. Priorities immediately change and it’s ridiculous to think that a new mom needs to be struggling to fit in work outs when she can barely fit in the time to shower.

Another thing I wish people would stop doing is commenting on women’s bodies after birth (before and during as well but that’s beside the point). Whether you are meaning to give a compliment or not doesn’t matter, just keep your thoughts to yourself. “You lost all of the weight so fast!” You don’t know if that mom is struggling to keep weight on and you may have just sent her on a downward spiral because of the unnecessary comment. Just keep it to yourself.

I guess I didn’t realize that after pregnancy I’d still need to consume more calories in order to keep my supply of breast milk ample. In fact, I’m consuming more calories now than I was during my pregnancy and it’s exhausting. Before being pregnant I regularly struggled with finding time to eat. Especially when I worked. I stand a lot at work so sometimes I don’t notice my body’s hunger cues, leading me to go long hours without eating. Which then leads to me being nauseous to the point where I can’t eat. A downward spiral really.

The thing is.. I used to be able to come home and medicate with cannabis to quell the nausea and relax enough to sit down and eat. These days things look a little different. It takes me longer to calm down and be able to eat. I feel like I’m always behind on meals and with breastfeeding I need to eat even more so I am constantly playing catch up.

Plus I feel like every time I’m finally in the mood to eat, something else happens that needs my attention. The majority of the time it’s Tove, but there’s also moments where Tex needs attention or I get caught up in trying to fit in everything else on my to do list. Luckily Ben is helpful and knows to make me oatmeal in the middle of the night and in the morning. I’m getting better at holding my space but it’s a work in progress.

On top of that I’m still wanting to try to eat healthy because what I eat effects what goes into the breast milk I make for Tove. I find that the majority of snack bars, fig bars, and protein bars are laced with sugar. The same goes for ensure and boost drinks. Drop any recommendations you may have for calorie dense low sugar snacks in the comments, please I beg you.

I guess I just needed to vent a little because I’ve been struggling hard recently.

To all the other moms out there feeling some type of way- it’s okay, you ain’t alone! I just think of the safety guide on airplanes, you can’t put an air mask on someone else if you’re passed out from no oxygen. So mamas, put your air mask on first.

She is blooming

Snapped these photos of Tove wearing some of the gifts she received at the baby shower.

This onesie was gifted by one of my favorite people I’ve met here in Oklahoma, Sierra. It reads “let kindness bloom” and I love the message.

I hope Tove grows up to be a kind and compassionate human.

The socks and matching bow were gifted from Megan, my high school friend in Dallas.

I love the socks because the bows on top as well as the color markings make them look like little shoes!

They may be one of my favorite gifts we received simply because mamma has a shoe obsession and Tove is obviously not walking yet.

Tongue Tie Revision

Tove went to her first dentist appointment this morning! We went to see Dr. Bailey Coleman in Midtown after she was recommended to me by both Jessica, my lactation consultant, as well as my midwife, Brandy.

We had an early morning appointment and Tove looks like she was mad at me for making us late by getting stuck in traffic on 35 😅 You’d think I would know better at this point. ANYWAYS… If you read her birth story you already know that she was born with a tongue tie. Our midwife cut her tongue tie shortly after birth with scissors because she was unable to latch. However, even after having the frenulum cut, Tove was making a clicking noise when breastfeeding and also kept chilling with her tongue out of her mouth, among other things. There’s quite a few symptoms of tongue tie and if you are getting a poor latch with your newborn, it’s definitely worth having a consultation just to see if there’s any ties present.

Since Tove had been gaining weight steadily and we were still able to breastfeed with a poor latch I was okay with waiting 3 weeks for this appointment. Dr. Coleman comes HIGHLY recommended, and now after I can say she’s definitely worth the wait (if you have the possibility to do so). Had our midwife not cut the frenulum under Tove’s tongue, I don’t think we would have been able to wait longer than a week to readdress the ties.

After the paperwork I sat in the chair with Tove and the dentist had a look inside her mouth and her assistant took some photos for us to see what areas needed to be addressed. Dr. Coleman was very thorough with her explanations of the procedure and the aftercare. She wasn’t pushy in what she believed need to be revised, only presented her findings and then left the rest up to Ben and I (mom & dad).

Tove had a pretty restricted upper lip and the chances for speech impediments as well as a gap between her teeth was a little higher and so Ben decided it was important for him that we got it sorted. Her tongue was still not able to reach the top of her palette which could inhibit the development of her palette and sinuses further down the road, so I think that one was a no brainer that it needed to be addressed as well.

Tove was all smiles and tongue until it came time to do the hard part, using the laser inside her mouth to fix her tongue, lip, and cheek ties. They swaddled her and gave her protective glasses and let us snap a few photos of the little cutie first.

The procedure was the difficult part for me. Ben stepped out of the office and I stayed with Tove. Although the whole procedure probably took less than 2 minutes, it felt like a lifetime for me. My mamma heart was HURTING watching the procedure mainly because I have never heard Tove scream bloody murder. I even told Ben in the car during the ride home that we must be decent parents seeing as though we’ve never heard her cry like that before. Dr. Coleman used the laser to cut four different points inside her mouth, upper lip, 2 cheek ties, and one cut under the tongue. The smell was a little off-putting but also reminded me of when I got laser hair removal.

After the procedure was done, I grabbed my phone and Dr. Coleman had me film while she gave me instructions on daily exercises we have to do with Tove’s lip and tongue. I went ahead and edited the video when I got home to remove Tove’s scream so that I could share it with both Ben and our Nanny. Since the exercises need to be done every 4-6 hours for the next couple of weeks I figured it would be best if every one who watches her knows how to do them. Mostly because if we don’t do the exercises then all of this will be for naught. The mouth heals quickly and can heal the way it was before the procedure, and we don’t want to have to redo this ordeal. I would way prefer it if Tove never even remembers this happened.

After giving us detailed after care instructions, we were left with Tove and I tried to comfort her a bit with my boob but dad was the clear winner when it came to calming her cries. We stopped at Sprouts to grab some Arnica, a natural pain reliever, but I also popped into Walgreens to grab infant Tylenol. Dr. Coleman recommended having Tylenol at home, even if we don’t use it just incase we find ourselves needing some at 2AM randomly. Once we got home we fed her a bottle and I also breastfed her. She instantly had a better latch and the clicking noise went from being heard every other suck to intermiddentily being heard.

Fingers crossed that the healing isn’t too hard on Tove and that we are well on our way to breastfeeding/developing without any more issues!

Catch up

Today Tove and I went to brunch with a friend I met back when I attended high school at John Paul II High School. Megan (peep her shoes 😍) and her mom were sweet enough to drive all the way from Tulsa this morning to meet us for brunch at Kitchen no.324 in Oklahoma City.

I love their brunch and ordered a chai tea latte with their open faced sandwich. So. So. Good. Every time. Like every time I’ve been, it took a long time to get my latte 😅 but as long as you’re not super hungry or in a hurry it’s worth it.

The ladies got to “meet” a sleepy Tove and we got to catch up a bit. I had a lovely time and super thankful I got a chance to sneak in a girls brunch.

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.

Just Thought You Should Know

Last night when Ben got off work we all got ready to head out for dinner. I had texted him social capital…? when he was on his way home.

We ordered our usual chicken nachos, Ben also got a fajita chicken taco but the elotes…. WOW I could eat that all day every day.

I told him when we were sat on the patio enjoying our food that it reminded me of our dates we used to have when we first met.

The thing is though, last night was so much better than the early dates. We had Tove with us, Ben drank a Topo Chico since he was driving and I had one canned wine (which got me tipsy 🤪) and we were so much more content. I didn’t feel the NEED to drink more or stay out later because I had everything that matters to me.

I’m so proud of Ben as a father and thankful he’s my partner in all of this. We’ve been through a lot together that’s tested our relationship but never once has he given me a reason to doubt his commitment to me and now us. I love you so much babe and I’m honored to give you the chance to create the most special daddy-daughter bond. I love my dad more than words can say and I just know in my heart that Tove is going to feel the same way about you. Thank you for making us feel loved and for rolling with the punches… quite literally when Tove gets at ya 😛

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.