10 Months

Tove has spent more time alive outside my womb than she did inside at this point and wow have I loved her journey so far.

16 pounds later, she’s somewhere in between nine month old clothing and one year old. She’s tall like her pappa but she’s also a skinny one.

Tove is great at eating food. We’ve gone from breastfeeding four times a day to only feeding once in the morning. She’s eaten everything we’ve given her so far… and she’s enjoyed it! Broccoli, corn, rice, chicken, salmon, pasta, bread, blueberries and bananas; to name a few of her favorites.

She’s starting to babble a bit and she’s enjoying walking with the help of my poor back 😅.

This month we took our first flight together and Tove took her first swim in the ocean.

I am so grateful that Tove has changed my life in the way she has. Tove feels happiness with her entire body and she really shares her joy with the world around her.

It’s Her Right

Tove and I went to the women’s protest at the state capitol here in Oklahoma City again today. If Roe vs. Wade gets overturned we have decided as a family to make a plan to leave this country.

Hopefully by the time Tove is sexually active/menstruating I will have a resume that allows for me to seek employment abroad.

There were some great signs and speeches made this AM, I’m just ashamed I birthed a daughter here in Oklahoma of all places. 🙃

“White, religious, cis, men do not represent me.”

“There is something greater than gods will and that is my will.”

Oklahoma State Capitol Abortion Ban Protest

Today, for my first Mother’s Day with Tove being outside of my womb, we went to an abortion ban protest at the state capitol.

I can’t look into Tove’s eyes and tell her that she doesn’t have the same rights as a boy and that she doesn’t matter, because she does.

There were about 50-60 people at the protest. It was heartwarming hearing the cars honk on the underpass as we cheered them on with our signs.

I loved what one woman had wrote, “a quality man does not fear equality.”

I’m so proud for Tove to have a father that understands she should have bodily autonomy, and that it’s her right as a woman to make whatever medical decisions are necessary to her.

It’s terrifying thinking about how women might be punished under these new laws and it’s so unjust I couldn’t just be a keyboard warrior anymore.

#itsnotrighttimetofight #bansoffourbodies

9 Months

This post is a day late but Tove was extra fussy and stayed up an hour past her bedtime last night. I’m pretty sure I start every monthly post off the same way, “man it’s a wild ride..” but for real watching a little human who grew inside of you find her way in the world is the biggest trip.

Tove is able to sit on her own but cannot sit up from lying down yet. She’s begun army crawling around and to whichever nearby object she can find. She enjoys crawling to Tex and stealing his 🧸 toys- and he’s sweet enough to let her.

We’re in the shrieking phase- I do not love it, nor does Ben. Tove is finding her voice but currently it involves screaming at the top of her lungs at almost everything. It’s an ear piercing shrill sound but it’s not because she’s upset. Cute and funny when it’s at lower registers but when she gets you in the ear it’s definitely less cute.

Tove has started mumbling and babbling so the race is on to see what her first words will be. Tex, pappa, or hat are my guesses 🤪

Food wise, Tove is always hungry it seems! She loves purées and has been enjoying cut up fruit recently. Much like mom, Tove also enjoys bread and pasta!

She outgrew her first sleep sack and she’s pretty close to being done with her 9 month old pjs as well. Tove’s got them long legs like her pappa.

Eight Months

What a difference Tove has already made in this world. So loved from many areas of the 🌎 globe.

We’ve been blessed to have her as healthy and happy as she’s been these first 8 months.

This last month, Tove’s appetite has definitely grown. She’s still breastfeeding 3 times a day but we’ve also added in 2 meals and some snacks throughout the day. So far anything puréed has been a hit, but she’s also been enjoying some baby led weaning. We’ve started with some watermelon, tortillas, avocado.. you name it, Tove eats it!

She’s still stationary but honestly, I’m grateful for any extra time we get. I am not ready to be chasing her throughout the house just yet.

Tove LOVES dogs, like a lot. She screams with happiness at both my parents dog, Ziggy and anytime she can get Tex’s attention at home. She’s also fond of other dogs on our walks 🐾

We’ve recently hit a fussy phase, or leap if you’re reading the wonder weeks. Lots of patience is needed from us as parents and it’s a work in progress. Luckily she’s still sleeping well throughout the night in her crib so we’re able to be sane throughout her tantrums.

I can’t believe we’re just a few months out from her first birthday… like I said, life changing.

Mamma älskar dig så mycket, baby girl 💕

High five!

Yesterday marked Tove turning five months old. A whole handful of months- high five to getting this far 😅

Five months out of the womb sure went faster than five months of pregnancy.

Tove is almost to the point of turning from her back onto her front. She’s fascinated by all things beverage/bottles – la croix, topo Chico, water and beers are her current favs. She also mastered griping things with her tiny hands- moms skin on her boobs included (ouch!).

We’ve successfully gotten a room set up for Tove now and she’s taken a few naps in her crib. Sleep has been a little less than stellar since we stopped using a swaddle but we’re still doing one okay stretch in the bassinet at night.

Tove has outgrown most 3-6 sized clothing already. She may be tall like her daddy because the 6-12 pants are already perfect for her. We’ve successfully gotten Tove to wear a bow and a hat without crying at this point as well!

Tove tried carrots for the first time and seemed to enjoy them, frozen blueberries were not as liked.

She shrieks in happiness when she catches eye contact with Tex our dog and I can’t wait to see what this next month of me staying at home with Tove brings.

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.

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.

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.

Donate to help other women HERE if you’d like.

Birth Affirmation Cards

The closer we get to our due date the more and more prepared I feel we are at home. Changing table has arrived from IKEA and we got a changing pad recently from Keekaroo as well. Plus after the baby shower so many of the items on our registry got purchased that the only thing left for me to do is mentally prepare for an unmedicated birth. I told Ben not to let me chicken out when the time comes and ask to go to a hospital just cause I want pain meds.

When we took our birthing class the instructor recommended we put together a few items to bring with us to the birthing center (which could also be brought to a stale hospital environment in case of an emergency transfer) so I decided to start working on an inspiration board today. I found some phrases on Pinterest but also drew from my own personal mantras and created some super simple affirmation cards on Canva.

If you want to see all 12 of them you can do so here. I’m no graphic designer but they are simple so you can use them as a template if you click the pen in the bottom left hand corner and change the phrases to fit your own birthing experience!