Tag Archives: labor

Dear 2016…

You sick son of a bitch.

Not only did you claim the coolest celebrities like David Bowie and Prince, but you also turned the United States of America into a trashy reality television show.

You challenged me in ways I never thought possible. You changed my life’s narrative. The dreams I had for this year all took sharp left turns, and am left with lessons and stories to look back on to laugh and cry about.

2015 ended with me newly pregnant and a retired father on the verge of 69. I was elated my parents would be able to enjoy their new grandchild in the new year any day of the week. But 2016 laughed in my face and my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Once she healed from her hysterectomy, she was slated to start chemo a little over a month after that – June 13th.  She’d be smack in the middle of chemo around the time my baby was due, August 1st, and wanted more than anything for my mother to be able to hold my newborn. We were really unsure what her status would be at that point.  Her “last hurrah” so-to-speak was my baby shower on June 11th. She was no longer able to plan it, and was unsure if she would be up to even attend. But she did, and I was thrilled.

In a surprising turn of events, in the early morning hours of June 12th, my water broke and I gave birth to Sloane seven weeks early. You sneaky bastard, 2016. At least mom was able to get in some time with her new granddaughter before starting treatment!

Sloane spent 10 days in the NICU, and mom was not only able to see her the day she was born, but was well enough the next day after chemo to make another visit. Unfortunately that turned out to be the last day she got to see her for about two months. She had a bad reaction to her second day of treatment and became severely dehydrated and almost went into kidney failure. I was in the NICU with Sloane when my dad texted to tell me that mommy was in the hospital.

And there I was in the NICU with my newborn while my mom was in another hospital a few miles away. All I wanted was my mommy, but this was the first time I was a mommy, and my baby needed me. I learned only days into motherhood what my priority was, and my mom was understanding that I didn’t come see her in the hospital, she echoed my sentiments that Sloane is my priority. I called her everyday, though, crying, and giving updates on Sloane and getting updates on her.

As much as I’d like to give the middle finger to 2016, I’d also like to say “thank you.” Thank you for throwing me these situations. While I would have preferred they didn’t overlap, I’m grateful to have walked away from this year knowing my strength.

With that said, I leave you with Christina Aguilera’s Fighter:

 

 

 

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November is Prematurity Awareness Month

November is Prematurity Awareness Month, with World Prematurity Day taking place November 17th. These two events raise awareness of premature babies, which in the United States, preemies make up 9.6% of all births.

This past June I gave birth to my little preemie, Sloane Raven, and in honor of Prematurity Awareness Month, feel strongly to share my story, and everything I’ve learned.  Babble recently published my story, which I hope you will take a minute to read: https://www.babble.com/parenting/6-things-you-dont-know-about-preemies-until-you-have-one/.

Thanks!

 

 

Body After Baby: My Journey

I’ve always been one of those people who doesn’t know how to take a compliment. I can’t just say, “thank you!” and walk away. I’ve always known this, but I’m noticing it more now as I get complimented on my body after giving birth. #humblebrag

I’m not gonna lie – I’m thrilled that I was back in my pre-pregnancy clothes eight weeks after giving birth, and I’ll make you hate me even more: I didn’t have to break a sweat to do it.  I know women’s weight in general is a touchy subject, and recently, women’s weight after giving birth has become a hot-button issue, with articles popping up talking about how phrases like “getting your body back” should be banned. I think it’s things like that, that linger in the back of my head that make me uncomfortable when I get complimented on this particular issue. Like I’m supposed to, as a new mom, go through the right of passage of struggling to lose the baby-weight. I of course graciously say thank you, but then offer up the following explanations because although from the outside it may have looked like losing the baby-weight was easy, it still took its toll:

I’m breastfeeding

and

Oh, I also gave up dairy because I’m breastfeeding

and my favorite:

Well, I gave birth at almost 33 weeks, so I didn’t gain as much as most people

Ah, the good old, “I’m breastfeeding” excuse. It is a known fact that you do burn more calories while you’re breastfeeding because you’re body is working to make milk.  You know what isn’t easy? Breastfeeding! Breastfeeding is hard work. It’s exhausting. You are the sole provided for your baby. If you’re not breastfeeding, you’re pumping. So yes, I lost my pregnancy weight and I look great, but I’m exhausted, my boobs hurt and chances are I’m starving because you work up quite the appetite while breastfeeding.

Speaking of breastfeeding…There’s a chance if you’re breastfeeding you may have to cut out certain foods from your diet because it will upset baby, like dairy and soy for example. I’ve cut out both. I’m sure that’s difficult for just about anyone, but for myself in particular it flat out sucks because I’m a vegetarian. The bulk of my protein comes from dairy and soy-based meat-free products.  How do I get my protein now, you ask? My diet basically consists of hemp protein in my oatmeal, Amy’s non-dairy burritos, Morningstar Farms Black Bean Burgers, and walnuts. I found out early on in my mommy journey the things we will do for our kids. Sloane’s health and comfort comes before mine.

Lastly, we have the most uncomfortable excuse, the “I had a preemie,” excuse. Since I didn’t make it to 40 weeks I didn’t gain as much as someone who had a full-term pregnancy, therefore, I did not gain the weight the majority of women do, and in turn, did not have to lose that much weight. Instead of worrying about my post-baby weight I spent 10 emotionally grueling days in the NICU watching Sloane struggle to gain weight and keep her temperature regulated.

How’s that for conversation?

Body after baby