Saturday, September 28, 2013

Gift for a new Mommy-To-Be

I just found out that someone very special is joining the club!  I'm so excited to start celebrating her pregnancy. 

I made up a gift bag of hand-me-down and new items for her.  It is filled with things that worked for me (or didn't work for me) that she might want to try.  

What's Inside:
Fit Pregnancy Magazine- to stay fit and healthly for baby
Pregnancy Books- to start reading up on pregnancy
Tums- for possible heartburn
Water- to stay hydrated and not bloated
Cocoa Butter Lotion- to start fighting the battle against stretchmarks
Massage Gift Certificate- to relieve stress now or to relieve sore feet and back later
Belly Band- for her expanding waistline

Could also include:
Maternity store Gift Card
Hand-Me-Down maternity clothes
Items to relieve morning sickness
Anything you found helpful during pregnancy or have leftover that she might find helpful

Friday, September 27, 2013

Blake Olivia: 2 Weeks Old

Blake has passed her birth weight tipping the scales at 7lbs. 13oz. on day 16.
She is a good eater and we are finally getting breastfeeding down :)
Way to go Blakey!!

Thursday, September 26, 2013


I always knew I wanted to breastfeed.  It's best for baby.  It's healthy for mom.  It's free.  There are a million reasons.

Kyle was a total trooper.  He took the classes with me, which were 3 hours long and there were 2 of them.  He totally got it and was on board with breastfeeding.  I'm so glad now that he went to the classes with me.  I felt, at the time, that I might actually be torturing him but it turns out he learned a lot too and when it came down to the real thing, he was able to support me through the hard times because he knew the benefits.

So here's the story:

My baby girl was born on Sunday.   She was 7lbs. 9oz.  I breastfed to the best of my abilities, with help from the nurses for the first day.  (Some nurses were more helpful than others.)  I knew that she was supposed to lose weight in those first days.  Up to 10% of her birth weight.  I knew that I only had colostrum and my transitional and then mature milk would not come in until about day 4.  I knew that I had all of the things my baby needed to thrive.

On day 2, Monday, the pediatrician on call came in and all of the nurses raved about this pediatric group.  Well I wasn't impressed and neither was Kyle.  He was the not warm or friendly and basically said "I want to watch your baby until she is 48 hours old, keep breastfeeding."

The next day, Tuesday, was the day we got discharged.  He came back and took the baby to the nursery to weigh her.  I was told prior, that my baby wouldn't ever need to leave me unless it was an emergency but oh well, Kyle went with her.  He barely spoke to Kyle and said he would come to our room to talk to us.

He came to our room and said she was down 7% of her birth weight and he wanted us to come in for an appointment the next day at their office.
Ok, fine, still not worried.

The next day, day 3 (the day your baby will be at lowest weight and the day before my milk showed up), we show up at their office and have a different doctor.  She weighed my baby, said ok well she's too far underweight at 11% and you need to supplement.  Either pump or use formula.  She handed me bottles of formula and a syringe to feed her with.  She said if you don't want nipple confusion, you can use the syringe or just use a bottle.  She shoved the syringe in Blake's mouth and squirted it and she just choked and spit it all out.  Then she handed me a card and said make an appointment with a lactation consultant for tomorrow.

Well I cried the whole way out of the office and the whole way home.

We got home and I tried desperately to feed my baby, breastfeeding and with the syringe.  It wasn't working and by that evening we were scared and frustrated and ended up giving her a bottle of the formula.  I cried the whole time.  I felt like I had been depriving my baby of the food she needed and like I was failing at breastfeeding.  I was also so hormonal and emotional.

First thing in the morning, I went to see Susan Orr, Lactation Consultant.  It was a breastfeeding clinic and Kyle dropped me off, sobbing and nose running all over the place.

The first thing she asked me was what had happened at the doctor and why I was there.  I felt better within minutes when she assured me that everything happening to us was normal and that the reaction from the doctor was a huge overreaction.  It turns out that as good as doctors are, they are NOT experts on breastfeeding.  By the time the 2 hour clinic was over, my baby was fed and I was equipped with lots of knowledge, a packet full of useful information, an email address & phone number that I could use anytime with questions, first hand experience, and a new found confidence that I could do this.  I went home feeling like she had saved us.

Two days later, I went back to the clinic and stayed another two hours to really get some good experience.  I am that type of person.  I want the most info possible and a plan.  I'm not a "trust your instincts" type of person.  I should be because my instincts are actually pretty good.  It turns out, I'm not that bad at this mommy thing but it did help to get that reassurance.

I honestly don't know how anyone does it without a lactation consultant.  I was doing everything right and I still needed help.  I will forever be grateful to Susan Orr and her breastfeeding clinic.

For anyone who lives in the area and needs help or is thinking about getting pregnant, keep her in mind.  She is a lifesaver and she must be doing it because she truly wants to help people.  I know it is not for the money because it was $20 for 2 hours of help, my own personalized plan, endless questions, snacks while you are there, and email access to her 24/7.

Here is her info:
Susan Orr
Breastfeeding Clinic @ Columbia Pediatrics in Long  Beach, CA

She also teaches the breastfeeding and baby care classes at Long Beach Memorial Hospital which I recommend.

P.S. We have a new pediatrician that we really like and baby Blake is gaining weight perfectly and has passed her birth weight right on time at 2 weeks old.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Homemade Baby Wipes

This is really quick and easy.  Even for a new, first time mom like me.  I made them in the first week I was home.  The only thing you have to watch out for is, due to the fact that these are all natural with no preservatives, they can mold.  This really isn't a problem considering that you go through a batch of them in about a week.  Just don't make multiple batches and store for later.

I love these wipes.  When we brought Blake home I used Pampers wipes.  I was paranoid about diaper rash and I did notice her skin was a little irritated.  I don't know if that was just a normal newborn thing and normal new mom obsessiveness but when I switched over to my homemade wipes, which are really moisturizing, her skin looked way better.

All you have to do is mix the water, coconut oil, and baby wash together in a bowl.  The coconut oil is solid at room temp but has a really low melting point.  Making these in September in southern California, my coconut oil was already in a liquid state but if yours isn't, just use water that is a little warm and it will melt.

Cut a roll of Bounty Select-A-Size** paper towels in half.  It can be a little bit messy and use a big serrated knife.  Save the other half for the next batch.
**You must use Bounty.  Other paper towels will fall apart.

Stick the half roll of paper towels in the bowl of liquid and let it soak it up.  I turn it over once all the liquid is absorbed and let gravity do the rest.  In about an hour it will be all absorbed and you can pull out the cardboard center.  Put in an old wipe box or container of your choosing and pull from the center to dispense.

I made a sticker label to cover the Pampers label and done and done.  So easy :)


Just a few selections from the beautiful maternity photos my girlfriend Kelly took for me.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Nursery 2

 The shelves for Blake's library are spice racks from Ikea that I spray painted white.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Blake's Birth Story

Blake Olivia O’Bryan
7lbs. 9oz.
20.75 inches
Born on September 8, 2013 at 3:45pm

{These pictures are from the hospital photographer.  She did a great job and it only took a few minutes}

Labor and Delivery:

So I woke up at 2:45 and had a few cramps.  I had just gone to bed at 12 because I worked that night, a busy Saturday shift. After having a few contractions with some cramping, I decided to time them. I was estimating about 7 minutes apart.  I decided to wake up Kyle and let him know what was going on.  By the time I told him they were 7 minutes apart, I was timing them at 3 minutes apart. I didn't really know what to do because they told us to go to the hospital after I was having contractions 5 minutes apart for at least an hour.  Had I missed that part? Did I sleep through it?

I sent a text to my doctor because she told me to call her at home to make sure I didn't get the doctor on call.  ** She is the most amazing OB/GYN and more on her later.  I told her what was happening and she said, go to the hospital and tell them I will be right behind you.

It took us about an hour to get it together and get in the car.  Finish packing my bag, get dressed etc.  When we showed up my doc had already called us in and we went to triage.  I was dilated to 2 and they made us wait to see if I progressed enough to get to stay.  Thankfully I did get to 4 while we were there and we were admitted.

Once we got to the labor and delivery room, which was huge and really nice by the way, we were right at the nurses shift change and were assigned what I can only assume was the best nurse in the hospital.  (I literally wanted to cry when her shift was up and we went to a postpartum room. I was calling over my shoulder, "come in to Tsunami in a month or two and I will buy you dinner.")

The contractions were getting a little bit stronger and I couldn't decide if I was ready to do the epidural.  I really didn't want to slow things down and I was willing to do anything to avoid a c-section.  I was still dilated to 4 but they said I was past the point where it was ok to go ahead and have it.  After a few more contractions, I decided to go for it.  My doctor came in, with a giant knitting needle, and I knew what was about to happen.  It seemed like everything was going so fast.  She broke my water and the next contraction was INTENSE.  I only had one or two more before the anesthesiologist came in.  Thank God! Except for the fact that he looked about 10 years younger then me.  The epidural was nothing, took like 10-15 minutes and that was that.  I literally felt high.  They swore I wasn't given narcotics but it definitely felt like it.

The next time my nurse checked me, I was at 6. We hung out a little longer and when I started to feel a little more pain I pushed the button for a little boost from my epidural.  Well, before that I could still move my legs pretty easily, I just had less pain.  After I pressed that button, my right leg went pretty dead.

She checked me again and I wasn't expecting to be much farther along because it hadn't been that long and I couldn't really feel the contractions other than some pressure.  Well she said, "ok, are you ready to be so stoked? You are at 10."

So it was time to push.  Wow, even though we had been there for 10-11 hours already, it felt like it was going really fast.  (I'm sure my family in the waiting room didn't feel this way)

She grabbed my leg and showed me how you do it.  Three  pushes with quick breaths in between per contraction.  We just transitioned right over and it was so calm and easy.  I keep saying "this is it?".  It was so much less dramatic than I had pictured.  It was just the 3 of us and my doctor was on her way.  Kyle was amazing.  Supportive and encouraging, my advocate for my birth plan. My nurse was very respectful of my plan and made sure to remind the doctor of my wishes.  Everyone was so easy going and genuinely wanted me to have a good experience.  Kyle got to sit right up by my head and could talk right in my ear and cheer me on.  He was also actively participating because he had to help me pick up that dead right leg.

One of the most important things on my birth plan was that I wanted to pull out the baby (Kourtney Kardashian style).  I realize that a lot of people are turned off by this idea but I thought it would be amazing to help deliver my own child.

I pushed for about an hour to an hour and a half.  I could feel just enough to be able to push effectively.  Just as my doctor was getting Blake's shoulders out she said "ok Mara reach down and grab her".  I did and I pulled out my baby girl and it was every bit as amazing as I thought it would be.  It is such a cool memory that I will always have.

Kyle cut the cord and that was it.  We got to have over 2  hours of quality time with our new baby girl before they kicked us out and into a postpartum room.  We had a little bit longer than normal because Blake's temp was low and she had to sit under a warmer for a while.

When it was all said and done I realized that childbirth is really not that scary. I could do it again. Which is convenient because I definitely plan to :)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

38 Weeks

  • How Far Along:  38 weeks

  • Baby Size: Pumpkin

  • Total Weight Gain: 22lbs.

  • Maternity Clothes: Maternity and non-maternity.

  • Stretch Marks: Nope. Thought I was out of the danger zone and then my doctor said she has seen it happen in the last week. Still using the cocoa butter just in case.

  • Sleep:  I am sleeping ok.  Not as good as a few months ago but definitely not anything that has me worried.  Besides I only have a few weeks left anyway.

  • Best Moment of the week:  I have finished up all those last minute errands and checked almost everything off my list.  Now I’m enjoying relaxing and spending time with Kyle as much as possible.  No specific moments I can think of but we have had a good week in general.

  • Miss Anything?: No not really.

  • Movement: Her movements are always in the same place now.  I think that means she hasn’t changed positions. I always get kicks in the upper left and something like her back or head in the lower right. 

  • Food Cravings: Nothing this week.

  • Anything Making you queasy or sick: Just uncomfortable when I eat too much.

  • Gender: Girl.

  • Labor Signs:  I have been having some cramping and Braxton Hicks contractions.

  • Symptoms:  Gigantic belly! J

  • Belly Button in or out: Flat.

  • Wedding Rings on or off: On.

  • Mood:  Happy but tired.

  • Looking forward to: Meeting my baby girl!!

  • Exercise: Eehh I’m pretty tired lately so I haven’t been good about exercise.
  • Rant: I really loved being pregnant and I really am going to miss my belly.  That being said, I’m so sick of the same questions/comments over and over.  “Are you ready? Are you excited? You have no idea what’s coming. Sleep now, you never will again. Is Kyle excited? What’s the name? Oh Blake, wait it’s a girl or a boy? You don’t look 9 months pregnant, do you eat?” Yes that last one really happened! People mean well but it’s hard to keep up the enthusiasm they expect at every question when you’ve heard it 20 times that day. Sometimes I throw something out there like “naww Kyle’s actually really mad, I trapped him” just to shake things up J