Get That Look Off Your Face

Pre kids, it’s called being a b-i-t-c-h. Post kids, it’s called being a Mitch. Get it!? Mom +b-i-t-c-h = Mitch! (it’s not cussing if I spell it out like that) It doesn’t matter if you have offspring or not, this post is for you. Do you remember before you had kids or if you don’t have them or want them whatevs, how you said things like “my child will never eat processed foods,” or “my baby will always look so cute!” “I would never let my kid eat off a restaurant table.” Yeah, me too. What a heifer. IT. IS. EXHAUSTING. PEOPLE. It’s exhausting to constantly be aware that other Mom’s, women, children, men, someones Aunt is observing and judging you (Eye roll + sassy face). I whole heartedly want to sit here and type on about how you shouldn’t care what people think and do you and all that jazz but I can’t. The truth is I am always aware and always questioning myself. As if I didn’t already have enough stress in my life trying to keep another human alive and thriving.

Ok, so to break this down:

If you don’t have kids…just shut your face. Unless you’re a professor in child raising or have had extended teachings on what’s best for a baby in 2019, just keep your sleep filled thoughts to yourself. I was this person. I was judgey AF every time I heard a baby cry in public. I said things to myself like “omg are you going to tend to your child or just let them scream?” “Can you not take the time to clean that poor kids face off?” “Why are there stains all over that shirt, do you not care what your kid looks like?” Don’t even get me started on kids and electronics. Oh yeah, I want to slap myself too. I was terrible. And for the one’s who had more than one child and one was running around screaming and carrying on, I know the look on my face was anything but supportive and understanding. What a naive know it all I was.

Flash forward to today where I have my very own bundle of beautiful hot mess and my baby eats puffs off the floor and loves Hotel Transylvania 3 on the iPad. She has one of my old phones and carries it around by the pop-socket. #rotten.

Please note that she is still in her jammies and this was around 4pm.

When we venture out of the house, sometimes she looks super cute with a bow and stainless clothing. Other times she looks like she’s been riding in the back of a farm truck eating dirt. You can only imagine how I look. I haven’t put makeup on since Easter pictures and I wash my hair maybe twice a week. I go to Target to visit my tribe of other moms who feel my pain and share my love for pouch food and anything that makes noise to distract/entertain.

So this is just a reminder to all of us that we don’t know sh*t. I’m learning as I go. What the hell did I know before I had a baby? Nothing. Why did I think it was ok to have a sassy look on my face while judging these mama’s? Bless my heart. I hate that I was that kind of woman who thought she knew more than the one who was down in the trenches making it happen. I do the best I can every day. Some days I have it together and drink my coffee hot, other days I wonder what I have gotten myself into and how will I be able to successfully function for the next 18 years while walking around with half wet puffs stuck to my shirt. We go to Target to keep ourselves sane, y’all. We give the baby that iPad so we can exhale and pee really quick. For those of you who are the kind of Mama who looks fantastic for every outing and feeds your baby all organic foods with no screen time involved anywhere, hit me up and teach me your ways. But if you give me another dirty look in Wal-Mart, I’m going to rub sticky old food on your white pants. Oh yes, I’m that petty. Let’s do better. Let’s show up for one another and pickup that sippy cup off the floor for that Mama who’s child has thrown it thirteen times and you can tell she’s about to have a panic attack.

I know you’re doing the best you can too, I see you.

Cheers to you! – Lana

Why I Quit My Big Kid Job

I need purpose and routine to feel like myself. I need to be able to get up, get ready and leave the house. I worked at my previous employer for almost 8 years and had no intention of quitting. I got pregnant, went on maternity leave and had my sweet baby girl. While on leave, I cherished every moment with her because I knew I only had twelve weeks of all day cuddle time. Twelve weeks to adjust to our new addition and find our new normal.

We thought we were on top of it. We toured several daycares and decided on the one we felt the most comfortable with. We put our deposit down to get on the wait list while being assured there would be a spot for our baby when the time came and we went about our merry way thinking, “daycare, handled.” SURPRISE… it didn’t work that way AT EFFING ALL. A month before I was set to go back to work, I called to check in with the daycare and they told me they would not have a spot open until the beginning of the year. Ummm what? Apparently my husband and I misunderstood how this works. What a sham, man. It’s March, and still no open spot, FYI. FUN TIMES.

We had to make a decision quickly. What the EFF were we going to do? I knew I needed to go back to work so that I could be the best version of myself, but how was I going to do this? Luckily my Mother was able to watch our sweet angel. I went back to work ready to get back into the swing of things. That did NOT happen. All I could do was think about what Penelope was doing and all the things I was missing. I would FaceTime with her every time I pumped and text with Mom throughout the day. My heart simply couldn’t handle it.

Real talk, this was one of the hardest decision I’ve had to make. Also, I know what I sound like when I say that. I know that the first thing that probably runs through your mind is “why is this lady complaining about being able to stay at home with her baby?” or “people have real problems, please stop whining.” Several Mamas have said “OMG I would have loved to have that opportunity to stay home with my kids, you’re so lucky.” I’m grateful, every day but it was still a hard choice for me. Others have said “wow, your husband must make a lot of money,” or my personal favorite “what are you going to do with yourself all day, you’re going to get so bored.” For the record, all of those comments made me feel about this big (-). My husband sets the world on fire every day and I just couldn’t imagine being someone who stayed home and had nothing to show for my “work.” I felt every insecurity you can think of. I was pre-mad at my husband because I just knew he would start expecting dinner on the table by 6 and a spotless house when he got home. This is NOT me. I am NOT a housewife. I only watch them on tv. I fought and fought with him over things that hadn’t even happened yet. My insecurities almost cost me my healthy marriage. The love and support he has given me is everything I could ever wish for in a partner. He’s my biggest cheerleader. A tall, dark and handsome one nonetheless.

The daycare not having an open spot was a blessing in disguise. Me quitting my job was what was supposed to happen. This has been hard. I have bad days where I question myself. But, oh… those good days. Those days where her eyes sparkle when she looks my way. Those chubby baby arms wrap around my neck and I know I’m right where I’m meant to be. I do miss the challenges my work days used to bring. I miss girls lunch and mani/pedi breaks too. These days I straight up get down to some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I’m using all of my old dance team moves to make my daughter laugh and giggle and thoroughly enjoy my thrice warmed coffee.

Here’s to the single parents. I see you. You need to know that you are doing the best you can and you are everything to your babies. Keep that hustle game strong. It’s all going to pay off one day when you’ve raised amazing kids who know their worth. I no longer worry about nothing to show for my “work.” You can just look at our happy baby and see that her heart and soul are being tended to and she’s loved beyond measure. That’s my definition of a good Mama.

Cheers, Lana.

What I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Having A Baby

This is not one of those, “I wish someone had told me I didn’t really need the diaper genie,” kind of post. This is more like, “I wish someone had told me I would feel gas pains that felt like knives slashing my insides,” kind of post. So, fair warning. I feel like it’s my duty to share so other new moms can know what to really expect. Also, I had to have a C-Section so most of my points will have to do with the c-section process and recovery.

#1. Being Prepared for a C-Section

We took the birthing classes and like all first time moms, I assumed I would deliver vaginally. They touched on it a bit about if you had to have a c-section this is what happens, etc. But, HELLO, I’m a woman that needs as many details as possible so I can mentally prep and prepare for all the possible scenarios.

Here’s what I need new moms like me to know:

  • Prepping for surgery, you will get asked very strange questions.“Do you have any loose teeth?” “Open your mouth as wide as you can for me.” “Drink this anti acid stuff,” take it down like a shot, trust me. You will be sitting there thinking WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH GETTING A BABY OUT OF MY BELLY!? (I don’t operate very well when I’m scared.) All of the questions have a reason, just go with it and don’t ask the poor anesthesiologist a million questions trying to buy yourself some time, there’s no use babe. It all moves pretty fast. You will see several different people in a short time span and they will all be talking to you about what’s about to happen and/or doing something to you like checking your IV, blood pressure, etc. Keep your cool, you’re about to be a mom, now is not the time to lose your mind. Have a really good cry if you need to then take some deep breaths and get ready to meet one of the most important people in your life.
  • Alright, DURING the actual surgery... you will feel every emotion in your bank. You’re laying there cut open and a nurse keeps pushing on your stomach while the doctors are talking about the vacation they just got back from. While my husband was talking about where his accent was from (he’s British), I was deep into an internal pep talk. It’s scary, but quick. I stared at the IV drip the entire time until they showed me my baby. They transfer you off the table to a bed, remove your epidural and away you go.
  • AFTER surgery, you go into a recovery room for two hours. They monitor you and the baby and make sure all is well. They will continue to push on your stomach periodically which will feel so wrong to you but doesn’t hurt because you’re still very numb. Did you know air can get trapped in your body after you have a surgery? It can, and it did and that’s all I could talk about. It was like a stabbing pain in my shoulder and I needed it gone asap. They gave me pain meds and within 15 mins it was gone. You will more than likely be VERY thirsty, ask for ice chips (that’s all you can have) and know that water is coming soon. I was exhausted and ready to get back to our room to show our family how cute our baby was.
  • THAT NIGHT they check on you and baby a lot. They will come in what seems like every 10 minutes to take vitals and bring you meds, water, etc. They also take your catheter out and tell you it’s ok to get up when you need to potty. Ummm, what? Yes, they want you to get up. No, your insides will not fall out even though you’re pretty sure they will and you will even tell the nurses that, they will laugh, you will not. Good times. You’re still numb so not in too much pain. You still have a big belly and all of a sudden you’re very aware of your boobs.
  • Let people help you. You will need help going to the bathroom, taking a shower, getting in and out of bed, etc. This is not the time to be a rockstar, you need to heal, boo. You and your partner will get real close, quick. My husband had to help me pull up my mesh underwear and I just knew that was the end of our romantic life. Calm down babe, they just want to help you in any way they can, LET THEM.
  • When you get home, try to rest when you can. Hold a pillow over your incision if you have to cough or laugh. Take it slow, the recovery is challenging but you can do it. Take your pain meds regularly and drink plenty of water. You will more than likely be constipated from the surgery and the pain meds, there are several different things you can take for this, I drank magnesium citrate water and it helped me a ton. You can get this at any drugstore. Stay ahead of this, thank me later.

#2 Breastfeeding

Every new mom will have a different situation when it comes to breastfeeding. To the point, go see the lactation specialists. See them while you’re in the hospital and after you leave if you need to. They will help you with whatever problem you’re having. DO NOT sit there and be worried or in pain for no reason. You will more than likely have knots in your breasts, especially in the beginning. Those things will take you down if you’re not careful. Learn how to massage those out and find relief. If you let it go, it could turn into Mastitis and that’s no bueno. Take action and save yourself the heartache. If you choose to not breastfeed, that really is ok. Some new mamas won’t feel like it’s ok, but it really is. A fed baby is a happy baby.

#3 What The Hell Do I Do Now?

I had no idea what I was doing. I’ve never changed a diaper in my life and I certainly wasn’t prepared for baby gas. I had all the baby gear, all the nursing stuff but didn’t have a clue how to console my crying baby. THIS IS ALL NORMAL. I repeat, THIS IS ALLLLLLLLL NORMAL. You’re not the weird one out. You’re not stupid. Now, to be fair, people told me this while I was pregnant, but lord knows, you don’t listen to people. It was only after I got through the first 3 months that I understood. Here’s what I did and what I continue to do today (thanks, Mom!): I mark off a checklist in my head. Diaper clean? Cold/hot? Hungry? Gassy? If I know that I’ve checked the big things I can pretty much narrow it down to being sleepy or sometimes just down right fussy because they can. You will learn what your pumpkin needs and even what their different cries mean. It will all come with time. Give yourself a break and take a breath. The days are long but the months are short.

#4 Hormones

Again, hormones are talked about pretty regularly. But what do we do? We think “oh that won’t be me, I can control myself, I handle PMS so well.” Wrong, honey bunny. Those hormones come RACING in and you will lose your sh*t. I wasn’t prepared for this at all. I cried about pretty much everything. I didn’t think I was producing enough milk, I never wanted my Mom to leave my side, I was sure my husband was going to leave me, I was exhausted and kept asking myself what the hell have I just done to my life? You are in love with your new creation but you’re also so overwhelmed with everything or at least, I was. Hormones are real. Know that they are normal and you will find a balance soon.

#5 Recovery Gear

If you have a C-Section, you will need some things to make life easier for you while you recover. Prior to me going into labor, Mom and I made “Padsicles.” Ive heard these are lifesavers while recovering from a vaginal birth, click below for instructions. Also, the website where I got this idea from has lots of helpful information regarding pregnancy and recovery.

Here’s what I used while recovering:

  • High Waisted Underwear-you’re going to want something that makes you feel secure and protected. I ordered these off Amazon and loved them. They’re only one pair per order so I got some other cheaper ones to try as well.
  • Recovery Belt– again with the secure and protected thing, this belt lets you move around while squeezing everything back into place.
  • Nursing Bras– I still wear these today. They are WONDERFUL. Comfy and efficient. Please ignore the model with the 6 pack #eyeroll.
  • If you get tired of wearing the clippy bras day in and out, try these for sleeping to give the girls a break. Again, please ignore the 18 year old model #eyeroll, #getoutofhere.

I hope my rambling has helped. New Mamas need all the support, tips and tricks we can get. We need constant reminding that we’re ok and we’re going to get through the tough times. Reach out and ask other Moms questions. Do what you need to do to stay sane. We know you’re thankful for this experience, but it can be hard as hell. It’s ok, you’re doing great.

Cheers, Lana.

Pregnancy Must-Haves

When you’re expecting, at least for me, I was at an all time anxiety high. “Is this normal?” “Am I gaining too much weight?!” “How much fried chicken is too much?” So, anything that could make my life easier, I was all about it. I wanted to share what worked for me because making a person is taxing.

Pregnancy Pillow

Yes, get one. I still use mine and it was a life saver, especially towards the end when you’re massive and over it. I got this one because I wanted to feel like I was sleeping in a hole and I needed to be able to flip from side to side without moving the pillow over every time. There’s also another one that’s shaped like a “C” that my friends have used and loved, but the “U” shaped was my jam. Side note: you have to buy the pillow case separately. I slept on the actual pillow for at least a month before I broke down and ordered the pillowcase. Saving y’all some heartache here, go ahead and order both at the same time.

Belly/Body Oil

I was getting so big so fast, I was in a panic about stretch marks. This Rosehip oil came highly recommended and it worked wonders. Not one stretch mark! Compared to some of the other creams and oils on the market, this was easy on the budget as well. I got mine for $14.95 on Amazon.

Belly Belt

It’s as fun and sexy as it sounds. BUT it really saved my back. I’m a short person and my gigantic belly freaked havoc on my back, knees, shoulders, etc. This belt helped me get things done.

Prenatal Gummy Vitamins

Have you ever smelled a prenatal? Have you ever smelled a garbage can? Same thing. In order to get the needed vitamins into my body, it had to come via a sweet, candy-like vehicle. In came gummy prenatal! I used these.

Epsom Salt

I took a bath every night because my body constantly hurt. I love the smell of eucalyptus so this one was my favorite.

Apart from Chick-Fil-A and Freddy’s, these products helped get me through my entire pregnancy. Hopefully they bring some relief for you as well. Stay strong, Mama!

Cheers, Lana

Our Birth Story

I know “birth stories” are a dime a dozen, but here’s another one. Why? Because I worked extra hard for this one, you better believe it.

Photo Credit: Erica Kirby Photography

On August 13th, 2018, we went to the doctor for what seemed like the 42nd time in two weeks with high hopes that I (and by “I,” I mean my stubborn cervix) had made some progress. I was 39 weeks pregnant and beyond miserable. Also, it was mid August in the South, y’all. Feel for me, but feel for my husband more. LORD.

Our sweet doctor came into the room with that smile on her face like “I know you hate everything and everyone right now,” she was dead on. She then proceeded with the super fun pelvic check and sighed. JUST WHAT I WANTED TO HEAR. “Well it’s softening,” she said. Long story short, we were induced that night at 5pm. Why? Because I couldn’t take it any longer and they were certain my baby was going to be around 10 pounds. I’m 5’3” and my husband is 6’4”, good times.

So we’re in the hospital, drugs administered, laying around waiting for some action. They told me I could eat before midnight so naturally I ate some Chick Fil A. I ate it all but two nuggets, my nerves were all over the place. My parents and husband stayed in the room with me that night, my parents on the floor and hubby on the bed/couch contraption. I woke up around 3am STARVING. All I could think about was those two nuggets in the trash can. If I could have gotten up, you already know. There was no shame in my game. I brought some saltine crackers in my purse (is that normal?), and needed them desperately. I whisper yelled to my husband, nothing. Dead asleep. I whisper yelled to my Mom, nothing. Also, dead asleep. I thought I could hit them with a pillow and hopefully wake them up, but what if they didn’t wake up? Then I would be out my precious pillows. Finally I whisper yelled enough that my husband woke up and begrudgingly retrieved them for me, he was tired, bless his heart.

So the morning time rolled around, 0600 on the dot, a nurse comes in to check me and I had made “some” progress. We played cards, kept track of how many people commented on my super cute, patterned hospital gown (my husband thought I was being way too extra, jokes on him), watched tv and visited with friends. Contractions were happening, I had a hand held fan that was my best friend and I had to pee about every 15 minutes or so. The contractions were happening regularly but still no progress. I was hungry and tired and trust me when I say, when I am either of those things, you don’t want to be in my line of sight.

The nice nurse said “Do you plan on having an epidural?” HELL TO THE YES, I DO. That happened around 9:00pm on Tuesday night. Now up until this point, I had dreaded that damn needle in my back. I was scared, shaking and massive. “Curl your back like a mad cat!” Yeah, ok buddy, do you see this beachball in front of me? Two pokes later, I was numb.

Resting and waiting, they broke my water at 2:30am on Wednesday morning, that’s 24 hours without food people and I’ve had every popsicle on that floor just for documenting sake. Fast forward 14 hours, the doctor came in and said it was time to call it. “We need to take her.” I had a fever and her heart rate was all over the place.

Let me give you some background on me real quick. I didn’t get my blood drawn until I was 30. Why? Because I have had a phobia my entire life. I had my wisdom teeth taken out when I was 23, that’s the only kind of surgery I have ever had. So you can imagine what my brain did when they told me I was about to be cut open WHILE I WAS AWAKE. I cried my eyes out but pulled myself together knowing that it was time to MOM UP.

Penelope Elizabeth was born on August 15th at 5:14pm. She was perfect and worth every bit of it.

Since then I’ve been welcomed into the Mom club and learning it all the hard way as I normally tend to do.

What was your birth like? Was it dreamy and went according to plan? Did you do drugs or take the natural route? I read every “birth story” blog I could get my hands on because I NEEDED to know the details. I needed to prepare myself for every possible scenario and pain. Now, hopefully my story can give some scared to death mama to be some relief in that it’s doable and you can do anything in that moment because you have to boo- boo.

Cheers, Lana.