An Uncomplicated Life Blog: January 2016

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Little & Mighty Baby Style

Little & Mighty is a children's online boutique clothing store based in Austin, Texas

When Rachel from Little & Mighty reached out to me for a collaboration, I was thrilled. I hadn't heard of her boutique children's clothing store before, but a quick Google search fixed that and I LOVE their philosophy behind dressing kiddos: That they are little, mighty and should be celebrated! Plus, it's Texas-based (fear not, non-Texans! There's a full online retail store stocked with plenty of goodies for your wee ones) and I'm all about supporting local business owners, especially when they're moms like me.

So what's Little & Mighty's story? Three moms got together to create clothes that celebrate how unique each of our children are. They wanted to create a fun line that shows how fiercely independent each kid can be, displaying their own personalities right from the start. They wanted their clothing to inspire little ones to be adventurous and curious in the world around them. You'll find their prints full of nature's inspiration!

I mean, just check out these cute screen prints they have for your toddlers. So many cute critters and bright colors! Henry felt pretty mighty in his long sleeved shirt.

Have a baby? Me too. Don't worry, Rachel didn't leave out Otto! They have a whole baby section of onesies and t-shirts to fit your mightiest little one.

Aren't these shirts and outfits just the cutest?! If you have little ones or are looking for an awesome shower gift/children's birthday present idea, check them out!

*I was compensated and received free product to create this blog post. All opinions are my own and all text and images are copyrighted by An Uncomplicated Life Blog*

Monday, January 25, 2016

6 Affordable Essential Oils to Start With

Looking to get your feet wet with essential oils without spending too much money? Here are six affordable essential oils to start with!

I've gotten great feedback from y'all about my essential oils posts! The biggest theme I've noticed is that there is a TON of interest in exploring essential oils for ways to improve wellness, but people are reluctant to spend a lot of money on something they are unsure about. That makes complete sense! Therefore, I'm listing some of my favorite oils that are affordable, and the way they can promote your health and wellness.

Essential oils can be very expensive, but here are 6 great affordable oils that let you "try them out" without spending a lot of money.

First, the essential oils! Revive oils are my new go-to. Yup, I used to be with Young Living, but the expense of those oils were insane. I asked some of my oily gurus who they got their oils from and learned about Revive. They're therapeutic grade, indigestible essential oils that are NOT a multi-level-marketing structure. You can go on their website and buy them like you'd buy something on Amazon - no need to sign up for some membership! They have packages with diffusers and single essential oils, plus roller bottles and other lifestyle items. Use code Paige10 for 10% off your order and experience the same quality of Young Living or doTERRA without the obnoxious price (and minus the sales people always trying to get you to buy things...)

All of these oils listed blow are under $25. Even better? They're some of the most versitle oils to have on hand, too! I'd consider them the basics or "essentials" of an essential oil collection (see what I did there?!) If you're looking to explore oils or simply get your feet with with them, here's a great list of affordable options to start with!

Where do I start with lemon?! It has so many great uses. I used it in the first trimester of my pregnancy to help reduce nausea by smelling it and applying it to my nostrils and behind my ears. It's an energizing oil, so I used it excessively in my third trimester and now as a new mom for a natural boost in the morning. You can add it to water or tea to aid digestion. You can add it to cleaning products or combine it with other oils to make your own in-home, nontoxic cleaning supplies. If you're looking to start with essential oils, lemon is a great place to start!

This is a fantastic oil to have around for winter cold season, and also if you suffer from seasonal allergies. It has a bright, fresh scent that clears the sinuses. Combine it with a carrier oil (such as grape seed oil or coconut oil) and apply it to your chest and bottoms of your feet when you have a cold for easier breathing. Same with allergies that block those nasal passages! I love this one because with two kiddos and a hubs with nasty allergies, someone's nose is ALWAYS running. This is a great, natural way to help clear those blocked nasal passages. It also smells great to diffuse in your home (I keep this oil going all night in the boys' room).

Just like lemon, this oil is super versatile! Grapefruit is known for promoting weight maintenance and management, so it can be ingested. Add a few drops to water to flavor it or to enhance other foods and beverages. It's bright scent is also energizing, so smell it for an instant boost or apply it near your nose for a constant energy lift. It's also know as a mood booster because of it's cheery aroma, which is great to get you through the winter months!

Notice a trend here? Citrus is the way to go for affordable essential oils! Orange is great for cooking! You can use it for Asian orange chicken recipes and other savory dishes, or breads, muffins and cookies. The vitamin C in the essential oil is known to help promote your immune system. Just like lemon, you can add this oil to household cleaners or combine it with other oils to create your own all natural cleaning products.

If you read this post, you know that peppermint can be combined with lemon (also on this list!) and lavender (just didn't make the cutoff - it's $30) for a great blend that assists in allergy symptom relief. I also used this oil extensively throughout my pregnancy to provide some relief from my headaches. I'd keep a small bottle in my purse and sniffed to help in headache pain management, and would apply it to my temples and earlobes if it was a really rough day. It's a strong oil, so some prefer to use it with a carrier oil to dilute it before they apply it topically. I've also found that if you combine lemon, orange and peppermint oils in your diffuser, the blend does an excellent job of clearing out bad smells from your home. So if you have pets or if that trash has been sitting a day too long in the can, that's a great blend to diffuse for air freshness!

Calling all my athletes! All my barre and yoga and running and weightlifting folks, listen up: You want this oil. I talked in this post about Panaway, and how awesome it is for aches and pains. While that's my favorite essential oil, it's not cheap (over $50). However, one of the key ingredients is wintergreen. Combine it with grape seed or coconut oil for a "icy hot" fresh smelling sports massage oil. It starts out warm and then cools the skin, and then feels fantastic on those overworked muscles. It's also a great breath freshener if you apply a drop to the back of your tongue. It works much better and lasts much longer without all the sugar (or aspartame) found in gums and mints!

Interested in purchasing one or several of these oils? It's super easy. Click here!

Essential oils can be expensive, but the truth is most are under $25! I had to cut this list way down to just 6 of my favorite affordable oils. Most Young Living singular essential oils are in the $15-$25 dollar range. Oil blends to tend to run more, but the great news is that you don't need to start with fancy blends to get properly introduced to the wellness benefits! Start with this affordable list, and see for yourself how essential oils promote your overall wellness.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

How I Pack a Diaper Bag With Two Babies in Tow

Baby Otto's arrival means I have one of the most fun tasks known to motherhood: Two babies under two! Two times the diapers, two times the snacks/feedings, two times the toys and distractions needed, two times longer to leave the house... And a million times the snuggles and love. I think all moms and soon-to-be mamas will find this helpful, but especially if you'll be packing up a bag for an outing with two babies!

*Affiliate links used

First things first: Diaper bags are called that for a reason, and it's because the diapers are the most important part. There was ONE TIME I was caught without a diaper for Henry when he was an infant; by the time we got home, he was completely soaked from the waist down. I felt like the worst mom! Now, I check to make sure that I have Henry's and Otto's size in the bag before we leave the house! (Psssst! Amazon has a diaper delivery service for Pampers that GREATLY reduces the cost of diapers and sends them directly to your home! We've found that for our boys, Pampers offers the best fit.) Henry has one side of the bag, Otto the other. I try to keep two of Henry's diapers in the bag and four of Otto's, since Henry requires fewer changes.

Both boys use the same wipes, so we're good to go and easy peasy there. They also both use the same diaper rash treatment cream. THIS STUFF is a miracle - clears up diaper rash in one application, if you're in the market for such a thing. Each boy also has one change of clothes. One. I know some moms pack two or three, but I'm cramped for space and have honestly never needed more than one anyway, so one each it is! Henry hasn't needed a spare set in over a year, but the second I take his out to make room for more things, he'll need it so I make sure to keep a change available for him.

Henry now eats all normal/human food, and can be cleaned up with a wipe, so he's pretty easy. I keep two kinds of snacks for him. Pro tip: these are snacks I like as well so I have a go-to if I need it! I still pack a bottle of water for him. Yes, he's a toddler still drinking out of a bottle. He can drink out of a typical glass, but that's not "mobile friendly" and I don't feel like enabling him to "make it rain" all over his baby brother in the backseat with a spill-able glass (not really glass, don't worry) so I still give him a bottle when we're out and about since the boy wont take a sippy. These bottles are his favorite!

Otto is breast fed so that's also pretty easy. Now me, I prefer to cover myself while publicly breastfeeding. More power to you if you want to openly breast feed in public! No shame in your game. But I'm not personally comfortable with it so I use a nursing cover. Other than that, I pack these combo burp clothes/bibs and Otto is ready to rock n' roll and nurse to his heart's content.

The final component of a good diaper bag! I have rattles and a teether for Otto, but he's also pretty easy to please with a boob. Typical boy... Henry is the real kiddo who needs activities. Books are always a good bet with Henry, so I just make sure to have some softcover titles available for him (much lighter than hardcover!) He also likes to build and stack things, so I try to keep these building blocks in the car. If it's inconvenient to bring the whole bag (they come with their own carrying case!) then I add a handful to the diaper bag. From there, I pray he doesn't go hog wild and throw them at anyone.

Having two children to get ready to leave the house is an enormous amount of work! Not only do you have to get yourself ready, but you're solely responsible for the many needs to two babies. It's easier if you pack ahead and pack smart! Hopefully, these tips on how to pack a diaper bag with two (or more!) babies in tow will contribute to successful outings with your little ones.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Happy 2nd Anniversary To Us!

Celebrating two years of marriage and counting

I saw an internet meme this past fall that said something to the effect of "Thanks to Disney, I have impossible standards in men... Animals don't help me clean... Blah blah." The animals not coming out of the woodwork to help clean was funny, but the whole Prince Charming thing got me thinking... And you know what? I pretty much married him. My husband is about the closest thing to perfect (for me) that exists. This post is a big shout out to him, as we celebrate our 2nd anniversary, which is in fact today!

Now, I have made colossal mistakes in my life. I think we all have at some point. However... The one thing I did NOT mess up, made zero mistakes about, did such a kick a$$ job I even impressed myself with? Picking my husband.

Engagement photo, spring 2013

He lets me sleep in both days of the weekend because he knows that what he feels like with 6 hours of sleep, I feel like with 9 hours. I'm a sleeper. Which is a struggle when you're also a mom of young children. He has the calm, likable demeanor that is able to extinguish all the fires I light with my "spicy" personality. When I tell him I need to spend too much money on clothes, he just smiles and says, "Sure babe. Get the jeans. It's ok."

Wedding day, 01/18/2014 (I'm 5 months pregnant in that Amsale dress!)

When we were house hunting last year, he told our realtor, "Just make my wife happy. And don't go too far over budget!" In fact, when we put the offer in on our home, he hadn't even seen it yet. He was traveling for work. I put the offer together and asked him if he wanted to wait. He asked, "Why? You're an expert negotiator. I know you wrote a great deal! And if you like the house, I'm happy." Yes. This is my real life.

Family selfie while I was pregnant with Otto, fall 2015

We've been married for two years now; together for almost four. In less than five years, we've moved 1100 miles, moved homes three times, bought a "forever home" and had - yes HAD, not just pregnant with! - two handsome little boys. We didn't get married young, nor did we start a family young. Far older than the average American, in fact. I feel like "good things come to those who wait" was written after us.

Happy 2nd Anniversary to us!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Happy Mom, Happy Baby, Happy Family

Focusing on what makes you and your family happy

Having kids is tough. Teenagers are tough, toddlers are tough and perhaps toughest of all are newborns. There's a lot of diapers, spit up, changes (diapers and clothes) and of course those constant feedings. The "toughness" is why it's so important to focus on what makes you happy in those early months! Because a happy mom and happy baby equals a happy family. Especially with feedings!

Having a happy family is THE most important thing - more important than breastfeeding or what formula you choose to use! #FormulaForHappiness

Gerber® reached out to ask me to share my #FormulaForHappiness. Months ago, I talked about how I breastfed and then transitioned to formula feeding Henry. Which was a fitting story for a formula company! However, Otto is exclusively breastfed. I haven't introduced any formula with him (yet). So why the heck would Gerber® want me to talk about that?!

The coolest part of working with them is that they completely support breastfeeding moms. And formula moms. And sleep deprived moms. And dads! They offer sleep consultations (which I had last week for Otto and she was SO helpful - if you're struggling, set up your free appointment NOW and get some professional tips!) and lactation consultants and now, they've changed all their formula to be non-GMO. No matter which route you plan to take (or don't plan to take, but end up taking) to feed your baby, they're there to be a helpful resource.

Unlike with Henry, I'm actually enjoying breastfeeding Otto. I don't mind waking up in the middle of the night and snuggling with him while he feeds. Why? Probably because Otto is only waking up twice in the night to feed and not every hour and a half like Henry. He's a quick nurser, so we're only up for about a half hour, and that includes a diaper change. And the Gerber® sleep consultant gave me some help so that I wake up, feed him, and he goes right back to sleep. Breastfeeding is quick and easy for us this go-around, and it's partially due to the help from Gerber® experts!

Less camera and more nipple, ma.
I'm a big believer that you can formula feed your baby. You can breastfeed in public, and *should* be able to do so without shame. You can do both at one time if that works for you, or you can do one and then switch to another! However you decide to get the job done, families' should focus on what makes mom (or dad!) and baby happy so that the whole family is happy.

Psssst! Are you a blogger looking to make money blogging? Sign up with Linquia today to get connected to brands that pay you to tell stories!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Post Partum Style

Dressing your new body after you've delivered a baby

In those first few weeks after your baby is born, nothing is the same! You're tired and sore and you're in this strange place where none of your maternity clothes fits you anymore (too big, too much rouching and those maternity jeans slide right off your butt!) but nothing from your pre-baby wardrobe fits either. So how's a new mom supposed to find any sense of post partum style?!

Dressing your body after baby for post-partum, post-maternity style, fashion and comfort

You'll need some layers (if your body is like mine, it goes from hot to cold back to hot again in about three minutes - thanks hormones!), some stretchy no-waist pants/leggings, a nursing tank if you're breastfeeding and a pre-baby button up! Don't forget flats or boots. When you're carrying around your new infant, you don't want to fall in heels!

Dressing your post-partum body; post partum fashion

I'm a big fan of these boots. They're a mix between an edgy motorcycle boot and the classic riding boot. They're flat, comfortable and perfect for mild Dallas winters.

High boot hyrid: motorcycle and riding boot style

Layers are wonderful right after you've delivered a new baby - even if it's summertime! Your body is going through a spin cycle of hormones that make you hot one minute and cold the next. Plus, you never know when that little angel of yours is going to projectile spit up all over you, and you'll want something underneath so that you can remove the top {soiled} layer!

Dressing in layers for fall and winter post-partum fashion

Don't forget to give yourself some grace ladies! It's ok to not change out of your jammies for a few days... Or longer. But when you're ready to start dressing normally again, use these tips to dress that post-baby body so that you're comfortable and feel good about yourself! And don't forget - pony tails are essential for your post partum style!

Want this look? Shop this post for similar items here!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

New Posting Schedule v.2

And now for the moment of truth: I need to change my posting schedule. Again. I dropped down to MWF, but I need to reduce the posts even more to just twice a week - Monday and Thursday. As it would turn out, having a newborn and a toddler is no joke. On top of that, I have a newborn who doesn't like to sleep at night. I'm averaging about 3-4 hours of sleep (not straight, in 45 min increments!) and cannot nap during the day with a toddler to chase after. It's been a little rough around here.

The funny thing is everything about having Otto has been SO much easier the second time around since I kinda sorta have a clue with baby 2. Except this sleep deprivation business. That has been miserable. And it leaves very little time for blogging! Thus, the new Monday and Thursday posting schedule. Please hang with me, dark under-eye circles and all, until I'm able to post regularly again. Until then, enjoy the Monday Thursday reads and know that I'll be reading others' blogs as much as possible too!

Friday, January 8, 2016

5 Toning Yoga Poses

Building strength and muscle tone with these 5 toning yoga poses

The New Year is upon us, and that means waves of y'all have formulated some great fitness goals for 2016. Good for you! While running or other forms of cardio are great for your heart health and weight lifting is great for muscle tone, strength and boosting your metabolism, yoga also has a place in your New Years Resolutions workout mix! I'm outlining some of the best toning yoga poses to help you meet your fitness goals.

Chatturanga. Check out this post on how to properly execute a chatturanga!
This post tones your arms (specifically, your triceps!), shoulders, core and chest. It also is done as part of a sequence of poses, and really gets the heart rate up to build heat. That's yoga speak for torch calories to all you fitness gurus.

Toning yoga poses - Chatturanga

Warrior 2/Warrior B
This pose is really an all over body toner! It works your quads, buttocks, inner thighs, back, core, biceps and triceps. Boom! The wider you get your stance and the more you bend into your front knee, the more strength building and toning benefits you'll reap out of the pose. Pay attention to using your quad and inner thigh muscles to push your bent knee out over your ankle. This will help protect your knee, and enable you to get more toning benefits from the pose.

Toning yoga poses - Warrior 2/B
Warrior 2/Warrior B

Warrior 1/Warrior A. Check out this post on how to properly align your Warrior 1/A!
You'd think that all the toning benefits would go to your front leg in this pose (aka, the one that is bent.) Not so! Your weight should be evenly distributed between both legs. This means that back leg's inner thigh is working like crazy to keep your leg straight and support your body! It's great for working the hip muscles too (yes, your hips have muscles - it's not all about flexibility in this part of your body! You need strength too.)

Toning yoga poses - Warrior 1/A
Warrior 1/Warrior A

Goddess Pose
This pose is the queen of inner thigh toning! The key is to use those muscles to push back your knees and sink low as you can go. You never want to release those inner thighs and let your knees collapse in over your ankles! This pose tones your quads, inner thighs, buttocks, and muscles in your feet - especially surrounding your toes. When was the last time you thought about those muscles?! Yet your feet support your whole body. If you want improved balance, work your Goddess often!

Toning yoga poses - Goddess pose
Goddess pose

Warrior 3
Noticing a warrior trend here? Yes, all three warrior poses are listed; they're appropriately named for how much strength they require to hold them! Warrior 3 is fantastic for toning the back and buttocks. This is a total back toner, as your lower back is supporting the weight of your leg while your upper back supports the weight of your outstretched arms. Also, remember the balance improvement benefits from Goddess pose? This pose will boost that for you too, since you're balancing on one leg and working all the muscles in your feet to stabilize yourself.

Toning yoga poses - warrior 3
Warrior 3

Linking up with Amanda, Karli, April and H54F!

If you're considering checking out a yoga studio to get some hands on assistance on how to do these poses (and I recommend that you at least try a studio for the experience, at least once), don't be intimidated: I've got you covered with tips for finding the right studio too.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

5 Unconventional Steps to Improving Your Instagram NOW

When I laid out my October goals, I said I was going to take the rest of 2015 and work on improving my Instagram account. I had done the same for Pinterest the previous quarter and had FANTASTIC results. I outlined some of the challenges I was having with Instagram in this post. While I'm still working on it, and will likely always be "working on it", I DID discover a few things that made my account much better very quickly, and resulted in higher engagement and more followers consistently. Some of these things are unconventional. Intrigued? You should be! Read on for the dirty deets.

5 things to do and not do to help your Instagram account grow with new followers and higher engagement

1. STOP doing follow for follow threads
Here's the deal with these monsters: Yes, you can get a whole bunch of new followers in a very short amount of time. That seems like it's great. But it's not. Why? Because these people don't care about you, your photos or what you're posting. They're not going to like your content, and that will lower your engagement ratio. In an age where we can all go out and buy followers, brands now CARE about your engagement ratio! Have 8,000 followers but your photos only get 80 likes? That's bad news. I haven't come across the magical ratio brands want yet (I don't think there is one; they just want it to be high), but if you have that many followers, you better have triple digit likes and tons of comments if you want brands to believe your followers care about you and that you didn't go out and purchase all your follows. Purchased followers are useless to brands, and low engagement is a huge red flag.

Additionally, I'll be honest with you here: After doing follow for follow threads, I found myself disliking Instagram, not even going on my account once a day. It HAD been my favorite social media platform, so what the heck?! I realized that I wasn't excluded from the "I don't care about you club." Meaning, I now had a feed full of {bad} photos from people I didn't know and didn't care about, and therefore I didn't like interacting on this platform as much anymore. Which brings me to non-conventional step two...

A photo posted by Paige AnUncomplicatedLifeBlog (@anuncomplicatedlifeblog) on
2. Unfollow bad accounts
There. I said it. Phew! Weight lifted off my shoulders! Ok, before you start throwing stones at me, hear me out! First, this is subjective, so unfollow who you deem to be a "bad" account. There are no rules here! If the person consistently posts content you don't care about or bad, grainy images, just unfollow them. Why? THIS IS KEY: Because when your feed is full of beautiful images and content you enjoy, you're inspired to create better content yourself. You get ideas! You interact with others! You improve your photography! It's only going to benefit you to really enjoy what you see. So make the feed you follow a good, inspiring one. Only following great accounts has been a game changer for me. I now don't run my un-follow app and don't care if a great account follows me back - I'm following it because it will inspire me to be better myself. If you're only on Instagram for reciprocation, your account will never take off. It simply wont.

3. Get your color(s) consistent
You want your aesthetic to be consistent. Don't post one super light photo right after you've posted a super contrast-y one. I don't apply a filter anymore (although I did use Lark for a good while) but instead I go into the editing function and take out most of the yellow, increase the brightness, lower the highlights and lower the shadows. I do this to every single photo, in that same order. This way, all my photos have a consistent, branded look. I also try to group photos with the same colors together. You'll notice groups of photos featuring something green or orange in it together. I usually select one or two colors every few days. Then I post photos featuring these colors one after the other so that my feed runs smoothly and creates a pleasing aesthetic.

A photo posted by Paige AnUncomplicatedLifeBlog (@anuncomplicatedlifeblog) on
4. Do NOT post unplanned photos. Save those for Snapchat
Instagram is for planned, styled, well thought out photography. Take a cute selfie? If it doesn't fit your current color theme, or the photo is a bit grainy, DO NOT POST IT. The majority of my photos are now planned about a week in advance. They're all simple shots that are simply styled, usually involving my DIY photography backdrop boards if it's a product closeup, fashion (that I'm probably not actually wearing that day!) or something with more depth of field that includes my color scheme for the week. I like to keep my photos clean, simple and bright and {attempt} to get creative in the comment to add some "flavor" to it. Anything unplanned, not clear, not bright or too "flavorful" goes to Snapchat (@anuncomplife, let's be friends!) or simply gets texted out to friends. If it isn't planned and part of my branded look, it does NOT get on my Instagram!

And now my friends, for my biggest unconventional secret yet:

5. Do NOT use more than 2-3 hashtags
Yup. You read that right. Thought loading up your photo with 50 hashtags made it more searchable? Perhaps. But do you know what it does with certainty? It knocks your photo rank down. Here's the scoop: Instagram is owned by Facebook, and they're busy applying Facebook-style algorithms to your photos. This past fall I attended a workshop on Instagram where the presenter gave us some legitimate research. She said that if you want your picture to be in the top 9 spot for a hashtag, and therefore FAR more visible, you only want two hashtags. That despite potentially having more likes than other photos, if you load your shot with hashtags, Instagram won't promote your picture as much because it's under 50 different search locations (aka, hashtags). I found that interesting, so I gave it a try from Oct - Dec of 2015. By the end of Oct, my photos were consistently in the top 9 for both the hashtags I was using, despite some of the other photos getting more likes than mine. Even some of my fashion pics were top 9 trending, and fashion is one of the most competitive markets to break into on Instagram!

One more quick note on hashtags, don't get too creative with them. Keep them simple and to what your photo is about so that people searching that topic can find you. When I post a cute outfit my kiddos are wearing, I'm a fan of #babystyle #toddlerstyle or something similar. Remember to keep your creative juices to your comment and keep your hashtags searchable and simple! This source has amazing info on hashtags (including only using 2 rule) and how to write a great caption. Great advice!

Want to read another great piece on Instagram? Check out Jaelan's post on "Instagram games" and how you should NOT be playing them!

I've had a ton of success with these unconventional steps to improving my own Instagram account, and think you will too! But remember, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to social media. We all have different audiences and different goals with out accounts! Play around with some of them for a few weeks or months and see what works for you. The biggest surprise for me was the hashtags, but I'm telling you, it works!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Otto's Birth Story

I love reading other people's birth stories on their blogs! I think once you become a mom, you're immediately interested to hear how everyone else gave birth. You can nod in agreement of learn something or think, "what the heck?!" to everyone's story. Actually, I liked birth stories before I even became a mom, so maybe it's just me and my love for babies. Regardless, here's how Otto's birth played out!

You read this post on how we had a trial run before the real thing happened, right? Every stupid pregnancy book will tell you that when the time has come to have your baby, "you'll know." I'm here to tell you that's complete crap, as evidenced by a second time mom having a trial run. You don't automatically know anything. Shut up pregnancy books. Anyway. Moving on.

A story of one little baby and his birth

It's 2:30am on Dec 18 and I wake up to my water breaking. I think. I wasn't really sure. There was no move-dramatic "gush" and and immediate shriek of, "OMG, my water broke!" just thought to myself, "That's weird" and went to the bathroom. Being 2:30 in the morning and only having contractions every 10 mins or so, I decide to go back to bed. No sense in being sent home from the hospital again, right?! At 4:30, I woke up from a light doze to Otto moving viciously in the womb. And then, I got my dramatic gush that confirmed my water had in fact broken.

I tell hubs what's going on and decide to take a shower. I speak to my OB and she says to head in to the hospital. I kid you not friends, I had to play navigator to my husband AGAIN. He still had no clue how to get to the hospital despite our trial run. Man has a negative sense of direction, I tell you what...

We get checked in and assigned to a nurse named Steve. He was hilarious. I was wearing black stretch pants with a cardigan and he was setting up my tests to confirm that my water had indeed broken. He says, "Awwww, see I already know your water broke! Women who come in in black stretch pants water's are always broken! They don't wanna ruin they nice pants!" Steve my friend, you were correct! And your sense of humor and jolliness at the end of your shift at 6am really brightened my day.

Henry was an emergency c section, and I knew I wanted to try a VBAC with Otto. Turns out that when you VBAC, you have to constantly be hooked up to monitors for the baby to make sure they're doing ok. So there I was at the hospital with broken water, only 3cm dilated and stuck in a hospital bed. Not my dream labor situation, but hell - WAY better than another c section! So we settled into our room and chilled.

He is the sweetest, calmest baby!

Between 6am and 11am, I hadn't dilated at all, despite my contractions getting much stronger. The nurses pulled out a breast pump for me to trigger even larger, more consistent contractions. The contractions came - the dilation did not. So 11 hours into labor, I was given pitocin. That stuff is NO JOKE. Within a half hour, my contractions went from painfully manageable to MISERABLE. I was sweating in pain, gripping the handles on the bed frame and moaning. So at 1pm, I called it quits with my natural childbirth plan and got an epidural. That was pretty much the best decision of my life.

After finally getting comfortable, I was able to nap a bit. At around 3:30, I could start to feel contractions again, so I look at my monitor to see if that was really what was happening. They were at the top of the charts for strength! The nurse came in and told me that there's a window of getting more medication before they can't give it to me anymore, so I opted for another dose. As I was waiting for the second "top off" on my epidural, I started to feel really ill. I chalked it up to the epidural, but something just felt off...

I got more meds and the contraction pains went away again. The nurse said she'd check my dilation again in an hour or so. "No... I think you're going to want to check me now" I told her. A resident waked in just then, and I told her I thought I needed to be checked. All she did was lift my blanket and said, "Well, I can see the head! He has hair!" Turns out the illness I was feeling was my "transition" and that pitocin got me dilated from a 3 to a 10 in about three hours!

We waited for my OB to arrive for an hour. Nurses monitored Otto and he was chillin nicely at my crown. I had a good dose of meds so I was chillin nicely waiting to push. It was all good! My OB finally arrived and it was time to push. See, I thought pushing was a constant process until you got the baby out. Oh no - you have to wait for each contraction to roll over you and push with the contraction. I put my hands on the top of my belly so I could feel when they came and could get to pushing. It took me 8 minutes to get Otto out, most of which was waiting for the contractions!

That was those yoga and barre abs I maintained throughout my pregnancy, and gave me the strength to get the job done! Just another reason why working out while pregnant is so important. Ok. PSA over.

Otto came out screaming at 5:08pm, weighing 6 pounds 9 oz and 20 inches long. Long and lean, just like mommy and daddy! I had him latched within 15 minutes, and he's been a great nurser ever since. I did manage to get a good tear, but it wasn't a big deal with the epidural. I'm SO happy with my decision to VBAC, and can tell you all with 100% certainty that a c section is SO MUCH WORSE than having a vaginal birth. Why women elect for those I don't know, but I hope I never have to have another. I was up and walking in a few hours with Otto, and driving my car 3 days later. VBACer for life over here!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Pregnancy Was Full of Surprises

My second pregnancy is over! While I'm not as relieved about it as I was with Henry (I had a much better pregnancy the second time around) I AM glad some things are behind me. Sure, pregnancy has it's perks - you're always the center of attention and everyone loves talking to pregnant women about their bellies and their babies, which I found fun! But pregnancy was full of surprises this time around too. Like the three times I sneezed and was completely unable to control my bladder. Yes, three times. I kept track!

This won't be a gross story so much as an entertaining one. Cross my heart and for realsies.

Pregnancy isn't what you think it's going to be - there are tons of surprises along the way!

Check this out: I'm seven month pregnant and walking into a massive wholesale store to get supplies for two babies. Bulk-buying is great for when you decide to have two kids in a year and a half, amirite?! Anyway, I carry Henry in parking lots, because cars. And Dallas drivers. So I'm walking in, hauling a big belly and a 30 pounder of a toddler and I can feel Otto move RIGHT on my bladder. "Ohhhhh, no!" I think. I was able to keep things together until Otto decided to KICK me, right on my bladder, which at this point was quite full! Problems ensued.

I was spared a public display of LBL (light bladder leakage) or what I like to call "peeing in my pants" but I was pretty thankful that Sam's places bathrooms right near the doors to their store! Problem averted with a quick trip to the loo with a toddler in my lap. Mom's of more than one kid, I know you know what I'm talking about here.

My problems were not averted when I was a full nine months pregnant. Here I am, just chillin on the couch watching TV after I put Henry to bed. Just relaxing. When a surprise sneeze comes out of left field and gets me good! So good, that I had more than just a LBL moment... I had a full on *moment* if you catch my drift! Of course hubs is sitting right there and of course I'm embarrassed about it even in front of him, so I did my sneeze, peed in my pants, jumped up off the couch like a demon was chasing me, and ran to the bathroom... All before hubs even knew what hit him! Or the couch. Nothing actually hit him from where he was sitting (that would be some serious bladder probz!) and thanks to my cat-like reflexes, nothing even made it to the couch! #winning

Now had I been prepared for these kinds of things, I have a few of these on hand. I read in all my pregnancy apps about how women wore them "just to be sure" every day, but do you think I was that smart/prepared? Nope, sure wasn't. I had to face public humiliation at Sam's Club and nearly destroy my couch before I got my act together!

Here's the deal: pregnancy books and movies make it look all glamorous. You think you walk around with just a cute bump and a new maternity wardrobe? You'd be wrong! There are all kinds of surprises with pregnancy. My few moments of uncontrollable bladder leakage were quite new to me, and took me by surprise! I might miss having my bump, but I sure don't miss those surprise "uh-oh" moments!