November 5, 2018

..Flowy Army Green

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Hello again from my terrace! It's the easiest place for me to snap pics of my outfits so I hope you don't get too bored of this view. I purchased this dress back in August thinking it would be a good post baby dress because the front is flowy and forgiving and there are buttons down the front for easy boob access. Guess what? I was right! I throw on this lovely little piece all the time and it makes life easy. I wore it to my husbands birthday dinner in September and countless times since. I love that it has transitioned with me from the hotter end of summer days into fall with the addition of a felt hat and some boots.

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October 25, 2018

..Our Newborn Photoshoot & 3 Reasons You Should Book One

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The deets: All photos by Emily Belson Photography; My dress; Isla's bubble; all nursery details here.

Hi! I haven't popped in in a couple weeks but hey, thats life with a new baby. We got our newborn shoot photos back a couple weeks ago and I love them so much I wanted to share on the blog! Emily did an awesome job! If you live in the DMV area you should 1000% book her for your family's special moments or events.  She also did a blog post on our shoot you can read here.  

Also instead of just posting a bunch of pretty pictures I wanted to make my case for why you should  go ahead and book a newborn shoot because I know some people are on the fence about them. I also posted previously about why you should book an engagement shoot here.

1. You don't need to go the cheeseball 90's Anne Geddes route (but you totally can if that is your thing). We wanted to just capture some really relaxed and natural pictures of us in this special time. We picked out a simple outfit we both loved for her in the last month of my pregnancy while we were out on a date in Georgetown which also felt really special. We placed her in her changing table basket for a few shots but the rest were just really simple. Our photographer just knew what we were looking for and was able to get natural shots that we love and feel truly represent this precious time.

2. Speaking of time - you can't really delay! Make sure you book your shoot before birth because most photographers need at least a month to figure out when to fit you in and I also learned that babies start to get less - well - adorable a few weeks after birth so you want to schedule it in that two week mark (ours were done on day 12). Their hair starts to thin out around their fast growing head and they get baby acne around week three sometimes so you want to get your pictures done before that starts to happen. I know it's a little vein but I'm being honest here!

3. The two weeks after you have your baby go by at an EXPONENTIALLY fast rate. It's all a blur! Isla is only 7 weeks old and her true "newborn" days feel like ages ago. I hardly remember her being that tiny already so I am so happy we captured her and our family that way. Even though I still have my postpartum bump showing, I look so tired in the eyes, and the swelling in my legs and feet had not gone away yet (and are all clearly visible in these photos) - I don't regret putting them out there one bit because it's all part of the experience and a true representation of that tiny magical slice of life.  When I look at these pictures I want to tear up because I remember the love and excitement of getting acquainted with my little girl.

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October 10, 2018

..The Best Lactation Cookie Recipe & My Top 6 Supply Tips for Pumping

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Okay so I know this post isn't for everyone but in case you are also a new mama who is breastfeeding or exclusively pumping (like I am)  I want to share this recipe (it's not mine) because I feel like it works really well and they actually taste pretty good. I have been eating a couple a day since my milk came in and feel like they do make a difference. I also wanted to share some other tips I have gleaned so far from my pumping experience. I know the internet is flooded with tips and tricks but these are what truly helped me. I won't suggest an optimal schedule because that really varies from woman to woman (I pump every 4-5 hours during the day but I know a lot of ladies swear by every 3 hours). I produce between 30-33oz each day. The baby eats 24-30 and I freeze anything extra that day. Sometimes I can freeze 6oz sometimes I don't have enough to freeze anything but I always at least make plenty for the baby to eat!

1. If your at home pump doesn't seem to be producing enough milk to keep up with your baby - invest in renting the hospital grade pump. I was having a really hard time getting my milk to fully come in after taking her home from the hospital so we had to supplement with formula for a few days. As soon as I brought home the better pump I immediately saw a difference in volume that very day.

2. Check to make sure the shield size is correct for you (I used this to find out)! I was using the standard size that comes with your pump at first but ended up needing the 27mm size. When I made the switch I immediately saw a second increase in volume that day.

3. Do NOT be afraid to supplement if you need to. Stress is a supply killer and if you are constantly worried about keeping your child fed you will definitely be stressed! We had a pretty scary experience her first couple days home when I wasn't making enough colostrum before my milk came in and she became extremely dehydrated. We didn't know I wasn't making enough since they say all you need are a few drops but thankfully I read this book (can't recommend it enough for new mamas to be) and knew to check the inside of her cheek and lip to see if it was tacky since she was showing all the other normal signs (diapers were still flowing which is normally how you can tell). It was VERY tacky so I made the quick decision to mix up some formula we happened to have in the house that was sent to us as a sample. Her newborn wellness check was the next day and my doctor said we definitely made the right call. She had dropped a little too much weight (all babies lose some at first) and we then needed to give her an ounce of food every hour for 24 hours following the appointment. While we were waiting for my milk to fully come in we mixed 50/50 breastmilk to formula, then as the volume increased 25/75, then 20/80 and so on until I was comfortable giving 100% breastmilk. I noticed that when I wasn't worried about making enough milk for the next feed it flowed MUCH easier.

4. Eat lots of healthy fats! This one is less about supply and more about volume quality. My Dr. let me know that my milk was a bit too lean (kinda like skim milk) unless there is a thick layer of fat on the to when it begins to separate. I incorporated full fat yogurt in the morning and nuts & cheeses for snacks throughout the day. Also put avocado toast on the morning menu when possible (my husband makes a great one with feta).

5. Stay hydrated AF. This one is pretty much a "duh" tip but I wanted to include it because it's so important. I try to drink 8oz of water after every pump session and 8 more in-between. I also load up on coconut water whenever I can to get those natural electrolytes.

6. These lactation cookies! They taste pretty much like oatmeal chocolate chip. I did need to hit whole foods for some of the more obscure ingredients but feel that it was well worth it. I have been able to make like 200 of these guys and still have plenty ingredients to make more. I have a couple for dessert at night and wake up and pump 10-13oz which is a LOT of milk!

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October 8, 2018

..My First Dinner Out With Baby

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The deets: ASOS dress; Sam Edelman heels; Alexander Wang bag (similar, similar under $27); James Michelle necklace.

This is the outfit I wore on my first attempt to meet friends out for dinner with the baby. It's another one of my pregnancy purchases that I saved for after labor. Since it looked basically like a potato sack with a belt I knew it would be perfect to have in my closet for a still changing body. These were taken when Isla was 17 days old. I know it's like October now and it's all about Fall attire and this is a white linen dress so I apologize for being super off season but these days I'm super slow at posting since I have to  really work to find the time.

The friends we were meeting for dinner also have a sweet little one year old that they brought along so there wasn't any pressure to seem like we had it all together  since they already know the deal -which was nice. Also the restaurant they picked was in our building so there was literally a top notch escape plan if needed. It all went pretty well until the end when my husband ended up having to change her diaper on a bathroom floor (us newbies didn't realize not all mens bathrooms have changing tables - we need to start some kind of feminist movement for this #dadsdodiaperstoo) and I didn't bring along enough pumped milk to satiate her in the last fifteen or so minutes so she had a full meltdown in the restaurant but luckily by that point everyone had at least eaten their meals and the check was en route. Over all it was a good learning experience and mama got to have her first postpartum margarita! 

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October 2, 2018

..Isla's "Birth Story"

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I was initially hesitant about doing this post (more on that here) but after doing a quick instagram poll asking if I should write about Isla's birth story, 97% of you (if you follow me on that social media channel) said you would be interested in reading about it so here we go.

My friends and coworkers could tell you that one of my biggest worries about the whole birthing process was the unknown, not the pain. You know this huge life changing event is going to happen  to you within a few weeks but you don't know when or how or where. It could strike you at any time,  which for a person as obsessed with organization as I am (I start to pack for trips months in advance sometimes), is like a form of torture. I feared more than anything else that my water would break in that dramatic movie fashion while on my morning metro commute and being that passenger that is the reason the whole train needs to deboard (if you are a metro rider you know that is like, the WORST). My friends, coworkers, and Dr. assured me that while your water breaking can happen it's almost never like in the movies and only takes place 10% of the time so not to worry. Most women experience contractions first and their water breaks or even has to be broken later on at the hospital, etc. 

My due date was September 4th and it came and went while I felt zero signs of baby. The next day I had my 40 week appointment with my Dr. and she confirmed that I had made no progress since my 39th week appointment and the we should go ahead and plan an induction date. Since they don't do inductions on the weekend it was going to be on September 11th. I wasn't thrilled about the date but was even more bummed that I would have to possibly stay pregnant for six more days. At this point I wasn't able to sleep and was just over it. Each day feels like an eternity after your 40th week. I went home in a funk but made my peace with it. I then got a call a few hours later from my Dr.'s office that they would actually not be able to induce me until the 13th of September. THIRTEENTH?! I had a full-on hormonal, tearful, breakdown. I then consulted all my mom friends and the entire internet about what you do to induce labor and proceeded to do all the things. I bought dates, pineapple, spicy food (ate all of them at once), and got to walking.

Since I literally did all the things I can't say for sure which one did the trick but less than 12 hours later on September 6th at 6:30AM I was awoken from my sleep by a strong baby kick followed by a "pop." I immediately knew that my water was breaking and jumped out of bed to avoid the splash getting on my sheets or rug (priorities). Homegirl busted the the door open. The water came gushing out (sorry if that's TMI but it's the truth, you may want to stop reading here because it get's worse) in dramatic movie style fashion (the way I feared it would). I screamed for my husband to get up and grab a towel, I was shaking and in shock. I then called my Dr. and since the water was slightly dark they had me come in right away. I was so happy I had packed up everything I needed in a suitcase that was ready to roll away and didn't have to think about anything else but getting there. Mike quickly took the dog out, I attempted to rinse off, and we headed out the door. 

The thing about your water breaking dramatically that no one tells you is that it just KEEPS BREAKING. Like, there was a waterfall coming out of me THE WHOLE WAY to the hospital. I left a river of water throughout the lobby and into my hospital room. It was not my fav and definitely not how I imagined the start of having my baby. I was also so worried the whole time I couldn't think about anything else but hearing her heartbeat so when they finally hooked me up to the monitor and I knew she was okay, only then did I register what was actually happening. There was some meconium in the womb which was what made it dark so she was fine but they decided to start me on Petocin to get things moving along instead of waiting for things to happen on their own. My Dr. said she expected the baby to come sometime on the 7th (the next day) so I should settle in and get comfortable.

Somehow it was now 9:30AM even though this all felt like the blink of an eye to me. I began feeling contractions but they were pretty tame. The drugs were doing their job. I for some reason thought you either had to be close to giving birth or in serious pain to get the epidural so I decided to try and wait an hour before asking for it (LOL). I made it to about 10:15AM, I was only 3cm dilated but I was already ready for some relief. I am someone who doesn't like even getting my blood drawn so I didn't love the idea of it and screamed so loudly when they put it in that I probably scared off the other patients but it was worth it because after that I didn't feel much until about 2:30PM. This stretch was pretty pleasant. I watched some TV, unpacked my iHome so I could listen to some playlists I had put together for the occasion, and ate some ice pops. I was able to tell when the contractions were happening but they weren't too painful until the early afternoon. Things got pretty intense after that, FAST.  I asked the nurse to check on things down there and to both our surprise I was 10cm at 3:30PM. Now we just had to wait for the baby to come down. 

Not going to lie the next couple of hours were a little rough, my contractions were strong enough that I was still pretty uncomfortable but by 5PM I was ready to push. Did the first couple of rounds in sets of three but the Dr. realized that my contractions were so long I could actually fit in four pushes so we did that the next couple of times (this was literally the hardest my body had ever done anything in my life) and she was out by 5:43PM. Born into the world to the song "Thinkin Bout You" by Frank Ocean (my playlist was still going). Crazy to think that it was just under twelve hours from my water breaking to me holding her in my arms. It was the wildest experience of my life! The whole time we spent at the hospital are all blurred together for me and feel like a dream I had except I really did get to take home a sweet little angel baby!

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