Life with a baby

Your little bundle of joy arrived! I hope you had a short and smooth labor. Now the dream is a reality. There is this tiny little creature whose entire universe revolves around you. Motherhood is here! Whether this is your first baby or you are an expert, lots of emotions are probably revolving around you. You are excited, and happy, and tired, and you love someone like you’ve never loved before, and you are scared, and you are worried you’ll make a wrong decision, and you are happy again, and worried again, and even more tired than you imagined, and it keeps going on and on… yup, motherhood is here!

The first weeks with your little one are wonderful. It feels like every second is a new milestone and if you are like me, you are probably taking a picture like every other minute! These are the moments to treasure and you want to keep all those memories in a form that is easy to remember, aka pictures. So, if you want to share a thousand pictures a day, then go for it! There are no rules to it, is really up to you if you want to share them or save them for you. And because you are probably super duper tired because, oh well, there’s a baby at home, don’t be surprised  if you are delayed a day or two when you want to share those precious moments. More likely, every time you mean to post pictures your baby will need you, or you have to take that time to do something for yourself instead like grabbing a bite, or taking a shower, or applying makeup on your other eye because it’s been two hours since you started with your other one!

In case you don’t know this yet, you will be tired for many months to follow. Tired. Super tired. Like all the time! Please don’t forget to pay attention to yourself first. We can only care for others when we care for ourselves first. Remember that announcement on the airplane about putting your own oxygen mask first before helping others? It will be hard to put yourself first and your little one after, but you have to do this to be able to take care of him or her. Now, when I say take care of yourself first, I mean eat, sleep, rest as much as you can. Sometime later, and with a good support system at home, you will be able to go get your nails done, or grab a bite with a friend, or do some other activity you enjoy for yourself. The first months are mainly about your real needs and the baby’s needs. I promise you will not die if you don’t get a mani every week for now.

So I was saying, there is a new life who needs you. One of the most important things to always keep in  mind is that all babies are different. Yours might eat every 2 hours and your friend’s every 4; that’s normal. Yours might sleep 2-3 hours at a time and your friend’s sleeps 3-4 hours; that’s normal. Yours might have colic and your friends don’t; that’s normal. Yours might be scared of the vacuum noise and your friend’s isn’t; that’s normal. Don’t feel the need to force your baby to act like your friend’s (I know I keep saying friend’s but it could also be your sister’s or cousin’s or whoever’s) baby. Certain things will be unique to your baby and that is normal. Work with that. There is no point to try to force a baby to be like someone else. Babies get it. They don’t believe in peer pressure. They will be and will do whatever it is that they need to and that is fine! And while you are trying to learn the things that work for your little one, you will more likely receive advise from family and friends telling you what to do or not to do to “fix” your baby… gosh! this is so beyond wrong and don’t worry, I will get to it!

Some of the advise you will receive will be helpful. Some. Most of it will likely not apply to you and your baby and is more than okay to let that slide. For instance, most babies sleep better when swaddled yet not all babies like it. So don’t try to force it in your little one if he or she doesn’t want it. People might feel the urge to remind you that is best for them, that they sleep better, that you will rest more. They might be right if your baby is into swaddling, but if your baby isn’t then try something else. Trust me, is okay to ignore the advise that doesn’t do you or your baby any good. It might have worked for others, but it doesn’t work for you so no need to force it. I know I am paying a lot of attention to the unsolicited advise but new moms project this unseen “give me your advise even though I am not really asking for it” aura which is why you will receive tons of it. Some might help, some might not, you get it, right?

Most people are lucky to have a support system at home at least during the first weeks of a new baby at home. This is great! Accept the help you are offered as much as you can, like on a selfish way. Yup, you heard me right! You will want to do everything or at least witness someone else doing it if you are a scared new mommy but like I said before you need time to rest. Stress is not good for you, the baby or anyone really. Enjoy every moment you can with the baby and when you get a chance take care of yourself. Drink lots of water, you will need it especially if you are breastfeeding. I know is hard but avoid caffeine if you can… I don’t have proof is bad but that’s what doctors recommend given a small amount of it goes to your breastmilk (I don’t have proof of this nor I believe but oh well) and will make your baby fuzzy. Also, you will hear from many people to watch what you eat because some foods make your breastmilk production low or make the baby gassy or colicky. This could be true but there are many  mixed opinions about it so my personal experience was as long as it doesn’t give me or the baby I rash I ate it.

Life with a baby is all kinds of beautiful, and amazing, and tiring, and again AMAZING! There will be great moments, tiring moments, scary moments and unforgettable moments. All is part of the package. Enjoy it all as much as you can. If this is not your first baby and you are a pro (like people call us), do not forget to also make time for your other munchkins. I mean think about it, we all need some mommy time.

Good luck!

Baby time!

So it has been a while since my last post because you know life happens so one gets busy. I’ve decided to continue to prove myself that I’m capable of doing anything and as much as I want as long as I set my mind to it. In this case it means to continue to share through my blog which means better juggling life. Anyway, this post is about when the time came to meet our new family addition. This is baby number 3 and people keep thinking I pretty much I’m a pro at it, but oh boy, little do they know!

The moment I hit 38 weeks, I went on a freak out stage. I had been cooking our stud muffin in the oven for 38 weeks with its ups and downs, but it was all coming to an end any minute really. I knew I was pregnant for quite some time and I also knew there was going to be a delivery time. Until this point my concern was making it to the hospital on time. With baby no. 1 my water broke so I was admitted without any contractions and it took over 24 hours and a complicated delivery until the moment we met our little man. With baby no. 2 we barely made it to the hospital… really! Labor moved quite fast and it all happened at home within a few hours. By the time we arrived to the hospital, our princess had already crowned and I was just holding her in there until we were able to make it to the delivery room. My only concern this time was a fast labor and not enough time to get to the hospital. Unlike my first deliveries, the hospital this time was not a 5 minute drive away without the need to even get on the freeway. Since we moved, this time the hospital was a 25 minute drive away with no traffic and because it is in the middle of the Silicon Valley, the traffic can easily turn into a 1 hour +. So like I said, until this point my only concern was not having a baby on the side of the freeway during peek commute hours.

So about that freak out stage. Our bodies are amazing! Like, really, really, amazing! If you are woman reading this, give yourself a pad in the shoulder cuz girl your body rocks! I am Catholic, which means I believe our Almighty grants us the blessing to assist him in the miracle of life. He has created our bodies so perfectly that for gazillion of years, we have reproduced and delivered gazillion of babies without the technology and comfort we have these days. And while our bodies really know what to do, complications happen. This is where the freak out stage comes into play. A few weeks before my due date, I started to freak out like big time! Yes, our bodies know how to push that baby out, but is still painful. Again, this is the kind of pain that your body knows and will handle, but it is pain at the end of the day. I was suddenly worried that it would hurt more than I could take, or that the delivery was going to be hard, or even that a C-section would be needed. I was worried about what my body would look and feel after. I was worried every minute for the last weeks.

But then the time came. The baby was going to join us. It was 5 days prior to my due date. I started feeling contractions around 1:30am. I got up, used the bathroom, turn the TV on, while the contractions stayed. It was a bearable pain at that point. Not so frequent, 7-9 minutes apart.  I started watching “Friends” on Netflix because that’s what I did with my second one. The pains grew longer, stronger, and more often. I called the advise nurse line because that’s what they asked you to do. It was 4:30am at this point. The nurse said to wait until they were a bit closer in time, so continue to track them for another hour and to call back. She also said to drink more water which I did. At exactly one hour after, I called and told the nurse that the contractions were stronger and longer and closer. She said to come in to check if it was “the” time. So I woke up my husband, told my mom we were leaving so she knew she had to take my other two kids to school that morning, and we left for the hospital. It was luckily early enough that there wasn’t a lot of traffic. We arrived around 6:20am.

My contractions were 4-5 minutes apart, and lasted 50-60 seconds. The doctor checked and I had already dilated 6 cm which I meant I could stay in because the labor was active. Yay! We had made it to the hospital with enough time. I could cross my first concern off the list. We settled in and waited until it was time. About two hours in the pain was pretty bad and I opted to take the Epidural. No shame on it! I mean why should I? It helped me to handle the pain and that’s all I needed for a reason. Two hours later, around 10:25am, our son was born. Aiden had arrived! The labor wasn’t as short as I hoped, but it was definitely not bad. The best part was that it was a perfect delivery so no stitches or anything else was required. He was here! He was so tiny and so perfect. The fear that had been haunting me over the last weeks was gone. All I could feel was joy, and love, and yes tiredness. My body was tired and in a bit of pain after the delivery, but looking at his face, holding his little hands, touching his little toes made it all worth it.

Motherhood is not easy. It also doesn’t happen to everyone. And not everyone who experiences it actually deserves it. But when you really want to be a mom, when you wish to be blessed with it, when you know is an expression of love, motherhood is the best. Pregnancy has its ups and down. I know more than one woman who had such a rough pregnancy and/or delivery they decided never to have kids again, and I get it. It is not easy, it is painful, but I promise you being a mom is so amazing. Amazing is so many things which I think is why is a good way to describe.  Good luck if you are a preggos reading this. I wish you an easy and fast labor.

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Our first selfie

 

DIY Gender Reveal Party Decor

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First of, congrats on your baby! Such an amazing time in your life. Lots of challenges come with pregnancy, but also so many more rewards and satisfactions. You are expecting and you probably have already announced the great news to family and friends by now. New trends are always adapted and kind of expected for certain life events such as a cute engagement picture, cute Christmas cards, a creative pregnancy announcement picture, and you know basically anything that includes cute pictures carefully thought and put together. And in that area you can add a gender reveal party with of course a cute reveal idea! Here are some ideas I collected and found extremely easy to prepare myself to share our exciting news with friends and family.

Our baby’s gender wasn’t a secret to my husband and I. We have two little ones, a boy and a girl, and already know how to tell the difference during the ultrasound. Our ultrasound technician made sure we wanted to know before confirming our suspicions. During the ultrasound she checked key organs first (like the heart, stomach, liver) and when she started looking for the “other stuff”, two arms, two legs and the gender showed up. We were so excited, and decided it would be absolutely fun to have a reveal/diaper party to share the news. I am not a miserable pregnant lady yet, but I like to stick to simple ideas that area easy to prepare because of my limited time. Keep reading to learn more about the things we did and you can too.

Now, if this is your first baby and you want to be surprised, then there’s other options. In my case is limited because only my mom and brother live here. My family on my mother’s side are all in Guatemala. My family on my father’s side are in SoCal mainly. My husband’s family are spread between NY, Nicaragua and Brazil. I have some great friends here in the Bay Area, but I don’t want to force myself on anyone so it made sense for us to take care of it ourselves. If you have a relative or close friend who can organize this for you, then that’s awesome! You’ll have to coordinate with your OB so they can inform this person the baby’s gender and she (my guess is a lady, but if it’s a guy, he why not?!) will be the one doing the planning and surprising you, hubby, family and friends!

Some of the simple stuff was to grab both pink and blue cups and utensils from the dollar store, but you can also head to other places like Party City, is just a bit more pricey. I had my little ones help me with a lot of the things. I love putting parties together and making decorations myself and look for things that my kids can help me with to keep them busy. I rather them helping me than watching TV so is a win-win situation! My daughter helped me to stack the cups alternating the colors. I also got pink and blue ribbons and create utensil sets by combining colors too, and used the ribbon to keep them together.

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I also had them help me with other decorations. We (and by we, I mean my son and daughter) colored clothespins with blue and pink color. I placed these ones in a table with a sign: “BLUE or PINK what do you think? Please wear your guess”. I created a heart shape-like with the pins. One half was just blue pins and the other just pink pins. If you paid close attention, the pins weren’t perfectly colored because my kids colored them. If you’re a perfectionist, then maybe you should have an adult color them so they all are exactly the same with the lines very well defined. In my case, my kids’ work of art was perfect!

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I am also well known to prepare games for everyone attending the party! Even if it’s a kids party, I try to select or modify the games so the adults can be involved too. Is about everyone having fun! So I prepared also some games and prizes. I decided to use mason jars for the prizes and spell the phrase: HE OR SHE? I used blue tissue paper for the jars making the word “HE” which were meant to be prizes for adult men attending the party. I used mini candy bars to fill them up and added a gift card to Starbucks which I figured is so neutral that is okay for a man to receive one. I used yellow tissue paper for the jars making the word “OR” and “?” which were meant to be prizes for kids. I wanted to very neutral for the kids so I just filled them up with mini candy bars because as much as parents we hate them having too much of it, is what they love! I used pink tissue for the jars making the word “SHE” which were the ones for the ladies. I went to Target and got toiletries to make it into a mini beauty jar: nail kit, nail polish, mud mask and hand sanitizer. I used the jars as part of the decorations until it was time to play the games and win prizes! Some game ideas are blind folded feeding the baby (I made a prop for this one using foam boards and asked attending couples to play), shake the ants off your pants, lady peeing in the jar, preggo people tying their shoes. All simple and fun games that had us laughing so hard and sharing a good time!

After the games we did the actual gender reveal.  Before we revealed the baby’s gender, I requested to take pictures with both Team Blue and Team Pink. I made this simple signs with a foam board. My idea for the actual reveal was for my kids to open up the box and share the news. I used a large box, covered with white paper (I used back of Xmas left over wrap), made a heart that said “He or She?” and stuffed it with the balloons. To make it easier for my kids to open I placed tissue paper around the edges, alternating blue and pink, and tight it at the top with some yarn so it was easier for them just to pull off the knot and the balloons to release. Oh yes, it’s a boy btw!

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I also made special cupcakes which were plan B for gender reveal. Baked some vanilla cupcakes, scooped out the center, filled it in with blue frosting, covered them with some of the cake I scooped out. I frosted them using chocolate frosting even though I know not everyone likes chocolate, but it was to keep that black/white neutral that used in the invite and decorations. I drew a “?” in top of the cupcakes with white icing and, ta-da!

This are some of the things I did for our gender reveal party. I hope you find them useful when is your turn to prepare one for yourself or a friend.

‘Til next time!

Comfortably working out while pregnant

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So you need to get your tushy moving while your belly is growing and your entire body is going through a hormonal roller coaster craving ice cream with pickles? Yiaiks! The benefits of working out while preggos are many, and thanks to Google I got the following ones for ya:

  • You’re likely to gain less weight
  • You have more energy
  • It might make labor and delivery easier (sorry, no guarantee!)
  • It might ease many of the pregnancy “side effects” such as leg cramping, swelling, constipation, gestational diabetes, sleep problems, prenatal depression
  • You will feel more like the hot mama you actually are and not the whale you can sometimes see on the mirror
  • Baby is likely to be born with less excess body fat (no, your huha doesn’t want to push a 10 lb baby out!)
  • Baby may grow smarter (yup, recent studies say that)

So clearly there’s at least one or two things that sound tempting right? Well, go for it and get your booty moving while your body is very nicely taking care of making a perfect baby! Now, don’t get me wrong, just because is good for you it doesn’t mean your body is willing to cooperate since it might be distracted say… making a baby! Not to worry about it darling! You can make a difference and keep yourself and baby healthy during pregnancy. Remember, your body won’t go where your mind doesn’t go. Talk pretty to yourself. Remind yourself why is good. When  your body says, “yeah no thank you” (and it will, I promise), convince your body that is the only choice. Again you don’t need to workout for hours, but at least 30 mins of physical activity are good for you and you should strive for that every day because your body deserves to feel its best!

It can be something simple like walking. You can go for a walk with hubby, a friend, kids if you have any, your dog if you have one or two or how many. Or you can try something else like swimming, taking a yoga class, use some light free weights and get those muscles going. Whatever you feel like doing is what you should do. And this is the part where this post comes about. Feeling comfortable while you are working out!

I started using my pre-pregnancy workout clothes during the first months. They still fit so why not? I did for as long as I could. Then you know the belly was kinda getting on the way. I was rolling my pants under my belly so the belly wasn’t feeling “pinched” by the waistline. However, this isn’t very comfortable after a little while. It could be two things, at least for me: my hips weren’t holding the pants so they kept coming down or the actual pants waistline was smaller and not as stretchy so it would hold at my hip area but it would also be too tight. So I decided that while is nice to think you still fit in your pre-preggos clothes, it just wasn’t comfortable and it was time to get maternity workout clothes. Brilliant, I know!

I don’t consider myself cheap but also I am not willing to spend more than needed in things, especially clothes. Sure Seraphine’s luxury maternity jeans ($109) are probably nicer and cooler and all you want better than Target’s maternity jeans ($34.99), but I am simply not willing to pay for the extra “nicer” in this case… or any for that matter. So I did my research and found out, or was reminded rather, that maternity clothes are expensive! The difference between now and the last time I was pregnant, is that I know many new websites that sell stuff at a discounted price such as Zulily.com. Their inventory is limited, sales are final, and you wait a bit longer than normally for items to be shipped but once shipped you get them fast! So I found some deals that seamed reasonable to me and placed my order. Below are my choices and feedback in case it is helpful to any of you. I worked out (elliptical and weight training) in all three of them.

Choice 1: Honey B  ($12.99)

This are my least favorite ones of the three pants I ordered. They fit fine. The fabric is not that stretchy see-through kind (good for me). Very comfortable on my legs and I like the length a lot. This came in third because of the waistline. While is stretchy and will give in more as my bellow grows, it hits me at the belly button. I personally don’t like that because this tend to put too much pressure in that area and that is not comfortable. Additionally with a lot of movement it rolled down to below my belly and I don’t like that very much.

Option 2: Dynabelly ($11.99)

This are my second favorite ones. I tend to use capri length for workouts but is actually nice to have the full length. Stretchy and comfortable. The waistline hits me right at the top at the belly which is great! Is very comfortable not to have any type of pressure on or below the belly because that’s where the lil one hangs out all the time, so this fit is perfect! Overall very much satisfied with it including the price.

Option 3: Topsport ($19.99)

This are my favorite of the three! If you pay attention on the pants picture it has that overbelly coverage which is simply extremely comfortable during pregnancy! Like I said, I love capri length so that’s a plus, but nothing can bit that comfortable belly feeling. This was the most expensive of the tree choices but is at least $10 cheaper that common choices like Old Navy and Target.

So I hope you find this info helpful. Whether you’re preggos and need motivation to workout and also looking for cheaper clothing choices. Or if you’re planning to become preggos and just want to know what’s out there.

Til next time!

xoxoxo

 

Why am I trying so badly to have a healthy pregnancy

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So this is pregnancy #3, and trying it for it to be a healthy one. My first pregnancy was the unhealthiest thus far. I gained nearly 70 lbs! The silliest part was that I was under some silly assumption that all the weight gain would automatically disappear once the baby was born, and guess what? Nope, it didn’t happened! Nearly 8 years later I am still holding unto at least half of the weight I gained during my first pregnancy. I have learned to love my body and accept the prize of motherhood. This doesn’t mean that just because you learn to accept and love your flaws  you can’t work towards a better you. The best way to thank our body, especially as a mom I think, is to care for it and being healthy. This is my goal!

I remember when I was at the hospital after my son was born (24 hours of labor later) and went to use the bathroom. I was wearing a loose hospital gown. I distinctly remember, checking my belly in the bathroom mirror and thinking: “holly schnaps, I still look pregnant!” People kept telling me not to worry about it, that the weight would just go down with time, but that didn’t happened. Why? Because at that time I wasn’t taking care of myself the way I should have. During my first pregnancy, I never worked out, I didn’t drink enough water, I often gave into unhealthy cravings. After my son was born, I didn’t have time or energy to care for myself the way I should have. I was working graveyard shift at the hotel, only sleeping 4-5 hours per day, and eating a lot more than I should have for energy. UNHEALTHY any way you look at it!

When I got pregnant again, I promised myself I wouldn’t let myself reach such unhealthy levels. And I tried… sorta. The first trimester I was sleeping a lot because of low iron. No morning sickness just tired. As soon as the second trimester started, I had more energy but I was miserable! I know is hard to explain but I promise every single cell in my body seemed to be in some sort of pain ALL THE TIME! I was going to the gym at first, but decided to cancel my membership because there was no point in paying for not going since my body was always aching. I was happy that our family was growing, but my body was taking its sweet time to carefully bake an amazing little girl in my oven. The price tag was more than I hopped, and I was just not feeling physically well most of the time. Despite, I was on track with my weight gain goal until nearly the end. The doctor recommended to gain only about 20 lbs since I was overweight for my height. And I did so until I went on my maternity leave. Because of medical coverage I stayed extra weeks at work and only took about 2 weeks off before due date. This two weeks at home, pretty miserable I confess, were enough to kill my good vibe gaining another 10 lbs! 30 lbs is better than 66 lbs gained during pregnancy, BUT this was still unhealthy because of my BMI.

After years of struggling to lose weight and deciding that no more babies was best for our family because life in the Bay Area is quite expensive, I was surprised with pregnancy #3, my current one. I am enjoying every bit of it, but still keeping in mind that for my own health and the baby’s is best to make healthy choices as much as possible. I had gestational diabetes with baby #2, and is one of the things I am working hard to stay away this time around. With quite some pregnancy experience, better informed about healthy eating, and becoming obsessed with exercising, I was better prepared this time. Now just because you know what the outcome should be, it doesn’t mean you can easily put the equation together. And sure enough, I am having challenges this time around but the difference is I have a plan that will hopefully keep me on track.

Over the past year I have learned a lot about fitness. I have gotten really good at meal prepping because it truly is about 80% diet, 20% exercise. I have also done research about working out, which kind is best for what, added weight lifting into my routine, and understand better the cardio/weight training combination. After the long story about my pregnancies I can actually get down to my point which is my plan to stay healthy. How exercising is possible during pregnancy and how it is beneficial for both mommy and baby. And very little food information (for now). My experience will not apply to everyone, just FYI.

They recommend staying active through the entire pregnancy but you need to be careful during the first trimester. All I really did during the first trimester was walking. Since I don’t believe in going to the gym to just walk/run on a treadmill, I started walking more at work during my lunch hour. Once the second trimester starts you can take your exercise to a higher level but always remember to be careful not to hurt yourself or baby. I added yoga to my life which by the way is amazeballs! I tried it in the past and I was very uncomfortable because I am more of the boot camp type, but this time it was different. Is soft enough not to hurt you and baby (the instructor will know which poses are not safe or can be modified to keep you and baby safe), but is still a workout that your body needs and it helps with labor.

My current workout routine is not super strict as I was before, but it keeps me active. For cardio I started using the elliptical. I really wanted to participate in a half marathon (at least) so I was running before I got pregnant. I know is possible even while your’e pregnant but since my endurance is not that good I switched to the elliptical that is easier on your joints. For weight training I kept doing split days for zones: chest & triceps/ shoulders, legs & calves/ back, traps, biceps. I use lighter weights and remove abs as a target zone but I am keeping some exercising that will help in this area but are not as direct as crunches for instance. I was doing all the above before I got pregnant, so I am just modifying it now. Instead of using free weights at the gym which I prefer, I am using the machines that allow you to workout in the same areas just as fine. The days I workout on my legs are no longer on the Smith machine. I used my own body weight plus 10 lbs free weights for just a little extra. I’m not going hard on my body, I am just trying to keep muscles engaged.

Meal prepping is the biggest part always! I can easily make healthy choices when I have healthy choices handy. I am back to preparing my breakfast and lunches for work. I don’t always have the time but I tried to do it often. I can easily go for the bagel with cream cheese instead of overnight fridge oats which is why I try to be prepared with the healthy choice. I don’t think that salads are always the healthier choice because dressing can easily kill a salad! When I prepare a lunch I choose a protein (usually grilled chicken and no I don’t get sick of it), grilled veggies and quinoa or black beans. I stay away from processed food as much as possible so my snacks are often fruit, cheese or celery sticks. I sip on water throughout the day, although I think I need more. I am not drinking coffee anymore and if you know me, you know I used to drink coffee with every meal! But this isn’t so much to be healthy but I simply can’t stand the smell of coffee.

I am not saying I workout every day and that my food choices are on point every day. If you’ve seen my instagram you know that I’ve had some not healthy choices but I am pretty content with the effort I am making every day for baby and I to be healthy. I am enjoying this pregnancy and not eating a Big Mac, for instance, doesn’t mean that I am being hard on myself. I just know that isn’t worth to eat this crap even if “the baby wants it!”