I’m a Better Mom When I’m Not Pregnant

Dear Lyla and Simon, 

We are about five weeks away from welcoming your new sibling into our family and your mama is basically counting down the days (and hoping the countdown is a littler shorter than that). 

Man, do I feel guilty admitting that.

I really don’t want to wish away the last few weeks that we have together as a family of four. We are in a great groove right now. We’ve figured out schedules that work for us. We’re happy. 

But, babies, I’m a much better mom when I’m not pregnant.

As we near the end of this pregnancy, I find myself feeling guilty all the time. 

Like when you ask me to chase you around the coffee farm and I can’t. 

When all you want is to be held but my swollen body is just too tired to hold you for another minute. 

When I skip out on family trips to the playground so I can have a few minutes in silence with my feet up. 

When you tell me your belly hurts and my initial thought is “oh no, I don’t have the energy to be up all night”. 

The bigger my belly gets, the shorter my fuse becomes. My nightly prayers are filled with cries to the Lord for more patience. 

I start each day with the best intentions, and I almost always feel like I come up short. 

It’s those times when I feel like a terrible mom. Like I’m failing you both. 

But, somehow, you both know just when I need you to crawl into my lap for the extra snuggles. When I can’t break up another fight in the car so, instead, you hold hands. Your sweet little hearts are so loving and forgiving and I am beyond grateful for that. 

I know I’ll have hard days when there are three of you running around the house. With each new stage there will be an adjustment period. I will never be a perfect mom, but with the complications from this pregnancy behind me, I know I will be able to do a better job than I am doing now. Because, babies, I’m a much better mom when I’m not pregnant. 

Thank you for loving me always. For reminding me on a daily basis what sweet, loving beings you are. I can’t wait to see you in your new roles as big brother and sister (again!).

I Love You,

Mama

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Toddler Proofing Your Home: Preparing For Life With Toddlers and A New Baby

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FirstMomentsMadeSimple #ForBetterBeginnings #MomsFirsts #CollectiveBias

It’s April, people! Woohoo! I welcomed the new month with open arms as it means we are thismuch closer to Baby Byrd #3’s arrival. 

Prepping for baby the third time around is so much different than for our first and second. Instead of getting things ready for our new baby, I’ve found myself focusing more on the toddlers and things that will make my life easier while home with all three.  

Seeing as this is our third baby in three years, we have a lot of the basics covered but, one item that never made my “must have” list until now is the Diaper GenieĀ®. Funny how having two little toddlers with wandering hands and a curiosity for every trash can in the house will push a diaper pail to the top of your list šŸ˜‰

When I was pregnant with Lyla, Alex and I visited our local Babies “R” Us to create a registry so I knew that it would be the perfect place to pick up our Diaper Genie. (Pro Tips: if you are expecting your first and want to set up a registry – visit Babies “R” Us on the first Saturday of every month for their Registry 101 event. Then, once you have had your baby, head back to the store on the 3rd Tuesday of the month to receive discounts on un-purchased registry items at their Registry Completion events)

Simon had fallen asleep in the car on the way there so Alex stayed in the car with the kids while I ran in to pick up my new best friend. I headed towards the back of the store where the diapers and wipes are kept and checked out my options and ended up choosing the Playtex Diaper Genie Expressionsā„¢. This little beauty boasts the maximum odor control of the Diaper Genie systems, can hold up to fifty newborn diapers, and is customizable. Win, win, win! 

Once we got it home, Lyla immediately started trying to get the box open so I let her help me take it out and put on the Designer Fabric Sleeve. I’m a big fan of home baby products that don’t scream “this is for a baby!!!” so I really appreciate the Cream Knit patterned sleeve that I chose. 

I also really appreciate my husband who is always willing to be a hand model at a moment’s notice šŸ˜‰

Now that I have a way to keep those little hands out of the stinky diaper trash, I had to think of something else to keep them busy so I put together a “busy basket”.

I loaded up one of our baskets with some of their favorite toys, a few books and snacks. I can see reloading this basket becoming pretty time consuming but I really think it will come in handy when I need them to be entertained without mom for a few minutes (like when I’m nursing). 

As soon as Simon came downstairs from his nap, he found the basket and dove right in so I think this one will work – at least for a little while. Alex suggested filling a fanny pack with snacks and small toys so that I always have a distraction on my person. I think I married a genius. 

I’m also spending some time looking around the house and designating some “high” areas where I can stash things that Alex and I might need for baby. Things like baby powder, medicines, nipple cream (me, not him), etc. We recently had an experience with a curious toddler and an open container of baby powder all.over.the.living.room. and let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. 

Hopefully some of these things will make our transition to life with three little ones a little easier on everyone. You can discover more tips for better beginnings here. Also, make sure to follow along with Playtex on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube

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Transitioning from 1 child to 2

In the weeks leading up to Simon’s birth I spent a lot of time (ah, time – I still had some back then) thinking about how life would be with two little children. Looking back, I wish I would have spent less time worrying and more time singing to my belly…or catching up on laundry…or doing absolutely nothing…so I wrote a little letter to one-child Natasha to ease her worries šŸ˜‰

Lyla and Simon

Hey past-self! 

I know you are afraid that you can’t love another little body as much as you love Lyla, but I promise, you can. I know, I know every mom says it…but that’s because it’s true. The second that Simon Earl is born, you are going to feel your heart double in size. 

Speaking of him being born, I know that you are not looking forward to doing the whole labor and delivery thing again. Sure, your first experience was a little crazy, but this time will be much less eventful. Yes, it’s going to hurt – bad – but the pain is temporary and the reward so worth it. I know that you are debating whether or not you are going to get an epidural this time. Spoilers: you don’t. And it’s fine. So stop fretting about it and just trust the process. You have an awesome doctor and an incredibly encouraging husband.  The first words out of your mouth will be “He’s perfect. I’ll do it again” and when it’s all said and done you will weirdly look forward to doing just that.

Newborns sleep a lot. So much so that for the first two months you almost think that the whole “two under two” thing is overrated. Enjoy this time. Don’t get cocky. Spend Simon’s sleepy time snuggling your first born and when she’s sleeping too? Catch up on Hart Of Dixie while you still can. 

Once Simon is out of the “sleep all the time” phase, things get a little harder but it’s nothing that you can’t manage. I know you are wondering how you will ever manage taking two kids anywhere by yourself but you do it. Everyday. It’s really a non-issue. Simon is kind of just forced to go with the flow and you are all happier because of it.  

Sleep deprivation isn’t nearly as devastating the second time around. Thank goodness, right? Simon is going to spoil you with sleeping six hour stretches at night for the first couple of months but don’t get too comfortable. He will start waking every 2-3 hours wanting to nurse, and still will be at six months with no end in sight, but you will manage.

In the beginning, you are late to everything. No matter how prepared you think you are, you will always forget something. It’s going to make you feel crazy and scatterbrained. It’s going to irritate you more than you would like to admit. Eventually, you get it together – you even make it to Simon’s six month well-visit 20 minutes early! 

Right now, you can’t imagine how sweet it is watching your babies interact with each other, and I can’t try to explain it to you either. It’s simply the best. 

Speaking of being the best – that newborn smell? MAN you didn’t realize just how good it was when you had Lyla. As soon as you have your baby boy in your hands you won’t be able to get enough. For the first couple of weeks (ok, months) you will stay up at night after nursing him and just hold smell him. For hours. No shame. I’m actually pretty envious of you right now. Take a sniff for me, k?

I hate to be the one to tell you this, but breastfeeding hurts just as bad the second time around. Bummer, yea? But you will stick with it and Simon will thrive. He’s a big, healthy boy. 

The hardest part about transitioning from 1 child to 2? Missing your husband. Alex is an amazing dad (duh, you already know that) and is so great about sharing the parenting load. Having just Lyla, you still have a lot of time to spend together. Meals, diaper changes, bath, bed time – it’s always two against one, you have so much time to spend together as a family. Once Simon enters the picture, a lot of “divide and conquer” happens. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard. You miss him. A lot. But it gets better, I promise. 

There are so many unknowns right around the corner. So many emotions to feel. In the next few months you will experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. You are going to fall more in love with your husband. You are going to grow in your faith. You are going to gain a deeper respect for your own parents. You are going to be encouraged and you are going to be let down. You are going to have days when you feel like Mary Poppins and days where you feel totally unprepared to be a mother. 

I know that you are scared now, but try really hard not to be, k? Becoming a mother of two is going to be the best thing that has happened to you since becoming a mom for the first time! You are going to learn and grow SO much. Your life is going to be richer than you can imagine. 

Rub that belly for me (I miss it already), soak up your Alex and Lyla time and make sure you pack your hospital bag when you go to Auntie’s for Thanksgiving – you have an 8lb 2oz turkey on the way! 

Love, 

Older, wiser you

 

 

 

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Lyla’s Birth Story

Before I started exclusively blogging here, Alex and I hosted a little website/blog that we mostly used to keep up with family living outside of Hawaii. Eventually, the lines between what I shared here and what we shared on the other blog started to blur and this site became home to all of our online updates.

We are getting ready to take our other site down, so Alex suggested I visit the site and save any posts that I don’t want to see deleted and boy am I glad I listened. 

For obvious reasons, the post that stuck out to me the most was Lyla’s birth story. When I was pregnant with her, I loved reading birth stories. I wanted to hear the good, the bad and the ugly. Reading all of the different stories helped me feel more at ease about doing it myself. 

As I get ready to deliver our second baby, I have been experiencing all sorts of anxiety. Funnily enough, reading my own birth story from just a year and a half ago has helped me relax about going through the process again. It reminded me of how amazing it is when you finally meet the little person that you have been bonding with for the last 9 months. How the pain and the discomfort just melts away as soon as that little baby is put in your arms. How beautiful the whole process is. 

Since I enjoyed re-reading her birth story so much, I’ve decided to share it here. 

I’ll warn you: it’s long. 

So, if reading birth stories is your jam – you’re welcome. If not, I’ll see you next post! 

In the middle of the night (3:38AM to be exact) I woke up thinking to myself “I think my water is going to break” so I jumpedhobbled out of bed and ran into the bathroom and sure enough, after I used the toilet I stood up and there it went. Keeping in mind the words of the nurse from earlier that day, I decided not to wake anyone up just yet. I thought to myself that even if this was the start of my labor, we had plenty of time until I had to be at the hospital.

Knowing that I wanted to be fresh when we did finally decide to go in, I decided to jump in the shower. I started to have semi-painful contractions while showering and the hot water felt so good on my back that I ended up staying in there for about an hour. When I got out of the shower, Alex was awake and I let him know that my water had officially broken. I also woke up my mom and decided to call the hospital to see when we should come in (their answer: right away!)

The drive was pretty uneventful, my contractions were getting stronger and more painful but I had nice breaks in between each one. The closer we got to the hospital, the more excited I started to become – we were going to meet our baby (hopefully) TODAY!

We finally got to the hospital around 7AM. Unfortunately, it was shift-change time so we had to wait around for a while before they put me into a triage room.

Once we were in the triage room, it was like a switch was flipped in my body and I was in full-on “this is not a joke” labor. At least, I thought so. A nurse came in to check my progress (4cm) and to make sure that it was actually my water that broke (it was).

LYLA BIRTH 1

Throughout my pregnancy, I knew I wanted as natural as a labor as I could handle. The nurse that was helping us in the beginning saw I was in a lot of pain and started to push the epidural, but I declined. (not having an epidural was my only “hard rule” that I set for myself) I was open to other drugs for pain management though, and found myself asking for Tylenol to “take the edge off” (HA).

No drugs could be administered though, until we moved to the delivery room. The nurse informed us that there weren’t any rooms ready at that time and that as soon as one was available, they would move me to it.

WHAT.

I remember being really upset by that news. I needed to move to a room, and I needed to move soon. My contractions were right on top of each other and I was literally writhing in pain. I’m sure the nurses thought I was being dramatic — just another first-time mom in the beginning stages of labor who has NO idea how bad it’s going to get. (HA again)

LYLA BIRTH 2

After what seemed like an eternity, they came to get me and wheeled me to the labor and delivery room. They transfered me to the new bed and our nurse told me she was going to check my progress.

“You’ve got to be kidding me” were here words.

My heart sank. I was convinced that I had somehow gone backwards in my progress and if that was the case, I surely would die.

But thankfully, I didn’t move backwards (really don’t think that it possible) but instead I had progressed from 4cm- 10cm (in less than two hours) and it was time to have baby!

Everyone in the room was shocked. I felt a little bit of relief knowing that I was near the end, and that the reason I was in SO much pain so early on was because I was going through the hardest part of labor, and I was doing it FAST.

LYLA BIRTH 3

The room was ready for delivery, my body was ready to push & I could see the end in sight and then I hear the nurses tell me not to push.

Again, WHAT?!

My doctor wasn’t there yet, and they wanted me to wait for him. At this point, I don’t even remeber having a reaction to this. I knew he would get there when he got there and I just focused on trying not to push (which is almost impossible) Luckily, there was a really great nurse by my side who encouraged me and let me know to do small pushes during the contractions to help with some of the pressure.

Not long after, Dr. Oh arrived and quickly put a gown on. FINALLY it was show time. We wasted no time and I started to push. Apparently, my pushes were effective (and girl was more than ready to make her appearance) because 11 short minutes later, she was out!

Well, halfway.

Lyla came out with her cord wrapped around her neck twice. It was so tight that the doctor wasn’t able to unwind it so they had to cut it there before she was able to come all the way out. I was always told that the head and shoulders were the hardest part to deliver, and after that the baby would just “fall” out so I was not a happy camper when I didn’t feel that relief that I was expecting (it was at this point where I let a few expletives fly — whoops!)

Once they got the cords cut, she was out and they took her to the warming table and Alex was able to do a ceremonial cord cutting.

I did it. 

I was over the moon. Baby girl was here.

I knew I still had to deliver the placenta, and that the doctors would have to stitch me up so I wasn’t concerned that they were working on me. I had a sweet baby to meet.

They gave Lyla to me and just like that, my world was changed. I’m not even going to try to describe it. You can listen to a million people try to explain that feeling, read a billion birth stories like this, and picture it in your head a trillion times but nothing will ever fully prepare you for the moment that you meet your child.

It’s magical.

While we were off in baby la-la land, the mood in the room quickly changed. The team of doctors and nurses suddenly got serious and we realized that they still weren’t done working on me.

I remember thinking, “this definitely isn’t normal”. (I was right)

Without getting too graphic, I was hemorraghing & the doctors were having a really hard time getting it to stop. The small team of nurses that were in the room for delivery quickly multiplied and I was all of a sudden surrounded by people giving me shots, applying pressure and attempting to give me IV medications (my veins were flattening out because I was losing so much blood, so getting an IV in place was a challenge)

Luckily, the team was able to get the bleeding under control before I needed a blood transfusion (the team was in-room ready to go). Slowly, the room started emptying out and I was able to relax.

While all of that “excitement” was going on, the nurses had taken Lyla out to the nursery. But once my doctor gave them the ok, they brought her back in the room and we were able to soak her in.

She’s perfect.

She is everything I imagined her to be, and nothing like I imagined all at the same time.

LYLA BIRTH 4

The experience as a whole was nothing like I expected. There was no laboring on a birthing ball or time for family face-time calls. It was fast and it was furious. It was the hard and it was scary. And I would do it all again in a heartbeat (cliche, I know)

When I think back on that day, I am so beyond thankful for Alex & my mom. Together, they were an incredible support team and I think I would have lost my mind without them there.

LYLA BIRTH 6LYLA BIRTH 7

We spent two nights in the hospital before coming home. The nurses took amazing care of us and I was almost sad when it was time to leave!

LYLA BIRTH 8

 

Told you it was long! Fellow mom bloggers: did you share your birth story? I would love to read it! 

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Five Essentials for Baby Number Two

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyLittleRemedies #CollectiveBias

5essentials

Now that we are [mostly] settled into our new place, I have finally started to get things ready for Simon’s arrival. As nervous and anxious as I am to give birth again have two babies under the age of two, the more I think about having a sweet little newborn to snuggle on, the more excited I get.

The first few weeks at home with your newborn are so precious. As hard as it is to adjust to the new (non)sleep schedule and to figure out your new norm, those sweet baby snuggles and newborn coos make it so worth it. Being the total homebody that I am, I totally cherish those first few weeks holed up at home with my family just loving up on our little ones and soaking it all in. 

Instead of focusing on some of the big ticket items, I’ve started my baby prep with the 5 essentials for baby number two’s first few weeks at home. Thankfully, I only had to make one stop at Target to pick up all of the essentials that we didn’t have on hand already – I was able to find everything on my list super quickly and was even surprised to find a new Little RemediesĀ® product that I knew I had to try. 

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[1] I’m pretty sure I read in the “rule book of new babies” that sweet, snuggly outfits are essential to taking care of a newborn and, since I am a rule follower, I’ve made sure that Simon is ready to go with some comfy little ensembles. The shirt is actually one of Lyla’s old shirts. It was always one of my favorites so I kept it on hand for her little brother. I picked up the sweatpants from Target and wish they had them in my size – how comfortable do they look?!

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[2] I can’t say enough good things about these Little RemediesĀ® products. When Lyla was little, she had a lot of tummy problems that caused her discomfort. I was so hesitant to give my tiny baby anything besides breastmilk but felt comfortable giving the Little RemediesĀ® Gripe Water a try since it was free from any artificial dyes and parabens. It always seemed to do the trick and I make sure to recommend it to all new moms and moms-to-be. 

In case our Simon has the same tummy trouble as his big sister, I wanted to make sure that we had the gripe water on hand instead of having to make a special trip to the store. When I was at Target picking it up, I noticed the new Little RemediesĀ® Advanced Colic Relief and decided to pick up a bottle of that too. A mama can never be too prepared!

must-have-3

[3] Long days (and nights) at home call for lots of snuggles on the couch so I’m making sure that I have blankets easily accessible all around the house. I much prefer “real” blankets to receiving blankets as they grow with the child. (and because I have a slight obsession with blankets. Sorry, babe!)

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[4] Our laundry pile seems to be never-ending no matter how many times I downsize our closets and it’s only about to get worse as we add another person to our family. So, to (hopefully) cut down on the number of times I have to change little man’s outfit, and therefore cut down on the number of laundry loads I do per week, I am going to give these soft bibs a try. I never really used any kind of bib with Lyla but looking back, I definitely should have. 

must-have-5

[5] Pacifiers! Like so many parenting decisions, the decision on whether or not to give your baby a pacifier is pretty polarizing. We introduced the pacifier to Lyla while she was still in the hospital and it didn’t have any negative effect on her breastfeeding habits. Today, she will still take her “wubby” in the car and in her crib at nap/bed times and we are totally ok with that. 

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The fun people at Little RemediesĀ® are asking all you mamas out there to reach out to them on social media! Either tweet them @LittleRemedies or post on Facebook using the hashtag #LittleRescue to receive tips and advice from pediatricians and nutrition experts on how to sooth your sweet babies as well as to get special offers and product samples. A few lucky moms will even score an in-home visit from the Little RemediesĀ® rescue team complete with delivery of Little RemediesĀ® Gas Relief Drops, Gripe Water and NEW Advanced Colic Relief Drops. 

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 Thinking about heading to Target soon to stock up on the Little RemediesĀ® products? Make sure you take advantage of the 20% off Little RemediesĀ® Advanced Colic Relief Drops using Cartwheel and get a $5 Target Gift Card when you purchase any two Little RemediesĀ® products (Gas Drops/Gripe Water) — both deals expire 10/17/2015

You can also check out the Little RemediesĀ® website for more coupons, free samples, fun videos and a chance to win an in-person rescue from the Little RemediesĀ® rescue team. 

Those are my 5 essentials for baby’s first few weeks at home. What would you add to the list? 

 

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A Gift for Mom

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EatASNICKERS #CollectiveBias

snickers-basket-hero

Moms give up so much.

It’s something I always knew but never fully understood until becoming a mom myself. 

Really, it starts as soon as we find out we are pregnant. Right away, we start making little lifestyle changes – we switch up our diets, stop some of our favorite activities and are forced to find new sleeping positions. 

Once baby comes, we give up restful nights, adult conversation and sometimes our careers. 

As our babies turn into toddlers we give up clean houses, quiet car rides and our sanity (kidding…mostly). 

messy-house

^^ If Lyla is awake, this is what our kitchen probably looks like.

Of course, there isn’t anything that I wouldn’t give up for my children. Being a mama is the most rewarding experience and I love being able to stay home with my sweet Lyla girl but, that doesn’t change the fact that some days are just downright exhausting. 

Most days, I use Lyla’s nap time as my time to catch up on our never ending piles of laundry, or to do the dishes, or to work on posts for the blog but I am really trying to allow myself time to slow down and enjoy some “mama time” before mister Byrd comes along. Because this time around, I know what I’m getting myself into with a newborn. I know that those sleepless nights are just around the corner again. I know that any “mama time” that I can get now is extra precious because soon it will be so hard to come by. 

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Luckily, I have an awesome husband who understands my need for “mama time”.  So when he gets home from a long day of work, he offers to take Lyla and Rocco out on a walk and I whip out my “mama time” basket. 

My “mama time” basket is exactly what it sounds like! It’s where I keep a bunch of my favorite things so I don’t have to spend precious alone time searching around the house for something to do. 

Inside my basket I have…

magazines | lotion | nail polish | lip balm | nail polish | a notebook (toddler scribble free) | water | a couple of SNICKERSĀ® bars

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It’s crazy how rejuvenating a half hour of uninterrupted nail painting, magazine reading, note making and SNICKERSĀ® eating can be. 

I highly suggest that every mama here makes one of these baskets for themselves – whether you have young kids at home or not! Not a mama? Make one for the favorite mama in your life – it really doesn’t take a lot of time and I promise that they will appreciate it.

Next time you are at Walmart, pick up a few of their favorite things — some magazines, a book, maybe a nice scented candle — grab a cute basket to house it all in, and when you are at the checkout stand, don’t forget to add a few SNICKERSĀ® bars because really, you can’t go wrong with all that chocolate, peanut, caramel and nougat goodness. 

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Be sure to check out other great SNICKERSĀ® ideas and to take the quiz below to find out who you are when you are hungry. (I got rebellious..haha)

 
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