Surrogacy: Second Embryo Transfer

***If you want to watch the vlog of this day scroll down to the bottom!***

This past Friday I had my second embryo transfer! I am with a new family, it didn’t work out with another transfer with my previous family so they released me from our contract. I feel this time around is going by so much better and faster! From agreeing to work with another to the transfer was only 6 weeks! That’s very fast considering everything that needs to happen from start to finish.

The day of the transfer my two year old decided to wake up 3 hours earlier than normal and since I knew I would be sleeping pretty much the next 3 days because of the mandatory 72 hour bed rest I let my husband sleep in. I got my little guy and myself ready for the day, equipping ourselves with everything green!

It is all superstitious about the green but why not play along? It’s fun! And it gives successful vibes all around, it can’t hurt! We all had green socks on, my little guy and I had green shirts and I had green underwear also. My little guy also had green shorts on but he had a mouth full of peanut butter and started laughing and yup it went all over his green shorts! Here we are all ready to go!

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The office is about an hour and a half drive so we put on Toy Story 3 for our little guy and packed a few snacks for him too. I also made sure to bring a water bottle because I needed to empty my bladder out 20 minutes before arriving at the office and then start to sip on water, they want your bladder to be semi-full.

Since he woke up so early he crashed pretty quickly and slept the whole way there and then I also had our bear lucky safely buckled in. The wonderful lady that I have been working with for her surrogate planners sent me him for good luck!

We got there in good time, about 10 minutes before we were supposed to arrive. They took me in the back while my husband took our son to go play in the halls for the next hour and a half. They had me sit on this heated bed and explained the procedures, signed paperwork, and gave me a Valium to calm my nerves and to also calm my uterus for the transfer. Then they asked me to undress from the waist down, gave me a gown to wear and socks too. After taking the Valium I heard the nurses giggling about how cute my husband was on the other side of the curtain. Then when the nurse came back to see how I was doing the receptionist came in to ask the nurse how long the procedure was going to take because my “boyfriend” was asking, I corrected her and told her he was my husband. The nurse then said to try and get my husband’s phone number so they can text him when I was done. They both giggled and had big smiles on their faces. I wanted to say something but I was already loopy from the medication and I knew that my husband would handle it and he did! He refused to give them him phone number and told them that he knows that I will text him when I am done, love him!

The next time I go into the office I will be filing a complaint on the nurse because of how cold, unprofessional and rude she was. I went in there so excited and she was an absolute buzzkill. After they put me in the OR room for the transfer(they sometimes use an office also but the OR was available) they draped warm blankets across me for comfort, put my legs in stirrups and the embryologist came out to greet me. She said the embryo looks great and that it survived the thawing process(20-25% don’t survive this process) and that it looks great! I asked what the grade is and she said it was a 4BB which means that it’s an expanded blastocyst, cavity larger than the embryo with thinning of the shell and the inner cell mass quality has several cells loosely grouped and the trophectoderm quality has few cells forming a loose epithelium. In English it means that this is a very good embryo and it’s a girl!

The IVF doctor came in then and got me all ready for the transfer the procedure is just like a pap smear. He inserted the catheter into my uterus, an ultrasound machine was also used to make sure the catheter was in the right spot. My “lovely” nurse was using the tranducer and couldn’t find the right area the doctor told her repeatedly it’s not in the right spot so she kept on pressing down harder on my stomach. She was pressing down so hard that I was gripping the edges of the bed and pushing on the stirrups, the doctor saw my discomfort and grabbed the transducer from her and placed it where it needed to be, guess what: no pain. After they found the right spot on the ultrasound he released the embryo into the catheter with a needle. The embryologist then took the needle from the doctor and checked under the microscope to see that it was gone and it was!

Next I lied there for 30 minutes, after the time was up my nurse came in with a wheelchair and wheeled me to my little room to get dressed and then wheeled me downstairs where my husband met me out front.

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I had to go to the bathroom so badly so the first stop was at a McDonald’s nearby.

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I have read that other surrogates eat McDonald’s french fries to help clog things up in there so the embryo sticks. Again, it’s all completely superstitious but I haven’t had McDonald’s in over two years and I wanted to join in on the fun! After we ate we were on the road again and it took 3 hours to get home because it was right in the middle of rush hour. I was so happy when we finally were home. Now I am on bed rest until tomorrow afternoon. I’m catching up on videos and blogs for the most part and enjoying my semi mini vacation. I will find out in 10 days if the transfer was successful or not, but I may or may not test before then haha

 

 

 

 

 

 

Road to Surrogacy

Hi friends, this post is going to go over my experience of becoming a surrogate and to those women who are thinking of doing it themselves. I have quite a few good tips for you to read and consider before you embark on this journey. This is my first surrogacy journey and it might be my last I’m not sure yet, only time will tell; I am not an expert on this topic as there are some women who have done this several times and probably could give you a better viewpoint, but I will give you as much knowledge that I have on this subject. I’ll go through the steps in the process in order and break down each step.

  • Get educated: you need to decide if you are wanting to go independent and work directly with the intended parents or work with an agency who will be the middle person between yourself and the intended parents. If this is your first surrogate journey I would suggest that you work with an agency, there are a lot of steps that need to be done between meeting the couple and the birth of the baby(s). Also they are highly knowledgeable in this and will help you each step of the way and if there ever arises a problem between yourself and the intended parents they are there to help resolve the issue. If you decide to go through an agency you now need to look up reviews about each agency, don’t just pick one that is close to you, it might be worth it to travel a bit than to deal with incompetent people during the whole pregnancy. If you decide to go independent, get your name out there that you are looking for intended parents either online, or through your friends. Another decision you need to make is whether you want to be a gestational or traditional surrogate. A gestational surrogate is what I am, it’s when the baby is not biologically yours, it’s when they take the mother’s (or egg donor’s) egg and combine it with the father’s (or sperm donor’s) sperm and combine it to make the embryo. A traditional surrogate is when the baby is yours but you are using the father’s sperm to create the baby. There is no way I could do that, knowing it was my child and giving it away to be raised by someone else.
  • Online application: I’m going to take the rest of the steps related to my journey since I did work with an agency. This is an extensive application about yourself, your medical history, pregnancies, where you work, and everything else personal. i wouldn’t lie on this application, the truth will always come to light and it will waste a lot of time on your part and the agencies’ part.
  • Phone call/email: If your application if your application is accepted you will get a phone call or email asking you to come in to be interviewed, go over your application and go through a psychological screening.
  • Interview: Dress well to this interview because they will be taking your picture to show to potential intended parents. During the interview they will ask questions to make sure that you know what you are doing and that you are sure that you want to continue on this road. Some of the questions they will ask are:
  1. What made you want to be surrogate?
  2. What kind of parents are you willing to work with?(single, homosexual, heterosexual, foreign)
  3. What kind of relationship do you want with the intended parents? (close, anonymous, distant)
  4. Are you willing to carry multiples?
  5. How soon are you willing to become pregnant?
  6. Do you want anymore kids after this journey?
  7. Are you willing to work with intended parents who are of a different race than you?
  8. Does the intended parent’s religion matter to you?
  • Psychological Screening: Some agencies do this and some do not. This test is to make sure that you are psychologically capable to carry someone’s child. The test took me about 2 and a half hours to complete and then the psychologist comes in to review my answers. She told me right after we were done that she saw nothing alarming and welcomed me to the surrogacy program.
  • Matching Process: Since there was 15 intended parents waiting to be matched with a surrogate it only took 2 days to receive a phone call of a potential match. I was given an overall profile of the intended parents and then via email I was sent the couples’ complete profile that the agency did on them including a picture. I agreed to do a phone interview with them the following week.
  • Phone interview: This may be done in person also if the parents live close enough or are willing to travel. I received a phone call from the agency and then they put me on the line with the parents and we were able to ask whatever questions we wanted. Some of the questions that I was asked were:
  1. How is your diet?
  2. What made you want to be a surrogate?
  3. Are you expecting any life changes anytime soon?
  4. Do you live in a safe/clean neighborhood?
  5. What do you do for work?
  6. Do you want anymore kids?
  7. Is your child healthy?
  8. What is your typical daily routine?

And then it was my turn to ask questions, and I asked:

  1. How many kids do you have?
  2. Why do you need a surrogate mother?
  3. What kind of relationship will be between us during the pregnancy and after?
  4. Do you want breast milk provided by me after the birth?
  5. How do you feel about abortion or reducing fetuses?
  6. How many IVF cycles are you willing to attempt to achieve a pregnancy?
  • After the phone interview: I had my answer right away, they were so perfect for me and I told the agency the next day that I was willing to work with them. The parents on the other hand took their time and didn’t give me answer until the end of the week but they picked me! Make sure to really think about this because you are going to basically be temporarily married to these people for the next 10+ months of your life.
  • Medical evaluation: Now that you are matched a lot has to happen between now and the embryo transfer. The first step is to go to the IVF office that the parents want to work with to get an evaluation done, all that is done is a lot of blood work(about 8-10 tubes of blood will be drawn) and an ultrasound to check out the womb that you are renting out. They will then give you a calendar of what they expect to happen, when the injections will start and when the embryo transfer will be.
  • Spouse evaluation: Being that I am married they asked for my husband to also have blood work done to make sure that he’s not giving me any diseases, and the spouse gets paid for this.
  • Contract: This part was such a headache, there was a lot of confusion over our insurance and what not so it had to be sent back and notarized twice. You will receive a phone call from the lawyer that is recommended by the agency. He/she will go over with you what the contract means and if you are okay with it, if you are not okay with something you can ask for it to be changed, your lawyer will call the IPs’s lawyer and their lawyer and the IPs will talk hopefully agree and make the changes. Once all parties have signed & notarized the contract you are now legally bound to it. READ EVERY PAGE! My contract was about 40 pages long and i have read it through at least 5 times to make sure that I am doing everything on my part and made sure that nothing was snuck in there.
  • Insurance Evaluation: This is rather simple, you just fill out the form with your information and your insurance’s information if you and your IPs have agreed to use your insurance for the surrogacy. A review is done by a third party to make sure that your insurance is sufficient for a surrogacy pregnancy.
  • Your Cycle and Donor’s Cycle: I was put on birth control for 3 weeks to get my body on the same cycle as the donor, also I take a pre natal and baby aspirin everyday.
  • Weekly Ultrasounds/Injections: As the transfer day draws near you will be going to the IVF office on a weekly basis about 6 weeks out from T-Day. Keep in mind that if the IVF office is at a hospital make sure to bring cash with you, I was lucky that I had cash on me the first time I went. Again about 6 weeks out you will begin your injections, depending on the protocol by your IVF doctor the injections could be inserted into the stomach and inter muscularly. I had to do 2 and a half weeks of injections by the stomach and then two weeks out from the transfer date was the inter muscular injections which was every Monday and Tuesday.  Once the donor donated her eggs I started another injection that is also inter muscular and is to be done every day until around 12 weeks of pregnancy. I was really scared about the injections at first but the office walks you through how to administer them and gives you instructions week by week to not overwhelm you. I have my husband do the inter muscular injections, which works out great because I don’t think I could stick a needle that large into my rear end.
  • Week Before Transfer: This week you will be taking 6 tablets and the two inter muscular injections. Read the instructions carefully on the tablets, make sure you take them at the right time of the day, I was also sent a detailed calendar for that week of what medications to take and when.
  • Day of the Transfer: Bring someone along with you to drive you back home or back to the hotel. Depending on the doctor’s orders you may be on bed rest for up to 3 days. I was on bed rest for 3 days but I read that some other offices don’t require the best rest and tell their surrogates’ to take it easy. Also if you have little ones, get someone to help out with taking care of them so you can focus on relaxing.
  • Embryo: The doctor will tell you right before the transfer how many embryos he is transferring and the gender. My doctor transferred only one embryo and it’s a boy!
  • Compensation: I think this was the number one question I was asked whenever I would tell someone I was going to be a surrogate. Yes, the compensation is very generous, you won’t have to pay for a thing BUT it takes a while for the compensation/reimbursements to flow in. You will be given a base amount, a fee for the start of injections, a fee for the embryo transfer, reimbursement for any mileage you drive over a certain amount, a misc. monthly spending compensation, reimbursement for premiums paid, reimbursement for life insurance plan, and also other amounts that are paid if something should come up like multiple fetuses, dropped cycles, complications at birth, etc. Everything will be laid out for you to read in the contract.
  • Reimbursement: How my agency does it is you fill out a reimbursement form and fill out everything you are entitled to for that month and also including the section of the contract where to find why you are entitled that compensation or reimbursement. Typically these need to be turned in by some date out of the month to receive payment for the beginning of the next month. To give you an idea I applied to this agency summer of 2014 and they said no because I was still breastfeeding my son, they asked me to reapply when I had weaned him off which I did this past spring. I was invited in for my interview this past April, matched with intended parents in May, contracts were signed in June, injections started mid-July, first reimbursement was beginning of August and the transfer was only a week ago. And still I won’t get the first payment of my base pay until October. This is not a quick process so if you are hurting financially I wouldn’t advise being a surrogate as there are a number of factors that can delay the process.

My transfer was a week ago today and it went great! I may find out tomorrow if I am pregnant or not but for sure by this Thursday. I almost sure that the embryo took I have the same pregnancy symptoms that I had with my son. I am so anxious to find out if the embryo took or not, my IPs asked me not take any pregnancy tests because they are superstitious about it, I promised not to, so I am very anxious to hear about the results hopefully tomorrow. I’ll update you guys with what happens next! Thanks for reading! 🙂

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For a detailed look of everything that goes on at the embryo transfer check out my embryo transfer post!

Truth About Motherhood

Lacking slumber

Mealtime is a battlefield

A messy house is unavoidable

Having a nap is a small miracle

Good hygiene is something in the past

Starting to doubt the ability to be a mother

Purchasing more products to hide those circles

Bites, slaps, pulling of hair, and headbutts are expected

Increasing feeling of distance from the significant other

Waking early and through the night to cries is a daily ritual

But when you…

Hear that giggly laugh

See those chunky thighs

Smell that luscious baby perfume

Receive a sloppy-booger face smile

Taste the food they place in your mouth

Smile in glee after a new skill is acquired

Feel tiny arms draped around your neck

Look back on photos of the time that has past

Twirl around until the ground you fall filled with laughter

Know in your heart that you did all you could possibly do…

Those are the moments that happen to make tomorrow not so scary.

Thank you for reading! Criticism, praise, suggestion, thoughts, questions, please leave them with me 🙂

My Birthing Story

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I was 40 weeks and one day pregnant when my contractions started at around 6am. I knew that these contractions were different than the previous contractions I was getting because they lasted longer than 4 seconds, and I was having bloody show. I remember going to the bathroom and seeing the bloody show and crying because I was so excited that finally my baby was coming! Starting labor was perfect timing for us because I already had an appointment that day with my OBGYN at 10 that morning. The Hubs started to get all excited as we went to the appointment. I didn’t even want to go to the appointment because I knew that I was in the early stages of labor. Before the appointment we packed our hospital bags but left them at home. We went into the office which was just around the corner from us and the doctor checked my cervix. I was one cm dilated, completely thinned out and the baby was very low in my pelvis. She said that labor could start that day or still a week from now. I was discouraged leaving the office because I was so sure that he was coming that day. The Hubs, having awesome intuition, called out of work that night because he had a funny feeling that I was going into active labor that day. We went home and went to sleep, I wanted to get in as much sleep as possible and the Hubs needed to sleep for work that night, I woke up around 6pm with intense contractions. I started cleaning the apartment because I didn’t want the baby coming home to a dirty house, and the last thing I would want to do on the first day home with the baby is the dishes.

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Around 10pm the contractions kept getting increasingly more intense, but I just didn’t want to go to the hospital and for them to send me home. Then the contractions got so bad that I told the Hubs to get ready and that I was going to call the doctor. I told the doctor what I was feeling and she said that I could come on down to the hospital whenever I wanted to. We gathered our bags and drove to the hospital; we had to go through the emergency entrance because it was after hours. They got a wheelchair out for me and pushed me up to the maternity floor. All of the medical staff were very professional and were always offering to help in any way that they could. They also gave us plenty of space for us to work together to get through the pain of the contractions.

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Upon being assigned to a birthing room they checked my cervix and I was already 6cm dilated when we arrived around 11pm. I thought I was in the home run stretch and that it wasn’t going to be much longer until the baby was here, but my body had other plans. The room had a jet tub that I spent most of my time in, the Hubs was right by my side the whole entire time, supporting me, when I needed to squeeze his two fingers to get through a contraction, needed help walking around, and making runs to the kitchen where they had water, juice, Popsicle, etc. While going through the pain he was updating everyone through texting and I was updating my mom and two friends, until around 3am when the contractions started to get really intense that I shut off my phone and asked the Hubs to do the same because I was in a lot of pain and needed his full attention, at that time also I was between 8 and 9 cm dilated.

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Again I thought that it wasn’t going to be long until the baby was here. It wasn’t until 8:00am that I asked for some pain relief. I absolutely did not want to go this route but I was so scared that I wouldn’t have enough energy to push the baby out and result in a c section. This fear came from co-workers and friends who told me their horror stories of having to have a c section or nurses threatening for them to have a c section. They gave me a shot of a narcotic and all it did was take the edge off but it was enough for my body to make that final 10 cm dilation. After about 20 minutes of slight relief my water broke and after that the contractions were almost more than I could handle; they only lasted for about 20 minutes until I started pushing, they got so intense that I was heaving for air. I will never forget how scared the Hubs looked; it broke my heart seeing the concern on his face. The nurses told me to tell them when it felt like there was a lot of pressure down there and that it felt like I had to take a crap. That pressure was intense, I thought he was going to pop out that I started squeezing my legs together. I was yelling to the nurses, “He’s coming out!” the Hubs assisted me to the bed and they put the birthing bar on and took the end of the bed off. I tried squatting at first, which is what I wanted to do, but my legs were just too tired and the position just was not working for me. The nurses then suggested that I try basically doggy style, this worked better and the nurses could easily keep track of how far the baby was being pushed down the canal. Then the nurse suggested the first position she wanted me in which was semi-inclined with my legs way spread apart.
They tried assisting me with pulling my legs apart and I freaked out, I told them that I would hold my own legs. It seemed like I was pushing for a half hour but I actually pushed for 2 hours and 15 minutes. Even though he was very low in my pelvis, I was just very scared to push too hard because I was afraid of the pain but it actually didn’t hurt too much, just a lot of pressure. Finally, my beautiful baby boy emerged out and the Hubs got it all on video. He was placed right on my belly, I looked over at the Hubs who was still recording and I saw him wipe a tear away. It was the most beautiful moment of my life. Especially since I have never seen the Hubs cry before in over 4 years of being together and with how tough of a guy he is, I knew that he fell in as much love with our baby boy as I did. My son only cried for a few seconds until he was placed on top of me after that he was so calm just looking around as they dried him off. Also while I was holding him for the first time he peed and pooped on me haha. I like to think of that as our first “bonding moment.” We let the cord stop pulsating before the Hubs cut the cord. It was a lot tougher than he thought to cut it. As we were waiting the doctor stitched me up inside, I guess my tear was rare because it was inside rather than outside.

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Then, I was able to give him skin to skin for an hour before they took him, weighed him, measured him, etc. I was also able to breastfeed him right away, he latched on so quickly and fed for about 20 minutes. My son’s Apgar score after immediately being born was a 9 and then 5 minutes later he was a perfect 10. Right before they weighed him he pooped all over the table, haha. The Hubs was right there with the nurse through it all already being a protective daddy. He even told a nurse off because how she was handling him. After we got everything packed up in the room, I was placed in a wheelchair with the baby and the Hubs got all the bags, as the nurse pushed me over to the postpartum room, there was a lullaby that played on the loudspeakers as all the nurses congratulated us as we were moved to our next room; where we didn’t leave until around noon on Saturday. Birth was the most extreme pain I had ever gone through but I sincerely have already forgotten the pain and I am ready for our next beautiful baby.

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New Body

I have always been naturally petite, thanks to my good genes. But I have never looked at my body and went wow! I’d tap that…I see pictures of other women who are in awesome shape and I have this strong urge inside to get where they are at. My body has always been very kind to me, I have never been over 135, and that was heavy for me-usually happened right after a breakup or bad week. When I was pregnant I gained a whooping 40 pounds but lost it all in only 2 months after birth. Even though I gained a lot my body still was kind to me in that it didn’t look like I gained THAT much:

This was 8 months pregnant:

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This was 2 months after giving birth. Not bragging, just sharing my journey with my body:

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I have always had very physical jobs that I was afraid to push myself at the gym because I didn’t want to be too sore to work. Also, I have worked the overnight shift for the past 5 years and that shift just messes everything up, it’s very unhealthy. Then when we moved to California I worked during the day for 8 months but we couldn’t afford a gym membership. Now that I am a stay at home mom and we are financially fit, there has never been a time like now to get my dream body! I got an awesome membership at 24 hour fitness. This gym is the best, you get a clean towel every time you come in-which is a huge deal considering laundry-the gym is huge, it’s very clean and so close to home.

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I have been going for 4 days now and let me tell yah I am so sore that it makes me angry. My toddler wants to jump all over me and it is just so painful but I let him anyways. I couldn’t turn this cute face away:

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I started doing at home workouts also, to really get my body in gear, and again my little guy always wants to play. He thought it was hilarious watching me bounce around, and then when I was doing situps and pelvic thrusts he couldn’t resist but throw himself on me:

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Most importantly I have started to eat VERY clean. No cheats or snacks at all, this is probably the hardest part. I started meal prepping on Sundays, this is so helpful. I feel that the number one reason of why we order take out is because there isn’t anything prepared, and don’t want to waste an hour cooking after a long day. I search Pinterest so often for healthy meals and try them out when I can. My fridge has never been filled with so much produce and I love it.

I also have so much more energy! I go to the gym about an hour after I put my son to sleep(around 8pm) and I don’t get back until about 11pm. After calming down, showering, etc. I don’t go to bed until midnight. Then, depending on when my son wants to wake up which is usually around 7am, I don’t get my full 8 hours. 7 hours is not bad but I am one of those people that NEEDS their sleep to function. One of the awesome things about having a toddler is that you HAVE to wake up with them, once I am awake I am good it’s just the dragging yourself out of bed part that is so difficult. I have my son as my no snooze alarm clock.

My son truly is a blessing, I have changed so many of my lifestyle habits because of him. My new fitness craze really started with him, I have been feeding him such awesome meals and I saw how different his meals were from mine. I thought instead of buying two different types of food why not the same healthy food and share? I also never want him to have to see me suffer due to my health, due to my own poor health decisions.

My goals:

  1. I would like to have a six pack, actually that’s not a like, I MUST have one. Even if it only happens at one point in my life I would like to say that I had one and with pictures to prove 😉
  2. I would love to compete in figure competitions, I don’t know if this will ever happen, but I see girls who are competing and I just know that I can do it!
  3. Be able to inspire others to change their lifestyle with how they eat and how much they exercise.
  4. I have decided this fall to go back to school to be a nutritionist, so really this new fitness craze is going to be my life for now on 🙂

I get up everyday now so excited to challenge myself more and more. I have been learning a lot with new recipes, fitness articles and observing how my body responds to what I am doing to it. I think I have finally found my career path with this. Bring on the gainz!!

Thank you for reading! Criticism, praise, suggestion, thoughts, questions, please leave them with me 🙂

Easter Basket Ideas

Before we get started with the basket I wanted to share with you my son’s picture with the bunny story:

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Needless to say it didn’t go over too well. I was so excited when I was at the mall and saw the bunny with the line not being too long. I gleefully hopped in line, with my son being in such a good mood. While waiting I made sure that he wasn’t crabby or anything, he was completely fine. I saw the mom in front of me hand off her 1 month old to the bunny, he didn’t like the bunny, but they were able to get in a few shots at least. Our turn approached and as I was holding my son while the bunny was waving to him, he immediately turned his head and put it on my shoulder (That’s what he does when he is shy). As soon as he did this I thought, “This isn’t going to go too well.” As we approached the bunny I could feel my son clutch onto me tighter and tighter. I tried to soothe him but it was no hope, He was shaking as I placed him in the bunnies’ lap. He immediately started crying and reached out to me. In the picture he is looking directly at me like, “Why mommy?! WHY?!?” I thought it was so funny, I like these pictures better than when the kids behave; I have such a good laugh. He did the same thing with Santa:

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And here is his first picture with the bunny compared to this past one, crazy how much they grow in a year!

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One more Easter themed story, sorry! I saw this picture on Pinterest and thought it was the cutest thing, I tried it with my son when he was 3 months old and it didn’t turn out so well. When I placed him in the empty bath tub he was already fidgeting but when I poured the eggs around him he went crazy. This was definitely a Pinterest fail, haha.

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On with the baskets!

We didn’t bother getting him a basket last year because, well, he was only 3 months old. This year I felt the same way, though, because he still cannot comprehend what is going on; so getting him a basket was more for the enjoyment of ourselves than for him. 🙂 It was a little difficult finding things for a toddler but I think I came up with a few good items:

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First pick out the basket that you want, maybe you want to go with a theme. This was the cutest one at Target that I could find that would hold all of the items inside of it. Also to get the support at the bottom of the basket to better display the items, but when they are that little they really don’t care what it looks like. As long as they can put it in their mouths 😉

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Instead of filling the eggs with candy that I would end up eating instead of him anyways, I routed for a more toddler friendly approach with Annie’s bunny cookies and springtime fruit snacks.

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Always have to get a plush, even if it ends up at the bottom of the toy box, like they usually do, it’s just a must. And with this being his first basket, I just had to get him one. I held up this white one and a brown one at the store for him to choose and he kept on grabbing both at the same time-love my smart boy ❤

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Definitely start educating them of what Easter is truly is all about, they are never too young for this.

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This is tailored for my tot specifically, he loves straws! It’s the only way that I am able to get him to drink anything lately.

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Edible bubbles! This is my favorite item out of them all, and I cannot wait to see his face when he experiences this. I was telling my husband not too long ago how this needs to be created, too bad I didn’t patent it. Jelly Belly beat me to it!

Some other ideas I thought of but couldn’t find at the store yet were:

  • Crayons and coloring books-strong supervision here
  • Sidewalk chalk-Even more supervision here
  • Harmonica/maracas
  • First Bible
  • Puzzles
  • Finger Puppets
  • Slinky

There are a ton of other items that you can stuff the basket with but I don’t like buying things unless I know that there will be good use to put to them. Traumatized from all of my mother’s knick-knacks. I found the above to be the most useful, but then again this is tailored to my tot, your tot could be totally different! Have fun stuffing and hunting!

Thank you for reading! Criticism, praise, suggestion, thoughts, questions, please leave them with me 🙂

All About Breastfeeding

If you are here because you saw the lovely image of a woman’s breasts then congratulations you are about to read a blog about breastfeeding, gotcha! Don’t go just yet if you are a guy though, I have some really great tips for newbie dads. How to be encouraging of your wife to breastfeed, everyone knows the breast is best!

My experience with breastfeeding has been effortless, seriously, I am one of the very blessed few that never had a problem with it, I continue to this day to breastfeed my 13-month old son. I feel deeply for the mothers who so badly wanted to breastfeed but because of medical reasons, the baby wouldn’t properly latch or whichever the case may be and weren’t able to. There are tons of ideas to help such as lactation cookies, certain foods, and herbs; but, through what I experienced and learned the best way is to feed your baby as often as he/she wants. When there is a need for supply your body will usually provide it. A pump is very helpful to really get your supply going. Not many women know but it is a law now that your health insurance has to provide a breast pump to you, usually you can apply for it within 30 days of your due date. Follow this link here to read more information on this, this site is the exact one that I used to receive my completely free double breast pump made by Medela. I ordered it on a Wednesday and received it the very next day, there was no hassle from my insurance company.

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What I would do is after my son was done feeding I would pump the rest out which was still about 3 oz per breast. I was able to pump so much that I donated over 300 oz. to a milk bank for premature babies. The milk bank sent me a check of $300 to reimburse me for the breast pump, but since I didn’t even pay for the pump I profited the money. If you are interested in donating start here, the process is quite lengthy to be milk bank approved, there is a questionnaire, two forms to be filled out by your doctor and the babies’ doctor stating that donating the milk would not interfere with the health of either mom or baby, a DNA swab to prove that it is you only donating the milk, and a blood draw to test for any diseases. It is quite strict to donate but the milk is going to premature babies, they are being as careful as possible with these precious little babes.

I also even tried selling the breast milk on a site called onlythebreast.com, some requests even come from men who know the wonders of breast milk and swear that it improves their athletic ability. Can you blame them? There is a reason why it is called liquid gold. But even my husband who loves the gym wouldn’t try it, that was just too much for him, haha.

I have read that a lot of women are afraid that their babies are not receiving enough milk, and that they are always waking up to feed. The babies’ stomach is about the size of a ping pong ball, with him/her growing so fast and how easily breast milk is absorbed into the body, they are definitely going to be feeding a lot. On average I was feeding my son about 12 times per day for about 15 minutes per feeding. Now it is only about 3 times per day for only 10 minutes or less. As your baby grows the less you will be breastfeeding. It is easier to see how much your baby is in taking with formula and measured bottles, but I believe that if you let your baby feed as long as they want and as often as they want they will most of the time be okay. Your pediatrician will be measuring and weighing your baby often, and they will tell you if there is an issue with their growth.

Get educated! A lot of the stories that I have read and heard of mothers giving up on breastfeeding is because they lacked knowledge in the proper techniques of holding the baby, how often to be breastfeeding, how to get your milk supply up, etc. There are baby classes going on at hospitals, tons of books on this subject or just ask any mom who had a successful experience with breastfeeding. After I had my son I barely needed the nurses’ help with feeding him, I knew how to do it from what I read, I felt like I was well equipped going into this and that only came from spending hours of research.

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For the dads:

The mother of your child just gave birth, she is in A LOT of pain. The first two weeks she needs you like she has never needed you before. everything is sore and she has to care for this new little person while being solely the source of food. Establishing this connection between mom and baby is crucial and painful. She needs you to be fully supportive of her. You can do this by:

  • Telling her how proud you are of her.
  • Help with making her comfortable while she is breastfeeding-some babies take up to an hour per feeding.
  • Get her food, water or whatever she needs while breastfeeding.
  • Have her get comfortable and then bring the baby to her.
  • Help with chores around the house as much as you can so she can focus on breastfeeding.
  • Take the breastfeeding class with her so you can learn everything there is to know, you both are a team now to be the best parents to this new little person.
  • Help with washing the breast pump parts-this can be quite the hassle.

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The benefits of breastfeeding are endless, of course there is all of the awesome health benefits for the baby; but, it is also so convenient. I was able to co-sleep with my son in my arms until he was 5 months old. When he would wake up in the middle of the night I wouldn’t have to get up and warm up a bottle, I was right there! I was able to get so much more sleep this way. He only got sick once in his first year, I believe this is because of how healthy I am and that helped his immune system out incredibly. He eats every solid that I give him. Spit ups were rare and so were gas bubbles which makes for a happier baby. Obviously we saved so much money this way also, with formula costing about $1 per ounce, that adds up quick!

I highly encourage you to seek this path with your baby, it’s a real struggle in the beginning to establish and so many times there is an opportunity to throw in the towel, but I promise that you will be totally satisfied with the experience if you decide to stick it out. I could have thrown in the towel so many times when my son was a baby. Going back to work was tough and bringing my pump with me everyday was annoying, I also had co-workers that would make fun of me calling me the amazon woman for my decision to breastfeed-I think they were jealous though. Then we moved across country, I had my mother take care of my son as we drove across, luckily I had an electrical outlet in my SUV, I had to pump while we were driving, I can only imagine what the truck drivers thought I was doing-but it was a free show for them! Then upon acquiring my new job I had to ask for them to provide a room for privacy for me to pump, this was embarrassing to ask of a new employer-especially with all of the managers being men… but they were so great with providing me a very quiet room with a “Room in Use” sign I had to flip and with a mini fridge! I could have given up at anytime but I was sticking to my decision, I wanted to give the best to my son, don’t we all? My discomfort, embarrassment, and hassle is worth it if it is the best for him.

How was your experience with breastfeeding your baby? Would you do it again?