Motherhood. Where do I even begin. It is both beautiful, challenging and somehow completes every part of me. When I was a young child, I remember always picturing myself as a mommy when I grew up and I knew that I would be a great mommy and I wanted to be a best friend to my kids like my mom was to me. I never knew the challenges that came along with Motherhood. I never knew how much you would worry about these precious gifts from God that you brought into this world.
A dear friend of mine is a new mommy to her second child and I have been chatting with her about her challenges she's been having and that has prompted me to write this post, because I'm hoping that, like some moms out there, I want you to know, that, yes, we go through this... so I want to share with you my story. I guess I should start with my birth stories.... Cause those are always fun... LOL
With our first child, Nicholas, our birth plan, as with most, we wanted to of course go the natural way with Natural childbirth, but our birth plan had something else in store. I was high risk due to gestational diabetes which I luckily was able to control just by diet so I didn't need to take medication, but by week 30 my blood pressure began escalating very high and I was put on bed rest at home because literally whenever I stood up or anything, my blood pressure would sky rocket. I then developed severe migraines due to this blood pressure increase and was diagnosed with preeclampsia. The Dr's wanted me to keep Nicholas inside me to term, so by week 37 we decided to induce... I was terrified because this was not my birth plan. I wanted to go into labor naturally, but at the same time, due to the headaches and blood pressure, our only concern was making sure Nicholas was safe.
On a sunny Friday afternoon, September 2nd, around 4pm we checked into Mercy for a scheduled induction. The contractions didn't start at first, but after they increased the Pitocin, I remember the contractions just being completely on top of each other and a minute apart. The thing was.... I wasn't progressing enough to deliver... After 30 hours of labor, I needed to get some sleep. Jack and I were both extremely exhausted. We had walked the halls. I had tried bouncing on the yoga ball, every and anything I could to try and get things moving, but still nothing. I hit my breaking point and so I decided to get an epidural. I couldn't feel the contractions as much and alas I was able to get some sleep. About and hour after I had gotten the epidural, just as I had shut my eyes to get some sleep, the lights were turned on and a team of what seemed like 10 nurses and staff came rushing into our room because Nicholas' heart rate dropped and they needed to rotate him.... As they rotated him, that's when my water broke.... The panic of the nurses and staff coming in, will live in my memory forever. I will never forget that moment. Even sleep deprived, that is one memory you will never forget. It still seems like yesterday.
At 6am, now Sunday morning, my Doctor came into my room and he checked me, but again I hadn't progressed any from when they gave me the epidural, and since Nicholas' heart rate dropped, he wanted to get him out, so he explained that they would be performing a c-section. I was freaking out. "OMG They're going to cut me open?" I had never had a major surgery. Jack had calmed me down. He was there to let me know everything would be OK and he would be right there by my side. I remember being wheeled down to the OR and then as you enter the OR, there is a chill from the temp, not like the other rooms in a hospital. OR's are sooo cold. I remember being so cold. They prepped me, but I remember being so tired I just wanted to sleep. I was fading in and out. I don't know if it was lack of sleep, or surgery but Jack explained my "eyes were rolling back in my head" and he didn't know if he was suppose to go to me or to Nicholas. Jack was still able to cut the cord. It was beautiful. We still were able to experience everything even with the C-section... Born at 6lbs 9 oz, he was absolutely perfect!!!!!
After day 1 in the hospital, Nicholas was diagnosed with Jaundice, which I like to call it a baby tanning bed when they have to put them on the babies, cause that's almost what it looks like. We had a few challenges at the hospital. He wasn't responding right away to the hearing test, so they had to take him back, but everything was fine. We were able to go home 3 days later.
Jump forward 4 months..... I found out I was pregnant with Brooklyn!!!! Yes, you read that right.... 4 months later is when we found out I was pregnant with Brooklyn.... Brooklyn's pregnancy, I had Gestational Diabetes yet again, Yay ME!!!! But along with that, I was extremely sick the ENTIRE Pregnancy, I developed Gallstones, and I was in Preterm Labor starting at week 28 so I had to be put on Bed Rest, which is not easy when you an infant.... LOL Nicholas luckily was an easy baby and napped a lot and pretty much slept through the night since he was two weeks old so it was so easy having an infant and being pregnant. I had the option of doing a V-BAC with Brooklyn, but since my pregnancies were so close together, and the high risk of my pregnancy, I was at a higher risk, so Jack and I decided to do the c-section route again with Brooklyn.
With Brooklyn, I was actually due on Jack's birthday, September 12th, but I wanted my scheduled c-section date to be August 29th because it's my Great-Grandma's birthday. The Dr told me I couldn't use that date because it was too far away from my due date, but Brooklyn had other plans.... At 2am on August 29th, I went into labor. The contractions were strong, but not super close together yet, so I decided to let Jack and Nicholas sleep. At 6am the contractions were super strong and I told Jack I had been in labor since 2. He was not too happy that I had not woke him up. I was just trying to let him sleep. That's me though, always thinking about other people... even when I'm in labor too apparently. So I took a quick shower, because with how Nicholas' labor was, I wasn't sure when I was going to get another shower and I didn't want to go to the hospital without showering. When I tried to get in the shower, the contractions began to get a lot stronger and I couldn't stand, so I literally bathed in the shower as best I could sitting down. Jack had to help me out of the shower. The contractions were so strong and at that point were only a few minutes apart. My mom got to my house to stay with Nicholas so Jack and I could get to the hospital.
We got to Kaiser at 8am, the doctor checked me and I was between a 5 and 6 so they took me right over to a room while we waited for an OR. I was dehydrated because I hadn't drank any liquids during those hours between 2-8 because I remember when I got induced I wasn't allowed anything to drink or eat or before the c-section. I was trying to remember the c-section rules so that I could go in right away just in case. We had a lot of False alarms with Brooklyn because of the Pre-term Labor stuff. I was on this medication to stop the contractions I was having for preterm labor since I began having contractions at 28 weeks and then I was on another medication for nausea since I was sick the entire pregnancy. Because I was so dehydrated, they had a very difficult time getting my IV in before taking me down to the OR. It took 6 different nurses to finally get the IV in, which they ended up putting it in my hand. When they wheeled my down to the OR, they told Jack it would only be about 10-15 minutes before they brought him down... or so they thought....
They wheel me down to the OR... That chill. I remember that chill. It was that same chill that I felt when I went into the OR when I had Nicholas. But this time I was more coherent. I hadn't been in labor for 40 hours. I was awake, I was ready to meet my baby girl. The anesthesiologist explained they would be giving me a spinal vs epidural. The effects are shorter and it just numbs the bottom half of your body. That sounds great to me!!! So they were getting ready to put the spinal in and they go to raise the OR table where they are going to do the c-section and it's not working, so we have to switch operating rooms.... By the time Jack got down to the OR and they had me all setup, an 45 minutes had past by. Jack was getting concerned. But he was glad everything was OK. I remember the pressure, the pulling, the tugging, the things I didn't remember when Nicholas was born, and then that feeling when they pulled her out... I remember the Dr saying, "It's a good thing you didn't V-BAC this one! " Arriving at a 9lbs 2oz Miss Brooklyn was born!!! She was definitely a big baby!!!!
A lot of people call me crazy, a lot of people ask if Nicholas and Brooklyn are twins. They're Irish twins. Their birthdays are 11 months apart. Yes, my two oldest children are 11 months apart. Brooklyn, just like Nicholas, slept through the night at 2 weeks old. She was an easy baby just like Nicholas....
And spring forward, 3 years later, we found out I was expecting again... Jack and I thought we were done, but things happen, and I again was expecting. I had just got in the best shape of my life, I was lean and working out daily. I had recently become pescatarian, and I felt amazing. I was excited about bringing another little baby into our lives as well.
My pregnancy with Jonathan was pretty easy, I did once again get diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, but again it was all diet controlled and I only gained 15 lbs during my pregnancy. I was literally all baby. When I was pregnant, Jack and I decided that Jonathan would be our last child and that I would have my tubes tied while I was under the knife of the c-section. So, I did the classes and I was ready. Jump ahead 9 months, on August 4th, 2015, it was a beautiful morning and I just woke up one morning at 6am and I couldn't go to sleep. Jack was urging me to go to sleep because he knew that I hadn't been sleeping well the nights before that, but I couldn't sleep. At 6:30am, my contractions started super fast and super hard, I didn't have even a second to think. I was in labor. They were 4 minutes apart from the start. This was different than all my other pregnancies. How does it just happen this fast? None of my other pregnancies were like this and this kid was like, "LET ME OUT!!!!!"
We got to the hospital around 9 am and just like when I had Brooklyn, I was between a 5 and 6, so they told me it was time to meet my little man. They wheeled me up to the OR, and this time, no hiccups with the table, thank goodness. They got the spinal in right away, and then low and behold, this amazing Dr listened to music in the OR!!!! Yes! This is my kind of Doctor!!! I remember as they were putting the spinal into my back, Donna Summer "Last Dance" was playing and as they put the needle in I let out a song ballad with the music "this is my last chance.... FOOOOOORRRR LOOOOOVEEEEE!" It was a disco music as they delivered Jonathan, which was perfect, because I could get down to singing some disco songs. I was singing as they delivered Jonathan. As they pulled Jonathan out, I got that same tugging and pulling and the doctor told me I was going to feel a lot of pressure as they pulled him out. They lifted him up and as they lifted him up to show him to Jack, the first thing Jonathan saw was Jack. Jonathan and Jack were staring at each other, separated only by that sheet . Their eyes on each other. I wish I had a picture of that moment, but the doctors and nurses said it was unbelievable because Jonathan was just staring at his daddy.
Jack was the first to hold all 3 of our children and if you ask him to this day, he will always brag that he was the first to hold all of our babies. Jonathan was the only one I got to do skin to skin with in the OR. I did not get to do that, actually, I didn't know you were able to do that when I had the other two, or I would've requested to do it. Jonathan was my biggest.... This little guy, but actually the biggest guy was 9lbs 4oz. It was my perfect last labor. It ended with song... which is perfect because I love music.
When they took us to the recovery room, as the spinal wore off. You have to wait for that feeling to come back into your body. You know that scene from Kill Bill when she's telling her brain to move her little toe, that is what I felt like trying to get my feet and legs to move after my spinal. I told Jack this later. Our hospital stay was nice and we got to go home a few days later.
The recovery after each c-section was pretty easy for me. I'm a weird freak of nature as some call it and I like hosting people at my house because the day I was released from the hospital, I hosted dinner and cooked a full course meal of a flank steak, broccoli with roasted garlic and scalloped potatoes because that's what all moms that leave the hospital are suppose to do right... I'm kidding ladies... this is not what's suppose to happen. My two best friends had come over for dinner that night and they pretty much told me, "SIT YOUR ASS DOWN! YOU LITERALLY JUST HAD A BABY!" because I had just had my body cut open and I needed to rest!
I thought things were going to be so easy when Jonathan arrived because that's how it was with Brooklyn and Nicholas. Boy was I wrong. I didn't know about everything I would experience. I vowed to only breastfeed with Jonathan and I was determined. Jonathan started losing weight because of his latch, so they sent me to a lactation consultant. I was like, "WHAT? He's on there, how is he not eating?" What I didn't know is that when you go to one of those, is they almost shove your boob in your babies mouth!!! I was taken back a little bit but I was trying to get him to latch the write way, so I did the "Boob Shove" but then, I didn't need to and he was latching correctly... Oh thank the heavens!!! And he was eating all the time... I mean, all the time, no for real... ALL THE FREAKING TIME!!!!! He was a cluster feeder.... What the heck was this? Brooklyn didn't do this. Nicholas didn't do this. They ate and Napped. And when they napped it was for like 1-2 hours. Jonathan, not so much... Jonathan only napped, pretty much if I was holding him or if I was near him, or maybe 20 minute increments. And at night, oh goodness, it felt like he was up all night. Like all night.
I never had postpartum with Nicholas or Brooklyn, but with Jonathan, Jonathan was a "MOMMY ONLY" baby. He rarely would let anyone but mommy hold him, so that made things very challenging, especially when we needed to try and get things done around the house, but I we had to figure out a way to make it work. I also had to figure out a way to deal with what else I had going on emotionally. I had a lot of Postpartum issues. I had the baby blues, I was sad, I had the lack of sleep. It was a mixture of different things, and I knew this wasn't me. This was not the Crystal that I knew. This was not me. What was going on. I was being challenged. That first year challenged me. Challenged Jack, Challenged us. We had many trials and tribulations during Jonathan's first year of life. He was different than any of our other babies. He was a typical newborn though, but he also brought Jack and I closer because we learned how to work through all of those challenges. There were days where I didn't know how I would get through the days, and Jack was right there by my side. There were nights where I just wanted to sleep, but I was up with him, rocking him, trying to make him feel better.
Our first year with Jonathan challenged every part of us as parents, every part of me as a mom, moments I was so tired I thought I didn't know if I was doing the right thing, times I would question if I was being a good mom, question if I was doing everything I needed to do to give everything I could to Nicholas, to Brooklyn, and to still be the loving supportive wife to Jack. The tiredness set in me. It made me question every part of me. I had never been so tired, but it also made me stronger. I had overcome that first year. It was not easy. There were moments that felt completely unbearable. There were moments I wanted to just throw in the towel. There were moments when I was so sore I wanted to give in and just give him some formula in hopes he would sleep. There were moments I would question if I was losing a sense of me.
From all those moments I went through I know that all those moments were me, all those moments made me who I am. I overcame those moments that felt so unbearable, but I kept pushing through (sometimes it called for afternoon coffee), I pushed through the soreness (thank goodness for lanolin), I prayed when I wanted to throw in a towel that God would give me strength and HE did!!!, and Jack and I are so completely close and so much on the same level. We have grown so much more as a couple, as friends, as lovers and it's because of everything we have been through. We are so much more stronger than we were then.
Just know, that whatever you may be going through as a mom, some moments may be hard. Whether you have a newborn or not, sometimes these moments may seem unbearable, but these moments are not forever. We are never given what we cannot handle and you will get through this. You will get through this with prayer, personal development, talk to friends, hope, and knowing that you can do this!!! You've got this! Never Give up on Yourself!!! Give yourself a pep talk every morning and know that you can do great things!!! The Power is all Yours!!!!
May You have a Blessed Week and May Motherhood Be a Blessing for Each of You!
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