The Best Thing I’ve Ever Done

People say it all the time. You don’t know love until you have a child. Well, I knew what love was. My parents, my grandparents, my husband, my siblings. But you don’t know pure love, love without consequence or ultimatum. Love without boundaries or limits until you have a child.

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If you told me 10 years ago to just hold on. Just wait. Life will make sense again. Maybe I would have lived a little differently. But I would literally change not one thing up until the moment I conceived Chase. He was always meant to be.

If you have children, I don’t have to explain how this feels. You don’t want to envision a world where they don’t exist. What was I doing before I had him? I was binge-watching Netflix, going to the gym, doing laundry and trying to be skinnier, prettier, happier.

Little did I know how little everything else would matter after I was blessed beyond my wildest dreams. I laugh now (9 1/2 months later) at what was concerning me even up until Chase was born. After 6 weeks I was going to return to the gym. At least 2-3 times a week (hahahahahahaha)!!!!!! I think I’ve been to the gym a total of 3 times in almost 10 months. I’m sorry to anyone who has to look at me in a bathing suit BUT I’d honestly rather play with my son.

I took Chase with me to the gym and attempted to drop him off at the daycare for at least 30 minutes while I did some cardio. He screamed and cried when I handed him over and I kept going back to check on him through the glass wall. He was so unhappy and confused. I took him back and told the nice caretaker that it just wasn’t worth it to me. I didn’t need to work out that badly. She explained that it was totally normal for him to have that reaction but to keep coming back so he could get used to it (I will) but then she leaned in and whispered “I like what you said, though”. “What did I say?” I asked. “That working out isn’t that important”. I grabbed my baby who was now smiling in my arms as I hugged and kissed him and went home to play. The gym will be there tomorrow, but he won’t always be this little

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I am not proud of the person I was for most of my 20’s. I didn’t realize how selfish and self involved I was. I thought mostly only of myself and how things effected me. Was something convenient for me or was something too hard. What was the most fun and lets do that. It wasn’t until I became someone else’s whole world that I grasped how different I would become and how it would just be a natural reaction to motherhood. Selfishness is not in a mother’s vocabulary, at least it shouldn’t be.

I’m not talking about taking time for yourself (which I am only now realizing how important that is) but who you are as a mother. Like my husband says, if you have the best intensions for your child, you’re doing a good job.

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I don’t deserve Chase, I shouldn’t even be alive. Between asthma attacks leaving me intubated or a car accident leaving me without a dear friend and in ICU for weeks, I understand now why God kept me here, I was always meant to be Chase’s mother.

You don’t realize the magnitude of love you feel and how you are completely humbled by God’s grace until you become a parent. That goes for adoptive parents, step-parents, grand-parents, etc. There are always things in life you wish you could change or at least have a crystal ball to see into the future but I seem to forget everything else when I hear my baby laugh or he puts his head on my shoulder.

What would I do without this little angel of mine? Now that I have him, picturing my life without him is crippling. 

As I’ve said in previous posts, I had pretty bad anxiety after he was born, so holding him a lot made me feel calm and that I was keeping him safe and forming a strong bond. 

Everyone has their opinions so I heard a lot of “You need to put that baby down!”

Why? Why do I need to put him down? I don’t have any other children to take care of, the house is a mess, but I have a feeling that isn’t going to change any time soon, should I be worried he won’t go off to college some day because I held him too much as a baby? 

My cousin sent me a quote a couple months back that read:

“‘I wish I had held my baby less’ – Said no mother, ever”. 

Did I have a hard time with napping because I held Chase while he slept for most of his infancy? Yes. Do I regret it? Hell, no. Your baby will only be tiny for such a short time. 

I remember posting a picture like this and someone commented “Oh, I miss my son letting me snuggle him like that!” And I thought to myself: Her son is still a baby! But it’s true, they don’t stay that little for very long and before you know it, they won’t want you to hold them and rock them. You’ll have to chase them to try and steal a quick hug. 

These moments are so precious and sometimes I have had to pee so badly I didn’t make it to the bathroom in time! (I told you I’d be honest) but when my baby needs to be soothed, he looks to me for comfort. When he gets hurt or if he’s tired or hungry, he looks for me and knows I’m there to take his worries away. What a gift. 




There truly is no greater love.

Homemade All Natural Body Tanner

I have never had nice, smooth legs. You know those girls (maybe you’re one of them..I hate you) who have really beautiful legs? No bumps, scars, freckles, cellulite, just all one-tone and even? That has never been me. I have always had very fair skin and my legs never tan. They always burn and when the redness subsides, I am left with the true form: Pasty. Because of that, every flaw is magnetized: Cellulite, bruises, and after a pretty serious car accident, many scars.

Pregnancy and child birth didn’t help matters. I got spider veins, varicose veins and even more cellulite. Thank you, genetics and mother nature. You evil bitch.

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In order to feel remotely confident in a dress or shorts, I have always used self tanners to hide all of these imperfections. If you have used them yourself, you know they ALL smell. This is from  Dihydroxyacetone (or DHA), which is basically the main ingredient. The smell never really bothered me all that much but my husband could smell it from a mile away. I would so much as open a bottle and he would call out from the living room: “Are you using that smelly tanner again??” They would stain the sheets too, so there was no hiding it.

I tried every single brand of tanner from the cheap stuff at Walgreens to the really expensive stuff at Sephora. They all smell. All of them. So, I switched from self tanners to airbrush tanners, which is basically makeup for your legs. It washes off with soap and water and because it isn’t meant to create a lasting tan, doesn’t include Dihydroxyacetone, so it doesn’t smell! Whala!

When I because pregnant, I really started paying attention to the ingredients in these (and all of my) products. Some of them were pretty scary, if you do the research. Parabens, dangerous preservatives, etc. I didn’t want my child to one day have health issues because we didn’t know in 2016 that using Phenoxyethanol causes brain tumors or something.

I decided to look for an all-natural or organic airbrush body makeup that washes off with soap and water. There wasn’t anything out there, so I decided to make it myself.

After a TON of research and turning our tiny kitchen into my own, personal chemistry lab, I realized that I wasn’t a chemist BUT I am an esthetician, which really helped. By trial and error, I discovered how to make my own all-natural diaper cream, super-hydrating moisturizer (I’ll share soon in future post) AND the most perfect body makeup I have ever used.

First, you need an all-natural/organic body lotion, preferably unscented. Read the ingredients. If you don’t know what something is, look it up. I use one with ingredients I understand. Next, you need to decide if you need light, medium, or dark makeup. I am medium, so I use the Neutral pigment blend, which I think is the most versatile.

Here are the 2 dry makeup ingredient blends I use:

http://www.makingcosmetics.com/Pigment-Blend-Bare-Neutral_p_194.html

http://www.makingcosmetics.com/Mica-Bronze_p_209.html

I blend together 1 Tbs. Body Lotion, 1 tsp. Pigment Blend and 1/2 tsp. Bronze Mica, and here are the results:

Screenshot_2017-08-06-19-15-42-120170814_19540620170806_19070220170814_195521I have never seen better results with any other product out there that I have tried. Because I eliminated coconut oil (one of my MANY attempts), it finishes like a matte makeup. No oil, no rub-off, no slick. I let it dry like I would with a liquid foundation and then dress and go!!

It doesn’t rub off on my clothes but I do shower before I sleep because I don’t like the feeling of makeup in bed!

I’ll be posting my “recipe” for all-natural diaper cream and super hydrating moisturizer ASAP!! Stay tuned:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post Partum Anxiety (AKA Depression’s bitchy twin)

Thankfully, people are finally talking about post partum depression and sharing their personal stories. More and more celebrities are starting to come out in the open and proclaim their journey’s of PPD and express their feelings, which is such a huge step because PPD isn’t anything new!

That being said, I hadn’t heard of Post Partum Anxiety. Of course, we know anxiety and depression go hand in hand but I feel like I was left in the dark about something I probably should have been warned about. A heads up. So here is mine to you, a cautionary tale, if you will:

After our traumatic experience with Chase in the children’s hospital, I was feeling really anxious. As I have said previously, I have always suffered from anxiety, but those 48 hours really sent me over the edge (my hormones, just after giving birth, didn’t make matters any easier. Let me tell you, even the coolest cucumber will be on an emotional rollercoaster after having a baby. If you haven’t had a baby already, get ready, this is no joke. And if you’re a mom, I need say no more. But read on, nonetheless).

When we got home, I had this overwhelming fear that my son was somehow going to die. Every second of the day, my mind raced, thinking and worrying about all of the possible ways he could get hurt or die and I felt it so strongly that I would get anxiety and panic attacks. I would hide in another room (usually the bathroom), and shake and cry but didn’t want anyone to think I was crazy. I literally felt crazy. I had these thoughts and unrealistic fears so frequently that I started to wonder if I, myself, was going to somehow hurt him when all other irrational fears passed (and I think THIS is why we don’t talk about these things).

For instance, I was afraid to give my baby a bath alone because what if he drowned? My mind went like this: “I would never let him drown, so I can put that fear aside, so what else could possibly go wrong? What if I let him fall in the tub?” Knowing I would NEVER do that, I would then get mad at myself, ashamed and embarrassed for having such a thought and I would wait until my husband got home to give him a bath so I wouldn’t be so anxious. I don’t know how much newborns retain, but I didn’t want Chase’s first memories to be of his mother sobbing and shaking and checking the temperature of the tub 800 times or come up with some OCD way of wrapping him in a towel afterwards or something.

I was afraid to iron a shirt in the same room as the baby because I was afraid he would somehow get burned, but again, I realized that was irrational. If he was alllll the way over there, HOW could he possibly get burned? So then I thought “would I purposefully burn him??” Of course not, so why would I have that thought in the first place. “I must be going crazy”. Needless to say, we had a pile of my husband’s wrinkled work shirts, which all ended up at the dry cleaners.

I was so ashamed and confused. I didn’t want to share these feelings that I had all the time because even though you hear of people talk about overwhelming thoughts, feelings, and emotions, you think there’s no way anyone else is having thoughts like these and surely they’ll take my child away if I share them. A crazy lady who’s afraid she’s going to harm her newborn but also won’t let anyone else hold him? Lock her up!

Right after we got out of the children’s hospital, we had an appointment with Chase’s pediatrician. As stated in my previous blog post, Chase was slightly jaundice (in case you don’t know, some babies are born “jaundice” meaning your baby has more bilirubin than it can get rid of. Bilirubin is a yellow substance that’s made when the body breaks down old red blood cells. It leaves the baby’s body through urine and stool but some cases are worse than others. It gives your baby that “yellowish” look. Sometimes they need special lights, almost like a tanning bed, and others cases clear up on their own). Knowing some babies need the light therapy, I asked our pediatrician if putting Chase in the sunlight would help move things along for him. He said yes, that can certainly help, so I took his words quite literally, went home and sat outside in the sun with Chase for about 15 minutes. Keep in mind, it was early November in North Carolina and he was in pants and a onesie, perfect for that day. After that time, we went inside and slowly but surely, Chase started getting red.

Panicked, I called a client of mine who is a PA (I called her 523 times over the first few months) and asked her what this could be. She informed me that yes, putting baby in the sunlight would help, but not directly in the sun like I did. “The pediatrician told me to!” I cried, “But he meant to put Chase by a window for a little while, not outside in the direct sunlight, he’s too little and his skin is too sensitive”. I started shaking and crying and knowing I had just caused my baby harm I asked her if I had hurt him: “Did he get burned, did I make it worse, will he get a fever and die???” Will he be ok??” She told me to calm down, “You thought you were doing the right thing.” But that didn’t make me feel any better. I proceeded to call another pediatrician’s cell phone who discharged Chase from the hospital (she has probably since changed her number…or blocked mine), interrupted her family dinner and left a panicked voicemail about how I left Chase in the sun and I think he’s going to die. She called me back right away, mid chomp of her chicken salad, and asked how long I had left him in the car alone. “Noooo, I cried”, and explained the story and she said “I thought by your voicemail that you had left him in the car! He’s going to be fine.”

I wasn’t buying it. I went up to my husband in the kitchen (it was his birthday, by the way) and as I shook, told him I thought I was losing it and I didn’t want to feel this way anymore. I knew that what I was feeling all day long was probably not normal. I said “I’m not ok” and he just hugged me. He told me everything was going to be fine, the baby was happy and “look, he’s not even red anymore!” I guess he was just hot from the sun he had never seen before. Poor kid.

I even called the pediatrician’s office one day in tears, asked for a specific nurse who I really liked (and asked for, personally, during appointments) and told her I thought I was losing it and needed an appointment. She very kindly explained that Chase’s pediatrician could not prescribe me Xanax and that I should call my own primary caredoctor. Thanks a lot, Lindsay.

For the longest time I felt this anxious or worse. I WAS prescribed Paxil but was too anxious to take it! I was afraid I would sleep too well and not hear the baby cry or that my milk supply would dwindle, even though they say otherwise.

I would get panic attacks when people would come over or try to hold Chase. I made everyone wash their hands (everyone should with a newborn), use purell, take their shoes off (still do), ask if anyone had been around anyone else sick, did they have all their shots, and I rarely left the house. Granted, it was wintertime and flu season and even the pediatrician told me not to take Chase into the grocery stores until he was a little older.

I know being cooped up in the house all the time didn’t help. Sometimes getting out makes a WORLD of difference. Even just driving to get a cup of coffee in the drive-through with the baby while he slept gave me a little perspective. (Chase LOVES being out and about now. I think he was relieved to discover the world consisted of more than 2 faces and 6 rooms).

The truth is, once I cried and told a girlfriend about the way I had been feeling and my worries and scary thoughts, she immediately shared similarly embarrassing (to her) thoughts and anxieties. Not everyone feels this way, but it’s important to know that you are not alone! I think the thought of isolation is almost as bad as the feeling of anxiety. We have to know there are other people out there who feel, or have felt, the same way. Our bodies go through hell and back from pregnancy to birth and the aftermath. Our hormones are sky high and then hit a brick wall. There’s no way you can keep a level head after that. Granted, some of us cope better than others, while some of us go whackadoodle! Up, down, left right and there’s no telling how you’ll feel or what crazy scenario you’ll come up with.

To give you some hope, (if you are currently going through anything similar) it took about 2 weeks for these irrational thoughts to start to subside. It did take months for me to start to back off a little with the baby and feel ok about others holding him. Some would argue that I’m still crazy and overprotective but I don’t care! He’s my son. I AM protective and don’t really care if I offend anyone when it comes to him. I’m not a bitch, I’m a mommy.

 

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The Worst 48 Hours of My Life

So my mom came and surprised us in the hospital after Chase was born. She flew to North Carolina from Boston to surprise us and it was so sweet and very emotional to have her walk into our hospital room. We were able to let Nick (my husband) go home for a night and get some sleep while my mom took over as secondary care giver.

The next day the 3 of us took the long (2 blocks) haul to our home with our new baby in tow. We spent our first day and evening with our son in his very first home and my mom flew back home to Boston the next day. I was nursing Chase and trying to get the hang of it, (which is no easy feat), while spending our 2nd day home when I noticed he was falling asleep right after starting to feed. Now, he had only been alive for a total of 3 days, so it’s not as though anything was common or uncommon for him at that point but I felt like something was off. I’m a worrier by nature, so Nick thought nothing of it. He was probably just tired, we decided. However, when he WOULDN’T wake up to nurse, I began to panic.

I tried everything I could to get him to wake up but he just wouldn’t. I finally handed him over to Nick and he tried all that he could think of: undressing him to get him cold and mad, tickling him, turning all the lights on to wake him, but nothing. I called the pediatrician and after hearing his state (plus, he was slightly jaundice) she suggested we take him to the children’s hospital. We couldn’t be too careful with a newborn.

Now, I remember taking our time because the pediatrician didn’t seem alarmed, and Chase was really just sleepy, as it seemed, but I’ll never forget when Nick put him in his car seat carrier and Chase didn’t move an inch that he looked at me and said “Get in the car. Now.” I knew we were in trouble.

The children’s hospital was really close by as well, thank God, but it was a long ride to say the least. I tried waking Chase up the whole car ride there and he wouldn’t even lift an eyelid. I was obviously already crying when we pulled up to the emergency entrance and when we got inside, they took us in right away.

As the first nurse checked us in and began asking questions, I could barely get the answers out. I was in complete panic. Something was wrong with my baby and he was only 3 days old. My mind started racing and all I could think of was “Please, God. Don’t take him from me.”

When we got into the ER to be examined, they took Chase’s blood and that, at least, got him crying but he was still extremely lethargic. They found that his blood sugar had dropped dramatically from what it is supposed to be. They tried giving him formula (I was breastfeeding but was willing to do whatever they told us) to get his blood sugar up, but he spit it all up. After a couple more routine tests, they sat us down and the ER doctors explained that they needed to admit Chase and he was going to need to have a full infection testing done. They explained that they needed to check his urine (this meant a catheter was required), his spinal fluid (a spinal tab would be required), and X Rays (his arms would be pinned above his head), and we would need to leave him for the spinal tap because they would need a sterile environment.

The doctor (who was extremely kind) explained that the spinal tap would be much like the epidural I got while giving birth to Chase. This broke me down. Not only was I not allowed to be there and hold him, but they were going to invasively stick a tiny tube into my son’s spine to extract fluid to see if he had some kind of infection.

I’ll never forget sitting in that waiting room while they did the spinal tap. Your mind takes you to some pretty dark places when you have nothing to do but think and wait. You learn a lot about yourself and your spouse in a moment like that.

After watching them put a catheter in my newborn’s newly circumcised penis and watching him scream in pain, I decided I couldn’t watch them pin his arms above his head to take his X Rays. I sent Nick in with him because I couldn’t take any more. I felt so helpless and completely alone. There’s no comfort you can give or receive when you’re watching your child in pain.

After every test, I grabbed Chase and held him and cried with him. I wanted to make the medical staff just do the tests on me instead. He was too little, too small, too new for all of this. Too innocent.

We were finally admitted upstairs where we would spend the next 48 hours waiting on test results, wondering if our new baby had meningitis, or worse. They would be pumping him with antibiotics (just in case he did have some kind of infection) through an IV in his tiny hand, which would be wrapped up in a cast made of a heavy stint and a diaper. This was awful because his tiny arm couldn’t hold the weight of the cast and he kept hitting himself in the head and face with it while trying to sleep.

They had an old, squeaky, reclining chair, a “couch”, and a little crib that looked more like a cage for a small animal. They us a few thin blankets and pillows. I couldn’t sleep and neither could Nick so we just took turns watching Chase while the other shut their eyes (eventually I just climbed into the crib with Chase to try to sleep, at least I could be near him). I was breastfeeding him every 2-3 hours and the nurses kept coming in throughout the night and day to check his vitals and push more fluids and antibiotics.

At one point, I sent Nick home to sleep because all we were doing was waiting. We also didn’t have anything with us as far as clothes or toiletries so I sent him home for a little while to try and sleep (which he didn’t) and gather some things.

The worst part was not knowing and just praying that Chase was ok. I had a lump in the back of my throat that was just waiting to break free with the sound of anyone familiar and close. It is extremely isolating, being in a situation like that without any family or childhood friends around. I felt really alone. There’s something about the way people who have known and loved you your whole life can make you feel safe. Even just safe enough to break down because I was trying so hard to keep it together and as parents, Nick and I were just trying to be strong. But as a daughter, I needed my own parents at that moment and I couldn’t have them, which was really hard.

After 48 hours of being stuck in that room, holding my little baby, watching him get poked, prodded, and examined, we were finally met with the team of doctors, PA’s, medical students, and residents who explained that all of Chase’s tests had come back negative. THANK GOD. They came to the not so clear conclusion that the combination of Chase being jaundice and not getting as much milk as we thought contributed to his drop in blood sugar. We had a lactation consultant come to the room and help me.

I HIGHLY recommend seeing a lactation consultant if you are a new nursing mom. They have all been such a huge help to me and were completely covered by our insurance. If it weren’t for them, I probably wouldn’t have continued to nurse because I was paranoid that Chase wasn’t getting enough milk and that this would happen again. These women were truly a huge blessing! The lactation consultant in the children’s hospital was like an angel. She was so kind and helpful. I ended up using a nipple shield for Chase because he was having trouble latching and my nipples were raw and chapped. She saved me. She was like having my mom there. she was so gentle, empathetic and kind. Sometimes all you need is another kind woman around to make you feel ok.

We were finally discharged after 2 days and we got to pack up and take our healthy baby home, which was such a blessing and huge relief. On our way out of the hospital, I looked around for the first time and realized I hadn’t left that room once. As we walked down the hall towards the elevator I began to feel really guilty. Room after room of sick children, some of whom won’t get to go home. Their parents are in there just trying to make their child happy and comfortable enough to put their little minds at ease and not think about their illnesses and pains.

I had been thinking about how long 48 hours felt. How uncomfortable I was and how I just wanted to take our new baby back to our house, to all of the comforts of home. Meanwhile, some of these people are just praying to stay there longer because that means their child is still here. How seldom we realize just how lucky and blessed we are.

As I said before, I am an anxious person by nature, I always have been. But after this stay in the hospital, I was about to find out what it really means to be anxious. If I thought I knew about anxiety before, I was about to have an awakening like a sledge hammer to the head.  If I thought I knew what it was like to worry before, I was about to find out what it’s like to have your heart racing out of your chest while you shake and sob alone in the bathroom so no one can hear or see you lose your mind because you’re certain your child is going to die.

Enter in: Post Partum Anxiety…..

(This picture was taken early in the day before we called the pediatrician. Chase looks so tiny, only 3 days old!)

 

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(This was in the hospital. One of the items I asked Nick to bring from home was Chase’s Rock N Play so he could be more comfortable and I could watch him sleep better from the couch. His cast was so big and this was the only way he could sleep.)

Chase Nicholas Provencher!! 10/27/16

If you’re reading this in late July or after..you haven’t missed something, it has taken me 8 months to post about the birth of my son. And of you stay tuned, you’ll read all about why it has taken me 8 months (if you’re a mother, you already know), all about napping (or lack there of), nursing, (thank you, lactation consultants!) Post partum anxiety, losing friends, gaining friends, starting a family away from family and tons more…as quickly as I can get them written, anyway.
SOOOO…Here is the beginning story of my gorgeous, perfect little nugget we like to call “Chasey”!

My water broke at 4:45 AM on Wednesday, October 26th, 2016 and I thought I was going to have a baby in a matter of a few hours! (LOL!) 26 hours later, we welcomed Chase into our family.

I was tested positive for GBS, which is called Group B Strep. A fancy (and scary) way of saying bacteria, perfectly common and normal. It means that when you’re water breaks, you have to go right to the hospital because your baby is at risk of getting the bacteria, as the amniotic sac is what is keeping him or her protected.

I woke up right away, wondering if that “leak” was, in fact, my water breaking and went to the bathroom. I sat down and thought maybe it was just that I needed to “go” and was experiencing an embarrassing side effect of late pregnancy and peeing my pants. After I thought I was finished, I stood up and called to my husband who came stumbling in the bathroom with 1 eye open.

“I think my water just broke, but I’m not sure”

Just then, more of the “water” came out all over my legs the bathroom rug I was standing on.

“Oh. Yup. My water is breaking.”

“Get back on the toilet!” He panicked.

So, if you didn’t know, which I didn’t because nobody told me: when your water breaks, it isn’t just one quick gush of liquid like you see in the movies, this is an ongoing river that never stops. Just when you think it’s over, it’s like “A River Runs Through It”. It’s an embarassing, never ending trickle that it ridiculously uncomfortable and to make you feel a little worse, they stick a puppy pee pad under your tush in the hospital, only they don’t change it as frequently as Dorothy changed Todo’s.

Now, I had heard that when you get to the hospital and decalred that you are, in fact, in labor, they (the evil nurses) don’t let you eat anything. Nothing. You get Jello, ginger ale and chicken broth. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t had the satisfaction of that meal since I had the stomach bug when I was 9. So I made my husband stop by Starbucks on the way to the hospital and I got a decaf pumpkin latte  (it was October, afterall) and a warm croissant. I didn’t eat the whole thing, I was so nervous and excited. Stupid. Foolish. Eat the whole croissant. Always eat the whole croissant. I was starved for the next 26 hours and my stomach pain was almost as bad as the contractions. Seriously.

So I was standing in Starbucks at 5-something in the morning and GUSH came another wave of water breaking only this time it WAS just like the movies. I had to waddle myself out to the car and thankfully my husband insisted I sit on a towel before we pulled out of our driveway. Apparently he had envisioned this exact moment. I reluctantly sat down like a 4 year old who wet her pants with my sad little croissant and latte. That was an uncomfortable few minutes to the hospital. I had never been so grateful it was so close!

They also don’t tell you once the humility starts, it never ends. My panties had to be swabbed to see if my water had actually broken or if I had just peed my pants. It had. I was beginning to feel like a science experiment. That feeling doesn’t stop either.

What you also may not have known is even though your water breaks, you might not be dilated more than 1 cm. I wasn’t. What you might not be privy to is that it can take HOURS AND HOURS for you to dilate more. It did. I was given Pitocin to start labor because, like I said, I had been tested positive for GBS and they needed to get the baby moving along.

That started my contractions. Holy crap on a cracker. I’ve never been one to handle pain well, but once they start, they keep coming every few minutes like a wave of something fierce. Like an orgasm, you can feel it approaching. You know what’s about to happen and it takes over your whole body. But the similarities end right there. Multiple orgasms are welcome. This beast of nature is no joke and that’s why they have epidurals, which I recommend you sign up for in advance. ASAP. Don’t try to be a hero.

Now, because God has a sense of humor and karma exists, my child has been stubborn right from the whom. When the nurse at my OBGYN visits throughout my pregnancy would try and get a heartbeat, Chase would move away from the doppler. So it was no surprise when they had to monitor his heart rate during labor by placing a small monitor on his head inside of me that he took the monitor off of his head and threw it. Twice.

*Fun fact: After your epidural, you will have so many hands inside of you. From gadgets to gismos a plenty, you’re like an oven on Thanksgiving day. They keep putting things in and taking things out. I cringed in pain every time they checked my dilation but after the epidural I felt nada. Not a thing, which is why you are completely bed ridden once the epidural is administered.

For a little while they started talking about a C Section and I was really upset because I didn’t want one. I was hell bent on a “natural” birth (minus the epidural) but I’ll tell you, after about 15 hours of very little progress I was basically begging them to take him out any way possible.

As I mentioned earlier, due to the Pitocin to help things move along, Chase’s heart rate kept dropping and I had to stay in one, very uncomfortable position, which was basically half way on my left side. Not all the way so I could be comfortable enough for a nap but juuuust enough that I was stuck in some weird half-way position and had to stay there for what felt like forever. At one point there were 2 nurses putting me on all 4’s so that they could move the baby around. I asked them while they were down there if they could clean me up. I didn’t realize the severity of the situation we were in and I felt very yukky. One nurse looked at me and said “we’re a little more concerned with keeping your baby alive”. Okay. I feel like a horrible mother and I haven’t even met my child yet. Thank you.

Needless to say, Chase was ok but we had to be monitored and watch his heart rate. My husband stood in front of that monitor for almost 26 hours.

So after the 26th hour, I was checked again and THANK GOD I was dilated enough to finally start pushing! I had never been more excited in my life! My doctor asked me if I wanted to “watch” and normally, I would pass on such an offer but this was a long time coming so I said absolutely!

They actually wheeled this big mirror in and set it up so I could watch myself give birth. This was SO amazing and I’ll never forget it. I only pushed for 8 minutes and I got to see the whole thing. I saw the hair on top of his little head, saw his face and when he came out completely, they put him on my chest and he peed! (I didn’t care.)

Up until this point we weren’t certain of a middle name for Mr. Chase. But when he was put on my chest (and finished peeing) I rubbed my fingers over his eyebrow and his eyes rolled back and he fell asleep. Just like his daddy. At that moment I declared his middle name Nicholas, after his dad.

So, what you might not have heard before is that right before you’re actually about to give birth, you start to worry because labor in one thing, but now it’s getting real! You are about to meet the person who has been growing inside of you for 9 months, kicking and rolling around. I began to worry that I wouldn’t love him right away. That I would have to pretend. You hear stories from everyone about how there is an instant connection and you worry that you won’t have that. OR you hear about post partum depression and how there is a disconnect between the two of you and so you worry about that (I will be posting a lot on this matter in the future).

In my case, however, I was worried at that last moment. What if I didn’t love him? What if he was just another baby to me? What if I somehow felt jealous of him and the love others gave him but I didn’t share?

And then they handed him to me. And I saw his face. The face I had been picturing for 9 months was right here on me, inches away. I had been envisioning this very moment for maybe most of my life and now it was here. Reality. My son.

Maternal instincts kicked in immediately and I just wanted to nurse him and hold him close, which I did. For months. (That in more detail soon!)

They wheeled us up to our room and I held my new baby in my arms and hugged him as he slept. I had NO CLUE what I was in for….to be continued…

(Here he is! My munchkin. My Chasey. My heart.)

My little peanut. Chase Nicholas Provencher born 10/27/16 at 6:11 AM Weighing 8 lbs. 1.6 ounces of love.

My body has been invaded (or what 38 weeks feels like).

Ok so everyone talks about how you get to a point in your pregnancy where you just can’t take it anymore. I thought I understood what they meant at about 36 weeks…I was wrong. 2 more weeks went by and I feel more like a prop in a sci-fi movie than a human being.

This baby, whom I can’t wait to meet, has been growing inside of me for over 9 months. For a while, no one could tell. Then there was a tiny little baby bump and that pregnancy “glow”. There are, of course, uncomfortable times and lifestyle changes to get used to like not drinking wine anymore and not being able to take the same classes at the gym. Yet those adjustments aside, and the woes of the 1st trimester sickness having subsided, life goes on as usual. You work out in some way, if that’s part of your routine, you move around easily enough and work continues. You go about your day, errands and move along.

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As your belly grows, people start asking you all the routine questions: “When are you due?” “Do you know if it’s a boy or girl?” “How are you feeling?” etc. But then it hits you. You wake up in the middle of the night to pee (yet again), and your body suddenly feels like you’ve been in a serious car accident. Your back is in so much pain, you swear you had been rear ended. Your feet are so sore you think you must have blocked out running a marathon the day before, your fingers are so swollen, your wedding band won’t fit over your knuckle, and this little angel you’re carrying in your belly can move around so much because they’re somewhere around 7 lbs and SMOOSHED in there that you can actually see them moving around from the outside. What it feels like INSIDE is a WHOLE different story.

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My body has been invaded. My belly feels stretched beyond it’s limits and it hurts. I have a baby foot in my ribs and a head resting on my bladder. This baby is losing room and MUST be uncomfortable by now and my body MUST have taken all it can possibly take in 38 weeks and 3 days.

I have never done well in uncomfortable situations. I am a very particular person when it comes to having things the way I like them for myself. I don’t sleep well with others. I have never enjoyed sleepovers, they give me anxiety. We have to have a King sized bed so the 2 of us can co-sleep (meaning my husband and I) because I wake up when someone touches me. I get really hot at night and like to sleep in the cold, but with several blankets to stay warm. I have to sleep with white noise and fresh air, so I use a fan. Not a ceiling fan, a fan right by my face, blowing air at me directly. I understand this won’t work with a newborn, so I’ve gotten used to a humidifier that blows air right by my head to prepare for baby’s arrival. I like to shower twice a day because I don’t like the feeling of being “dirty” even though you’re not really “dirty” after a normal 12 hour day. After I shower, I have to have toner, serum and moisturizer on my face right away before it dehydrates or gets itchy. I have to use body lotion right away for the same reason and it has to be enough time before bed or my body is too sticky and it makes the sheets in the bed feel yukky. I have to have my nails and toenails clipped way down because I feel like dirt and other disgusting elements get caked underneath and it gives me the heebie jeebies. Those have to be clipped over the toilet. I always speak up if I’m too hot or too cold. Anywhere. It can be home, at work, etc. I can’t stand being too hot and sweaty. I also can’t stand being too cold and uncomfortable. I love fresh air so I’m constantly opening windows and doors. I love the breeze. If we’re at someone’s house and they have everything closed and it’s a beautiful day, I’ll just go outside or take it upon myself to crack a door. I’ll be that person.I can’t stand being sick, so I don’t get sick. If someone around me comes down with something, I put gloves on, bleach and Lysol EVERYTHING and take lots of Emergency to avoif it any way possible. I take detox baths and stay away from that person altogether.I’ll quarantine myself. Any ill feeling is too much for me to handle, I can’t stand it. I am one of those people who never gets sick beause the feeling is just too much. I’m giving you all these examples of what probably make me sound OCD, or just particularly bitchy so you can understand what being this big and uncomfortable in my own skin (which I’m sharing) feels like to me. I can’t fix it or adjust it to my liking at all. I just have to sit back and accept that I am uncomfortable.

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Now I am at the point where I’m ready. The nursery is ready, we are stocked up with diapers and wipes, swaddles, a bassinet, a rocker, stroller, car seat, crib, clothes, bottles and pacifiers, books and little keepsakes, new shelves and dresser, a rocking chair and lots of plush blankets and lovies. I felt so unprepared for so many months just thinking of the list of baby items we needed and list of things to get done prior to his arrival, but now that they’re done, the hospital bag is packed and ready to go, I’m just waiting. Waiting for one of those practice contractions to be the real thing or my water to break. Just waiting. I’m so excited and scared. I can’t wait to finally hold this little wiggly guy and tell him how thankful I am to even be able to carry him at all in the first place and how grateful I am that God gave me a son. How I’ll forever be attached to him, even if he’s not in my belly anymore and how for the rest of my life I will be a mother who will literally do anything for her son, even if it costs me something I wouldn’t have given up before. I want to tell him I waited a long time to have him and will probably worship the very ground he walks on. He just needs to come out so I can tell him:)

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34 Weeks of bliss and list of things I miss

Can a girl get a glass of vino over here?? Hello? Table for 1, bottle of petite sirah, please! I have to admit, and it’s no secret, I adore my wine!! It’s my drink of choice and I look forward to it at the end of my day. A glass while I cook dinner and a glass while I enjoy the dish I’ve prepared is my own little routine and tradition. I also really enjoy having some wine with my girlfriends, bringing a bottle of wine down to the beach, having a date night with my husband, enjoying some wine with a great Sunday dinner, etc. etc.

Gym stuff! I actually miss the stair master and working up a good sweat. It just got way too hard, too much pressure on my belly, the baby sits (or jumps) on my bladder and exercising became extremely uncomfortable. I miss classes, equipment, the sauna, all of it. I think I miss feeling like I’ve pushed myself physically and like I’ve accomplished something to better myself and contribute to my health.

That being said, feeling the baby move all around in my belly makes me feel extremely healthy and accomplished. I love knowing he’s active and growing. I’m ok letting myself rest so this little prince can grow and do a little exercising of his own!

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CAFFEINE!! Truth be told, I do drink 50/50 coffee every morning (half decaf, half regular) but I could seriously use a double espresso frappuccino BUT I’m sure I’ll need one more than ever in about a month and 1/2 and that’s when I can and WILL get one!

BRUNCH!!!! I am dying for a bagel with lox and a mimosa! Brunch isn’t “brunch” without a mimosa (or bloody Mary) in my opinion. Preferably a mimosa bar with raspberries. Yes.

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Spicy tuna!! like brunch, sushi isn’t “sushi” without raw fish. You can pretend with shrimp tempura and California rolls, but it’s just make believe until you can have the real thing.

wp-1473985029252.jpgAll that being said, look at this bump! My son is in there and I can feel him moving around and growing/learning/developing all the time! I can’t wait to finally meet this little guy and see what he looks like, who he resembles, and watch him grow into his own little person.

He already loves certain things and dislikes others. he’s really strong and already stubborn. When nurses try to listen to his heartbeat with the Doppler, he moves away. This has happened several times and they all comment on it! The other day, I was putting grocery bags in the car and hit my belly with one by accident (not hard, but enough that the baby felt it). No sooner did the bag bump my belly, did he punch right back! It was so instantaneous and so purposeful that I burst out laughing and had to call my husband to tell him his son has some reflexes!

This baby loves the sound of his dad’s voice. My husband (for anyone who doesn’t know him) is extremely charismatic and boisterous. You know when he’s in the room! When he’s telling a story, the baby moves around a lot in excitement. He jumps around and wiggles. Then when my husband speaks softly to my belly, the baby calms right down and relaxes. It’s the sweetest thing. I don’t know anything for sure, only God does, but I have a feeling this little boy is going to be his father’s mini me…