The Birth Story of Slate Alexander pt. II

Read Part I here.

I was started on the lowest dose of Pitocin they could give me, and baby and I were handling it well. At this time my husband had left, and my doula was here to stay with me while I labored (COVID guidelines allowed only one visitor at a time but the plan was Mark would come back when I was ready to push). I sat on the birthing ball, talking to my doula, bouncing here and there. Standing up when things got too uncomfortable. I kept trying different positions because baby boy was not doing okay. This is when things start to get a little fuzzy. Sometime between midnight and 2:30 am the nurses increased my Pitocin and the contractions started to pick up. I remember talking to my doula one minute and having to focus on my contractions the next. I got down on my knees and leaned over the bed as she applied counterpressure on my hips and back- this was a game changer! It was then when I looked at my phone to see if Mark tried calling and remember seeing no notifications. It was 2:30 and things were moving fast. I pushed my phone aside because I knew I was in for a long night.

The next thing I remember is the nurse asking me to try kneeling on the bed over the peanut ball because baby’s heart rate was dropping. I was on the bed for what felt like maybe twenty minutes before several nurses came rushing in demanding me to get on my hands and knees as they threw an oxygen mask around my face. I just remember telling them I couldn’t because the contractions made it too hard. I quickly realized the severity of it and moved as fast as I could. Sobbing uncontrollably, I kept asking over and over if my baby was okay. The Pitocin and contractions had become too much for him as he had no fluid to act as a cushion. I had to lay on my right side the remainder of my labor with oxygen to keep him happy and healthy.

A little while later the midwife broke my water. Then at some point they began to replace the amniotic fluid that was lost (I can’t remember the proper term for this but essentially, it’s saline pushed back in to help cushion the baby during contractions). This was probably the most uncomfortable thing I ever felt. Not only was I having contractions but with each contraction gushes of warm water rushed out of me and the whole bed was just soaking wet. Sorry, TMI but this is the reality of it ya’ll!

I don’t really have a sense of time at this point. All I know is I was to stay lying on my right side and my contractions continued to grow closer and become stronger. My doula was amazing and continued to support me which provided a lot of relief. Eventually the contractions picked up in intensity to the point where I feel like there was no break in between them. It was so hard to focus. I got checked and was at 9cm. Looking back this was the beginning of transition. Fear began to take over and I just wanted him out! Being naïve, as this was my first and only unmedicated birth, I thought I was ready to push. After one more big contraction the midwife gave me the heads up to start pushing. However, I felt like I didn’t know how!!! I could obviously feel EVERYTHING, so I think that’s when the fear took over and I was pushing prematurely. I asked for my doula to get my husband. Once my husband arrived, so did the OB that was on call. Slate was stuck in at the top of the birth canal and the cord wrapped around his neck. I had to push with everything I had to get him into the birth canal and safely get him out of me. What felt like an eternity, was only fifteen minutes of pushing. After three giant pushes and some aggressive reasoning with the dr., Slate’s head was out.

At 6:06 in the morning, our second son, Slate Alexander was born. Weighing seven pounds and four ounces and twenty inches long. He was quickly taken away as he wasn’t breathing due to the cord wrapped around his neck. I was laying there in complete shock. I just birthed a baby, unmedicated. This was a wild freaking dream come true. As soon as I heard those sweet newborn cries I knew my baby was okay. We had golden hour and I tried initiating breastfeeding. I was in awe.

As side from a few challenges while in the hospital, we headed home that Friday to begin our new life as we knew it.

Share your thoughts with me! Comment below or head to my Instagram page (@iamdevonjade)! 

XOXO,

D.J.

The Birth Story of Slate Alexander pt. I

Over the last several weeks I have taken the time to savor every second of Slate’s birth. Scrolling through all of the photos, remembering what was happening as the photo was being taken and how I felt, snapping my last bump update, enjoying a nice lunch with my husband and Jasper moments before heading into the hospital, feeling nervous and anxious, but more confident than ever before.

Slate’s birth was everything I needed and more. In most ways it has healed me. My birth experience with him was nothing like I expected but everything I had hoped for. It has allowed me to accept the traumatic birth I had with my first son, Jasper. (To read his birth story click here for Part I and here for Part II). I didn’t think I could love birthing a child more than I already had, but Slate has taught me- decide what you want, and you can have it.

This is his story.

The Birth Story of Slate Alexander

On Tuesday, September 29, 2020 I went in for my 41-week prenatal appointment. I was exactly one week past my due date and was hoping to either have the baby that week or be healthy enough to go until 42 weeks. That day was also my mom and sister’s birthday.

Prior to this appointment my midwife and I decided she would do a membrane sweep in hopes to get things rolling. She also scheduled me for a follow-up appointment later in the week just in case I was still pregnant. (If you didn’t know, when a woman gets her membranes stripped, it stimulates hormones to be released that may induce labor. At 41-weeks the hospital’s policy was a woman could remain pregnant up until 42 weeks if she was healthy, but a bio-physical was mandatory. This is an ultrasound where they check the baby to see if they are still thriving. I had two with Jasper and it was what determined my induction with him). Before heading into my bio-physical, my midwife hinted that an induction may be needed due to low fluid. (After about 40 weeks the placenta can stop working which means it is no longer providing for the baby. If the baby isn’t getting the nutrients it needs, then he or she isn’t going to the bathroom (peeing) aka making amniotic fluid). I get to my ultrasound appointment and before I know it I was being referred to the hospital for an induction. There was no amniotic fluid surrounding him at this point. He needed to come out or he was at risk for stillborn. 

Upset, I tried to keep my cool and in between tears rolling down my face, I asked the doctor several questions. I wanted to make sure this was not only the best decision for baby and me, but also something that was needed. There was nothing I wanted more than to experience labor and birth naturally, from start to finish.

Little did I know I was already in pre-labor.

Although I was being induced, I felt much more confident than I had with Jasper. I had more knowledge, knew what to expect, had my husband and my doula, and overall felt ready. I was also being induced for an actual medical reason and using different methods than what I experienced with Jasper, so I also felt more in control of the situation.

By the time I got out of my ultrasound, it was around 3pm. I shared the news with my husband as he wasn’t allowed in the appointment with me, called my mom so that she could drive down to Delaware, and made our way to the hospital. Because of COVID and hospital policy I had to head in alone. Mark was with Jasper waiting for my mom to arrive. I got to my room, the nurses got me hooked up to the monitor and an IV started. For my induction the plan was to insert a foley bulb and then start Pitocin. (Foley bulbs act as a balloon inside your cervix to help open it, they fall out on their own once a woman is 3cm dilated. Pitocin is the synthetic form of oxytocin which is a hormone that causes a woman to have contractions and go into labor). Luckily, I was able to have my induction pushed back until Mark was in the room with me. As long as the baby was appearing safe and healthy we were in no rush.

For the next several hours I just hung out in my room, waiting for Mark. I encouraged him to go grab dinner with my mom, so he wasn’t hungry while I labored. During this time the nurses would come in to check on me and baby. After looking at the monitor they asked, “are you feeling those contractions, they’re pretty strong?”. I felt a little cramping, but to be honest it was nothing more than what I was feeling the days leading up. They grew a tiny bit stronger as time went on but nothing more than a period cramp. Then, I went to the bathroom and realized I had lost my mucus plug. This was a good sign! Mind you, at this point in time I still didn’t know I was in pre-labor. Before Mark came in they allowed my mom to visit with me, which was nice and made me feel a little better. Mark arrived around 7 or 8 o’clock pm. Still contracting and being clueless I was in labor, we waited for the midwife to insert the foley bulb.

It was around 10:30 pm when they were ready to insert the foley bulb. To my surprise I was already dilated to 3cm and didn’t need the foley bulb! An induction was not needed! This is when it hit me that I was in pre-labor the whole time and was clueless. My body had gone into labor all on its’ own and I couldn’t have been happier in that moment. However, I still needed Pitocin because the contractions weren’t strong enough or coming on quick enough which was risky for my situation. Things seemed to start moving fast though so my doula made her way to the hospital. Pitocin was started around midnight.

To be continued…

Share your thoughts with me! Comment below or head to my Instagram page (@iamdevonjade)! 

XOXO,

D.J.

Pregnancy Update: 39 Weeks!

Well ya’ll we made it to full term! This is officially the longest I’ve been pregnant (I got induced at 38.4 with Jasper and he was born the very next day). As I am typing this I had my 39-week midwife appointment today and scheduled my 40-week appointment for next week.

Even though it is completely normal to still be pregnant this late in the game, it feels so strange and foreign to me. I can totally understand now what women mean when they say they feel like they’ve been pregnant forever. While I don’t necessarily feel that way (right now, lol), I have been fortunate enough to have had two easy pregnancies. I will admit this second one has been more physically challenging, but I suppose that is to be expected when you’re also taking care of a toddler full time.

Anyways, I wanted to do one more final blog post before our baby boy comes. As you know I documented all of Jasper’s pregnancy both here on the blog and a little bit on YouTube. I pretty much did the same, or similar, blog posts for this pregnancy but definitely didn’t take the time to document it via video. Part of me wishes I did because I love going back and watching Jasper’s but there was no way I had the time or energy to edit videos to upload, ha! However, I did film a few clips here and there that I’ll put together in a video and I’ll definitely film a birth vlog. To read through the blog posts from this pregnancy as well as Jasper’s click here.

This pregnancy has been a whirlwind to say the least. Mark and I knew we wanted to begin trying for a second baby around the time when Jasper turned one, but we didn’t think it would be as easy as it was given all of the post birth complications I had with Jasper. We are of course beyond thankful it worked out the way it did. That aside, COVID obviously came and shook things up. I am just grateful this wasn’t my first pregnancy because going through all of this alone was hard enough, I couldn’t imagine doing it alone for the first time. My heart goes out to all of the first-time mamas who were pregnant and/or delivered a baby during this trying time. I truly thought it would all be gone by now, so I didn’t have the extra stress, but here we are. I am making the best of it though and realizing it could be a lot worse than it has been. Doing my part and following my gut has kept me and my family safe but we didn’t let us take away our joy.

Some things that have been different this time around are first and foremost, I am raising a toddler while simultaneously growing another human which makes everything that much harder. I also haven’t worked out much at all this pregnancy, whereas with Jasper I worked out nearly every day up until I was induced. I did go on walks a lot and live a pretty active lifestyle outside of the gym. I will say though, exercising makes a world of a difference in pregnancy, so if you can do it I highly suggest moving your body! With that said, I think from not exercising on top of taking care of Jasper, this pregnancy has just taken a toll on me physically. I have had a lot more aches and pains as well as spider veins. Those are all things I never experienced while pregnant with Jasper. I gained more weight this time around too which has played games with my mental health. Braxton Hicks are another thing I never experienced until this pregnancy. I didn’t realize that I was even having them at first until experiencing them for a few weeks, now they seem to almost be constant thing! That and false labor!

While I wouldn’t say this was the pregnancy of my dreams, it still has been absolutely amazing. I had a perfect pregnancy with Jasper until I got induced, so now I am focusing on a healthy and natural delivery, something I didn’t get with Jasper. It has been a long and scary road this time around, but I am feeling more confident and peaceful than ever before.

If there is one thing I learned from being pregnant twice, it is that a lot of it is out of our control. I hope any mamas reading this are reassured that nothing is ever perfect nor do things go as planned, especially birth. Show yourself grace and be patient with yourself.

Once our little guy is here I promise to get his birth story up on the blog (and hopefully YouTube). Until then I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for following along on my journey yet again. I cannot wait to see what the future looks like as a family of four!

Share your thoughts with me! Comment below or head to my Instagram page (@iamdevonjade)! 

XOXO,

D.J.

What’s Inside My Hospital Bag: Packing for Baby Devine Number Two

I wrote a “What’s Inside My Hospital Bag” post back when I was pregnant with Jasper and thought about just updating that one, but I figured it would be nice to create a whole new post as things are always changing! To view that post, click A Peek Inside My Hospital Bag!

I also plan on creating a printable checklist for any expecting mamas out there who maybe want additional guidance. Keep your eyes open for that soon!

The hospital does provide you with a majority of the items I have both on the checklist and in my own hospital bag, obviously it is all personal preference on what you choose to bring! I prefer to bring a lot of my own items not only for comfort but a lot of what the hospital provides is full of toxic chemicals.

Before we begin, the bag I am using is from Target last winter. It’s Universal Thread but it looks like it is no longer available. The black faux leather backpack I am using for the baby is also from Target, but again they no longer sell it. However, Target has great weekender bags in general, so if you’re looking for a cute yet functional and inexpensive bag, check there!

MAMA ESSENTIALS:

Nursing friendly pajamas/lounge wear sets x2. I didn’t purchase maternity or nursing specific pajamas, but instead two matching sets that were not only cute, but also functional and comfortable. I remember being extremely hot after I gave birth to Jasper (in the middle of January) so I didn’t even wear the pants and robe I brought. This time around I am packing shorts and bringing a house robe/cardigan to throw over if I get cold. I got both lounge wear sets from She In. I got the pink and the gray.

A comfortable outfit to go home in. In addition to the lounge wear I plan to wear while I’m in the hospital, I am also bringing an outfit that I will wear for the ride home. We have an hour drive from the hospital, so I want to be as comfortable as possible but also still feel pulled together. I am packing pants from Target by the brand Colsie (no longer available but anything from the Colsie line I love) and a “mama” maternity t-shirt also from Target. I can’t find the link to the one I purchased but here is one similar.

A house robe/cardigan. I decided to bring a cardigan style robe this time around. I found this one from Target and I am in love! It is extremely soft and oversized so perfect for wearing around the hospital and throughout postpartum. It is also super cute and makes you feel like you tried to look nice.

Nursing bras x2. I purchased new nursing bras to try out, so I am packing two of those to have with me. A lot of you suggested the brand “iloveSIA” on Amazon. These are the ones I went with!

Slippers. I didn’t bring these with Jasper and I ended up being barefoot most of the time. However, when we left the hospital my feet were SO swollen I couldn’t put on my sneakers. These were gifted to me for a wedding but here is a link to a similar pair.

Shower shoes. Again, something I brought with Jasper but ended up not using because I was so sore and tired I didn’t even care, lol. I would like to labor in the shower so maybe I’ll get more use out of these this time around.

Purse with wallet, ID, any paperwork, etc.

Camera and charger.

Phone charger.

Bag of snacks.

Toiletries

I have a toiletry bag that is pretty much ready to grab and go at all times. There will be a few things I will have to add to it right before we leave.

Body wash. I use Young Living’s “Bon Voyage” travel kit for most of my toiletry staples.

Body lotion. Again, using YL.

Belly butter and oil. I have been using the Honest brand throughout my whole pregnancy.

Dry shampoo. Honestly, I probably won’t have the energy to wash my hair after I give birth so I’m not even packing shampoo or conditioner. Instead I am packing my billie “floof” dry shampoo.

Toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss.

Face wash and moisturizer. I have been using bioClarity for almost three years now and am loving it still.

Witch hazel. I use this as a toner but also to spray on my face to “refresh” it.

Body cloths. I won’t obviously be wiping down there for a while, but I love having these for a quick refresh, especially right after birth before I shower! I love the brand Cora.

Cool Azul pain relief cream. I remember how core I was after delivery Jasper (plus having surgery). I don’t know if I’ll need this, but it would have been nice to have after Jasper was born!

Contacts, glasses, and contact solution and case.

Deodorant. I use the mini travel size Native deodorant.

Hair ties.

Chapstick.

My daily essential oils.

Make-up bag. I didn’t wear make-up while I was in the hospital with Jasper but who knows how I’ll feel this time around!

Labor and Delivery

For labor specifically, I plan to use my doula, obviously! However, I am also bringing a few things of my own to help.

Affirmation cards. I made pretty affirmation cards and got them printed to read while in labor and hang up in the delivery room. Will link them to website soon.

Honey sticks. I grabbed a few honey sticks in various flavors to help keep my energy levels up while laboring.

A large insulated water bottle. I will most likely use my Hydro Flask, or another giant water bottle I have around the house.

Diffuser and essential oils. I am bringing Valor to support my emotions, Peppermint to keep me energized, and Lavender to keep me calm and present. I am also bringing a homemade blend consisting of Clary Sage, Geranium, and Lavender mixed with a carrier oil. I plan to have my doula or husband massage this on my back and/shoulders.

Recovery/After Birth

Postpartum underwear. I bought underwear specifically for postpartum but honestly will just use the mesh undies the hospital provides. Here are the ones I bought and will use once I am home.

Pads. I prefer to bring my own non-toxic postpartum pads. Here are the ones I am using.

Upside down peri bottle. This is something the hospital will provide you, but I find having the upside-down version with the angled nozzle much more helpful. I purchased the frida mom one.

Claraderm spray. This is a Young Living item that replaces Dermaplast (numbing spray the hospital provides you). This one is free of harmful chemicals and full of healing essential oils. I started using it at 36 weeks to help prevent tearing.

Nursing pads. I may not need these, but I am bringing them just in case. I use both the reusable and disposable bamboobies.

BABY ESSENTIALS:

Swaddles and matching hats x2. We LOVE Copper Pearl for swaddling. Unfortunately, one of the swaddles I am bringing is no longer available but here is a link to one similar and the other one I packed!

Plain white onesies x2 and buttoned kimono shirts x2. Honestly, little man won’t be in “real clothes” until we go home. I love using the time in the hospital to bond, do skin to skin, and just chill out.

Going home outfit. I just grabbed a cute one-piece romper Jasper wore when he was a baby. Nothing fancy this time around!

All-purpose ointment, lotion, and body wash. We use Honest brand for all of our bathing needs. We won’t bathe baby there, but I like to bring it just in case!

Diapers and wipes. I prefer to use my own diapers, so I made sure to pack a handful of diapers and a pack of wipes! Again, we use Honest brand for our diapering needs.

Nail clippers. I’m not a huge fan of baby mitts and cutting their nails is so easy at that age so I will snip them once we get settled!

Pacifier. We love BIBS.

Boppy/nursing pillow. I purchased one off of Amazon with Jasper and then bought a cute cover to put over it.

Car seat cover and car seat.

DADA ESSENTIALS:

Change of clothes x2

Pajamas

Slippers

Toiletries

Water bottle

Phone and charger

Wallet

Share your thoughts with me! Comment below or head to my Instagram page (@iamdevonjade)! 

XOXO,

D.J.

How We Got Jasper Sleeping On His Own: Our Version of Gentle Sleep Training

While I will never consider myself an expert on infant or toddler sleep, I will say I’ve had my fair share of restless nights (just like any other mama)!

I certainly don’t have all of the answers but I know what it’s like to feel lost and at your wits end over a child that doesn’t sleep. In this post I want to share my experience on infant/toddler sleep and what worked for my family. I encourage you to try what you feel most comfortable with.

How We Got Jasper Sleeping On His Own: Our Version of Gentle Sleep Training

My husband and I decided early on that co-sleeping was what would work out best for us, and then decided to safely bed share for seven months. While there are many articles debating bed sharing, and even co-sleeping, I will say bed sharing is perfectly okay if it is done safely. I would never encourage unsafe bed sharing. With that said co-sleeping vs bed sharing is a different conversation for a different day.

At around seven months we decided it was time to put Jasper in his own space. However, it wasn’t an easy transition. We had our bedtime routine (shared below) that included a nursing session and rocking him to sleep before placing him in his crib. Often times this worked until he got older and started realizing what was happening. At that point you could find me or my husband hunched over his crib holding his hand or rubbing his back to get him to sleep. No matter how we got him to sleep he would always wake up anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours after falling asleep. Then started the endless game of going back upstairs to put him back to sleep. He was also still nursing in the middle of the night so we were flexible with middle of the night wakings!

At ten months old I decided it was just too much having to do this elaborate bedtime ritual just to get him asleep and wake up a few hours later and do it all over again. For my husband and I, the “cry it out” method made us uncomfortable. We knew it was okay for infants to cry, we knew he was physically okay in his crib, and we knew there had to be a light at the end of the tunnel. So, we did what I like to call, our version of gentle sleep training.

I started this one day when Mark was away on training. It was just myself and Jasper for one week and I could focus on getting him to sleep all by himself. I would complete his bedtime routine start to finish, including nursing and even sing him a song. I’d give him a kiss and tell him it was bedtime and that I love him. Placed him in his crib and walk out of the room. Of course he cried. I allowed him to be upset for no more than three minutes. Then I’d go back in, comfort him for no more then one minute, lie him back down, and walked out. Again, he cried. This time I extended the time for five minutes. I repeated this cycle, increasing the time he cried by two minutes, until he either fell asleep or cried for ten minutes. I didn’t feel comfortable letting him scream for more than ten minutes at a time. After the ten minute mark I would start again all over. I would say the first two nights were the worst. By the third night he would cry no more than three to five minutes and then be asleep. On the flip side to that was he would always fall asleep sitting up! It used to scared me in fear he would hit his head. Sometimes all it took was me lying him down or he would eventually figure it out himself.

This method is what worked for us, as we tried many others. It’s what always gets him back to a healthy sleeping routine, if you will. Jasper was putting himself to sleep (both nap time and bed time) and staying asleep for a solid seven months!

To put this method to test, at around seventeen months old when the eighteen month sleep regression hit early, we introduced this method once again. We decided to do this after about two weeks of him not even wanting to sleep in his crib. He would need our hand to hold to fall asleep in our bed. He wouldn’t even nap in his crib. It got to a point where I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I felt like all I did was soothe my toddler to sleep only for him to wake up again.

So, onward to our version of gentle sleep training. The first night we did it he was fast asleep in ten minutes! He is now eighteen months old and is falling asleep all on his own again. However, I will say, he has a few nights where he wakes up and ends up in our bed (normal for a toddler his age to have a bout of separation anxiety, plus he is teething). But overall he is falling asleep on his own for both nap time and bed time- and that has been a huge relief!

Below I wrote out exactly what my husband and I did so that you can try it out too if you’re interested.

Again, this is what works for us and, more importantly, Jasper. We follow an attachment parenting approach but it’s important to us that our children get good sleep as well. We meet in the middle and go from there. I hope you can respect that and hold off on any negative comments! If you use this method please tell me how it worked out for you!

OUR VERSION OF GENTLE SLEEP TRAINING

Go upstairs to Jasper’s room around 6:45pm

Turn on his diffuser, sound machine, and close the blinds (this is signals to him it’s time to unwind for bed).

Change his diaper, give him a massage with lavender scented lotion, apply his sleepy time oil behind his ears, and Copaiba on his gums for any teething pain.

Put on pajamas.

(Mark usually does all that while I’m reading him a bed time story)

Turn off lights.

Nurse (he no longer nurses to sleep now).

Sometimes I would sometimes sing him a song before placing him in his crib.

*starts to cry*

Wait 3 minutes. Go in and KEEP him in his crib. Comfort him and lay him back down. Stay in there for only 1-2 minutes. Walk out.

If he cried again I would wait 5 minutes, then go in and do the same thing.

Then 7 mins. Repeat.

Then 10 mins. Repeat and start over from 3 minutes.

I increased the time by 2 minutes, never allowing him to cry more than 10 minutes at a time.

Share your thoughts with me! Comment below or head to my Instagram page (@iamdevonjade)!

XOXO,

D.J.

My Second Trimester: The Second Time Around

If I’m being honest, before I sat down to write this post I went and looked back at my blog post I wrote about my second trimester with Jasper. I feel like this trimester was so long but felt like it flew by with Jasper. I also wanted to compare how I felt then versus now.

My Second Trimester:

The Second Time Around

So, what was the second trimester like the second time around? It was pretty much the same minus a few changes.

For starters, with Jasper’s pregnancy, I wasn’t entering my second trimester the same day the world went into quarantine. I literally started feeling better as the pandemic came and it’s been a challenge to say the least. The bulk of my pregnancy COVID-19 has pretty much controlled. Mark was only with me for one appointment and hasn’t been able to come back with me since. I think that has been the biggest let down, especially because Jasper doesn’t get to experience it much either. We actually bought a doppler to use at home, so Mark could hear the heartbeat; without that he would have never heard it, and Jasper loves to listen to it too! Then you have the masks. My provider has no clue what I look like without a mask on and it’s just so crazy to think about. Of course, it sucked being trapped inside the house for a majority of my pregnancy too, but now I feel a little better since the restrictions have let up. Overall, I feel pretty calm about this whole being pregnant during a pandemic thing. It was nerve wracking and scary in the beginning, but now I’m trying to resume life as normal as possible and accept that this may be part of that new normal.

At the beginning of my pregnancy (before all of the craziness came about) I hired a doula. After diving into the doula world, myself and delivering Jasper I knew hiring her was a necessity this time around. We’ve been meeting via Zoom which has been nice and I’m feeling really good about having that extra support person there while I labor.

As far as how I feel physically, I would say I feel about the same as I did with Jasper. I wasn’t sick all that much again (thank goodness) and I had a great amount of energy in the second trimester. The main difference is I have Braxton Hicks this time around which is new and interesting to experience, ha! As I get bigger and further along I definitely feel the aches and pains slightly more, but nothing resting and nourishing my body can’t fix. I’m also cleared to deliver this babe vaginally and there are zero signs of any issues with my placenta, which makes me beyond happy! I’ve been meaning to tell ya’ll all the details regarding that but it’s a lot so I have to mentally prepare myself to sit down and stay on track, lol.

Emotionally, I have zero complaints! It’s not until the third trimester, closer to my due date, my emotions get the better of me. So, for now I am just enjoying this phase while preparing for what’s to come as much as I can.

 

 

Share your thoughts with me! Comment below or head to my Instagram page (@iamdevonjade)! 

XOXO,

D.J.

Third Trimester Survival Guide

Welcome to the third and final installment of my “mini-series” here on my blog! For the first two posts please refer to First Trimester Survival Guide and Second Trimester Survival Guide.

I feel like as a mama-to-be you either hate the third trimester or you love it. Either opinion is valid. Whether you love or hate the third trimester of pregnancy, I am sharing my personal favorite products and some tips to help make this time more enjoyable before you meet your newest addition.

DISCLAIMER: Every woman is different, therefore some or all of these may not work for everyone. This is based off of my own experience and research. As always, ask your provider or professional if it is safe for you to use any of these remedies.

 

1. Claraderm

Claraderm is a spray Young Living sells to help the healing process postpartum. It is made from essential oils that are nourishing to the skin yet gentle enough for such a sensitive area. I always recommend not only using this after childbirth, but also in the third trimester (around 34 weeks or so) as it protects and prepares for the stretching of the skin of your vagina. 

2. Birthing ball

I bought a standard yoga or exercise ball at Target and used it for those last few weeks of pregnancy. I would bounce on it for about twenty minutes a day. It is also a great support tool during labor.

 3. Essential oils

Everyone has their own preference for scents, especially when pregnant, but I found having these essential oils really helped me through my third trimester and into my postpartum journey. Valor for emotional support, Clary Sage to encourage labor, and Lavender to calm my body and mind. 

4. Capsule maternity wardrobe

By now you most likely don’t fit into any of your pre-pregnancy clothing and may need to invest in maternity clothes. Having a few staple items will get you through until the end but you won’t have to break the bank doing it. Think of the style and type of clothing you wear often, and what’s currently comfortable, and go from there. 

5. Raspberry leaf tea

Raspberry leaf is said to strengthen and prepare the uterus for childbirth. Drinking one to two glasses a day throughout your third trimester shows the most results.

6. Dates

I’m not talking about a date night out, although that kind of date is recommended too. I’m talking about the food dates. Eating dates throughout your pregnancy, specifically in the third trimester, has shown to assist in cervical ripening. This is not to say if you eat dates you will dilate and go into labor, but simply a natural way to assist your body’s natural process when it is ready. 

7. Heating pad

I’m bringing back the heating pad from the first trimester. By the third trimester if you don’t feel it already, your joints and ligaments are relaxing, and you may feel more sore than you normally do. Applying heat to the sore area can act as a temporary pain relief.

 8. Cool Azul Pain Relief Cream and Deep Relief roller

Another YL favorite that I think every mama should own. These two are like Icy Hot but without all the harsh chemicals.

 9. Panty liners

This may be TMI, but welcome to pregnancy and motherhood. As your body prepares for labor your vagina will begin to produce more discharge. Yes, even more. Some women feel more comfortable wearing a panty liner as their pregnancy progresses. 

10. Continue healthy habits from your previous trimesters

Keep eating healthy, working out when you can, taking your prenatals, and doing whatever feels good that you did in the first and second trimesters. This includes purchasing a pregnancy pillow if you haven’t, continuing creating your baby registry, using your belly oil and butter, and drinking water.

This concludes the posts in my “mini-series” here on my blog! I hope you enjoyed them and found them helpful. In the near future I plan to share a post all about preparing for the arrival of your baby, so stay tuned!

Share your thoughts with me! Comment below or head to my Instagram page (@iamdevonjade)! 

XOXO,

D.J.

Second Trimester Survival Guide

Welcome to the second trimester where you’re supposed to be glowing, fully of energy, and rocking that cute little bump of yours. While that may not be the case for every woman, you’ve made it out of the first trimester so that’s something you should be proud of. Whether you feel like a million bucks or are still feeling sick and tired, I have compiled a list of products that will help you get through the second trimester.

This is part II in my little series on how to survive each trimester. For part I, surviving the first trimester, click here.

DISCLAIMER: Every woman is different, therefore some or all of these may not work for everyone. This is based off of my own experience and research. As always, ask your provider or professional if it is safe for you to use any of these remedies.

                    1. Pregnancy pillow

This is an item that some women love or strongly dislike. While it is definitely not needed, it’s nice to have as your belly grows. There are several different brands and multiple shapes and sizes. However, a standard body pillow or multiple regular pillows can support you in the same way. I linked the one I purchased off of Amazon with my first pregnancy.

2.  Belly butter/oil

I swear by this stuff! I used belly oil and butter everyday with my first and I do not have one stretch mark. I continued to use it after I gave birth as well which helped tremendously. The skin on your belly will stretch a lot, so stretch marks or not, you will want this! Linked is a non-toxic brand that is my current favorite.

3. Prenatal vitamins

This may seem like an obvious one and I even mentioned it in my First Trimester Survival Guide, however, I suggested gummies in that post. Prenatals are important for your whole pregnancy but swallowing a large pill can suck in your first trimester so that’s why gummies were suggested. In your second trimester you should be able to stick with your original prenatals. I find the pills have better ingredients and meet the standards of a prenatal.

4. Water

Again, water may be hard to choke down while you’re in your first trimester but now is an important time to make sure you are drinking enough to keep you hydrated and then some. Water will also help settle any Braxton Hicks contractions you may experience later on in your second trimester. Sometimes I don’t want plain water so I like diluting a sports drink, like Body Armor, to my water for electrolytes and taste!

5. Start your baby registry

Now is a good time to start your baby registry. Chances are if you are finding out the gender you may wait start it until then. If you already know or plan to keep everything gender neutral then let the fun begin! (A baby registry must-have post is coming shortly). My favorite place to register is Babylist.

6. Purchase some maternity clothing

You won’t need too many pieces of maternity clothing just yet but you’ll notice your clothes will start to fit a little tighter or your jeans won’t button up. Pick out a few staple pieces that fit you now and can last you through the end of your pregnancy. You can always purchase more later on.

*TIP: use a hair tie or rubber band around your button of your pants. This will give them more stretch, so you can wear your normal jeans a little longer.

7. Purchase a belly band

This goes hand in hand with maternity clothing, but I felt like it needed its’ own mention. If you don’t like the rubber band trick, belly bands are the next best thing. It goes over the top of your pants and belly to extend the life of your pre-pregnancy bottoms.

8. Pregnancy/birth/postpartum books and education

If you are someone who likes to be informed and educated, now is the time to open those pregnancy and birth books you bought.

9. Childbirth class

This isn’t something that is needed but is highly recommended. You can sign up for a class at your local hospital or birth center. In this class they will go over labor and birth expectations and provide you will useful information to help you feel better prepared.

10. Hire a doula

I may be a little biased but hiring a doula has been hands down one of the best decisions I ever made. I didn’t have one with my first and I wish I did. If you haven’t hired one already, finding a doula you trust in the second trimester will allow you to build a connection with her and give you plenty of time to become better informed. The support and education doulas offer is outstanding and worth every penny.

Share your thoughts with me! Comment below or head to my Instagram page (@iamdevonjade)! 

XOXO,

D.J.

First Trimester Survival Guide

If you have ever been pregnant, or are even thinking about having kids, then you most likely have wondered how bad the first trimester really is and how you’ll get through it. I am here to tell you that every woman is different but it’s better to be prepared than to be sick and hopeless.

I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but now after being pregnant two times (three if you count my angel baby), I feel like I got a handle on how to ease that first trimester illness.

Below you will find my top eleven must haves to survive that dreaded first trimester.

DISCLAIMER: Every woman is different, therefore some or all of these may not work for everyone. This is based off of my own experience and research. As always, ask your provider or a professional if it is safe for you to use any of these remedies.

 

                    1. Ginger lemon tea

I learned really quick to keep ginger tea on hand when I was pregnant with my first. I swear by ginger and its magical healing properties to subside and take away nausea. I prefer to add lemon to my ginger tea as it helps take away the nausea even more and makes it easier to drink (if you don’t like ginger). Here is my favorite brand.

 

                    1. Peppermint essential oil

You all know I swear by my essential oils. I remember when I was pregnant with Jasper I would not leave the house without peppermint oil in my purse. Simply smelling this oil always did the trick when I was in a pinch. I prefer to place a drop of it on my tongue as I found it to be the most effective. I use Young Living essential oils.

 

                    1. Preggie Pop Drops

These were an item I heard a lot about but never believed they worked until I gave them a try with my current pregnancy. I felt like I constantly needed to have something in my mouth, whether it was candy or gum, I couldn’t stand to be without it. I decided to try these and ya’ll, I went through a container in less than a week. Not only do they taste so good, but they temporarily relieved any nausea I had. I used them between meals or when I was busy with Jasper.

 

                      1. Gum

Before I discovered the magic of Preggie Pop Drops, I would chew gum constantly (and I still do). I prefer traditional mint flavored gum, but any flavor or your liking will do. It always helps with any heart burn, reflux, and that metallic taste women sometimes get in their mouth when pregnant.

 

                      1. B6 Vitamins

I researched the crap out of morning sickness remedies before I ever got pregnant. I hate feeling sick and I really hate vomit, so I was prepared to do anything to prevent it. I kept coming across B6 vitamins and how effective they were. So, after my own research, which I advise everyone else to do, I decided to give them a go. Best decision EVER. Your B vitamins get depleted when you become pregnant, specifically B6, causing you to become nauseous mixed with all of the hormonal changes. I took no more than 100mg a day.

 

                      1. Gummy prenatals

When you’re nauseous and/or throwing up the last thing you want to do is swallow a horse pill. I know I sucked at this in my first trimester. I resorted to gummies instead and I will never go back. I prefer the OLLY brand because the serving size is two, so I would take one in the morning and one at night. Once any and all morning sickness was gone I switched back to my original ones in pill form.

 

                      1. Heating pad

I know there is a lot of controversial conversation on heating pads and pregnancy but again, please research this for yourself. It is safe as long as your body temperature doesn’t rise. This saved me so many nights when I was awake feeling so sick. I’d sip on some ginger lemon tea and lay my heating pad over my stomach.

 

                    1. Eating what you can, frequently

Chances are you will have strong aversions to foods you used to love and crave only specific things. That’s okay! Listen to your body! Whatever you can stomach and keep down, eat it and eat about every two hours (assuming it’s a snack or small meal). Eating before you get out of bed in the morning helps too. I would keep a box of plain Cheerios by my bed to snack on throughout the night and in the morning.

 

                    1. Sleep, sleep, and more sleep

Easier said than done, I know. Making sure I got plenty of rest is what always kept me going. With my first, I would take a long nap every afternoon after work and then go to bed at a decent time. With this current pregnancy, I would nap when Jasper went down for his first nap in the morning. Rest when you can, it doesn’t have to be a nap.

 

                      1. Exercise

The last thing you probably want to do is exercise, but trust me on this one, it helps. Even going for a walk or doing some stretches goes a long way. It subsides any nausea and gives you energy.

 

                      1. Get outside

Fresh air always made me feel better and it still does even if I’m not pregnant. Going for a walk, opening a window, or sitting outside always helped take my mind off feeling crappy.

I hope this helps any of you mamas out there! Please feel free to share what worked for you during your pregnancy!

Share your thoughts with me! Comment below or head to my Instagram page (@iamdevonjade)! 

XOXO,

D.J.

5 Lessons I Learned in My First Year as A Mom

I can remember talking about having children with Mark very early on in our relationship. We knew as soon as we got married we wanted to start a family. Once I got pregnant I continued to fantasize about the mom I would be and what life would be like after having a baby. I envisioned this beautiful, happy life where myself and kids were almost always happy. I was a “cool” mom. I did all the fun things with a smile on my face and thrived at staying at home with my baby. The truth is I felt like that was robbed from me and I didn’t know how to adjust.

IMG_1255

I am writing this blog post to show mamas, new and old, that you don’t just have to survive motherhood, especially the first year. There is so much talk about how motherhood is nothing but non-stop, messes everywhere, and running on exhaustion and coffee. While some days that may be true, motherhood is so much more than that. So, if you’re a new mama, don’t let those memes and negative talk scare you. For you seasoned mamas, remember not to get caught up in the mundane tasks of motherhood.

IMG_3273

As women I believe we all have these expectations of how we will raise our kids and the kind of mom we want to be, assuming you want kids that is! Once you get pregnant your views may change a little bit, but ultimately you still fantasize what your new life will look like. I know I did (and sometimes still do). The thing is when we put too big of expectations on anything, we tend to get let down. Of course, it is healthy to have goals and a basic understanding of how you want to parent, but if there is anything I learned in this first year of motherhood it is this…

LRG_DSC03748

5 Lessons I Learned

in My First Year as A Mom

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

I remember feeling like I had to do it all because I was the only one who could do it right. I was mama bear and I was the only one best for my baby. While those emotions and feelings are valid, you do not have to do it all. It may take some learning and training your mind but ask for help when you need it. Start small like asking a friend to watch the baby while you shower.

Don’t worry about what others are thinking, saying, or doing (and stand your ground).

Chances are you will feel like everyone is staring at you when you go on your first solo outing with you newborn. Can people tell I’m new at this? Do I look like I know what I’m doing? Do other moms know how I’m feeling? Meanwhile, there is another mama with a screaming toddler thinking the same thing. This applies to parenting advice and the choices you decide to make as a parent. Stand your ground, follow that mama instinct. You know what is best for your child so don’t let anyone tell you different. It’ll be hard at first to not let it get under your skin, but I promise it’ll become second nature. All of it will.

Don’t buy into the crap.

Figuratively and literally. Don’t buy into all of the old wives’ tales or what some acquaintance told you on Facebook. And also, don’t purchase all of the unnecessary stuff. I promise babies need less than we think they need.

Soak up every single second of motherhood.

This may seem like an obvious one but it’s important. As I mentioned when I started typing out this post, it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day craziness. Don’t let that stop you from soaking up your new life. The good, the bad, the messy, and everything in between, because one day your kids will be grown, and you’ll be asking yourself where has the time gone.

Love yourself harder than you ever thought you could.

It is so easy to pick apart your body after you give birth. It’s even easier to assume you’re failing as a mom and that you in fact don’t have it all together. After your baby is born, you are born again too, as a mother. There is always so much talk about how to care for a newborn, but what about the new mama? The mama who just had her second baby? Third baby? The list goes on. Somewhere along the way we as mothers get swept under the rug and neglected. Those first several months are a vulnerable time, so give yourself some grace. Take whatever time you need, ask for help, cry- let it out, and most importantly give yourself a hug and remind yourself you are amazing.

Share your thoughts with me! Comment below or head to my Instagram page (@iamdevonjade)! 

XOXO,

D.J.