Packing My Hospital Bag For Baby Devine Number THREE!

If there is one thing I love to read, and even more so, to watch, are “What’s In My Hospital Bag” posts and videos. I love seeing the different things other mamas use during labor, delivery, and postpartum.

These types of posts can be helpful, especially for first time moms, as it can be overwhelming to know what to pack.

This is my third time packing a hospital bag and I feel like I have perfected it in my own way that’s useful and practical! Feel free to read A Peek Inside My Hospital Bag! which is what I packed for my first baby and What’s Inside My Hospital Bag: Packing for Baby Devine Number Two for my second baby.

There are similarities in each post and what I pack but over the years, and since becoming a doula, I have taken away and even added some things I have found helpful.

As you read my post you will find I pack a lot of what the hospital already provides (pads, diapers, wipes, etc). This is strictly for my own benefit and my personal preference. As someone who lives a low tox life, I prefer to use alternatives to what the hospital has provided. This post is not to make you feel like you need these items, rather to show you what I am bringing for me and my baby. Also, I prefer to have an unmedicated birth therefore I also pack tools to help cope with my pain and make me feel the most comfortable.

What’s Inside My Hospital Bag For Baby Devine Number THREE!

For mama

Hospital gown. I am choosing to bring and wear my own hospital gown this time around. There is nothing wrong with the one the hospital provides, I personally just find it uncomfortable and it never fits comfortably.

Robe. From previous births, I usually quite hot after I give birth, but I also know how cold hospitals can be. I wanted something more causal than a robe but more cozy than a basic cardigan. I feel like this option is the perfect material and isn’t going to over heat me. Robes are also great for skin to skin and quick access to the breasts for breastfeeding.

Pajamas. Something comfortable and cozy to sleep in that’s different than what I’ll be wearing during the day.

Lounge wear/an outfit to wear home. I bought two. One is short sleeves and shorts and the other is long sleeves and pants. I’ll most likely wear one in the hospital and the other to go home in.

Nursing bras. I am bringing two nursing bras. These ones from Amazon are ribbed, come in a bunch of colors, and are super soft! My favorite ones yet!

Cloud slides. I know these slides are super popular right now and I can see why! They feel like you are walking on clouds! I grabbed a dupe from Amazon. I love these because they will fit my swollen postpartum feet and I can wear them in the shower.

My birth plan. Some women love to have a birth plan, others do not. As a doula I find it great to have one so you, your support person, and birth team are all on the same page! Have multiple copies just in case.

Pillow and blanket. This is something that is obviously not needed but makes the hospital stay way more comfortable. I’m bringing a pillow for both my husband and I as well as our own blankets.

My toiletry bag and make-up bag, disposable breast pads, make-up wipes, hairbrush, snacks, water bottle.

Comfort tools and items

Essential oils. I am bringing some to diffuse as well as some to use for my postpartum healing and recovery. I will plan to make a separate post for all things essential oils and pregnancy/birth/postpartum.

Diffuser. To use with my essential oils.

Battery operated candles. This helps set the mood of the environment.

Robozo, hot/cold pack, comb, massage ball.

Honey sticks and ginger and peppermint candies.

Afterease. This is something you add to water to help with the cramps postpartum, especially during breastfeeding!

Nipple butter. Those first few days of breastfeeding can be hard, so I am packing this just in case!

For baby

Swaddle with matching hat. This is mainly for that cute birth announcement photo- but I do love a good traditional swaddle!

Two kimono shirts. Baby is usually just in a diaper and swaddle, or some type of onesie. I love these shirts because they keep them warm but make diaper changes easy.

Going home outfit. I am bringing two sizes, newborn and 0-3 months. I am also bringing one in long sleeves and one in short sleeves.

Pacifiers. This time around I am bringing three different types of pacifiers. With my first, we got lucky and he took the first one we offered him. My second son, however, did not like any of the pacifiers we tried.

Vitamin d drops, vitamin k drops, and probiotics. I like to supplement with vitamin d and probiotics for my baby. There are so many benefits to both including supporting their immune systems and guts! I prefer the vitamin k drops over the shot.

All purpose ointment. This specific ointment we used for both our first and second son. I always bring it just in case. It’s also great in replace of Vaseline if you choose to circumcise your son.

Nail clippers. If you know you know… bring nail clippers!

Baby book. I am only bringing this for his foot and hand prints! I dropped the ball with my second and the only foot prints I have of his are on his birth certificate.. mom fail!

Essential oils. Just like for me, I use essential oils on our babies! These vary from tummy support, sleep support, and others to replace traditional hospital products, etc. I will make a post on this too!

Hatch sound machine. This is my first time bringing a sound machine! With Jasper we didn’t ever need one until he got older. With Slate, we ended up using our phones while in the hospital. So this time we are coming prepared!

My Brestfriend nursing pillow. This is my first time using this specific pillow. In the past I’ve used a regular boppy. The boppy does the trick but I know how badly my posture suffers from nursing, this option is more supportive!

Some things the hospital provides but I will be bringing my own…

Postpartum pads

Peri bottle

Perineal spray

Diapers and wipes

This may seem like A LOT. Most moms will tell you that there isn’t much you need, and while that is true, every mama is different. Whether you don’t mind using what the hospital provides or you’re like me and prefer to bring everything yourself- I hope this post was helpful!

What is one non-negotiable you had for your hospital bag? Or if you’re a first time mom— what are you packing??

Guessing the Gender of Baby Devine Number THREE!

It’s time to guess Baby Devine’s gender again! This post is a little late as we have already known the gender for about eight weeks now, but I thought it would still be fun to do it. I did it for both Jasper and Slate’s pregnancies, so it only felt right!

Can You Guess Baby Devine Number Three’s Gender?

Heart beat is above 140bpm it is a girl, anything below is a boy.

Each and every time I’ve heard the heartbeat it has been above 140bpm (around 150-160bpm)! It has only been in the 140’s a few times (girl)

If your skin is glowing and your hair looks it’s straight out of Pantene commercial you’re having a boy, if your hair and skin has been anything but glowing, you’re having a girl.

My hair hasn’t changed all that much, but my skin is awful (girl)

If you’re carrying low, it’s a boy, if you’re carrying high it’s a girl.

This one I never believe. I have a long torso, so I naturally carry low and I carried low with both Jasper and Slate. This pregnancy I feel like the baby is very low!! (boy)

Craving sweets, it’s girl, craving salty it’s a boy.

There haven’t been any specific cravings, more aversions and only wanting certain foods. However, they are things I would normally eat not pregnant. I love sweets though; fruits, ice cream, etc.. so? (girl)

If you’re carrying most of your weight out front you’re having a boy, if you’re carrying your weight all around, you’re probably having a girl.

This is another that I don’t think is an accurate guess because it just depends on your body type. I carry all in front though (boy)

Cold feet mean a boy is on the way, warm feet or no change expect a girl.

My feet are HOT! However it is summer now.. (girl)

If you have severe morning sickness you are having a girl. They say girls give their mom’s trouble right from the start.

I was soooooo sick this tiem around! (girl)

If your spouse has gained weight, it’s a girl.

I don’t believe he’s gained any weight! (boy)

If you get severe headaches you’re having a boy, no real headaches it’s a girl.

No headaches! (girl)

If you naturally fall asleep on your left side, it’s a boy.

I can only fall asleep on my left side! (boy)

That’s all for now! I’m sure I can find plenty more wives’ tales, but I think ya’ll can make a valid guess!

The verdict based off of these old wife’s tales: GIRL!!!

These old wives tales were spot on for both Jasper and Slate. Do you think the predictions are true again?! I’ll be posting our gender reveal to Instagram soon!

Halfway Through my THIRD Pregnancy: A 20 Week Update

We made it! By “we” I really mean me, because I am the one that is pregnant, but we made it to the halfway mark in my THIRD pregnancy! These first twenty weeks have been a whirlwind and I am spilling all of the details today in this blog post.

Where do I begin? If you haven’t read my blog post breaking down my first trimester, you need to read that first because it’ll help you understand a lot of what’s to come in this post. You already know right as I was getting out of my dreaded first trimester our whole house got hit hard with the stomach flu. It was rough, and I wanted to throw in the towel. I wasn’t sure if I was going to survive this pregnancy. However, here I am 21 weeks pregnant as I type this, alive and well… for the most part.

Once we were all healthy and feeling better (around 15 or 16 weeks) I made it a point to stick to my workout and meal plan I was following to the best of my ability. If any of you can remember back to my postpartum experience with Slate, I started Nancy Anderson’s Ab Rehab to help heal my pelvic floor and any diastasis recti I developed. Well, I loved her program so much I decided for this pregnancy I needed to subscribe to her Move Your Bump program and I am so glad I did! This program has more workouts than you could ever need, breathing exercises to help keep your pelvic floor and abdomen strong and functioning, and an easy to follow meal plan. I know this sounds like a sponsored post, but I can promise you it’s not. Her programs are THAT good. Working out is so important during pregnancy, especially when it comes to labor and delivery. Also, pelvic floor health is even more important. I had an unmedicated birth with Slate and hope to do it again with this baby, so I want to be more prepared as I didn’t work out much while pregnant with Slate.

Aside from making sure I am moving my body and eating as well as my body allows (still sick some days), I am doing pretty good. I do have days where the nausea comes back but it’s usually only for a brief period of time, which is nothing considering what I went through for twelve weeks. I developed some varicose veins that can be a little tricky if I don’t take care of myself, but overall, they don’t both me too much. I also had them with Slate, but it was very minimal.

Another intense pregnancy symptom that is fairly new is acid reflux and heartburn. Again, this was something I experienced with both Jasper and Slate, but it wasn’t until the tail end of my pregnancy and was tolerable. This pregnancy, like everything else is totally different. I started noticing some mild reflux around 16 weeks of my pregnancy. By the time I hit 20 weeks pregnant it was full force here to stay. This past week has been the worst and I am experimenting with holistic ways to manage it as I am trying not to resort to tums or other over the counter medications. I definitely plan to do a whole post on this because there is so much that goes into it. Right now, I am avoiding trigger foods to the best of my ability, taking ginger honey ACV shots when I feel it coming on, and I placed an order for some supplements to try from Young Living. I also plan to try papaya and/or papaya enzymes.

Now, what everyone has been waiting for. The number one question I get asked is if we know the sex of this baby yet. In short, yes, we now know the sex of our third baby. If you followed my stories on Instagram, then you would know my ultrasound tech couldn’t confirm the sex at my anatomy scan. I was a little upset at first because that is the one ultrasound you wait for and is the most exciting. However, I had to laugh it off because I’ve been through so much during this pregnancy it didn’t surprise me that this would happen. Being the impatient person that I am, I scheduled an ultrasound at a private clinic. There we were able to find out the sex. I don’t want to say much because I don’t want to give it away, but we are taking our time with sharing the news. I will do another guessing the baby’s sex based off of old wives tales post again (those are so fun) before we announce. For now, you can check out Jasper’s and Slate’s.

Some days I cannot believe I am already half way to meeting our third baby, other days I never thought I would make it. I am just so happy and really trying to soak up every moment of this pregnancy. Keeping myself physically and emotionally healthy during this time is so important to me.

If you made it this far, I want to thank you. Thank you for following along on yet another crazy wild pregnancy journey.

My First Trimester… the THIRD time around

I want to start this post off by saying a lot of how I felt was based off comparing this pregnancy to my first two pregnancies. I know every woman and every pregnancy is different. This blog post is dedicated to all things first trimester in my third pregnancy- the good, the bad, and the ugly!

If you haven’t read my initial blog post where I announced our third pregnancy, go back and read it here. In that post I mentioned how we waited a little longer after Slate to start trying for this baby, than we did when Jasper was little and we got pregnant with Slate. Very similar to my first two (technically three including my miscarriage) pregnancies, I knew I was pregnant almost immediately. Since the day we conceived I experienced cramping, bloating, and general discomfort. It’s funny because I tested pretty early on in this pregnancy and some tests came up very faint with a positive while others were a bold face negative. I didn’t believe any of them until I got the confirmation on the digital test. This was around three or four weeks pregnant- right before christmas!

By week 5 I could already feel my appetite dwindling and myself feeling “full” all of the time. By week 6 I was down for the count! Little did I know I also contracted C0V!d sometime during this week. It was awful because at first I thought it was all first trimester symptoms and I was miserable just thinking about how worse it was only going to get. Then when my husband tested positive and I lost my taste and smell we just knew. By week eight or nine my symptoms turned into strictly first trimester symptoms. However, they were just as rough. While I am typing this I am literally wincing thinking back to those two/three months, I am traumatized. I had little to no appetite and a lot of food aversions. I couldn’t cook for myself or my children without becoming severely nauseated. We ended up eating out a lot because I couldn’t stand the smell of food cooking. Around nine weeks pregnant I was getting used to the everyday nausea, then I got food poisoning. That was rough but I was on the mend within twenty-four hours.

From the weeks ten through fifteen I figured out a system where I was still very much sick but I was able to function on a very basic level. I was taking b6 and unisom to help with the nausea and slowly started to feel good around week fifteen. When I was starting to get back into my normal routine of eating and cooking and working out, our whole house got hit with the stomach bug. It was the worst. Let me tell you that virus spread like wildfire and was nasty. I had it the worse, I think from being pregnant. I would take C0V!d over this. It wasn’t until week seventeen I started to fully com around and feel like myself.

Thinking back to the months of January and February are honestly a blur. While a lot of those horrible moments are so vivid in my memories, it is also all I can remember because everyday was ground hogs day. I would wake up sick, lay around, and do anything I could to not get sick. Here I am though, almost half-way through my pregnancy, and remembering why moms have more than one child- because we forget how horrible those first several weeks are.

Anyways, that is pretty much how the beginning of my new year went and I am so happy to see better days. I can’t even tell you what cravings I had or specific symptoms (other than nausea) because that’s literally all I could focus on. It consumed me most days. There was, and still is, a lot of anxiety from this first trimester. I am doing whatever I can now to make sure I enjoy the good days but know there still may be some not so good ones too. It is wild to look back on because my first two pregnancies I was barely even sick so this definitely as a huge shock.

If you are trying to conceive or newly pregnant make sure to read my First Trimester Survival Guide to for tips and tricks to help you get through those first few months.

Next blog post I will be doing our “guess the sex of the baby” based off of old wive tales. For now you can read Jasper’s and Slate’s.

Surprise… Baby Devine Number THREE!

It’s been a hot minute since I published a blog post, but today I have some very exciting news that I want to share! Those of you who follow along on Instagram already know, but we are expecting Baby Devine Number THREE!

I have been dying to share this news because it’s honestly been rough these last several weeks. Again, if you’re on Instagram, then you know. I will be doing a whole separate blog post discussing my first trimester (because oh my goodness it was totally different than my first two- you can about them here, I’M PREGNANT!!! and here, I’m Pregnant…AGAIN!), but this post is to address basic pregnancy questions and to chat/catch up with ya’ll!

Our third baby is due in August. His/her estimated due date is August 25th to be exact, so I am anxious to see if baby will come on the earlier or on the later side! As I am typing this I am currently sixteen weeks pregnant. Yes, this baby was planned just like all of the others. We actually waited a little while longer to get pregnant this time around. After I had Jasper we started trying when he was about eleven months old, for this baby we waited until Slate was about fourteen months old. Slate and our third baby will be about twenty-three months apart, whereas Jasper and Slate are twenty months apart to the day!

We do not know the gender yet and we probably won’t know until sometime in April. In April, I will be twenty weeks pregnant which is when I’ll receive an anatomy scan and confirm the sex of our baby! I know the trendy “thing” to do now is get the early prenatal testing done (Non-invasive Prenatal Testing) that also provides the sex, but Mark nor I feel it’s necessary to pay out of pocket (our insurance doesn’t cover it) when we can wait and get the ultrasound. The NIPT is a blood draw the detects for genetic abnormalities as well as sex. We do not have a history of genetic abnormalities so that is also why we feel it is unnecessary. Plus, it’s so fun waiting that first half of your pregnancy!

Something I have been getting asked a lot is are we hoping for a girl. Before I answer that I just have to say I assume people ask this question because we already have two boys. We have always wanted four kids and if that means we are “trying for a girl” then take it how you want it. However, I will say, yes, we of course would LOVE a little girl! Jasper is asking for a baby sister and I think it would be adorable for her to have two big brothers to grow up with. Again, if we get a third boy we will obviously be just as excited. Right now, I am trying my hardest not to convince myself it is one over the other and cause an upset on purpose.

If you have been around for my first two pregnancies, you know I post a weekly bump update every week on my Instagram feed and blog posts throughout my pregnancy. Nothing will change with this one- I love having all of the photos and posts to look back on and see exactly how I was feeling in that moment. I also cannot wait to have you all on this journey with me again!

That’s all for now but stay tuned for a first trimester blog post!

Building A Strong Immune System for All Year Long

There has never been a better time to take care of yourself than now, especially your immune system. A few years back I shared a blog post with tips and tricks our family uses to stay above the wellness line. Since then we have changed up our daily routine a bit and it has done wonders.

I am not writing this blog post to start a debate on keeping yourself, or others, healthy or the current state of the world. My intentions behind this are pure in wanting to share my own experience and knowledge. I am in no way telling you what to do. Always check with your provider before taking or doing anything that may affect your health.

In this post I am covering what my family uses on a daily basis to keep ourselves as healthy as possible. I will also share what we do when we do get sick or start to feel a little under the weather. These things are all kid-friendly and can be used within the whole family!

Building A Strong Immune System for All Year Long

Whole foods. There’s no denying the importance of incorporating as many whole foods into your diet as possible. There are so many benefits to loading up on fruits and veggies including vitamin C which is important for keeping your immune system properly functioning. Consuming whole foods not only provides nature’s vitamins and minerals, but it can help you manage weight, reduce inflammation, provide a natural source of energy and so much more. Eating whole foods is the base of our wellness regimen and is what makes all the other supplements helpful.

Ningxia Red. If you have been around here long enough, you know my love for Ningxia Red runs deep. I am a huge Young Living fan through and through and will always promote this drink supplement. It is full of antioxidants which we need to fight off free radicals that can make us sick. Not to mention the blend of immune supporting essential oils added in for an extra boost. I drink about two ounces every morning and both of my boys get around one ounce daily as well.

Elderberry. For the longest time I bought my elderberry at the store in gummy form or in a dropper. While it does still work consuming it that way, there is nothing better than purchasing locally sourced elderberry if you can. I get ours at our farmer’s market down the street and it’s so good. It consists of locally grown and harvested elderberries, water, local honey, and lemon. I take one full tablespoon a day (I love mixing it with my Ningxia) and I give the boys one teaspoon each day.

Probiotics. I am sure you have heard the term “your stomach is your second brain”. It’s true, if something is off in your gut chances are it is affecting you everywhere else, including your immune system. Finding a good probiotic alone can be very beneficial. I recently started taking the brand Rae and love it. The boy’s use the brand Smarty Pants currently (they are gummies so it’s easy for them to want to take them)!

Immune blend roller. Young Living has an essential oil blend called “Thieves” which is packed with immune boosting oils like lemon. Thieves is also Young Living’s household cleaning line and I think it speaks for itself! You can purchase a roller that’s premade or make your own. We choose to make our own. I love using Thieves with Lemon topped off with a carrier oil. I use the same for the boys but switch up the ratios. We roll this on our spines and bottoms of our feet every single day.

While we do these things every day, on top of washing hands, resting, etc., we do still get sick from time to time- We are humans! With that said, we like to “amp up” our routine when we start to feel sick.

Ways we increase our immune support when we do get sick include…

Eat more whole foods like soups and broths

Increasing our Ningxia red intake

Double up our elderberry intake

Diffuse Thieves all day every day

Increase the use of the immune supporting roller

Use the brand Earthley’s “Feel Better Fast” drops

Spoonfuls of local honey (only use on children one year+)

Lots and lots of fluids

Rest (duh!)

I would love to hear what you and your family do to keep yourselves healthy! Comment below or share with me on Instagram!

Slate’s First Year

Our second son, Slate, first year came and went and I definitely didn’t get to do a lot of blogging about it like I did with Jasper, but nonetheless, I am writing now! If you can remember back to almost two years ago, I blogged for every month of Jasper’s first year. With Slate, it wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to say, because lord knows just how much I do have to say, but rather I didn’t have the mental or emotional energy. Fast forward to present day, I am trying to get back to my roots and blog more often!

As most of you know, Slate turned a year old on September 30th. We threw a small, intimate birthday party for him which you can read all about here. This blog post I want to dedicate to those first twelve months of his life.

I have been really enjoying photo diary style blogs so instead of going on and on about each month, I gathered some of the highlights of Slate’s first year. I thought this would be a fun idea to see how much he has grown and to look back on a few years from now.

For Slate’s birth story click here.

THE BIG ONE: Slate’s 1st Birthday Party

Our sweet little boy is officially one year old! It has easily been one of the longest, yet shortest, years of our lives and we cannot believe we are parents of two toddlers now!

If you have been following along for a little while now, you know birthday’s are my favorite thing. I believe everyone deserves to be celebrated big on their special day. And there’s no exceptions for my babies! With that said, I take a lot of time to plan a simple, yet fun and beautiful, birthday party for the ones I love.

This post will cover all of the details from Slate’s first birthday, where I purchased the decorations, and the foods that were served.

After celebrating two birthdays with Jasper I have feel like I have learned a lot when it comes to planning a birthday party, at least what works for our family!

I know a lot of parents like to go all out for their children’s first birthdays but I have found it much easier (and stress free) when things are kept simple. For Slate’s birthday I knew I wanted it small, intimate, and easy going and that is exactly what I planned!

For decorations I decided on a neutral color palette. I did a small balloon garland and two bunches of matching balloons. I also purchased individual foil letter balloons to spell out “THE BIG ONE”.
The florals are made of different types pampas grass from a small shop on Etsy. I placed them in thrifted vases from GoodWill.
I put together these goodie bags using items I purchased off of Amazon.
The board of milestone photos I made by using a template purchased off Etsy. I printed the photos and then taped them onto a canvas board.
I decided to serve snack food instead of a full meal- this makes it less stressful and is super easy to clean up and store any leftovers! Pictured here is Pirate’s Booty and potato chips in disposable plastic bowls.
The highchair garland was from another Etsy shop and I am obsessed with it!
This was Slate’s smash cake. I like to make my babe’s smash cakes myself mainly because the ingredients are much better and I am not over paying for a cake they’ll barely even touch. Cake topper found on Etsy.
This was the “main” dish, if you will. I threw together a charcuterie board full of fruits, veggies, meats, and cheeses.
The cupcakes I did however not make myself. We got these gluten free dairy free cupcakes from a local bakery down the street from our house.

PARTY DETAILS

Balloon garland: OhhHowCharming

Balloon bunches: OhhHowCharming

Foil balloons: Party Products Online

Florals: PampasGrassSeason

Milestones Photos: UnmeasuredEvent

Highchair garland: CitrusFindings

Cake topper: DearHeartSigns

Table runner: ShopUkranianArt

Slate’s “one” t-shirt: Gladfolk

Cupcakes: Dolce Bakery

To get the details on Jasper’s first birthday click here.

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…

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XOXO,

D.J.