Hello friends, especially you MAMA!
I want to preface the start of this series by thanking all the mama’s that have taken the time to share their experiences! It is because of you and your honesty that other moms feel that they are not alone on this journey of motherhood.
What is your name?
My name is Nathaly.
How old were you when you had your first baby?
I was 24 when I had my first baby.
How many babies do you have? How far apart are they in age?
I have two babies. They are considered Irish twins. For those who might not know what this means, it’s siblings who are born less than 12 months apart. My kids are 11 months apart.
How was your labor & delivery experience?
My first delivery experience was so frightening. My water broke at 4 pm while my husband was still at work. When he got home I told him and he flew into panic mode even though I didn’t seriously start feeling contractions until 7 pm. At 10 pm we were headed to the hospital. The first thing they ask you when you go to check in is if your water has broken. I said YES because at this point my contractions were getting a little too real. The only thing on my mind was an epidural. Needle in my back please. I was terrified I would be too late to get it. Hah, little did I know I would spend all night raging in pain waiting for it. Nothing can prepare you for the pain racking your body every few minutes. The nurses come in and out of the room to check how dilated you are. They offered me laughing gas and that does nothing for you. Finally I was dilated enough to get my epidural. I could’ve kissed the anesthesiologist when she walked into that room. Definitely my favorite person of the year. At 2 pm my gynecologist arrived and a few pushes later Matthew was born. My second delivery was a breeze. I knew what to expect. My water never broke. I woke up one Sunday morning with a slight fluttering in my lower belly. I already recognized this feeling as little baby contractions. The rest of the day my husband and I spent timing and logging my contractions. We went to eat at red lobster for lunch because I knew they wouldn’t let me eat once I was in the delivery room. When we got home we sat on the couch and my husband started watching LCS on the Xbox. It was 5 pm and my contractions suddenly got a little too real. I smack hubby on the arm and point towards the door. He had the nerve to tell me hold on it’s almost over. Those were almost his last words. Still no water breaking. Which was odd. We go to sign in, they ask the magic question and we lie. We lie so hard because they will not check you in if your water hasn’t broken. I was doubled over in pain at this point. During my examination they check to see how dilated I am and the nurse says two centimeters. Lucky me my doctor was at the hospital at the time and he came to check in on me. Five minutes hadn’t passed since the nurse checked me and he told me I was four centimeters. I start asking for Karen, my favorite person at this point, the anesthesiologist. This baby wanted out bad and I was not ready for her to come out without some pain management. I get wheeled to my room, get hooked on my IV, and continue to be monitored. I was all settled in so I gave the ok for my husband to go get something to eat in the cafeteria. While he’s gone my nurse comes in and checks my dilation. She goes “oh, your water just broke”, and by the way you’re 9 cm. I heard these words in slow motion. She also informed me not to push if I felt the baby because she could see her head. My doctor was on his way. I text my hubby get your butt back here I am 9 cm and about to have this baby right now. I think he ran because not a minute later my doctor and him were walking through the door. Dr. Calderon said hi, told me to push two times, and then I had my baby girl in my arms. When they say the second birth is easier and faster than the first they are not kidding. If I were to have another baby I would definitely want to be mobile and walk around. Maybe use the ball they have in the rooms. They want you to lay down at all times during delivery and I’ve read many articles that say this elongates births. Finally, after the baby is earth side… skin to skin is the most important thing to do. The nurse will want to swoop in and clean the baby, weigh it, and do her examination. As nicely as possible, tell everyone to wait. This is what you’ve been waiting for mama.
Tell us some thing about your pregnancies
Pregnancy is tough. I can’t complain enough about it. For the first few weeks you feel dog tired. You could fall asleep standing up. They call it morning sickness but it’s all a lie. Any little thing you eat could come right back up at any moment. The baby is always kicking, ESPECIALLY at night. Get ready to buy new bras and panties too because everything gets larger. Once your belly starts showing or people find out you’re pregnant, everyone sees it fit to instruct you on what not to eat or do. Coffee is a mortal sin. All the Karen’s will look judgingly at you while you sip the ever delicious steaming cuppa joe. Flip Karen off and let her know that most if not all gynecologists say it is safe to have one cup of coffee a day. The one major perk of being pregnant is that you are goddess creating life, hear ye roar. It doesn’t matter if you were a train wreck human before this all happened. All the people at the ikea line will let you skip ahead to buy that ice cream cone you want. People at the grocery store rush to help you with your 2 lb bag. Your significant other will do anything, anytime for you. Even tie your shoes when you can no longer see your feet. The swelling peeing and body fluid that come out. The diabetes test and all the pricking they do to your arm.
You’re tired, hormonal, and hungry all the time. People will ask you what you’re craving but I think that’s made up. Technically you only have to eat 200 more calories a day but I bet I ate way more than that. And let’s not forget “morning sickness” which in reality is more like “all day sickness”.
People say it’s supposed to get easier. In a way they’re right because the sickness seems the go away. However, the baby starts to get more active during this time. Since you move around during the day it tends to sleep through all the yummy motion. So when you go to lay down to sleep at night, shockingly your baby wants to play karate kid with your kidney. So no sleep for you.
Swelling, swelling, swelling. Your fingers and legs swell to shocking extremes. Rings? Forget it. I also had to size up in a pair of shoes during this time. Always be near a bathroom because your bladder is the size of a pea.
At the end of the day or during, how do you find time for yourself?
I hide in the bathroom during the day. My tiny humans can’t reach doorknobs yet. Sometimes I need 5 minutes of quiet to regain my sanity without sticky fingers in my face and constant requests backed with threats of tantrums. 7 pm is their shut off time. They go night night and mommy can finally relax. I take time to myself and binge watch Netflix until I quite literally pass out.
How do you handle the pressures of ‘being a mom’ in this day and age? Family? Friends? The media?
Outside forces and pressures are strong when you become a parent. They feel even more suffocating now that you have all this information at the tip of your fingers. The media can be your friend or a big time enemy. You have your cousin posting videos on Instagram of her 9 month old already walking and talking like a big kid. You have countless articles claiming vaccines cause A or B. You have family calling you with “suggestions” about pacifiers, pediatricians, and screen time. In this day and age, as a mom or dad, it is critical to plug off. Turn it all off. Give yourself and your kids some breathing room. They don’t need that pressure from you. Children will develop at their own pace. Above all, trust YOUR instinct. You will be fine.
Something you wish you knew before becoming a mom?
Do what works for your baby or kid and don’t worry about what worked for everyone else. Your pediatrician is a great resource if you need ideas on methods to soothe your baby or for anything else. I would try too many things that would just end up frustrating both my baby and I. When I decided to just shut everything else out and make conscious decisions for my baby with my pediatricians guidance, our experiences were smooth sailing from there on out.
What has been the biggest change since becoming a mom?
I would have to say the biggest change for me would have to be scheduling myself. Kids seem to be creatures that thrive off of schedules and predictability. They need set feeding times, bath times, nap times, etc. I’m horrible at this. I’m the kind of mom that puts them to sleep when they’re sleepy, feeds them when they’re hungry, and bathes them when they absolutely need to. I’ve been striving to get better at this and with the help of my husband the chaos has died down a bit.
Did you find a need to join any mommy groups, support, classes before/during/after?
I would have loved to join a mommy group but unfortunately it just never worked out. Being a parent is very isolating and having a community that understands what you are going to is important to decompress.
What are the top 5 items you carry in your diaper bag?
- Baby wipes
- Baby food pouches
- Sippy cup
These are all important, forget one and you might just have to end your day early.
Let’s talk breastfeeding.
Oh man, breastfeeding. I did not breastfeed my first. I didn’t know but apparently this is a capital offense. He was born with jaundice and wouldn’t latch in the hospital or even when we got home. If your baby doesn’t latch the nurses will come in and pressure you to give the baby formula. So my first drank pumped milk for three weeks and then after that he was formula fed until 12 months. My second baby latched on immediately with the help of the lactation consultant at the hospital. She taught me to sandwich my boob and help the baby. She instructed me and told me that the baby had a good latch and would eventually get the hang of it on her own without my help. I spent 5 long months holding my boob like a bottle for my baby. It wasn’t painful since my baby latched on correctly. I didn’t have any bleeding nipples but I did have a few leak accidents on my clothes and a few bouts of mastitis. Mastitis is the freaking worst. Your milk ducts get clogged and you get chills, aches, etc. Now lets talk about breastfeeding in public. My baby would not take a bottle. So I couldn’t pump and take a bottle when we went out. Breastfeeding your baby in public in this country also seems to be a capital offense. People roll their eyes at you, cover their kids eyes, or are plain rude with their comments. And I’m not even one of those moms that would just pop out a breast. Even though I’m in my legal right to. I always had a blanket covering my baby, suffocating in the heat of Florida. You hate it and you love it but if I had to choose to breastfeed a baby again… I probably wouldn’t.
You’ve recently moved to another state where you don’t have much family, what would you say to moms that also are or will be going through the same?
Don’t do it. Kidding, sorta. Being far away from everything you know and love is hard. But you know what? This baby will keep you so dang busy that you won’t feel it as much.
So far the hardest thing about being a mom?
The hardest thing about being a mom has to be being scared of sneezing. It’s been a year since my last birth and sometimes when I sneeze I pee myself a little bit. As embarrassing as it is, it is completely normal. Do your kegels ladies.
How did you know when it was the right time for YOU and your partner to have a baby?
My husband was about to graduate and had a job lined up. I was a semester away from graduation when we decided to start trying. It usually takes quite some time to conceive. Joke was on us because it took three months. Three months later I was staring at a pregnancy test thinking what….the… hell? It all fell into place and it turned out to be the right time for us. I always knew I wanted a large family with not a lot of age difference in between. So starting early, at 24, was important to me.
Many women wonder when the right time is, in your opinion when do you feel the right time to have a baby is?
Personally, I don’t believe there is a wrong or right time to have a baby. But if I had to pick a moment it would be when both parents feel like they are ready to take care of another human being. I don’t just mean you have the money so you can take care of a baby. I’m referring to want, as in you want to take care of this little being that shits and pees in their diaper every 30 mins on the dot.
What are some of the things you advise moms to do for themselves after having baby?
Don’t cry cause the baby will cry too. Kidding, sorta. If you can, take an hour to yourself every week. Work out, go grocery shopping by yourself, do your nails. Actually no, don’t go grocery shopping by yourself. As satisfying at that may be as a mommy, it doesn’t classify as self care. Do something for JUST YOU. Something that will make you feel like a confident woman again. Having a baby can really make you question your identity.
List of things you wish you packed in your hospital bag, and list of things you recommend packing.
I packed everything I needed or wanted. I would recommend packing some essentials. Breast pads, comfy black granny panties (you’ll thank me later), nursing bras, pajamas for after giving birth (you will want to shower and get out of that hospital gown), your baby book (the nurse will imprint your babies foot into it), and a phone charger. Oh, I also brought outfits for the baby and I to leave the hospital. Nothing crazy. Mostly everything like pads and such are provided at the hospital for you. I took a hoppy pillow because everyone raved about how comfy it was for breastfeeding but I hated it and ended up using a regular pillow instead.
Resources you recommend to have/read during/after pregnancy?
I never really found a book that I would turn to during or after pregnancy. However, I did use the the site babycenter to read up on babies development. Honestly, Google was our best friend.
Special thank you to Nathaly, for her time and unfiltered truth into her life as a mama.
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Stay tuned for next week’s mama.