Life as a First Time Mom

Hi everyone! After my last post about Herschel’s birth story I figured it was important to shed some light on a not-so-humorous time! I had reservations about writing that experience out and allowing everyone to read about it, but I am so happy that I did. So many people reached out to tell me that I am strong and how incredible I am for enduring that. And honestly, I truly feel that way! It was a rough (short) moment in our lives, but since those days in the hospital, we have had the most incredible bond. Between not only Herschel and I, but also Jared and us as a family! Adjusting to parenthood is no easy task, especially for someone like Jared who had no experience with kids before Herschel…So let me give you some updates on our lives (as parents); some good, some not so good, and how we’ve coped for the last 10 weeks!

The Days of Postpartum

Okay, I’m not going to lie. The first few weeks after baby is born are truly the HARDEST and there were times I wondered if I would ever feel like myself again. It had nothing to do with Herschel and everything to do with my recovery. My pregnancy was a breeze and honestly my labor experience wasn’t too awful either…but those postpartum hormones and anxiety hit me like a ton of bricks! This is even more so because baby spend time in the NICU. You have the general shock of bringing baby home and learning a whole new life with a little one that depends on you at all times. And then your hormones are going haywire making you feel every emotion at once, on overload. If you’re really lucky you’ll have the anxiety sprinkled on top causing you to hover over your baby at all times checking if they’re breathing (sweat emoji). Also, your body is going through major recovery, but you simply can’t slow down because that sweet little babe needs you. I won’t go into too much detail about this here, but I felt like this is something people really don’t prepare you for! I would be more than willing to write a whole post about postpartum if that would interest anyone! Just know you’re not alone if you have also experienced these emotions and it will only get easier with time.

The New Normal

In all honesty, I feel that adjusting to motherhood came very easy to me! I am 1 of 4 kids and already have two nieces and two nephews that I have been involved with in their lives since they were born. Majority of the jobs I have ever had included children and caring for them. I was a Pre-Kindergarten teacher who was in charge of 17 four year olds all day long and had majority experience dealing with infants. I knew the changing, feeding, playing, soothing, naps, and everything in between. My job was literally to change dirty diapers all day long. So when Herschel came into our lives, it was so natural to me! The only real adjustment was being the one to feed him in the nights and realizing that I am his mother and I call the shots on everything (laugh emoji). No one was going to tell me what to do with him and Jared and me were the only ones who will make decisions for him. It’s both odd and rewarding! When I asked Jared what the hardest part for him was adjusting to parenthood, he said it was, “the times he would be crying and nothing you do can get him to calm down; even if you think it’s the right thing to do , but still nothing helps.” We were so lucky to have each other daily to help with the struggles of a newborn. He helped when my anxiety was so high all I did was cry, and those times he felt helpless I could take over from there. Herschel also made it a smooth transition since he’s the sweetest easiest baby I could have ever dreamt of!

Accepting the Defeats

With the knowledge and experience I had coming into motherhood, it also made it really difficult to accept defeat. Mom guilt is a real thing and it can be overpowering if you allow it. It’s not always easy getting to know your baby and what they want or need. You really just hope that your instincts kick in. I’ve had to acknowledge the fact that I can’t always control the outcome of situations and I just gotta let it go. For example: when Herschel was only a couple weeks old we had to take him on a car ride to my parents one evening. He doesn’t like his carseat very much and in the middle of the drive (in the rain, during rush hour, I should remind you) he started screaming and then holding his breath until he turned blue and sweat was dripping down his face…my anxiety was at a 1,000 at that point. I refused to take him out of the house for awhile after that one! Or another example is around four weeks our breastfeeding journey took a slight detour. Breastfeeding was a dream up until this point, and then all of a sudden he was pulling off, screaming to the top of his lungs, and was having a hard time getting a good feeding in. After this persisted for weeks I almost gave up on breastfeeding entirely, but after many trial and errors, breastfeeding got better again! I’ve learned not to dwell on those little bumps in the road and just ride it out without the mom guilt weighing down on me.

Making Time for Mom and Dad

Leading up to Herschel’s birth, Jared and I made a conscious point to discuss our relationship post baby. A strong foundation for a family starts with our relationship and making it a priority! You can’t teach love and togetherness if you’re not supporting that through your marriage. We’ve had so much joy planning the time we get to spend together at the end of the night once Herschel goes to bed. The first month wasn’t really possible to do this since we were always catching up on sleep, riding through Herschel’s witching hour, and I was working on recovery. Now that we’re getting the hang of things, Hersch is going to bed earlier and we have time to focus on one another! Date nights are SO IMPORTANT! If you just had a baby, try your best to set time aside to just be with your spouse, without baby, to focus on each other. My mom and sister were very supportive of this and watched Herschel while we went for beers and sushi (this was difficult for me to leave him, but I’m so happy we did). We find ourselves getting excited to put him to bed, drink a glass of wine, and just watch a show together without being interrupted. Even talking about getting intimate gives us something to look forward to and shows one another that we still find the other attractive and important even after baby has arrived!

Endless Amount of Love and Laughter

This wouldn’t be “life of a new mom” if I didn’t share the joys of having a baby, especially if it’s your first! From the moment they are born, you wake up feeling so whole and needed that you just can’t wait to hold and kiss all over them! With every new day Herschel is growing and showing off his developmental stages. I’ll never forget the feeling I have when he looks at me and smiles because I’m literally everything he ever wanted. There is no greater feeling than knowing that when he’s fussy all he needs is his mama to cuddle him. Or in the mornings when we all just woke up and laugh at every little thing he does because its so pure and innocent. Seeing my husband become a father has become one of the proudest moments to date. It’s unlike anything you can explain and it’s the very reason I’ll do it 100 times over!

Each and everyday we have to learn to adjust our schedules and accept that life will never be as it once was. And we love that! Becoming parents is something we talked about for years, and now that we’re living it, all thanks goes to God for blessing us with our precious little boy and the life we get to make with each other!

Leave a comment with other topics you would be interested in reading 🙂

Herschel’s Birth Story

Herschel Floyd O’Hara, born December 4th, 2019 at 1:44 am. He weighed a beautiful 8 pounds 3 ounces and was 21.3 inches long. He was everything we could have ever wanted and then some! I had every intentions of sharing my pregnancy journey with you (definitely slacked on the end of my pregnancy, but it was a rough ride!), which included his birth story. After it was all said and done and he was finally in my arms, I had second thoughts about sharing the experience… We didn’t get the typical delivery where baby is pushed out vaginally, has his first cry, and placed on my chest for our first skin to skin bonding. It was honestly a very traumatic experience that took me awhile to come to terms with and to be okay with what happened. But now that the postpartum anxiety has subsided and I’ve had time to talk it through with family and friends, I know it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I couldn’t have controlled what happened and God was with us that morning in the delivery room looking over our sweet baby. We are so incredibly blessed it wasn’t anything worse than it was! Some people aren’t as lucky… but what is important is that our little boy is THRIVING, recovered quickly, and we’re all together as a family!

Jared and I arrived at the hospital around 9 pm that Monday so I could start my induction. I had already gone past my due date and was almost 41 weeks! Herschel had NO intentions of coming out on his own and I was so miserable and ready to get the show on the road. I was having mild contractions all day, but had no idea that that was what they were until they had me hooked up to the monitor. They inserted a cervidill to promote dilation a little bit more naturally at first. I was 2.5 centimeters dilated when I went in to be induced. The next morning, my mom and mother-in-law came to be present for the birth. All was fine and dandy, easy going, just waiting for baby to come. When my doctor FINALLY came in to check me (around 1pm the next day) I was dilated to a 3. In the middle of her checking me, that is when my water broke! And let me tell you this…when your water breaks, it’s on! Contractions come on full force and you’re in intense labor. This is when they started me on pitocin to keep the contractions regular. At this point, everything is still normal and moving along perfectly. I had a monitor facing me at all times where I could see when contractions were coming and with Herschel’s heart rate visible.

I knew I wanted to hold out as long as I could without the epidural in hopes that it wouldn’t slow my progress down, but I had all intentions of getting an epidural because I knew if you couldn’t relax a bit from contractions that it could actually prolong your labor. Your body does best if you find a way to calm yourself and give your body rest! I only lasted like 15 minutes before asking for the epidural (lol), but it felt like a LIFETIME! Once the epidural was given to me, the pain subsided, and I attempted to get some rest. I honestly couldn’t get any sleep because I was so eager to meet my baby! I think I might have gotten 30 minutes total of shut eye. An important side note is that my hospital allowed you to distribute more of the epidural every 10 minutes as needed. So if I felt like it was wearing off, I just pushed a button to numb me up again. Remember that for a later note… 😅

When my nurse came in around 11 pm, I asked her if she would check me to see if I was close enough to push. I was 9 cm dilated, but almost 10, so that’s when we started some practice pushes. Shortly after that, she said she would go get the midwife (a midwife delivered Herschel because my doctor was not on call) and it was time to push that baby out! We were all taking bets on what time he would be born, and everyone fully expected him to be born before the day was up. We were obviously wrong (lol). Jared and my mom had to hold my legs while I pushed, and I got the hang of it pretty quickly! The epidural wore off a bit (because I hadn’t pushed the button in awhile) and at the end of my pushing, I could feel everything… I pushed for 2 and a half hours and I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t out yet. I’m basically screaming and crying like crazy because I could feel all the pressure and pain from pushing. This is when everything took a turn for the worse. In the middle of frantically pushing, I heard the midwife tell the nurse to call the NICU, the baby’s heart rate is increasing.

Shortly after that, multiple nurses were in my room, Jared and my mom were pushed out of the way and now random nurses were holding my legs up. They got the little box out with all the utensils used to revive a baby and the lights were turned up to bright. This all was happening so fast and I wasn’t fully myself in my own body from extreme exhaustion and the adrenaline pumping through me. But I heard the midwife say his heart rate was racing and he was in distress and I did what a mommy does; I did whatever It took to save my baby. I didn’t take breaths and I pushed until I thought I was breaking all my bones, and out he came. The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck twice and he had shoulder dystocia which basically means he was too big for the birth canal and got stuck. So while he was stuck and I was pushing extra hard to get him out, the umbilical cord was working even harder sucking him back in.

After he was pulled out and the cord was cut immediately, they placed him on my stomach for only a second before removing him and taking him to the little baby box. He was blue and there was no crying. I was in utter despair, crying and praying harder than I ever have. The nurse who was present my whole labor held my hand tight while I cried into Jared’s chest. The only thing going through my head was “I don’t know what I would do if he doesn’t make it.” I see a nurse lift his little hand up and it fall right back down as if he were lifeless. And that’s when I heard it; the most beautiful cry you could ever hear come from the most precious baby. My heart just sank and I yelped with relief that my baby was okay. Everything had happened in a span of 5 minutes; that’s how quickly things can take a turn. They handed him over for me to hold for a minute before taking him to the NICU for further observations. He was so perfect and everything I had just endured was nothing compared to the amount of love and joy I was feeling holding him.

I never wanted to share the first few photos I had of my sweet baby because honestly they were too hard to see. But now I look back at them and smile at how strong he was those first few days of life in the NICU. I am so thankful for that sweet babe, and again, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. There is nothing I could have done differently to prevent it from happening and he is still the same Herschel no matter how he got here. I apologize for the lengthy post, but no matter how difficult the experience was, I want to remember it because that was the day my son was born. 💙

Happy and healthy like nothing ever happened! We love you Hershey!!

Always,

learnandbewithme

Baby O’Hara, Coming November 2019!

Okay…this post is W A Y overdo! I’ve known that I’m pregnant since the beginning of March and I am just now getting around to writing about it (at the end of July). Honestly, I’ve been a little MIA for the simple reason that I’ve had so much going on with my life that I was truly overwhelmed! Since my last post I have started a new job (yay for Pre-k teachers!), Jared and I moved into our first house (hello home improvements!), and we found out I’m pregnant with our first little babe (give me all the baby kisses!). So actually, overwhelmed is an understatement! But with all the new changes going on in my life, I find that happiness radiates through me and changes bring so much more fulfillment in my life! This little baby boy is about to make me the person I’ve always wanted to be, a mom!

Back in February we had the biggest achievement of finding our first home! We had looked for months, toured probably close to 20 houses, and even had a contract on another home that evidently fell through. We had no idea at the time, but it was all leading up to finding our perfect starter home where we will eventually begin our family. It was built in 1948 and placed in the middle of the cutest town! When I say this house is old, I mean O L D. It has all its original wooden doors, glass door knobs, hardwood floors, and plenty of rooms so we can grow in this house.

About a month before closing on the house, Jared and I were sitting on the couch kinda just doing our own thing. I was on my phone while he watched TV when I started playing a video on YouTube. It was this girl I follow on social media announcing that she was pregnant. She had mentioned that she went off birth control and it took about five months to conceive. I had no idea Jared was even listening, but that’s when he stopped me and asked if that was common for most women. After responding with the, “everyone is different” comment, that’s when he threw me for a loop and said “we should start trying for a baby now”. UM, WHAT?! I jumped up and assured him that this was a very important decision and we had to talk about it and decide together. We have been discussing kids for a very long time, and we knew as soon as we had a house that we would start trying, but I was honestly just surprised that he actually wanted to start! After talking it over for awhile we both came to the decision that we should start trying to conceive.

I had a week left of birth control, and every day leading up to it I asked Jared if he was 100% sure of our decision (lol). With each day it only became more and more clear that that was our next step in life. Once we started trying, I soon realized that waiting for that positive test is agonizing! With each day I wondered if I was pregnant or if we’ll have to try again the next month. When it came close to my period time I went out and bought a pregnancy test. Most you can test up to four days early, but I was a little eager so I tested it at five days :P. It came back negative. That was a little disappointing, but I just went on with my weekend like normal. I was convinced I wasn’t pregnant and Jared encouraged me to wait until I missed a period to take another one. But something was telling me I should take one more test (two days later) just to be sure. I didn’t have any symptoms, but it’s almost felt like God was saying to do it. So I took another test and it had a faint positive sign…

Jared was in disbelief, but being a woman I knew that even if it’s faint it’s still most likely positive. I was freaking out at this point! We then ran to the store to grab a digital test for a more clear response. And what do you know, “pregnant” pops up across the screen. Just thinking back on it makes me giddy. I am so incredibly thankful that God blessed us with the ease of conceiving on our first try. I know so many women have the heartache and frustration of trying to conceiving and failing time and again. Or maybe they’re able to conceive, but aren’t fortunate to carry out the pregnancy. We have dreamt for so many years of raising a family together, and God blessed us in so many ways to allow us this journey of a home, a family, and a future!

Now we are settled into our home, working on a nursery for a little baby, and throwing out possible names for him (which we are 98% sure we have decided on a name 🙂 ). I would love to continue sharing my journey of pregnancy and experiences of first time parents. This blog truly is my creative space, and now that I feel less overwhelmed (and myself again) I want to create some helpful and truthful content for my readers!

Always,

learnandbewithme