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Monday, February 3, 2014

It's A...BOY?!

As you may have read in previous posts regarding my pregnancy and birth, we were expecting a girl until the moment our amazing little boy was born. And yes, we were told girl by the ultrasound technician and, while I didn't specifically ask for a confirmation by the OB/GYN we were seeing for the first 30 weeks, she seemed to agree.

Now, my one fear in writing this post is that someday, maybe, our E will read it and I don't want him to think for a fraction of a fraction of a second that we wished he were someone else. Because, E...oh my word I cannot describe the joy you have brought into our lives. You have truly taught me what unconditional loves means and your father and I adore you. We love you more than can ever be described and we always will. No. Matter. What. And the second you were born, my mind was flooded with images of us doing all the fun "boy stuff" with you!. I know your dad can't wait to teach you all of the fun "manly stuff" he loves to do. You are so loved my little man.

Original photo taken by: Dana Marie Photography

Before we decided to try to start our family, we knew that we both liked the name Lily for a girl. My husband's grandmother was Lilyan, and I just always thought it was a sweet name. So to spice it up a bit, we decided if we had a girl we would name her Lilyana (pronounced Lily-Ann-Uh). After finding out we were expecting, we started looking through names for a boy since we already had a girl name decided. We both taught middle school (well my husband still teaches) and have worked with children for quite a few years now. We all know boys are a bit more, shall we say, "rambunctious" so deciding on a boy name was tough. I'd like one, then he'd say "No can't do it" and vice versa. Shortly before our 20 week ultrasound, a co-worker of my husband's mentioned a name and we loved it. In the waiting room before the 20-week ultrasound, we decided that'd be it if we had a boy.

To back up a little, I grew up quite a tom-boy and while I enjoy a glass of wine with the girls now and then and grew up with Barbie, I'm more of a whiskey and beer and campfire kind of gal. I like physical hard work, love to build things, and have a little destructive side. So I always thought I'd have to have boys because I wouldn't know what to do with a girl. My husband on the other hand, who is as manly as they come, thought he'd have to have a girl because he always had a harder time with boys when it came to supervising and such. There are not many girls on his side of the family. Not any in fact, younger than his aunts until our niece was born a couple of years ago. So I guess you could say some were "hoping" for a girl, if for nothing else than variety and buying pink things. I just wanted our baby, but if you asked me before our ultrasound, I said we were "hoping" for a girl, but I thought boy.

When we were told girl, it didn't feel real to me. To the point it made me worry that I wasn't connected to my baby. I had looked up photos of ultrasounds to see what a girl would look like (I think we know what a boy looks like) in an ultrasound photo. When I saw our baby on the screen and she said girl, I doubted her. My momma-gut didn't feel right and I only saw two little lines (which we'd later find out was the outline of a boy). But we left and soon began telling family and friends that we were expecting a Lilyana.

People would ask if we knew the gender and had a name picked out and when I would answer, again it didn't feel right. No doubt I was excited to be having a baby, but saying girl felt weird. Saying Lily felt weird. So then I doubted our name choice a little bit thinking maybe that was it. Maybe this just wasn't a Lily (well I was right about that I guess!). Then I worried that I wasn't bonding with our unborn baby. Then I decided it was all poppycock and that I wouldn't feel that strong bond until "she" was born and I stopped beating myself up about it. Still, saying girl didn't feel right.

Then we had our pink owl-themed baby shower and got lots of adorable dresses and outfits. I loved everything and honestly still have all of it in case we have a girl the next time around. (Maybe I'll just make the photos of the shower black and white for his baby book :-P) Other than clothes, all of the "gear" we registered for was gender-neutral since we plan to have more than one child. But again, something was gnawing at me and I again chalked it up to being a first time mom and hormones.

Then, at 42 weeks, labor began and we prepared to meet our little one. Labor was intense and while I know I didn't think so right afterwards (I blame the Pitocin), I loved it. Because of the meconium in my water when it broke 19 hours prior to our E being born, I didn't get him on my chest right away. He was being suctioned right next to me and I was in a whirlwind spinning through what just happened. I pushed out a baby, it took a couple of hours, but I did it. Go me! Then I hear a little commotion and our wonderful doula leans over the bed and asked, "What were you expecting again?" with a bit of a giggle as I recall, and then there was an "It's a boy!" and an uproar of laughter from the nurses. And me saying to myself, "I KNEW IT!" And our sweet midwife saying..."Oh yeah! I just remembered thinking 'be careful when cutting the cord.'" lol...Then I pulled out a green hat I had packed (along with a gender-neutral onesie) just in case.

So we pulled out the name we'd decided on 22 weeks prior and it fits him perfectly :) I didn't know this at the time, but my husband later told me that asking if I wanted his name to be our son's middle name meant a lot to him. I thought we'd discussed it but apparently I never said it out loud. Yay for sweet moments <3

In the days following the birth, I was so happy. Tired and sore, but happy. I actually loved the surprise. I mean, even if you don't find out with an ultrasound, you know you'll get one or the other. When you are told one and get the other, that's even more of a surprise. I love surprises. I am not one to snoop for gifts or try to get hints. So in retrospect, I'm not sure why I really wanted to find out the gender. I remember thinking it would help me bond with the baby, and we know that didn't work. (Not that I didn't bond with him during pregnancy...feeling those kicks and squirms is priceless).

Then came that moment of a slight feeling of loss. A few days after the birth, our doula stopped by for her post-partum visit and asked if we felt a sense of loss and how things were going. At that point I was still in phase one mentioned above and told her things were great. But a few days, or maybe weeks, later it hit me one night. I believe it was after I put all of our girl clothes away. Doing that made me feel like I was saying good-bye even though a daughter never existed.  I was holding E in bed staring at his tiny sweetness and started crying. Not bawling, but there were tears. When  my husband asked what was wrong, the flood gates opened. I was more upset because I felt good ol' fashioned momma guilt. I needed my tiny moment to "grieve". A moment I didn't think I would need. And because I had that moment, I felt tremendous guilt. As I mentioned earlier, I didn't for a second want E to feel we ever thought we didn't want him. I couldn't bear the thought and I still can't.

So the tears came because I felt a moment of loss. It was brief but it hit me. Then more tears came because as I said to my husband that night, "I don't want him to ever think we didn't want him. A part of me just feels that we lost a daughter." That was my moment and I'm glad I let myself have it because as much as I loved and adored him before that, it opened me up even more to truly soak in that I have a son. I should say that more often. I have a son, a sweet, hilarious, smart, adorable little son. I wouldn't change a thing and my husband says more and more how excited he is to share all of his manly hobbies with him (not that he couldn't share them with a girl...but how many girls do you know that are into ham radio?).

So what did this experience teach me? First and foremost: Trust your gut! Secondly, I can't think of another true surprise we are given in life. I know people find out for different reasons and of course your choice is your choice, go you! But we will not be finding out the gender in the future. We may not even get an ultrasound in the future. I loved the surprise and don't want to spoil it. Like I said, it's really the only one we get. Even better, we have a bin of both boy and girl newborn clothes, socks, booties and hats so we are ready for #2 no matter what! It also taught me that you can spend weeks preparing clothes, getting everything washed and organized. This isn't a bad thing, but I found that it isn't something to stress over. I had to do that all over again after E was born and we were blessed with many gifts of boy's newborn and 3 month clothing and it was no big deal. If you have the time to nest like that, do it, but don't stress over it. All they really need is you, diapers, blankets, and maybe a hat or two. The rest is extra. Really all of it is extra, all they really need is you <3

Did you find out the gender of your baby, or are you planning to? Have you been surprised like we were? I'd love for you to share your story with us in the comments!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Natural Birth Stories by Shannon Brown - Book Review & Giveaway


based on the state of things in nature; constituted by nature

When I first began reading Shannon Brown's book, Natural Birth Stories: The Real Mom's Guide to an Empowering Natural Birth, my first thoughts were, "Yes! Exactly!" and "I could have written this!" And I don't mean that last exclamation as in, "This is lame, I could have written this," I meant it as "This is exactly how I feel about birth!" This book shares 32 stories of natural birth varying from hospital, to home, to water births. It is FULL of factual information surrounding today's medical interventions and their typical over-use. Most importantly, and why I highly recommend it, is that it educates women about their options when it comes to child birth and empowers them to take control of their bodies and their babies.

My journey to a natural birth started out in a very similar way to Shannon's description in her book. I just called an OB/GYN because I thought that's what you did. I thought midwives only attended home births and I wasn't ready for that (though that's what I am hoping for when we have #2!). Then my husband and I watched The Business of Being Born and were enlightened. And as you can read here, we switched providers and got on the road to natural birth. I read several books, all great, about natural birth but I must say I could have saved some time and money because this book sums up everything I read across several books and puts it in a very easy-to-read format with so many empowering and beautiful birth stories along the way. I can't get enough of birth stories. Love them.

Click HERE to read more about Shannon & her book!

Whether you believe in creation or evolution, women's bodies are made to give birth. Yes, sometimes medical interventions are necessary and can save lives. If this is/was you, do not feel you are being attacked. As you can read in my own birth story, I ended up needing a bit of intervention myself. Perhaps you weren't happy with those interventions. Perhaps you are perfectly fine with them but want to explore other options for your next birth. Maybe you're a midwife or doula. Or maybe you just love reading about birth. Shannon describes this book's purpose perfectly:
"My dream is for women to know all their options before ever giving birth, so they don't have to struggle with the emotional and physical recovery of a negative experience." - Shannon Brown
Another great aspect of this book that I would have loved to have during my pregnancy is the comprehensive list of questions you may want to ask when you are interviewing care providers. She also covers the most popular birth classes and stresses the importance of a trusted birth team.

Upon reading this book, I was a few months post-partum and really not thinking about my next birth. I know it is a couple of years away (although things can't always be planned now can they?) and I am too obsessed with our little man to think about another baby. However, I do know that I would love a home birth next time around and this book has a lot to do with that. While it has plenty of natural hospital birth stories, and I did enjoy the help from our nurses, the home birth stories really spoke to me. Now it is your turn to get a copy and decide what speaks to you!

You can purchase a copy either in paperback or Kindle HERE 
*Use discount code DUDABIRTH for 20% off between now and 1/28/14!*

You can also try your hand at the giveaway below! 
(And then go back and purchase if you aren't our lucky winner of course)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 19, 2013

GIVEAWAY - Luci Lights - Rock On Solar Power!

This post received no compensation, all opinions are mine and mine alone.
This giveaway is sponsored by MPowered and Hosted by It's Peachy Keen.

 I don't typically promote other giveaways, but I couldn't pass up helping to get the word out about LUCI Lights once I read about them. I love the cause they support, and I can just imagine how beautiful they would look in our new garden and patio next summer, not to mention our camping trips. I'm a little more relaxed just thinking about it.

Enlightened Functionality
Unlike other solar lamps, Luci offers the benefits of a task light, flashlight and diffused lantern in one attractive design. Never reliant on the power grid, she shines brightest where light is inaccessible or not affordable. To light up life with clean energy, Luci is your girl.

Featherweight & Dependable
Luci weighs only 4 ounces and collapses to one inch thin. Add a solar charged lithium ion battery and an 80 lumen light to the mix and you’ve got one impressive lady. Whether it’s for travel, disaster relief or anything in between, Luci always shines bright.

CLICK HERE To buy one or check them out.
Luci Lights are amazing. You have the option to buy one for yourself or buy one to give to someone in need. Can you imagine going about your normal day after the sun goes down? You would be left in the dark literally. In other countries these little blow up lights are their light switches, their way to creating a better tomorrow for themselves. Help MPowered in lighting the way by buying one for you or to give or even both!

My children and I fell in love with Luci. I love them for the bright light it provides. I can easily turn off my house lights and have a whole entire room lite up with a Luci Light. I have one in my car as well just in case. They do have awesome settings built in on top of it just being solar powered and not needing anything but a little sun. They can be bright, brighter, and then they also blink. So this little light is perfect for disaster relief, survivor kits, camping, and more. You could even be gearing up for a zombie kit. Luci Lights are just great for everyday use or when you really need her to be there. Luci Lights are also water proof!! So cool right!

My daughters keep the lights in their tent and we have been using them to light the way on a night time walk. An awesome light in themselves just because of how simple they are and versatile they can be.

It is open to US only. 18+ and winner will be chosen January 12 at Midnight EST. Winner will have 48 to respond when I send out the email. Winner will be chosen and posted on It's Peachy Keen. So be sure to check back.
This blog is not responsible for prize fulfilment or any shipping charges.
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