new mama must haves

Dearest new mama, this time is so exciting. It’s the most precious, difficult and beautiful time in your life… you are part of a miracle and this baby needs your love and care… you are this baby’s everything.  YOU are amazing!

For me, that first week home, baby was sleeping three hours at a time and never crying… i remember saying, “this is way easier than i thought!”.

Week three hit and baby girl started feeling completely un happy… crying every.waking.second. Day & night she screamed and it broke my heart.

We bounced, swaddled and shuuushed for 8 weeks straight. I wish i was over exaggerating, but there were days where she wouldn’t nap at all because her stomach hurt & there was little sleep at night if any. We were zombies!

Everyone might label this as “colic”, which just seems like a term used for a baby that cries a lot. our pediatrician eventually ended up saying it could be acid reflux and gave us a prescription for omeprazole. i hated giving her medicine, but i would do anything to give her some relief from pain & it helped a lot!

It’s heartbreaking, to see your baby cry in pain non stop and not be able to help them. Baby’s digestive systems are not fully developed yet. Their nervous system and senses are developing too, which leads to the only way they know how to express themselves, crying.  Processed with VSCOcam with a4 preset We thought it was acid reflux because every time we nursed she would break off the nipple & scream in pain, but then come back right away because she was still hungry and wanting to sooth her stomach with nursing. She would spit up a lot too, like 3-5 times after each feeding. She couldn’t sleep or nurse on her back. We eventually found a nursing position that changed my life (link below) and I found a way for her to sleep that soothed her: After bouncing her upright on a yoga ball, I would lay in bed with her draped across my stomach/chest. The pressure on her stomach helped her sleep through the whole night and when she was hungry she would just nuzzle her way up and nurse, then fall back to sleep. Sleep, finally! We slept like this till she was about four months old and then she was finally able to sleep on her back.

Most of all, just love on them and comfort them best you can. All we can really do is wait for them to out grow this phase. BUT here is a list of the things we could not live with out. Even for a “normal” baby, these items, I feel like, are the must haves.

…and for those hopeless moments, just remember, it will get SO much better & try to cherish even those difficult days because, as you’ll hear a million times, “it goes by so fast” & it really does. at three months old we stopped giving her the prescription. she still spits up, but it’s now “happy spitting” and she is the happiest baby! just wait for that first smile and laugh, there is nothing sweeter in the whole world!

Newborn must haves!

Yoga ball to bounce baby in your arms

Solly wrap– it’s so sweet to have them snuggled close.

Natursutten pacifier– it’s made from the rubber tree, so no bpa.

HALO sleep sack– so much faster than trying to swaddle

Tummy Calm– we tried every homeopathic remedy ever suggested to help our girl and this is the only one that helped (sometimes). helps with gas too, which is usually a big reason for crying. do lots of bicycle legs to help get farts out.

Acidophilus– a probiotic. helps their digestive system and immune system. add the recommended amount to water in a spoon and use a syringe or you can put the powder right on your nipple. if you or baby are on antibiotics, give acidophilus at a different time of the day or when you’re done using antibiotics to replenish the good bacteria in the gut.

Hydro Flask– because who has time to go get water and you need as much as you can for producing breast milk.

Fels Naptha– because baby poop stains. did not know that. and they always poop when you take off the diaper. i rub the bar on any stains, wash, repeat, till the stain comes out. You can also hang dry outside. The sun is a natural bleacher.

happiest baby on the block– there is a video or book. LIFE SAVER!

This nursing position– a few facebook friends sent me this link when i shared that baby was having tummy problems and this position changed everything! When I was pregnant, nursing was the thing I looked forward to most, that connection and sweet moments together, but it was torture for her and for me to feel like my milk was causing her pain. You can cut out dairy-that’s so great, but also try this position because we went from unbearable nursing to sweet cuddles!

breast pump– i was so engorged when my milk first came in, i had to pump to get relief. you can save your milk & add it to solids once they start eating or for bottle feeding if you need to leave.

burp cloths– don’t underestimate the power of the cloth

a swing– “excuse me, which one of these swings the fastest?”. for a couple weeks, this was the only thing that brought relief or sleep for her.

Tucks wipes– for your downstairs. if you had a vaginal birth, these are amazing. they are made with witch hazel, which soothes and helps heal down there.

The Wonder Weeks– this app explains so much about each growth phase your baby is going through and helps you understand what is going on in their brains and bodies with each “storm”.

baby book & journal– document everything! Love this journal as well. It documents their life through age 18 and they have one for adoption too!

This is a great list! That breastfeeding article is awesome!

This is a great list! That breastfeeding position article is awesome!

essential oils

essential oils are trendy these days…everybody knows somebody who is selling them. which is wonderful! i am a bit obsessed & love using them in our home, but they can be so expensive.

i feel like i have a secret that’s too good to be true…but it is! after my starter kit from YL ran out (didn’t take long) ha! i wanted more, but couldn’t imagine paying $30+ for each bottle. for the last 6 months i have been using Eden’s Garden essential oils. and you guys, they are amazing!

they are stored in amber bottles

100% pure therapeutic grade

not tested on animals

no additives, preservatives, chemicals or gmos

they give 10% back to charity

and best of all, affordable!

love this quote from the CEO, “my dream was to build a business that valued people over profit and dealt honestly while offering direct access to the many benefits of essential oils.”

you can read more about the owner, Grace, on Eden’s Garden website. she sounds so sweet!

i’ll be sharing how we use them in the home in future posts! 2015-12-14 09.58.50

I’ve never used oils myself before but I just bought a bottle of Frankincense because I’ve heard that it’s amazing for the skin. I was browsing all over Amazon for Essential Oils that won’t break the bank and this was the brand that I just happened to stumble upon! Thank you for the post, it’s nice to have another honest review of this brand, I can’t wait to try them out myself and I look forward to seeing how you use them. ^_^

the making of a mother

The reason I wanted to start writing at all is because I need someone, even just the one person who might read this, to hear me. I need to write it out to heal and I can already feel the difference.

The labor and birth of Ivy was hard, of course, but beautiful and for a different post in the future. It’s what happened after she arrived that still months later has a grip on my heart.

Once she was placed on my chest I was in my own mama bubble of complete joy and I remember most of all how soft and warm she was against my chest, not noticing the bustle and panic around me in the room. Something was wrong. My doctor immediately called in the pediatrician on call because Ivy was quite swollen & there was thick white skin around her mouth, eyes and ears that wouldn’t wipe away… They had an idea of what could be the cause but didn’t want to say until they knew for sure.

Having been awake for 48 hours I’ve never been more exhausted and the words, “we have to take her away” couldn’t register. I felt void of emotion, I wanted to go with her, I didn’t understand.

Billy followed our girl in the ambulance to a near by town and stayed with her all night. That next morning after some rest all the sorrow hit me at once. I needed to get out of here. I needed to be with my baby.

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so glad my mom snapped a few iphone pics

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I tried to get out of the hospital as soon as i could to go be by her side.

All I wanted to do was nurse her.

This day was so hard. She was in a humidifier, covered in aquaphor and wrapped in plastic with a feeding tube. Its just not what you picture when you are expecting to take your baby home the next day and wake up with them by your side. It was so painful.

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holding Ivy right before she left

Once I arrived at the Nicu we started getting some answers. They said she had ichthyosis. She looked so perfect to me. I refused to believe there was something wrong. I was finally able to nurse her for the first time and it was the most amazing moment.
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There was no room for us to sleep with her this night so we had to stay down the street. Being away another night from her was sorrow like I’ve never felt. It was constant and uncontrollable weeping. The next day we were moved to another room where we could spend the night with her, it was such a relief and joy to finally be by her side. Within a few days her skin started peeling away. We spent all day covering her with aquaphor and constant prayer.

She was born with a very mild collodion membrane. It was very thin ( they range in severity). With this skin condition, once the membrane peels away, it reveals the true skin underneath which is typically fish like scales, sometimes brown, or white flaking. It’s an overproduction of skin, so the old skin is constantly flaking off.

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It was a cloud of confusion and the kind of worry that makes you shake. There were no doctors who had ever seen this condition in person, so we were communicating with a dermatologist in Portland for any answers we could get. We googled the disease which wasn’t the best idea and the images filled us with so much anxiety, we were sick with worry and I don’t think we have ever cried so much. We were a mess, but we had each other.
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We stayed in here a week and it was the longest week of our life. After several days we started seeing her true skin underneath as the membrane peeled away. There were no scales!

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two weeks old

Bringing our girl home. There has never been a sweeter moment in my life than waking up home, in our bed as a family that morning. For the first time since she was born I felt peace and so much joy!

After a few weeks her skin was done peeling and miraculously, there are no scales still. She has mild dry skin, but nothing a little lotion can’t fix! It’s truly a miracle and a day doesn’t go by where i don’t praise the Lord for our beautiful girl.

 

*update*

we got the results back from her saliva dna test which showed she has self healing ichthyosis! I was shaking on the phone waiting for the dr to share this news and we are over the moon! There’s a lot of scientific gene talk with this condition but basically…

Me and Billy both happen to have this super rare recessive gene so the chances of future children having this is one and four, but the good news is that even if they do get this condition it would be the same severity which is wonderful because it’s so mild and manageable that I forget most days she has a condition at all.

*another update- One more reason I wanted to share this was because when we were in that dark place of not knowing what was happening with her skin and being so sick with worry and sad for our girl, we were researching tirelessly for answers and how our lives would be so different now, caring for this condition. We couldn’t find any cases of self healing ichthyosis so I wanted to share for that one person who might see this and give them comfort and hope.

She is one and a half now and we’ve started using vegetable glycerin on her skin. This stuff is like a miracle. Her dryness is very mild but applything this once a day gives her the smoothest baby soft skin that lasts for a couple days:)

Rachel

Such a sweet story and testimony, Laura. Motherhood seems to suit you so beautifully. Thank you for sharing. :)!

Ivy

a few months ago we welcomed our little lady! billy took these photo of us…she wouldn’t stop crying, so most of them are not of her face, but she’s a cutie!!! we are so in love!