October 2013


The Key Three

Monday, October 21, 2013

This past year, I have dramatically changed my life.  Duh!  What mom hasn't?  For me, it has been changing 40 years worth of everything from clothes, shoes, my home...the list could go on, but you get the picture.  Probably the hardest thing about being a mom for me is just how set in my ways that I have become.  Yep, I sound like an old lady.  I'll own that one.

Probably the first week of motherhood, I said to my own mother, "I don't want to look like a mom."  Reflecting, I don't really know what that even means.  I know lots of moms that look great.  They are pulled together and seem to be flawlessly styled regardless of the occasion.  

I'm not going to say that I have achieved that level of poise.  However, I am trying to figure it out.  Simplicity is always a winner in my book - even before King Diaper came into the picture.  Accessories and classic items can always be incorporated into any wardrobe regardless of season or occasion.  

This all leads me to my own personal "Key Three".  These are the items that have been life savers and staples in my everyday life.  

1.  Britta Water Bottle
2.  Nude Flats
3.  Chew Beads Necklace

Maybe not the list you were expecting.  But, these are certainly my "go to's".  

Britta makes several filtering bottles that you can take with you every where you go.  I put mine on the stroller while walking the baby, in the car on errands, around the house while doing work.  Its with me constantly.  And, if you are breastfeeding, water is a must!  Its also a good way to help shed that baby weight.  This bottle will save you a head in bottled water too!  

I don't think I'll ever loose my love for sky high heels.  But, picking up a baby and toting him around isn't always easy to do in 5 inch heels.  Therefore, I have traded in my heels, sometimes, for a nice pair of flats.  Nude is my color of choice.  You can pair it with black or brown.  It goes with any color really - even white.  Throw them on with jeans or a dress.  Either way, you are ready to go and look well groomed.  

Finally, once your baby starts teething, you can kiss your jewelry good bye for a bit.  Our mister tries to rip every piece of jewelry off of my body for inspection and chewing.  Chewbeads has a cute line of teething jewelry that you can wear with baby in mind.  Lots of baby shops have them.  They come in a variety of colors and designs.  You can select from necklaces and bracelets.  

And while we are at it, the bracelets can serve double duty.  If you are breast feeding, put the bracelet on the wrist where you feed from the next time.  Its a handy and stylish reminder for which breast is in rotation.  Yes, you will be tired enough for a reminder at some point.  I pumped for 5 months while our son was in the NICU.  After a while, I couldn't remember to swap wrists to remind me.  

You may have your own "Key Three" list of mommy friendly items.  Let your Key Three reflect who you are.  However, don't let these items be tennis shoes, maternity pants or work out gear.  These things all have their place.  But, don't live in them.  After a while, you will be in a funk just from the boredom of it all.  Making wise choices can keep you feeling good about yourself and help you embrace being and 'looking' like a mom!

The NICU Guide and Post Partum Sanity!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

My husband and I didn't plan on having a baby in the NICU or a preemie for that matter.  When I got pregnant in April 2012, I was in great shape.  I was running, biking, walking, doing yoga, lifting weights and walking.  I enjoyed being active and felt like this was going to play an big part in an easy and uneventful pregnancy.

Up until about week 20, this was the case.  I was never sick.  I was enjoying work and traveling to see customers.  It was a happy time in my life.

I was a bit uncomfortable in my own skin as my body shape changed, but I was supposed to have this happen.

However, when my pregnancy went wrong, it went off the rails.  Starting my 20th week, at a routine appointment, the doctor discovered that my cervix was shortening and advised me to slow down.  And I did.  I was walking slowly - only for circulation and staying off of my feet.

The next week, my body started to leak fluid, and it was down hill from there.  I was admitted to the hospital for a cerclage and placed on strict bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy.  I managed to make it to 25 weeks which was my goal at that point!  And the next 6 1/2 months were a roller coaster that we could have never imagined.

If your baby is in the NICU, first let me tell you that there is really to right or wrong way to do it!  There is no guide to tell you what to do and what to expect.  And get used to this phrase, for it will dictate your life for a long time..."Every baby is different."  I heard it so much that I would laugh at the nurses when they would say it in response to questions I had.

I'll be there first to tell you this to remember first a foremost, GET SOME REST!  The NICU for some is a quick in and out stop on the way to your home.  But for an itty bitty like ours, it was a marathon.  Not a sprint, and this ordeal needs to be treated as one.

I made lots of mistakes along the way, but a mom can make it!  I did, and I know lots of others that have too.
  1. Try to have a normal routine of meals and sleep as much as time will allow.
  2. Pack snacks in your bag such as fruit, water and granola for unexpected and non routine days that through everything out of sync.
  3. Write down your questions, even if you wake up in the night and have them so that you can be well informed.
  4. Remember that there are no dumb questions.
  5. When you feel yourself getting overly emotional and angry, let the nurses know that you aren't taking out your anger on them that you are having a difficult day.
  6. Always say thank you to the doctors and nurses and let them know about the good job you see them doing on a daily basis!  They have a thankless job that is very hard!
  7. Talk to your baby, hold his/her finger, change diapers if possible - bond with your baby in any way that the hospital will allow and ask - How can I help with my baby's care?  The staff will let you know.
  8. Maintain friendships and don't shut people out!  You will need them!
  9. When people say harsh, seemingly dumb and cruel things - remember that most people can't relate and they don't mean to say things that make you want to pull our your hair and theirs while you are at it!
  10. Ask and allow people to help you!  You will need help from others more at this time in your life now than ever.
  11. Know that it is okay to wear yoga pants, tee shirts and tennis shoes every day of the week!  It isn't a beauty pageant.
  12. Take at least one day a week to go on a date with your significant other.  Living at the hospital isn't good for anyone!
  13. Find things that are good to read or listen to!  Books on tape and podcasts are a great way to pass the time!  
  14. On days that you can and it makes sense, put on make up or dress up just because you can.  You will feel better and different!
  15. If you are feeling overwhelmed, talk to a priest, minister or counselor to unload and get some clarity.  The emotional stress is on some days more than you can take for both you and your family!

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