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I am constantly on the go. Between play dates, running errands, business consults, speech therapy sessions and photoshoots, my downtime lately has been sitting at the computer working (sounds relaxing right?). One thing that has made all of this juggling easier is my Freshly Picked Diaper bag (yes, that beautiful bag I'm wearing is a diaper bag).
My favorite part about the bag is that if I'm crunched on time, I don't have to change out bags to my typical Michael Kors purse. I love being able to pack the bag in the morning, take off and have everything I need for the day and seamlessly go from mama-bear to working professional. The bag's design is clean, sleek and professional - this is by far my feature. I literally get compliments on it all the time from strangers (some parents some not and have no clue it's actually a diaper bag), and I'll even have other mom's ask to see the inside and everything I can fit. The other design feature I love is that it looks and wears "soft". It's really comfortable and the straps don't dig in. I prefer to wear it as a backpack when I have Beck at my side but I'll carry it like a suitcase when I'm at business meetings.
I thought it would be fun to show exactly what I carry in my bag on a day-to-day basis and do a "what's in your purse" post, but only, in your diaper bag.
My essentials: wallet, keys, sunscreen and diaper rash cream, 3-4 pairs of diapers, changing pad, pacifier for nuclear meltdowns, snacks, Avocado Lip Oil, hand lotion, wipes (butt and wet-ones), more snacks, bottled water, Tylenol, a change of clothes for Beck, sunglasses/sunhat, work iPad, business cards, pricing information and even more snacks. Depending on how my schedule looks for the day, I'll also add in my work notebook (I prefer writing instead of typing), I can fit my laptop in it but I rarely bring this b/c I like paper and pencil more, client files, toys and books for Beck, and sweaters for myself and Beck (Colorado weather... only locals know what I mean). How crazy is that list? And the best part? It's all organized!
Freshly Picked designed the bag to make parenting easier - and that means we don't have to search in a sea of thrown together essentials. The compartments on the side make it easy to keep things together like wipes and diapers (that fit perfectly and don't need to be folded or scrunched) together, creams and lotions together, snacks all in one spot, my keys and wallet in the front accessible pocket and water bottles on the outside side pockets (so that one time I put a half-closed water-bottle in my old bag and it leaked everywhere will never happen again). Lastly, I love that they left the main compartment open enough to load it up with toys, clothes, books and whatever else might need to get thrown in and taken out daily.
I don't think I could ever give this bag up. It's here to stay, helping me make more memories with Beck and removing one less stress in my life. I love my Freshly Picked Diaper bag.
If you follow me on my personal Facebook page or Instagram, you probably know that Beck has a speech delay and we've been doing speech therapy for several months, starting when he was 18 months old. I get so many questions about the delay from other mothers and it's a mixture of positive and negative feedback. I'm writing this to help shed some light on why we started, what therapy for us looks like, my personal feelings with coping with this delay and what we've experienced with questions from outsiders, friends and family.
It's only fitting that I start with the WHY. We started Beck with speech therapy because he (and both myself and my husband) were becoming extremely frustrated with the lack of communication. Beck wasn't able to verbalize what he wanted, how he felt or tell us any of his needs. Now you're probably thinking, 18 months is young and they don't have a ton of these skills anyways. Yes, that's true, however, Beck had 3 words (normal is 10-15) - none of which really helped him communicate with us. Instead of showing us what he wanted when guessing/showing him options, he would instead start screaming and also start to hit his head on the floor tiles or walls. Throwing himself and crazy tantrums were happening every hour. We were guessing at everything and if we guessed wrong, it would escalate and the head-smashing would start all over. THIS was the main reason I decided to take him in for an evaluation.
Before we started therapy, most people kept saying, "He'll talk when he wants to talk" or "Any day now he'll just start chatting your ear off" and the "He doesn't need therapy. He'll figure it out on his own." Deep down, I knew these comments were said to help make me feel better. However, I knew I needed outside help. Beck has always been more interested in running, jumping, climbing and exploring. He almost never sat down and was determined to do it all on his own. It made trying to teach him anything new really difficult. That's where therapy helped us; it gave me the tools to teach Beck and helped him understand the magic of communication.
Once we started therapy, the questions came pouring in. I've been asked if he has autism, if he's retarded (their word, not mine), has Aspergers and have had comments about how I must not have talked to him as much as I should have. I've been asked by other parents if their child has a speech delay and if I think there was anything that could have prevented Beck's delay from happening. Deep down, I would have loved to have an answer for them. There were days in the beginning that I felt that having an actual diagnosis would have given me some sort of relief so that we had an answer. A reason as to why he wasn't talking.
The comments and questions still burn and make me second-guess myself.
Yes, I've asked myself if there was something I could have done differently. Should we have done daycare instead? Or should we have hired a full-time nanny like we originally planned to do? Is it vaccine-injury related? Did he have too much screen time? Should I have pushed him harder to sit and babble with me? Am I capable of being a good mother? Why do I feel such jealousy and sadness when other children younger than my child have a better vocabulary than Beck? As I have talked to other parents and our therapist, I've come to the conclusion that these emotions are all normal. For any parent just starting out with therapy, it's normal to think and feel these things. I can't tell you how many times I called our therapist in tears, asking these questions. Asking her why. Trying to get a definitive answer. But the truth is, some children are just naturally delayed. They are more interested in other subjects, they are more stubborn or they simply aren't ready for it.
What therapy looks like for us: Our speech therapy is at a private clinic and we call it school. We have decided to not enroll in the public sector but aren't against it in the future, depending on how progress goes. We see the same therapist every week and Beck has grown to love her. He knows exactly what room we go to and gets very impatient waiting for it to be our turn to head back. I attend every therapy session - I don't sit in the waiting room. It's important to me that I can also be his therapist when we're at home; to encourage and keep implementing what he's learning "at school". That means it's important that I'm also part of the session: sitting on the floor with the therapist and my son, learning what I can be doing to help him learn sounds, pushing him in a way that is beneficial for his growth, asking questions, getting advice, and setting goals to meet for the rest of the week. Our session is 30 minutes and Beck sees it as a play date. They have different toys we don't have at home and I've decided to not duplicate those toys at home so that he stays interested while at school. We will occasionally bring in his backpack filled with toys he's picked out from home that he's really obsessed with but typically, we never open it because he's so excited about the other "new" options.
At first, the goal was to simply get him to express a want or need by signing or saying "me". To do this, we found a motivator (for him, it was food) and we would sign "me" while saying it and then take his hand and do hand-over-hand for "me". It took two weeks of dedicated hard work to get him to sign it. After that, we started pushing for a verbal me. It was hard and at times, extremely frustrating, but the progress and seeing his frustrations lift was worth it. We used that "me" as a building block; he now understood that by communicating with us, he could get his wants and needs fulfilled. We are now able to say words and use an "expressive" hand gesture by our lips to show him what the sounds "looks" like - which is the best way I can explain it (but I'm sure there is a more scientific term for this). Beck points to his mouth when he says words and will copy our hand gestures when it's a more difficult sound that we're trying to teach him. We also sign different words like "potty," "more," and "all done" even though he can now speak these words. Consistency has been key for Beck.
Our close friends and family members that see and watch Beck often also know to prompt him before meeting his needs. This consistency has really helped him grow his communication skills and he now speaks words without any prompts. He loves telling people "hi" and "bye" and has also started adding phrases like "are you" (for "how are you") and "bye, see" for (bye, see you). He asks for things like "wawa" and "nanas" "bruh tee" (brush teeth). His understanding of what we are speaking to him has drastically improved as well. The head smashing has stopped. We still have tantrums, but they are now more "normal" tantrums like when we tell him he can't jump off the dining room table and that he needs to get down. We've been able to start teaching him body parts, he can put things away or give objects to people when asked and will occasionally say "mama" (this is probably the biggest win for me personally).
The more wins and accomplishments we have, the better I feel about his delay. Although Beck is still very delayed for his age, the progress we've made in 6 months is outstanding. There are still days I feel extremely discouraged of course, but I try to remind myself that Beck is struggling, trying and learning every single day. We're all allowed good and bad days, even our littles, so I've found that growing my patience and keeping a realistic view on goals (and sometimes not meeting them) has been a virtue.
If you have questions or any experiences of your own, please drop them in the comments below.
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This post has been highly requested and I'm really excited to share. I am constantly being asked how I run a full-time business while also being a full-time mother. So here is what my daily schedule looks like:
I want to note that this schedule has only worked for me since Beck has gotten older, gone to one nap and has a solid schedule. Before that, it was extremely difficult, there were lots of tears and all I can tell you is to nap when your child naps if you need it and otherwise, work during those naps. Don't force it and if you start to get overwhelmed, take a deep breath and know that it WILL get easier.
The key is to be flexible. I meet with clients when it's most convenient for them - and most of them are working professionals that can't get away during typical weekday work hours. This means most of my meetings are in the evening or on weekends if I'm not booked with a wedding. If weekdays are best, I try to schedule when Beck eats lunch and goes down for nap, that way Brent is able to keep working and watch the monitor while he sleeps. If Brent is traveling, then I'm getting a sitter. But we do out best to make sure everything is scheduled around each other's schedules. We always make sure Brent is here to stay with Beck when I'm photographing a wedding. If I'm traveling and it's a place we want to see together as a family, they'll come with me.
Lastly, the only way I stay sane is because of my online assistants. I use 17hats (you can click here to get 10% off your subscription when you sign up) for managing workflows, my calendar (including Brent and Beck's schedules, my personal and professional schedule as well as upcoming publication features), daily tasks, automated emails, sending online invoices and agreements, keeping track of where I'm at with booking new clients and it even has a bookkeeping feature. I use Later.com for scheduling my Instagram posts (which can also be shared to my Twitter and Facebook). And because Pinterest is huge for me, I use Tailwind (click here to get a free trial) for scheduling and automating pins. I spend about 1 hour every month planning my social media, which revolves around my scheduled blog posts and publication features. It's a well-oiled machine and one that I'm glad I implemented when I was pregnant.
To end, the key for me is consistency and staying flexible. I don't want my life to feel like a routine and I don't want Beck to grow up thinking I'm a Drill Sergent. I want to teach him hard-work and grit, but I also want him to be free-spirited and grow his creativity. It's all about finding that balance. I have no issue breaking away from the routine once a week as long as it doesn't have a negative impact on our personal and professional lives. Yes, we'll have bad/sick days where we hunker down and watch movies. Yes, there are days where I get absolutely nothing done (I mean, every single person on Earth has those days no matter if you're at home or in the office). And yes, there are days when I'm at my breaking point and want to hide. Acknowledge where you are in your current state and don't be afraid to ask for help. It's healthy to take "me" time (for me, it's spa day with no screens, no work, no tv, no noise).
I have been obsessed with reading Rhiannon Bosse's blog (if you haven't heard of her, visit her site here: http://rhiannonbosse.com/ ) I love how honest she is with her business life and personal life, and how they work together hand in hand. It's something I relate with and one of her posts in particular really resonated with me, called "How Motherhood Changed Me". I loved it so much that for the last month, I've been thinking and reflecting on my own life and how I've changed since bringing Beck into this world and naturally, I thought it would be fun to write my own version. So here it goes:
Beautiful images of us photographed by Alison Epps Photography
My Baby is One. I'm officially a parent of a toddler. I don't know how this happened but I do know there were a lot of sleepless nights, tons of cuddles and even more laughs.
We threw him a "Where the Wild Things Are" party complete with cakes (sadly, he was scared of the cake and wasn't into smashing it), a tent and lots of balloons. The lunch menu was build your own tacos so that the nursing mothers that had allergies could pick and choose and everyone could still eat what they loved.
Cakes: Astonishing Cakes
Macarons: Honey B's Macarons
By far, this has been one of the weirdest two weeks of my life. Some people could say it's been a "bad" two weeks but I honestly don't let one bad thing ruin the rest of my day. But holy moly, I've been asking myself "what is happening?" for almost three weeks:
We started the year out sick. Really sick. And then we celebrated a baby shower. Days later, we learned of the loss of a life. Days after that, news came of the arrival of a friend's new baby. Within these two weeks-ish, I've also booked 3 weddings, made plans for three out-of-state trips, one of which will last two weeks road-tripping by myself with a one year old across the country (not crazy at all, right?), and have been patiently waiting on news that could impact our lives greatly (and we're still waiting to hear yes or no on). I truly believe God gives you what you need at that exact moment and everything happens for a reason. So maybe what I'm about to write will bring a smile to your face and that was why it happened. Or maybe it's to show me to not take life so seriously. Either way, there was one day last week that I need to share:
The night before, my husband tells me, "I think the dryer is broken." In the back of my head I said, "Great. Bad things come in threes. What's next?"
The next day, he starts to take apart the dryer. He discovers the heater coil is broken in half and it was sparking. It must have been doing this for awhile. We're honestly so lucky that the lint sitting next to it never caught on fire. While he did that, I felt an urge to go to Ikea, aka the worst place on Earth. Every single flippin' time I go, I'm reminded of why I hate going and will avoid it at all costs. But then time happens and you forget and BAM!, I find myself back there cringing and cursing at myself. This trip was no different, in fact, it was worse. As I walked in, there was a lady wearing pajamas in front of me and she turned her face slightly - I noticed she was wearing a mask. For a second, I thought, maybe she has a weakened immune system and SHE is the one that can't get sick. And then she started coughing. She looked white. She was clammy. She quite honestly looked like she contracted the zombie virus and was in the process of turning.
I immediately started walking in a different path, getting away from behind her - because you know, pathogens in the air and I don't want to be 'down-stream' from whatever crazy crap she could have. I start looking at the different wine glass options for our newly built bar and I kid you not, there's ANOTHER person with a face mask on. In total, there were five different people (not together, or at least I could tell) that were shopping with face masks - all of which showcasing flu-like symptoms.
My skin WAS CRAWLING. Why did I do this to myself?
So I get through and start to check out. I'm using as much hand sanitizer as I can and trying to not breath as I smile at the lady counting my 13 hangers. I pack all my randomness up in my 99 cent blue ikea bag and start to walk to the elevator. And in walks the zombie lady - WITH NO MASK ON.
I stood in the corner of the elevator and looked at her with stunned eyes. I tried to be a wallflower - I wanted to flatten myself just to get one extra inch of space to stay away from her. I so badly wanted to put my shirt over my face. I wanted to be anywhere but that stupid elevator. WHY did I have to buy the side table and get a cart that couldn't fit on the escalator?!?!
And then it happened. The elevator stopped. The doors didn't open. And the guy in the elevator with us laughed and made a comment about how he hated Ikea and he could barely get all his crap INTO the elevator and now we'll never get out. Zombie lady with NO MASK ON starts to cough. She is hacking up a lung, not wearing a mask and the Z-Virus is being recirculated within this huge metal box we are now stuck in. I wanted to tell the male next to me that this lady is turning and we need to put his ginormous boxes in between us and her.
Ten minutes later, an Ikea co-worker gets the door open and we go about our way. I get into the car and text my husband that I just got done, what just happened and that I might die.
There were several stops on the way home, all of which were weird. World Market's gift card buy for $25 turned into being charged $250 because the lady didn't know how to work the computer, resulting in them closing my line, sending guests to a different checkout and eventually calling the manager because she didn't understand I wasn't ok with $250. I then walked around the car parts place like a chicken with it's head cut off trying to find a window repair kit for the new little cracks because that morning's drive resulted in my windshield being smoked by several huge rocks that flew out of the sky.
I pull into my garage, walk in and immediately put my clothes into the washer, just in case the Z-Virus attached itself to my jacket or jeans. I go give my son and husband a kiss and exhale. They are my rocks.
I start to play with my son and he starts to grab my baby hair horns that are sticking up from my forehead. I then realize how weird everything has been and that I should have just stayed home because I am literally having a BAD HAIR DAY. I knew the hairs looked ridiculous. I did. I even snapped it on snapchat:
I made fun of myself. I laughed. But I didn't think it was that noticeable until my 9 month old son grabbed them my the reigns and started tugging at them like I was a horse needing to giddy-up.
This is just a small example of what these two weeks have been like. I would like to say that weird things generally happen to me more than other people and I typically brush it off, laugh and think "not the end of the world." And I have laughed, cried and have been reminded of how lucky, blessed and grateful I am for my life and family since 2017 has started.
But not this.
I now have to wear headbands.
As I sit and chat with a friend about how my (at-the-time) 7 month old is doing, the inevitable question is asked: "So, how long are you planning to breastfeed?"
I shutter. And then take a deep breath. I wrapped my hands around my coffee mug, pause and take a sip. I smile, but it’s a forced smile. And then my answer:
"The goal is one year."
One year. I didn't think it would be hard. After all, it's just breastfeeding.
Rewind to February 2016. I was about 7 months pregnant and I asked all my friends that are also mothers how their deliveries went. Was it scary? Was it painful? Were you excited? What did you not know about? Tell me everything - not just the happy stuff, I want to know the nitty-gritty. I like to be prepared for everything. But what I missed was the warning about breastfeeding and the difficulties that come with it. Doctors encourage birthing classes, friends will tell you about their deliveries and everyone warns you about the post-partum depression signs. No one told me about breastfeeding.
Recently, I've been seeing photos of breastfeeding mothers, baby latched looking calm, almost asleep and moma looking beautiful, well-rested and confident. Picture perfect right? If you're reading this and struggled with breastfeeding, you're probably starting to feel exactly how I felt - because the more and more I talk about breastfeeding with other mothers, the more I realize that these picture-perfect photographs with the tree roots stemming from the mom to the baby is a moment that rarely happens.
I take a deep breath when I say "The goal is one year" because breastfeeding is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Let me elaborate:
Nursing didn't come naturally. In the beginning, it was stressful. Really stressful. You're told to time your nursing sessions.
So I timed each session and tracked away. And then I analyzed. And then questioned. "Why did he only nurse for 160 minutes that day when we were averaging 203 minutes? Is something wrong? Is the latch bad? Am I producing enough? Maybe he's allergic to something I'm eating?" and on and on and on.
"The Goal is one year..."
And then there were people in my life that didn't understand the benefits - mainly because their generation were told formula is a better option. It's healthier because it has more vitamins. And if I wanted Beck to sleep through the night, we should be doing formula. I received 'advice' of all sorts from mixing a little formula in with my milk to simply being told I can't provide everything my son needs solely by myself. It was hard. I cried a ton and I still vividly remember calling my mom and breaking down telling her the things people would say to me and listening to her reason and explain where they were coming from. And then me crying some more.
"The Goal is one year..."
I quickly learned that trying to nurse in the middle of the night while you are exhausted is a recipe for disaster. But the worst experience of a bad latch was when we were coming home from a trip in the mountains and we stopped at Twin Lakes for the view, to get Beck out of the car seat, nurse him and get some fresh air. He latched, I said ouch and then he started screaming. I looked down and there was blood all over my boob and his face. Sheer panic sets in and then of course, we still have a little over two hours left in the car and he doesn't want to try again, even on the other side. The best part, pumping it out after you have a crack that size. Miserable doesn't even begin to describe that car ride.
"The Goal is one year..."
At about 3.5 months, my son started to slow down with nursing - but my supply didn't match. I ended up with an oversupply - something I always thought was a good thing because I kept seeing my new mom friends posting their facebook "look at my freezer stockpile of breastmilk" photos. I quickly learned that it isn't that great of a thing as my son couldn't handle the let down and because there was sooo much milk, he never could get to the rich, fatty milk he needed to help soothe his belly. He would kick, scream and cry as he drowned in milk while trying to nurse. I felt like a failure. I cried with him and I never have felt so helpless. Anyone that has experienced this knows exactly what kind of cry I'm talking about and how heart-wrenching it is to listen to your baby struggle when you're told over and over that "breastfeeding is so beautiful and the most natural thing you'll ever do."
"The goal is one year..."
Because of the oversupply issue, we started to feed him with bottles instead and I began pumping. He refused to nurse once he got used of the bottles. For four months, I exclusively pumped. Every three to four hours, I pumped for 30-60 minutes. I pumped. And I pumped some more. I was miserable. People would be confused and didn't understand why I didn't just nurse him. I felt like a failure, again. I saw the #normalizebreastfeeding photos and couldn't help but feel jealous. I wanted to be normal. I wanted to be able to be that mom that could nurse her child and her child be happy and peaceful. I also wanted to look like I was well-rested, happy and in love with nursing.
The goal is one year... I'm currently almost to nine months of breastfeeding without giving my son formula. We are now, finally, just getting the hang of nursing, although he will occasionally still refuse and boycott. I rarely pumped for the last two weeks and have felt like a more "normal" human. I will occasionally get "touched out" and need an hour to myself outside of the house. I still hate and yet feel envious of the #normalizebreastfeeding photos. I still get asked "How long?" "Why don't you just stop?" "Is it really that hard?" And I still stress and worry if he’s getting enough, if today is the day we should give him a bottle of formula and so on.
And to be honest, I don't know how long I'll breastfeed for. It could be for one more month or it could be for two years. I'm slowly beginning to feel comfortable with it and it's become much easier for the both of us. I write this and want to share my experience because I think so many women go into it just like I did - thinking it's easy, it's natural and will be this beautiful experience. So many of my tears and stress came from breastfeeding because I felt bad for not enjoying it and struggling with it. I hated that I didn't take classes before birth that focused on nursing, learning about the best practices and tips to help. But mostly, I write this because breastfeeding is difficult and other women just starting to go through it should know they aren't alone, they aren't failing and aren't abnormal for not taking to it "naturally".
Here’s to, hopefully, at least another three months.
There are several types/brands to cloth diapers. There are the white cloth sheets you fold and pin, snap diapers, velcro diapers, rubber pants, inserts etc. There's also a plethora of opinions about washing and caring for them. Here's what I think you need to know:
White Cloth Sheet Diapers. These are basically the old school cloth diapers. They come in super handy for putting UNDER your babes bum while changing them (if babe has a pretty big mess, it'll get on the cloth instead of the carpet, changing pad or where ever else you're changing them). They're cheap, made really well and super easy to clean.
Snap Cloth Diapers. I found that snaps are really difficult. You have a wiggly baby which makes getting snaps together difficult (just try snapping a nightie in the middle of the night) and the snaps can sometimes require the diaper be a little too tight or a little too loose. I found it's really hard to get it to fit perfectly. Did I mention the snaps? I hate the snaps.
Velcro Cloth Diapers. The Velcro makes it feel more like using a disposable diaper. It's super convenient and quick to change. They fit really well too. Only downside - the velcro diapers become a mess in the wash and get tangled.
Rubber Pants. These are little 'rubber' diapers you put OVER the cloth diaper to prevent leaks. Most modern day diapers come with this material already built into them.
Cloth Liners. These are hands-down what makes cloth diapers so easy. They line the inside of the diaper and catches the 'mess' and you then throw away leaving the soiled diaper to be cleaned.
Cloth Wet Pads/Inserts. These are thick pads that soak up the mess. Some diapers require them and some don't. They range from hybrid-disposables to cloth reusables and are made of all sorts of materials ranging from organic bamboo fibers to soft fleece.
Now that we have the 101 down, I'd like to chat about the two brands I've used.
We currently use GDiapers. I am in love with this company. The designs are ultra-cute, secured by velcro and comes with a little rubber pant pouches, which you then insert a cloth (or disposable) insert. Although we will have an occasional pee leak, we've never had an actual blowout like we do when using a disposable diaper. We also use a cloth liner on top of the insert which catches the solids and makes it easier to clean in the wash.
I've also tried Rumparooz. Super cute designs, snap closures and features a 'one-size'fits-all' design. These also have a pocket where you literally shove the insert into (which means you'll then need to stick your hand/wand into to pull out to clean). They work great but again, the snaps - I can never get it to fit perfectly and trying to snaps these things in the middle of the night is frustrating.
On to cleaning:
We have the Diaper Dekor bin and use a Planet Wise, washable bag to collect the diapers. I love it because we don't have to go buy more trash bags and for clean up, all I have to do is empty the bag by turning it inside out and throwing it all into the wash. I keep a small bottle of vinegar in the nursery and if there happens to be a pretty bad diaper, I'll put a tad bit of vinegar into the bin with it to help dissolve smell and keep any mold/fungus at bay. Speaking of mold/fungus - I read horror stories about opening up bins and having mushrooms growing. YOU HAVE TO WASH EVERY DAY, or at least every other. Otherwise, yes, you'll be asking for some crazy stuff to grow and smell. We also keep a small metal trash bin next to the changing station which is where wipes, liners and disposables (we use disposable diapers if we're traveling or if we left all the clean diapers in the dryer and it's 2 am). Side note - use a wipe to pick up and throw away the soiled liner (you don't need to buy a special wand).
All of our diapers are Gpants with gpant inserts and liners. Right now, we're on size medium and still fit great. They get washed on the heavy soil load every other day and once a week steamed. The detergent we use is ALL Free and Clear. I did purchase double the amount of inserts compared to diapers so that we can throw them out in the sun to help bleach them if they get really stinky/dingy. After the wash, I pull apart the diapers (remember the velcro) and close each diaper and throw them in the dryer (along with the inserts) on timed dry at the lowest heat possible until dry. DO NOT use a standard dryer sheet - this will leave a waxy type film and hinder the amount of absorbancy the inserts can take. I will occasionally put in a wet Honest brand baby dryer sheet or a drop of essential oil to give them a nice smell if needed. You can also leave the inserts and diapers hang to dry to give your dryer a break. ---- Clean up is that easy. We don't do a diaper service and diapers are cleaned almost every day.
After using cloth diapers, I honestly hate using disposables. It's nice to not have to purchase diapers over and over and if the "Really? I just put a new diaper on you and you go and let out the biggest mess?" feelings aren't there simply because you reuse. As for the amount of diapers - we have 12 diapers and 24 inserts. We could purchase more and do laundry every other day but as I said, working from home means I have time to clean.
"Well, the worst that could happen is that I have morning sickness for the rest of the pregnancy." That was me. I distinctly remember talking to my sister and brother-in-law about how sick I was and their encouraging words about how the "morning" sickness should almost be over.
Unfortunately, I have been that one pregnant lady sick the entire time. I honestly can't say that I enjoy being pregnant - it's tough stuff and I give props to the women that love it. And don't get me wrong, I love our baby, feeling the kicks and having such an intimate relationship that I only can experience with him/her. But actually being pregnant, no thanks.
First, I want to be clear on my level of "sick". Some women have morning sickness - throw up once in the morning and are good to go for the rest of the day. Others are queasy but never actually get sick. And then some women have it extremely bad, like myself. In the beginning, I was fine. The first 6 weeks (although we had other major complications) I felt pretty good for nausea - off but good. And then it hit.
And whenever I write "morning" sickness, I laugh. Because they lie - it's "all day" sickness. Great days, I'd throw up twice, felt disgusting the rest of the day but managed. Average days, I went running for the garbage or toilet about five to ten times a day. The worst day, I threw up over 40 times, I could barely move and at 3 am, I threw in the towel and made my husband drive me to the emergency room. I researched everything on how to manage - saltine crackers, eating in the middle of the night, skipping certain foods, preggie pops, ginger ale, etc. Here's how I survived nine months of "morning" sickness:
Today, I'm sharing a personal story. I've spoken to so many women about their pregnancy experiences and the excitement, shame, grief and stress always seems to be an outstanding echo. Many have said that once a successful pregnancy happens, they no longer want to talk about how hard it had been while they were trying. I truly believe that talking more openly about our experiences, trials and tribulations will help women of all backgrounds, struggling or not to become pregnant, find support.
This is our story as I wrote it several weeks ago:
We started the year out in hopes of once again starting a family. Being a wedding photographer first. we tried planning the pregnancy with delivering in my slow season, winter. Months went by and again, nothing. We never got our hopes crushed but in July, we decided to stop trying.
We ended July in a bang, a trip to Mexico to celebrate the marriage of two friends. It was a fabulous trip accept every night, I became extremely ill. Severe stomach pain, and flu-like symptoms that would only last a few hours into the night and after throwing up several times and taking a pain reliever, would it go away and I could get back to sleep. I honestly thought it was something I ate - maybe the water. Or even, that time of month was approaching. I kept talking about it to my husband, and I finally said, maybe I'm pregnant. The day we were checking out of the hotel, I had a feeling something was up. I felt off... I got car sick, I got plane sick, I had more cramping.
We got home and I went straight to our bathroom. After waiting a few minutes, every single test came back positive. I had taken a test right before we left and it said negative. I went down stairs and just smiled at my husband and he looked at me and gave me a huge hug and asked if it was for real. We were pregnant.
I went four days without any severe pain and then the symptoms came back, but more aggressive. I had already made our first appointment and scan weeks down the road, started a Pinterest board for the nursery and we told our parents the day after finding out. We were thrilled. I remember so clearly telling our parents that I wanted them to know just in case something 'were to happen'. That Friday night, not even a week later from finding out, I slept all night hovered over, throwing up. I called the doctors and they said "Cramping is normal." I called them again, hours later, and they finally said, "I'm sure it's nothing, but let's get you in on Monday just to be sure."
That Monday, one week exactly after finding out, we walked into the doctor's office. I was excited, I was nervous. I was a million emotions. We had our scan and the words from her mouth burned in my ears, "Well, I'm not seeing a baby." She said she was going to get the doctor and put us into a different room. As we sat there waiting, I asked my husband hundreds of questions. We didn't know what was happening. Why didn't we see a baby? Why would she say that to us?
The nurse practitioner walked in and her first words were, "I'm sorry. You don't have a baby. What we're seeing is a Molar Pregnancy. It's nothing that you did and there was nothing that you could have done." I looked at her stunned. I kept thinking, "What do you mean? The tests said I was pregnant." I broke down in tears and my husband started hugging me. She started asking me questions about if I've been in pain, how sick I've been and started explaining our scans. I honestly don't remember much of what she said until she got to the point of saying, "We need to schedule you for an emergency surgery to remove the cysts and the molar pregnancy. After that, we'll monitor you for the next year to make sure it hasn't turned into cancer cells." What? Cancer? How could this be happening to me. All I could do is cry and look at my husband. She asked us, "Was this a pregnancy that was wanted?" as she handed me tissues. My husband answered for me and said "Yes, we've been wanting to start a family." She said she was sorry, gave us paperwork to get the bloodwork started and left the room.
I stood there in the cold room, trying so hard to not cry. My husband walked over to the door, shut it and came back over to me and hugged me and didn't let go. I don't remember what or if he said anything. We just cried together. After what seemed like an hour, I got my composure together and we walked out the door up to get my bloodwork done. I couldn't speak the entire time. I didn't want people to see me cry or know something terrible was happening to me.
We got into the car and I again, broke down. I could barely breath. I was angry. I was sad. I felt like a failure. My husband drove us home and I called my parents right away. The only words I got out were "Hi... " and then tears. Brent, my husband, got on the phone and told them what was happening. I couldn't speak it. After a while, I was able to talk to them again and asked them to tell my siblings and let them know I'd be going in for surgery later that week. We told Brent's parents as well and then a few days later, our best friends. We knew we needed support.
Two days later, the doctor called and said, "Your bloodwork came back. It's normal and they're amazing numbers. We'd like you to come back in." I again, went back had tests done and again, my levels were 'beautiful and normal'. We had a scan not even a week later and met with a different doctor with more experience (which is who I originally had wanted to see when I made my first prenatal appointment). We went through my cycle, tests, the scans - everything. Internally, I was covered in cysts. There was no heartbeat or signs of a fetal pole. But I couldn't shake the feeling that ending the pregnancy without being certain it was truly a molar pregnancy, was wrong. I asked her, "Is it dangerous for me if we wait one more week?" The doctor agreed and said we could give it a few more days.
The most heart-wrenching and emotionally straining task was to answer the phone every day after our initial appointment and to be asked if we had changed our mind about scheduling the abortion.
One week later, we went in for more bloodwork and another scan. Out of some miracle, there was a heartbeat. Somehow, what looked like blobs of cysts in my womb, a little heartbeat had formed. The doctor came in after and spoke "Well, you officially have a heart beat which means we can't advise you to end the pregnancy unless you elect to do so. But, with that said, I don't think this pregnancy will survive."
We had weekly appointments and scans for the next month. Each appointment and scan showed improvement and my levels stayed healthy. But, I began to get sick. Extremely sick. Morning sickness is not what I would call it. As each appointment got better, the sickness became stronger. On average, I would throw up about twenty times a day. I tried every home remedy, food and wives tale out there. I was so happy to keep seeing improvement with our baby but at the same time, extremely exhausted and upset that I couldn't enjoy the pregnancy finally because I was so sick. I felt like a regular at the doctor's office and we were unfortunately, able to experience the amazing emergency room staff at the hospital we would be delivering at in April. But somehow, we kept seeing improvement even with the weight loss, illness and complications.
Here we are now, at almost 30 weeks. Our baby is thriving and let's me know it every few hours. The doctors have said they can't believe the journey we've been through and that if they were to look a scan from today, they would have never of known our pregnancy didn't start out perfect. I no longer have any cysts and our baby is actually growing, to their guestimate, a few days ahead of schedule. I truly believe it's a miracle and can't fathom what would have happened if we decided to simply end the pregnancy.