Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Other Side of Gender Disappointment

A few months back, I wrote this post on my feelings of Gender Disappointment.  I was so scared to share what I had been feeling since I found out the gender of my pregnancy with Rowan.  Thankfully, my post was heard and supported by many of you who had dealt with similar feelings.  Now, coming up on the four week mark of having Rowan in my life, I thought I'd revisit those feelings and share the other side of Gender Disappointment.

As you may recall, we found out Rowan was a boy at 12 weeks through a fancy new blood type testing.  I spent the first few weeks after that in uncontrollable tears because I thought I was having another girl.  The months that followed were spent in fear of not being able to BE a "Boy Mom."  I harbored guilt, carried around a pit in my stomach for months, and constantly ridiculed myself for even having these thoughts and fears, but I couldn't fight what I was feeling.

As the days grew closer to Rowan's arrival, I grew more and more scared that I wouldn't be able to connect with him once he got here.  The entire pregnancy was so emotional and the "Boy Mom" fear had made a permanent home in my head. I just knew that once he got here I wasn't going to bond with him like I should, and that scared me even more.  My husband promised me that once I saw him all my fears would melt away and all would be right with the world, but he was wrong.  He was wrong because I heard Rowan before I saw him.  It was the first cry that sent me into tears and made my heart swell.  That sweet little whimper was all I needed to know that I was meant to be a Boy Mom, I was meant to be THIS Boy's Mom.

I heard him and fell in love.  Then, I saw him and that love multiplied.  He was perfect and I couldn't do anything except cry because he was exactly what I prayed for at night.  I prayed for a healthy baby that I would love and cherish, and that's exactly what was delivered to me.  While some of those prayers may have included frilly dresses and bows, God knew exactly what he was doing when He answered those prayers with the most perfect little Boy.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths"

Proverbs 3:5-6

That verse will forever be my favorite and a reminder that I need to trust that He always has a hand on my shoulder and will lead me down the right path.  If I could go back and tell that girl that was "disappointed" in having a Boy, I would tell her to trust in the Lord despite her fears.  I would tell her that He wouldn't lead her down a path she couldn't handle, and I would tell her that despite what she is feeling, that little Boy will rock her world and make her love deeper and bigger than she ever thought she could.

This is the other side of Gender Disappointment.  This side is love, grace, and understanding.  This side everything you didn't know you needed.

Rowan Levi, you are perfect in every way.  I will spend my days loving you to the fullest and making up for every fear I thought about while carrying you in my belly.  You will never live a day on this Earth not knowing your worth to this family, to me, your Mother.  I will always make sure you know just how much you are loved and how thankful I am to be chosen to be your Mother.  I love you, my sweet boy.  Thank you for completing our family.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Summertime Snacking with Nuby

It seems as if states all of over the country are battling intense heat this Summer.  For us here in Florida, it's just another day.  I'm always looking for things to keep cool and keep my kids cool to beat the Florida heat since most of our Summers are spent outside.

One of my favorite finds is the Nuby Insulated Stainless No Spill Soft Sipper.  This cup works similar to a canteen.  It keeps my daughter's water fresh and cold for hours which is great when we are out and about on a hot summer day.  I feel confident that not only is she staying hydrated, but she is also cooling down because her water stays cool too.  The handles and soft spout make it easy for her to drink independently, which there's a whole lotta independence going on these days.  The girl wants to do EVERYTHING herself.  I love products that make it easier for her to do that, after all, we are becoming a "big girl" these days!

We are also a big fan of the iMonster Snack Keeper.  Remember how I was talking about a certain little someone being independent?  She loves to bring her snacks with her, which I can't blame her, she loves food like her Momma, but this means I'm constantly finding Cheerios in my car, under my couch, in her toys, you name it, you'll find a cheerio there.  The iMonster snack keeper is great at keeping her snacks from spilling when she insists on taking snacks with her. My child also hoards food like a squirrel in her cheeks, so I love that since she is becoming more independent that the iMonster Snack keeper only allows her little hand grab so much so she isn't hoarding food, and I don't have to worry about freaking out because she's choking.  Love anything that can help this Momma rest a little easier.  Plus, it's completely adorable and she loves making it "growl" and moving his arms.  It's a win for the both of us.

Nuby always makes great products that make parenting a little easier.  They always have something that is exactly what I need and caters to my child's needs.  As always, Nuby brings you these products BPA Free which is another win for us Moms.  You can get your Nuby Insulated Satinless Soft Sipper and iMonster Snack Keeper at BabiesRus.

I was provided these products courtesy of Nuby for an honest review.  As always here at Baking Baby Brown, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Happy [BIRTH]day Rowan!

I originally wasn't going to do a birth story with Rowan because it was a scheduled C-section, so I figured it would be pretty boring.  I came in, got cut open, had a baby, the end. Right?  Well, Rowan decided that he would make his entrance into the world a little more exciting even though we thought we had things "planned."

At 36 weeks Rowan tried to make a break for it.  Skeptical, Doctors weren't ready for him to make his debut, so we stopped labor. Twice.  I proceeded to have contractions up until our scheduled C-section date.  While most were just an annoyance, towards the end they got incredibly painful. The worst part of it all, none of them were productive enough to dilate me.  But anywhere from every 5 to 15 minutes I was contracting for 3 whole weeks.  That, plus an ever expanding bump was pure torture and made the last few weeks of pregnancy total hell.  Hence, the lack of bumpdates.  I try really hard not complain about pregnancy, because its a beautiful gift to carry a child and some women would give anything to be as uncomfortable as I was feeling.  But, that wasn't reality.  My skin was stretched so far it hurt to touch, I couldn't breathe I was so jam-packed full of baby, and the pressure in my hips was insane.

Finally, the day had come and it was time to go to the hospital and meet our boy.  I had so anxiously awaited this moment my entire pregnancy, still unsure as how I was supposed to be a boy Mom.  We walked into the ER where we had to check in expecting to slip right in and be on our merry baby-having way.  We go to check in and registration is dealing with a hot mess of a man who apparently had been passed out in a yard only wearing pants, but swore he arrived at the hospital wearing a shirt and shoes as well.  So, registration and a few nurses scoured the hospital looking for this gentleman's belongings only to be informed that he arrived in nothing but the bottom half he was wearing.  Insert major eye roll as it is now an hour past my registration time and I'm still sitting in the waiting room impatiently waiting to check in.  My Southern Belle demeanor then turned into Southern Sass and in a hormone induced panic I adamantly expressed to the front desk clerk that I needed to check in, and check in now.  An hour and a half past my initial check in time I was on my way to Labor and Delivery to meet my sweet boy.

By the time we made it upstairs and got connected to the monitors it was now an hour until surgery time.  Not something I was prepared for, I didn't even have an IV yet and it was almost surgery time.  I hate feeling rushed and that's exactly how I was feeling.  Nurses were scrambling getting me prepped and ready.  Of course, because nothing seemed to go smoothly that morning, they couldn't get an IV to stick without blowing my veins.  After blowing a few veins, an IV was finally inserted and everything seemed to be back on track.  The clock strikes Noon, this was it! My Doc came in and said, "Let's have a baby!"

My first c-section everything happened so fast.  Nurses were running every which way and I had been in labor for 16 hours at the hospital plus 24 hours at home, so I didn't care what was happening as long as they got the baby out of me!  This time was so different.  It was a little scary knowingly walking into the operating room to be cut open to have a baby, but this time was so calm.  I walked in with my nurse, who I absolutely adored!  She explained everything, I laughed and joked with the other members of the operating team, and having a spinal sober wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be.

They brought my husband in, the Doc came in, and we were ready to rock and roll.  Staring into a blue abyss that is a sheet, I anxiously awaited the moment they told me I had a baby, but time kept ticking by and they kept saying, "a little pressure."  Let me just tell you, with my daughter, it was a little pressure.  This time a little pressure was them pushing the baby so far up into my ribs that I panicked because they squished my lungs and I couldn't breathe.  I looked at my husband and nurse and said, "is everything ok?" and they assured me everything was fine, but I could tell there was concern.  Then, I heard my Doctor say, "Nurse, I need the vacuum. I can't get him out." What?!! You can't get my baby out?  What does that even mean? And vacuum?! I put no mention of not using tools in my birth plan because I didn't think you used tools during a cesarean.  Babies are supposed to just slide right outta there, right?!  The nurse walked in with the vacuum, and about that time I felt a huge pop and a huge release in pressure.  The other Doctor assisting my Doc managed to wedge his fingers under the baby just right and literally pop him out of place without the vacuum.  Thank you, Jesus!  After a few moments, I heard the sweetest little cry and I couldn't do anything but cry too.  His little cry was perfect, and I couldn't wait to see his face.

They let me do skin to skin right away while I was still on the table.  It was a precious moment that I didn't get to experience with my daugher's c-section.  They whisked her away to the nursery, so I only caught a glimpse of her.  I got to soak up all Rowan's newborn goodness right away and for that I am so thankful.  We delayed his bath and measurements so I got to spend the next few hours with him on my chest and feeding right away.  They also saved some cord for my husband to cut, something he missed out on with our daugther.  I was so happy he got to have that experience since we didn't have a typical vaginal birth where they do that for the Dads.

Once I got wheeled into recovery, I thought we were golden and would spend the next hours in awe over our little man.  Then, all of a sudden pain started becoming outrageous.  I had to have my Husband take Rowan from me, at which point they took his measurements, and my nurse was giving me pain medication that wasn't touching a thing.  They called my Doctor and Anesthesiologist who allowed Morphine to get my pain under control.  Even then, the pain was dulled but still severe.  Nothing I ever experienced with my first c-section.  After some time and the right medication cocktail, I was finally getting back to somewhat normal. Rowan was brought back to me an 8lb 8oz, 20.5 inch perfectly healthy baby.  My Doctor came in shocked that my little 5ft frame supported an 8.5lb baby.  He mentioned I lost more blood than I should have, but not enough for a transfusion.  He also told me that I had a few bruised/cracked ribs from them trying to get the baby out.  He was so big he was stuck.  He never made it to the birth canal, so even if I did attempt a VBAC he is 100% sure it would have been unsuccessful.  My skin was also stretched so thin, that my incision didn't want to stay closed because there was no elasticity left in the skin, and then he dropped the bomb.  He told me because Rowan was so big and it took a such a huge toll on my body, that I should probably be done having babies.  He's not saying it's impossible for me to have anymore, but for my health, I should seriously consider being done.  This cesarean could've turned very bad for the both of us, and I'm so thankful that it didn't and that we are both healthy.  Although, it is a little heartbreaking to hear that you shouldn't create anymore beautiful little lives.  I felt I was done after Rowan anyway, but I wanted it to be MY choice, not a choice that was made for me.

Blanket: Modern Burlap

Swaddle Set: Charlie Rowan Designs

The days following proved to be harder for me than I anticipated.  Thankfully, Rowan was thriving.  Despite me having Gestational Diabetes his sugars were great, and despite the blood type incompatibility his bilirubin levels were checking out too, which is amazing considering all the risks we were facing.  He did have a higher count of red blood cells which made him appear red, but that was normal in GD and Incompatible babies.  Me on the other hand, I could barely do anything.  I could barely walk which they want you to do a lot of after a cesarean.  They kept me bandaged longer than usual, and they made me keep my staples an extra week to ensure my incision would close.

Recovery has been slow.  I just got my staples out this week, but I'm still in a fair amount of pain.  I can't lift my girl for another 6 weeks which is so hard.  My incision keeps popping open, but they assure me it will heal fine.  Mentally, I'm doing great.  Postpartum has been a breeze compared to postpartum with Mykenzi.  Rowan is already a chunker at 9lbs at his two week check up.  He has blessed our family so much.  He fits perfectly and Mykenzi adores him.  She has her moments where she shows her butt for attention, but those are few and far between her holding his hand during diaper changes, singing to him while he's swinging, and offering her own pacifier when he starts crying.

Life with two is chaotic, but perfect in so many ways.

Did any of you have repeat cesareans?  How did they differ?  Did you have to have tools like a vacuum or forceps used? How did that make you feel?  I love hearing how we all conquer birthing our babes! We are warriors!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Bye Beaches! We're T-Town Bound!

Our little family has been keeping a BIG secret, and I can finally spill the beans.  We're moving! Yep. Right smack dab in the middle of my third trimester my husband received a job offer we couldn't refuse.  The catch?  We'd have to leave our beautiful beaches and reside in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

I know, I know, what kind of husband does that to his wife in the third trimester, right?  Don't worry, I've already assured the hubs he owes me big for this, but I have to cut him a little slack because he has been very attentive and aware of how I'm feeling through all of this, so he's not totally a bad guy. I kid, he's a great guy and I would never dream of him tossing this opportunity aside just because I was pregnant.  Really, the worst part of it all was being sworn to secrecy until we had all our ducks in a row to go public with our decision.

So, unless we are good friends something you may not know is that my husband and I were both born and raised in the area we currently reside in.  If you aren't familiar, we live in the Fort Walton/Destin area of Florida nestled on the beautiful, white sandy beaches in the Panhandle of Florida.  While leaving this area is something we'd never thought we'd do, we are very excited for a new adventure, in a new state, and of course, with our newest addition in tow.  We've worked it out where I can still have Rowan here and still see my Doctor through my 6 week clearance and then'll we'll pack up and take our little family to our new home.

We are incredibly grateful that his new job is so supportive of our growing family and willing to make accommodations for us to transition smoothly.  Just from the hospitality we've been shown through this entire process we are confident in our decision and that we are making a wonderful choice for our future and our family.  We are certainly blessed to be presented with an opportunity that allows my husband to grow and challenge himself in his career field with an amazing company.

So, get ready y'all!  Not only will Baking Baby Brown get a full re-brand this fall, but it also gets a new home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama!  Any other Alabama bloggers out there?!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Lula Low Down: LulaRoe Review

So, if you haven't heard, LulaRoe is all the rage right now.  Dresses, skirts, and of course their signature flashy buttery soft leggings are people's go-to form of fashion at the moment.  I have to admit, when this trend first started gaining steam I was a little put off.  I mean, are these leggings really THAT much better than my $4 Forever 21 leggings that I have grown to adore?

The answer is, yes.  LulaRoe has somehow created a line of clothes that you'll never want to take off.  I received a Julia Dress, Irma Top, and a pair of Leggings to wear so I could get the full LulaRoe experience.  Even better,  I received all these items to wear with a 9 month baby bump that literally fits nothing right now.  So, I put LulaRoe to the ultimate test, and they passed!

The Julia Dress is amazing.  It's knee length which I thought for  my 5 foot frame was going to be a little long and make me look stubby, but it didn't at all.  I love it!  It's perfect to throw on for a dinner or work with basically zero effort.  It's stretchy and comfortable and let me tell you, this bump put it's stretchy-ness to the test!  It's also not a very thick fabric which concerned me about possibly being see through, but nothing nude undergarments couldn't fix.  Not to mention, this Florida heat makes it hard to want to wear anything, so it was the right amount of thickness without feeling like I was going to die of heat stroke.

The fun part about LulaRoe is all the designs.  While my legging choice doesn't reflect that, the Julia dress comes in so many beautiful prints and colors that you could have one for every occasion or better yet, one for every day of the week at the office.

Next is the Irma and Leggings.  I opted for plain black leggings because well, leggings.  That, and I might be slightly boring.  I just haven't worked myself up for a crazy design yet.  I had to make sure they were worth it first.  So, LulaRoe's claim to fame are their "buttery soft" leggings.  Before I got my hands on them, I had no idea what that meant and certainly didn't understand why it was so appealing.  Then I received my first pair of leggings and slid them on and never took them off.  Literally.  I've been wearing them everyday since I received them.  They are so freaking soft! They have the perfect amount of stretch and the waistband is amazing on this huge belly I'm lugging around.  I'm positive they will be just as amazing for my postpartum life too.  The Irma fits quite big, but it's supposed to. There are a ton of tutorials out there of different ways you can wear this top, which I'm super excited to try once I'm bumpless.  For now, the Irma is the perfect go to top for this bump.  It's loose, it's comfortable, and most importantly it covers everything you're trying to cover in pregnancy.  I've seriously been living in these two pieces these last few weeks of pregnancy.  Don't worry, I've washed them. I promise.

LulaRoe has so many great looks in their collection! Post pregnancy I can't wait to get my hands on an Amelia Dress, a Randy Top, and some more leggings.  I'm totally a Lula Believer now and if you haven't tried at least one item from their line, you're missing out!

Want some LulaRoe in your life? You can't just buy them anywhere, so visit my girl Jessica on Facebook and/or Instagram. She's always replenishing stock and is great with helping you with sizing because LulaRoe sizing is a little crazy.

AND because Jessica wants to make you a Lula Believer too, we have teamed up to give one lucky reader a pair of LulaRoe Leggings of your choice!  Yep, you read that right!  A pair of buttery soft goodness just for you! Enter below.  Good luck!  Giveaway ends Thursday night, winner announced on Friday!  REMEMBER:  All entry requests are mandatory to qualify.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received these items courtesy of Jessica a LulaRoe Consultant in exchange for an honest review.  As always here at Baking Baby Brown, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

B2 Bumpdate: 37 Weeks

Well, I'm still pregnant.  I thought for sure with all the Labor & Delivery excitement last week that we would have a baby by now.  At my check up I hadn't progressed any further so my Doc said my contractions (that are still happening) aren't active and that we'll wait it out until either I progress further, my water breaks, or we happen to make it to our due date.  Not the news I wanted to hear, but I can agree that it's best to let Rowan bake as long as possible for health reasons.

So, I thought it would be a great idea to wear the same dress that I wore with Mykenzi's bumpdate at 37 weeks with Rowan.  I haven't done too many comparison pictures and figured this would be a prime opportunity for one.  The excitement of the comparison picture quickly wore off when I put them side by side and realized how cute and quaint my 37 week bump was with Mykenzi compared to the house I'm lugging around on the front of my body with Rowan.  I'm a little terrified at how big this boy is going to be.  No wonder everything in and on my body hurts!

How far along?  37 weeks, 4 days

Total weight gain?  +29lbs, gained another pound this week, so this boy must be plumpin' up like he should.

Maternity clothes?  I pretty much live in leggings and the only tank top in my wardrobe that currently fits.  I haven't put real clothes on in days.  #sorrynotsorry

Stretch marks?  Yep, and after the comparison picture, I realize why I can't stop them.  They are all mostly below my belly button.  At this point, no amount of moisturizing is keeping them at bay, so I'll just have to reassess the situation once this little guy vacates the premises.

Sleep?  I added another pillow to my pillow fort.  This boy is heavy which makes rolling over an act of Congress, so sleep has been challenging this week.

PEAK of the week?  I made it to what they now consider "Pre Term" which means it's safe enough for baby to come out, but they still prefer you to make it to "Term."  I was a little nervous when we almost had him at 36 weeks, so I'm comfortable where we are at now.

PIT of the week?  The waiting game.  Patience isn't my strong suit and I'm so uncomfortable and irritable that I want him here so bad and the waiting is killing me.

Big Sister?  She has been glued to my bump for the last few days.  Constantly rubbing it and curling up next to it.  She knows something is about to happen!  Hopefully it's a smooth transition for her.

Daddy?  Is officially Mommy/Daddy.  He's been great at taking care of everything and keeping me off feet as much as possible.  I know this has to be tiring since he does work all day and then comes home and takes care of me and Mykenzi all night.

Miss anything?  Sweets. Always.

Movement?  He's still movin' and groovin' in there and he is not shy to let me know when I'm making him uncomfortable which is starting to be any position I sit in.  I try to keep telling him if he would just make an exit there's more than enough room in the outside world for the both of us.  So far, it hasn't worked.

Food cravings?  Carrots and Broccoli.  We seriously eat steamed Carrots & Broccoli with every dinner.  I don't know why but it's my go to dish right now.  A lot healthier than the cakes and sweets I really want.

Anything making you feel sick or queasy?  This heat.  Welcome to Summer.

Gender?  Boy!

Symptoms?  Contractions, general aches and pains, and fatigue.  I have been so tired lately.

Belly button in or out?  It pokes out.

Happy or moody?  Emotional.  I've cried over the stupidest stuff lately and I just can't seem to control it.  Emotions are at an all time high right now.

Looking forward to?  Meeting Baby! I hope it's soon.  This Momma is exhausted.

Monday, June 20, 2016

#OneBigHappy with Gymboree

Gymboree is celebrating their #OneBigHappy campaign.  This can be anything! #OneBigHappy Birthday, Beach Day, Summer, you name it, and if it makes you happy it's your #OneBigHappy moment.  When they asked us to participate, I thought the timing couldn't be more perfect!  We are celebrating #OneBigHappy Family as Rowan gears up to join us and make us a family of four.

I haven't been shy on how stressful life has been lately.  Between my Brother's accident, this pregnancy, and a little diddy I can't quite talk about yet, we've had our fair share of stress these last couple of months.  In the midst of all the stress, I've really tried to make sure we focus on special things with Mykenzi.  She's entering her last days of being our only child, so I really want to soak up as much of her and this special age as I can before I share my attention with her Brother.

Mykenzi loves to be outside, and it doesn't take much, she will basically run herself ragged picking up sticks in the front yard and she's a happy camper.  She also loves anything that requires putting on shoes, so like I said folks, it doesn't take much to make this kid's day. We've recently introduced sidewalk chalk and it took "color!" to a whole new level for her.  She loves it.  Watching her light up and enjoy the smallest things around her really grounds you and makes all that stress seem so superficial.  I'm so thankful to be able to have the opportunity to focus on these last days of "just her" and store all these precious moments in my memory bank.

Thank you so much to Gymboree who provided Mykenzi with with her head to toe look.  She's love dressing up in hats, bracelets, and shoes and these are the perfect addition to her collection.

Tell me, what's your #OneBigHappy moment?