My Birth Story, squared. 

Alright Kiddos, settle in. 
Some of you remember my birth story with my oldest son, James. After reading this, you will truly understand how every birth is different. 

Let start from the top, shall we? My pregnancies were the same until 30 weeks and then this one went left. I had pain galore that, of course, I couldn’t do much about as it was intestinal (in opposition to the back pain and nausea I had with James). I was also way over pregnancy. Way. Over. 

Stupidly, I believed lies and utter deceit like “all second babies comes faster and have a shorter labor.” Lies and deceit I tell you. At 39 weeks, I hadn’t even dropped. No dilation was taking place and this kid was literally hugging my placenta with no intent to vacate. So, instead of being passive I did everything I could… everything…

-Massaging and diffusing Clary Sage Oil

-Walking

-Sex

-Squats

-Bouncing on that stupid ball

-Eggplant Parmesan 

-Pineapple (an entire produce lot)

-Spicy Food

-Castor Oil (3 disgusting doses)

And guess what I got? Nothing. A bunch of nothing…until…

Contractions!!!! Hard, fast and regular contractions. #babyontheway They lasted for an hour or two.  Then they went away…after I called my husband and called a sitter…just great. 

Then, much later that night, could it be? Would it be? Yes!!!! Sweet Lord, YES! More contractions. Consistent, close together (4 mins a part) contractions and I lost my mucus plug! Woohooo! My contractions were never that close with James so off to triage we went with hope and expectation in our hearts only to find out I was only 1.5 cm dilated. We walked like our lives depended on it for 2 hours. I even beared down and pushed with contractions and then… nothing. “No change unfortunately” according to the nurse. I’ve never felt defeat like that. I cried a quiet, whole-body-shake sob while my husband held me and told me it was going to be ok. I did get one victory out of that night-muscle relaxers because ain’t nobody got time for meaningless contractions. 

So, basically any time I moved contractions would ramp up in intensity and in quantity. If I laid on my side I could keep them 10-20 minutes apart. For 2 days this was my life. It was miserable. I was miserable. Fast forward to Christmas morning-a contraction woke me up at 6 a.m. that made me wake up my husband. Laying down couldn’t stop the contractions or keep them as far apart. Moving made them way more intense and close together. I laid down as much as I could. Around 7 p.m., they had a mind of their own. They just kept coming, anywhere from 4 to 15 minutes apart. Then, just one hour later, a contraction came that I couldn’t just breathe through and had to moan. Then, another one, same thing, except a gush of fluid I wasn’t familiar with came and kept coming. My water broke. 

My gut told me I need to leave now. With James, my water broke about 20 minutes before I was crowning and I live about 20 minutes from the hospital. My mind, always one for tricks, said “it’s ok. You’ve got time. You’ve got this.” I listened to my mind. 

10 minutes later when I couldn’t even walk because the contractions were so close together and I felt all the pressure, I listened to my gut. In the same 10 minutes, my husband somehow got James ready for bed and asleep as well himself dressed. Then, he got me dressed, gave the neighbors watching James (on the monitor) the run down and we were off. I couldn’t sit in the seat. I said to my husband, “Babe, turn on the hazards. This is your NASCAR moment.” I still don’t know how many lights he ran. 

As if that wasn’t enough, now, let’s cue in some drama. Again, contractions on contractions on contractions, y’all. I couldn’t walk so a nurse had to come get me in a wheel chair. I couldn’t talk. Just screams. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t focus. Then, she checked me and I was only 3.5 cm. Then, I could talk. “Give me IV drugs. I want the drugs!” 

Some minutes later, I’m in a room in L&D and get checked again, I’m 7.5-8 cm and wouldn’t ya know it, moving too fast to get drugs. Now, I move too fast??? 3 days of labor and now we move fast. So, naturally, I assume this is the end and I’m going to die. No one can make it through this. Something is gravely wrong the medical staff just hasn’t discovered it yet, I think. I felt like this was moving so quick to save it’s own life. Knowing my fate, I then throw up. Bless Nurse Chelsi who caught it just in the nick of time. 

PAUSE: Let’s talk about how I wanted this birth to be so freaking zen. I had my essential oils and diffuser packed, a wonderful playlist and my affirmations ready to go. I was going to be a happy patient the nurses delighted with. The one they didn’t have to worry about. Y’all…

PLAY: The nurse checks me again…”She’s at 9.5. Do you feel pressure, Tenikca?” That question was posed at the start of another 4-5 minute contraction. I wanted to say something really smart like “You can’t tell that I feel a lot of things right now with a freaking freight train moving at full speed through me?” but all I could get out was “WHY WONT IT STOP?” 
PAUSE: Can y’all imagine contractions lasting 4-5 minutes?? I can’t and I went through it. Also, they were literally off the charts. I knew death was chasing me and closing the gap. 

PLAY: Then I felt a different pressure. I’d already pushed 3 times without permission. The nurses said I could push with the next contraction, that, of course, was on the heels of the last one so I did and then HOLY RING OF FIRE!!! Somehow, because this contraction won’t stop neither do I and I keep pushing. Then, I push again. I feel like everyone is telling me to stop. They keep calling my name and trying to get me to look at them-the nurses, my husband, they are all trying to tell me to stop but there was no way. If I’m gonna die it needs to happen sooner rather than later, I thought. My husband gets my attention and says very clearly, “Pull him out!” Ohhhhhhh. That’s why everyone was calling my name. 

On Christmas night, at 9:54 p.m., less than 1 hour after we got to the hospital, less than 2 hours after my water broke, with ‘Make You Feel My Love’ playing, I delivered Jude Lawrence. 

Then, I engaged in casual banter with the nurses. I apologized. They were full of grace. The doctor doesn’t know it but we are homies. He was super cool and calm and was real “whatevs” but super professional and efficient at the same time. I saw him out of the corner of my eye during one of those “contractions” (we can all agree that what I endured should be called something else) and yelled, “I want to pull him out.” I’m pretty sure his response was “cool”. 

In case you were wondering, I didn’t die. Didn’t even come close. My health was actually stellar. We had another intimate birth-just me and The Mr. No one else’s opinions or interjections. We didn’t have as many tender moments as we did the first time around but there was a tether-an unearthly connection driving us to be far greater and endure far more than we ever imagined. It was almost visible it was so strong. Again, my birth coach surpassed all expectations and was a fabulous punching bag, literally. #clutch

That, my friends, was a merry Christmas night indeed. 

Dipes and Wipes Pouch

Hey Loves!
 

Got a super quick craft for ya! So, you know when I told you about out our toddler bag situation? Well, it occurred to me that sometimes we won’t even need that, just maybe the diapers or wipes. So, I made a cute clutch they can go in and be easily removed if necessary.

 

This seriously took maybe 20 minutes and very easy to do. I followed this tutorial to the T using some cute alphabet fabric that was given to me. That’s it. It was super easy and came out super cute!

Toddler Bag Chronicles

Hey Loves!
 

So, being pregnant has made me realize that my first baby is growing up. Not that I didn’t know before, but it just hits harder now. Anywho, this big boy didn’t need 80% of the stuff I had in our baby bag. I came to this conclusion when I was thinking about the reality of two kids, under two, stroller, carriers and then 2 bags…yeah, no.

So, we pulled out the cutest small back pack we got as a gift. James was so excited about it. We put in the essentials:

 

1. Germ fighters: Thieves spray, disinfect spray and hand sanitizer. I don’t play about germs.

2. Summer necessities: Sun screen and bug spray. (Two words: Florida, Zika)

3. Butt shields: Diapers and wipes

4. Just in case: change of clothes

5. Fuel: Snacks

I also used a gift card and ordered a coordinating lunch box for days when we need more snacks or even a lunch.

 

What’s in your toddler bag?

Nursery for Two

Note: We completed this way before we knew the gender of our baby, so don’t think that had an effect, or should have an effect on our decision. Also, excuse the laundry and non-vacuumed floors in the photo. This is true life y’all. 
Hey Loves!
 

So, this may not be your cup of tea-but when we found out we were expecting another, we decided to make the nursery for both of them. Yes, sharing a room. Here’s the thing, our kids only sleep and get dressed or changed in there. They have a play/learning room, a play area downstairs and outside activities. They don’t need much in the actual bedroom quarters.

 

So, in my true fashion, I stalked Facebook FSOT sites and craigslist for a toddler bed for James. We were blessed because a friend was selling her’s that was put together and was never used!!!! Score!!!!

 

We put the crib by the window (James needs zero distractions or items to break) and the toddler bed on the opposing wall. We also purchased a changing table (no, we didn’t have one before) that was in excellent used condition, with great storage, and that shares the wall with the crib. We separated the room with the glider I re-did for nursery in 2014. We kept the dressers that were in there (still waiting on my wall mounts, IKEA) just consolidated items for both kids. Above the dresser, will be an accent wall of photos of the kids.

 

For the closet, we decided to get this organizational system and add another shelf so each kid will have two hanging sections. Viola, $80 and very little time later, we’ve got a nursery for 2.

 

The Call of a Mom

I’ve always wondered why people said I would be great a mom. To be honest, I still wonder. I don’t think I’m a great mom and I surely don’t refer to myself as such. I know I’m surrounded by great moms and realizing what makes a mom great gave me a little bit more confidence as I am about to expand my brood.
 

I believe being a great mom is simply having “good-mom” moments. That’s it. A compilation of moments where you did something right or even went above and beyond. That’s it.

 

As of late, my calling has been to be my child’s advocate. That may sound strange because, in a sense, that’s all of our callings. However, I still had to continue to find someone or somewhere that would help me with my child’s speech delay and hyperactivity.

 

I knew around 9 months there was a problem and everyone told me not to worry. Everyone. You know how it feels to be so unheard you feel silenced? That’s how I felt. I’m not discrediting the moms or doctors that cut me off or told me “that’s normal”. I believe they honestly thought they were helping. I know it made me feel like I or my child didn’t have a voice.

 

I kept pressing. I filled out every speech evaluation and got screened wherever we could. Three months later, I had two evaluations and a screening telling me I was right! Vindication! But most importantly, I was able to help my child. Then two months after that, I had six evaluations and two screenings that qualified us for speech and occupational therapy. Finally, someone was listening to me. Finally, someone wanted to help my child too.

 

So, I say this to say, even when you aren’t heard by others, don’t ignore what your inner-self is saying. It’s tricky, scary, confusing and sometimes heart breaking. It’s hard, but the worst thing that can happen is you find out you did everything in your power for your child to be fine.  

 

I’m Not Dead

I’m not Dead 

I’m sure many of you asked this-whether you were joking or seriously concerned, rest assured, I am not. Toddler chasing is a full-time job and real life doesn’t leave any room for anything else but sleep. I try to sneak in household chores and errands when I can, but sometimes even those can’t get done. It’s my life. I’m learning to love it.

 

May I also say I honestly and truly forgot how hard pregnancy can be on a body? I’m not complaining or even whining (yet), but it takes a lot to create a human while keeping another, who doesn’t value his life at all, alive. Anywho, my hope is to get several posts out to you regularly before number two comes along and yet another inevitable break.

 

One thing is for sure-I’ve missed you. I haven’t even met most of you, but sharing my life and you taking the time to read about it means the world to me. I’m thankful you haven’t given up on me.

 

Until next time…

 

Re-Blog Kinda Day

Hey Loves!

I saw this article and had to share. It’s makes so much sense and explains a lot of my daily to-do’s and/or stressors. How Do you handle “Kin-Keeping”?

The Invisible Burden That Leaves Moms Drained

“You put her in the wrong outfit,” I said matter-of-factly as my husband came down the stairs holding our baby girl.
He stared at me with a look of confusion and bewilderment, as if to say, But I didn’t know there was a right one.
 “Your mom’s coming over today, remember?” I explain. “So I thought it’d be nice to have her wear something your mom bought her.” 
“And my mom didn’t buy her this outfit?” 
“Nope. My mom bought her that one.” 
“Ok, well I have no idea who bought her which clothes. How do you even remember that sort of thing?” 
The short answer? Because I’m a mom.
Today many families that include a mom and a dad are challenging the traditional gendered division of labor—mine included. My household couldn’t function if my husband didn’t handle the dishes and I didn’t keep tabs on the checking account. We’re in this together. 
Even so, I—along with most moms everywhere—am still almost entirely responsible for the following tasks:
Remembering family birthdays and sending birthday cards.

Planning and organizing family celebrations.

Sending holiday cards.

Selecting holiday presents. 

Sending thank you cards.

Planning family vacations.

Keeping in touch with out-of-town relatives.

Remembering to dress the baby in the “right” outfit when her grandma visits.

The Invisible Burden That Leaves Mom Drained
In the field of women’s studies, these tasks are called “kin keeping,” and they are serious business.

Why? Because even though these obligations seem relatively small and insignificant, they actually play a very important role in keeping families connected and emotionally supported. 
Just think about how different your own childhood would have looked without birthday cakes and family beach trips and homemade gifts for Grandma, and you’ll see how valuable these kinds of tasks really are. 
Here’s the problem, though: These incredibly important kin-keeping responsibilities are leaving moms emotionally exhausted.

Why? Well, as I mentioned earlier, they almost always fall completely onto the mom’s shoulders. Even in households where there’s a fairly even division of labor, these tasks are overwhelmingly handled by women.
What’s more, kin-keeping responsibilities are mostly invisible. They’ve become such an expected part of family life that they almost always go unnoticed and unacknowledged. (Unless, of course, you don’t do them, in which case you’re likely to draw some negative attention and head shaking.)
Indeed, moms themselves often don’t realize how much time and effort they put into kin keeping. As feminist scholars Susan M. Shaw and Janet Lee (2015) explain, “These tasks are time consuming and involve emotional work that is not easily quantified.” 
Translation: It’s not easy to measure exactly how much time and effort you’re putting into remembering Aunt Cathy’s birthday or calling your husband’s grandma to thank her for the baby gift or making a last minute trip to buy more paper plates for the family BBQ.
But these invisible tasks are sucking the life out of us.

They’re (one of) the reasons our to-do lists never end, why we can’t turn our brains off at night, why it feels like we’re always forgetting something. These obligations seem to take root in the back of our minds and just sit there, forever, invading our ability to truly relax or take a breath. 
Did I remember to buy cousin Emily a wedding present? Who’s bringing the hot dogs for our camping trip? Shoot, it’s been way too long since we called your Aunt Susie!
Geez, I’m feeling exhausted just writing about this stuff!
So what do we do? How do we reclaim our time and our energy in the face of these seemingly endless kin-keeping tasks? 

The first step is simple awareness. Start paying attention to how much kin-keeping work you do. I bet you’ll be surprised!
Then go ahead and ask for help completing these tasks—from your partner and from your kids, depending on their ages. 
If you get any pushback, remind everyone that while these little things sometimes seem silly and not worth the effort, they’re actually really important to maintaining family solidarity and continuity—and that having them fall entirely to one person is just too draining. 
In the end, a more equitable division of labor—kin keeping included—is better for everyone. And the best news? You might finally be able to turn your brain off at night.