Wednesday, March 16, 2016

My Favorite Things of March: New Mom & Baby Edition + Links to Buy

Miracle Blanket - Swaddle. Swaddle. Swaddle for sound sleep!

Dr. Brown’s Bottles - Baby seems to like these best + prevent swallowing air

Gerber Smooth (probiotic) + Vitamin D - I drop in bottle prior to nighttime feeding

Bouncer - Inexpensive & allows momma to work/shower while baby relaxes

Honest Diapers - Great coverage and no chemical smell like other brands

Diaper Bag - Love this! Lots of room and compartments for easy-to-grab wipes, changing pad, and even has an insulated pouch for bottles

Projector + White Noise - Projects multiple images and has quite a few different noise options to help Lawson sleep. We’ve been set on the ‘Beach Wave’ option for weeks!

Boba Wrap/Baby Bjorn - Boba wrap is great because it gives the baby that “in the womb” feel and keep him/her skin on skin. The Baby Bjorn is great, too, and is a snap to put on. I like using it during the warm weather, so you and baby aren’t sweating on one another.

Bottle Warmer - Although our son doesn’t mind his bottle milk being cold straight from the refrigerator, we do use this warmer from time to time. It’s easy as pie to use and it gets the job done for the inexpensive price. 

When you're wanting to go hands-free and multitask while you pump! I ordered this from Amazon (Size Med) and it has been such a great help to be able to work on my computer while also pumping meals for my baby. One day I even pumped while getting ready doing my hair and makeup. Hands-free is the way to be ;)

Friday, March 11, 2016

My Top 10 Necessities for Postpartum Recovery

Stool Softener + Tuck Wipes - A two for one on my list. Two essentials that will make your life a dream if you have them. A living nightmare if you don’t. For whatever reason, giving birth causes things to get a little backed up when comes to going numero dos in the bathroom. In addition to things being backed up, it can be extremely daunting and/or painful to have that initial numero dos if you had a delivery that required stitches. Take it from me, start using both of these items ASAP!

Sitz Bath - God’s gift to postpartum women! Easy to find at your local pharmacy or grocery store. Will help soothe any problems you may have related to what I was talking about above!

Dermoblast - You will most likely be introduced to this in the hospital and will probably be given a can to go home with. I also purchased a couple of my own to have as back up. It was amazing in relieving pain and itching that is associated with stitches and soreness. Get the blue can, NOT the red! The red is an anti-bacterial that I can imagine doesn’t feel all that great when sprayed on your delicates.

Perineal Irrigation Bottle - You probably have already figured out that going to the bathroom for the first couple of weeks is going be a big feat. But if you didn’t already realize it, it’s also going to be next to impossible to make use of toilet paper in the ways you usually would. This little plastic bottle will step in and be a life saver in the absence of TP. Just fill with warm water and have it ready to go for every bathroom trip. It will help clean and soothe.

Adult Diapers - Ok, it sounds weird calling them adult diapers, but that’s I lovingly referred to them as and it stuck! Some women may choose to wear pads, but I opted for a comfortable full-coverage option like these. This was one of those things that no one ever told me about having a baby. That for weeks and possibly even months following delivery, your body goes through a "shedding" process of bleeding to get rid itself of all the extra blood and tissue it needed to nourish your baby during pregnancy. You can't use tampons, so whatever you use, make sure it's comfortable and gives you great coverage.
Elastic Pants - Do I really need to give you a reason to wear comfy pants? You will want to wear pants that aren’t tight around your waist (especially if you are recovering from a C-section), but also ones that are easy to maneuver. You will be taking lots of trips to the potty and to change your sanitary pads/diapers.

Lightweight Pajamas - Due to all the hormones raging through your body that are trying to adjust and regulate back to normal levels, you may experience some excessive perspiration. I did! Especially when I slept. I thought I was pre-menopausal with all the crazy hot flashes and night sweats I was experiencing, but apparently this is extremely common among postpartum women. So, I adjusted my sleeping environment (turned down the AC, slept with a fan in the room) and traded out my flannel pajamas for lightweight cotton shorts and tank top. As precaution, I also slept with a towel under me for the first couple of weeks.
Lanolin - For your girls that may experience a little irritation and chapping from all the frequent feedings from your little babe, as well as pumping sessions. It is safe to use while breastfeeding and can be purchased at your local grocery store or online via Amazon Prime

Coffee - If you don’t already love it, you will. And you are going to need more of it than you think. I could not have imagined surviving the first two weeks home with a newborn without some sort of caffeine. 

A Good Sense of Humor - An absolute must! From the moment you step into the hospital, prepare to humble yourself. People you’ve never met are going to be seeing places of your body that maybe you’ve never even seen. You are going to do things you’d never thought you’d do, and nurses are going to assist you with tasks you never thought you might need help with. Your husband will also be of great help during your birth and postpartum recovery. Hopefully he too has a good sense of humor. He’s going to be your best friend that can make runs to the grocery store for more pads, stool softener, and sitz bath supplies. Postpartum recovery is A BEAST. Just go into it with a sense of humor and I promise you’ll be fine. 

Funny but USEFUL Gifts from my Hubby

*My Biggest NO-NO* — Although you may be curious to check on things, for the love of God, try to avoid taking a mirror anywhere near DOWN THERE. Especially if you had any sort of tears/lacerations during the birthing process. Just don’t do it! Let the body do it’s thing! Of course, if you’re stubborn like me and you look anyway despite all of the advice not to, just know that things DO go back to the way they were. The body has an amazing ability to heal itself. At this point, I’m almost 6-weeks postpartum and everything “down under” looks 100% back to normal. But those first couple of weeks, just a tad scary and I would caution you to avoid mirrors at all costs because of it. Just want to save you from any added anxiety you may or may not experience after seeing the battle wounds. Hehe!

Good Luck, Girlfriend! Postpartum is tough, but your little angel makes it 1000% worth it. Yeah, a thousand percent. I said it :)

Friday, March 4, 2016

TRUE LIFE: Living with a Newborn

Living with a Newborn: It is both incredibly amazing and incredibly hard.

Incredibly Amazing: The little LIFE that you carried in your womb for 9 months and that you birthed into the world, is now safe and sound earth-side and is YOURS forever —— also incredibly amazing and could be another blog submission of its own is how stinkin’ CUTE they are — which, let’s be honest, is WHY they can get away with half the stunts they pull that make living with a newborn kinda sorta incredibly hard ;)

Incredibly Hard: That same little precious life now enjoys long bouts of crying for no reason, peeing on walls during diaper changes, and living like a vampire by sleeping during the day and wanting to party and stay up at night

Case in point — here is a typical day in our household that is shared by the following roommates:
Me, Hubby J, Two Labs Jackson and Bella, and then the star of the show, 3-Week-Old Lawson

7:00 AM - Lawson wakes and is ready to eat, Dogs are exhausted from a long night of wake ups and refuse to get out of bed - J getting up 

7:15 AM - Diaper Change, Clothes Change

7:30 AM - I attempt to pump while J gets ready for work and tends to Baby Law

8:00 AM - J has left for work and I am now solely in charge (Terrifying! What if I break him?)

8:15 AM - Baby in one hand, coffee in the other (maybe a couple of sips, if I’m lucky)

8:30 AM - Attempt to set Baby Law down as I try to make breakfast

8:32 AM - Baby Law caught on to my scheme and lets out a loud squeal - clearly not digging his swing!

8:33 - 8:45 AM Console and try to get Baby Law happy again

9:00 AM - Second and sometimes third attempt at breakfast (L is finally dozing off for a nap)

9:05 - 9:10 AM - Scarfing down breakfast (maybe a piece of toast - no time to make the the eggs) as fast as I can while I watch and wait for L to wake up at any moment

9:10 AM - Ahhhh, breakfast complete. L is sleeping. Time to get some chores done.

9:11 AM - “Yeah right, Mom” I imagine Baby Law thinking as he stirs from his slumber and reminds me that it’s time for his second breakfast. Chores can wait.

9:12 - 10 AM - Feeding, Diaper Change, Fresh pair of clothes, Singing, Rocking, Tummy time, Snuggles with Mom, and finally L drifts back to sleep

10 AM - 12 PM - An incredibly amazing 2 HOUR NAP (done by baby, not me)
Although this is when I should be sleeping, like a knucklehead I use this time to catch up on cleaning, laundry, work emails, etc -- Although lets not kid myself. I look at work emails and get distracted before I end up being able to reply to them. Must go wash the poop out of the baby blankets!

NOON - Another feeding, another diaper change, and quite possibly another fussy baby.

12:45 - 1:30 PM - Outdoor Vitamin D time via stroller in the backyard - pausing to play fetch with my other two children (Jackson and Bella - our just as needy labrador children)

1:30 - 2:00 PM - Baby decides he’s over the backyard and is hungry again — feeding, diaper changing, playing the staring game with momma ensues (I love this part! long as he stays happy!)

2:00 - 3:00 PM - L is wide awake. Not interested in a nap right now. Not interested in being sat down in a bouncer, in a swing, or on his tummy. He just wants to be held and burped and stare at his mom. I oblige :)

3:00 PM - It’s time for ELLEN! Yes, the TV show. No matter what kind of day I’m having, this gal always makes me smile and somehow makes it better. Fortunately, Baby Law seems to have a mutual respect for this because he loves to snuggle up and sleep on my chest for the hour-long program

4:00 - 7:00 PM - During this time frame is when J gets home from work and gets his well-deserved Daddy & Baby time. It’s also the time where I get to sit down and pee without a baby monitor, or without being in a frantic rush because I hear a crying baby in another room. I also even sneak in a couple of minutes in a hot shower and jam some loud Destiny’s Child tunes. Better hurry though. Is that a crying baby I hear? Following my shower and another feeding for L, J and I take turns handing off the baby to do things like cook dinner, check the mail, play with the doggies, pick up the house, etc. I also try to fit in another pumping session before bed, as we well as a quick walk around the neighborhood with the whole family. Once dinner is devoured (one-handed mind you - because again little babes is always up from a nap at the EXACT MOMENT we get sat down to have a meal), we then try to start winding down the day with some adult conversation, an oatmeal bath for L, another feeding, diaper change, and pre-bed swaddle session.

8:00 - 10 PM - Lawson’s favorite time of the day to be fussy for no apparent reason. He has been nursed, been changed, been bathed, been loved on, been held, been snuggled, been bounced, been burped, been sang to, been hugged, been kissed, been prayed over, been kissed some more. The truth of the matter is, the kid just ISN’T tired at this time no matter what we try. And really, it’d be cool with me to stay up and party with him during this time if he was a chill little dude and wanted to catch up on Netflix with me. But no, these two hours are more often than not spent trying to console our loudly crying baby. Pacing the floors of our house with our two labs right on our heels making sure we aren’t harming him. Night owl, colic, or normal nighttime infant fussiness? Who knows. Who cares. It just breaks my heart when we can’t get our precious little person to stop crying for at times, what feels like hours on end.

11 PM - Okay, praise Jesus! Baby L is finally calm, content, swaddled and is laid down in his bassinet. Time for J and I to hurry and get to bed ourselves! Love you! Mean it! Goodnight!

1:00 - 1:45 AM - Baby Wakes, Feeding, Burp, Rock back to Sleep (J’s shift)
3:00 - 3:45 AM - Baby Wakes, Feeding, Burp, Rock back to Sleep (J’s shift)
5:00 - 5:45 AM - Baby Wakes, Feeding, Burp, Rock back to Sleep (My Shift)
NOTE: Not all feedings go smoothly as planned. Sometimes Lawson falls asleep mid-dining, or gets ultra fussy from gas filling up his tummy. So, some feedings to back down to sleep last about 45 minutes. But some last longer. Similarly, some nights Lawson goes longer between feeding sessions, and then other times, he wants to wake up every hour on the hour. Either way, I'm just happy as heck that I have the MOST AMAZING partner in all of this and helps me in every way he can.

7:00 AM — Time to wake up and start the day all over again!  Tired. Eyes Puffy. Hair a Mess. Breastmilk and Spit up all over PJs. Roll over and see the little angel face that makes every single moment of mommy-hood worth it.

There ya have it. An extremely generalized day for us. Some days are amazing and some days are incredibly hard. Some days I get through the day with all smiles, but then other days I break down and cry as often as my newborn. Regardless of how the day went, ALL DAYS are so appreciated. We are so in love with our little. We are so blessed to have him, hold him, and be his parents. I cannot imagine a more beautiful and precious little soul and I look so forward to being is momma and sharing a beautiful and precious little life with him.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

First Time Mom: Birth Story



(THIRD ATTEMPT: FEB 23rd - 3:00 PM BABY DOWN FOR A NAP) I’ve attempted to write this blog post on several occasions now with no success. The moment that I find an ounce of free time, a comfortable seat to sit down in and open my laptop, our little Lawson always gives me a not-so-subtle reminder that he’s boss man around this house nowadays and that mommy’s blog posts can always wait. Touché, kid, touché.

But alas, I finally find a free moment where I think I can finally crank this out. “Free moment” meaning my child is sleeping inches away from me as I feverishly type and keep one eye on the computer screen and the other on the miniature warden that could wake up at any moment now and shut down this whole blogging party. So, I’ll get on with it. For both myself and anyone interested, I have wanted to recount a little of Lawson’s birth story here as well as his first weeks of living on this side of my belly bump and my postpartum recovery process. Because, let’s face it, it’s something he’s going to want to know about when he’s older. A big HA! to that, but I’ll continue.

Due date fell on a Saturday and went by like any other day. I slept an impressive and rare 10 hours, got up, had breakfast, spent the day antiquing and running errands with Juston, stopped by the gym for a work out, and swung by our favorite Italian restaurant for take out before coming home for the evening. Around 9 o’ clock, I started to feel some cramping in my stomach that felt very similar to monthly menstrual cramps. They weren’t painful really, just annoying. As the hours went by, the cramps started to increase in intensity and started to come on more swiftly and in closer intervals to one another. Could these be contractions, I thought? Around 11 PM, we started to time the duration of the cramps. By midnight they were coming every 3 minutes and lasting around 30-45 seconds. By 1 AM, we decided that hospital was close enough in proximity that we might as well go and get checked to see if what I’m feeling is anywhere near progressing to the real smackdown of labor. Yikes!

2 AM - Made it to the maternity ward of the hospital and was hooked up to a contraction monitor and had my cervix checked by one of the nurses. I was only dilated to 2 CM (what I had been for the past two weeks). Bummer, dude!  But on the upside - it was confirmed that those ‘cramps’ I was feeling were in fact true contractions. Which to me translated to: this show is getting on the road! Which then translated to the reality of: waiting for an undisclosed amount of time until further dilation when the “real” show starts. For anybody out there who knows anything about labor, you know It could be anywhere from a couple of hours, to a couple of days. There’s really no way of knowing until you live it. 

3 AM - With that in mind, I got permission from the doc to get unhooked from the contraction monitor and was allowed to walk around in an effort to progress dilation naturally. After a couple hours had passed spent taking long strolls bouncing up and down the hallways of the hospital with no progress of sorts down under, we then decided with the doctor to go ahead and move forward with inducing my labor. I was in pain and already 40 weeks pregnant and DID NOT want to go home and have to start this process all over again on another day. Baby was done baking, it was time for him to come out of this momma. 

5 AM -  Got checked in to our delivery suite and the cramping had now moved it’s way to my lower back and was beginning to radiate up my spine and down to my legs. It was a sensation I had never felt before. A sensation I had not anticipated contractions could feel like. I consider myself to be a tough cookie with a high pain tolerance, but this was a pain that despite my best effort of positioning, could not be alleviated. The only way to cope was to literally stand straight up and just bear it until it passed. It was a pain that even physically made me sick to my stomach. No joke, I ralphed (old school word for vomit) about 3-4 times in between contractions and my awkward bouncing dance across the room. 



Where was I? Oh yeah, in the middle of explaining the beauty of contractions! So, there I was, dancing across the room of our delivery suite and half-pretending to watch an episode of “Friends” on the television to distract me from the pain radiating up and down my body. J was splitting his time between massaging my lower back, cracking a few jokes, and making runs for ice chips since I was unable to eat or drink anything. What a guy, what a guy!

BY 7 AM - I crawled into the hospital bed and was given the Pitocin (to induce labor). At this time, I also made it abundantly clear I wanted the “good stuff” — i.e. an epidural. Prior to this, I never made any promises to myself about having a natural birth, but I wanted to leave opportunity open to experience if I felt like in the moment it was something I could handle and it wouldn’t interfere with my delivery. Hahahahaha is all I have to say to that now. There was no way I was going to be able to continue forward with a natural birth. Not only were my back contractions excruciating, but they were making me physically ill. I couldn’t fathom the thought of bearing down through a contraction, throwing up, and then concentrating on pushing out a little life. Pride aside, I needed some assistance. In the smallest way, I wanted to be able to enjoy my birthing experiencing. ENTER: Epidural to save the day! (Shout out to those natural birthing mommas though! I salute you!))

AT 8 AM - The sweet and precious soul that is the anesthesiologist came in and administered the epidural. Shortly after, my doc came in and broke my water. I was then told I would be able to rest while we waited for my cervix to further dilate.

9 AM - All was calm in the world! The lights were dimmed in our suite, J was snoozing on the couch, and I was feeling completely blissful, pain-free, and was now even able to laugh through an episode of Friends without feeling a contraction. After an hour of resting, the nurse came back in to check my cervix and I had dilated to 4 CM by 10 AM. “I’ll keep coming back every hour or so to check your progress,” I remember her saying. Cool! I was finally going to be able to sleep for a couple of hours while my cervix does it’s thing. “Just wake me up when it’s ‘GO’ time,” I remember muttering to her as she left the room.

11 AM - I felt the blankets move from on top of me and the cold hands of the nurse. “Sorry, Marissa, it’s just me again checking your progress.” After I realized it was just my good ole pal doing the hourly check up down there, I set my head back down on the pillow with the intention to fall asleep for another couple of hours. However, Baby Lawson had other plans. “Oh my God, you’re at a 10!” the nurse squealed. “I am going to get the doctor. Girlfriend you are ready to push!” 

Wait, whaaaaaat? Come again? I was just about to go to sleep. I had went from 4 - 10 CM in an hour? That’s crazy talk, I thought. Even crazier was what went down in the next 41 minutes following that breaking news. What can now be referred to as the fastest 41 minutes of my life.

11 AM
  • J woke up to the 10 CM dilation news. Hooray! 
  • Blankets were removed from me and my bed was being rolled forward in the room.
  • Nurses started to pile in.
  • The overhead lights were turned on.
  • Stirrups were being attached to the foot of the bed.
  • My legs were situated up in said stirrups.
  • J made his way to my bedside and grabbed my hand.
  • The doctor (a new one now on shift)  came in and introduced herself
  • With my legs spread as a wide as Texas, I teased: “Sorry I’m meeting you this way”
  • She laughed and then snapped on her latex gloves
  • At an estimated 11:20 AM, I heard the words “We already see his hair! On three, you’re going to start pushing momma”
  • I took one last look at my hubby, to the episode of Friends I had been watching, and then closed my eyes to get to work
  • At exactly 11:41 AM, my pushing came to a close when I heard the sweet shrill of my baby boy and opened my eyes to see his perfect little self being laid on my chest.

That was it. 20 min of pushing and he was HERE! I did it! I gave birth to our son. I just delivered a tiny little human. The world stopped. My breathing even stopped. Hysterical waterworks ensued, along with a ton of celebratory high-fives.

So there ya have it. Started from the womb and now he’s here!

Lawson Thomas Dosser
Born 11:41 AM February 7th  7 lb 8 oz19.5 inches long

Whew, it's a miracle I got that all out. Going to go love on my little dude now and save the ultra fun postpartum blog post for another time ;)

Friday, January 22, 2016

Packing List for Hospital Delivery

Eek! Baby is on the way and it’s time to get those bags packed for your upcoming hospital stay. Here is a quick go-to guide of what I’m packing and what you may consider packing for you and your family as well. Just NOTE: I'm a first-time mom, so this list may be a little exhaustive ;)

  • Going Home Outfit
  • Large Blanket (for snuggling)
  • Small Blanket (for extra warmth)
  • Swaddle Set (blanket & hat)
  • Socks
  • Mittens
  • Extra Onesies (footless)
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Burp Cloths
  • Nursing Pillow
  • Nursing Cover (for family entry if breastfeeding)
  • Pacifers
  • Pacifer Clip
  • Lotion
  • Diaper Cream
  • Small Plush Toy
  • Diaper Bag (for all of your goodies!)
  • Car Seat
  • Car Seat Cover

  • Pajamas
  • Going Home Outfit
  • Sweatshirt/Sweat Pants
  • Socks
  • Slippers
  • Hat
  • Blanket & Pillow (to attempt sleeping)
  • Shampoo/Conditioner/Hair Gel
  • Towel
  • Cologne
  • Razor
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste/Floss
  • Wallet (dad + mom)
  • Insurance Cards
  • Laptop
  • Camera + SD Cards
  • Phone
  • Chargers (Laptop + Phone)
  • Cooler (for snacks + drinks)
  • Dollar Bills (for vending machine + tipping me for my baby delivery services - JK!)
  • Bluetooth Speaker (for music during labor + delivery)
  • Baby Binder (includes birth plan, hospital registration forms, etc)

  • Delivery Clothes (if not using hospital gown)
  • 2 Robes (for nursing + comfort)
  • Pajama Lounge Pants
  • Yoga Pants
  • Flowy Tops 
  • Zip Up Jacket (for breastfeeding)
  • Nursing Bras
  • Cozy Socks
  • Comfortable Underwear
  • House Slippers
  • Going Home Outfit

  • Face Wash
  • Face Lotion
  • Face Wipes
  • Perfume
  • Dry Shampoo
  • Cotton Balls/ Q-Tips
  • Tooth Paste/Tooth Brush/Floss
  • Shampoo/Conditioner/ Body Wash
  • Velcro Towel Wrap
  • Make Up
  • Small Mirror
  • Bobby Bins/Clips/Hair Ties/Headband
  • Hair Brush
  • Blow Dryer/Straightener
  • Chapstick/Lip Gloss
  • Prenatal Vitamins
  • Lavender Oil (for massaging)
  • Hand-Sanitizing Gel
  • Aloe Vera
  • Nipple Cream/ Nipple Shields/ Nipple Pads (if breastfeeding)
  • Tucks Wipes (look it up, you’ll want them!)
  • Dermoblast (look it up, you’ll want it!)
  • Depends Adult Underwear (for extra protection & comfort -- I'm not too cool for these)
  • Spray Bottle (wiping could get uncomfortable - spritzing water to clean instead!)
  • Wipes

  • Phone
  • Phone Charger
  • Book (my choice: What to Expect the First Year + Bible)
  • Crochet
  • Coloring Book + Crayons
  • Gum
  • Pillow + Blanket

I know, I know. It’s a hearty list. But for the planner in me, it eases my mind to be prepared and attempt to make our time spent at the hospital as comfortable as it can be…pending that whole process of labor and delivery part :) Hope you enjoyed the list and please comment below with your additions if you have any!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Baby Boy Nursery - Rustic Inspired

Lawson Thomas Dosser's
Rustic-Inspired Nursery
Projected Due Date: Feb. 6, 2016

For all decor sources - please send inquires on Instagram @lifeoftwotexans
I'm be happy to share!