Monday, July 20, 2015

Cesarean. It's not the end of the world, it's the beginning of your baby's life.

As I start this next post, here is my usual disclaimer: This is my view of my life and medical situation.  My choices are made on what has been best for me and mine.  I've consulted medical doctors and made decisions based on their information.  

Cesarean or C-section seems to be a hot subject.  It's gotten a bad rap and for a lot of women this is their birth option.  I'm hoping that I can help others to understand why I made my choice for my baby and me.  Please be understanding with someone's decisions, especially those sweet and hormonal moms out there trying to get their baby here safely.

When I gave birth to Ava it was a tricky situation.  She was a breech baby.   At 5 months, my midwife started preparing me for the idea of a cesarean birth.  

Why did she prepare me for so long?  She told me that sometimes when women are not prepared for the idea of a c-section they struggle with having one.  Depression can set in, they might be upset that their "birth plan" changed, and so on.  During my pregnancy with Ava, I also had low amniotic fluid.  This factor also put me on bed rest and made it harder for her to turn into position in the final days of pregnancy.   Together with my midwife, another OB, and myself we made a plan to have me go on bed rest to raise the fluid and then try and physically turn Ava before the delivery.  

Things not to do while pregnant and on bed rest:
  • Watch a baby being turned, a vaginal birth, or c-section via internet videos
  • Listen to other people's hellish personal accounts of everything that went wrong with their birth
  • Get opinions from too many people
I did all three.

My Dr. tried turning my strong willed baby a few times. It was painful and unsuccessful.  My amniotic fluid wasn't cushioning the baby enough, so she would turn back to the breech position.  There I was, prepped and headed into surgery for my first c-section.  I would be lying to say I wasn't nervous.  With all the planning in the world I still had a little anticipation anxiety for sure.  Ava came out safe and perfect in just a few minutes.  She was beautiful and everything I had waited for.  The c-section was just a footnote in her arrival.


There was pain after the surgery.  Looking back, I feel like it was more from trying to turn her than the actual surgery. My stomach muscles were bruised.  I had experienced major surgery.  There were staples, I couldn't cough without pain, walking was rough, I needed pain meds for days, and I couldn't pee without help.  Would I do it all again?  Yes.  This was my birth option, she had to come out and that was her exit.  
Multiple women I know have had a "C" and it never really stressed me out as far as a scar, or the pain factor.  I've honestly never been that girl that wanted to be in labor for hours on end. I don't know anyone that would.  I knew from the miracle of modern medicine that my scar would heal and my baby would be safe.  I also never associated having a c-section with being selfish or being less of a mother.  You're birth plan doesn't make you a mother, your actions and how you love your baby does.

After a couple days in the hospital, the bandages came off and I got my first look at my "new" stomach.  Post baby your stomach looks about 6 months pregnant and still full.  My incision was beautifully symmetrical and low on my belly.  They told me it would go down over time and shrink substantially.   Guess what?  They weren't lying.  By the following summer I was wearing a bikini and my scar was never visible to others.  The pain from surgery went away after a few weeks and I never looked back.

From my previous post on infertility, you might remember that it was a suggestion for me to try and have my babies somewhat close together.  So a year and a few months after having Ava, we became pregnant with Cohen.  Before and after he was conceived the top question I would get from everyone was "are you going to have a VBAC with your next one?"  

VBAC = Vaginal Birth After C-Section

Again, I carefully considered the pros and cons of a VBAC vs. a C-section:
  • A VBAC is a lot less expensive than a C-section
  • A VBAC can cause bladder problems and result in additional surgery
  • A C-section is major surgery and requires more downtime on your body
  • A C-Section can be a scheduled birth (which was a plus in my book!)
  • It had only been two years since my previous birth and the scar on my uterus might not be strong enough for a vaginal delivery
  • I had also been told that a second c-section isn't as painful as the first
Then I did the best thing for me and talked to a Dr. He was very receptive to all of my concerns and wanted to help me achieve the best and safest result for my baby and myself.  Tim, my Dr., and I went through every risk of each option and again I made the decision very early in Cohen's pregnancy to have a scheduled cesarean birth.  Even with the knowledge of my previous painful c-section, I figured that was it.  Decision made.  Then the questions of others poured in.
I'm opinionated, but a huge thing I have learned about motherhood is sometimes unsolicited advice, however thought of as helpful, can be hurtful to others.  I was really surprised about the concern I received about having a second c-section.  I'm using the word concern, but really it was more like a judgment.  Sometimes the questions hurt.  I felt like others doubted my choice, like I just made a snap decision without thinking.  I started feeling frustrated when other people would ask me about my birth plan, like I had to somehow defend it.  I only care about the safety of my baby and me.   Why does so-and-so care if I do it this way? 

Questions like "Why would you want to do that again?" "Why wouldn't you want to have a baby the real way?" "Isn't a c-section really bad on your body?" "You can't nurse if you have a c-section, right?  Surprisingly, this question came up a ton.

I think we are afraid of what we don't know.  Between the repeated questions and the hormones of pregnancy I was getting angrier by the minute.  I just never realized the lack of knowledge there was out there about C's.  Most of the mothers I've talked to that have had a c-section didn't find their birth to be that traumatic.  It was the people around them that made it seem that way. 

In a perfect world pregnancy wouldn't involve discomfort, weight gain, stretch marks, or morning sickness.  Birth would mean your body went right back to it's pre-pregnancy state, you could leave the hospital in your skinny jeans and not your maternity stretch pants, you would look gorgeous while pushing out that watermelon, and maybe somehow you could bypass 30 people seeing your lady parts in the process.  This is real life.  People have seen my lady parts and some days only my maternity pants fit. So just like my post-baby body, a birth plan isn't always perfect.

Cohen's big arrival came quickly.  I checked into Labor and delivery at 6 am.  The anesthesiologist gave me a spinal block for the surgery instead of an epidural.   With a c-section, you are not put completely out by the anesthesiologist.  I was numb, but could still feel pressure in my stomach.  Tim had geared up in his scrubs, the nurses prepped me, the doctors with scalpels in hand went to work, and within a few short minutes I could hear my sweet, fresh from heaven, baby boy crying.  He was perfect.  Tim rushed off with him to be checked and bathed.  Both times my husband has left with my baby and it can be rough.  The anesthesiologist distracted me while they closed me up.  This time instead of staples, they used glue and somehow made my incision site smaller than before.  

After the procedure I was taken to my room.  Within a few hours, I could sit up, touch up my hair and makeup (yes, I'm that girl), walk, and snuggle my baby.  I was a little sore, but the pain was manageable and I felt good.

Typically, you can stay at the hospital four nights with a cesarean.  I'm totally that person that enjoys my hospital staycation.  You have help post-surgery, you don't have to worry about food, and you get to relax and bond with your newest arrival.  It takes a town to raise a baby, well for me it takes a hospital staff to get me through the first few days.  Recovery on my second round was a breeze compared to the first.  I'm so thankful that I was able to have options for my birth and a supportive Dr. I think if we take a step back and look at the upside of any situation we will realize what's really important.

Being a mother doesn't always mean you gave birth to your baby, it means loving that sweet, perfect child more than yourself.  Whether a natural vaginal birth, an epidural vaginal birth, a c-section, foster care, or adoption... they are all still the children that our Heavenly Father chose for us.  We are the ones who kiss them better, watch them grow, give hugs, are there for the good and the bad.  We are their warriors, their advocates, their cheerleaders, their best friends, and sometimes their heroes.  Even in our toughest moments, we know that it is all worth it.  We are their mothers.  

Happy Mother's Day
Make it the best one yet.
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Disneyland Tips for Parents

If you know my husband and myself, you know there are two vacations we are good at: Las Vegas and Disneyland.  The usual response when people find out we are going to either of these places are "AGAIN?"  If you find something you love, like we have- then you don't mess with it.  The last few days since I have been back have been filled with questions from friends and family looking for tips.  I decided to give you a few general tips, but if you are looking for more info on hotels and what not, I recommend checking out  Since we booked with Getaway, each day we received a magic morning which means you get into the park an hour before they opened.  They are great to work with so check them out!

Hotel Info

I'm going to talk strictly Disney Resort.  Last Trip we did stay at the Embassy Suites about 20 minutes from the park and rode the shuttle.  It was about half of what the cost of the Pier was.  Know that there are so many options for hotels in the area to fit every budget.  
Tim's mom recently discovered the benefits to staying at the Paradise Pier Disneyland Resort Hotel.  This was by far my favorite Disney trip I've been on. 
The cute entrance to our hotel.  Ava was a lover of this statue!
  • It's the least expensive Disneyland Resort Hotel you can stay in and it sleeps 5 comfortably.  
  • You have a private entrance to California Adventure Park through the Grand California Hotel located across the street from Paradise Pier.  This is helpful since you can bypass using the front gates and it lets you in at Grizzly River Rapids.  
  • It's minutes from the Downtown Disney Monorail and this is another quick way into the park to avoid the front gates.  The monorail drops you off inside the park in Tomorrowland. 
  • You also have access to the other DL Resort Hotel pools.  Sadly, I never made it to the pool.
  • Lastly, I loved the quick walk back for nap time.  

 The view from our room. 

Park Tips
  • Take a cooler- drinks run $3+ each in the park.  Taking a cooler in your stroller means cold drinks whenever you need them.  We stopped at Food For Less around the corner from Disneyland and picked up capri suns and bottles of water.  We were so glad to have them since the temp was in the 90's each day.  Just remember NO GLASS bottles!  They won't let you into the park with them.
  • Take snacks to nibble on during the day.  Tim and I tend to share any food we get since Disney portions are rather large.  We had chips and crackers for us and Ava to eat while we were running ride to ride. 
  • If you want to eat at a fancy restaurant in the park, make reservations first thing in the morning.  They fill up quick.  Our personal fave was Cafe Orleans where we ate a Monte Cristo.  Let me just tell you one thing: Share! Disney portions can be enough for 2 people at most places.  I was so excited about the sandwich, I forgot to get a picture.  This picture is courtesy of
We also ate at Mickey's PCH Grill in our hotel Paradise Pier.  This is one of a few places that offers "Character Meals" where different Disney Characters go table to table and guarantee a meet and greet with photos and autographs for patrons.  This can be a little spendy, I believe it was around $40 for adults.  Again, the food was really tasty and drinks were included.

Another great character option is Ariel's Grotto in California Adventure.  This place is darling and it's the best way to see a few princesses all at once.  Ariel greets everyone for a personal photo session and then 4 other princesses came table to table to meet the kids (and some very excited adults).  Depending on the meal, this can run $30-$60 per adult. 

Now that we have food out of the other way.  Here are a couple other tips.
  •  The best time to enjoy Fantasyland- (that area in Disneyland with Dumbo, Teacups, and the Peterpan ride) wait until the evening parade starts.  I noticed most wait times aside from the parade were as long as an hour.  About a half hour before the parade, most rides went down to 15 minutes and some you could just walk on.  So my friends, wait for the parade if you want to ride multiple rides in Fantasyland quickly.  Don't forget that your littles can also ride other things around the park like Pirates of the Caribbean, Buzz Lightyear, Winnie the Pooh, and Haunted Mansion.  Fantasyland isn't your only option.  
The parade was a hit with our girl!
  • When Disneyland seemed to get more crowded, we made our way back to California Adventure.  Bugs Life Land is another great option for the littles.  I love Carsland, but Ava wasn't tall enough for any of the rides.  If you want to ride the "Cars Ride" you have a couple options.  You can grab a fast pass for it as soon as the park opens since these do go quick.  You can grab a stroller pass if you take your stroller to the gate and have one rider wait in line.  Lastly, you can do single rider and this seemed to be the most effective way to ride it quickly.  
Ava loved the "Heimlich Ride"
Character lines always seemed silly to me until I had my girl.  They ended up being the best part of our day.  She was so excited to see the cute characters in person.  We lucked out each time we saw a character pop up and didn't wait in a line longer than 15 minutes.   Have you camera ready!
  • If there is a certain character you are looking for and want to know the exact time they will be available, you can stop by Town Hall in the Main Disneyland Entrance and they can find out for you.  Last trip I wanted to get photos with Alice for Ava and they were helpful so I didn't have to wait around for hours. 


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Baby T Moccs Review & My baby girl

Our #1 favorite footwear for our littles would have to be BabyTMoccs.  We have talked about them before on our blog, this time we are testing out their new rubber sole.   Ava has pretty much exclusively worn her platinum moccs seen here since March and they have held up perfectly with a lot of love on the soles.  As Ava started walking everywhere, I decided it's time for the sole.  We took them straight to Disneyland and she loved them.  Moccs help little growing feet bend and move in the shoe.  Ava is a tippy toe walker and she can still do that with the rubber sole.  I have never found anything that stays on her little feet better and the elastic helps hold the shoe on without being too tight. 
 Overall I would suggest adding the sole if your little is a walker or if they play outside a lot.  It's a $10 add on, but I think it will extend the life of your babe's moccs.  Ava's newest pair are gunmetal and to-die-for.  I'm also loving BBT's newest fun stripes, skulls, and flowers.  I love buying local and these shoes are made right here in Utah.  The quality is unreal and they are super soft.  
Check out their website here and I guarantee you won't be disappointed!

Pink Pea Coat from Ted Baker's Spring Line
Silver Sparkle Leggings from Carters
Moccs in Gun Metal from BBTMoccs


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My Sweetest Girl

Last week we had a special delivery from  
The Sweetest Things Cake Shoppe and baby, was it delish!  You guys have to check out her cakes too. Keli, the owner, is the cutest thing you've ever met and her baked goods are to die for.  Keli's shop info is at the bottom- you won't be disappointed!  

Of course I had to do a few pics of my sweet Ava, her new custom apron, and the cutest cupcake ever!  
Thanks Keli for the cupcakes and Mel for the apron!



My Life Lesson-Taking on Infertility

This is just part of my infertility story.  I hope this helps those who are struggling to realize it's a common issue.  Babies come in all different ways: adoption, foster, fertility help, and sometimes unexpectedly.  Also, pregnancy is a private and guarded issue for many.  I have found that most people who are struggling will never tell you, even your closest friends.  Always be mindful of what you might say to someone going through infertility, your "helpful" words might hurt.


Around the time I was a senior in High School, I began experiencing intense cramps each month.  I always knew something was wrong in the back of my mind, but wasn't sure who to talk to about it.  My family didn't really go to the Doctor and my mom wasn't the most open person.  The older I became, the worse the cramping got.  There were days I could barely move, lived with a heating pad, and took as many hot baths as my water heater would allow.  Finally, my aunt talked to me about endometriosis.  She had it.  It was the cause of her infertility and she had similar cramping to go along with it.  

 Birth Control Blues

For years I would take birth control to help suppress the cramping and would only have to deal with it every 4th month.  The birth control started making me too hormonal and so I quit.  As I've talked about in previous posts, I was married before.  My ex-husband wasn't interested in kiddos (point of difference between us) and so I never went to the gyno regularly until I was 25. 
2010 Photo by Veronica Reeve Photography
I had wanted a baby for years and when Tim and I got married, we decided to start right away.  Tim's dad was a OB/GYN and his Midwife at his practice was amazing and the service was free.  I finally sat down with her and discussed my painful cramping and also how I couldn't wait to get pregnant.  The tricky part with endo is that it can't really be diagnosed without a laparoscopy.  Some women have horrible cramps and no endo, and some have no cramps and the worst endo.  After about 5 months of "trying" and many years of cramping, Tim and I sat down with his dad to talk about an exploratory laparoscopy.  Dr. Healy was a very successful Endo surgeon, delivered over 6,000 babies, and was tops in his profession.  We were not close and so I didn't have a problem considering him to do my surgery.  It probably helped that I'm not a shy person. 

Surgery Scheduled

The lap was over in just a couple short hours.  Dr. Healy burned a substantial amount of endo off my uterus.  He said I would probably get pregnant pretty soon post surgery and that my cramping should go down.  Endo is a disease that grows rapidly in some women and you oftentimes have to have maintenance surgery to clear it again.  After a few more months with no luck, we decided on a couple things.  

1. We would try basic fertility as in Clomid and hormones.

2.  If that didn't work, we would move on to adoption. 

Another Year Goes By

When all you are focused on is getting pregnant, everything seems more sensitive.  Friends getting pregnant, strangers with their cute baby bellies, and all of your negative pregancy tests, you think you might break.  Strangers will get involved with their opinions and sometimes they will sound unintentionally hurtful.  Forgive those people.  Especially if they have not struggled with fertility.  Tim would reassure me constantly that it wasn't our turn yet and that I needed to be happy for others.  I started talking more about my endo and fertility struggles with friends, only to find out that it was very common.  The cramping never went away, we had moved up dosage on the Clomid, and still no sign of a baby.  I remember sitting down with Dr. Healy and him telling me a couple things.  One in two pregnancies is a miscarriage and he also said most people never realize they are pregnant since it might just be for a couple days.  

A Specialist

I decided since it had been over a year since my previous surgery and the pain seemed to be getting worse that I would find an Endo specialist.  This led me to Dr. Arrington.  We went in for a consultation and he thought for sure that my endo was back.  We scheduled surgery, this time on my Birthday.  This surgery took about 5 hours.  He told me he would be cutting away the diseased areas instead of lasering/burning them off.  He explained that cutting it would cut down the chances of it spreading so quickly again.  After surgery he told me that it was worse than he had anticipated since I had the same surgery a year before.  It had spread throughout my abdomen, twisted an ovary and attached the ovary to my abdominal wall, and last but not least spread to my appendix which he took out.

And Then We Waited

I healed.  Cramping lessoned, but was still painful.  February came and Tim's dad passed away.  
A sweet little memorial that Davis Hospital put together for Tim's dad. 
A couple more months went by.  We tripled my remaining Clomid and decided after it was gone that we were done with fertility.  We had also been looking at adoption agencies for a few months.  We had finally chosen one to use and started working on our paperwork and were trying to figure out our home study.  A couple more months went by and then it happened.  I felt my stress about not getting pregnant start to lighten and thoughts of adoption replace the need for pregnancy.  After all, I just wanted a special babe to join our family and I was OK with any means of that happening.  

 If you talk to any girl who is anticipating pregnancy, they will all tell you that each month they take many, I mean tons of pregnancy tests.  Mine always ended up negative followed by my period a few short hours later.  So when July came and I refused to take a test for a few days, I knew what had happened.   After a few days of being "late"... I caved and it said positive.  I was in total disbelief.  
On God's Time
I surprised Tim with the news before a concert we were going to in Park City.  He was even more shocked and excited than I was.  Everything we had been praying for finally came true.    

March of 2013 we welcomed our perfect baby girl, Ava.  We became parents.  I became my sweet Ava's Mom.  

A Baby Boy
I knew that I would probably have to have another babe within a couple years of Ava.  Pregancy temporarily stops endo and then it will continue spreading.  I had two potential options, if I waited a few years to have another babe, I might have to have a lap again.  We decided around the beginning of the year that we were ready.  This time after a few months, we were having our next babe.  He will be born in March of 2015.  My kiddos will be almost exactly 2 years apart.  

Be Careful What You Wish For 

I longed so much to be pregnant that I didn't realize that pregnancy can be a rough business.  There are those of you that were like me, waiting, and I'm sure you are muttering to yourself "Jamie, shut up and don't complain."  I wish I could tell you that pregnancy is glowing, beautiful, and that you only get pregnant in your stomach.  Nope.  Not for me.  My booty gets bigger, thighs touch, I puke everyday, and you may or may not get stretch marks.  My pregnancy with Ava was rough.  I even threw up on the operating table during my csection.  As a girl that envied pregnancy so badly, it wasn't the perfect 9 months.  I've learned that lesson twice.  

I'm so thankful everyday for my sweet babies and the miracle it is for me to carry them.  I am so grateful for a Heavenly Father that helped me through the hardest times.  I know so many people that long for a baby and some will get pregnant and some will adopt.  Everyone will have their opinion, follow what route is best for you.

I decided this round of pregnancy that I would have my sweet husband do a few pics for me.  It's so important to document these moments for yourself and your babes.  It's such a blip in your life that leaves the best memories. 


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