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A Delayed Reaction – Post Cesarean Bonding

I feel like there are many scary “you don’t even know” type posts and anecdotes out there, and plenty of older generations with the “just you wait” stories that I felt like I fully anticipated that it would be a difficult transition into motherhood and parenting. My expectations were pretty built up in this aspect.

On the other hand, there are so many “you’ve never experienced a love like this before” sentiments out there to build up the excitement for your little one’s arrival. I had painted such a beautiful picture in my mind of my child being born, being placed on my chest and having a gentle loving entry into this world. We would have skin to skin, we would establish breastfeeding and take time as our new family of three soaking in those early hours.

Well, things didn’t quite go as I had envisioned.

I still am quite in love with our birth story. I am okay with the outcome of how my son was born via c-section even though it wasn’t the goal. I think our story is beautiful. However, over this first month and my transition into motherhood, I’ve noticed triggers and sadness coming up for me. At first, I just felt guilt and shame over these feelings because I never quite understood them. I didn’t know how to articulate or make sense of them.

Eventually ,the triggers formed a bit of a pattern and I finally understood what was happening in my head. It’s a difficult thing to convey because when you’re experiencing something that isn’t the “norm,” you feel guilty for or isolated in your feelings. This is why I’m choosing to share this story. Had I read something like this prior to our birth, maybe I would have better understood or better processed what I have been trying to make sense of over the past month.

In June a friend of mine told me something and I’m glad it resonated with me because in the end, I shared a similar experience to hers. She told me that when both of her children were born, she never felt that fairytale overwhelming flood of bonding and love they all tell you about. I remember tucking that information away in the “I hope I never have to pull this out” compartment of my brain.

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20 Practical Gifts for the Travel Enthusiast

We’ve traveled about once a month over the past year we’ve been living in the Philippines, so I have packed many suitcases in that time! We’re avid travelers and while I try to pack light, there are some things that I always bring with me to make the journey more organized and comfortable with kids. These are 20 travel-related items that I own or would love to own — maybe you can get some inspiration for the travel enthusiast in your life!

backpack

Bobby anti theft backpack – Pickpocketing is definitely a concern in many areas of the world. My uncle had his camera stolen from his backpack during a hike, and he didn’t even notice until after it was long gone! But a backpack is always my traveling bag of choice because it distributes the weight evenly on my back, and leaves my hands free. This anti-theft backpack funded on Kickstarter has a ton of features including cut-proof material, hidden zippers, secret pockets against your back for your phone/passport/wallet, USB charging port, and more!

packing cubes – These are especially helpful in keeping things organized when you’re packing for an entire family in one suitcase. We also often take smaller planes with no or very strict luggage allowances, and packing cubes enable you to shift things around easily if your luggage is overweight.

travel laundry bag – I usually put our dirty laundry in a plastic bag because we always have laundry when traveling, but I’d love to have a reusable solution like these odor locking laundry bags.

passport

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Post-delivery complications, seven months later

Baby Lilly passed her 7 month birthday last week. I never could have imagined that I would still be dealing with the complications of her delivery seven months after she was born, and yet here I sit in bed one day after surgery.

The simplified explanation for my continued post-delivery complications is that Baby Lilly’s placenta got stuck in my uterus. Despite an emergency D&C after delivery, the placenta stubbornly remained in place. It turns out that I had developed a severe case of “placenta accreta,” which is basically when the placenta grows too deeply into the uterine wall and doesn’t detach. I was told by my OB-GYN that if they had known that I had this prior to delivery, they would have insisted on a c-section and that she likely would have had to take my uterus out at that time.

In the days after delivery, I’ll be honest that I had several moments when I wished they had taken my uterus. I was in the worst pain of my entire life. I don’t remember most of the days following Lilly’s birth. All I remember is my doctor telling me that I should never become pregnant again, and laughing hysterically at that because I could not imagine ever putting myself through such misery again.

Along with a torn and stuck placenta hanging out in my body, my recovery was also impeded by anemia. I lost a lot of blood during the D&C after delivery; so much that I required a blood transfusion the next day. They put me on iron supplements in the hopes that I would rebound quickly, but I didn’t seem to respond to them. For weeks, I suffered from daily episodes of shooting aches and pains. These were so bad that I would be unable to even get from the couch to our bed without assistance. Sleeping was the only thing that made the pain go away. It basically felt like the worst flu of my entire life, with elevated temperatures and debilitating and shooting pain, but without nausea, vomiting, or a cough.

My symptoms of anemia were not normal. In fact, they were so strange that my doctor thought I was fighting an infection from the D&C or the placenta accreta. It was only after weeks of this pain, and multiple rounds of antibiotics to fight this invisible infection, along with stubbornly low hemoglobin levels, that she recommended that I see a hematologist for potential anemia. The hematologist gave me an IV drip of iron that same day and I am not kidding you when I say that I felt better within hours. I went back two more times for more IV iron and haven’t felt the anemia symptoms since then.

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Baby A’s Birth Story

Baby A was born November 30 at 9:06 a.m., weighing 8 lbs 3 oz and measuring about 20 inches long. He had an Apgar score of 9 at one minute and five minutes, and came into this world enveloped in love, excitement, and peace.

THE DAYS BEFORE

We woke up early on Sunday to take care of the last remaining household tasks we could get at – cleaning up the kitchen, making sure beds had fresh linens, and some basic sanitizing and scrubbing. We also had to pack for everyone because we had been up doing laundry until the night before, then pack up the car and make sure our cat sitter had the keys to our house and mailbox. It was an incredibly rushed morning and we still ended up leaving three hours later than we would have liked. M napped for about half the drive, and we thankfully hit clear weather the whole way through.

When we arrived in Winnipeg we went right to the hotel and found out that the free upgrade we’d earned for sharing our reservation on social media was very much a HUGE upgrade – from a basic queen room to a full suite! Having our sleeping space separate from the living and eating area was perfect with a toddler in tow, and we made good use of having a dining table. We ordered food in that night, and I went to bed early while Mac Daddy and a very-wired M stayed up in the living room watching TV.

The next morning Mac Daddy had to do some troubleshooting. We’d realized we’d forgotten M’s luggage at home the night before, meaning she had absolutely no clothing. He headed off to the mall and got her a new wardrobe, which was an unwanted expense, but necessary given that we were going to be in town for a week. She also scored a Paw Patrol suitcase out of it so she was quite thrilled. When he got back we grabbed lunch at the hotel, then they went swimming while I snuck in another nap. My mom and her fiancé showed up in the early evening, having road tripped through the States, and we all went out for dinner before bed.

Processed with VSCO with x4 preset

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12 Sites to Buy Christmas Cards

I started sending Christmas cards about 7 years ago, and in the beginning I sent them from my dog, Mason, dressed in silly Christmas doggy outfits. Now, I schedule time with a photographer and get some cute Christmas photos done of the kids. I love the process of finding the best card and I love and sending them out to family and friends. We are quickly approaching the ideal time to send out Christmas or Holiday cards, so I’ve rounded up some options. Many of them have sales going on right now!

1) Shutterfly –  Shutterfly has a ton of great options to choose from. The prices range as well, from really affordable, to relatively extravagant. There are options on card shape, size, and finish (matte or glossy). There is a super cool feature that you can ask the system to upload and fill in the cards with the photo or photos you’ve chosen for your card. All the options then come up with your photo in them, which makes choosing them even easier. There are also options for the envelopes — you can get very plain standard envelopes, or you can upgrade them to lined envelopes. Lastly, you can have Shutterfly address you envelopes for you, which is a huge time saver. An added bonus is that you can almost always use codes for discounts.

shutterfly
 Shutterfly

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Making the holidays my own

I loved the holidays when I was a kid. Although my mom raised me mostly by herself, she did have a long-term boyfriend when I was little. I remember spending Thanksgiving and Christmas with him and/or his extended family. It was great – exactly like the families I saw on TV or the ones my friends were a part of. After they broke up, my mom and I moved in with my aunt and my 3 teenage cousins. Thanksgiving still felt largely the same to me, although my cousins were usually busy with their lives to spend too much time with me. Christmas was slightly different, as my aunt is Jewish, but I enjoyed learning about Hanukkah and still felt very surrounded by family.

Things felt different when my mom and I moved into our own place when I was a teenager. We didn’t cook the traditional Thanksgiving feast because it was just the two of us, with the occasional visit from my aunt, and we didn’t really have any other traditions to fall back on. I remember thinking it was a holiday meant for big families and people who loved football. Mostly I just waited for the day to pass, like any other. Christmas was also odd. My mom and I would sit together and exchange presents – which was kind of one-sided those days (sorry, Mom!). We would order Chinese food and sometimes watch classic Christmas movies on TV, but I remember wishing that there was more to the day.

In college, I started a long-term relationship with a guy who had a large Portuguese family. I tried to angle myself to spend as much time as I could with them during the holidays. They had the huge Thanksgiving meal and the large get-togethers under the Christmas tree that I had always pictured and longed for. Their family was loud and fun and always did things together. I spent time with my mom at our house for each holiday, but selfishly (oh so, so selfishly) wanted to be a part of something more.

It wasn’t really until I started dating Mr. Oyster that I began to realize how differently all families celebrate the holidays. His big (huge, by my standards) family all gathered at his grandparents’ house on Christmas Eve for everyone to exchange presents, eat, and enjoy each other’s company. The first year that I was invited, I surprised myself by stating that I would go,  but that I had to spend Christmas morning at my mom’s house. So Mr. Oyster and I ended up spending Christmas Eve driving from his family’s party to my mom’s house, about an hour and a half away, so that we could wake up with her to open presents.

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Fiona’s Cake Smash

A little late (life as the third child), but I finally got around to doing Fiona’s cake smash at 15 months. I had planned on doing it sooner, but it was hard in the summer with both Drake and Juliet around and once school started, it took us a little while to get into the new routine. But better late than never I suppose.

I blogged about Juliet’s cake smash which I did in almost the same spot, and to see the difference in my photography has made me see how much I have progressed in my journey. I made the flowers in the backdrop using this tutorial from another photographer. I might in the future try to fill the whole wall and see how that looks. For her part, Fiona had a blast and it shows in the photos!

Cake Smash
Cake Smash 1

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