Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Wonderful World of Instagram Shopping

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I love to shop! And living in a large metropolitan area, just about anything is available. I love perusing high end designer stores like Louis Vuitton, Prada, Jimmy Choo, and others. Although these brands, and those like them are quite spendy brand new, I love perusing consignment shops, thrift shops, and the internet looking for those labels second hand, and in some cases, replicas.

I love having a little girl, and shopping for her and dressing her up in cute little outfits is more fun than I thought it would ever be. A few months before Sara was born, I discovered a plethora of children's boutiques available on Instagram. These shops, which are usually small time, and run much like etsy, have so many cute clothes and accessories to choose from. As well as original pieces, they also have what are called "designer inspired" pieces! Anything you can think of, from Burberry to Chanel, Dior, LV, and others. The cutest little shoes and outfits! Everything I have bought has been great quality, and fairly inexpensive. The average price I've spent on items from these shops has been around $20, and they all use paypal, which makes payment super easy!

Sara always gets compliments on her "Chanel" shoes, and when she gets a little older, will have her own little "Louis Vuitton" bag to carry around, just like Mommy! I have found that many of the sites do sell the same items, so if one sells out, I can usually find what I'm looking for on another. Some of my favorite sites are Bowties and Tutus Boutique, Atlier by Sienna Ray, Glitter and Glam Shop,
4 Eva Eva, and Gilded Kisses, among others.

As Sara grows, I'll continue to scope out Instagram, always on the lookout for children's shops, and she will be the most stylish little girl around, and best of all, her little outfits won't brake the bank either!

Gymboree Sale On Now!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Long and Bumpy Road to Motherhood

Sara isn't my first child. In the Spring of 2014, I became pregnant.  Mark and I were elated, and having always dreamed about having children, I began to imagine what life would be like with our baby. Everything was going great, and at 10 weeks, I had a blood test and found out that we were having a boy. We had already agreed on a name, Carter. I was very excited, and ran out and bought a whole bunch of boy's clothes. At 18 weeks, just days before my mid pregnancy scan, I had a large gush of fluid come out. Panicked, I called Mark at work and told him to come home, and I raced to the ER.  I was hoping that it was just something else, like a bladder problem, but deep down, I knew something was wrong. Sure enough, they confirmed that it was indeed my water that had broken. While sometimes when this happens, the pregnancy can be saved, mine couldn't. The cord prolapsed, and our baby passed away. The next day at the hospital, I delivered Carter. We spent some time with him, and then I was released and we went home.

I immediately wanted to start trying again, because I wanted another chance to bring life into the world, and be a mother. I wanted another chance to try it again, because I felt that my body let me and Carter down, and I wanted to prove to myself that I could somehow carry a baby full term. When we got the ok from the doctor, we started trying, and I hoped that I would become pregnant again right away. It didn't happen. We'd try and try, for months. Sometimes I'd be late and I began to get really hopeful. I was obsessed with it. I tried not to make it a wedge that would come between Mark and I, because I knew he was mourning too. But I wanted to have life in me again.

After 6 months of trying, I talked to Mark and told him that I wanted to see a fertility doctor. Being 35 and quickly approaching my birthday, I had a feeling something was wrong, and began feeling like my pregnancy was a fluke, and it would never happen again. He agreed, and we began seeing a doctor. They ran tests on both of us, and I was told that I have a great chance of becoming pregnant again. Except it didn't happen. We discussed our options with the doctor, and I began a fertility drug therapy. They put me on a drug called Chlomid. I tried it for several cycles. It didn't work, and I started losing hope again. The next step was a stronger drug called Letrazol. I tried it, and after 14 months of an emotional roller coaster, I became pregnant again! I had another chance.

Because they were never able to figure out what exactly caused my water to break so early the first time around, I was labeled as high risk this time around, and saw a high risk doctor for weekly ultrasounds. Most people have just a couple of ultrasound pictures, I have a whole photo album full! Everything was going just fine, but this time around, I was a nervous wreck. Every little twinge or ache, and I panicked. I didn't want to be one of those hypochondriac types that constantly bothered my doctors, but they assured me that it was ok.

My 18th week was approaching, and I was very nervous. I was determined to go all the way, but just thinking about how we lost our son at this point, and having his bag of clothes that I had bought in our spare room, that I often went through, made me cry. That week came and went. I started to feel better, but still constantly nervous. Weeks continued to pass, and I finally made it to week 25, which is the age of viability, the earliest that a baby has a chance of survival if born too early. I relaxed a little more.

Finally, I was at the beginning of my third trimester, and at my last high risk ultrasound. All had been well so far, and I was finally letting myself be excited. I had even begun buying things for our baby, who would be a daughter. They did the ultrasound, and then the doctor came in to talk to me. They had found an issue with her brain, where they thought that they saw too much fluid on her brain, and they wanted me to get an MRI for a closer look.

I had to go straight to work, but I couldn't concentrate, and I was in tears. I made the appointment for the MRI, and waited anxiously for the week leading up to it. I prayed that everything would be fine, but I felt like my body was betraying me again. The day of the MRI appointment came, and luckily, everything turned out to be just fine. It was just bad positioning on the ultrasound.

I went into labor naturally 2 days before my due date, which was on July 22nd. All day Wednesday, I labored at home, and that night, went into the hospital to be checked. They told me I still had a while to go and sent me home. My water broke early the next morning on Thursday. We went to the hospital, and the next 2 days where a whirlwind. I got my epidural pretty early on Thursday morning, but did not start pushing until about 9 pm that night. I pushed, and I pushed. For 5 hours. Sara's head was turned awkwardly, and she was stuck. After each contraction, there was no progress. Finally, in the middle of the night, they took me to get a C Section.

Sara was born on her due date early in the morning on Friday, and at first, appeared completely healthy. Mark noticed that she was holding her right hand awkwardly, but the doctors didn't seem too concerned. We went back to our room and to our routine of the nurses coming in and out and lactation helping me get breastfeeding established. Every time we tried a feeding, Sara would go into a screaming fit, and sometime early Saturday morning, I noticed that after every crying fit, her whole body would shake. I thought it was hiccups, because she had been prone to them all through my pregnancy. Except she wasn't making that normal "hiccuping" sound. She had these shaking fits more and more often, and I began to feel like something was very wrong, and alerted a nurse. I was right.

They rushed Sara to the NICU. Because I had just had surgery, I couldn't go, so Mark went with her. That was agonizing for me, and I couldn't believe what was happening. After several hours, I finally found out that with her head being stuck, and all the pressure from the pushing, had caused major head trauma. They brought me to the NICU to see her, but she was about to be transferred to another hospital. I said goodbye to my baby, and I didn't know if I'd see her alive again. Mark went with her, of course, and I had to stay at my hospital for another day and a half.

The next week was very long and stressful. Sara had several tests, which included an MRI, CT scan, and two EEG tests to watch for seizure activity. She had a brain injury and had to be put on medication to control the seizures.  She also had nerve damage to her arm from the way her head had been turned while I had been pushing, which had caused the problem that Mark first noticed. I didn't know if my baby would ever fully recover, and if she'd ever be a normal child, or if she would have cognitive disabilities.

We finally got to go home, and try to get back to normal. Luckily, the medicine kept Sara from having more seizures, and she seemed pretty normal, making eye contact, and even smiling at me at just a few weeks old. Unfortunately, we were never really able to get a good breastfeeding habit established, so I nursed her sometimes, but had to start pumping and also feeding her formula. I started falling into a routine, and enjoyed motherhood.

Finally, after a follow up MRI and EEG, I can happily say that Sara is doing great, and is on the road to recovery! She is such a happy baby, and has even started daycare, where all of her caregivers just love her! The last few months have seemed to fly by, and I can't believe everything that happened. Hopefully, it will all be behind us, and she'll never have another problem due to this injury again. And I am now hopefully and happily getting ready to try to give her a sibling!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Sara's First Halloween

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays for as long as I can remember. When I was young, I loved helping to decorate the house, picking out a costume, and going trick or treating! Afterwards, I would watch scary movies and Halloween specials on television.

This year, with a new baby, we happily included her in the festivities. I decorated the house, as this is one of my favorite activities, and I always go all out! I included a grave yard, pumpkins, bats, and some hanging ghouls. I even added a fog machine this year, although I will admit, wasn't the best, and I'll have to find a better one next year. But even so, we still got a lot of compliments on the decorations!

One of the activities that Mark and I have enjoyed doing since we've been together is going to a corn maze and pumpkin patch. There are two near our home, Stocker Farms and Thomas Family Farms. This year, we chose Stocker's because their theme was the Peanuts Great Pumpkin. We dressed Sara in one of her two costumes, as Pikachu, and loaded her into her Bjorn so I could wear her in the maze. She was so darn cute in that little outfit, and got so many compliments! October is the start of the rainy season here in Western Washington, so the ground was very muddy and slippery, so I had to be extra careful with my little one strapped to my chest, but we still had a blast! Sara fell asleep almost immediately, and Mark and I navigated the maze using Peanuts themed trivia questions as clues to which way to go at various checkpoints throughout the maze. After about an hour of slushing through the corn, we finally solved it, and made it to the end!

Next, we wandered around the pumpkin patch, where Sara finally woke up, and was looking around, taking in all of the new sights, and all of the people. We also checked out the Family Fun Park, which is part of the farm, where they have all kinds of games and activities for the kiddos to enjoy. We will definitely have to bring Sara back when she's older, and I'm sure she'll have a blast! It was starting to rain again, so Mark and I shared some mini frosted donuts, and headed home for the day.

When Halloween night finally arrived, we were excited for Sara to greet all of the little ghosts and ghouls who would be coming to the door. We dressed her in her second costume, a Starfleet Captain, and got all of the candy set up. It turned out to be a rainy night (of course) but Sara had a good time, none the less, and even stared down a kid or two, lol!

After the last little goblin graced our doorstep for the night, we retired  upstairs to the bonus room to enjoy some Halloween faves on TV such as Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare before Christmas, and of course, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! It was a great holiday, and we had so much fun celebrating it with our little munchkin!

How To Book a Disney Cruise

Well, we did it again! Cruise life has been calling, and we listened! We've just booked another cruise on Disney Cruise Line for Summer ...