Wednesday, October 21, 2015


For the nine months I was pregnant I went to every doctors appointment and ultrasound anxiously awaiting to hear those three precious words, "everything looks fine."

I ate right, avoided anything that might not be good for the growing baby, and felt guilty when I wasn't exercising.

We sat in the ultrasound room at 20 weeks waiting to find out the gender of our baby, but more importantly that each organ, her precious beating heart, her growing brain were all working good and they were. We no longer had to fear heart troubles, or other fatal conditions. We were all set.

So when we learned about Scotlyn's diagnosis of Albinism at around three months old we were dumbfounded. How did this happen? What did this mean? Neither of us, or any of our family members had ever known someone with Albinism. 

We grow up hearing about autism, ADHD, we might know someone who knows someone who is deaf, or whose parent has a mental illness, but Albinism? Not in our family and not in the schools we went to, or the towns we grew up in. So, I get it. I didn't know either, but now I do and I want you to know too.

I recently received this message from a lady that stirred up a lot of thought conflict in my head:

"So many people have never seen an Albino up close and personal. It is human nature to stare or even be a bit rude. Not that it was necessarily intentional. I've known casually a few "mostly" albino people. Beautiful people. And I asked my questions as a teen. Asking helped me understand and I totally get it now. Beautiful photo, too! I'd love to see how beautiful she is now. Oh! there's an old movie titled "Powder" that involves an albino boy. It's a sci-fi leaning movie but many of the reactions to the boy are true to life."

Although the message was intended to be kind it showed how much is unknown about this condition. You wouldn't call someone with  cystic fibrosis, "The Cystic" or someone with downs syndrome "The Downs", so why would you call a person with Albinism "an Albino". Sure, you might refer to someone with diabetes as a diabetic, but that condition doesn't ostracize people. It doesn't cause endless comments on appearance and it doesn't carry with it an entourage of subhuman or supernatural beliefs. Furthermore, Albinism is a genetic condition, you either have it, or you don't. There is no such thing as "mostly" albino people. 

One of the problems with movies like Powder, or the Da Vinci Code is that they portray people with albinism as villains, or with super powers which only ostracizes them further. The belief that people with Albinism have superpowers fuels problems, in places like Africa, where people are being murdered for body parts because of a belief that people with Albinism hold some sort of magic.These are people. People that could be your neighbor, your friend, or your child who are being slaughtered with machetes over a belief that a genetic condition can cure ailments or disease. People with Albinism are just like you and I, except with less coloring and maybe worse vision. Awareness has to be the goal in order to debunk these portrayals in Hollywood movies and around the world so these people can grow up to feel beautiful and normal and not fear social stigmas and stereotypes or worse, fear for their lives.

So, I ask you. Be aware of your language, of your intentions, and of the global bigger picture because the only magic she has is the ability to light up a room.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Oh The Comments

When Scotlyn was born she had high levels of jaundice, so they sent us home with the instruction to place her either in the sun, or in front of windows in the sun. Now, five months later and a diagnosis of Albinism under our belts, a condition that causes the skin to not produce any melanin, we have strict instruction to keep her out of the sun. In fact, she has a whole wardrobe quickly filling up with full-body UV swim suits, hats, sunglasses, and soon a daily dose of head-to-toe sunscreen. I imagine we will get so good at spooning out tablespoons of Banana Boat, and lathering it between each finger and in the crooks of her ears, that it will become as ritual as brushing our teeth.

So, when a lady at the drug store tells me that my baby, is the whitest baby she has ever seen, but will probably be the first teenager out suntanning, I just smile. It doesn't end there of course. She continues on about teenagers and tanning and as I walk away she turns to her friend to share whispers and stares at my fair haired baby. This scenario happens almost every time I am out with Scotlyn, but it's a different store and a different woman. Their comments make me uncomfortable because they bring with them a fear that my daughter will have to grow up hearing how white her skin is and her hair is over and over again. I try not to let my mind play out these situations which may or may never happen, but today I can't help it. Maybe she's on the playground and the little boy wants to know why on the hottest day of the summer she's wearing a long sleeved shirt and sneakers instead of sandals, or maybe she's sixteen and the girl in her class wants to know what she does to get her hair that white. Today she is less than a year and I just want to buy my vitamins and go home. Scotlyn might grow up to have low vision and not always be able to perfectly see you, as is the case with most people with Albinism, but she will always hear you, so I'd like to tell this lady, the little boy at the playground, and girls in her class, to please choose their comments carefully.

What I wished I had known that day is that the next time I would return to that same store, with a pocket full of dread, is that I would indeed be met with more comments. However, this time as I was leaving the store it was the unmistakable tone of an older gentlemen shouting my way, "Hey Miss". When I turn, I recognize him from the card isle where I gave up trying to find the perfect card, trying to balance a basket full of baby items in one hand, and Scotlyn in the other. I had to stop and put everything down, so that I could hold Scotlyn by both arms and let her bounce, her new favorite past time. He continues talking as I strap Scottie into her car seat, half ignoring him, trying to get her out of the sun, "It's so nice to see the love you have for your daughter. I can tell your a good mom, so good job, they don't stay that age for long and I miss mine." The comment took me off guard because it wasn't, of course, what I was expecting to hear and at that moment I realized [it] had happened. The one thing I hear over and over again from parents with children with Albinism. That on this day we were normal, just like any other mother and daughter out buying diaper cream, and leaving without remarks of whiteness, but instead a lasting impression of love.

This post was featured on The Mighty, a website dedicated to spreading love and awareness. Check out the shortened edited article here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Albinism, in Canada, affects about 1 in every 20,000-40,000 people.

The news of this statistic has impacted me in a lot of ways. It means that Scotlyn will most likely be the only person she knows in her schools growing up with this condition. It is what will make her not only visibly different, but her low vision will mean she will be unable to read social cues, witness stares, and possibly be subject to social exclusion, in the form of turned backs, which I have learned is a form of new bullying.

When we learned that with each pregnancy there is a 1 in 4 chance of each child having the same condition the first thing I planned to do was find out what we could do to avoid this. We learned that there are two options, amniocentesis after conception with a plan to terminate the pregnancy if the baby was affected and a costly 20,000 dollar option, in which they remove and test the eggs before implanting them IVF style, to ensure the baby doesn't have or carry the condition. Albinism is a recessive condition meaning each parent must carry the gene and the child gets one gene from each parent to be affected. Immediately, we dismissed the idea of terminating a pregnancy, as they call it. We told our family that we would, of course, be blessed to have another baby as sweet as Scotlyn. IVF, if affordable, seemed a promising and interesting thought. And then I had another thought, and if I'm being honest, it was more of an after thought after speaking to and reading about other families with children with Albinism and it was this:

By choosing to not have another baby like Scotlyn, what message does that send to her? Sure, the next baby, if they have Albinism, will too live a life a little harder than some, but what if the next baby also has Albinism and Scotlyn has a sibling to share her experiences with, so that she's not the only child in her school with glistening white hair and a seeing cane. Not to mention, Albinism is a visible condition and with that there are social implications, but what the child on the play ground who might tease or taunt Scotlyn won't realize is that they too someday might be met with a hidden genetic condition just as life altering like heart disease, or diabetes. That they, like Scotlyn, or any of us, aren't the perfection of health and will too be faced with difficulties in their own journey through this life.

Scotlyn might be the only kid in school with porcelain skin and hair the color of a honey snowcone, or she might not, and I think we will leave that up to DNA & a high power to decide because who I am to handpick a baby when Scotlyn was so perfectly handpicked just for us.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

HPS & Self Advocacy

When we first learned that our baby girl had Albinism, Google, of course, was the first place I turned for answers, support, or anything else to normalize and navigate what otherwise felt like very uncharted territory. So, when one of the things that popped up was HPS: Hermansky Pudlak Syndrome my heart and my mind started racing.

Hermansky Pudlak Syndrome is a disorder characterized by Oculoctaneous Albinism and can cause problems with blood clotting which leads to easy bruising, as well as prolonged bleeding and can cause people to develop lung disease which causes scar tissue to form in the lungs and once this happens it can be fatal.

You know where I am going with this.

I needed to know that Scotlyn did not, unknowingly, have this and those answers would lie in genetic testing. A referral to genetics was put in, I did a phone interview outlining our family histories, and was told the wait would be over six months. So, imagine my surprise when less than two months later they called saying they had a cancellation and that we could come in the next day.

We were there.

After the usual reflex tests, eye exam, and explanation of the genetic process of how this condition came to be and what it means for our next pregnancies we were told that they were not going to do genetic testing on Scotlyn because based on the diagnosis from what doctors could see that there wasn't a need to confirm it with "expensive" testing.

I brought up HPS, which they were familiar with, and we were told that symptoms of this present early, that she appears healthy, and not to be concerned. I left feeling disheartened, but like most people decided I had to trust the doctors.

After coming forward with my initial post I was contacted by other parents, some within Canada, who said she should absolutely be tested and there is no way to know if she has HPS just by looking at her, so I did some research and they were right.

This is when I learned my first true hard lesson on Self Advocacy. I called the genetics nurse, who has been our liaison, who proceeded to tell me that HPS and Oculoctaneous Albinism are not related and there was no reason to test. I tried to correct her and explain that they are indeed connected and explain the importance of testing, but she wouldn't budge. I could hear it in her tone, I was that over bearing parent. After we hung up with a promise she would email the doctor and see what she says, but that they probably wouldn't get funding for the tests because they weren't necessary, I sent her a strongly worded email with resources proving my claim. Within minutes, I had an email back saying that she was wrong and that she was sorry and had emailed the doctor. This felt like a small victory. Someone heard me. 

We are now waiting to hear back from the genetics doctor in Red Deer, Alberta to see what she is willing to do for us, but in the mean time I have connected with a member of NOAH (National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation) who has told me that is possible for testing by doing a simple blood test and she will help me get it done. We have also been invited to a BBQ for the families in Alberta living with Albinism which I am so excited to connect with everyone and learn from them!

The stars are all aligning. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Albinism: Our Journey Begins

Many of our friends and family do not know that our daughter Scotlyn has a rare genetic condition called Albinism. Most people will be more familiar with the term Albino and no, her eyes are not red.

When Scotlyn was born everyone remarked on her white hair, but with my husband and I both being so fair we didn't expect to have a brunette baby and didn't think much of it. What did concern me was her eyes because she kept them closed much of the time. No one, including the doctors, were concerned, so I let it go and we went home.

As weeks went by and Scotlyn got a bit older I noticed more concerns with her eyes including something called nystagmus where her eyes shift in a pendulum motion. The first google search told me what this was, but I dismissed it thinking it couldn't be this "nystagmus" and convinced myself she was still developing.

As weeks passed my suspicions that something still wasn't quite right grew and even though our family doctor didn't have any concerns, I booked an eye appointment for her and everything I had feared was confirmed. Scotlyn was unofficially diagnosed with Ocular Albinism causing nystagmus. Other words brought up from that appointment that hurled into my brain faster than I could digest were possible blindness, MRI, brain tumors, null point, never drive a car.

It was devastating. I had to adjust my expectations of the life I had dreamed for our baby girl. Now all I could think of was all the things she might not be able to do. It took a lonely, long, couple of weeks and even months to start to see the good. That she will do other things, things I hadn't imagined, and would begin to teach me more about life & love than I ever imagined.

After the initial eye appointment, we waited six weeks to see a Pediatric Ophthalmologist who brought us a little bit of peace. At first it was hard to not assume the worst, to google way too much information, and to become overwhelmed. We left this appointment with a  new calm. The Ophthalmologist was not going to do an MRI, he was not concerned with tumors, or blindness. He told us she was only three months old, not to worry, and that he suspected that Scotlyn has Oculocutaneous Albinism; a lack of melanin causing little to no pigment in the hair, skin, and eyes. The Ophthalmologist stressed the importance of sunglasses and told us to come back when she was 9 months old which will be this February,

What I did not know that I know now is that all people with Albinism have vision problems. First, the light is very bright for them, so being in normal to bright lights is very uncomfortable. Their eyesight also lacks detail and the movement of the eyes makes it difficult to process visual information.

We saw a Pediatrician who checked her over and put in a referral for genetic testing, so again we waited. The genetic appointment came and went without offering much as far as new information other than the advice to be diligent with hats, sunscreen, and sunglasses. They said they did not see a need to confirm the diagnosis with expensive testing because of the reports from all the other doctors. This left me a little disappointed because there are two forms of Albinism that have more serious implications and can be fatal and I wanted to rule those out 100% and get them out of my mind, but this didn't happen. I have recently contacted the genetics team again and had to strongly advocate for testing, so I will see what happens soon and write more on that topic later.

Scotlyn is now five months old and is the sweetest, silliest little baby. I do have harder days sometimes when the fifth person on the street comments on how fair she is, or how white her hair is. Sometimes I just want her to be seen for the "normal" baby that she is and not be seen as different. I worry about bullying when she gets older. I worry about what having poor eyesight will mean, but more than all of these things I am so grateful for her and to be her mom.

I came across this interview with another Canadian mom about her daughter with Albinism, who just published the book Beyond The Pale, and it brought tears to my eyes because everything she says I have thought or felt, it literally could be me talking in this interview. She articulates everything so well, please have a listen to learn more:

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Becoming Mom Age

Becoming "mom age", that being the age when your friends start having kids, has taught me almost as much about myself, if not more, than becoming a mom myself.

Before I became a mother, I was that hounding friend telling other mother's to get their babies on bottles to come out for drinks, I was against co sleeping, I was pro independence, my baby would take a bottle and sleep in her crib and lost in my mind was this idea that babies are only as hard as you allow them to be. I was wrong. Once I became a mom, I didn't take any of my own advice I was freely giving out. I didn't know what it really meant to be a parent, to care for something else so immensely, but mostly what I didn't know before becoming a parent is how many women are suffering aching for sleepless nights and crying babies, these women want to get puked on and fight with their spouse about who's turn it is to change diapers. I didn't fully realize that becoming a parent, and even trying to become one, often equates irreparable heartbreak. I didn't realize that the things most women begrudge about parenting others long for and who don't judge you if you bottle or breast feed, or co sleep, or use disposable diapers, they just want the chance to do it.

While I was pregnant and even after I had my baby, friends were struggling to get pregnant, friends lost their baby to heart troubles, friends miscarried, and one friend had a baby that has changed me in ways I wish the world could be changed without having to go through it the way She did. The way that she carried a baby who she knew might not make it, delivered her baby, and spent 21 days loving him.

Carrying a baby inside you for months creates a lasting bond there is no denying that, but the days afterwards are like nothing else. A life that you created is now yours to hold, to love to care for, but for some women it doesn't last. These Mothers are left with empty hearts, empty hands, and empty bedrooms that they had spent forever preparing, dreaming of putting their babies to sleep in.

The experience of learning about these women has reminded me to be grateful. To not get lost in the nights spent up feeding a crying baby, or diaper changes, or fighting with your husband about what chores need to get done. Every time I look at my baby I appreciate her and it's because I know that not every woman has what I have. So, now when I rock her to sleep, or let her sleep in our bed, or comfort her with nursing I laugh at my former self who vowed to be everything I am not and I smile that I am much more attentive and loving and I am cherishing every moment because what I have learned. I'm not perfect. I'm just a mom and I understand more now than ever how lucky that makes me.

Because of Her I told my baby a little tighter.  I've slowed down. I've become a better mom because She lost her son.

To learn more about one moms journey & the impact of losing her son visit her blog here:

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Postpartum fitness: Getting My Body Back

Seven weeks after my cesarean I had technically "lost" all my baby weight which to me seems pretty remarkable. I can really only credit that to breastfeeding seeing as for the first 5 weeks I did pretty much nothing, so for 35 pounds just to come off I am pumped about that, but on the other hand... my jeans still don't fit right. They do up, but there is a muffin top, so I refuse to wear them until I get toned up and get that back under control. So, this week, which is week 8 postpartum, I am dedicating myself to a two week clean eating "diet" and daily attempts at exercise to see if I can tone up!

I have to admit the hardest part of the first few weeks with a new baby was my body. I had tons of help, so I was sleeping & eating good and my baby was well cared for, but the one thing really out of my control was the look of my stomach, and for some reason it shocked me. Now when I look back and can see the progression and how fast you really do bounce back it amazes me what my body was capable of, so I've decided to share some pictures of the progress from very pregnant, to a very hard stage for me, and where I am now.

I also had decided to get and wear a Bellefit Medical grade C Section recovery corset that I wore from about from weeks 3-6 and I immediately could see my swelling going down and I should still wear it now, but most days I just don't. Maybe I will today...

Fitness: So far I am still keeping it pretty light. I go for a walk with my dog and baby in the stroller at least once during the day, I am trying to get through the entire video of Jillian Micheal's Yoga Meltdown Level one, but I've only made it halfway through every time because of Scotlyn needing me and being too tired to finish once I could, and I downloaded and really love the app 7 minute Work out which I think costs like 2 bucks but its great for mamas with little time to get quick work outs in during the day! Soon I am hoping to have enough energy to be all ready when Kyle gets home from work and start going for jogs because I HAVE to have serious jams to run and I don't want to be blasting music in my ears with just me and the baby home.

My meal plan moving forward includes things like:

Raw veggies. I love going to the farmers market and buying veggies like radishes, celery, and cauliflower, chopping them, and keeping them handy in the fridge for anytime I need a snack, or want to whip up a salad.

Greek yogurt + Pumpkin puree + honey + nuts

Salad dressing: Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, Honey

Fruit Smoothies w/ground flax seed, yogurt, & soy milk

Chocolate Vega shakes + almond milk

Pureed Soups (butternut squash is my favorite)

Quinoa + tuna (I like the little flavored cans)

Broccoli Omelets

No carbs after lunch, lots of water, & minimal cheating haha

Picture Progress (Sorry these are such bad quality, I obviously snapped them with my phone not really planning to post them, but here they are & hopefully they will make other new mamas feel better with their post baby bodies!)

April 18th, 2015 ( Had Scotlyn April 25th)

 May 4, 2015 (9 days after delivery & the hard part on me mentally)
 May 25th, 2015 (Bellefit Corset & super sexy nursing bra)
June 4, 2015 (8 weeks after delivery before dieting & exercise)

Hopefully in a couple weeks I can add a much more toned looking and feeling good picture after some dedication to my fitness!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

My Truths of Motherhood: 6 weeks postpartum

I am officially 6 weeks postpartum which feels like such a milestone for me because after my cesarean the general timing was that I would start to feel a lot better by 6 weeks and I do!

Scotlyn has started rolling from tummy to her back in the last week too- she does it at least once a day now which is both cute and scary because I still want to be able to swaddle her, so she sleeps good, but I don't want her flipping over in the night... conundrums. I will have to change from my Ollie wraps to the Zipadee-zips (which most babies don't start using til around 4-6 months, so we'll see how she does in them).

As for Motherhood, I found that during my pregnancy mostly what people talked about was how hard it would be. The sleepless nights, the difficulties of breastfeeding, the changed relationship with your friends and spouse, the resentment of the life you left behind. "Your life will never be the same" was the quote I heard most.

Sure, there have been days when it feels like she won't stop crying and when my husband asked to play golf that night I said No, because hell.. being a stay at home mom with a newborn is a full time job and some days it feels like your working back to back to back overtime shifts. Those are the days when I hold it together all day with patience I never knew I had, but the moment my husband walks in the door tears stream down my cheeks and when he asks what's wrong all I can say is, "I'm just so glad your home" and hand him the baby to take the evening shift of pacing the halls, the only thing that stops her screaming on that particular night.

Yes, it is harder to get ready to do anything and takes triple the time to get out of the house.
Yes, I smell like spit up and have to change my shirt and even sometimes my pants multiple times a day and yes, my hair doesn't get washed very much anymore. I've been projectile vomited on in the mall, the dark circles under my eyes are getting harder and harder to cover, and some days I like her a lot more when she's sleeping.

The truth is, I wouldn't change any of it. I love being a Mom more than I ever thought possible. Breastfeeding came really natural for us and I am so thankful for that. My relationship with my husband is about same, but I can see how other relationships could and will change, some for the better and some not. My husband  is thankfully very willing to help when he gets home from work (he's even started doing laundry!). I also make sure that when I need his help I am not afraid to let him know and I try to make sure intimacy still plays a significant role in our post-baby life which I feel helps us feel connected as a couple and not just as parents.

I also had 21 days of live in help and learned lots of tips from my mom, so maybe that kicked start my journey into motherhood because I never had the first month to get too run down, or frustrated, or too exhausted because she did so much for me and I am so thankful for that.

I am also a 100% believer in the theory "nap when the baby naps". The thought of two children kind of terrifies me right now because if she's up at 2:30 and then again at 5:30... when she goes back down at 7am I am snuggled right next to her either on the floor, or in our bed getting an extra hour. If that doesn't happen I am sure to drift off at some point in the day when she does, or else I know I will be too tired to function. So I give huge credit to the moms of more than one child because a baby and a toddler will be so tough.

Scotlyn is now 6 weeks and I feel like it just keeps getting better. This week has been full of real baby smiles and roll overs that just light up my life and even her cuddles feel more real, like she knows I'm her momma. I am so thankful for her.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

New Mom & Baby Must Have & Have Nots

1:Colic Drops // 2. Soothie Wubbanub Soother // 3: Arbonne Diaper Rash Cream (contact your local dealer) // 4: Lady Bug Bath Sponge Cushion // 5: Aden & Anais Pyara Bamboo swaddles // 6: Ollie Swaddle // 7: Baby Elephant Ears

Okay lemme tell ya what I love about all these things.

1: I know there are a ton of colic drops out there and I haven't tried them all, but I have tried these and they work. Sure, they smell like dill and she hates them, but if she's crying non stop half  adose of this stuff, a couple of burps later, and she's quiet and at peace.

2: This is the soother she tried first in the hospital and now its the only one she will take. I hated the look of it at first, but with these cute animals attached who wouldn't love them and as she gets older and even now they make it easier for her to hold.

3: I don't know if she's just not prone to diaper rash, or if this cream rocks, but I never mess with a good thing, so I'm gonna keep using it as long as it keeps working because so far we're one month and zero rashes.

4: This sponge thing rocks. My in laws got us a little plastic tub which makes it so easy to bath her, but like any tub it's hard and cold and her head goes to the bottom so I always had to hold it and then we got this as a gift and it makes all the difference. It is soft, holds her head, and keeps her warm. I love it and it makes bath time so easy and she loves it way more.

5: I got myself some of these swaddles and made the mistake of not getting the bamboo version. Then we got these ones as a gift and oh my gosh they are so so soft and she rarely is far away from one of them. I use them to swaddle her, as nursing covers, as a car seat cover to keep sun or wind off her when we're walking in her stroller, or to the car. Its a must have in my books.

6: I splurged on getting two of these swaddles before she was born and she has not slept one single night without it, so thank goodness we have two in case one gets dirty there is a spare. You can read up on them more, but it keeps her the perfect temperature, has Velcro so its easy to swaddle and stays together, holds her in all night, has an elastic at the bottom, so you don't have to unwrap her for any night time diaper changes and she sleeps great, so it must be working!

7: I use this in her swing the most and also in her stroller. Her head was always dropping to one side and after reading an article about baby's suffocating that way, or getting soft spots on their heads I knew I had to get one. It keeps her neck perfectly aligned and is super cute!

So far, the things I know I don't love are:

Woombie Swaddles.. I find them too tight, too close to her neck, and they zip, so you have to take her out for diaper changes. Wasted my money on these for sure.

Although I do like Pamper diapers and the great stripe invention that changes color, so you know when she is wet I HATE their wipes. They leave this slippery gross coating on her and it makes it impossible to get cream rubbed on good. I hate them.

Onesies that zipper. They are okay for lounging around in during the day, but one way to wake a sleeping baby is to get her cold, so although button ones take longer to put on they are well worth it for night time changes because you can just sneak her legs out, change the diaper, and she stays warm and sleepy!

I think that's about it for my one month favs and least favs as a new momma! Let me know anything I am missing that you are loving!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Scotlyn: One Month update

At one month Scotlyn is 10lbs 11oz and 22inches long! She is in her 85th percentile for height and weight.

She loves tummy time. She can be crying and we will put her on her belly and she calms right down. I have to watch her carefully so that she doesn't fall asleep like that, but usually she's very active when she's awake and she's trying so hard to flip over and makes crawling movements.. this girl will be motoring around in no time! Eventually she gets frustrated that she can move like she wants and gets fussy and we have to help her. Her neck is so so strong and she lifts it really well.

This has been her most fussy week by far and everything The Wonder Week app predicts about this week is so true from wanting to feed more, crying more for no reason, only quiet when she's with us, wanting more physical contact. It makes the days hard, but the blessing is that she sleeps almost right through the night getting up only once around 3:30 to eat and half an hour later we're both back to sleep and waking her up at 7am to change her and feed her again and then she naps again in the morning around 8. She is still in her newborn napper next to our bed and I will leave her next to us, but move her to the bigger bassinet as a transition sleeper before her crib. My plan is to have her in her crib by three months if I can let go because I think I'll really miss her.

She takes a Soothie soother every now and then during the day, but she's not dependent on it and I try not to use it too much. She still eats really well and breastfeeding is going so good! The first week was the toughest and I had developed a blister, but after wearing shields and using nipple cream for two weeks everything went away and now I really love it! It's so easy and such great bonding time and it's helping me shed my baby weight.

I'll do posts later this week on my new mom must haves and on fitness/getting my body back post cesarean!

I did Scotlyn's newborn pictures with the help of my mom. The first set of pictures were done when she was about two weeks old and the tutu pictures are when she's one month and I can already see such a difference in her!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Labor & Delivery: Scotlyn's birth story

I prided myself on not having a birth plan. I wanted to go into labor with an open mind and with no expectations I wouldn't be disappointed and let me just tell you... thank gosh I had that mind set because what did happen would definitely not have been any part of any plan I could have possibly had in mind.

Even without a "plan" I had imagined my labor and had an idea of how I thought it would go. I was 60/40 on getting an epidural leaning towards having one because my doctor, who is awesome, does them, so I knew I would be in good hands, and I was positive I'd have a vaginal delivery. My husband and I talked about and dismissed the possibility of a cesarean deciding I just wouldn't have to have one. I skipped over the c-section part of every book or blog I read. I guess the one true fault in my non-plan was not planning the possibility of a cesarean.

This is how it all went down.

I asked for a membrane sweep at 39 weeks which was Friday April, 17th. That night at around 3am I got up to pee and lost a big chunk of my mucus plug. Then nothing until the next Thursday when I started having contractions that I could easily walk and breathe through, but were too painful to sleep and I was sure they would get stronger, so I stayed up til 5am pacing and breathing and googling when to know when labor would really start when all of a sudden they just stopped... I couldn't believe it I was exhausted and so frustrated and to top it all off I had the worst cold of my life with the most nagging dry cough.

The next day April 24 was my due date and we went to the doctor and got a 2nd sweep and that night I lost more mucus and my "bloody show". Saturday came and I went to bed feeling that things could happen soon and I was right. At 2am I woke up and when they say when you're in labor you will know, you know. The contractions this time were much stronger and while my husband slept I did my best to pace and breathe. Kyle woke up around 6am and he took care of me making sure I had water and healthy snacks and played relaxing music until around 10am when we decided it was time to go to the hospital.

When we got there the nurse told me I was only 1cm I was so devastated since I had going through contractions for eight hours already and I was sure they would send us home, but the monitors reported my contractions coming fast and hard, so my doctor came in and when he checked me he said I was 3cm, so he decided I should stay. An hour later I was almost 6cm and because things were moving along so quickly he decided we should break my water. That's when the contractions got super painful, so I decided to get an epidural and it was AMAZING. I felt zero pain and could still walk to get up to use the washroom, so Kyle and I just hung out and waited. When I got to be almost 10cm with just a lip left to dilate I could tell something was changing because I could feel the contractions and some pain again. They told me when I felt the need to push and pressure to tell them, but I never felt any sensation like that at all. I thought maybe it was because of the epidural, but little did I know it was because baby was not far enough in my birth canal.

I pushed, and pushed, and pushed. She was stuck on my pelvic bone and she was face up and oh my gosh was it painful. Apparently epidurals don't get rid of bone pain. Everyone was yelling PUSH and I tried and tried every position and then they tried every vacuum thing, but nothing was working. The pain got so bad that I started puking after every contraction and shaking and couldn't really breathe through the contractions anymore, so they gave me some oxygen and aother Doctor came in and tried another type of vacuum thing to pull her out and it didn't work. I pretty much started begging for a c-section and couldn't wait another minute to get a spinal and have no more pain.

This is where not having a birth plan saved me. It was chaos. It was shift change, so the room was full of nurses, I was in so much pain, and my poor husband was beside himself helpless watching the whole terror of the day unfold with no control. If I sound dramatic, it was.

I got the spinal and was just so out of it from that point on I didn't care about much else than not being in pain anymore it was all such a blur and once they started operating on me my body went into shock and my jaw and arms started shaking and trembling so bad that I thought I was going to break my teeth off. To top it all off my sweet baby was too big to fit through the incision and she tore my uterus. She wasn't breathing when she came out because of the mucus in her lungs, so they whisked her off to get that out and it hurt her vocal cords a bit they said and her head was scabbed and bruised pretty bad from all the suctioning, but she was out and in the world with us. It sounds bad and weird to admit it, but I could only ask my husband if she was okay and when he said yes that's all I could care about. Kyle held her next to me while they sutured up my uterus and put 13 staples in my stomach and then we went off to recovery. I was still shaking and in shock, so I couldn't even really process the fact that we had our baby. I stayed there for a while getting my blood pressure back up that had dropped really low and then I had to go off for an X-Ray which is standard for emergency C-sections to make sure nothing is left inside you. Except they forgot to do it right after surgery, so they waited until my medications wore off and it was hell to have to be rolled onto a stretcher and taken down when I could feel everything again. By the time I got back to my room I was pretty much begging for pain meds again.

Scotlyn Nikol Bailey 8lbs 1oz was born at 8:26pm and I didn't get back to my room and able to hold her until midnight. Kyle laid her down next to me and she latched right on and breastfed like she was born to do it. She slept on my chest that night and the next three consecutive nights we spent in the hospital. She developed jaundice because of the trauma to her head, but thankfully we were allowed to take her home after four nights in the hospital & her newborn screening tests came back with potential concern for her thyroid, but the re-testing results came back good, such a relief!

This is where I gotta really give my husband props. I had an IV, compression things on my legs, and was pretty much 100% useless and he did not leave my side. He slept on a fold out chair next to me, he helped me to the washroom, he did it all. I didn't leave my room for three days and he made sure I always had anything and everything I needed and helped me do everything I could to care for our baby. I was a mess and he was amazing. His parents also live on the same street as the hospital and would bring us food every day, so we didn't have to eat hospital food which was so nice!!

So, that's pretty much it! Despite the fact that it was the worst day of my life, it was also the best day and it's true when they say you'll forget because I would hands down get pregnant again tomorrow if I thought my body could handle it haha. We have so much love for our girl and I am so excited to add more munchkins to our home!! My next pregnancies will have to be done by cesarean too because of the tear to my uterus and they said I will only be able to have maybe two more pregnancies, but I know each one is a blessing, so we will take each one as it comes!!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Maternity Pictures

I'm so behind on posts that tomorrow my little lady is one month old and I still haven't shared the maternity pictures from when I was 37 weeks pregnant. I don't want to skip any steps in her journey into the world, so I am going to go back and talk a little bit about month 9 of being preggo, by far my least favorite.

Now that I have my daughter in my life I think I can safely say that I will enjoy my next pregnancy even more because even though you know you get a baby at the end, you, or at least I didn't fully get it and how amazing it is that I grew this little miracle in my body for nine months and is worth everyday and every symptom. I never had a difficult pregnancy, not much in terms of morning sickness, or other symptoms besides exhaustion until the final stages. I had an active uterus, so I had tons of Braxton Hicks that landed me in the hospital once and put me on edge thinking I was at risk for premature labor. I went off work sick on April 10th and I didn't go into labor until one day after my due date on April 25th. Little did I know, I really needed that time off to relax and rest more than I ever thought, but more about that in a later post where I'll talk about my labor.

Like I said, these pictures were taken when I was 37 weeks. A friend of mine took the pictures for us and then I edited them using the program Lightroom! I love seeing pictures of my mom pregnant it's so cool to see pictures of her as a young mom and I love seeing the styles of clothes she used to wear too, so I am so happy my kids will have these pictures to look back on and see us as a young couple getting ready to become parents!

I got all of my maternity clothes from Thyme maternity including this dress. I tried on every dress in the store and this is the only one that made me feel like I hadn't just gained a bunch of weight and was trying to squeeze into a dress. I love that there is two layers to it, so it hid my bulging belly button and any extra cellulite my butt cheeks accumulated in late pregnancy and it was perfect spring colors! Thyme always has great sales and I ended up getting an online coupon for 50% off any item in the store, so it ended up being so cheap and I am sure I will wear it again someday!

Dress: Thyme Maternity // Coat: Sheinside // Shoes: Aldo 

* I am wearing my Euronext 18" extensions in Blonde Frost from Sally beauty